Update: Development of the program has been stopped. Since it relies on a working server to pull the latest themes from, it is not working properly anymore. We have removed all links pointing to the program as a consequence. There does not appear to be a comparable application available at this point in time.
The change in theme handling under Windows 7 has made it a lot easier to install themes for the operating system. All that is needed now is to double-click on a themes file to install and activate it.
While that's only changing the basic color scheme, backgrounds and sounds, it is easier and faster than previously. Plus, Microsoft is really making an effort to push out themes and backgrounds regularly for Windows 7 users to download and enable on their systems.
But users do not only get themes from the official Windows 7 Personalization site, they can create and distribute themes as well if they like. Sites like Windows 7 News have a large themes repository that offers official and custom themes for download.
Still, if you go down that route, you are working with individual themes only. The Windows 7 Theme manager changes this by offering a tool to browser, download and manage themes in its interface.
The program pulls the latest theme information from the Internet whenever it is started. Themes are displayed in groups on the left side. Available for selection are for instance TV Series, Celebrities, Animals, Cars or Games.
A click on a group opens the available themes on the right side in preview mode. Each theme is listed with its name and a preview image. A click on a theme in the list downloads it to the computer where it is opened with the default program, usually the theme engine. The selected theme is directly installed in this case. There is no other option to download themes without installation at this point in time, which also means that you can only select one theme for installation which will block the application window until it is installed on the system.
All installed themes are displayed in the program interface and the default Windows personalization control panel. Themes can be deleted from the program, but it is not possible to switch between downloaded themes there directly. Users need to open the Personalization menu of Windows to do that.
Regardless of those limitations, it is fair to say that Windows 7 Theme Manager offers an alternative to Microsoft's Personalization gallery on the Internet. Then again, the limitations mean that it is as easy to download and install themes from the Internet than it is using the software, provided that you know where to find themes for Windows 7.
Interested users can download the Windows 7 Theme Manager from the Deviant Art page of the developer. The program is compatible with 32-bit and 64-bit editions of Windows 7.
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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.