How often do you actually change the desktop image on your Windows 10 PC? If you answered, “not often,” this is just the article for you. There are a number of great Windows 10 themes available for a reasonable price or even for free.
Not only can a cool computer theme make your experience more fun, but they’re also typically easy to set up. Plus, you may just be shocked by how many options there are.
How to install Windows 10 themes
If you don't plan to go through the entire process of finding, downloading, and installing a new laptop or desktop theme, you’ll be happy to know there are a number of themes already available on the operating system. These are great if you want to change up your background to have a slightly different look than the standard Win 10 theme.
You can also search through the options from the Microsoft Store, which will give your entire computer interface a new look and feel. There are third-party themes available as well, but make sure they’re not infected with malware
before you download them. If they are, you could cause some serious issues to your device, up to the need to reinstall your entire operating system.
For first-time theme users, we recommend sticking to what you can find through the available Microsoft themes, primarily because you know they’ve been tested by users. Plus, you can look through reviews to see if there are any issues. Windows also warns you if there is a chance of incompatibility. If in doubt, think about using one of the official themes instead.
With that in mind, here is how you can install a new theme on your Windows 10 device.
- First, right-click on the Start menu and then choose Settings
- From there, you will want to pick Personalization on the far right of the panel, which is where you can change your background, lock screen, and more
- On the sidebar, choose Themes. You will then see a screen that says “Apply a Theme.” Then, click on “Get more themes in the Store” to look at the available options
- Once you’re in the Microsoft Store, you can choose from a variety of awesome themes
- When you find the one you want, click on it to open it. This will initiate a pop-up for the download, so we recommend switching off any ad-blocking software during this step. That way you can see the window to download the theme and make sure that your browser does not inadvertently block the download
- Click the Get button on the pop-up and the theme will automatically start downloading
- After your download is complete, select the Launch button and then choose the specific theme in order to apply it
After finishing these steps, you should see your brand-new theme applied to your desktop screen.
Top 15 best Windows 10 themes for 2020
Now that you’ve figured out how to install your new theme, you have to choose among the many available options. It may feel overwhelming at first to find the perfect theme for your device, especially if you don't know where to look or if you don’t know what is out there.
While the selection appears endless, there are definitely some that stand out from the crowd. And to make it easier for you, we compiled a list of what we think are the best themes going right now for Windows 10. With 15 options to pick from, you’re sure to find one you love.
1. 3D Theme
The absolutely gorgeous 3D Theme
from Themepack.me has some fascinating backgrounds made of the 3D figures and offers interesting shapes and colors you could stare at all day.
If your job or latest assignment is particularly grueling and intense, you may find yourself taking a break and just staring into the objects here. You can also use this theme to show off your interest in science, technology, or art, and it could spur some interesting conversations from onlookers as well.
2. Awesome Anime
With 21 different wallpaper options featuring a number of different characters, the Awesome Anime theme
from Themepack.me offers art that the biggest fan would be proud to show off. You have the option of choosing the artwork in multiple stages, and you can choose between pencil drawings or fully-colored pieces featuring a host of anime characters.
Share your passion for Japanese culture with a great desktop image along with a delicious bowl of ramen and your favorite anime theme song.
3. The Northern Lights
The Northern Lights have been a classic choice for wallpapers since the early days of changing backgrounds on PCs. The Northern Lights Microsoft Store theme
takes it to the next level by offering stunning images from various areas around the world.
Get your fill of wanderlust by looking at these pictures of the night sky taken from Iceland, Norway, Death Valley, and more. You have 15 different choices in all, many of which are some of the most stunning locales on the planet.
4. Ubuntu SkinPack
Not all PC users love the look of Windows 10, and that’s ok! Ubuntu is an operating system developed by Linux and it’s used by professionals who work with robotics and are in the engineering field. If you adore the way Ubuntu looks but you want the computing power of a PC or don't want to learn a whole new system, then you may want to consider the Ubuntu theme
from Skinpacks.com. It is much easier to download and install this than, say, actually switching up your operating system, allowing you get the overall look of Ubuntu without sacrificing any of the Windows features you love.
5. Windows XP Theme
Windows XP was one of the most successful operating systems that has ever existed, and you may be surprised to know how many people hang onto that interface because of its ease of use.
However, you can get the same simplicity by downloading the Windows XP Theme
from IntoWindows, which allows you to step back in time while still benefiting from newer technology. It's the perfect theme for anyone who loved the design of XP or never really wanted to upgrade in the first place.
6. Mac OS X Windows 10 Theme
Do you like how your friend's Mac looks but don't want to pay for a new computer or switch operating systems? You can fool everyone with this Mac OS X Windows theme
from Theme Raider.
