Microsoft quietly ends support for Windows 7 dynamic themes

In 2009, Microsoft launched Windows 7 which supported a new type of theme that updated its images periodically via an RSS feed. They were called dynamic themes and Microsoft released a number of them over the years, including the Sky theme which was first made available fairly recently in August 2013.

However, and with no advanced warning, Microsoft has now stopped offering and supporting their Dynamic Themes. None of them are available for download at Microsoft's Windows website, and clicking on the individual links to each of those themes now shows a message that they have been "retired."

WindowsObserver.com contacted Microsoft for comment and got this response back from a spokesperson:

RSS themes were retired from Windows.com due to a need for efficiencies. Customers can maintain themes already downloaded to their PC but won’t receive new images.

While dynamic themes are no longer available from Microsoft, Windows 7 and 8 users can still get a new desktop background delivered to them every day by downloading and installing the company's Bing Desktop program. The application automatically updates the background with the same high resolution image that's put in place each day on the Bing.com homepage.

Source: WindowsObserver.com | Image via Microsoft

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33 Comments

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I loved this feature for the daily Bing images - I love nature photography, and loved that I could have my devices cycle through all the amazing images on a regular basis - no need to change my wallpaper manually ever again.

I might just have to whip up my own service to daily scrape the 1080p image from the Bing homepage, and have my server publish a RSS feed that includes those images, so I can continue to enjoy them going forward.

With Windows 8, I'm more likely to see the lock-screen than I am my wallpaper, so would rather just have something plainish as wallpaper, and have something fancy on the lock screen.

Thus, I use Daily Wallpaper Viewer, which can automatically download the Bing HD image-of-the-day to a folder, AND of course set the lockscreen.

With low storage tablets and users using the roaming/sync accounts, this feature had been causing users a bit of a problem. It also eats a bit of bandwidth, which doesn't help Cellular devices.

It is a tiny used feature - yes I use them and many here do, but in the millions of Windows users, I would guess it is a 0.01% usage.

PS You can create your own still and you can also use 3rd party feeds and 3rd party products. Also, dreamscene still works if you don't have an old video card it won't choke. (Has to be enabled, there are 3rd party Apps to do this.)


These had such potential, but they were rather hidden away to begin with. If Microsoft had made them a bit easier to use we could have had something really cool here.

There's a problem when you use absolutes. Things like reality get in the way.

They were called dynamic themes and Microsoft released a number of them over the years, including the Sky theme which was first made available fairly recently in August 2013.

bah, who needs eye candy anyways

im glad they shut that down, i always though that it was a resource hog to have your picture change

and since i have 95% of the time a maximized window, i dont see my desktop wallpaper at all, so i never cared, same goes with the theme, im with windows 7, because its the last windows 7 to have the classic theme

Yeah the classic theme has always been my favourite. I am quite happy with Windows 8 though as it has nice sharp corners so feels a little bit like the classic theme while being a bit more modern

the reason im using classic is for performance reasons, not that i cant handle aero, but i would prefer those extra memory not to go to waste for some animations and glass effects, but for my running apps

I was under the impression that Vista onwards uses the GPU for hardware acceleration in the GUI (DWM) for Aero but falls back to software when classic is used (i.e. when desktop composition is disable in the Classic and Basic themes) therefore on modern hardware you would get better performance using Aero with animations disabled then you would using Classic due to the DWM using the graphics card for rendering rather than the CPU.

need for speed world has an option inside settings to disable aero in order to increas performance
in alliance of valiant arms i get 40 more FPS when i disable aero and go to classic

+LightEco, even if youre right what would i benefit from eye candy? will my life become better if i see a window behind another window, just because they both are made out of pixel glass?

this is my desktop and i love it, i wouldnt change it for anything... well i would change it for gnome, but linux aint good enough so far for what im doing

http://s30.postimg.org/jyz40scrj/desktop.png

Saex_Conroy said,
need for speed world has an option inside settings to disable aero in order to increas performance
in alliance of valiant arms i get 40 more FPS when i disable aero and go to classic

+LightEco, even if youre right what would i benefit from eye candy? will my life become better if i see a window behind another window, just because they both are made out of pixel glass?

this is my desktop and i love it, i wouldnt change it for anything... well i would change it for gnome, but linux aint good enough so far for what im doing

http://s30.postimg.org/jyz40scrj/desktop.png

You can save a few more MB of memory by disabling an image for your wallpaper and just using a solid colour. Saves having to load the image as a bitmap into memory.

Hahaiah said,
Let the flat blandness continue!

I think the fact that MS has gone with the total bland monochrome look is a reflection of the people running the company. Just flat bland morons. No one thought that Blackberry would ever fail, but look at them now. I would say MS is on life support and they don't even know it.

runningnak3d said,
I would say MS is on life support and they don't even know it.

I would say you should hit up a search engine, they're making quite a lot of cash...

Max Norris said,

I would say you should hit up a search engine, they're making quite a lot of cash...

Coincidentally, none of it FROM their search engine.

Microsoft killing choice and support again for an OS thats only a few years old. Which is why is hard to take Metro seriously, it'll end up just another forgotten marketing initiative.

themeserver.microsoft.com where Bing photos and theme rss feeds came from has been down for quite some time now. I have a request in answers.microsoft.com but they never acknowledged its demise. Now we know.