Microsoft releases some new Windows 8 themes for the winter

As December begins, the weather outside is already getting colder in some places as we head into the official start of winter later this month. Microsoft is getting into the spirit of the season with some Windows 8 themes that have been recently released by the company.

The themes, available to download on the official Windows site, includes one called simply Snow, with panoramic images that are designed to stretch across two monitors for Windows 8 and 8.1. The 12 photos in the theme include snowy and/or cold vistas from Yosemite National Park in the U.S to the Alps in Austria to a dike along the frozen ─▓sselmeer lake in the Netherlands, as shown above.

Another new theme is titled Snowy Night and features 13 more winter and holiday photos from around the world, including several taken in Sweden and Canada, along with locations in Norway, Scotland and more.

Yet another new Windows 8 theme with "Snow" in its title is Snowy Owls. With photographs taken by Christopher D. Elliott, the seven images in this theme show the large and beautiful white owl with dark spots in its natural habitat, which is typically in the arctic regions of Canada and Alaska.

Source: Microsoft | Images via Microsoft

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28 Comments

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The only good thing coming out of this article is the fact that I was just reminded that I haven't visited interfacelift in a while. You want decent wallpapers, this is the place to go...

TRC said,
Do these include new sounds? New icons? Anything besides wallpaper? The answer is no.

That's quaint, but has absolutely nothing to do with what I said. If you're wanting to completely change the UI, it's a visual style. The "minor" elements can be set with themes, which may contain backgrounds, colors, sounds, etc. Doesn't have to contain them all. Pick a style, change the background, save it.. bam, new theme on your hard drive.

Still a theme, it's how it's worked since Windows 95 with the Plus pack, XP added visual styles... nothing new, not sure why that's hard to comprehend.

Visual Styles is just a name Microsoft came up with, programs like WindowBlinds call them what they always had been called, Themes. The only thing these packs include is wallpaper. They don't include any sounds, icons or anything else, even Windows 95 themes included more than just wallpaper.

A wallpaper pack is not a theme.

TRC said,
Visual Styles is just a name Microsoft came up with, programs like WindowBlinds call them what they always had been called, Themes. The only thing these packs include is wallpaper. They don't include any sounds, icons or anything else, even Windows 95 themes included more than just wallpaper.

That's nice for WindowBlinds, but they can call them pickles for all it matters. For the record, Windows Themes have been around a few years longer than WindowBlinds, why does a buggy program that came later get to dictate what a component in a product they didn't even make be called?

Per the people who wrote the thing since actually looking it up appears to be difficult... "Windows includes several features that enable users to tailor the UI to accommodate their individual needs and preferences. These features include themes, which were introduced in Microsoft Plus! for Windows 95. A theme is a user-selectable collection of settings that includes wallpaper, cursors, fonts, sounds, and icons." It's just essentially a flat configuration file.. it can have all of those elements or just one. Just having a wallpaper setting is pretty weak, sure I won't argue that, but it's still a theme. Not liking what they put in it doesn't change that fact, never mind my original comment was a response to themes changing the entire visual interface.. which they *never* did in the first place, see below.

And then later extended with visual styles... " A visual style is a specification that defines the appearance of the Windows common controls. Visual styles are associated with themes; that is, a .theme file contains a section that specifies the visual style to apply when the particular theme is active."

Get the difference?

NPGMBR said,
These aren't just collections of wallpapers. They are in-fact themes.

Windows 8 dynamically changes the window chrome based on the wallpaper so these are basically just wallpapers.

NPGMBR said,
These aren't just collections of wallpapers. They are in-fact themes.

Just to add if you rename the .deskthemepack file to .zip you can open it see that it is just a collection of jpg wallpapers. If you open the .theme file within the .deskthemepack file you will see they are all basically identical (cursors, etc.)

Please, stop calling these wallpaper packs, themes, just because MS wants us to call them this way.
We don't have to follow, we can oppose... \m/ (i like to live dangerously sometimes).

tomasse said,
Please, stop calling these wallpaper packs, themes, just because MS wants us to call them this way.
We don't have to follow, we can oppose... \m/ (i like to live dangerously sometimes).

Exactly, I thought oh great we're going to have some actual themes, yay! then scrolled down and it was some wallpapers that aren't exactly exciting either.

tomasse said,
Please, stop calling these wallpaper packs, themes, just because MS wants us to call them this way.
We don't have to follow, we can oppose... \m/ (i like to live dangerously sometimes).

I honestly don't care either way; however, technically they are 'Winter Themed' wallpapers.

I've had this on OS X for a long time, just cut the wallpapers in Preview and you're done. You can even set a wallpaper for every Space you use.