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

Make Linux look more like Windows

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Linux is all about possibility. And for the most part, once a user starts working with the Linux desktop, they never look back. There are some users, however, that much prefer the look of a Windows desktop over that of most of what the Linux landscape offers. If that describes you, you’re in luck, as it is quite possible to theme some of the most popular Linux desktops so that they look more like their Windows counterpart.

Let’s find out how to do this with GNOME, KDE Plasma, and Cinnamon.

Versions

For our testing purposes, we used 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. Click Activities, type terminal in the search bar, and click the Terminal launcher.

    Screenshot of opening the GNOME Terminal.
  2. Install wget with the command

    sudo apt-get 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
    Screenshot of the chmod command.
  5. Run the script with the command

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

    Screenshot of selecting the Windows 10 theme.
  7. Allow the script to complete.

As soon as the script finishes, your GNOME desktop will look similar to Windows 10.

Screenshot of the newly-themed GNOME Desktop.

KDE Plasma

Next we’ll take care of the same task in KDE Plasma. Although there isn’t a script for this, the process isn’t terribly challenging. Here’s what you do:

  1. Click on the KDE Menu button and then click System Settings.

    Screenshot of the KDE System Settings menu entry.
  2. In the Search bar, type Windows and use the Enter key on your keyboard. Locate Windows 10 Plasma Theme and click Install.

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

  4. If the new theme does not 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, and select the newly-added Windows 10 Plasma Theme.

    Screenshot of the new-added Windows 10 Plasma Theme.
  6. Click Apply.

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

Screenshot of the newly-themed 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. Click the Cinnamon desktop menu in the bottom left corner. Click Preferences and then scroll down and click Themes.

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

    Screenshot of the Cinnamon Themes window.
  3. Click the Themes tab at the top of the window, click the Desktop button, and then select the Windows-10 theme.

    Screenshot of selecting the newly-added Windows 10 theme.
  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.

Screenshot of the newly rethemed Cinnamon desktop.

And that is all there is to theming GNOME, KDE Plasma, and Cinnamon to make them 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.