Windows Desktop Themes Compatibility

This article was previously published under Q258478
This article applies to Windows 2000. Support for Windows 2000 ends on July 13, 2010. The Windows 2000 End-of-Support Solution Center is a starting point for planning your migration strategy from Windows 2000. For more information see the Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy.
This article has been archived. It is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.
Earlier versions of Microsoft Windows may use desktop theme files with a .the or .thm file name extension. Desktop theme files in Windows 2000 must have a .theme file name extension. Renaming .the or .thm files to .theme files allows you to use the older desktop theme files in the Desktop Themes dialog box in Windows 2000.

NOTE: Although an older theme file may be recognized by the Desktop Themes dialog box in Windows 2000, there may still be compatibility issues. See the "More Information" section of this article for additional information.
To change a .the or .thm file extension to .theme in Windows Explorer:
  1. Right-click a .the or .thm file, and then click Rename.
  2. Change the extension from .the or .thm to .theme, and then press ENTER.
Note that you can also rename files by using the rename command at a command prompt.

After a theme file has a .theme extension, you can use the theme file as described in the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
257841 How to Configure Desktop Themes in Windows 2000
Note that some themes are not displayed properly in Windows 2000 without extensive changes to the .theme file. Many desktop themes rely on the %THEMESDIR% environment variable. By default, this environment variable is not set to any value in Windows 2000. Most newer desktop themes can find the location for the files associated with the theme, but some older themes (such as those included with Microsoft Plus! for Windows 95) require that you either edit the theme file or add a %THEMESDIR% environment variable.

Note that the addition of the %THEMESDIR% environment variable does not necessarily make all themes work correctly. Many themes assume a certain folder structure that involves %THEMESDIR% subfolders. To determine the exact structure that the theme expects, open the theme file in a text editor such as Notepad.

Article ID: 258478 - Last Review: 12/05/2015 19:23:11 - Revision: 3.5

Microsoft Windows 2000 Server, Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server, Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Edition

  • kbnosurvey kbarchive kbappdev kbinfo KB258478