While changing a theme on Windows, if you see an error message This theme can’t be applied to the desktop, then this post may help you. Many people have fixed this problem by disabling Theme synchronization – but we offer other suggestions too, that may help you resolve the issue.
This theme can’t be applied to the desktop. Try clicking a different theme.
Microsoft included a couple of themes for personalizing the user interface of your computer. From the background picture, color to sound profile, and mouse cursor – a theme can change everything. You can also download a .themepack file from the Microsoft website and apply that to your Windows 10.
This theme can’t be applied to the desktop
To fix This theme can’t be applied to the desktop error in Windows 11/100, follow these troubleshooting tips-
- Re-download the theme file
- Disable Theme synchronization
- Disable Prevent changing theme setting
- Check Themes Service
- Uncheck Remove background images setting in Ease of Access Center.
1] Re-download the theme file
As mentioned earlier, a Windows theme file has a .themepack extension, and you can download it from the Microsoft website. If you downloaded a theme from a third-party source, and the file is corrupted due to any reason, you might get this error message while installing it. It is better if you download the file again, preferably to another location, and try to apply it on your Windows 10 computer.
If that solves your problem – good; otherwise, keep following the subsequent steps.
2] Disable Theme synchronization
On Windows 11/10, you can use a local user account, or a Microsoft account which lets you synchronize everything across multiple computers. Some have reported that the Theme synchronization setting can cause this issue. So if you are using a Microsoft Account to log in to your PC, disable Theme syncronization and see.
Open Windows Settings by pressing Win+I buttons together. Then, go to Accounts > Sync your settings. Turn off the Theme synchronization setting by toggling the corresponding button under Individual sync settings.
After that, try to install or apply the same theme.
3] Disable Prevent changing theme setting
There is a Group Policy setting called Prevent changing theme that administrators can use to prevent others from changing the theme. If it is enabled by mistake or by your admin, there is a chance of seeing this error message. Therefore, you can disable this setting and check if it resolves your issue or not.
For that, open Local Group Policy Editor and navigate to this path-
User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Control Panel > Personalization
Here you can find the Prevent changing theme setting on your right-side. Double-click on it, and make sure that the Not Configured option is selected.
If not, do select the option, and save your change before applying the theme to your computer.
4] Check Themes Service
There is a service that needs to be running all the time in the background to make your theme work. Therefore, you should verify if the service is still running or not. For that, open the Services Manager by searching for it in the Taskbar search box and find out the Themes service in the Name column. Double-click on it, and check if the Service status is set to Running or not.
If not, you need to select Automatic from the Startup type drop-down list and click the Start button respectively.
While here, you could also ensure that the Desktop Window Manager Service is started.
After that, save your change, and try to install your theme as usual.
5] Uncheck Remove background images setting in Ease of Access Center
Open Control Panel > Ease of Access > Ease of Access Center > Make the computer easier to see section. Navigate to:
Here, uncheck Remove background images setting.
Click Apply and exit.
I hope something here helps you.