Customize your Vista Desktop

Jun 1, 2008
Updated • Nov 13, 2017
Internet, Windows Vista

You can do a lot more than simply changing your background and Screensaver in Windows Vista. Unfortunately you'll need some 3rd party applications to do it. Microsoft decided nearly a decade ago that to protect its brand's image and avoid issues with custom themes applied to Windows, all Windows themes must be signed by Microsoft.

Since then all of 9 themes have been given the official signature; Luna, Silver, Olive, Classic XP, Royale, Royale Noir , Zune (modified Royale Noir), Aero and Classic Vista.

It's not really a great selection and probably more the once you've wished you could give your desktop a nice new look. Luckily there is a way to get free 3rd party themes in Vista (and XP), although you'll need to patch your system using a free tool called Vista Glazz. Once you've downloaded it's as simple starting it up and pushing a button. You'll need a reboot and then you should be able to install new themes.

Update: VistaGlazz is no longer available. We have uploaded the latest release version to our own download server. Please note that we don't support it in any way, and that we have done so for archiving purposes only. You can download it with a click on the following link: Vista Glazz

For other changes you can use Vista Visual Master which is a great little application and can change icons, the boot screen and a number of other elements.

The best place to find Vista skins is of course on Deviant Art where you'll find just about everything graphic related, although it may take you some time to sift through it all to find something you like. Icons, themes, Screensavers, wallpapers, screenshots... it's all here.

For wallpaper images I suggest Social Wallpapering as maybe the best online resource for high resolution desktop images. It also has a voting system which is a good way to keep the standard of images high. Desktopography is a showcase of some of the greatest Photoshop artists and has an annual gallery, some of the images here are amazing, well worth checking out. You can find a few more at which also has some good archives of images.

For icons I would again recommend Deviant Art although you can get plenty more at VistaIcons, Jm Art Studio and this list of 50 places to get free icons.

If you know of any other good resources sound off in the comments below.

Article Name
Customize your Vista Desktop
Find out how to customize your Windows Vista desktop by installing new themes, icons, wallpapers, and other things.
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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

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