Personalization Change Theme in Windows 11

  • Staff

This tutorial will show you how to change the theme for your account in Windows 11.

A theme is a combination of the desktop background, lock screen background, colors, sounds, and mouse pointers.

There are three types of themes.

Type of ThemeDescription
My ThemesThese are themes you have created, made changes to, saved, or downloaded. Any time you change a theme, it will appear here as an unsaved theme. These themes are saved in the %LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Windows\Themes folder.
Windows Default ThemesThese are themes included with Windows 11 by default. These themes are saved in the C:\Windows\Resources\Themes folder.
High Contrast ThemesThese are color themes for low vision and light sensitivity. These themes are saved in the C:\Windows\Resources\Ease of Access Themes folder.

Starting with Windows 11 build 25169 and build 22000.1515, you can now enable Windows Spotlight on the desktop via a brand-new Windows Spotlight theme. Additionally, you can make your own custom themes with Windows Spotlight’s rotating images as well.


It is required to activate Windows 11 before you can change the theme to personalize your PC.

You can download and install themes from Microsoft at the links below:

Desktop Themes | Windows Support

Windows Themes | Microsoft Store


Option One

Change Theme in Personalization Settings

1 Open Settings (Win+I).

2 Click/tap on Personalization on the left side. (see screenshot below)

3 Select a theme to apply at the top.

4 When finished, you can close Settings if you like.


Option Two

Change Theme in Themes Settings

1 Open Settings (Win+I).

2 Click/tap on Personalization on the left side, and click/tap on Themes on the right side. (see screenshot below)


3 Click/tap on an available theme to select and apply it. (see screenshot below)


4 When finished, you can close Settings if you like.

Option Three

Change Theme in Control Panel

1 Open Run (Win+R).

2 Copy and paste the shell:::{ED834ED6-4B5A-4bfe-8F11-A626DCB6A921} command into Run, and click/tap on OK to open Personalization in the Control Panel.

3 Click/tap on a theme you want to apply under My Themes, Windows Default Themes, or High Contrast Themes. (see screenshot below)

4 When finished, you can close the Control Panel if you like.


That's it,
Shawn Brink



  • Themes.png
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Last edited:
I wrote a command line script which changes the current theme.

Normally, when you open any theme file the CLSID handler will switch themes and automatically run Settings > Personalization > Themes.

Most tutorials have you task kill Settings, but usually there's a race condition. If your script tries to kill Settings too early, it misses the chance. When you script waits too long, Settings appears onscreen for a few seconds. The key is use PowerShell to wait in a loop.

Depending on your background's detail level, you might see Settings flash for a half-second. This is because Settings is trying to convert the theme's JPEG file to a transcoded version for faster loading. The more compressible the background, the more likely you see the effect.

You can try to adjust the timing. "-m 2" is two milliseconds delay. Shorter is not always smoother.
There is a two second pause at the end, to prevent you from switching again, before it has a chance to finish.

SetTheme C:\Windows\resources\Themes\dark.theme
SetTheme "C:\Users\GARLIN\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Themes\Pantone C\Pantone C.theme"

@echo off
powershell -nop -ep bypass $Theme="""%1"""; $Theme; saps $Theme; sleep -m 2; while ((gps 'SystemSettings' -f -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue) -eq $null) {}; kill -Name 'SystemSettings' -f; sleep 2

I haven't tried W10, but it should work.

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 7
I don't remember where I have found these cmd codes but I am using this script in a batch file;

"C:\Windows\Resources\Themes\MK1Wallpapers.theme" & timeout /t 03 /nobreak > NUL & taskkill /f /im systemsettings.exe

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11 21H2 Home Single Language
    Computer type
    Hometech ALFA400C
    I'm ashamed to talk about it...
    There is no such a God, I only know mother-Earth
    3GB :(
    Graphics Card(s)
    Sound Card
    Monitor(s) Displays
    (s) is too ambitious for me
    Screen Resolution
    Hard Drives
    Samsung SSD 860 EVO 250GB (SSD)
    Samsung MBG4GC 32GB (SSD)
    I was very young when I last saw a PSU
    My coldness is enough to cool the computer
    A broken and very clean keyboard
    Rat King
    Internet Speed
    Slowest internet connection in Europe
    ChromePortable / TorBrowser
    Other Info
    I can simply say that I took the red pill and I am not happy with it.

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