It allows you to navigate your applications and entire device as though they came from Apple. The best part, of course, is that you don’t have to spend any money on a new device, or learn an entirely different OS.
7. The Animal Kingdom
What brightens up a dull day more than a photo of happy animal friends? The Microsoft Store’s Animal Kingdom theme
features 15 different images of friendly frogs, majestic horses, and silly meerkats, all posing for your entertainment and joy.
Whether you want to put an actual camel hump into your Humpday or you want to avoid spending so much time looking up cat videos on YouTube, this theme is the perfect choice for you.
8. Forgotten Relics
There's something truly fascinating about shipwrecks, plane crashes, and abandoned buildings. With 19 images of trains, planes, and automobiles lost to humanity and accompanied by beautiful landscapes, you can use the haunting backdrops of the Forgotten Relics Microsoft store theme
to ponder the weightier things in life. The photos are set in Bolivia, Iceland, and more, allowing you to get some inspiration for traveling the world simply by installing this theme.
9. Star Wars Ultimate
Your co-worker may think he's a Star Wars fan, but does he have a theme for his computer that proves that he's truly one with the Force? Show how much the Force has shaped you by displaying this custom artwork depicting a variety of characters from a galaxy far, far away.
The Ultimate Star Wars theme
from Theme Raider includes backgrounds, modified cursors, and desktop icons featuring the heroes and villains from every era of the Star Wars
saga. Go ahead, choose which side of the Force you’re on, we won’t tell anyone.
10. Overwatch Theme
has taken the gaming and eSports world
by storm and is beloved for its colorful cast of characters. The Overwatch theme
from Theme Raider offers backgrounds of all of your favorite heroes, as well as a few extras that feature everyone's number-one teleporter, Tracer.
It also includes modified cursors, customized sounds, and desktop icons to make you feel like you're still playing Overwatch long after you've closed out of the game. And the best part? You don't even have to figure out how to deliver the payload.
11. Anthem Two
Sometimes, all you need is a new color palette in order to switch things up. With beautiful pastels that include pinks and greys, the Anthem Two theme
provides a soothing, vacation-like landscape when you download it from Themepack.me. Keep in mind that your header will be tinted in black, so you get the same effect as running dark/night mode on other devices at all times.
12. Grey Eve Skin
Speaking of dark/night mode, it’s a fantastic option when you spend all day at a computer, but it can also make text more difficult to read on some themes. This isn't true for the Grey Eve Skin
by Themepack.me, however, because it strikes the perfect balance between creating a dark mode and allowing you to see what you're doing.
Shifting from one file to another doesn't cause eye strain, so you can feel a bit better about those long hours on your PC. Plus, it keeps the same design and interface changes of Windows 10, so you don't have to adjust to any major changes.
13. Hacker Theme
Want to feel like a world-class hacker without the, you know, potential to cause actual mischief and get in serious trouble? You can instantly change your image with the Hacker Theme
from Theme Raider, which offers a slideshow of wallpapers featuring the Anonymous logo and other classic hacker symbols. It also includes green text that changes every 30 minutes. Embrace your inner Mr. Robot
and take on the bad guys with custom, animated cursors and modified desktop icons.
14. Windows Throwback
Weren’t things much better back in 1985? OK, maybe just according to some people. And if you count yourself in that pack, this theme allows you to resurrect tubular designs, parachute pants, and your love for all things ‘80s.
While this theme only offers a desktop background, it also comes in stunning 4K and features bright colors and those classic floppy disks. With the Windows Throwback Microsoft Store theme
, you can make this decade look better than it ever actually did.
15. NBA Theme
When you were a kid, did you have posters hanging up in your room of stars like Michael Jordan or Shaquille O'Neal? Then you may want to consider this modern-day equivalent with the NBA Theme
from Theme Raider. It features some of the biggest names in b-ball from the last few decades, including MJ, Dirk Nowitzki, and the late Kobe Bryant.
The theme’s background actually changes every 30 seconds to keep things extra-fresh, and there are modified cursors that can help you get your head in the game. It also has customized desktop icons that include the NBA logo, Jordan sneakers, and the Larry O'Brien NBA Championship Trophy.
Whether you miss an older version of Windows or you are just looking to try something new, changing your theme is one of the simplest ways to personalize your device. You can let others know what you're passionate about or just give yourself something to smile about every time you boot up your PC. Once you learn to download and install new themes, you’ll have endless ways to make your computer truly yours.
About the Author: Daniel Horowitz is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Daniel is a New York-based author and has written for publications such as USA Today, Digital Trends, Unwinnable Magazine, and many other media outlets.