Microsoft changed how themes are handled in the company's Windows 7 operating system. While core system files are still protected from manipulation in the operating system, the overall theme management options and creation has been improved by Microsoft.
It is for instance possible now to save and load basic themes which opens up several new possibilities. You can share themes with friends and family, or even the Internet, or install the saved theme on other Windows 7 machines that you work on to get the same color scheme, wallpapers and other customizations they allow on all devices you work on.
Another benefit of the new feature is that Microsoft publishes themes for the Windows 7 operating system regularly as well.
The Windows 7
Personalization Gallery Desktop Themes page over on the Microsoft website offers download links to dozen of themes from country specific themes to sponsored themes.
Please note that these themes are offered for newer versions of Windows, including Windows 8 and 10, as well.
Themes offered on the site may be downloaded to the local system. All that is left to do to install the theme is to double-click on the downloaded .themepack file to do so. The theme is activated right away when you execute it, and the themes personalization control panel page / Settings page is opened so that you may customize it further.
All Windows 7 user can create basic themes with custom wallpapers, sounds, mouse pointers or desktop icons.
While that is really easy to do, themes created this way are limited. It is for instance not possible to replace icons, fonts or other Windows user interface elements using basic themes.
Note: as soon as you change a desktop background, the window color, sounds, or screen saver on Windows 7, a new custom theme is created.
The new capabilities make it easy to create a custom basic theme, for instance by using digital camera photos that you captured during the last family vacation. Simply pick the photos, select a color scheme, and you are all set. Windows 7 supports slideshows for desktop backgrounds, so that photos are changed automatically based on the selected time interval.
Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system supports full themes as well. The two core differences between basic and full themes are the following ones:
You need to use a themes patcher first before you can install custom full themes on Windows 7 (or any other version of Windows). We recommend UxStyle, as it patches the files in memory, but leaves them as they are on the disk.
A good place to find themes for Windows 7 is the Deviant Art website. We recommend that you read the instructions carefully, as some themes may add other features to the operating system. Some themes come with installers that do all the heavy lifting for you, others require that you run two, three or even more installers to install the full theme on the Windows 7 machine.
It is recommended that you create a backup of the operating system before you install full themes on the computer.
On a personal note: I'm pretty happy with the default themes that are provided with the operating system, and have not yet felt the need to search for third party themes.
What about you? Have you customized your theme in Windows 7?
Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.
We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats (video ads) or subscription fees.
If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.