How To Install Windows 7 Themes on Vista?

Believe it or not, but you can install all of the official Windows 7 Themes on Vista and XP.
One of the tools that is able to handle “.themepacks” is 7-zip:


How To Install Windows 7 Themes on Vista

1. Download Official Windows 7 Themes

First of all, you should find some “official” Windows 7 Themes that you like. Keep in mind that only official themes will work probably, unsigned 3rd-party themes might still cause a lot of trouble on Vista (but worth trying).

Check out this post to download official Microsoft themes: Microsoft Windows 7 Themes

2. Extract Themepack File & Install

For this tutorial, I’ve picked the Avatar Theme. You can’t drag and drop the .themepack files into 7-ZIP.

1. Step Go to “File” – Click on “Open Inside” (CTRL + PgDn)
2. StepGo to your download folder and double-click on for example “Avatar_Windows7.themepack”

Open Windows 7 Themepack

3. Step After you extracted all the files, you have to double-click on the “.theme” file. Windows Vista supports this file format and Aero, so they will be fully compatible! XP doesn’t support Aero, so you can simply extract the wallpapers only and set them as your desktop background.

This step is needed to manually install the themes on Vista:

Copy all of the files & folders to the theme folder: C:\Users\yourusername\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Themes

If you are not sure about this step, I suggest you read this: Windows 7 Themes Folder Location

3. Download Windows 7 Background Changer for Vista (optional)

Ok, Vista doesn’t have a built-in background changer like Windows 7 does, but there are plenty of great tools that can do it for you. One of the best is “John’s Background Switcher”:

Windows 7 Background Changer for Vista

4. Copy Windows 7 Screensaver (optional)

Luckily, almost all screensavers are compatible with Windows Xp, Vista and Windows 7. All you have to do is to copy the .scr files (for screensaver) into the Windows 7 Screensaver folder:

C:\Windows\System32 (Yes, this is the correct folder, there is NO sub-folder for screensavers)

If you are looking for some good screensavers, you might want to check out our Windows 7 Screensaver page.

5. Copy desktop icons (optional)

If you themepack comes with desktop icons, you will have to install them manually.

1. Step Right-click on your desktop – Click on “Personalize”
2. Step Click on “Change desktop icons”
3. Step Assign each icon manually after clicking on “change icon”:

Change desktop icons

Enjoy! I hope this solved your question how to install Windows 7 themes on Vista, but if you have any questions, feel free to post your question here or on the forums!

3 of 5 0 (60%) 2 votes
- Cheers!

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Written by:
Oliver is the founder and lead editor of this site. He is interested in finding new ways to break Windows, find common errors and help others to fix them. Aside from that, he loves to fully customize systems with Rainmeter and Dreamscene, find out more about ancient civilizations like the Chachapoya, sharpen his digital photography skills and create software with a small group of selected developers. If you would like to connect with him to discuss anything, send him a mail!

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16 Responses to How To Install Windows 7 Themes on Vista?

  1. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    norrcute said:

    am still can not install..can u help me

  2. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    sOliver said:

    norrcute, what exactly is your problem?

  3. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    thumbler said:

    I have a problem with it. When I exacted the files from themepack there were no screensaver files or icons… Where can I find them?

  4. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    sOliver said:

    They might not be included then. Which theme are you talking about?
    If you open the themepack file with 7zip they will be in the main directory along with all other files. Screensavers can’t be shared via .themepack files, only icons, sounds, cursors, wallpapers, ..

  5. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    D-LIX said:

    I have a problem with it! help Admin help!

  6. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    sOliver said:

    D-LIX what exactly is your problem?

  7. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    djpaddy said:

    i have downloaded the background switcher and everything, but when i double click the .themepack file it just says cannot find a program to open this file with? :S

  8. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    sOliver said:

    Did you even bother to read this tutorial? It’s all described above, you can use 7zip to extract the content of the theme, so before you can open them you need 7zip on your system.

  9. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    sOliver said:

    For clarification, you can’t install .themepack files on Windows Vista, it simply won’t work because it has been introduced with Windows 7.

    Inside the themepack file (when you open it with 7zip) you will find a .theme file, that’s the file we are looking for.

    Be aware of the difference: .themepack vs. .theme

  10. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    MinO said:

    hey can ask windows 7 and vista wheres better?

  11. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    sOliver said:

    MinO, Windows 7 is a lot more user-friendly and light-weight than Vista. Windows 7 is based on Vista and is simply what Vista should have been from the beginning.

    So, if you can, upgrade to Windows 7. If you need migrating to Windows 7, you might want to check out HandyBackup:
    http://windows7themes.net/migration-from-xp-to-windows-7.html

  12. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    trevoleon said:

    sOliver i hav problem about the
    1. Go to “File” – Click on “Open Inside” (CTRL + PgDn),i can’t find the file thing,mine is windows vista,and i keep on doing, i cant activate the themes only the colour of the windows change colour only the screen are in black,please help me ….

  13. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    sOliver said:

    Yes, it is very normal that you can use the .theme files.

    You have to extract the .thempack files and then you can apply the wallpapers, icons, etc. manually. This is more work, but it’s possible.

    - Open 7zip
    - Click on File (inside the 7zip program) and then on Open Inside
    - Open your .THEMEPACK file with 7zip
    - Go into the folder DesktopBackground and extract the wallpapers
    - Extract other files

    Please read the manual of 7zip if you can’t handle this, it should give you a clue how to extract the files properly.

  14. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    MotherBoard said:

    I cant see the Themes Folder in Windows Vista

  15. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    WindowsVista said:

    It only gives me a black background- please help!

  16. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    AmZ said:

    i was downloading the johns bckground switcher setup but it wasnt do completely downloaded/aborted, i saw the details and it was looking for a microsoft.net framework i dont know if it is necessarily to have it in order to download the setup of johns background switcher
    plssss help

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