I) for changing windows xp visual style:
1)download uxpatcher (search on google version 5.5 or later);
2) apply uxpatcher and follow the instructions;
3) copy your .msstyle file and the folder (the folder must have the same name as the .msstyle file) to "c:/windows/resources/themes";
4) right click on desktop and after go to properties to appearance tab and from there scroll down or up "windows and buttons" option and apply you new theme;
5) search deviantart www.deviantart.com for new themes.
II) for changing explorer toolbar:
1)download the program named styler from cristalxp www.crystalp.net and install it;
2) open my computer window and right click on the toolbar. from there you deactivate standard buttons,address bar, links and let active just the styler toolbar;
3) the new skins are in (if you installed the program on drive c), "Crogram FilesStylerTBskinsStyler's";
4) you can change the toolbar from the styler tray icon, or even your windows xp visual style from there (much easier)
5) for more skins look on deviantart www.devianart.com.
III) for changing windows icons:
1) download and install icontweaker [link];
2) start the program and go to the "it themes" tab, double click on one of the themes installed there and then apply it. if you don't like the theme right click on it and delete it.
3) for changing the optical drive icons you must do it manually from the "change individual drive icon" on tools menu from icontweaker.
4) you can find more themes on this link shamka.deviantart.com/ .
nota bene: all the programs presented here are freeware so you can use them without bullshiting you windows with cracks and shmakcs and other dirty things; some of the icontweaker themes contain cursors to (mine not), but if you're not satisfied with them then search for them on deviantart www.deviantart.com that you can install by unzipping them, right click on install.inf found in the folder and then click on install, and then go to mouse properties from control panel pointers tab choose the new cursor theme and hit apply.