Creating, Saving, Sharing Themes in Windows 7

When we posted the new "inbox" desktop backgrouns, the reactions showed just how personal, personalization can be.  Building on that theme of personalization (pun intended), we wanted to share some of the work we did on themes in Windows 7.  We’ve shared data about customization in previous releases of Windows and this post builds on that.  This is also an area where we know there is very broad spectrum of desires (needs) for personalization and we definitely had to balance the engineering and design efforts.  I’ve received mail from many folks wanting to personalize (tweak) nearly every pixel on the screen—from border width, to title bar transparency percentage, to height of taskbar, to color/size/location of the close button (I’ve received each of these in email more than once).  At the other end are customers who are enormously happy when they can easily change the background picture and color scheme, and many do.  With Windows 7 we picked a group of settings that we believe represent the most satisfying settings to broadly personalize, and would also provide the most robust platform that maintains application compatibility, and made those easy to change.  In addition we wanted to make it easy to package up those settings so you could save and share them.  We think of this as the start of bringing robust personalization (and customization) to a broader set of customers.  Katie Frigon, a program manager on the core user experience team, authored this post. 


PS: Things are "slowing" down as we have talked about in how we will get to the RTM milestone.  You might have noticed the announcement we made today in Asia regarding Windows 7 release and availability. Thank you to everyone who has been using the RC and helping to reach the next milestone.

Creating and Sharing Windows 7 Themes

In early builds, you may have noticed that Windows 7 includes a variety of themes that change your desktop background, window color and sounds with a single click. These themes are located in the Personalization Control Panel which is easily accessed from the desktop context menu.

Personalization Control Panel

Personalization Control Panel

Desktop Context Menu

Desktop Context Menu

In the RC, you can see a number of new themes, for example the “Architecture” theme. This theme is comprised of six architectural photos which cycle on the desktop background, a complementary “Twilight” window color and the “Cityscape” sound scheme which was inspired by the sounds of an urban jazz club.

Elements of themes in Windows 7

A theme is a coordinated set of Desktop Backgrounds, Window Colors and Sounds.

Windows provides a set of themes in box and if customers want more there is a prominent link in the Control Panel to get additional themes online. This link takes you to the Windows Online theme gallery where Microsoft provides additional content including a variety of international themes.

Personalization Control Panel: Get more theme online link

Personalization Control Panel: Get more theme online link

Creating a theme

While our customers enjoy the content we’ve provided both in the box and online we also know that they enjoy and desire the option to customize their PC’s even more than choosing a theme. Windows 7 continues to be about your PC reflecting you and what you do, as well as putting you in control of that experience. So, if you do want to go beyond the options in the box and on the web, it is easy to create and share your own themes. Creating your own theme can be as easy as just changing your desktop background image while keeping the rest of the settings the same or you can change all the settings one-by-one.

From our Beta Customer Experience Improvement Program data we see that customers are changing and creating themes. We also see many users changing the different settings, the most popular being desktop background:

Figure 1: Break out of theme type

Figure 1: Break out of theme type

Note: Only 15% of the beta users kept the default theme. 77% of the beta users created a custom theme by changing one or more elements of the inbox themes.

Figure 2: Percentage of Beta users selecting each theme component in a session

Figure 2: Percentage of Beta users selecting each theme component in a session

Note: 35% of beta users who opened the Personalization CPL clicked on “Desktop Background”.

Now let’s look at how you can change the different settings and save a custom theme. To start, you can change any of the theme settings by starting in the Personalization Control Panel.

Personalization Control Panel: Click on the items beneath the theme gallery to change your theme settings.

Personalization Control Panel: Click on the items beneath the theme gallery to change your theme settings.

Let’s start with the desktop background control panel. This control panel has been enhanced for Windows 7 to support the pictures library and the new desktop background slideshow capabilities. If you choose the “Pictures Library”, we will show all of the pictures in that library including subfolders. All you need to do is select more than one photo to have them cycle as your desktop background slideshow. In this example, I have selected some of my favorite photos from a recent trip to Hawaii to use as my desktop background.

Desktop Background Control Panel: Windows 7 adds support for libraries and desktop background slideshows. I’ve selected the pictures I want to use in my theme.

Desktop Background Control Panel: Windows 7 adds support for libraries and desktop
background slideshows. I’ve selected the pictures I want to use in my theme.

When personalizing your PC, you might want to go further than just changing your background. Changing your window color or sound scheme is simple, just click on the items beneath the themes gallery. We provide 16 window colors to choose from and the ability to pick a custom color as well. New to Windows 7, we include 14 sound schemes with the OS inspired by a variety of regional music traditions, so you have plenty to choose from. If that isn’t enough, you can include your own sounds if you want.

