Can’t Change Windows 7 Theme?

Can’t change the Windows 7 theme? Is your Windows 7 theme stuck on “classic”? If it is stuck, then you can try to apply a few fixes and see if if you can unstuck it! Often it is stuck, because your PC is configured to be optimized for best performance, rather than best appearance!

WIndows 7 Theme stuck on classic


Configure PC for better Appearance
Start Windows 7 Themes Service
Problem: Themes Service Cannot Be Started
Does your PC actually support Windows 7 Aero Themes?

Use Visual Styles on Windows and Buttons

Often the reason why your Windows 7 theme could be stuck on classic is that your PC is configured to be optimized for better performance. I could imagine that some laptops are even pre-configured that way. Actually, it’s a good setting, but if you want a better appearance I can understand that it’s annoying to be stuck on “classic” theme. So, if you can’t change your Windows 7 theme, you might want to check your PC configuration first:

1. StepOpen the Control Panel
Open Control Panel

Click on “System and Security”:
System and Security

3. Step Click on “System”.

4. Step In the sidebar, click on “Advanced System Settings”:

Advanced Windows 7 System Settings

Go to the tab “Advanced” and click on “Settings”:

Advanced Performance Settings Windows 7

6. Step Scroll down the list, at the bottom double-check that the item “Use Visual Styles on Windows and Buttons” is checked. If this is not checked, your Windows 7 theme will be stuck on “classic” for a long time, because this completely disables your fancy visual Aero appearance.

Use Visual Styles on Windows and Buttons

This is also often the problem why people can’t seem to be able to active the Windows 7 Aero theme, because their PC is configured to be optimized for the best performance and not the best appearance.

Themes service is not started

If your Windows 7 themes service is not started your Windows 7 theme will be stuck on “classic”. You can’t change your Windows 7 theme when the theme service is disabled. So, let’s check if your themes service is up and running.

1. Step Click on “Start” and enter “services.msc” into the search field. Click on the item that appears.

2. Step Scroll down the list until you find the item “Themes” (or enter Themes while one item is selected)

3. StepYou will now see if the Themes service is running currently and what mode it is in (Automatic, Disabled, Manual):

Windows 7 Themes Service

If it’s currently “Disabled” or in “Manual” mode and not started, you have to start it manually and change the mode to “Automatic”.

4. StepDouble-click on “Themes” and from the dropdown select “Automatic”, click on “Start” and then on “Apply”.

Start Windows 7 Themes Service

Windows could not start the Themes service on Local Computer.

If you are receiving an error and you are not able to start your themes service, please refer to this tutorial:
Themes Service will not start

Does your PC support Windows 7 Aero themes?

If your Windows 7 theme is stuck on classic the reason could be that your PC does not support Aero. If you have used Windows 7 Aero themes before, then this does not affect you, but if you just bought your PC/Laptop, then it could be a reason. In order to change your Windows 7 theme to an Aero theme, your PC has to support it, else you can’t change your Windows 7!

To find out if your PC can run Windows 7 Aero themes, read our tutorial:
How to enable Windows 7 Aero themes

Published: Saturday, March 20th, 2010 Last Modified: March 20, 2010

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