Tutorial: How to add your own themes to a HTC Windows Phone 7

A member over on the Xda-Developers forum has figured out a way to get access to the registry of any HTC device running Windows Phone 7. The method allows the user to write their own registry values over the top of some preconfigured ones, such as accent colors. 

We've written up a handy guide on how to change the accent colors on your own Windows Phone 7 device, in case you hated the stock colors as much as we did. The registry editing part of this trick is thanks to xda-developers forum member "xboxmod" and we take no responsibility for this process in the odd event that it bricks your phone (Don't worry, it didn't break ours).

1. To get started, be sure to have the HTC Connection Setup application installed already. This can be found under "HTC Apps" in the marketplace. You'll also need a developer unlocked device, either using ChevronWP7 or the official developer unlock. Finally, install TouchXplorer onto your WP7.

2. Create three text files in notepad containing the registry keys found below. For this, we want to replace one of the existing themes -- pink -- with a nicer blue theme.

First file:

REGEDIT4
 
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ControlPanel\Themes\0\Accents]
"0"=dword:FF339933 
"1"=dword:FFE51400 
"2"=dword:FF1BA1E2 
"3"=dword:FFF09609 
"5"=dword:FF0066FF 
"6"=dword:FF292a30 
"7"=dword:FF8CBF26 
"8"=dword:FF00ABA9 
"9"=dword:FFA200FF 
"10"=dword:FFFF0097
Second File:
REGEDIT4
 
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ControlPanel\Themes\1\Accents]
"0"=dword:FF339933 
"1"=dword:FFE51400 
"2"=dword:FF1BA1E2 
"3"=dword:FFF09609 
"5"=dword:FF0066FF 
"6"=dword:FF292a30 
"7"=dword:FF8CBF26 
"8"=dword:FF00ABA9 
"9"=dword:FFA200FF 
"10"=dword:FFFF0097
Third file:
REGEDIT 4
 
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ControlPanel\Themes\AccentsDisplayName\0409]
"0"="Green" ; 
"1"="Red" ;
"2"="Blue" ;
"3"="Orange" ; 
"5"="Pink" ; 
"6"="Brown" ; 
"7"="Lime" ; 
"8"="Teal" ; 
"9"="Purple" ; 
"10"="Magenta" ;
The value contained in bold in the first two files is the hexadecimal value of the color we want to change it to. You can pick anything you like. The third file is simply the label in the theme picker dialog, you don't have to change this if you don't want to.
 
Save these notepad files with a ".rgu" extension.
 
2. Use the tool found in this RAR file called "rgu-2-xml.exe" to convert one of the files for deployment.
 
3. Rename the file the tool creates to CustClear.provxml
 
4. Use the second tool found in the rar -- XBMOD.Files.Deployer.exe -- to create an XAP file to deploy to the phone. 
 
5. Deploy the XAP to the phone using the developer tools.
 
6. Run the application, then, run TouchXplorer and navigate to "My Ringtones" which is found inside "My documents." Copy the file which is found here.
 
7. Paste the file into the \Windows directory. Overwrite if necessary. 
 
8. Run HTC Connection setup. The theme is now added. Ensure you repeat the entire process for each registry file, otherwise you may experience issues with the theme, as it requires all the registry keys to be changed before selecting the theme.
 
Enjoy your new themes!
 
Method and tools credit: WP7MOD
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29 Comments

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Soulsiphon said,
ROFL - good old WP7/Winmobile - want to change a button? REGEDIT!!! ROFL

I really don't understand what's funny about that.

Gah, how hard is it on the WP7 developers to have a color selection box?!? I adore the darker colors and would think it'd be easier on the batteries.

NXTwoThou said,
Gah, how hard is it on the WP7 developers to have a color selection box?!? I adore the darker colors and would think it'd be easier on the batteries.

The point of the accent colour was to be a bold colour that stands out from the rest, and works the same of light themes and dark themes. Also useful for application developers, if they know the entire set of possible colours they can ensure colours work perfectly in their applications, and there aren't clashes or colours getting drowned out.

this is a great first step in allowing 3rd party UI's onto wp7. when i can load spb mobile shell or mailla/sense on to it i may actually buy the phone. the guys at xda are geniuses to say the least!

smooth3006 said,
this is a great first step in allowing 3rd party UI's onto wp7. when i can load spb mobile shell or mailla/sense on to it i may actually buy the phone. the guys at xda are geniuses to say the least!

I'm not sure how this is a step in that direction. I really hope that this doesn't happen

-=SEDIN=- said,
in the picture, the black tiles look so damn sexy and clean. i want it lol

I agree, the black tiles look good but how would it look for other things like say, your calendar? The default Live ID calendar you use uses the accent color for events/appointments you set.

-=SEDIN=- said,
in the picture, the black tiles look so damn sexy and clean. i want it lol

Me too! Definitely those black tiles look gorgeous

yardman said,
F@#k that..i'll wait for the update.

It's not going to be in the update >.< They are meant to only be colours chosen by Microsoft so they could ensure they worked perfectly with all the themes, and and stand out from the rest of the theme colours. Applications are designed with the knowledge that whatever colour the user has chosen, it's going to be bold and contrasty. Choosing whatever colour you want could screw that up :[

But the update WILL remove your ability to change in the forthcoming update if you're not a developer, as they'll be removing/blocking the code that allows the unlocker to work, meaning if you change if you don't change them back before the update, you could possibly be permanently stuck with it, assuming the update doesn't just reset them.

Edited by ~Johnny, Jan 12 2011, 11:13am :

Chrono951 said,
Good tips, but geeze, I never would have thought it would be so hard to change the theme in WP7.

That is because you are not suppose to change the theme colors in WP7.

Chrono951 said,
Good tips, but geeze, I never would have thought it would be so hard to change the theme in WP7.

Microsoft forgot to put a regedit.exe on his winphone? ja ja ja!

Chrono951 said,
Good tips, but geeze, I never would have thought it would be so hard to change the theme in WP7.

It's because Microsoft is open and Apple is closed.

Chrono951 said,
Good tips, but geeze, I never would have thought it would be so hard to change the theme in WP7.

If it stops people from making Luna themes for WP7...

Chrono951 said,
Good tips, but geeze, I never would have thought it would be so hard to change the theme in WP7.

It isn't. There is an option to change theme colours in the device's settings; all one has to do is click on the 'theme' setting and select colours from the lists.

This article demonstrates a way to add different theme colours, so your statement is incorrect.

Relativity_17 said,

If it stops people from making Luna themes for WP7...

Luna would be a lot more attractive than what they went with .