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September 12, 2013

Windows themes: from salt to fire… and lots more

A few months ago when I was researching images for other projects, I stumbled across some otherworldly photographs of salt formations in the Dead Sea and was immediately transfixed. I wanted to find out more about these forbidding but strangely beautiful scenes created by an evaporation of seawater that led to a level of salinity much higher than that of the ocean. I learned that in some areas, unique ecosystems form, supporting a variety of flora and fauna; in other cases, there may be almost no life at all. Or sometimes, odd spire-like mineral formations may develop, like the eerie tufa towers at Mono Lake near Yosemite National Park.

Our new Salt Lakes and Dead Sea theme is a dreamlike exploration of these unusual places, including images from the Dead Sea, Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, Salar de Atacama in Chile, Death Valley in California, the Great Salt Lake in Utah, Lake Assal in Djibouti, and Chott el Djerid in Tunisia.


In an abrupt change of gears from nature to games, our next two themes feature the artwork of two new Xbox titles. The first brings the dystopian world of Ubisoft’s Watch_Dogs to your desktop.


Our next new game theme is a virtual visit to the cheerful world of Disney Infinity, where familiar Disney and Pixar characters interact and go on adventures.


For a different kind of travel, Ingo Scholtes takes us on a tour of Scenic Europe, through some of the loveliest cityscapes and landscapes in Switzerland, France, the UK, Germany, Sweden, and Sardinia.


The rest of our new themes also feature the works of participants in the Open Call. Garden Glimpses 3 is a follow-up from photographer Rangan Das, who gave us the popular Garden Glimpses and Garden Glimpses 2 themes.


Photographer Mayur Kotlikar provided a peek into the lives of Bees and Butterflies earlier this year. Now, he turns his camera on the diversity of India’s wildlife.


The colors of nature – including birds’ brilliant feathers, flower petals, iridescent insect wings, and stormy seas – are the subject of photographer Popkov Alexandr’s first theme for the Personalization Gallery.


Our last new theme features the fiery artwork of designer Arash Asghari, whose evocative graphics feature stylized flame-like shapes that seem to fluctuate, flicker, and grow from image to image.


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


Keep checking back on the Personalization Gallery for more new themes and wallpapers to keep your Windows PC or Windows Phone looking fresh.