I used the "patched" method for themes and seen the "classic" switch after a reboot. Did you install SP2? SP2 doesn't like the uxtheme patch.
I use Starskin(20 bucks)and it works GREAT. Once you get your themes working look for the Sentinel theme/visual style.
I downloaded and tried several programs (from download.com) that enable you to use third party themes in XP, but most seemed to be buggy...everything from distorted buttons to a few viruses/trojans. I did find a couple that worked, but I heard that you can do the same thing manually for free without using any additional system resources.
I found and downloaded "Multi-Patcher" from Neowin/DesktopX (who I assume is legit), but during setup, an error occurred stating that "NT setup files" were found on my hard drive, and so the program could not continue. HP stores a backup of the system files on a separate partition, which is then used to create the System restore disks, so I'm assuming this is the culprit, but am still confused as to why it couldn't continue.
Following that, I renamed the old "uxtheme.dll" file "uxtheme.bak" and the "uxtheme.dl_" file "_uxtheme.dl_" as backups. I used the program "Replacer" to replace the old file with a "patched uxtheme.dll" file, and restarted my computer. (Instructions from Neowin) Windows allowed me to use any theme/visual style I wanted, and everything worked.
However, after a restart, Windows automatically switches to the "Classic Windows" mode, requiring me to switch themes each time I start my computer. It even happens if I use the standard Windows Luna theme. I would like to know if I did something wrong or if the method is simply flawed, and if there is a way to fix this. I have the original uxtheme.dll files backed-up, so I can still return my computer to normal, but I'd prefer not to do that.
Thank you in advance,