A lot of people asked how to install those special Windows 7 3D themes, where to download them for free and what is needed to make them work. This guide is an attempt to answer all of your questions, which we will update throughout 2014 with additional material
Table of contents:
If you haven’t guessed it yet, let me point out that most of the 3D themes you see are 3rd-party applications. There are many apps that will simply put some cool 3D elements on your desktop or there are apps that actually give your desktop a 3D feeling, more about that later.
First Step: Installing Rainmeter on Windows 7 For Great 3D Themes / Elements
First of all, we are going to look for a suitable utility for our little 3D project. Rainmeter is a great tool and comes with a lot of great skins that are easy to install
When asked what type of install you want, select Standard (not portable). On the next screen you have two checkboxes, if you are on Windows 7 64-bit make sure the first one is checked:
After the installation has been completed you should now have something like this on your desktop:
Second: Finding A Great “3D” Theme For Rainmeter That Works on Windows 7!
1. Step Head over to http://scrollsofaryavart.deviantart.com/ and download the Jarvis Theme, which we will use for our 3D Windows 7 desktop. Alternatively, if you checked the screenshots below and didn’t like the look, then download this Iron Man theme instead
2. Step Next download the theme and if you use Chrome or Firefox you should see a file called ironman_jarvis_theme_version_2_by_scrollsofaryavart.rmskin. Double click it to install the theme
3. StepIf you correctly installed Rainmeter, you will be prompted to install this 3D Rainmeter theme. Hit the Install button to proceed
4. Step You may be prompted by your firewall to allow SkinInstaller.exe – confirm that (it’s safe/trusted)
5. Step Next, go back to your desktop and right-click on Rainmeter. Select the option Manage Skin
6. Step You should now have something like this. This Windows 7 “theme” already looks pretty cool. There are various 3D elements that make your desktop a little more fun. But Windows 7 and Rainmeter is capable of more! We can change our theme to have an animated 3D wallpaper and modify our existing Rainmeter widgets. In step 7-9, I’ll explain how to modify existing Rainmeter widgets.
Modifying Rainmeter Widgets
7. Step Next-right click on the Lifehacker widget and click Illustro/feeds and you will see a file called Feeds.ini. Open it with notepad or notepad++ and replace
feedURL=http://feeds.gawker.com/lifehacker/full with this
8. Step Now right click again and select Refresh
9. Step You now should have our feed (just pointing this out if you would like to have this on your desktop)
11. Alright, now right-click on one of the existing dark elements that you want to REMOVE e.g. let’s say you want to remove all default items (the black widgets), simply right-click on it and select Unload skin
12. Next, you may want to add additional elements from the Iron Man skin. Simply right-click on one of the existing Iron Man widgets and select Iron Man => Slideshow => visuals_blue.ini (TIP: If you want a different color, simply select another .ini file)
13. Next, we are going to add the central Iron Man interface
14. You should have something like this. I selected a different wallpaper that is darker to get a better contrast:
15. Now we have a couple nice elements on our desktop that make it “appear” to be 3D, but the effect is rather unimpressive. To get that real “WOW” effect we need another program called Dreamscene
Download And Install Dreamscene For Enhanced 3D Themes on Windows 7
We previously explained how to install Dreamscene on Windows 7 for cool animated 3D themes and wallpapers. So, if the instructions do not work for you please follow all instructions in the linked tutorial
If you don’t know the difference between 32bit and 64bit Windows, read this tutorial:What Windows Version do I have, 32-bit or 64-bit?
a) If you are on Windows 7 32-bit:
- Download InstallDreamSceneWindows7_32bit.exe
- Run the installer
- InstallDreamSceneWindows7_32bit.exe and it will automatically copy the required files and modify your registry.
b) Should you be on Windows 7 64-bit:
- Download dreamscene64bit.zip
- Extract dreamscene64bit.zip
- Copy DreamScene.dll to C:\Windows\System32
- and DreamScene.dll.mui to C:\Windows\System32\en-US\.
- Double-click DScene.reg to add the registry keys.
- Restart explorer.exe or reboot.
1. Step When copying the files you will be prompted for admin privileges, so make sure you are logged into an administrator account. And be careful!
Also, if you are using a different locale than en-US then also copy the .dll.mui to your local folder
2. Step I am bored of restarting, so I usually open the task manager, end the process explorer.exe and then click on New -> and enter explorer.exe. Easy!
3. Step To make sure everything works, go to your desktop and right-click on it. You should see a greyed out item “Play Dreamscene”
4. Step Now, download a cool animated 3D MPG file. Either go to Youtube or Google to search for “dreamscene 3D”. We found a nice one on Youtube – an animated 3D asteroid field, very cool!
5. Step After downloading the MPG file, go to the location where it is stored and right-click on the file and select “Set As Desktop Background” as seen below:
Final Animated 3D Themes using Dreamscene and Rainmeter:
GREAT! The final result could look like this.
1. Step The Asteroid field (honestly, the Iron Man UI doesn’t go so well with this one)
2. Step The animated 3D stones and the yellow Iron Man UI are awesome. Check this out. Feel free to copy all of my ideas above and modify it.
I changed the color of the interface for a better contrast. Of course, you should now play around with settings, download different 3D wallpapers and themes, create your own MPG files to use as 3D wallpapers and so on. This will allow you to create your own personalized desktop with lots of useful informations like feeds, disk status, CPU load, IP address and much much more.
Installing 3D Clock
Next you could try to find more 3D elements for your new desktop. For example you could install this fancy 3D clock.
Also, check out some related tools for a true 3D desktop.
Related 3D Tools
If you know of any 3D tools, cool Windows 7 3D themes or have created any 3D wallpapers that should be on this list, let us know in the comments. Also, if you know of any nice tricks to tweak your desktop or any nice 3D tools that work great, post them below.