Before you can use OTS compliant LiteStep themes, you will need to:

  1. install LiteStep
  2. configure Windows to use LiteStep as a shell
  3. install OTS configuration files

Performing these tasks manually can be a chore for experienced users, and an impossibility for inexperienced ones. A sophisticated LiteStep Installer that takes the difficulty out of the process is available though, and is the recommended means of installing LiteStep when one wishes to use OTS compliant LiteStep themes.

Please note that since modules are no longer packaged with themes but downloaded via NetLoadModule as needed, an internet connection may be needed when installing a theme.

automatic installation

Users of the LiteStep Installer are provided with the ability to automatically install themes with the included LiteStep Theme Installer (LSTI).

If you chose the appropriate installation options (a default installation sets up everything required) all you have to do is double click on a theme file to install it.

LSTI is a full featured theme installer and switcher, supporting installation of wallpaper, fonts, windowblinds, winamp2, and winamp3 skins, and popup-based theme switching. Please see 'LSThemeInstaller.txt' (located in the 'utilities' folder of the installation directory, and accessible via the popup menu: 'litestep→utilities→LSThemeInstaller.txt') for further details.

You are encouraged to try your hand at manual installation in order to gain some familiarity with LiteStep .rc file editing.

manual installation

Whereas installing LiteStep itself manually is not really recommended, installing themes manually is. Installing a theme is not that complicated, and it is hoped that the theme installation process will, over time, provide end-users with some insight into how their LiteStep installation functions.

Anyone who is serious about using LiteStep as a shell will need to gain familiarity with editing LiteStep's .rc text files and an understanding of their purpose. Installing themes by hand is a good way to gain some knowledge in this area.

  1. launch file manager
    Open a file manager window, and keep it open until you have successfully installed and switched to the new theme. Should something go wrong, you can use the file manager to do anything; launch your text editor, edit themeselect.rc and revert to a working theme, kill and then launch a new instance of LiteStep, etc. Users of the LiteStep Installer have a 'Switch to default theme' shortcut in their LiteStep directory that can be used to revert to the default theme.

  2. un-archive the theme
    Unzip the theme archive ('.lsz' files are simply renamed '.zip' files) to your 'themes' directory with path information.

    NOTE: The 'themes' directory is located at:
    Win9x - X:\LiteStep\themes\
    WinNT - X:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\LiteStep\themes (or whatever location was chosen during LiteStep installation)

    The un-archived theme should now be in a 'theme-X' subdirectory of the 'themes' folder. (The actual name of the theme's subdirectory will of course be related to the name of the theme, 'theme-X' is merely used for illustrative purposes.)

  3. check OTS version
    Verify that the theme adheres to the same version of the OTS as identified in your personal config files.
    Browse to your 'personal' directory and open personal.rc (it's a plain text file, as are all LiteStep .rc files).

    NOTE: The 'personal' directory is located at:
    Win9x - X:\LiteStep\personal\
    WinNT - X:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\LiteStep\personal (or whatever location was chosen during LiteStep installation)

    Browse to the 'theme-X' directory and open theme.rc.

    Compare $OTSCfgMajorVersion$ and $OTSCfgMinorVersion$ from personal.rc with $OTSMajorVersion$ and $OTSMinorVersion$ from theme.rc, respectively.

    If the evars match, then you may proceed. If they do not match or there is no theme.rc, the theme cannot be installed.

  4. customize theme options according to system and/or personal preference
    Browse to the '...\theme-X\config\' directory in your file manager.
    If themevars.rc exists, open it and edit it as required.

  5. instruct LiteStep to load the theme
    Browse to the 'themes' directory in your file manager.
    Edit themeselect.rc so that it contains only the following line:

    ThemeDir "$ThemesDir$theme-X\"

  6. recycle LiteStep
    If all the modules required by theme are already present on your system, the theme will now be loaded, and installation is complete. Otherwise, an additional step is required.

  7. download modules
    NetLoadModule will automatically download any modules required by theme that are not already installed, then the theme will be loaded. All thanks to the genius of one RabidCow. (The developer of NetLoadModule for those of you who don't know. ;)

using old themes

ATTENTION: The following information is for users only, not theme authors. Themers should follow the appropriate procedure to update old themes, and should no longer be developing OTS1 compliant LiteStep themes.

If you wish to use older, OTS1-compliant LiteStep themes, you need to download the latest release of the LiteStep Installer. When you install, make sure that you've selected the 'backwards compatibility' option (it's selected for you by default).

Once the installation is complete and LiteStep is running, there are two options for installing your old themes:

  1. rename the theme's archive to end in '.lsz', and then double-click the '.lsz' file to install
  2. use the included LiteStep Theme Installer to install from the original '.zip' file of the theme

That's all there is to it! :)