To give us some information on what UxStyle Core is, we'll start with a little history. Back in the Windows XP days, users were able to modify a system file called Uxtheme.dll and create custom .msstyle files, thus creating their own desktop themes to replace the default "Luna" theme.
However, over time, patching went from just one file to multiple files and re patching was necessary when Microsoft would update the Uxtheme.dll files. When Windows Vista came, not only did it get complex, many problems arose such as stability issues, users replacing system files with malicious copies, non-functional copies, setting up incorrect folder permissions, and so forth.
Enter UxStyle, the solution to the current problem of patching. It consists of a service, and a kernel driver. The service enables and disables the custom theme support and the kernel driver handles the patching. While it currently doesn't have a theme manager or UI, it has the bare minimum needed to enable third-party theme support. This means no more manual patching and risk messing something up along the way.
There are currently two versions:
- UxStyle Core which offers functionality closest to the pre-patched files as possible and is free.
- UxStyle Premium which Same as core, but has live/automatic updates, and additional code to correct the "Windows Aero" theme name issue in the Appearance Settings window on Windows Vista/7. Final pricing has not yet been announced.