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Services Utility: Themes Service

Display Name (?): Themes
Short Name (?): Themes
Executable (?): svchost.exe
Library (?): shsvcs.dll
Depends On (?): None.
Supports (?): None.
Description (?): Provides user experience theme management.
OS (?): XP Home/Professional, Vista Home/Business, Server 2003, Vista Server
Startup (?):

Explanation (?):

The themes service controls the Windows XP skinning effects that allow you to change from the candy coated default Windows XP look to the classic Windows 2000 look to any other theme you could find to install. If this service is enabled you can change the themes through the display properties dialog on the "themes" tab. Basically this service provides an overlay onto the classic desktop, and as such the overhead from this ability is placed upon the original Windows embedded look.

The ability to change the look of Windows XP was a nice addition, although I do wish they made the specifications on how to build themes a bit more open. By default Windows XP comes with a few themes, and for additional themes Microsoft wants you to purchase the XP Plus Pack (that also provides some games and some media tools too).

I personally disable this service because I prefer the classic and simpler look of Windows 2000. But, I do know several people that like the new look a great deal more, so it really is personal preference. Disabling this service will turn off most theme related functions and should also save you a bit of memory. However, this amount seems to be negligible, if any at all. In fact, disabling this service fails to terminate any type of process so it is very possible this does nothing (at least when you're not using any visual effects in the first place). In a corporate network it is highly recommended to remove all functions related to themes as it will just confuse support and waste resources.

Please visit /tools/services/ for the complete Services utility.