New Windows themes for the beginning of winter

I think those of us who live in the Pacific Northwest may have a unique relationship with snow. This is just conjecture, but I suspect that folks who live in Fargo, Fairbanks, Buffalo, or Boston don’t greet winter’s first snowfall with childlike delight, considering that every winter features week after endless week of freezing temperatures and snowbound inconvenience. But for residents of mild climates such as the maritime Puget Sound region, it’s different. When I was little, there were soooo many times when I went to bed filled with excitement because snow was falling and the world was beginning to take on that otherworldly look, transformed by a frosting of glittering white into a newly mysterious and beautiful place. I could hardly wait to go play in it the next morning! But when I woke up, it was to just another ordinary gray, wet day; the rain had come in the night, and all the lovely snow had melted away.

So, the first two new themes in today’s roundup are for everyone who’d like some snow that won’t melt and disappear… or who’d like to enjoy the beauties of wintery weather without risking frostbite, struggling with snow chains, or worrying about the station wagon sliding into a ditch.

The new Snow Panoramic theme extends scenes of chilly majesty – including snow-covered forests, farmlands, rivers, cityscapes, and mountain ranges – across dual monitors in Windows 8 or Windows 8.1.

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Snow at night has a special look and a special sound. The soft whiteness that muffles everything reflects and enhances light while hushing noises, to create a sense of luminous stillness. In this new theme we make a night-time visit to lantern-lit cabins in Canada and Sweden, sparkling cityscapes in Norway, Bulgaria, and the UK, and a moonlit forest in Finland. You can almost hear your footsteps crunching through the snow.

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No actual snow appears in our next theme, but it is populated by Snowy Owls, captured in their native habitat by the camera of Christopher D. Elliott.

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Our next two themes also showcase the photography of participants in the open call. The first is an exploration of the diverse sights on the Isle of Man, by photographer Mark Wallace.

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The next theme almost makes me feel as if winter is already over, and spring has arrived! It features the dreamy floral photography of Elena Yansupova.

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Our last new theme is a complete change of pace – and a change of place, from the landscapes of Earth to the world of Albion. Fans of Fable are eagerly awaiting the release of Fable Anniversary for the Xbox 360, expected to launch in January or February. To make the waiting a little easier, you can bring a bit of Albion to your desktop right now, with the new Fable Anniversary theme.

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If you have an older version of Windows that can’t use themes, or if you prefer to use a single image, we have new desktop décor for you, too. Here are just a few of our new wallpapers.

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I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating: You can also customize your Windows 8 or 8.1 lock screen – or your Windows Phone – with wallpapers from the Personalization Gallery. I explained how in this blog post.

That wraps up today’s review of new themes and wallpapers. I hope you’ll keep checking back on the Personalization Gallery for more new goodies to keep your Windows PC or Windows Phone looking fresh.