.MSSTYLES File Extension
Windows XP Style
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What is an MSSTYLES file?
An MSSTYLES file is a Windows XP theme. It contains colors and images used to change the appearance of Windows XP buttons, windows, and other GUI elements, as well as metadata used to apply those colors and images. Windows XP's popular Luna and Zune themes are saved as MSSTYLES files.
By default, only MSSTYLES files that are digitally signed by Microsoft can be used with Windows XP. The Luna, Zune, Royale, Royale Noir, and Windows Embedded Standard CTP Refresh styles are all digitally signed by Microsoft. (The Royale theme is Windows XP Media Center Edition's default theme.)
However, advanced users can modify Windows XP's skinning engine such that it can apply custom MSSTYLES files. For example, you can use the StyleXP program to apply custom MSSTYLE files. Programs used to apply custom MSSTYLE files are sometimes referred to as UxTheme patchers.
NOTE: Later versions of Windows also use MSSTYLES files. However, these MSSTYLES files are not formatted the same as Windows XP's MSSTYLES files. Therefore, you cannot use MSSTYLES files created for later versions of Windows with Windows XP, and vice versa.
How to open an MSSTYLES file
To use a digitally signed MSSTYLES file in Windows XP, place the file in the ~/Windows/Resources/Themes/YourStyleName folder. Then, open Display Properties and apply the style your MSSTYLES file contains. Alternatively, you can try double-clicking your MSSTYLES file, which should open the Display Properties window.
You can also use MSSTYLES files with Wine, an application that lets non-Windows users run Windows applications. To use an MSSTYLES file with Wine:
- Open Wine's configuration settings.
- Select Desktop Integration.
- In the Theme section, click Install Theme.
- Navigate to and install your MSSTYLES file.
- When you return to the Theme section, select and apply the theme you just installed.