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: (Download Removed)

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.

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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. Dillza said on August 21, 2009 at 9:45 am

    How do u become a hacker

  2. Kelvin Servigon said on June 26, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    thanks for sharing! :D

  3. Josh said on June 2, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    Yes, a lot of the are crap that’s true… but you will find a few decent ones , it’s just takes some time :P

    But yes, often its so subjective what appeals to one person someone else will hate. I think Microsoft did well to get a theme most people really like.

  4. Asgaro said on June 2, 2008 at 12:51 pm


    Except this one:

    (Unfortunately it still isn’t bugfree and it costs 5 bucks)

  5. darkkosmos said on June 1, 2008 at 6:36 pm

    The only problem with skins is that aero looks better than all of them

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