Hidden XP Theme

Sometime after the launch of XP, somewhere in Redmond, someone on the Microsoft design team was in the progress of developing something for Media Center. It was believed to be too powerful for public consumption and forever archived in the servers at 1 Microsoft Way. Now 3 years later, a young hobbit man by the name of W3bbo saw light of this unheard of theme, and traveled far and wide to uncover its mysteries. One theme to find. One theme to upload. One theme to rule them all.

Alright, enough Lord of the Rings talk for one day. Devoted Channel9 member W3bbo spotted an interesting theme on one of the “people_ready� television commercials airing in the States. After some dedicated searching, he finally uncovered this mystery XP theme by Microsoft. W3bbo writes,

During Royale’s development (the XP Media Center theme), the graphic artists also produced a black version of the skin, sans the overused “glass� effect. The result is an aesthetic black skin named “Royale Noir�, it even works with Office 2003.

Since the skin was never released (or reached final adjustments) there are a few issues with it: some of the colors don’t meet the overall “feel� (they’re too purple-ish compared to the greys of the bitmaps) and the inactive titlebars are a little too dark.

You’ll find it’s been signed by Microsoft and doesn’t require a custom UxTheme.dll in case there are any doubts as to its authenticity.

If you already have Royale installed, you’ll need to remove it as both of these skins share the same name.

This skin has not been released to anyone outside Microsoft, until now.

Here is a screenshot and the download link

Royale Noir



Extract files to “c:\windows\resources\themes\royale noir� and double click on “luna.msstyles�. Select “Noir� from color scheme. Code-signed by Microsoft. No UXTheme hack required.

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