Installing Yahoo! Messenger Skins
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Thursday, 10 May 2007
Installing Yahoo! Messenger Skins

Install Problems
People tend to run into a variety problems with skin installation, quite often it's because they have a skin that has been made for v7 of Yahoo! Messenger but they are trying to get it to work on v8, or a v5.6 skin that won't work on v6-v8.1, often there is little that can be done to correct this issue as more often than not, substaintal editing and modification of the .xml file and graphics is required... and that takes oodles of time. You can read more about skin comptability across the versions of Yahoo! Messenger in our articles - Yahoo! Messenger Skin History and Yahoo! Messenger Skin Reference Table

By far the most common cause for skins not appearing in the skin selection list or in the Graphics folder, is incorrect directory placement e.g. the skin is unpacked (either manually or by self extracting file) to the wrong directory.

Install Path
Unless you're installing a Yahoo! Messenger version 5.6 skin, which are located at
C:\Program Files\Yahoo!\Messenger\skins\{skin name}
you will need to install / unpack all your skins (v6-v8.1) to
C:\Program Files\Yahoo!\Shared\Graphics\{skin name}

So for your v6, v7, v7.5, v8 and v8.1 skins to be available for access from within Yahoo! Messenger they MUST be installed to:
C:\Program Files\Yahoo!\Shared\Graphics\
and they MUST be in the correct, and their own, folder
C:\Program Files\Yahoo!\Shared\Graphics\{skin name}

with the later versions of Yahoo! Messenger (v6, v7, v7.5, v8 and v8.1) there is still a path to the previous skins directory C:\Program Files\Yahoo!\Messenger\skins\
but DO NOT install your new skins to this location, they must be in install / extracted to
C:\Program Files\Yahoo!\Shared\Graphics\{skin name}

Basically it all comes down to "paths" and how the skin file is unpacked / unzipped / extracted. A big player in the "it's all gone wrong!" installing scenario is how the skin package was actually compiled, this in part comes down to where you downloaded your Yahoo! Messenger Skin from.

Basic Manual Skin Install
Some skin sites will just provide a basic zipped file, which once uncompressed leaves you with one folder which is quite often the name of the skin itself e.g Purple
so all you need to do to install the skin is copy Purple
head to C:\Program Files\Yahoo!\Shared\Graphics\
now select Paste
at which point the path to your new skin will be
C:\Program Files\Yahoo!\Shared\Graphics\Purple\
and it will be available for quick selection from within Yahoo! Messenger.

Extract to C:\
Some sites will fully pack the skin in a single zip file but it will hold all folders for the full directory path which means 5 folders will be included and if you explore the main folder you will see:
first folder Program Files
inside that folder will be a Yahoo! folder
inside that folder a Shared folder
inside that Graphics folder
then lastly you will hit your {skin name} folder

in cases like this you will be asked to decompress/ extract the downloaded file to
C:\ drive
NOT to
C:\Program Files\Yahoo!\Shared\Graphics\{skin name}
by extracting to C:\ you are pretty much guaranteed a perfect skin installation.
If by chance you you do unpack to C:\Program Files\Yahoo!\Shared\Graphics\ you will end up with a right dogs breakfast as the path to the new skin will be
C:\Program Files\Yahoo!\Shared\Graphics\Program Files\Yahoo!\Shared\Graphics\{skin name}
which means your new skin wont be available from your skin selection list.
If this does happen,
simply cut the {skin name} folder
paste it to C:\Program Files\Yahoo!\Shared\Graphics\
then go back and delete C:\Program Files\Yahoo!\Shared\Graphics\Program Files

or if you are all confused about unpacking the skin to C:\ just unzip the file to your desktop, open up the folders until you can see the skin name folder, copy (right click) that folder, and paste it to
C:\Program Files\Yahoo!\Shared\Graphics\

NOTE: C:\ is a representation of your default Drive, if you have multiple hard drives or C:\ is not your default, then just select the correct drive letter for your specific setup.

Yahoo! has 4 additonal skins available for download (Celadon, Bronze, Pink and Gray / Orange) and these use the extract to C:\ method. Downloaded the Yahoo! Skin to your desktop, .zip file extension
if you have Winzip installed, double click the skin file, winzip will open, click on Extract
you will then be presented the following:

Clear the Extract To: path so that ONLY C:\ remains
if not already selected, enable Use Folder Names
now click on the Extract button
your new skin will now be installed perfectly to
C:\Program Files\Yahoo!\Shared\Graphics\{skin name}
and it will be readily available for selection from within Yahoo! Messenger.

NOTE: The 4 Yahoo! Messenger skins available from Yahoo's website work, well sort of. At the time of doing this article their skins are are compatible with v6, v7, v7.5 but they start to fall apart with v8 of Yahoo! Messenger and you will notice some large quirks (IM toolbar is missing the Plugins icon, Call button is missing the right hand graphic) and there is also a few minor issues, we have detailed these in our article Yahoo! Messenger Pink .xml file which will take you through what's actually not working with the Pink, Celadon, Bronze and Gray / Orange skins and how to correct it.

Direct Install Approach
Other sites, take the direct approach where you download an .exe file (rather than a .zip file) that not only contains the Skin folder, files and images but it also unpacks to the correct direct path with little or no user input required.

All of our skin files that we have available for download are these such files, some will unpack directly and some will let you tweak the colours just before installing as they have been constructed with SkinMakerPlus), but whatever file you download and regardless of the method used (direct install or tweak) it's a very quick and painless exercise in skin installation.

A wee heads up...
During our research for this article we came across quite a few skin download sites that provide free skins for Yahoo! Messenger, but you need to install "their" program first, granting it full access to display advertising and / or collect data from you, all before you actually get to install the skin they are offering... if you opt to download skins from an unknown source or one that doesn't quite look or feel right, take your time during the install process and please READ CAREFULLY every screen that is displayed... don't just click click click always practice safe clicking ;) e.g read, click, read, click, read, click etc.

Using the New Skin
Once your skin has been installed
login to Yahoo! Messenger
click on Messenger
select Change Skin
from the Change Skin window that appears
click on the down arrow to the right of the Skin selection menu
locate your skin in the list
click OK
all done :)

or you can change your skin via
Messenger > Preferences > Appearance > Change Skin


- Yahoo! Messenger Skins
- Installing Yahoo! Messenger Skins
- Making Yahoo! Messenger Skins <--Next
- Skin Making Hints, Tips and Tricks
- Skin Problems & Issues with Yahoo! Messenger
- Yahoo! Messenger Skin History
- Yahoo! Messenger Skin Reference Table
- Yahoo! Messenger v8 .xml file
- Yahoo! Messenger Pink .xml file
- Our Yahoo! Messenger Skins (Downloads)

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 29 May 2007 )