Although it can be said that with Windows 10 Microsoft has done one of its best jobs in terms of interface design, there will always be users who prefer something different, or who simply enjoy using it. customize the appearance of your desktop as much detail as possible, not just changing the wallpaper from time to time.
If you want to learn how to change the theme and icons and where to download the best, you’ve come to the right place. We explain in detail all the tools you have to do it and how to use them correctly.
It is important that you bear in mind that some of the programs and patches that are necessary to install third-party themes or change the system icons, can cause some problems in the system. This does not mean that you will damage your Windows installation, but it is good take the precaution of creating a restore point before starting in case something goes wrong.
To create a restore point simply press the start button, type “create” until the best match appears from the control panel. Once the window opens, you just have to press the “Create” button, choose a name for your restore point and wait for the process to finish. Now you will have the status of your computer saved in case you have to return in time.
Use the dark theme
With the Anniversary Update, Windows 10 introduced some extra things in this section, such as the possibility of apply dark theme. The good news for those who enjoy using third-party themes is that the main patches that allow us to use them and that stopped working with the November update, now work again and therefore the number of themes that we get in the Web.
Third-party themes do not change the appearance of the start menu, the configuration panel and other elements with Modern design. But you can switch between dark and light Windows 10 theme from the colors settings: Press the Windows key + I, select the option “Settings”, then click on “Colors” in the menu on the left and at the end of the list of options you will see “Choose the application mode”.
Enable installation of third-party themes
The official Windows themes only change the wallapers and sounds. Third-party themes modify system files and can change: the appearance of the buttons and window borders, the taskbar, the start button, the fonts, the scroll bars, the size of all those elements, etc.
In order to apply an unofficial theme we must install a patch in Windows that allows us to do so. Although there are several, the only one that currently works with Windows 10 Anniversary Update is UltraUXThemePatcher.
This program makes a backup of all the original system files and all the changes it makes can be undone simply by using the uninstaller. It is free and has never been reported to contain any type of malware, it’s a tool that’s been around since the days of Windows XP.
If you have already created a restore point then you can download the patch, start the installer and although it is not completely necessary, reboot the system. Some topics not fully applied until after a reboot.
How to install a new theme and where to download them
DeviantArt is one of the best sites on the web for downloading Windows themes. Many users are dedicated to creating themes of all styles and upload them so that anyone can download them, although a few are paid, there are hundreds of free options.
You should always read the description and make sure the theme is compatible with your version of WindowsInstalling a theme created for a different version can cause you very annoying problems.
The themes usually come compressed in a zip or rar, use a tool such as 7zip or WinRAR to extract them and look for the folder that contains the theme files. Themes always consist of a single folder that has multiple style assets and one or more files with the extension .theme (Windows theme file).
You must copy the folder and the .theme file in the path:
C:WindowsResourcesThemes. To get there you can paste the address in your browser, or go to:
Este equipo > Disco local (C:) > Windows > Resources > Themes.
To apply the theme simply double click on the .theme file and wait for Windows to apply the changes. You can also do it from:
Panel de control > Apariencia y personalización > Personalización. There you will find the list of installed themes.
How to change desktop and taskbar icons
Changing the desktop icons is very simple, you just have to right click on them and select the option that appears in the window. You must have a downloaded icon on your computer and navigate to the path where it is located to select it.
Windows icons have an .ico extension, this means that you cannot use PNG, JPG or SVG files. If you want to use an icon but it is not in the proper format, you can convert them using the free iConverticons tool directly from the web.
To change the icons on the taskbar we have an excellent tool called 7conifier which lets you apply previously created icon packs. You can also create your own from scratch or from all the icons that you have already anchored to your superbar. This makes the process faster and more automatic, plus you can switch from one package to another whenever you want.
The other option is to simply add to the desktop all the icons that you want to anchor in the superbar, change them in the same way as in the process described above, and once they have the icon you want, drag them to the taskbar.
How to change the system icons
To change the icons that appear in Windows Explorer, such as folders and inficators, we have a couple of options as well. The first is to use Stardock’s popular IconPackager program. However, this tool is paid and you can only try it for free for a limited time. It’s easy to use and includes some pretty comprehensive (though not very pretty) icon packs.
IconPackager lets you customize the icons you want to be modified by each pack, lets you easily switch between different sets and in the same DeviantArt you get many free icons for this software.
The other alternative is totally free, but we do not have as much variety in icons as with the previous one. Some icon pack specialists use a tool called iPack Builder to create executables that change most Windows icons. You just have to get a package, like the ones in this gallery by artist Neiio, and run the installer on your PC. These packages are usually much prettier.
If in addition to all this you want to add “widgets” and other elements to your desktop, you can use Rainmeter and raise the level of customization a bit more. This tool allows you to add all kinds of cool gadgets like system monitors, calendars, clocks, modified shortcuts, equalizers, music player controls, notes, power off and reset buttons, etc.
Rainmeter is free, once installed it applies a default “skin” or theme. You can browse through the thousands of skins found in the application section on DeviantArt, or go to the official forums for add-ons.
Cover image | Neiio
In Genbeta | 7 apps to give your Windows 10 start menu a new look