Windows Themes

If you are tired of looking at the same blue “Windows 10” desktop background, or just fancy a change on your screen then have a look at “Windows Themes”. They’re free and only take a few minutes to download and setup.

What Are Windows Themes ?

A Windows Theme is a visual design that primarily changes the background image (or “wallpaper”) on your Windows desktop but which may also change the icons, mouse pointer, and any highlight colours used for menus.

Most Themes include a set of high quality background images, which can be set to cycle automatically so that a new image is displayed at a period set by you. Typically, this period can be every 1 minute, or every 10 minutes and so on.

You can download Windows Themes from the Microsoft Store. Some “premium” Themes must be purchased, but many Themes are available free of charge.

Downloading Windows Themes

To download a Theme, you must first open the Microsoft Store app. You may have a shortcut on your desktop for this or you can open it by clicking on the Windows tile icon at the bottom left corner then scrolling down through the alphabetical apps list –

Select “Microsoft Store” from the alphabetical apps list

Click on Microsoft Store to open the app, then at the top right of the app you will see a search bar. Enter  windows themes  into the search bar

Enter “windows themes” into the search bar

In the search results, look for Apps then click on the Show all link

Click on the blue “Show all” option

This will set the Department of the Microsoft store to Apps.

In the Category box , select Personalization to display all of the available Windows Themes that can be used to personalise your Windows desktop.

Select “Personalization” as the Category

Now browse through the results looking for a Theme that takes your interest. You will see the cost of each Theme displayed below the image. Click on a Theme for more information about the content.

Information displayed about a particular Theme – note the blue “Get” button

When you find a Theme that interests you, click on it then click on the blue Get button below the Theme description. You may be asked if you wish to sign in with a Microsoft Account to download the Theme. This is NOT necessary so you can decline signing in.

There will be a short delay after you click on Get before the download begins.

The Theme will automatically download to the correct location in Windows. You can download several Themes at the same time and apply them later, as detailed next.

Applying A Windows Theme

To apply a previously downloaded theme, move the cursor to an empty area on your desktop and RIGHT-click the mouse. From the popup menu that appears, select Personalise

RIGHT-click on the desktop then select “Personalise”

In the right-hand menu, click on the Themes option to display the available Themes –

Select “Themes” from the menu at the right

You will now see the pre-loaded Windows Themes, along with any Themes you have downloaded yourself previously.

Available Themes shown

Click on a Theme to activate and apply it to your desktop.

To set the rate at which the Theme pictures change, go back to the Background option in the right menu and click on the Change picture every option. Here you can choose the rate at which the pictures will change.

Selecting the rate at which the images change

There are further options here too. The Choose a fit option selects how an image is sized to fit your screen (and you can use the Span option to fit the image across two screens, although this only works effectively with “panoramic” image sizes).

You can also Shuffle the images randomly, or have them change in the same sequence every time.

Using Your Own Images for a Theme

You can, of course, use your own images and photos to create a Windows Theme, in which the images are used to fill the desktop background and cycle through automatically.

To do this, first copy the images you wish for your Theme into a separate folder. This will allow you to select the best images and have some control over the Theme. You can add to this folder over time. Choose images that have the correct aspect ratio to fill the screen (e.g. landscape orientation is better than portrait, and higher resolution images will work better).

Now RIGHT-click on an empty part of the desktop and select Personalise, as before.

In the Background screen, ensure that Background is set to Slideshow, then click on the Browse button. Now browse to and select the folder in which your images are stored.

Choose the Change picture time and Choose a fit and you are ready to go.

You can change back to a downloaded Theme at any time as described above.

Customising a Theme

Once a Theme has been applied you can customise that Theme to your own tastes. You may find, for example, that you don’t like the highlight colour used by the theme. This can be changed once the theme has been applied.

Now RIGHT-click on an empty part of the desktop and select Personalise, as before.

Now select Colours from the right hand menu and experiment with “light” and “dark” modes and with different colour combinations. The Accent Colour in particular has a significant effect on how a theme appears so you can change this to suit.

To restore the original colour scheme that comes with a Theme, simply select Themes from the right hand menu then select the original theme again.