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Microsoft’s new spooky Windows 7 themes: use them in Ubuntu

Notice: This post is more than a year old. It may be outdated.

Microsoft have released two new seasonal-themed ‘themepacks’ for Windows 7. With a bit of renaming you can easily grab the wallpapers inside for use on any operating system – including Ubuntu.

The new Lightning theme features a total of 14 excellent electrifying backgrounds. Eerie Autumn haunts you with a grotesque selection of 15 ghostly wallpapers.

A Jack-o-Lantern in a Pumpkin Patch, CanadaMysterious Forest in the Pacific NorthwestLightning stormFull moon covered by a layer of clouds, 31 Oct 2009, Portugal

There are obvious legalities involved in the redistribution of these gorgeous wallpapers ad hoc so, for the sake of being prim and proper, I’m going to walk you through extracting the wallpapers from inside these seasonal theme offerings and using them on Ubuntu.

  • Download the themepack you wish to use.

Lightning // Eerie Autumn

  • Rename the downloaded file from ‘name.themepack’ to ‘’ (where ‘name’ is the, well, name of the themepack you downloaded)
  • Install cabextract (click to install)
  • Move the newly renamed file to your home folder
  • Open a terminal,  and run ‘cabextract‘ (where ‘name’ is the, well, name of the themepack you downloaded)
  • The wallpapers are contained in the folder named ‘DesktopBackground’


If you wish to make a slideshow wallpaper using the backgrounds I highly recommend CREBS.

This small application lets you to choose, tweak and set any number of wallpapers as a slideshow background.

Install Crebs in Ubuntu

  • sudo add-apt-repository ppa:crebs/ppa
  • sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install crebs

Launch the slideshow-background maker from System > Preferences > ‘Create Background Slideshow’.


Eerie Autumn also comes with a variety of spooky system sounds which, if you so wish, you can set /use as your own system sounds. They are pretty clichéd so unless you dream of having your computing experience accompanied by a Hammer House of Horror film soundtrack they’re best skipped.

Otherwise you need to rename the relevant files according to the Ubuntu sound naming scheme and place them in