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How To Make The Themes

The themes will run in Windows 95, 98 and NT.


What tools I need to make a Desktop Theme?

Microangelo for Windows 95
This utility provides access to icons of all sizes and color formats used by Windows 95. Browse, manage, create, and edit icons from 8x8 to 64x64 pixels in size and up to 256 colors. Explorer-like Browser specializes in locating icons on your system. Double-click to open icons for editing in Studio, libraries for viewing in Librarian. The Engineer replaces system icons, removes shortcut arrows. Download this utility (version 2.1 - 640 KB) here!

WinZip or TurboZIP
This is a 32 bit zip extractor for windows 95. You will need this to extract any themes. This utility has supported long file names.

Spook's Theme Generator.
Spook's Theme Generator is a utility that creates desktop themes for Microsoft Plus. It provides an easy-to-use tabbed control interface that
allows users to select the various components in their themes. The

program then generates a theme file and saves it with all other components in a single directory, which can then be zipped and distributed. An additional feature allows start-up and shutdown logos to be distributed with the themes.  The program generates batch files that automate the
logo installation process.


How can I make icons for my theme?

The easiest way to create icons is with Microangelo utility or IconForge. Create the picture in the 32x32 grid. Then rename the cursor (.CUR) to an icon (.ICO) when you are finished.

You need to create 4 icons: My Computer, Network Neighborhood, Recycle Bin Empty, and Recycle Bin Full. You can use the standard icons that come with Windows 95 too (COOL.DLL). The icon numbers are 16, 17, 20, and 21. So, in the theme file, it would be listed as:

My Computer:            DefaultValue=%WinDir%System\Cool.dll,16
Net Neighborhood:     Default Value=%WinDir%System\Cool.dll,17
Recycle Bin Empty:    Default Value=%WinDir%System\Cool.dll,20
Recycle Bin Full:        Default Value=%WinDir%System\Cool.dll,21


How can I make cursors/animated cursors for my theme?

You need to create 14 cursors with Microangelo or IconForge. Cursors are made in 32x32 pixels. You can make all or none of them animated. The 2 cursors that are normally animated are the Wait and Busy icons. The Wait icon is shown when Windows 95 is doing something. The Busy icon is shown when Windows 95 is too busy to handle any other mouse clicks / commands. The rest of the cursors are:

Arrow - Normal pointer.
Help - Displayed when you click on the ? in a dialog box.
NWPen - The Pen cursor.
No - Displayed when an option is not selectable with the Arrow cursor.
Size NS/WE/NWSE/NESW - Will show up when resize a window.
Size All - Displayed when you can move a window.
Crosshair - Looks almost like a target sighting for precision selection.
IBeam - Displayed when you are in a text region.
Up Arrow - Never seen this cursor in action!


How can I make wallpaper for my theme?

You need a graphic manipulator like Microsoft Image Composer, Adobe PhotoShop or PaintShop Pro to create a wallpaper. You don't need to create a .BMP wallpaper, .JPG is probably the best to save your wallpaper because they are 3-10 times smaller than the bitmap. Also, make sure the picture is in 640x480, 800x600, or 1024x768 saved in a decently high quality.


How can I make sounds for my theme?

You need a .WAV editor or Sound editor to create sounds like CoolEdit. There are 20 sounds you can provide for different events. Try to match a good sound for the sound event (e.g. someone asking a question for the Question sound event, a theme song for the Windows Start sound event, etc). Here are the sound events:

Default Sound - Just what it says.
Program Error - Played when there is an error.
Maximize - Played when you maximize a window.
Minimize - Played when you minimize a window.
Restore Up - Played when you restore a window larger.
Restore Down - Played when you restore a window smaller.
Menu Command - Played when you select a program/option on a menu.
Menu Popup - Played when you look through program menus/option menu.
Open Program - Played when you open a program.
Close Program - Played when you close a program.
Ring In - Played with a program that uses the ringing options.
Ring Out - Played with a program that uses the ringing options.
Asterisk - Not sure when this is played.
System Default - Not sure when this is played.
Exclamation - Played when you do something that is not supported.
Windows Start - Played when you start Windows 95.
Windows Exit - Played when you exit Windows 95.
Critical Stop - Also known as System Hand.
Question - Played when a program ask you a question prompt.
Empty Recycle Bin - Played when you empty the recycle bin.

Sounds events that you can use with the same WAV file so you don't have duplicate WAV's:

Default Sound and System Default
Program Error and Critical Stop (System Hand)
Maximize and Restore Up or Maximize and Minimize
Minimize and Restore Down or Maximize and Minimize

You don't need to use the highest quality for sounds (Stereo, 44KHz, 16 bit). All of the files you download from my site have WAV's that are in Mono, 11KHz, 8 bit quality. And most of them sound great unless the original sound was bad quality.


How can I make a greatest theme?

You need a text editor (notepad) or Theme Create. Here is where the entire theme comes together with all the commands Windows 95 needs to set it up. There are a couple of ways to make the .Theme file.

    1. Copy an existing .Theme file that has colors and fonts that you like and rename it to your theme name.
    2. Use Theme Create to build a .Theme file.

There are some variables you can use in the .Theme file to point to certain locations for the files. The first is %WinDir% (you need the % signs) which tells Plus! to look in your default Windows 95 directory. The second is %ThemeDir% which tells Plus! to look in your default theme directory. These variables make the .Theme file more flexible on different machines. Some people may have Windows 95 set up in C:\Windows and others may have it in C:\Win95 or some variation. Also, it makes it easier to write %ThemeDir% then C:\Program Files\Plus!\Themes.


I've made my theme. How can I publish it?

By sending it to us.  Just zip it up and email it to us.  We will notify you if it will be published on our website.