Aero Themes are accessed via the new Personalization option on the context menu that appears when you right-click the Windows desktop. (You can also launch this control panel by typing Personalization in Start Menu Search.) The Personalization control panel is shown in Figure 4-10.
As you can see, a stock Windows 7 install includes whatever Aero Themes you've created (or are currently using), several built-in Aero Themes, and several Basic and High Contrast Themes, the latter of which includes styles based around the Windows 7 Basic and Windows Classic themes and four high-contrast themes.
The following Aero Themes are available in Windows 7:
♦ Windows 7: The default Windows 7 Aero Theme utilizes the default Sky (clear, light bluish) glass color, the Windows Default sound scheme, and no screen saver. This is a great theme from which to create your own theme. Figure 4-11 shows the effects of configuring a typical theme.
♦ Architecture: This Aero Theme features a desktop slide show of six alternating architectural images, the Twilight (deep blue) glass color, the Cityscape sound scheme, and no screen saver.
♦ Characters: This Aero Theme features a desktop slide show of six alternating whimsical cartoon-type images, the Taupe (light pink) glass color, the Characters sound scheme, and no screen saver.
♦ Landscapes: This Aero Theme features a desktop slide show of six alternating landscape images, the Slate (dusty brown) glass color, the Landscape sound scheme, and no screen saver.
♦ Nature: This Aero Theme features a desktop slide show of six alternating plantand leaf-based images, the Lavender (bright pink) glass color, the Garden sound scheme, and no screen saver.
♦ Scenes: This Aero Theme features a desktop slide show of six alternating artistic images, the Violet (soft purple) glass color, the Quirky sound scheme, and no screen saver.
♦ Theme for [your region]: This Aero Theme is customized for the region in which you live. So in my case, it is customized for the United States. It features a desktop slide show of six alternating country- or region-specific images, a custom glass color (medium tan for the U.S.), a custom sound scheme (Delta for the U.S.), and no screen saver.
Aero Theme files are, in fact, simple text files, similar to XML or INI files, so you can open them with a text editor, like Wordpad, to see what they're made of. A typical section in an Aero Theme file looks like so:
Path=%SystemRoot%\resources\theiTies\Aero\Aero.iTisstyles ColorStyle=NormalColor Size=NormalSize ColorizationColor=0X45409EFE Transparency=1 VisualStyleVersion=10
The problem with Aero Theme files is that they're not portable: if the Aero Theme you're using includes background images, sounds schemes, or screen savers that aren't found in a default Windows 7 install, you won't be able to pass them around to others. Fortunately, there's a way around this issue: you can also save Aero Themes as a Theme Pack (*.themepack), which packages all of the needed files into a single archive that can then be distributed to others.
Note that Theme Pack files are really just ZIP files with a different extension. That means you can open them—and extract their contents—with any ZIP extractor, including Compressed Folders, WinRAR, WinZIP, and others.
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