Windows 8 themes: panoramas, auto color, and more

Windows 8 themes: panoramas, auto color, and more

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You may have heard that Windows 8 Consumer Preview was released last week! We also published a theme that showcases some of the new desktop theming features available in Windows 8.

First of all, I just want to clarify one point – all of our Windows 7 themes also work in Windows 8. But the reverse is not true. Themes created in the Windows 8 format will not work in Windows 7, because Windows 8 introduces a few new desktop personalization features that aren’t supported in Windows 7, and the file format is different.

The new feature I am most excited about is the ability to create and use panoramic themes that extend a single background across two monitors. I don’t know how many of you are running multimon, but now we can stretch a single panoramic image across both displays.


You do need to have each monitor set the same. If the displays are different sizes or have different resolution settings, the panorama will not automatically extend across both monitors. Instead, a different image will appear in each display.

Incidentally, you don’t need to have a dual monitor setup to use a theme that contains panoramic images. If you have only one monitor, each image will be cropped to the center. So those of you without multimon can still enjoy the images in the Windows Personalization Gallery’s very first Windows 8 theme, Nightfall and Starlight.


The next new feature is also aimed at users with dual monitor setups: Themes containing regular-size (non-panoramic) images will display a different image in each monitor, instead of just duplicating the same image, as occurs in Windows 7. Windows 8 actually does this automatically, even with Windows 7 themes.

The last new feature is auto color. Windows 8 themes created with the auto color setting will smoothly and automatically shift the Windows desktop glass and taskbar color to match the dominant color in whichever background image is currently being displayed. I really like this feature because it means I won’t have to struggle to try to find one single glass color that goes with every image in a set!

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I hope you’ll enjoy trying out the new desktop personalization features in Windows 8 Consumer Preview. And keep visiting the Windows Personalization Gallery for new Windows themes and wallpapers – I add more almost every week.

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  • John Abraham

    There Is An Option To Have The Taskbar On Both Both Screens Can You Tell Me If You Have And Intel Display Driver Or Nvidia?

  • Why can't we have the function to mirror the task bar on the other display(s)? This is really something I need and I am forced to use a third party application, but it really should be built into the OS.

  • My suggestion as wallpaper for classic desktop in Windows 8

    That way changing between Metro and classic desktop is much more like moving in same world.

    (on that example picture I have dragged Taskbar on top of screen, widened it 2-rowed and setup it to hide it beyong screen side and come visible automatically from there when I move mouse pointer near screen side - I find that very usable especially with smaller widescreen-screen on laptop)  

    I did that wallpaper this way very easily

    - first set Metro background color and outlook the way you like

    - take a print screen of Metro-screen (so with PrtSc-key)

    - in Metro write "paint" with keyboard, so you find Paint and can start it

    - in Paint paste that printscreen-picture on it

    - edit picture the way you want

    - for example if you want to make Metro tiles with solid color only, first select with mouse narrow horizontal area at the top of tile on solid color area and then widen it with corner / side -marks to cover whole tile (that way, bcause tiles are colored with horizontally sliding, not solid color in Windows 8 Metro)

    - then just save wallpaper picture in a folder you want as jpg-image and close Paint

    - then in Windows 8 go to classic desktop, click it with 2nd mouse button and select Customize and there you can then set that picture as wallpaper

    Maybe Microsoft could even include that kinda wallpaper in Windows 8 or even make wallpaper theme-pack with all the colors, that are available for Metro background color.

  • pwrblnc
    3 Posts

    I think the two monitor background themes are a great idea. I plan on purchasing a second monitor very soon and this will be a really nice touch.

  • pwrblnc
    3 Posts

    Jennifer. Are those pictures accepted for new themes going to be on Windows 8? My art was accepted, I'm so excited about that, but not yet posted on Windows 7. Sorry for being so excited about this, but I have to ask. When will we see our art added to the themes? Ricky Kendall

  • it would be awesome to be able to add certain live tiles to the lock screen (i.e. weather, stocks, news) like it was done on the Homebrew hack for Windows Phone.  Since windows 8 is still in development, please consider this.

  • I am using Windows 8 on a Laptop that I dock and connect  two HP L1940T's.  Monitor support is working flawlessly for me.  Also I just found the panorama themes and they look great with two monitors.

  • DjiXas
    46 Posts

    I sincerely hope that Metro on 3 displays will be fixed and you actually care about the power users.

  • Gary
    12 Posts

    "If the displays are different sizes or have different resolution settings,"

    I have a 24" and 27", both running 1920x1200 and the panorama works fine.

  • Nik
    4 Posts

    Panoramic wallpapers work just fine in Windows 7, for example, create a picture that is 3840x1200 and it will span two 1920x1200 screens

  • I am with Zartan here.  Can we get a new theme to go along with a Windows 8?  Some new icons and a few tweaks would go a long way.

  • The separate image selection for each monitor also works with your own collection of images. Unfortunately themes don't seem to apply to the Metro start menu or to the lock screen; the image selectors for both are very limited compared to the Windows 7-style selector. Is there any chance of getting this fixed before RTM?

  • Zartan
    22 Posts

    Can we please get a Metro theme for the desktop in Windows 8? I really want to turn off Aero and put on a theme that fits better with the new OS.

  • I don't get it. At long last Microsoft acknowledge power users with multi-monitor support, then they force Metro on us.

    Metro on a 27" monitor in a multi-monitor set-up is non-workable.

    The (Metro) drag the mouse to a corner doesn't work if you have another monitor there; a full screen metro app on a big monitor is so in-your-face as to be awful.

    If we must have metro, at least give us the option to run it in a 10" (tablet sized) window.