Your Easy Guide to Windows 7 Themes

Varun Kashyap 06-09-2009

Windows 7 has many improvements to boast of, theme customization and management is one of them. Now, all the customization features have been grouped together and are accessible conveniently from one place.


Here is all you need to know about Windows 7 themes:

Activate hidden themes in Windows 7

Did you know that Windows 7 activates themes based on the region you select while installation? So there are a number of themes belonging to different regions that remain hidden. They are not available via the personalization window. However, you can still activate those hidden themes in windows 7 and use them. Here’s how to find them:

  1. Press Win + R, then type %systemroot%/Globalization/MCT into the Run field
  2. If you don’t see anything, click on Organize, then on Folder and Search options and then choose to view hidden files and uncheck Hide protected operating system files.
  3. You will see some folders containing themes belonging to various regions. These folders contain the .theme files that you can use to apply the themes

hidden themes in windows 7

Create Your Own Windows 7 Themes

Creating a theme is super easy. A theme is just a collection of various elements like desktop wallpapers, sounds, screen savers, color, mouse pointers, icons etc. Make your pick for each of them and you have made yourself a theme. There are a few changes from previous versions of Windows that you should be aware of and use to your advantage.

Desktop Background


Windows 7 allows you to specify multiple desktop backgrounds. It then switches the desktop background automatically, picking from the ones you specified. The best way to specify a group of wallpapers is to place all of them in a folder. You can then point Windows to this folder, check all the wallpapers you wish to use, specify the cycle time and Windows will take care of the rest.

create windows 7 theme


Clicking on Sounds lets you choose from amongst the built-in sound themes or you can create your own. To create a sound theme, just specify a sound file to use for different events that you see. Changing all of them and getting a perfect sound theme can get quite cumbersome, so you might want to stick with changing a sound or two and saving the modified theme. If you are looking for some sound files, you can check out FindSounds or Soungle.


Your Easy Guide to Windows 7 Themes soundtheme

Similarly, you can choose screen savers, colors, mouse pointer and icons – which are pretty straightforward. After all the choices are made, you have created yourself a theme.

Share your themes with friends and family

So you spent some time creating the perfect theme and the results seem good. Sometimes you might want to apply the same theme to all of your computers or share them with your friends and family. So do you perform everything all over again? Na, just make all the changes you want, add the custom desktop backgrounds, screen savers or sounds you want (in short, create a theme once) and then when you are done making the changes, right-click on the unsaved theme and choose Save for sharing.

Your Easy Guide to Windows 7 Themes saveforsharing


You will get a .theme file that you can transfer to other computers or send across to somebody.

Download Windows 7 Theme Files Online

download windows 7 theme file

Windows 7 now presents an option to ‘Get more themes online’. Clicking that would take you to Microsoft’s Personalize My PC page. You can download windows 7 theme files, backgrounds and gadgets here. You can also find themes created by others. However, they generally leave a lot to be desired and I prefer to stay away from them unless I absolutely trust the source. If you know a good source let us know in the comments.

Do you create your own themes? Or are you content with the built-in ones? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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  1. Win7 User
    January 14, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    So, I'm lookin at the hidden files.

    You did not tell us HOW to activate them.

    You just told us what to look for.

  2. babe32
    December 7, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    Thank you guys for a very good guide on how to make themes. I just made a few and wasn't sure how to share them, but I found a site called (no longer available). I became an author, and started posting a few. Pretty easy!!!!! Thought I'd share that with you. Thanks!


  3. Marion S
    September 8, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    V.C, you've got to be kidding. Vista? Vista is almost as bad as Windows ME. I had 2 machines on vista for 2 years and put Windows 7 on it. The difference is like night and day. At least you like XP, which is way better than Vista.

    • summoner2100
      September 8, 2009 at 3:19 pm

      What are you talking about. Vista is NOWHERE NEAR the disgrace that was ME. I am using Vista on my home and work pc, and have been using the it on the home pc for 2 years. I have NEVER had a problem with it, and it runs everything I throw at it without fail.
      I hate people that rag on Vista, if it's failing on them then they, obviously, don't know how to use it. People I know that do like it, are like me, they have never had an issue!

      • Marion S
        September 8, 2009 at 5:01 pm

        You must not throw much at it then. I manage an IT department and we have 850 users. so I know what I'm talking about. Vista has no business in the corporate environment. And at home, it has no place as a personal computer, especially when compared to XP or Windows 7. You are correct in saying that it is nowhere near ME. I was exaggerating on that one. But I will definitely stick to my guns when I say that Vista is more of a nuisance when it comes to accomplishing tasks that XP and Windows 7 complete in either less time or requiring less user interaction.
        I initially defended Vista when it first came out. It wasn't that bad and has some really cool features. My Family Room PC runs Vista MCE, but is quickly going to change to Windows 7. The tiny fraction of Vista machines on our network (about 50) caused more grief than all the other XP machines (about 750) combined. It even caused more grief than the 30 Macs we have!

  4. V.C
    September 7, 2009 at 3:33 am

    I'm not very interested in Windows 7.
    I haven't tried yet.
    I prefer Windows Vista and even Windows XP.

  5. Brad Host
    September 6, 2009 at 8:33 pm

    Thanks for the post. I installed win 7 today. So far so good!

  6. jollyrogue
    September 6, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    they're not exactly themes though are they? it's just really a wallpaper pack with different coloured task bars.