My Strategy for Saving Microsoft: Windows 98-Style Desktop Themes

By Liam Butler on at

At this year's Build conference in April, Microsoft is expected to reveal Windows 9. After dividing its audience with Windows 8, I have one suggestion for the new OS: bring back the Windows 98 desktop themes. Seriously. Just look how amazing they were...

Cast your minds back to 1998:

Bill Clinton regretted not paying for dry cleaning.

David Beckham was sent off during the World Cup. England's footie fans responded with the measured calm that they are famous for.

Cher began to experiment with autotune for her chart-topping track Believe. She would later take this technique and reinvent herself as T-Pain, going on to have a wildly successful R&B career.

And Microsoft released Windows 98. The world rejoiced. Not least because of the bundled desktop themes.

Those themes. Just...Wow. I can't look at them for too long. I worry that my brain will start leaking out of my eyes just to be nearer to those masterpieces.

For those of you who weren't lucky enough to experience these beauties the first time round, here are some of the best.



Good on you, Microsoft. You wondered what the world's sports fans would like to see on their desktops, and you settled on baseball. I, for one, love going to Wembley stadium to watch the weekly baseball game.


Dangerous Creatures

When I use my computer, I don't want to think of the work that I need to do. I want to think of animals that can kill the shit out of me. That's why I want my desktop to feature a cross-eyed cat, a neon frog, a blowfish, and a spider that's wearing legwarmers.

True fact: the legwarmer spider is the second most poisonous creature in the animal kingdom, second only to Katie Hopkins.


More Windows

If your normal Windows desktop doesn't have enough Windows for your liking, why not install More Windows? You'll be wetting yourself with glee when you see how many Windows logos are suddenly on your desktop. How many can you see?


Inside Your Computer

Ever wonder what your monitor looks like behind the screen? Well, you have two options:

1) Go all Office Space on it.
2) Install this desktop theme.

Using some clever computer code, it is actually able to show you what is hiding behind the glass. This is apparently what my MacBook's LCD monitor looks like, if you're interested:


The '60s USA

I wasn't alive in the USA during the sixties, but I've often wondered what it would look like. Turns out that it was very pink and very cursive.

Far out. Also, I don't know what the Recycle Bin icon is supposed to be. Whatever it is, it doesn't look legal.

The sixties look like my kind of era. Speaking of eras...


The Golden Era

I'm not really sure when this 'Golden Era' is supposed to be, but boy do I want to be a part of it. Look! Their Recycle Bin icon is a toaster! I'd love to be able to get rid of my recycling in a toaster! That truly must have been a golden era.



But my favourite has to be the Jungle theme. All you artists out there might as well just stop. Stop right now. Seriously, give up. No way you're topping this aesthetic powerhouse.

Look at that taskbar font. Just look at it. Who cares if it's legible or not? Clicking on the Start menu makes me feel so primal.

Everything you do is accompanied by a jungle-themed sound. Every click. Every press of the start menu. Every minimised window. Why does Microsoft no longer cater for users who want this level of interactivity? No wonder it's losing market share.

In case Microsoft needed any more persuading, here's what the Jungle theme could look like if it brought it to Windows 9:

Let's hope that they do the sensible thing and make this dream a reality.

Image credits: Didcot Rugby club (maggots on plate); Yahoo UK (Curling image); Disney (Baloo & George of the Jungle); BBC News (Ed Balls)

Liam is a displaced Yorkshireman living in London. He writes the blog Angry Flat Cap. It's unlikely that you've heard of it. Once, he was retweeted by The Guardian. He never misses an opportunity to inform people of this fact.

Top Image Credit: IndependentMusicNews