11 unforgettable Windows themes

A day or two after I published my last blog post, I suddenly realized that I’d completely forgotten to mention one of the new themes I’d been the most excited to bring you – Panoramas of Europe! So this time, I’m making sure to talk about it first.

This theme is huge in several ways – it contains 21 massive double-width images designed to span dual monitors on the new Windows, and it includes photos from across the expanse of Continental Europe – and from the UK and Iceland, too. This dramatic shot shows Kirkjufell Mountain on Iceland’s Snæfellsnes peninsula.

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Kirkjufell Mountain takes on a new and otherworldly look when it is illuminated by the shifting veils of the aurora borealis. I hope you’ll enjoy the glow of the eerie but beautiful atmospheric phenomenon in this set of wintry scenes from Iceland and Norway.

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For views of Europe from a completely different perspective, try the Bing Maps: Europe theme. You’ll feel like you’re flying in a small plane over red-tiled roofs in Spain, patchworks of farmland in Germany, curving rivers in England, mountain formations in France, and colored tulip fields in the Netherlands. This shot is of boats and islands near Sardinia, Italy.

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You can pilot your plane over the United States, too, from gardens in Oregon to the Philadelphia Museum of Art in Pennsylvania, and from glaciers in Alaska to the Everglades National Park in Florida. This shot shows the Shoshone Falls at Twin Falls, Idaho.

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 One of the most well-loved features of Bing is the amazing selection of photography (and sometimes videos) featured every day on the Bing home page. It’s hard to believe that Bing has been providing incredible images – and interesting info about each one – for more than five years! Bing’s fifth anniversary was on May 28, 2014, and they released this theme to celebrate. This theme is different from all the rest of our themes, in that it uses Bing’s installer which lets users on Windows Vista and Windows XP enjoy the images, too. The installer will also set Bing as your default search engine and home page.

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For more ruggedly expansive views, check out the new Rock Formations panoramic theme. It includes dramatic locations such as the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, Bryce Canyon in Utah, the Pinnacles at Nambung National Park in Australia, and the fairy chimney rock formations in Cappadocia, Turkey, shown here. This theme is designed to extend background images across dual monitors in the new Windows.

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The rest of our new themes feature the works of contributors to the Open Call. First up is a tour through the serene beaches and harbor towns of Germany’s Fischland-Darß-Zingst peninsula, by photographer Markus Janse, who previously introduced us to the shoreline scenery of Spiekeroog.

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For a darker and more abstract aesthetic, take a look at the innovative photography in the new Light Painting theme from a talented artist who goes by the name of LayonerBeast.

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 The Community Showcase series of themes we launched earlier this year has been very popular – particularly the ongoing Aqua series. If you enjoyed Aqua and Aqua 2 I’m happy to announce that Community Showcase: Aqua 3 is here, full of beautiful images of water in all its forms – glittering dewdrops, rushing waterfalls, crystalline snowflakes, and pools that reflect the colors of the sky. It features the images of 21 different photographers, including Rowe Cierras, Grace Eggleston, Yatin Gambhir, and Alexa Brown. This golden sunset over Chott el Djerid in Tunisia was captured by Saša Petrović.

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As with the Everyday Art and Everyday Art 2 themes, Community Showcase: Everyday Art 3 is a collection of images capturing moments of beauty or humor in everyday life. This theme showcases images by 21 different photographers, including Kemal Can Zeytünlü, Laura Hanna, Allan Richardson, and Monika Rosa. This moody photo of dead leaves fallen across the keyboard of an old piano was taken by Esikova Daria.

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Flora and Flora 2 brought together the best garden, floral, and plant life photos from our community of talented contributors, and Community Showcase: Flora 3 continues in the same tradition with images from 21 different photographers including Alhassan Omar, Ekaterina Kokushkina, Horváth Timcsi, and Sarah McDevitt. This vivid marigold was captured by Ricardo Ferreira Ramos.

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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.

1_European-Panoramas_Russia_th NorthernLights3_th 2_RockFormations_Utah-US2_th

MaryVasquez-HighKeyDaisy_th MistyMorning10_th KazuoNakadai_EitaiDoriAvenueTokyo_th

If you usually read to the end of my blog posts (thank you!) then you probably know I say this every time… but that’s because I just want to make sure everyone knows that they can customize their Windows 8 or 8.1 lock screen – or Windows Phone – with wallpapers from the Personalization Gallery, too. I explained how in this blog post.

That wraps up the latest overview of new themes and wallpapers. I hope you’ll remember to keep checking back on the Personalization Gallery for more great new imagery to keep your Windows PC or Windows Phone looking fresh – and unforgettable.