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Chapter 1. Understanding the Windows XP ... > Modifying the Windows XP GUI Environ...

Modifying the Windows XP GUI Environment

Now that we’ve examined the various elements of the GUI, we can ask a question that is essential to the concept of skinning Windows XP. Why is the Windows XP GUI such a robust stage for redefining the look and feel of the OS environment?

Microsoft XP is designed differently from previous versions of the Windows OS. Microsoft XP actually contains its own built-in visual style (or skinning) engine that allows you to dramatically change the look and feel of the interface. The engine comes in the form of a dynamic link library (DLL; code that is shared by Windows programs) called uxtheme.dll. Skins that can be loaded by the engine come in the form of a file with an extension of .msstyles.


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