How to Add a Windows-Style Theme to GNOME, KDE, Cinnamon

Make Linux look more like Windows

Linux is all about possibility. And for the most part, once a user starts working with the Linux desktop, they never look back. However, some users prefer the look of a Windows desktop over the desktops the Linux landscape offers. If that describes you, it's possible to theme some popular Linux desktops to look more like Windows. Here's how to do this with GNOME, KDE Plasma, and Cinnamon.

These instructions use Ubuntu 19.04 for GNOME, KDE Neon for KDE Plasma, and Linux Mint for Cinnamon.

GNOME

The good news is that a script has been written to make this incredibly easy for GNOME. To make this happen, follow these steps:

  1. Select Activities, type terminal in the search bar, then choose the Terminal launcher.

    GNOME Terminal.
  2. Install wget with the command:

    sudo apt install wget -y
  3. Download the script with the command:

    wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/bill-mavromatis/gnome-layout-manager/master/layoutmanager.sh
  4. Give the script executable permissions with the command:

    chmod u+x layoutmanager.sh
    The chmod command.
  5. Run the script with the command:

    ./layoutmanager.sh
  6. When prompted, choose Windows 10 Layout, and select OK.

    Windows 10 theme options.
  7. Allow the script to complete.

When the script finishes, the GNOME desktop will look similar to Windows 10.

GNOME Desktop with Windows theme.

KDE Plasma

Here's how to perform the same task in KDE Plasma. Although there isn't a script for this, the process isn't challenging. Here's what you do:

  1. Select the KDE Menu button, then choose System Settings.

    KDE System Settings menu entry.
  2. In the Search bar, type Windows and press the Enter key on the keyboard. Locate Windows 10 Plasma Theme, and select Install.

    Windows 10 Plasma Theme installer.
  3. Allow the installation to complete.

  4. If the new theme doesn't show up in the Plasma theme section of Workspace Theme, open a terminal window and issue the command (all on one line):

    unzip /tmp/windows_10_plasma_theme.zip - d ~/.local/share/plasma/desktoptheme
  5. Close and reopen the Settings window, go to Workspace Theme > Plasma Theme, then select the newly-added Windows 10 Plasma Theme.

    Windows 10 Plasma Theme.
  6. Select Apply.

KDE should now look more like Windows 10. This isn't quite as drastic a change as you'll find in GNOME, but it's enough to count.

KDE Plasma desktop.

Cinnamon

The Cinnamon desktop makes this process incredibly simple. Here's how to re-theme it to a Windows 10-like desktop:

  1. Select the Cinnamon desktop menu in the lower-left corner. Choose Preferences, scroll down, then select Themes.

    Cinnamon menu.
  2. In the Themes window, select Add/Remove. In the search bar, type Windows. Select the Download button (downward-pointing arrow) associated with Windows 10 Light Theme.

    Cinnamon Themes window.
  3. Go to the Themes tab at the top of the window, select Desktop, then choose the Windows 10 theme.

    Windows 10 theme menu.
  4. Enjoy your theme.

Cinnamon should now have a slightly more Windows 10 feel. Again, this one is more subtle than that of GNOME, but you'll notice the difference.

Cinnamon desktop with Windows theme.

And that is all there is to theming GNOME, KDE Plasma, and Cinnamon to make each desktop look a bit more like your favorite Windows desktop. This might not make you more productive on the desktop, but it could make you feel a bit more at home.