Microsoft has been curating and adding theme packs to the Microsoft Store since April 2017 with the release of the Creators Update. Being able to download wallpaper theme packs is a fun way to spruce up your desktop, and we've seen a steady flow of official Microsoft packs as well as those from third-parties.
In the last few weeks, Nebulas in 4K became available and published by Microsoft. What makes this theme pack interesting is two-fold: It's the first theme pack that evidently supports images in 4K resolution, and it's the first one Microsoft is charging for (a modest 99 cents).
For those with desktop or laptop PCs with 2K or 4K resolutions (or the odd Surface 3000 x 2000) wallpapers in 4K look amazing. Nebulas in 4K brings ten such high-quality images that can be auto-rotated using the theme function in Windows 10.
Some of the nebulas include Iris, North America, Pelican, Bubble, Soul, Flaming Star, and Lagoon.
As to why Microsoft is charging 99 cents for the pack it is likely to do with licensing. Last I checked, Microsoft is not operating a deep-space telescope, and such images in 4K are rarely free.
Of course, if you want free themes, you have plenty of those including the no-cost Bing in Space from Microsoft, which while not 4K are still stunning and highly recommended. They also have a Bing watermark on them, which some will frown upon (Nebulas in 4K does not). Microsoft also has the fun Ninja cat theme packs too.
Finally, the Nebulas in 4K can't be used for the lockscreen, but you can always grab my favorite app City Art Search (CAS) Preview (opens in new tab) to add some sophisticated flair to your PC.
What's your favorite theme pack in the Microsoft Store? Let us know in comments!
See Nebulas in 4K at the Microsoft Store (opens in new tab)
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Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.
I got it on the day it came out haha
Looks really nice
Is it worth the 99¢?
It depends on whether or not you can be satisfied with 10 (but great )images. did the registry edit for wallpapers on say a 1080p screen. or have 2k or 4k monitor.
They should open the store to 3rd party themes, I've only seen themes published by Microsoft Corporation for now.
It feels more like a way to start monetizing Windows customization than offering choice to users, I don't see why artists and other companies couldn't distribute their themes just like apps and games. Also, they have a bug that severely limits the capabilities of themes. Windows 10 supports customized mouse cursors, but if you use customized ones (even though the new Settings app lets you do so manually as well), they dissapear and never reappear if you ever touch your screen.
This makes custom mouse cursors completely impossible to use on any device that supports touch.
( You can try to help make them fix it by upvoting the issue in the Feedback Hub : https://aka.ms/Q1uboe )
Yeah, I think the concern is guaranteeing quality as well as respecting copyright. So easy to lift images, put into a pack and charge 99 cents for it without permission.
My completely uneducated guess is that this is not theming in its final form. I think when C-Shell rolls out, it will have a lot more customization options that can be done with theming. At this point they will roll out theming to 3rd parties.
That none existent bezel is sexy af
It is pretty awesome actually. I would have paid double for 20 images though
Would love it if the Aurora Borealis theme came in a 4k version :) Going to have to give this a try. Wonder what happens when we start moving to 5K? Already we have some 5K monitors and that one announced by LG at 5120x2160.
David, in fact many such images are provided free from NASA and others who run telescopes due to our fantastic desire to give out scientific information rather than hoard it. I don't mind paying 99 cents though. It's a great theme.
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