Tutorial: Replacing system files to install your Windows 8 shell themes

Installing Windows 8 themes requires you to replace system files, here’s how you would do that in Windows 8

replacing windows system files


Sometimes you may see that Windows is not running properly because one or more system files (like autochk.exe, msscntrs.dll, msdtcprx.dll etc.) got corrupted. In that situation to avoid fresh installation of windows corrupted system files need to be replaced.

Not only that, to use some custom themes or to change the default Start Orb you need to change explorer.exe, shell32.dll etc. files, which are also system files. So, it is very important to know how to replace system files before doing all these stuffs.

Creating Back up

Before starting with the following process, make sure that:-

A. System Image back up has been taken.

B. A set of bootable recovery media has been created.

Steps to replace system files in windows 8

The whole process can be divided in two main steps:-

A. Taking ownership of system files.

B. Changing the name of original system files and copying new file in exact location.

What is Ownership?

Ownership of a file means permission of owner of that file. In an Operating system, during some file operation, you may get an error message “Access Denied” and one of the reason behind this error message is that you are not the owner of that file or folder. So you don’t have the permission for that operation. In that case you have to take the ownership of that file.

Follow the instructions below to replace system files in Windows 8.

1. Download the file Take Ownership.zip from here.

2. Extract the file .You will get 2 registry editor file in that folder. One is Install Take Ownership and another one isUninstall Take Ownership .

 Take Ownership Folder

3. Double click on the fileInstall take Ownership to install it. First it will ask your permission for running it.

Confirm to run

Then registry editor will ask you to continue.

Confirm Regedit

After editing registry it will show you the success message.

Done Regedit

4. Now navigate to the system file which you want to replace (here taking shell32.dll as an example). Right click on shell32.dll system file and choose Take Ownership option. UAC dialog box will appear click on Yes.

 Compatibility during Installation

5. Now change the name of shell32.dll file to shell32.dll.old (or anything you want). Now, there will be no problem in changing the name of the file. Do not delete this file.

You may change this file name again to its default to get back in previous situation. So renaming the system file is always a preferable choice over deleting the file permanently. Now copy the new shell32.dll file in the exactly same directory.

You are done. You have successfully changed shell32.dll system file. Now, follow the same steps to replace other system files. If you want to get back the old system files in action by reverting the process.

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