Apps Windows Windows Themes

Customize Windows 8.1 Using 3rd Party Themes

Windows 8.1 comes with Metro look and Microsoft plans to continue the Metro design for its successor Windows 10. In metro look everything is essentially flat and shadows and gradients are minimal or none. Not only the operating system, but also the Microsoft’s website has this new look and feel.

However, if you’re one of those who want to try something new or are dislike this flat design, the door are not closed for you. Although Microsoft provides themes in the Personalization Gallery on Windows website, which are nothing but wallpapers, it does not allow you to install third-party themes on your system.

But there are workarounds. You can do this by patching your system files. And yes, you do not have to it all by yourself because there are software available for this cause, namely UxStyle and Ultra UXTheme Patcher. You can choose any of the two software. They both support Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and Windows 10 Technical Preview.


Because Windows does not allow third-party customization, UxStyle or UxStyle Community Edition changes the theme signature requirements to do so. It loads a system service and a kernel driver into memory. UxStyle does not alter system files. It is available on GitHub under GPL License.

Ultra UXTheme Patcher

On the other hand, Ultra UXTheme Patcher makes changes to the system files. Hence it comes with a warning that using the software can lead to unexpected problems or total breakdown of Windows. When you uninstall Ultra UXTheme Patcher, it also rebuilds the original system files from the backup.

Visual Styles

Once you’ve one of these software installed, you can now download a visual style. You can browse Visual Styles on DeviantArt or you can search online. The themes can be downloaded as zip files.

Most of the themes will also suggest you to use other programs like OldNewExplorer for intended styling. Generally these are tiny programs, but make changes to system files and may cause unexpected results.

Themes are saved in C:WindowsResourcesThemes folder and can be activated from ‘Personalize’ options in Control Panel like other themes from Windows.

Which theme are you using? Do you think Microsoft should allow third-party themes? Or are satisfied with metro design? Share your views in comments!

If you’re looking for themes for Windows 10, read this post.

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