Theme Tab Missing – Display Properties

Windows XP Theme tab is missing from the Display Properties. The most likely cause of this is malware utilizing Group Policy Objects which enforces policies for system settings and/or user account(s) settings. The Group Policy for Remove Theme option will cause the Theme tab to be removed from Display Properties when enabled.

Group Policies are typically applied at businesses to control access to programs, system properties, and user account settings. For Home users, Theme tab can be removed these Group Policies but usually malware is the culprit. If you are a home user and the Theme tab is missing from the Display Properties and looks like the pictures below then there is a good chance you are infected with malware.

NOTE

Ensure your computer is malware free before applying the following solutions.

CAUTION

Before making any changes to the Windows XP Registry, please backup your Windows XP Registry using the direction from "Using ERUNT to back up the Windows XP Registry".

Manual Steps Using Group Policy Editor

NOTE

The Group Policy Editor requires Administrative privileges and is only available for Windows XP Professional Edition. Windows XP Home users can use the Windows XP Registry method to remove the Group Policy restriction.

  1. Click Start and then Run.
  2. Type gpedit.msc in the Run dialog box.
  3. Press ENTER on your keyboard.
  4. In the Group Policy Editor navigate to:

    User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Control Panel > Display > Desktop Themes

  5. Double-click Remove Theme option.
  6. Select Not Configured.

NOTE

If the Theme tab is missing on a per User account basis then the above method will not work, you will need to use the Registry Editor to remove the Group Policy.

Manual Steps Using Windows XP Registry

  1. Click Start and then Run.
  2. Type regedit.exe in the Run dialog box.
  3. Press ENTER on your keyboard.
  4. Navigate to:

    HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer

  5. Right-click NoThemesTab to select Modify.
  6. Change the value to 0.
  7. Navigate to:

    HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer

  8. Right-click NoThemesTab to select Modify.
  9. Change the value to 0.
  10. Quit the Registry Editor (Regedit.exe).

NOTE

You may need to log off then log on to your user account or restart your computer for the changes to take affect.

Manual Steps Using REG ADD

  1. Open a Command Window.
  2. Type:

    REG ADD "HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer" /v NoThemesTab /t REG_DWORD /d 0

  3. Press ENTER on your keyboard.
  4. Type:

    REG ADD "HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer" /v NoThemesTab /t REG_DWORD /d 0

  5. Press ENTER on your keyboard.
  6. Type EXIT and press ENTER on your keyboard.

NOTE

You may need to log off then log on to your user account or restart your computer for the changes to take affect.

Automated Fix Using an Registration File

  1. Download ThmTb.Show.reg to a folder on your hard drive.
  2. Right-click ThmTb.Show.reg to select Merge.
  3. Now the registration entries are added for you.

NOTES

The ThmTb.Show.reg file is from my web server (http://lprf.homeserver.com).  You also can view the contents of the ThmTb.Show.reg file by right-clicking the file and selecting Edit. You may need to log off then log on to your user account or restart your computer for the changes to take affect.

Platforms Tested

  • Microsoft Windows XP Editions
Related Articles

Version 2.1
Edited: May 8, 2012

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6 Responses to Theme Tab Missing – Display Properties

  1. Arnold says:

    I had only the themes window or tab. I used an upgrade windows xp sp2 cd with no previous windows on the HD although I did have the earlier win 98 cd. Anyway I have Win XP Professional SP3 installed. After I did the automated fixes trying to get the rest of the tabs to show in the Display Properties dialog window, logged off-on, restart and still only see the Themes of the Display Properties dialog window > no tab labled Themes. Check the regedit to see in the fixes were there and they are. Any solutions or suggestions?

    • Hi Arnold, can you check these registry locations?

      HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Policies\
      and
      HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Policies\
      and
      HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System
      and
      HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System

  2. Pingback: Appearance and Themes Tab Missing – Display Properties « BillJr's Space

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