Windows Color and Appearance

Sound control panel

Window Color and Sound Control Panels: It is also easy to change your window color
or pick from 14 diverse sound schemes.

After you change the desktop background, window color or sound scheme, you will notice that we have created a new “unsaved theme” that contains your changes. Your unsaved settings will be preserved when trying other themes in the gallery so you can get back to your most recent customizations. If you are happy with your personalization settings, you can ensure that they are always available in the themes gallery by clicking “Save theme”.

Personalization Control Panel: I clicked "Save Theme" to ensure that my current personalization settings will always be available in the themes gallery.

Personalization Control Panel: I clicked "Save Theme" to ensure that my current
personalization settings will always be available in the themes gallery.

Sharing themes

After saving your personalization settings for your own use, you might want to share these settings with friends and family or bring the settings to another PC. Windows 7 allows you to share your themes by right-clicking on your current theme and selecting “Save theme for sharing”. After specifying a name and folder destination for your theme, Windows will collect all of your custom desktop background images, sounds, mouse pointers and icons into the new .themepack file format that can be applied on another computer running Windows 7.

Personalization Control Panel: When I’m ready to share my theme with Friends, Family and on the Web, I right-click on my current theme and select “Save theme for sharing”.

Personalization Control Panel: When I’m ready to share my theme with Friends, Family and on the Web,
I right-click on my current theme and select “Save theme for sharing”.

Sometimes after I take a fun vacation I like to create a theme that reminds me of the trip. To do this I select the best photos from the trip to rotate as my desktop background and then pair those with a matching window color and Windows 7 sound scheme that best matches the mood of the trip. After I save as a new .themepack I can either share this file via Windows Live to friends and family or use it from another PC in my house via Homegroup.

Sharing with Windows Live

Since all of the personalization settings are now contained in a single file, it’s easy to upload the theme to Windows Live Skydrive and post a link to the theme on a Windows Live Spaces blog. Once my friends and family upgrade to Windows 7, they will be able to download themes from trips that we went on together so they can enjoy my photos on their desktop background.

Windows Live: I can also upload my theme to my Windows Live Skydrive and add a link to the theme on my blog.

Windows Live: I can also upload my theme to my Windows Live Skydrive
and add a link to the theme on my blog.

Sharing via Homegroup

In Explorer you can create a themes Library. Then from another computer in a Homegroup you just browse to the shared location and click on the desired theme to apply those settings with a single click.

Explorer: I created a themes library on one of my PC’s and shared it with my Homegroup. From another PC in the home, I can click on any of these themes to apply them.

Explorer: I created a themes library on one of my PC’s and shared it with my Homegroup.
From another PC in the home, I can click on any of these themes to apply them.

But wait…there’s more.

One additional way we’ve added value with Windows7 themes is by capitalizing on the growing popularity of RSS photo feeds to share photos. Enthusiasts can create a theme where the desktop background slide show points to an RSS photo feed. For example, my sister lives across the country and we only see each other about once a year. An easy way for me to keep her up to date on my family is to send her a Windows 7 theme which points to my RSS photo feed. When I upload new photos they will appear on her desktop automatically.

Because there are a few different ways to create an RSS photo feed, the process to include an RSS photo feed in a Windows 7 theme will only work if your RSS photo feed links to the high resolution photos using the “enclosures” method. The feed should only reference picture formats such as JPEG or PNG. Due to this limitation themes must be created manually when including an RSS photo feed.

So, to create one of these themes you can follow these steps:

  1. Download the template from MSDN.

  2. Open the template using Notepad.

  3. Replace {themename} with the name you want to appear in the Personalization Control Panel themes gallery.

  4. Replace {rssfeedurl} with the full path to your compatible RSS photo feed.

  5. Save the changes as a file with the “.theme” extension.

It is ready for you to share! Send the file via email, etc. to your friends and family.

Photo sharing sites can also offer these Windows 7 RSS photo themes which provide more ways to connect their customers.

Looking ahead

Themes in Windows 7 make it possible for you to make the PC reflect you. Beyond my example of sharing personal photos as a theme, we hope that users will find new and creative ways to use themes in Windows 7. Wedding photographers can include Windows 7 themes in the packages they deliver to their clients, Artists can create themes that showcase their creative style and businesses can create themes that promote their brand. We look forward to seeing how you are using themes to Personalize these aspects Windows 7.


PS: We've posted some additional themes you can download and use on which is the US English link from the Themes control panel.

Comments (73)
  1. gkeramidas says:

    what happened to the ability to hover over a background and see a live preview?

    if i click on of the 6 images in windows desktop backgrounds, i’m returned to the themes. so i can’t preview the background that i want. i can right click

    on each  one and it will preview on the desktop, but i have to deal with the

    context menu covering up most of the next image. if i move right to left, i

    can get around that.

