Ever since I started using Windows Vista in some of my PCs, I have enjoyed working with Aero Glass since Windows XP's standard interface had got me bored for a long time now. I'm sure I'm not alone, just pay a visit to Deviant Art and you will find hundreds if not thousands of different themes you can apply to XP.
The problem is however that most of these skins need anything from very insignificant to more complicated modifications in the OS, sometimes even paid applications to apply the themes. Furthermore, I have found that most of these themes while great looking at first instance, will usually turn me off after a week, or even worse, look good but work terribly bad. I just have to wonder why Microsoft never released additional color schemes based on the same standard XP theme, that's all it would have taken to make many users happy.
Well, just recently Microsoft introduced a new official Windows theme called "Zune" - named after their new media player - which I found to be just what I needed. I'm loving it running in my Thinkpad since Vista is a bit too battery hungry in my opinion. Rather than explaining it in words you can take a look at a screenshot I took here.
This will probably won't come as news to you if you follow our daily coverage closely, however I wanted to take the opportunity to remind you about it during this slow weekend (unless you were lucky enough of getting a new PS3 or Wii, of course), and point you in the direction of another two themes that won't require any patching or third party application. These are actually older (leaked) releases which were also developed by Microsoft. The first is the "Royale" theme which comes installed as default on Windows XP Media Center Edition, and another rather unfinished theme called "Royale Noir" which is still worth a try if you don't mind experimenting a bit. Depending on your taste I'm sure you will find them worthwhile if you are tired of the same old blue, silver and green default schemes in XP.