How to Install Custom Themes in Windows 10

Windows 10 is a versatile platform when it comes to customization. One of the best (or at least most visually striking) examples of this is in the huge variety of alternative themes you can apply to it, capable of changing that flat W10 desktop into something different entirely.

Whether you want to stick to the safety of Microsoft’s official online theme collection, or peruse some of the incredibly creative Windows 10 themes at DeviantArt, we’ll show you how to install custom Windows 10 themes, along with all the necessary precautions.

Themes can be found in a few places. Microsoft actually makes quite a few available from their own website. However, the most interesting themes are available on sites like DeviantArt where independent designers create their own packs.

Non-Microsoft themes can’t be installed by default, however. We’ll first need to loosen Microsoft’s restrictions on theme installations.

If you want to install one of Microsoft’s themes, it’s very straightforward.

1. Download the desired theme from the Microsoft website.

2. Once the theme has downloaded, double-click on the downloaded “.themepack” file to add the theme to your theme library and immediately apply it.

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You can also apply themes from the Personalization menu. Just right-click an empty space on the desktop background and click “Personalize.”

Here you can select a new theme from the pane on the left or make your own adjustments to the existing one – like changing the font style, background and colors. For more on how to use this area, check out our guide on creating your own Windows 10 themes.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also patch your system to allow for the installation of non-Microsoft themes.

1. Make a backup! Using a theme that doesn’t match can nuke your system, and there’s a non-negligible chance of that happening. A restore point is good, but an image backup is even better.

2. Download and install UltraUXThemePatcher.

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3. Find themes on websites like DeviantArt.

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4. Copy theme files into “C:/Windows/Resources/Themes.” If the file contains themes for multiple builds of Windows 10, make sure you’re using the right one. You can find your build by pressing Win + R and typing winver into the command line.

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5. Click on the theme you want to apply from Control Panel’s Personalization menu.

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It’s not too complicated to install new Windows 10 themes, though you need to be careful with the unofficial ones, as doing the process wrong may bork your PC. With that in mind, have fun giving your Windows 10 desktop a fresh new face!

Image credit: EpicCartoonsFan

One comment

  1. Clearly the “themes” term is misused nowadays in Windows. I remember, back to Win 95/98/ME/XP…… when we used to talk about themes, we meant not only a wallpaper and colors, but also sets of mouse pointers, desktop icons, system sounds…… so, since when a photo and a color is considered, a theme?

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