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  1. #1
    Customizing/Theming OS X - Things to Note
    vansmith's Avatar
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    Customizing/Theming OS X - Things to Note
    Recently, I've noticed an influx (see here, here and here for example) of threads in which individuals ask for help fixing issues brought about by the use of customization apps. These apps, designed to modify parts of OS X, replace or alter components of the operating system to facilitate theming or tweaking. Inherent in such a process is the risk that such changes will cause drastic damage. This is why I want to suggest that those warranty clauses that are a staple of every EULA take on greater meaning with these apps (if you don't know what I mean, take a look at section 7 of the OS X EULA here for an example).

    Somethings to consider if you decide to continue with the customization process:

    1. Weigh the possible risks with the benefits. Do a search of the forums for your chosen app before you begin to get a sense of how problematic it may be. After you've done that, ask yourself whether or not it's worth the risk. If you're unsure, start a thread.
    2. If you've decided to continue, make a Time Machine backup before you begin (or a backup with whatever tool you prefer). Doing this will keep your data safe in case the worst happens. Second, keep the original package that you downloaded handy. These applications generally have an uninstaller and 90% of the time, it will be included with the download. If it is not included, search the forums for help uninstalling it and the product's website for an uninstaller. Do these searches before you begin the process!
    3. Do not, and I can't emphasize this enough (so underlining will have to do!), simply delete the application by dragging it to the Trash if it was installed through an installer. OS X isn't smart enough to realize that once an application is uninstalled, all changes made by it should be undone. If you uninstall a customization app without reverting the changes properly, you'll find yourself frantically writing a "help me!" post.
    4. If, at any time, you find yourself uncertain about how to proceed at any step in the process (whether this be installation or uninstallation), start a thread asking for advice. You'll be thanking yourself later.

    Also note Stretch's advice below about version numbers - this is something important to note if you decide to customize your OS X installation.
    Last edited by vansmith; 05-15-2012 at 01:41 PM.
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  2. #2
    Customizing/Theming OS X - Things to Note
    Stretch's Avatar
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    Van, you should sticky this!

    I have a few things to add about themeing OS X for those of you that are interested in doing it.

    Since 10.5 there had been no easy way to theme. When you install a theme on 10.5 or newer, you are overwriting system files with the new image files. Since there have been plenty of changes between 10.x versions, heck, even between 10.x.x there have been some changes, if the theme isn't for the EXACT OS version you are running you run a very high change of destroying your system installation.

    When you install a theme, it goes and searches for files and overwrites them. If they aren't there, it will install them anyways. And especially if the file it is replacing does something else now, it will replace that too. So as you can see, it is pretty easy to screw up your OS with themes.

    If you do want to try them, make sure you have a fresh back up of your computer. Not a Time Machine backup, but a bootable clone of the hard drive. That way if your computer does get hosed you can easily revert to the backup.
    Last edited by Stretch; 05-15-2012 at 01:37 PM. Reason: Added info
    Blog and Photo Gallery: http://philolin.me/

    Currently running OS X 10.10

  3. #3
    Customizing/Theming OS X - Things to Note
    vansmith's Avatar
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    Good call. I though about doing that but got sidetracked by a few other things.
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  4. #4
    Customizing/Theming OS X - Things to Note
    Deckyon's Avatar
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    You may want to add a point of mentioning this is a perfect time to invest in a Time Machine drive and perform a backup prior to making any changes regarding the installation of any "Theme" applications.
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  5. #5
    Customizing/Theming OS X - Things to Note
    vansmith's Avatar
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    Good point. Added.
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  6. #6
    Customizing/Theming OS X - Things to Note
    Stretch's Avatar
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    Van, I added some info in my original reply to this thread you may want to add to yours.
    Blog and Photo Gallery: http://philolin.me/

    Currently running OS X 10.10

  7. #7
    Customizing/Theming OS X - Things to Note
    vansmith's Avatar
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    You're right below it - that should be fine with the reference I made.
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  8. #8
    Customizing/Theming OS X - Things to Note
    kisstheskykneel's Avatar
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    Question I have no idea what a theme is
    I have no idea what a theme is, could you help me out and name one. For example if I use google chrome and customize it, that's a theme. Surely you are not speaking of this. I hate to be so stupid but I am, plus and I'm not a programmer or anything to do with computers. I love them, don't get me wrong, but I'm self taught user. When I want to do anything new like rebuilding my system after a hard drive crash, I typically go to the Apple discussions for help. I've just recently joined here after finding y'all in a search.
    Thank you.
    Blessings,
    d

  9. #9
    Customizing/Theming OS X - Things to Note
    harryb2448's Avatar
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    Themes change the appearance of the operating system, amongst other things:-


    ML Pulse Theme For Mountain LION V2 by ~neodesktop on deviantART
    Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!

  10. #10
    Customizing/Theming OS X - Things to Note
    Slydude's Avatar
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    Nice hob guys. I've avoided theming since my earliest days with the Mac. At first because it drove my wife nuts. Later because it made taking screenshots for articles a problem because the look of the OS didn't match.

    I'll second Stretch's notion of using a bootable clone in these situations instead of a Time Machine backup. With a Time Machine backup your nice clean system files from before the customization, which you will want if you need to return things to normal, may be overwritten with the customized files if Time Machine identifies them as modified.
    Last edited by Slydude; 12-24-2012 at 10:25 PM.
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  11. #11
    Customizing/Theming OS X - Things to Note
    knightjp's Avatar
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    Those who like to customize and theme their operating systems, always point to Linux, BSDs and even Windows (to a point) as to their ability to be completely customizable. But has anyone noticed that most of the themes are trying to get those systems to look like MacOS? Just a thought.
    Once You've had Mac, you can't go back.... So very true.
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