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There are so many cool themes out there for Windows XP. I'm interested in trying some out, but I wanted to check with the SU community first:

Assuming you download and install a theme from a "trusted" source, do you find they tend to degrade system performance, cause issues with various GUI applications, etc.? Or, do you find they do not really affect your system in a negative way?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

It depends on the theme really. Personally I don't really use them any more, I'm always on Windows Classic -- but when I used themes, issues with various GUI applications was the big thing. Certain themes would alter the orientation of buttons and sometimes cut content off. Again, it depends on the theme, a lot will not do this.

As for performance, it once again depends on the theme and your system. You won't really notice a hiccup on a more recent system, but you may on an older system (still unlikely). It also depends on what eye candy the theme brings to the table.

Bottom line: If you really want a theme, go for it. The performance difference probably won't be noticeable if any, and most themes play well with the UI. If worse comes to worse, you can remove it easily.

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