  2. donor says:

    With all these improvements to theme management, and 85% users customizing themes, it’s very strange to see theme management removed from W7 Starter

  3. Leo Davidson says:

    You should be able to choose which elements you wish to save to — and load from — a theme.

    For example, I may want to backup or share my window colours but I never, ever, ever want to mess with my sounds.

  4. JaviAl says:

    The first Microsoft thing that Microsoft have to do with Windows is to offer al least the same functionality like Windows XP.

    I think that Aero Peak, Aero Snap and Aero etc is very usefull and nice things to an operating system but this things are not importan if the operating system not offer at least the same functionality that Windows XP do and this is the first thing that Microsoft have to do after developings new features as Aero Gadgets.

    In my company and our customers dont like Windows Vista and stick with Windows XP because only few and little things that Microsoft can correct it very easily:

    1. Expand "All Programs" in Start Menu. Windows XP can do it. Vista and Seven can’t.

    2. I want to order the "All Programs" in Start Menu. I disable de option to not order Programs alphabetically, but every time i restart the computer or install a new program the "All Programs" menu sorted alphabetically automatically. This occurs in Windows Vista and not fixed in Windows Seven. What are Microsoft doing this three years with Windows Seven? Correcting bugs and fails or adding touching capabilities and Aero Peaks, Aero Snaps, Aero etc’s…?

    3. The possibility to customize Windows Explorer toolbar. Windows 95 to XP can do it. Vista and Seven can’t. Most users requiered the "Up Folder" button in Windows Explorer toolbar and not need the options that Microsoft put in this toolbar that cant change it.

    4. The ability to catalog music in Windows Media Player Library AT LEAST like WINDOWS MEDIA PLAYER 10. Imposible to catalog in Windows Media Player 11 and 12 because is only album centric and in Windows 7 Microsoft remove the advanced tag editor.

    5. If a antispyware program tells me to delete a file called "spy.dll" stored in C:WindowsSystem32, can someone tells me how to search this file in Windows Vista or Seven? Very complex and a lot of clicks in Vista ans Seven.

    Or if i’m a developer or a technical and i want to find a file in the system or windows folder is very complex to me to find it. For example i want to search the host file to modify it, or to find the winipcfg application. Windows Search is not valid to a very lot of users.

    6. Removing tabs controls in some Control Panel options and in more places in all Windows, makes all things more complicated and make doings actions more slowly and with more clicks than in Windows XP. For example, in Windows XP, in the "Appearance" option i cant change the background wallpaper, the screensaver and more things only with one click to change between options. In Windows Vista the same thing is going back and double clicking in other option making changing any option very frustrating.

    If some work with Internet Information Server 7 in Windows Server 2008 this same topic of removing tabs is more frustrating making to "Go back" continuously to change between options. Why Microsoft is removing the tab control and making all things more complicate, more complex, more slower, and less practical.

    Microsoft need to think that all Windows users are acomodate to a user interface for more that 10 years since Windows 95. Microsoft cant change this from one day to another. Microsoft must offer at least the same functionality and compatibility like Windows XP does. Microsoft cant remove features and cant remove behaviors because all users are acomodate with this.

    The Office 2007 toolbar is usefull and good, but Microsoft must put an option to configure it with older menu’s and older behaviour because most users are accomodate to it and needs time to change to a new user interface and behaviour. Need to do the same with Windows Vista and Seven.

    A user does become to first use Windows Vista is frustrating because its imposible to use it in the same manner like Windows XP do. Its imposible to "Go up folder" because the icon not exist, imposible to search because indexing is not complete, imposible to find things in the caotic "Control Panel", imposible to do the same things that do with Windows XP, and this is the REASON of why this user and all of mayority of users return to Windows XP and discard Windows Vista.

    The first reason of the Windows Vista fiasco is not perfomance, compatibility or features. The first REASON is that users are acomodate for more than 10 years with a user interface and changing it at all is frustrating users.

    I have a computers company and the mayority of users come back and asked to downgrade to Windows XP because its imposible to work with Vista. Only a few users have complained about the performance or compatibily of Windows Vista.

    Microsoft needs to offer the same Windows XP functionality, the same Windows Explorer, the same customizations.

    And when all of this is complete, then add new feature like Aero Snaps, Aero Peaks, Aero Tips, Aero Chips, Aero Tricks and so on.

    Today Windows Vista or Seven is not for me. Why? Because I cant expand "All Programs" in "Star Menu", cant customize my Windows Explorer toolbar (the options included are not valid for me) and its imposible to me to find the files i want to find and imposible to me to catalog music with Windows Media Player 11 or 12. I’m stick in Windows XP with Windows Media Player 10 as the vast majority of users.

