.psf files, and the software that can edit them



  • I’ve been editing the look and feel of my OS since I got my first copy of 98, still am with XP Pro. I decided early this week I wanted to make something more, and went looking at what other people had done. I was amazed that so much could be changed, and so artfully in some cases.

    In one of the many tutorials I read, the author talked a bit about the classic Colony skin by Mike Bryant. I went to look for a copy of it, and grabbed it. I’d already downloaded Skin Studio, and had been playing with it, and of course, for that to work, I also had to have WindowBlinds. So far, so good, I thought.

    Well, it turns out that Colony is a .psf file which needs yet another software package to open and install it. So, I downloaded PowerArchiver, and indeed the .psf file did open. I still couldn’t install it on the whole OS, only on PA. That confused me because I read on a PA tute that touted the achievements of WB, SS, and Theme Manager, the latter of which I didn’t have yet, as though they could all work together along with the PS CS3 I already own.

    So, I have a bunch of questions, the first being, is there a tute that will teach me how these software packages relate, specifically 1. how I can see Colony applied to all of my apps, not just PA and 2. how can I open that .psf file using SS? :eek: I’m kinda stuck, and don’t know where to look for answers at this point. If you can give me some directions or links to tutorials, I’d be much obliged.



  • I think you have confused an O.S. skin with a PA skin.
    .psf is a PowerArchiver skin file format see http://www.powerarchiver.com/skins/create.html

    I don’t believe it has anything to do with O.S. skin (or WindowBlinds).


  • conexware

    You will find WB skin inside PSF file, so extract it and use it in WB?



  • Thanks to both of you for having taken the time to respond. Really!

    @TBGBe I bet you’re right, that I am confused. But the page you sent me to, one that I have open in a tab already, is likely the source of my confusion. Near the top of the page:

    1. DirectSkin skin file (.uis)

    PowerArchiver uses Stardock’s DirectSkin engine to modify the look and feel of PowerArchiver’s Windows controls, such as buttons, borders, tabs, scrollbars and more. PowerArchiver can be completely skinned using a UIS skin.

    These skins are same as those in Stradock’s popular WindowBlinds application, and WindowBlinds skins can be used in PowerArchiver as well. You can use Stardock’s excellent SkinStudio to create skins.

    Just above that, it says:

    A PSF file may contain several items:

    DirectSkin skin file (.uis)
    toolbar.bmp <- mandatory name
    .ICO icon files
    settings.ini <- mandatory name

    I used WinZip to look inside Colony.psf, and copied it’s contents to a folder. There’s no .uis file, toolbar.bmp (but there is a ToolLeft.bmp and a ToolRight.bmp), no .ICO files, nor settings.ini file. Did I download an incomplete skin? It’s at least partially working, or maybe it’s doing exactly what it’s supposed to when it only skins PA, but no other apps are affected by it. Am I expecting it to do something it’s not intended to do?

    @spwolf I also searched that folder for “wb”, and turned up no results for that, either.

    I’m going to go look for another copy of Colony.psf, and if I can find one, will look at it’s contents, too. I’ll post here immediately as soon as I find a more complete .psf file. What should I do next if what I have is all I can get?


  • conexware

    You need to extract the skin and then use Windows Blinds to open it, not PA, if you want it to be used by complete Windows. PowerArchiver will obviously skin only our own Window.



  • Excellent response, spwolf; thanks so much.

    In one of my posts above, I said that I had extracted the .psf file with WinZip to another folder. At another point, I said that certain files or file extensions couldn’t be found in that folder. Well, by extracting that same file with PA as you suggested, I got the list of it’s contents in the left screen of PA.

    In case anyone else reads this who is having the same trouble, there is a tutorial at PowerAchiever > Help > Brief Tutorial > Getting Started > Brief Tutorial > Extracting Files From an Archive. It demonstrates 3 ways of extracting the file. None of those worked for me. I got 2 little dialogs instead, asking me if I wanted to install, the second if I wanted to use the skin. For each of them, I pressed yes (which skinned only my PA as spwolf said would be the case). I tried right clicking on the file in Explorer, and clicking “Open”. That did it. And some of the files mentioned in a previous post were listed here.

    I haven’t figured out what to do, or where to go after I make a whole bunch of new bitmaps for my new skin. That’ll take a good while, I’m thinking. If someone hasn’t answered how to get my files converted into a format that SkinStudio and/or WindowBlinds can use, I’ll come back and do it. I just haven’t been able to find these kinds of details anywhere, and I’m hoping they help someone else.


  • conexware

    You should have just pressed No when it asked you to install Skin, it would have opened archive instead.



  • @Mally:

    Thanks to both of you for having taken the time to respond. Really!

    @TBGBe I bet you’re right, that I am confused. But the page you sent me to, one that I have open in a tab already, is likely the source of my confusion. Near the top of the page:

    1. DirectSkin skin file (.uis)

    PowerArchiver uses Stardock’s DirectSkin engine to modify the look and feel of PowerArchiver’s Windows controls, such as buttons, borders, tabs, scrollbars and more. PowerArchiver can be completely skinned using a UIS skin.

    These skins are same as those in Stradock’s popular WindowBlinds application, and WindowBlinds skins can be used in PowerArchiver as well. You can use Stardock’s excellent SkinStudio to create skins.

    Just above that, it says:

    A PSF file may contain several items:

    DirectSkin skin file (.uis)
    toolbar.bmp <- mandatory name
    .ICO icon files
    settings.ini <- mandatory name

    I used WinZip to look inside Colony.psf, and copied it’s contents to a folder. There’s no .uis file, toolbar.bmp (but there is a ToolLeft.bmp and a ToolRight.bmp), no .ICO files, nor settings.ini file. Did I download an incomplete skin? It’s at least partially working, or maybe it’s doing exactly what it’s supposed to when it only skins PA, but no other apps are affected by it. Am I expecting it to do something it’s not intended to do?

    @spwolf I also searched that folder for “wb”, and turned up no results for that, either.

    I’m going to go look for another copy of Colony.psf, and if I can find one, will look at it’s contents, too. I’ll post here immediately as soon as I find a more complete .psf file. What should I do next if what I have is all I can get?

    I just checked http://www.powerarchiver.com/skins/download.php/15/Colony.psf

    I found
    DirectSkin skin file (.uis)
    settings.ini

    There is also
    Colony.uis_Toolbars.WB4
    Colony.uis_ToolBarBackground.WB4
    toolbar_bg.bmp
    toolbutton.tga
    (No ToolLeft or ToolRight)

    A lot of other uis and .WB4 files - I guess these are for Windows Blind?
    But no .ICO icon files!?

    Not sure if that is helpful though.


  • conexware

    some skins do not have icons or settings.ini but all have Windows Blind files.


 

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