How to Find Hidden Themes and Wallpaper in Windows 7


When you first install Windows 7, it asks for your language, time and currency. This information is then used to configure the system, including setting up which Windows themes are available. The themes vary according to your geographical location. For example, if you tell the computer you are in the United States, , the available desktop backgrounds and themes will include a selection with scenery from locations such as Maine, the Southwest and so on.

However, the system will also contain images of scenery and themes from some of the other countries where English is a major language – Microsoft has chosen Australia, Canada, Great Britain and South Africa. But these other selections are hidden and not normally accessible. They are in the folder \Windows\Globalization\MCT with subfolders MCT-AU, MCT-CA, MCT-GB, MCT-US, and MCT-ZA (figure 1). Each subfolder has wallpapers for a specific country: AU for Australia, CA for Canada, GB for Great Britain, US for the United States, and ZA for South Africa. Here is how to install and use them:

  1. Open the Start menu and in the search box, type or paste:
  2. Then press Enter. Note that if you don’t press Enter, you will probably see the message “No items match your search”. The window shown in figure 1 will open
  3. Each country folder contains another folder with the name of the country. This subfolder contains background images that can be used for wallpaper. There is also a subfolder for themes. Figure 2 shows the contents of the MCT-AU folder for Australia.
  4. Choose the country you are interested in and open the subfolder called Theme. Double-click the theme you see inside there and a shortcut to the theme will be installed in the Personalization section of Control Panel.

Figure 1. Folder with hidden country themes
Hidden themes in Windows 7


Figure 2. Example folder MCT-AU
Australian theme


You can now use these country themes and backgrounds as you would any other. Right-click the desktop, choose “Personalize”, and select a background or theme.

The specifics given here apply to an American version of Windows 7. Other versions for different localities will have different themes but the procedure to look for any hidden themes should be similar. Let us know what you find.

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This tips section is maintained by Vic Laurie. Vic runs several websites with Windows how-to's and tutorials, including  a computer education website and a site for learning about the command line.

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