    When i see Windows Vista or Seven and think that is an operating system for domestic users only or for multimedia users only. Windows Explorer in Vista and Seven is focusly on media files. But what about companies, technicals, developers and so on. When I open a developer folder project in Vista or Seven i see it like media files. This is incongruent for an operating system. And operating system must cover all kind of users. Not the mayority of users. This is the cause of the fiasco of Vista. Companies, technicals and developers dont want and operating system do only for media or domestic users (the mayority of users).

    All technical, developers and so on need the ability of customize the operating system like Windows 95 to Windows XP do. Don’t like a closed operating system. If i want it i buy a Mac.

    Microsoft needs to think seriously and slowly two things:

    1. Cant change a behaviour and a user interface that users are acomodate for more than 10 years. Changing it makes rejection of users.

    2. Think not only in the mayority of users. Think of all users, especially technicals, devolopers and more.

    When Microsoft develop the Windows 95 user interface used psychologists and sociologists and studied the behavior of people: builders, housewives, children, engineers, developers, governments and others to develop the user interface and get the best performance and ease of use to them.

    What happened with Windows Vista?

    Microsoft think, please think.

    "If I want a Mac, I buy a Mac, not Windows Vista or Seven."

  5. ftripon says:

    Hello everybody,

    I was wondering if there is a possibility to constantly update the themes. Basically, it would be fun to "subscribe" to a theme "feed". It would be a good idea to be able to add a theme to a centralized node (could be offered by Microsoft) or public domains that expose the content (themes and, going forward, theme components) based on a standard interface, and people around the world could subscribe to that theme and have new content as soon as the owner of the theme updates the content (adds new images, changes sounds for different actions, etc.).


  6. Gamer_Z. says:

    Thank you JaviAl for saying what was on my mind since the first time I saw Windows 7: "It is a Mac!"  Windows is becoming way too Mac-like.  I bought a PC so I could run WINDOWS!

  7. kudraw says:

    How about deeper theme support? It’s needed the uxtheme patch?

    And how about Windows 7 UI? It will be nicer to see old-like Vista style (or a black theme) with two lines (like application name/document name) per button on taskbar.

  8. Mictateur says:


    First off, I’d like to congratulate you for your job on this blog. Yes, really.

    All the PR stuff annoys me, therefore having the guys working on the product sharing a bit of their insights, I think it’s really cool.

    However, for all the awesomeness that we’re promised with Windows 7, I find several bits worrying. Namely, why several features are gone?

    I completely understand why you removed bundled apps like Windows Movie Maker or Windows Mail, but why did you strip out the advanced tag in WMP, the "open the last opened windows at log on" option from Explorer, the network activity animation in the system tray, or the Software Explorer thingy from Defender?

    I’d really like a blog post to explain your reasons on these ones.

    Thanks anyways for the blog. Keep the updates coming!

    Oh, and I sincerely hope we’ll get a similar blog for Windows 8. =o)

  9. MechaMorph says:


    1. and 2. You can expand All Programs.  

    Right Click the task menu and go to properties.

    Click Start Menu.  Under Privacy make sure "Store and display recently opened programs in the Start menu.  Now click customize.  

    You will see an option for "Start menu size."  Increase the "number of recent programs to display" to something very high.  You can uncheck the Privacy setting and your number will still be put to use.

    Now you won’t get the scroll bar unless you have so many programs that the menu is taller then your resolution.  And if you have that many programs why don’t you start using the new Start menu the way it was designed?

    Windows key -> type what you want -> hit enter.  So much faster and efficient then when clicking with a mouse.

    3.  How is hitting the "Back" button any different then the up button in the old WinXP Explorer?  Up and Back did the same thing under WinXP except when browsing through multiple computers on the network at the same time.

    4.  I don’t use WMP for my Music so can’t comment but remember there are other options out there that are FREE that will meet your needs.

    5.  Set your Indexing Options to cover all of your drives and ensure it indexes DLL files as well.  Then just click the Windows Key and type the file name.

    6.  What’s wrong with them making everything far more efficient?  The old menus are slow and inefficient.  Yes, some people hate change but that’s life.  Better off learning the new method and making yourself more efficient.  Not to mention making life easier.

    In the end if you want the "Same Windows XP functionality, the same Windows Explorer, the same customizations" then stick with Windows XP until the end of time.  Or you can accept that evil thing called CHANGE and join everybody else by moving forward with bigger and better things that make you more efficient.

  10. domenico says:

    @Mr. Steven Sinofsky

    PS. 22 October Windows 7 is avaiable only in US

    or all Language? (ps. Italian 😀 )



  11. teoh.hanhui says:

    1. When selecting multiple pictures for the desktop background, it’s impossible to preview without losing your current selection.

