Microsoft releases new Windows 8.1 themes that travel around the world

As some people around the world celebrate the Easter holiday this weekend, many of them might want to take a few minutes to change their theme on their Windows 8.1 PCs. Microsoft has some new themes they have recently released that might be worth a look.

New York City remains one of the largest and busiest cities in the world, and that is shown off extremely well in the new Windows 8.1 theme, New York Cityscapes, from photographer Johnny Lam. It offers up 19 new photos showing various landmark locations in the Big Apple, often from some interesting angles and perspectives.

Urban locations are the subject of yet another new theme from Microsoft, Perspectives of Japan. The collection of 15 images from photographer Kazuo Nakadai shows off locations in many of that countries largest cities, including  Osaka, Tokyo, and Yokohama.

Not all of the new Windows 8.1 themes are centered on buildings. Exploring Manitoba, from photographer Hayley Elizabeth, has 19 images that focus mostly on the beautiful natural locations in the province of Canada.

Finally, in one of the oddest themes we have seen from Microsoft in a while, photographer Marc Schroeder has eight images of flame and hot coals in his Fire collection. We think some people might save this download for the cold winter months.

Source: Microsoft | Images via Microsoft

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30 Comments

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Honestly I don't see the point in these "theme packs" when I can just go to sites like Interfacelift and get all the great free looking wallpapers I could ever want (and without watermarks).

You can pick up almost the same type of images on a creative licence. I think I will stick to that. Did Charles O'Rear feel the need for a watermark ? Well no.

Urgh stop doing this rubbish and work on the start menu. We can all download a wallpaper and change the task bar colour. I wouldn't mind if these themes actually changed the style of the task bar etc.

Romero said,
Most likely not in their hands at all.

of course it is. if they cant or dont want to pay the license to remove watermarks, then they should just find a different image!

imagine all the stock wallpapers that come with windows had watermarks?!

panacea said,

of course it is. if they cant or dont want to pay the license to remove watermarks, then they should just find a different image!

imagine all the stock wallpapers that come with windows had watermarks?!


Yes because they're going to waste money on paying licensing fees for something that they're giving away for free. It's driven by the photography community, and the watermarks are there to promote their work. I do agree they should be smaller though.

j2006 said,
Yes because they're going to waste money on paying licensing fees for something that they're giving away for free. It's driven by the photography community, and the watermarks are there to promote their work.
^ This.

1. Open in photoshop
2. Lasso around the watermark
3. Goto edit > Fill > Content-Aware
4. Save
5. Set as wallpaper and stop ya bitchin?

i don't have photoshop, and i am not planning to buy/pirate it just to do so, mmmkay?

stop bitchin about me bitchin, LOL

they provide a #### ton of images without watermarks, so me thinking its not cool of them to start doing watermarked themes is like my opinion man.

take it easy ;)

Without watermark would be perfect. I just hate nasty watermarks. What's wrong with releasing it under a creative commons licence ????

pixelpixel said,
Without watermark would be perfect. I just hate nasty watermarks. What's wrong with releasing it under a creative commons licence ????


Because they belong to the artists who sell them and make their living off them.

I'm ok with the watermarks as long as they're small, or perhaps positioned so they get hidden behind the taskbar (well at least the most common location for it i.e. bottom of the screen).

Nice, but I'm not a big fan of having the photographer's name in a big watermark if I'm using it as a wallpaper.

NyaR said,
When I think of themes I think of different visual UI elements, not a recolor, wallpaper, and sounds swap.

Call it what you want, but the theme packs are a great and easy way to get some quality wallpapers on your desktop in a couple of clicks, the auto switching off wallpapers via packs keeps things fresh.

But hey, lets just have a pop at free stuff that you don't need to use, dam free stuff that's not exactly what you want, how dare they

What you are thinking of are called Visual Styles. Themes can include changes in the visual style in addition to what you mention. Microsoft seems to rarely release official visual styles (and hasn't AFAIK since the XP Royale, Embedded, and Zune versions).

NyaR said,
When I think of themes I think of different visual UI elements, not a recolor, wallpaper, and sounds swap.

Those would be skins or visual styles. A theme is an all encompassing term that includes that and all the other changes. A theme can be as little as a set of themed sounds or a common pack of themed sounds, visual styles and backgrounds. Or in the case of these backgrounds and sometimes sounds.

It's kind of in the name theme, it's a themed collection.

NyaR said,
When I think of themes I think of different visual UI elements, not a recolor, wallpaper, and sounds swap.

And somebody says this in each and every article about themes. Themes are colors.. wallpapers.. sounds. Been that way since the days of the Plus Pack. Visual Styles are the GUI elements, which may or may not be contained inside a theme.

duddit2 said,

Call it what you want, but the theme packs are a great and easy way to get some quality wallpapers on your desktop in a couple of clicks

Wallpapers ? That is what wallbase is for.

duddit2 said,

Call it what you want, but the theme packs are a great and easy way to get some quality wallpapers on your desktop in a couple of clicks, the auto switching off wallpapers via packs keeps things fresh.

But hey, lets just have a pop at free stuff that you don't need to use, dam free stuff that's not exactly what you want, how dare they

i agree with the other guy, in the last couple of years i barely see my desktop, my browser is maximized and i open explorer or other programs on top of the browser so i only see my desktop when i log on

i use those windows themes, but when i stop and think about it, they are useless to me