Microsoft adds new themes for Windows 8.1, including vistas you won't hate

Microsoft has released a range of new themes, and while they're designed for Windows 8 and 8.1, there are also new wallpapers available that can be used on any PC. 

The latest theme pack was actually announced before the weekend, but we know that many of you enjoy customizing the appearance of your PCs as much as we do, so we thought we'd let you know about it - even if it is a few days late! 

The first theme, Panoramas of Europe is well-named, as the theme pack includes 21 double-width images, showcasing some stunning views from across the continent. 

For a different view of the continent, the Bing Maps: Europe theme includes some striking aerial views taken over countries including the UK, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands, among others. The Bing Maps: US theme offers a similar perspective on some parts of the United States, including a glacier in Alaska, a volcano in New Mexico and the Florida Everglades.

Let the Northern lights shine on your desktop with this Aurora Borealis theme. 

There's also a second panoramic theme on offer called Rock Formations, featuring thirteen dual-monitor photos from around the planet, such as Giant's Causeway in Ireland, sandstone arches in Utah and limestone formations in Western Australia.

A range of others themes is also available for Windows 8 and 8.1, based on photography submissions as part of Microsoft's Open Call program, which invites contributors to submit their photos to be shared with Windows users around the world. You can see the full list of available themes over on Blogging Windows

Source and images: Microsoft

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Brian Miller said,
Wish Apple would have multi-desktop wallpapers
Please remember to add '/s' for sarcasm.

Edited by 68k, Aug 5 2014, 7:00am :

I know aye, remember when MS released the msstyles Royale for Windows XP? That was cool. They even had Silver and Olive shipped with XP that nobody liked.

AnthoWin said,
I know aye, remember when MS released the msstyles Royale for Windows XP? That was cool. They even had Silver and Olive shipped with XP that nobody liked.

I used Royale from the moment they released it till the moment i upgraded to Vista. Was so much nicer than Lego blue.

Athlonite said,
Wow a wallpaper nice to see this is what qualifies as theme nowadays :s

Oh look, this comment again.

Athlonite said,

Did you really need to comment on it then

You're right. My comment was only slightly more original than your own.

Though pretty much any positive number is more than zero.

Joshie said,

You're right. My comment was only slightly more original than your own.

Though pretty much any positive number is more than zero.

Keep it up, you're doing gods work son. People that consistently post pointless drivel should receive the same amount of effort from peoples replies until they realise no one wants to read the same old cack again, like "Wow a wallpaper nice to see this is what qualifies as theme nowadays".

I don't use these themes, but I guess it's good that Microsoft keeps releasing them. Just wished they had more stuff (like new visual styles).

glen8 said,
I'm sorry, but after all these years nothing beats the davinci theme from plus! 98

I don't think Microsoft has released anything that beats the themes in Windows 98 Plus! They offered so many options for customization.

The Vista joke was never funny. Millions of people never had a problem with Windows Vista, it was just Apple and the Apple-worshipping press that perpetuated that misinformation.

Bern@rd said,
The Vista joke was never funny. Millions of people never had a problem with Windows Vista, it was just Apple and the Apple-worshipping press that perpetuated that misinformation.

In comparison with XP : slower (even after all the service packs), hard disk performance issues, memory hog, battery hog, expensive, drm,drivers issues, incompatibilities and so on.

Brony said,

In comparison with XP : slower (even after all the service packs), hard disk performance issues, memory hog, battery hog, expensive, drm,drivers issues, incompatibilities and so on.

In short, just like XP when it came out in 2001. People have just forgotten that uncomfortable truth.
Vista was a good OS, if surffering from Microsoft's usual lack of attention to detail. Apple (and its sheep in the press like Walt Mossberg) succeded in giving the public (most of whom had never tried Vista) the idea that it was bad. Just like they're doing with Windows 8 right now.

Brony said,

In comparison with XP : slower (even after all the service packs), hard disk performance issues, memory hog, battery hog, expensive, drm,drivers issues, incompatibilities and so on.

Yes, Windows Vista was slower than Windows XP on the same hardware during that time period, but I disagree with the overall message that you are trying to convey in that it was slower in practically every area.

Would you care to elaborate on the hard disk issues? Microsoft made many improvements to that area with Windows Vista with features such as I/O prioritization (http://download.microsoft.com/...b18336565f5b/Priorityio.doc); improved disk defragmentation, http://support.microsoft.com/kb/942092); ReadyDrive and support for Hybrid Hard Drives (http://download.microsoft.com/...74cf47d23cd/sto008_wh06.ppt).

As for Windows Vista being a memory hog, that is simply not true. There is no reason to have, say, 1 GB of memory that isn't being used, and that is where SuperFetch comes in. http://technet.microsoft.com/e...ne/2007.03.vistakernel.aspx However, I admit that the performance of the Desktop Window Manager could be better (simply put, it uses more memory than is necessary); unfortunately, Microsoft never fixed this in that operating system and used the improvement(s) as a selling point for Windows 7 instead. http://blogs.msdn.com/b/e7/arc...r-graphics-performance.aspx

Yes, Windows Aero in Windows Vista drained battery life more quickly. http://news.cnet.com/Vista-dra...ce/2100-1044_3-6181366.html But notice that it does so in Windows 7 as well. While Microsoft never really gave a direct reason for removing Windows Aero in Windows 8, I believe battery life was a major contributing factor.

As for Windows Vista being expensive, that really depends on the consumer. I would say that the price of Windows Vista Ultimate was justified at the time due to the significance of the update.

DRM was not, and is not, an issue for many users. Microsoft would have been at a competitive disadvantage if it had not included the technology in Windows Vista; consumers would also be at a disadvantage in that they would not have been able to playback protected content. It should be noted that Windows 7 and Windows 8.x include similar DRM technology, but I hardly hear it mentioned as a negative feature in those operating systems. I wonder why that is?

The driver issues and incompatibilities were a result of the new driver models, and in this user's view, the benefits they reaped were well worth the initial hassle. The new display driver model in Windows Vista, for example, is what powers the new Desktop Window Manager, which, in turn, provides a tear-free graphical experience (no longer do users have to see something like this: http://blogs.msdn.com/cfs-file...-00-54-43-06/dragpaint2.jpg) More importantly, the new display driver model greatly improved the graphical stability of Windows. Instead of a fault bringing down the entire system (a la, blue screen), the display driver is simply restarted. http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-u...tadisplaydrivermodel_topic2

Edited by Ian W, Aug 16 2014, 12:12am :

When Apple finally has multi desktop wallpapers, it will be announced at WWDC in a 10 minute segment as something magical, the audience will cheer and whoop and post about how bloody great the Mac is. Just like when they finally added support for multiple monitors (still not as good as Windows).

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