Windows 7 Desktop Themes With an International Flavour

November 5, 2010, By Christian Cawley

If you’ve been following our tutorials on Windows 7 desktop options, you might know that it is possible to change your desktop background or apply a theme.

You may also know that you can access new themes and backgrounds via the web (mainly via Microsoft’s vast library of themes, although third party libraries are popping up in various places) and that these are added to your library of available themes which can be accessed at any time.

However what you might not know is that your library of themes is restricted; the default themes that come with Windows 7 can in fact be expanded upon without resorting to downloading additional themes.

This is all down to Microsoft’s localisation of Windows 7, but it is a restriction that can be overcome, allowing you to truly globalise your Windows 7 desktop background!


Image courtesy of kjarrett

How to Globalise your Windows 7 Background

You can add an international flavour to your rotating desktop backgrounds by adding the hidden themes for other English speaking nations, such as Australia, Canada, South Africa and Great Britain (or the USA, depending on where you live).

By default, these themes are hidden, but can be added by going to Start > Search and entering:

C:\Windows\Globalization\MCT

In the resulting Windows Explorer window, you will see a list of folders:

  • MCT-AU – this is for the Australia theme
  • MCT-CA – the Canada theme
  • MCT-GB – the British theme
  • MCT-US – here you will find the United States of America theme
  • MCT-ZA – South African theme

If you want to add any of these themes to Windows 7, simply open the relevant folder and then the Theme folder within this. You should see a .theme file; double click this to add it the theme to your My Themes library in the Personalization screen.

Discarding Changes and Selecting Alternate Themes

If you grow tired of your new theme, you can deselect it and choose another by returning to the Personalization screen. Access this by right-clicking an empty area of your Windows 7 desktop and choosing Personalize; in this screen you can choose from another theme from your My Themes library simply by left-clicking your new choice.

You can revert to the default Windows 7 Aero theme by selecting this – with only one background, this will bring an end to the ever-changing desktop backgrounds afforded by a theme, and you can change the default Windows 7 background by choosing an image of your choice as background (simply browse your computer or the web for an image with appropriate resolutions, right-click and select Set as desktop background.)

Regular additions to your themes may result in a slightly untidy selection of options that you might like to trim down – to do this you must first make sure the theme you wish to remove isn’t currently selected. Once you have selected a default theme, return to the ones you wish to remove and one by one, right-click the themes and select Delete theme.

A dialogue box will be displayed asking you to confirm your action – click yes to proceed!

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