In terms of themes and visual features, Windows 10 isn’t generally seen as a super-customizable platform like Linux. Be that as it may, there are still plenty of official and unofficial themes for Windows 10, with which you can give your desktop some pretty incredible makeovers. Whether you’re looking for a nostalgic theme that takes you back to the fledgling years of Windows or something a little more edgy from a designer at DeviantArt, you’ll find something here.
Note: if you don’t know how to install Windows themes, then first read our guide on how to do it. Some themes are more invasive than others to install, and if not installed properly, they can cause key UI elements on your PC to stop working. To be safe, you may want to set a system restore point before you get started.
The Best Windows 10 Themes
- macOS Monterey
- Desktop by Jonatica-andl
- Windows XP
- Simplify 10
- Anthem Two
1. macOS Monterey
From the same brilliant mind that brought us the macOS Big Sur theme for Windows 10 comes the equivalent of the latest version of Apple’s desktop OS, macOS Monterey.
Even the most ardent Windows fans would have to admit that there’s a beauty to recent macOS versions that’s hard to imitate. In this theme you’ll find all those great little details that define macOS: from the dock with the animated icons, to the Finder bar across the top of the screen and Mac-style twist on File Explorer. Your friends will be scratching their heads over how you managed to make Windows look like macOS.
The Monterey theme has both light and dark versions too, so it’s a case of picking whichever one tickles your fancy.
If you want the quintessential classic Windows theme, this is it. If you’re prepared to follow the rather elaborate guide to the word, then your current Windows will end up looking just like Windows 98/2000, albeit with all the extra little modern conveniences, like panes, File Explorer, high resolutions and so on.
It’s a really impressive project, with a big community behind it that’s completely committed to recreating, but also modernizing, that old-school Windows feel.
Given the scale of the changes, you’ll need to do a lot more than just use the UltraUXThemePatcher (no longer available) to load many of the other themes in this list. But put in the work, and you’ll be justly rewarded with a truly convincing retro Windows theme (that’s highly customizable, too!).
3. Desktop by Jonatica-andl
The name may not give much away, but one look at Jonatica-andl’s mesmerizing theme should tell you all you need to know. It looks beautiful, with centralized taskbar icons and a Mac-style dock just above it, helping everything look very elegant.
We love the subtle OSD in the corner showing vital information like CPU, memory and hard drive usage, as well as Internet speed. And look at that stylish date display at the top center.
The Google search bar is a nice bonus, too.
A mixture of vibrant, almost neon, buttons and icons with firm opaque white or black themes for actual windows, cakeOS is a tasteful theme for those who want a little bit of “pop” to their Windows experience. It’s hard to compare cakeOS to anything else, other than to say it has a nice bubblegum-retro feel to it. Even the Start button gets a vivid makeover while keeping with the Windows logo colors.
You can make various adjustments to the theme, such as choosing between borderless, bordered or rounded corners on the actual windows, as well as how the buttons look when the window is in a hover state. You can also opt for rounded window corner buttons (macOS-style) or Windows-styled square ones.
One of the best “dark” themes of recent times, GreyEveTheme makes Windows literally much easier on the eyes with its color palette of blacks and greys. For those who find the white backgrounds of windows like File Explorer and the Settings app harsh, this one’s for you.
Note that this theme doesn’t include any interface or design changes. It sticks with the flat Windows 10 design and pretty much switches the lights off on it. If you’re looking for more significant overhauls of how Windows read on.
6. Windows XP
Let’s get started with possibly the most nostalgic and universally-loved theme in Windows history – Windows XP. Doesn’t that blue-and-green taskbar just look so welcoming and bouncy?
To get an authentic Windows XP look, you first need to get Open Shell (the open-source project that’s continuing the work started by Classic Shell, which is no longer in development). This will provide the necessary customization tools for Windows. After that, you can get the Classic Shell XP suite for Windows 10 to get that unadulterated XP look.
Like the other themes we review in the rest of this list, Penumbra is not made by Microsoft. You’ll need to apply the patches above and manually place the theme’s files in the right folder before you can use the theme. But once you have it set up, it’s a beautiful, dark theme that makes using your system at night a pleasure.
9. Simplify 10
Simplify 10 is actually a pack of Windows 10 themes, all collected around the same simple aesthetic. It flattens the Windows interface as much as possible, relying on subtle variations in grey and white to distinguish different parts of the UI. It also shrinks the window control buttons, which may or may not be to your liking.
AB’s major visual change is a heavy black bar that runs across the top of every themed window. It also reduces contrast dramatically across the entire system and reskins most of the UI.
11. Anthem Two
Like LAB, Anthem Two also adds a heavy black bar to the top of all themed windows. It doesn’t reduce contrast as much as LAB, however, making it a little easier on the eyes.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What if UltraUXThemePatcher isn’t working?
UltraUXThemePatcher is a powerful tool that lets you make some deeper changes to your Windows 10 theme. While there are quite a few reasons why it might not work, the most common is the version of the tool doesn’t match your Windows version. Make sure that the version of UltraUXThemePatcher you’re installing matches your Windows version.
2. How do I create my own themes?
If you want to piece together your very own theme, there’s no better tool for the job than Rainmeter. It takes a bit of learning, as you’ll see in this guide, but once you get the hang of it, you can pretty much create the theme of your dreams.
3. What do I do if my theme is broken?
If you’re dabbling with UltraUXThemePatcher, countless icon packs and serious UI changes, there’s always a chance something could go wrong. You should set a system restore point before going too deep with these themes, then restore back to it should you accidentally break your Windows desktop.
If you’re willing to risk a little frustration to get a much better-looking system, these Windows 10 themes will be right up your alley. For more Windows 10 tips, see our guide on how to reset group policy settings. If you’re still running Windows 7 (you probably shouldn’t be), then you can also make it look like Windows 10.