If you have visited this site on a regular basis you know I enjoy putting together Windows 7 themes because they are so easy to share thanks to features in the operating system.  In fact, last year we posted 42 Windows 7 specific themes and they were downloaded nearly 14,000 times.  So thank you for grabbing our themes.

We will of course continue to post great themes for you to download but with the appearance of Windows 8 themes are changing a little bit.  A major change is compatibility and although Windows 8 will be backwards compatible and accept Windows 7 themes (.themepack files) the same is not true for the new theme format in Windows 8 (.deskthemepack).

The reason for this incompatibility is in three areas:

  • support that has been added for spanning multiple monitors with a single image big enough to span them both
  • in multiple monitor setups with images smaller than both monitors different images are displayed on each screen
  • automatic color support allows the aero theme color to be based on the primary color for the image being displayed

These new features really enhance themes in Windows 8 and eliminates the need for third party apps to manage multiple monitors and backgrounds.

Despite the incompatibility between Windows 7 and Windows 8 themes creating and sharing them involve the same exact process as we have used in Windows 7 since it came out.  The only difference is on the Windows Color and Appearance page in the theme settings.  Just select the first option to allow automatic coloring of the Aero theme.


I thought a great way to show off the new automatic coloring of the Aero theme elements in Windows 8 themes would be to grab some great pictures from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Space Images collection. I chose ten pictures of nebula because their colors are so dynamic and therefore really highlight the automatic color change in Aero.

Here are the images that I have included in this theme:


Now I have not forgotten the Windows 7 users that are still around as well as those of you who do not have either Windows 7 or Windows 8.  The links below will let you download this theme for either Windows 7, Windows 8 or just a zip file with the ten images to use on any system.

So what do you think of the new features for Windows 8 themes?