How to Fix “This theme cannot be applied to the Desktop” Error in Windows 10

Windows 10 comes with only a few themes but you can always download new themes from Microsoft’s website. These themes come in the “.theme” file format and can add desktop backgrounds, change Windows colors, add new cursors and new sound themes to your Windows PC. There are hundreds of themes from various categories available from Microsoft.

When you download a new theme for Windows 10 and then double-click on the downloaded .theme file – two things can happen, either you will get the new theme installed or Windows will show you the error – “This theme cannot be applied to the Desktop, try clicking a different theme”.

This Theme cannot be Applied to Desktop

This error can be because of many things but there are two main reasons that can lead you to this problem. First reason is that you have downloaded a corrupt “.theme” file. This can be fixed easily just by downloading the same theme file again from the internet. You may have to clear the web browser cache first so that the file is really downloaded from the internet all over again. You can also try using a different web browser.

Another reason for this error is a problem with theme syncing if you are signing in using a Microsoft account. In order to fix this, you can simply disable theme syncing so that you can apply a different theme to your local computer. This is how:

  1. Press Win+I to open Windows settings. You can also click on Start and then on the small cogwheel icon to open Settings.
  2. In the Settings window, select Accounts section.Disable Windows 10 Themes Syncing
  3. From the left side select Sync your settings.
  4. Disable the option for syncing the themes.

Once the theme syncing has been disable, you can try to install new themes again and this time you should not experience any problems. With it disabled, your themes, and some of the appearance settings won’t be synced across all the Windows computers using the same Microsoft account.