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Windows 7 hints and tips

Access hidden themes and wallpapers in Windows 7

A Windows theme is a collection of desktop wallpaper, icons, sounds, colours and fonts, and they can be used to brighten up the display and to make it much more interesting. To choose and apply a theme to Windows 7 you right click an empty part of the desktop and select Personalize from the menu that is displayed. You will see several different themes, such as Windows 7, Windows 7 Basic, Architecture, Landscapes, Nature and others.

There is also a theme that is specific to the part of the world you live in. For example, there is a US theme, a UK theme, an Australia theme and so on. The weird thing is that you only see one theme - the one for where you live. So if you live in the US you only see the US theme and if you line in the UK you only see the UK theme.

For some reason, Microsoft doesn't let you use or even see the themes from other parts of the world. However, there is a way around this and you can enable all the other themes.

Click Start, Computer and double click the hard disk drive. Press the Alt key and select Folder Options on the Tools menu. Select the View tab in the dialog and select Show hidden files, folders and drives. Clear the tick against Hide extensions for known file types, and clear the tick against Hide protected operating system files. Click OK to close the dialog.

Now navigate to C:\Windows\Globalization\MCT in the Explorer window. You'll see several folders with names like MCT-AU and the last two letters indicate a region of the world - Australia in this case.

Windows 7 theme

Open the MCT-AU folder and you'll see three subfolders - Australia, RSSFeed and Theme. Open the Australia folder and you'll see wallpaper images for Australia. These are available when someone in Australia installs Windows 7. You can use them by either copying the images to your Pictures folder or simply by right clicking an image and selecting Set as Desktop Background. Open the Theme folder and you'll see a file called AU.theme, which is the Australia theme. Double click it to install it.

All the other folders in C:\Windows\Globalization\MCT are like this, so explore them and try the international wallpaper and themes.

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