    2. It’s hard to keep track of which pictures are selected especially when there are many pictures in the folder/library.

    3. It’s impossible to reorder the pictures in a slide show.

  12. daveshax says:

    Thanks for this advice! I set the NASA Image of the Day feed as my background. I knew it was possible, but I didn’t know it was this easy until this blog post.



    Expanding the start menu? How many programs do you need on a regular basis that you can’t just pin them? I think the Vista start menu cut my ‘time to open a new program’ in half, and the Windows 7 taskbar has probably cut that in half again. Thanks Microsoft!

  13. Mantvydas says:

    C’mon, when you buy a new car, only a steering wheel a gear stick and the pedals are in the same place (roughly). Everything else is somewhere else. A mob for conditioner always changes places.

    Folder up? In Seven it’s even better than in any previous Windows. You just click in the address bar on the folder higher in the hierarchy, and you can go up as many levels as you want in ONE click! In two clicks in address bar (not a click and doubleclick like in XP), you can go to a neighbour folder!

  14. Mantvydas says:

    When reading JaviAl, I just feel pity how much people are simply slaves of their habits.

  15. solaris says:

    I know this is off topic, but here are some quite important problems I experienced recently by using Windows 7 RC:

    1. The DEll Touchpad Software is very unstable. Crashes all the time.

    2. I installed Real Player but after a while I wasn’t able to open it. I just clicked on the icon but nothing happened.

    3. The CISCO VPN software of my university doesn’t work with Windows 7. I installed it but it slowed down my hole system in a very strange way, it just all went slower.

    4. Sometimes when I click on Icons like the one from firefox, the icon changes to a starting programm, then it goes back to being just an icon and after a while, when the programm acutally starts it changes again.

    5. I have the Gmail notifier Plus which shows a "Open File Security Warning" all the time.

    6. The fingerprint scanner software built into Windows doesn’t always work.  

  16. keff says:

    1 wish, 1 word: UxTheme – please, don’t put hurdles in our way of customizing windows anymore!

  17. Vistaline says:

    1. Editing themes is a PITA in the RC because it’s not possible to overwrite themes as easily as it was in the beta.

    2. RSS-based desktop slideshows are beyond undiscoverable as the user needs to know the feature exists before they can use it. Then they need to get the template off MSDN (or an existing .theme from appdata) to modify a text file, which is in no way considered user friendly. I suppose subscribing to RSS image feeds is probably an "enthusiast" feature anyway but it’s very odd Microsoft opted not to make any UI for this.

    I still do appreciate the personalization features. I changed my desktop numerous times and with themes it has always been a breeze.

  18. anonymuos says:

    Firstly, I am happy that theming and customization capabilities are revived again in Windows 7. However I’ve a few grudges and issues I’m not yet happy about:

    1.  Why is there no easy to use GUI (a simple text field or Browse to point to an OPML) to point to an RSS photo feed URL?

    2.  Why is Starter Edition deliberately crippled to disallow personalization? As if it’s some huge hardware-intensive premium feature!

    3.  There’s this really useful option in Mouse control panel called "Allow themes to change mouse pointers". Why not be consistent and have the same option for sounds, window colors, screen saver and desktop background as well? Or add this feature while saving/loading a theme?

    4.  Something’s seriously wrong with the quality of sound schemes that are provided inbox? All of the sound schemes are mere variations of the Vista sound scheme? The Windows XP and Windows Vista releases had powerful & original sounds. Where are the corresponding fresh impressive Windows 7 sounds? The Plus! Packs for Windows 95 and 98 also had such a great variety of sounds.

    5.  I end up accidentally clicking on a theme far more often because 1-click changing feature. It would be nicer if clicking a theme put a selection rectangle around it and there was an Apply option below. Or maybe an "Undo theme change" for reverting to the settings that I hadn’t saved as a theme earlier and were lost. At least, a warning maybe that your existing theme settings would be lost if it was unsaved.

    6.  Windows XP had a "Desktop Slideshow" powertoy as well that added a "Slideshow" tab to Display properties. It also had an option to change the desktop background upon every new logon. Also, the frequency of changing wallpaper could be set by the user, now we only get to choose from pre-defined intervals?

    7.  I wish there was a powertoy for converting old .theme files to .themepack ones.

    8.  The property sheet UI is still unproductive over the old tabbed dialog where a single Apply option applied all changes we made across all tabs instead of navigating back and forth. It was more keyboard acessible as well and required less "tabbing". For Windows Vista, copying "Desk.cpl" from an XP installation worked however it seems to be broken on Windows 7.

    9.  Instead of requiring hacks, why can’t Microsoft officially support customizing look and feel of Aero glass to something completely different? MS need not supply custom skins but the ability for third parties to customize this without in-memory patching or modifying system files would be better.

