uxtheme.dll Patcher for Windows XP and Vista

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 21, 2008
Updated • May 18, 2015

The file uxtheme.dll is a digitally signed file that validates themes during boot and theme installation. It is restricted which means that you can only install a handful of Microsoft certified themes but no third-party themes.

If you want to add and use custom themes in Windows XP, Windows Vista or newer versions of Windows, you have to patch the file uxtheme.dll first. Once the file is patched you can install and use custom themes.

Update: Probably the best program currently to patch Windows theme files to prepare the system for third-party theme installations is UxStyle. Not only is it compatible with all recent versions of Windows from Windows XP on, it is also loading the modifications in memory only. This means that it does not patch the actual files on the hard drive which improves the process significantly.

It is offered as a 32-bit and 64-bit version, and you need to make sure you run the correct one based on your operating system's architecture.

I would like to describe two methods of patching uxtheme.dll. The first method is automatic but sometimes not working. I would still suggest to use the Uxtheme Multi-patcher first if you use Windows XP or Windows Server 2003. Just unpack and start the application (no installation required) and click on Patch to patch uxtheme.dll. The software checks the operating system and asks if it detected the correct one for verification. If the information is correct click OK.

Windows File Protection will kick in which you have to bypass of course. File Protection would otherwise replace the patched uxtheme.dll with the original from the Windows XP CD which would mean that you would have to run the program again to patch the file. Once you have bypassed file protection, the file should have been patched correctly and you can start installing third-party themes on Windows.

Windows Vista users can replace the file manually instead. They need the application Replacer for it which can be used to replace files with system protection. They also need the patched uxtheme.dll which they can find at Uxtheme Patches. Make sure to download the correct version for your operating system.

Start Replacer and follow the on screen instructions. Begin by dragging and dropping the original uxtheme.dll file which is located in c:\windows\system32 into the program window and hit enter. Then drag and drop the patched dll into the window and hit enter again. Follow the instructions until File Protection kicks in again. Make sure you cancel the file protection window so that the patched file is not replaced with the original one again.

Custom themes can be added after a restart.

uxtheme.dll Patcher for Windows XP and Vista
Article Name
uxtheme.dll Patcher for Windows XP and Vista
Find out how to patch system files in Windows, uxtheme.dll for instance, so that you can install third-party themes on the operating system.

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  1. xiasc said on February 13, 2010 at 2:54 am

    use ubuntu.,

  2. Narendra said on December 23, 2009 at 11:37 am

    I have Windows Vista.
    I downloaded replacer and executed it.
    It opened a window similar to command prompt.
    But, when I drag and drop the uxtheme.dll file into this, nothing happens!!

    Can somebody help me?


  3. Noel said on May 11, 2009 at 6:05 am

    I cant drag it to the program. I try but but it wont do it. Can someone help me.

    PS: I have Vista.

  4. Hoang said on February 9, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    Hay lam thak

  5. Quincy said on December 12, 2008 at 2:47 pm

    my brother was messing with my computer trying to install a theme. by doing so he replaced the uxtheme.dll file with another file. when the computer was rebooted an error popped up stating that the uxtheme.dll file was invalid. after pressing ‘ok’ nothing loaded except the wallpaper. i have tried going into safe mode but it is the same deal. i am able to access the CMD and the window that appears when you ‘CTRL+ALT+DELETE’. i am trying to avoid wiping out everything on my computer and start anew but if that is the only solution please say so. i hope you can help with my problem, it would be greatly appreciated!

  6. Adaptiv Media said on February 7, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    Great. Does this mean I can design my own theme? I would need software to convert my design into a windows theme file though too, right?

  7. Mini said on February 7, 2008 at 5:02 am

    Hey, I just bought a new laptop and I have Windows Vista Home Premium.

    is there a uxtheme.dll that i can download to get custom themes?

  8. Martin said on January 22, 2008 at 11:51 am

    dose I’m currently using Resident Os http://mohsinnaqi.deviantart.com/art/Resident-OS-27108299

  9. dose said on January 22, 2008 at 9:26 am

    martin: what is your current visual style?

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