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Posted 15 Mar 2003

Explorer Skin

, 15 Mar 2003
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A Shell Extension Context Menu to Change Skin of Windows Explorer
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Shell extension menu for skinning IE

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May be you wonder how some sites like Hotbar, can change your IE rebar! In this article, I show you how you can change your IE rebar by yourself. For this reason I create a shell extension context menu that will apear if you right click on a bitmapped file (*.bmp).
Above Figure shows this context menu.

Hacking Registry

As you know, Windows Explorer (and IE) are very customizable applications. This means that you can change behavior and the overall face of them very easily. But from where does IE know when and how to change itself?

Answer: Registry.

Windows Explorer saves any GUI related information and data in the registry. For changing IE skin, it's sufficent to change value of BackBitmap, to path of desired bitmap in the following registry path:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Toolbar

As you see, this registry path points to Toolbar of Internet Explorer. Figures 2 and 3 show effect of this utility.

Before (Fig 2) :


After (Fig 3) :



It's very easy to Install/Uninstall this shell extension. For installing it, run Install.bat, this batch file copies IESkin.dll to System32 directory of Windows and then registers it automatically. For uninstalling IESkin, run Uninstall.bat, this batch file unregisters IESkin.dll and delete it from system32 directory of Windows.


I should thank Michael Dunn for his article "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Shell Extension - Part I". Enjoy!


This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

A list of licenses authors might use can be found here


About the Author

A. Riazi
CEO Misbah3Com
Iran (Islamic Republic of) Iran (Islamic Republic of)
I was born in Shiraz, a very beautiful famous city in Iran. I started programming when I was 12 years old with GWBASIC. Since now, I worked with various programming languages from Basic, Foxpro, C/C++, Visual Basic, Pascal to MATLAB and now Visual C++.
I graduated from Iran University of Science & Technology in Communication Eng., and now work as a system programmer for a telecommunication industry.
I wrote several programs and drivers for Synthesizers, Power Amplifiers, GPIB, GPS devices, Radio cards, Data Acqusition cards and so many related devices.
I'm author of several books like Learning C (primary and advanced), Learning Visual Basic, API application for VB, Teach Yourself Object Oriented Programming (OOP) and etc.
I'm winner of January, May, August 2003 and April 2005 best article of month competetion, my articles are:

You can see list of my articles, by clicking here

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Comments and Discussions

GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
Manoj Kumar Choubey26-Feb-12 20:47
professionalManoj Kumar Choubey26-Feb-12 20:47 
QuestionHow to change IE skin without closing Browser Window Pin
kash1214-Aug-07 1:04
memberkash1214-Aug-07 1:04 
QuestionHow to insert a menu when right click blank place? Pin
hays.zhao6-Jun-07 22:48
memberhays.zhao6-Jun-07 22:48 
JokeWOW!!!! WONDERFUL!!! Pin
easter_200720-Feb-06 21:20
membereaster_200720-Feb-06 21:20 
AnswerRe: WOW!!!! WONDERFUL!!! Pin
A. Riazi21-Feb-06 5:23
professionalA. Riazi21-Feb-06 5:23 
GeneralRe: WOW!!!! WONDERFUL!!! Pin
easter_200721-Feb-06 13:39
membereaster_200721-Feb-06 13:39 
GeneralRe: WOW!!!! WONDERFUL!!! Pin
A. Riazi22-Feb-06 8:45
professionalA. Riazi22-Feb-06 8:45 
GeneralI can't find &quot;select skin&quot; when I right click on skin file Pin
jimp24-Feb-04 22:55
memberjimp24-Feb-04 22:55 
GeneralRe: I can't find &quot;select skin&quot; when I right click on skin file Pin
A. Riazi5-Feb-04 1:30
professionalA. Riazi5-Feb-04 1:30 
GeneralRe: I can't find &quot;select skin&quot; when I right click on skin file Pin
jimp25-Feb-04 14:00
memberjimp25-Feb-04 14:00 
QuestionHelp me? Pin
Priyank Bolia25-Aug-03 23:15
memberPriyank Bolia25-Aug-03 23:15 
AnswerRe: Help me? Pin
A. Riazi26-Aug-03 1:37
professionalA. Riazi26-Aug-03 1:37 
GeneralRe: Help me? Pin
Priyank Bolia28-Aug-03 0:40
memberPriyank Bolia28-Aug-03 0:40 
GeneralRe: Help me? Pin
A. Riazi28-Aug-03 4:49
professionalA. Riazi28-Aug-03 4:49 
GeneralVery Bad Pin
Muhammad Ghufran13-Aug-03 3:14
memberMuhammad Ghufran13-Aug-03 3:14 
GeneralRe: Very Bad Pin
A. Riazi15-Aug-03 20:01
professionalA. Riazi15-Aug-03 20:01 
Generalmb Pin
mb06729-Apr-03 2:27
sussmb06729-Apr-03 2:27 
GeneralRe: mb Pin
A. Riazi29-Apr-03 10:26
professionalA. Riazi29-Apr-03 10:26 
GeneralAbout sclae problem Pin
Yang Yang12-Apr-03 5:20
memberYang Yang12-Apr-03 5:20 
GeneralRe: About sclae problem Pin
A. Riazi12-Apr-03 6:12
professionalA. Riazi12-Apr-03 6:12 
GeneralRe: About scale problem Pin
Anonymous9-Mar-04 6:32
memberAnonymous9-Mar-04 6:32 
Generalreturn to te default skin Pin
AOUA9-Apr-03 9:06
memberAOUA9-Apr-03 9:06 
GeneralRe: return to te default skin Pin
A. Riazi9-Apr-03 10:06
professionalA. Riazi9-Apr-03 10:06 
QuestionArticle? Pin
Metaphor16-Mar-03 8:29
memberMetaphor16-Mar-03 8:29 
AnswerRe: Article? Pin
A. Riazi16-Mar-03 8:42
professionalA. Riazi16-Mar-03 8:42 

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