    10.  Whatever happened to customizing fonts and desktop icons when changing themes? Why is quickly previewing sounds in the "Browse sounds" dialog impossible (someone forgot to include ‘preview/stop’ when moving to the new common dialog? The Preview pane should offer the ability to play/preview sounds instead of/besides displaying album art.

    What’s new over Windows 95-XP (except RSS wallpaper and libraries support), where we could all customize wallpaper (even slideshow with a powertoy), screensaver, window (now glass) color, sounds, mouse pointers? Same package in .themepack format and new UI?

  19. says:

    Any Windows user (XP users as well) can get any screensaver as wallpaper app such as this one ( and use the Google Photos Screensaver to use RSS wallpaper with nice custom transitions and with a nice GUI as a bonus.

  20. sokolum says:

    Disappointing story about the tweakability of W7…

    Im sooooo agree with many people here, it makes no point to me to put it out more.



  21. thiseddyperson says:

    As far as customization can go these days, this unfortunately isn’t very impressive. It’s nice that it’s made easy and such, and I think the RSS feed thing is a brilliant idea. But so many programs feature much more than this already, for instance being fully skinnable. In something as essential and all-around as an OS, and with something that’s supposed to be as cutting edge as Windows 7, I would even dare to expect this kind of feature. You already see many users with custom layouts (including start menu button, icons, startup screen etc.), even if Windows doesn’t support it out of the box – indicating a strong wish for this.

  22. Cristi-M says:

    What I don’t like in W7 customization:

    – I hardly found the "Delete" Theme – it shows only when right click the theme. It should be near the Save Theme button.

    – There is no way of editing an existing theme. If I created a theme and for some reason I want to tweak-it a little bit more, if I already saved it, I cannot. I have to make a new theme based on the old one, save it again and after that delete the old one. Not so nice. If I saved with same name it does not overwrite older one.

    – There is no 3D effect on the taskbar anymore. I’ve loved the Royale Theme in XP and Vista taskbar. This one has nothing to appeal.

  23. CSS2 says:

    That’s very nice but there are some serious problems in the implementation. Apparently it only supports JPG, and all the other formats are converted to it prior to use. As usual, the conversion is low quality; the chroma is subsampled to half resolution. There are also the typical JPEG artifacts, but these are less visible.

    You can work around this by converting it to JPG manually with a program that allows you to save it at high quality (that is, not Paint!)

    Example image:

    Vista at least supported BMP, 7 supports no lossless format.

  24. bananaman says:

    Good post.

    I do share the disappointment that to skin anything will still likely require replacing system files.  Changing the colour of the glass doesn’t constitute customization.

    More flexibility with layouts would be amazing too, I know with Gnome I can make panels anywhere that do anything, and are sized arbitrarily.  They can hold performance graphs, launch icons, expanding lists of things or can function as taskbars.  People enjoy building their "own" desktop experience.

    Win7 isn’t offering this, however I understand standardization is important for support.  And when your product is used on ~90% of the world’s personal computers, you don’t joke around.  Slight disappointment that a compromise wasn’t possible this time around though nonetheless.

  25. davidvl2 says:

    What’s up with the oldschool INI file format :-/

  26. kejser says:

    good post

    I prefer the color black in windows media center. Why not also create some color themes for Windows Media Center in Windows 7 the users can choose from?

    Good work, windows 7 is a big steep forward

  27. Wolf-Tech says:

    Wednesday, June 03, 2009 6:15 AM by JaviAl

    I totally with this person. I think windows 7 is great to a point but I miss the simple ways thats XP work. I finally got 8 gigs of ram and I put on my system Windows XP 64 bit and Wow I love it its fast its clean and I get to use all my memory. I like things simple. You know I work at a computer service shop and I asked people how many times do you use the windows search to find your program. 100% of my customers so far said 0.0% Nobody uses that stupid feature they make shortcuts to there programs. The Windows Search ie Indexer should be removed from vista and 7. Its nothing but bloat. I allways turn that stupid thing off and every computer I send back to the customer wonders why windows vista now runs so fast.

  28. tryon says:

    It would be nice to be able to change even more things (like themeXP let us do in XP). Aero glass is nice, but it would be great to create another UI like this one as we only have the choice between classic VS Aero AFAIK.

    Keep up the great work being done on letting us personnalize our windows experience.

    I’d like us to be able to use such personnalization at work too, it’s such a shame so many company won’t let us put a wallpaper or even changer windows theme :(, where is this all heading ? Lack of personnalization definatly makes me feel less comfortable working. (that’s for me, being used to my stuff at home) Maybe microsoft should make it harder to block those "personalization settings" …

  29. tryon says:

    Wolf-Tech > Search is a very very usefull feature (even with 5.5TB of stuff like I do) that might take some extra "working time" but this work is being done when the computer is idle (like the "new" auto-defrag in vista+)

    If you would teach your costumer how to use the new "search" to hit the windows key + first few letters and hitting enter to start the program (much less effort than to click your way through it. (only way to replace Launchy as it doesn’t work in vista :()

  30. marcinw says:


    I can see, that Microsoft fans are speaking "for" new system and Microsoft disappointed customers are speaking "against" new system.

