Add Background Images and Themes to Windows 7 Media Center

Changing the Background Image with Media Center Studio

Themes and custom backgrounds need to be added with the third-party software, Media Center Studio. You can find the download link at the end of this article.

You can use your own high resolution photo, or download one from the Internet. For best results, you’ll want to find an image that meets or exceeds the resolution of your monitor. Also, using a darker colored background image is ideal as it should contrast better with the lighter colored text of the start menu.

Once you’ve downloaded and installed Media Center Studio (link below), open the application select the Home tab on the ribbon and make sure you are on the Themes tab below. Click New.


Select Biography from the left pane and type in a name for your new theme.


Next, click on the triangle next to Images to expand the list below. You’ll want to browse to Images > Common > Background. You should see a list of PNG image files located below Background. We will want to swap out the COMMON.ANIMATED.BACKGROUND.PNG and the COMMON.BACKGROUND.PNG images. Select COMMON.ANIMATED.BACKGROUND.PNG and click on the Browse button on the right.


Browse for your photo and click Open.


Your selected image will appear on the left pane. Now, do the same for the COMMON.BACKGROUND.PNG. When finished, select the Home tab on the ribbon at the top and click Save.


Now switch to the Themes tab on the ribbon and the Themes tab below. (There are two Themes tabs which can be a bit confusing). Select your theme on the right pane and click Apply.

Note: You won’t see the image backgrounds displayed.


Your theme will be applied to Media Center.


Close out of Media Center Studio and open Windows Media Center to check out your new background.



Media Center Studio runs on Windows 7 or Vista and gives users a solution for personalizing their Media Center backgrounds. It is a Beta application, however, so it still has a few bugs.

Currently, there are only a handful of themes available at Themes7MC, but what they have is pretty slick.

If you’d like to further customize the look of Media Center, check out our previous article on how to customize the Media Center start menu with Media Center Studio.


Media Center Studio


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