How To

How to Customize the Appearance of Linux to Resemble Windows 10

Interested in transitioning to a Linux desktop while maintaining the familiarity of Windows 10’s appearance? While most Linux desktop environments offer distinct designs and themes out of the box, with some tweaking, you can achieve a setup that closely resembles the Windows 10 desktop.

Acquire a Windows 10 GTK Theme .

A widely applicable method involves obtaining a Windows 10 theme pack along with an icon pack tailored for GTK desktop environments, then installing them by placing the files into designated directories. We’ll illustrate this process using Cinnamon (specifically on Linux Mint 23.3), but it’s applicable to other environments like GNOME, Xfce, LXDE, and MATE.

Step 1: Obtain and Set Up the Theme .

The recommended source for Windows 10 GTK theme files is the GitHub release page of the B00merang Project. We’ll demonstrate using the light version in this guide, but you can opt for the Windows 10 dark variant if desired.

In the latest release card (3.2.1 at the time of writing), download your Windows 10 theming by clicking “Source Code (ZIP).”

Once the ZIP file download is finished, you’ll need to extract its contents. To quickly accomplish this via the command line, start by executing this command in your home directory to create the folder if it doesn’t already exist:

mkdir -p ~/.themes
unzip Downloads/ -d ~/.themes

Simply adjust the directory path and filename if they differ from yours. This action will result in the extraction of files into your Downloads directory.

Prefer using the desktop interface over the command line? Simply navigate to your file browser and locate the downloaded ZIP file, typically named “”. Double-click to open the extraction dialog, which may vary in appearance depending on your distribution and desktop environment (DE). Nonetheless, you should find a prominent “Extract” button to click. In our example, it’s positioned at the top-left corner of the dialog.

You’ll be asked to select an extraction destination, and for ease, we’ll keep it at the default: the Downloads folder where the ZIP file was located.

After extraction completes, find the extracted directory in your file explorer, likely named “Windows-10-3.2.1”. Copy the directory, and with it in your clipboard, navigate back to your home folder

At this point, you’ll need to make hidden files visible in your file browser. You can usually find this setting in the View drop-down menu, as is the case in Nemo.

Now, you should observe several folders that weren’t previously present, beginning with a period, such as “.local”. You require the “.themes” folder, which may not exist by default in your version of Linux; if so, you can create it.

Once you’ve created the “.themes” folder, open it and paste your theme folder inside. You can do this by either right-clicking and selecting “Paste” or using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+V.

Step 2: Acquire and Implement the Icon Pack While the main theme package provides the overall design of Windows 10, if you desire the distinctive icons, you’ll need to obtain and install them separately.

These icons can be sourced from the same project but reside in a separate icons repository. Once again, download the ZIP file for the latest release, extract it as you did with the theme pack, and copy the extracted contents. Next, paste them into the .icons folder in your home directory. If the folder doesn’t exist, you may need to create it.

Step 3: Activate Your Windows 10 Theme Now that you’ve set up your theme and icons, it’s time to give your desktop a Windows-inspired makeover. Navigate to your desktop environment’s settings and locate the theming preferences, usually labeled as “Appearance” or, in the case of Cinnamon, “Themes.

Then, you’ll need to select the Windows 10 theme for each available category. In Cinnamon, to access this feature, you may need to click on “Advanced Settings.”

Once more, the interface may vary based on your specific distribution (distro) and desktop environment (DE). In Cinnamon, however, you’ll typically find three categories that you can modify to resemble Windows: Applications, Icons, and Desktop. Simply click the button within each category to access the respective options.

You may need to scroll to find it, but there will be an option labeled Windows-10-1.2.3 (or the name of the theme or icon version you downloaded).

We’re making progress, but there are still some discrepancies. Pay attention to the taskbar, which might not appear entirely accurate. Remember, these themes have limitations in emulating Windows 10 perfectly. However, if you’re open to exploring your desktop settings, you might find options that can bring you closer to the Windows 10 experience circa 2017.

For instance, in Cinnamon, you can replace the Mint logo in the Start menu by right-clicking it, selecting Configure, then navigating to Appearance and finally Icon.

To display window titles for open taskbar apps, you can right-click any app icon and navigate to Applet Preferences > Configure > Panel > Button Label. From there, select “Window Title.”

You can also add icons like “My Computer” to your desktop. Right-click anywhere on the desktop and select Customize > Desktop Settings. Then, simply toggle on the icons you desire. (Note: On Linux, “Home” corresponds to what you’d call “User’s Files” on Windows.)

Now my Cinnamon desktop is looking pretty good.

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