    I have started creating new page, which will write about some disadvantages of new system: . You can add own comments or edit it, if you want.

    For Microsoft admins: Microsoft fans are publishing links here and they’re not removed. If you will delete my post, it will mean censorship and no equal rules here.

  31. Asesh says:

    Why don’t you guys replace those ugly common controls with some good looking ones when Aero is on? And why can’t the icons in the superbar be aligned in the middle or to the right?

  32. Asesh says:

    And please update that ugly basic theme with good looking skins

  33. Haritha says:

    UAC, wait I know you might not be able to fix this before RTM is over but you have to do something to kill all the press attention this issue is gathering .

    people have stated  coming to conclusions about the whole architecture of 7 purely based on this issue.There are many out their who can add enough fuel to the fire to leave a near permanent scar in the reputation of windows 7

    catch Zack Whittaker who hypothesizes that this issue could trigger a nuclear war

  34. Haritha says:

    UAC, wait I know you might not be able to fix this before RTM is over but you have to do something to kill all the press attention this issue is gathering .

    people have stated  coming to conclusions about the whole architecture of 7 purely based on this issue.There are many out there who can add enough fuel to the fire to leave a near permanent scar on the reputation of windows 7

    catch Zack Whittaker who hypothesizes that this issue could trigger a nuclear war

  35. marcinw says:


    there are many arguments "for" and many arguments "against" Windows Seven.

    Whatever we will say, we must agree, that it’s continuation based on Vista only, not really new and revolutionary product (no new kernel, new new architecture).

    In my opinion MS will sell probably a lot of licenses, but no so many many like for XP.

    I sat with good beer and tried to find, what is wrong here. Without big thinking I have found 37 BIG reasons and I’m finding new one ( UAC is only one of big problems). If you want to read, I invite (link given few comments earlier).

    Microsoft needs fresh view on some things and fresh people. Without it will loose a lot of market.

  36. porum says:

    Disappointing story about the tweakability of Windows7

  37. dhasenan says:

    Have a look at and you’ll see that Windows 7’s theme options are pretty minimal. Have a look at OS X and they’ll look awesome.

    Win7 offers a fair bit of customization that doesn’t require any expertise. It’s a lot harder to create a GNOME theme. However, Win7 themes are very constrained. This does mean it’s pretty easy to tell that someone’s using Windows, and I’m sure that advertising was no minor consideration.

  38. hexaae says:

    I think Win7/Vista simply offer no customization for windows elements (transparency and textures, smooth borders, look of buttons/gadgets).

    That’s what the users complain more.

  39. unifex says:

    There is one thing that I do not know how to do – how to change the white background of the windows explorer. In the Themes options there is a window color option, but changing it has no effect whatsoever on the windows explorer background. Same with the "advanced" personalization, which is basically the same as in old Windows, except that there it worked and in Windows 7 it does not.

  40. vikojhons says:

    For the average user, Windows 7 will be just as bad as Vista from a hardware compatibility standpoint. Sure, if all you want to do is write Word docs, surf the internet (even though Flash is quirky at best), and check your email, it works great…..then again, if that’s all you want to do, Linux is great too. <a href="">free essays</a> <a href="">custom essays</a>

  41. Tyserman474 says:

    I have tried to install SQL on 7 and every time I try I get an error on the configuation page. It tells me that I need at least one administrator account. I am the only user on this computer. No matter what account I use or anything that I try I can not get it past that point. I only have one administrator account and password but it won’t work. I know I need to install the SP1 to it before I can use SQL, but can’t do that until I get it installed.

    Can you give me some ideas what I can do to get it installed?


  42. essay writing says:

    I hope Windows 7 is a step in the right direction.

  43. HGH says:

    I have been trying Windows 7 on my Dell Laptop since the Beta came out and I gotta say I`m impressed so far with how it is working.

  44. rapid says:

    In regards to UAC, it seems there is no protection for an uninformed user. In fact, I don’t see how this will ever be built into any product. There will be some users that will disable the pop-up because they do not want to be bothered with it.<a rel="dofollow" href="">Research Papers</a>

  45. Bolcasohbet says:

    I totally with this person. I think windows 7 is great to a point but I miss the simple ways thats XP work. I finally got 8 gigs of ram and I put on my system Windows XP 64 bit and Wow I love it its fast its clean and I get to use all my memory. I like things simple. You know I work at a computer service shop and I asked people how many times do you use the windows search to find your program. 100% of my customers so far said 0.0% Nobody uses that stupid feature they make shortcuts to there programs.

