RSS-fed dynamic themes

Dynamic themes add new backgrounds automatically to your desktop through an RSS feed. Here are some answers to questions you might have about these frequently updated themes and backgrounds.

Frequently asked questions

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What is a dynamic theme?

A dynamic theme is updated by an RSS feed, so fresh images show up on your desktop automatically.

How does an RSS feed work in a dynamic theme?

When you subscribe to the RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed, your computer automatically downloads new images when they are added to the Microsoft theme server and you are connected to the Internet. The images are saved to a special folder, and will automatically appear on your desktop when you use the dynamic theme.

Is a dynamic theme secure?

Windows carefully validates the types of files and images that it downloads, and our service is protected to ensure that you get safe updates on your desktop. The dynamic theme consists only of JPEG files.

How can I tell that images have been updated in the feed?

You will see new images automatically appear on your desktop background.

You can also check the feed in your browser to see whether it has been updated recently, and how many images have been downloaded.

  1. In the upper right corner of the Internet Explorer window, click Favorites, and then click the Feeds tab.

  2. In the list of feeds, click the feed for the theme, for example, http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=298483 or http://themeserver.microsoft.com/default.aspx?p=Windows&c=Aqua&m=en-US.

You will see a list of all the images that have been or are currently being downloaded for the theme. If the status after an image filename is “pending,” it is still in the process of being downloaded, and will not appear on your desktop until the download is done.

Can I change the speed of the desktop background slide show?

Yes. Here's how.

  1. Right-click the desktop, and then click Personalize.

  2. Click Desktop Background.

  3. Click the Change picture every list to choose how quickly the slide show changes pictures.

  4. Click Save changes.

Why I am getting a black desktop background instead of images?

There are several reasons that you might be getting a black desktop background instead of photos.

  • If you are logged on as a guest user, a dynamic theme will not be applied. To apply the theme, log on as either an administrator or a regular user.

  • If you are using Mozilla Firefox as your browser, you must right-click your desktop and click Personalize. Then, select the dynamic theme to apply it.

  • If your connection speed is low, you may experience a black screen until photos are downloaded on your computer.

  • If the theme you're downloading is very large (90 images or more), it might take a long time to download. To see the estimated number of images in the theme you're downloading, see its listing on the Themes page. Note that the 18 preview images shown on the detail page for each RSS theme are just samples. The RSS feeds contain more images than that, and most of them are updated with new images at least once a month.

  • If you are downloading multiple RSS image feeds simultaneously, the downloads may take a long time to complete. Your desktop background might remain black until you try one or both of the following steps:

    1. In Personalization, select Desktop Background, wait a few moments, and then choose Cancel.

    2. Switch to another theme, wait a few moments, and then choose the RSS theme again.

  • You might experience a black desktop background if the feed wasn't initialized correctly. Try deleting the RSS theme and feed and then re-downloading it.

    1. In the Personalization control panel, right-click the theme you want to delete, for example, Aqua Dynamic theme, and then choose Delete Theme.

    2. In the upper right corner of the Internet Explorer window, click Favorites, and then click the Feeds tab.

    3. In the list of feeds, right-click the feed for the theme, for example, http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=298483 or http://themeserver.microsoft.com/default.aspx?p=Windows&c=Aqua&m=en-US, and then click Delete.

    4. Click Yes when the Internet Explorer message appears asking if you want to delete this feed.

    5. Go back to the Themes page and re-download the RSS theme. If the Apply theme dialog box appears with the question Subscribe to RSS Feed?, the feed was successfully deleted. When you see this, click Download Attachments.

What should I do if the theme used to work, but stopped updating with new images?

If the RSS theme has stopped updating, try deleting the theme and feed, and then re-downloading.

  1. In the Personalization control panel, right-click the theme you want to delete, for example, Aqua Dynamic theme, and then choose Delete Theme.

  2. In the upper right corner of the Internet Explorer window, click Favorites, and then click the Feeds tab.

  3. In the list of feeds, right-click the feed for the theme, for example, http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=298483 or http://themeserver.microsoft.com/default.aspx?p=Windows&c=Aqua&m=en-US, and then click Delete.

  4. Click Yes when the Internet Explorer message appears asking if you want to delete this feed.

  5. Go back to the Themes page and re-download the RSS theme. If the Apply theme dialog box appears with the question Subscribe to RSS Feed?, the feed was successfully deleted. When you see this, click Download Attachments.

How do I uninstall a dynamic theme?

  1. Click a different theme to apply it to the desktop. You can't delete a theme while it's in use.

  2. Right-click the theme that you want to delete, and then click Delete theme.

Why am I seeing an "Unsaved Theme" in my Personalization window?

If you update or change settings for the theme in the Personalization window, the system will create a temporary unsaved theme on your machine. To save the changes you made, right-click Unsaved Theme, and then click Save theme.