Add hidden international desktop themes to Windows 7

No international themes are available

In the past, I have not been a big fan of the personalization features of Microsoft Windows. I found most of the Windows themes to be clunky, resource hogs, ugly, or all of the above. However, Windows 7 and the Aero interface is different, especially for those of us lucky enough to have a high definition resolution LCD monitor. Some of the included themes are quite elegant and engaging. In particular I like the image slideshow that serve as the background setting for many of the themes.

But there are several hidden international themes that do not appear as choices in the conventional United States-based installation of Windows 7. When you told Windows 7 that you were a resident of the U.S., the operating system hid the other international choices, but I don't like having my choices arbitrarily limited. There is a relatively simple way to add them to your list of available themes in the Personalization section of the Control Panel and it starts with a search.

Screenshots created by Mark Kaelin for TechRepublic from Microsoft Windows 7. The gallery was originally published in May 2010.

By Mark Kaelin

Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to,, and TechRepublic.