  46. Internet Marketing Consultant says:

    Great tips can’t wait to get my hands on this new software.

  47. DWalker59 says:

    Can we make the title bar a completely solid color?  The slanted washes of color in the application title bars are distracting and too busy.

  48. Invicta Watches says:

    This is an awesome achievement. Its like Opensource themes! I love windows 7. 10x better than vista junk. That just my opinion though. Very nice and clean layout. Very clean UI and most importantly user friendly for XP users.

  49. Very good guidance .Very recommended to Windows users !

  50. muhammad says:

    i rrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaalllllllll want window 7 it is like the best window ever

  51. Can you believe i’m still running on Vista? It’s not that bad really…

  52. How to change themes in windows XP and how to use your own pictures or get pictures from the internet.

  53. How to change windows XP backgrounds and themes  step by step

  54. Gee, it would be nice if the sound would stay turned off when I choose NO SOUND!

    There is a bug that makes the sound scheme come back on randomly in Windows 7!

  55. riew says:

    The bottom icon, for example the desktop background not have the right emphasis are difficult to find because they blend into the layout, for example, you could add the title style similar to "My Themes" and "Aereo Themes" up the bottom icon named "Change theme setting" to separate the two sections. Thanks for the attention.

  56. Why don’t you guys replace those ugly common controls with some good looking ones when Aero is on? And why can’t the icons in the superbar be aligned in the middle or to the right?

  57. optimizacija spletnih strani says:

    Although i still use Vista on my home comp, while at work a have Win 7, i like the new web 2.0 look of default Windows 7 template. It’s fresh, nice and it looks really good.

  58. jack says:

    windows XP and how to use your own pictures or get pictures from the internet.<a href="">Big La Laguna Beach</a>

  59. Marcus says:

    Well, Windowx XP is now.. gone… but now with Windows 7… new times ahead…

  60. Melissa says:

    I have tried to load SQL on 7 and I constantly get an error on the configuation page (administrator account needed but I am the admin without any other account). Do you know where the problem is?


  61. molly says:

    i recently purchased a laptop with windows 7 home premium installed onto it.

    however, whenever i log back onto my computer after it being shut down a new theme has been created and set as my current theme

    it happens every time i restart the computer after shutting down.

    why?! why?! why?!

    it is not on slideshow, i have pressed save theme, i have checked everything possible.

    but still it creates a new theme and sets it.


  62. Random says:

    What is the filepath for the original themes

  63. hi guyzz this is window 7 theme about INDIAN N0 1 SPORTZ BIKE pulsar220    


               Thank U if u download this theme      

  64. Barbara says:

    I would like to use my own photos for my theme but have the transparent option for the window surrounds.  this is only available with an aero theme included in the pc.  I have tried choosing different pictures for the background but it then goes to an unsaved theme with only the windows 7 solid colors option.  any help? tia

  65. Savvas says:

    I created a custom theme and Windows does not keep the color I define (which is gray), but it retains the default color (cyan). Even though everytime I open the Widows Color window the windows previews are the correctone (with gray color).

    Do you know why Windows do not keep the color I define?

  66. very unhappy says:

    will you places take windows 7 off my computer and put xp back on.i do not want 7 and you will never make me take it.than you

  67. John Bacon says:

    Whilst I appreciate that many people like to regularly change their themes and backgrounds and some of the new features are very cool for teenagers, I was very happy with the colour scheme that I'd got for Windows XP and Office 2003. I have a certain type of colour blindness and also need to wear glasses. I spend 8/10 hours each day working on my PC and the colour scheme that I had minimized eye strain for me and made speed reading easy.

    The new schemes aren't so good for me. I've tried Windows Classic but it's not quite classic and OFFICE 2010 doesn't respect the scheme and only has 3 bad colour schemes. I've tried high contrast but Explorer drops most of the colour from web pages and some pictures disappear. I've messed with windows metrics changing them all to match my XP settings, but nothing works completely. Why is it not possible to have one of the dozens of new colour schemes imitating the XP OFFICE 2003 settings after all your opening statement says that Windows 7 is all about giving the user the control that he needs?

  68. MaryAnn says:

    How do I install the them from a flash drive to my second computer?

  69. Janet says:

    I have recently sent a MY Pictures folder to Themes and saved it. It is no longer in my pictures, but I need it to go back there. Any suggestions please

  70. Sherrie says:

    I wan the standard Windows 7 theme.  I have never been able to have it STAY as my theme.  HP changes it every few hours/  How do I make it permanent?

Comments are closed.

Skip to main content