Themes In Outlook Web App (OWA) 2010…

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Exchange 2007 came with four built-in themes and a flexibility to customize as well. Seattle Sky, Xbox 360, Zune and Carbon Black. Well, the settings are the same in Exchange 2010, but users can no longer change the theme. The option to change the theme within OWA is missing and Microsoft has confirmed that the feature is not available in this release.

In OWA 2007, you could change the theme to the one of your choice (if it is allowed by the admin in the first place), by navigating to Options –> General Settings –> Appearance Section.

OWA Theme Change

But, this option is taken off from the Outlook Web App (OWA) 2010. The General Settings doesn’t have the “Appearance Section”.

OWA 2010 Theme Change

I have to mention that you can change the theme centrally for all the users. But, the users can’t change it to something of their choice. You can argue that it will bring uniformity to the Outlook Web App look & feel.

2010 RC has the same themes and folder structure as in 2007. The themes folder has four sub folders (Base,1,2 and 3) which has the files for each theme.

Themes Folder

I ran the following command to change the theme to 1.


The OWA theme 1 looks like a modified version of Carbon Black!


You can change the theme selection to the second one by running the following command, which is a different way of putting it.


Selection 2 gave me XBOX 360 theme.


Changing the theme to 3 gave me Zune.


And the base theme.


Now for the funny part! The feature complete RC edition of Exchange 2010 still has “Theme Selection” option available in the Shell, OWA properties and OWA Mailbox Policies.

Theme OWA Properties

The “Theme Selection” description clearly mentions that users can change the colour scheme if the feature is enabled. Either the team forgot to take the options out or they are planning to add the feature in the future service packs!

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About the author: UC Architect, Blogger, Husband & Dad. I have been in IT for the last 12 years, with Exchange Server becoming the prime area in the last few years. I am active on Experts Exchange & TechNet forums and I am a technical author for SearchExchange.

30 comments… add one

  1. Deepak Khandelwal

    Great post and information. I guess they would build this in RTM or SP release later. Again I don't think many people use it.

    Do you know any date when will Exch 2010 will be released?

  2. I agree that it isn't a feature that is used by many. I think the release date for 2010 is sometime in October.

    Register for the launch event in Wembley, UK.

  3. In Exchange 2010 RTM the option is still enabled on the Exchange management Console, but still isn't an option in OWA.
    Very strange

  4. Probably, the product group missed to take it out. Or maybe they are planning to bring it back in the first service pack / updates. Who knows!

  5. Fredrik

    I can't say I like the 2010 theme so much. Anybody know if it's possible to use the 2007 one?

  6. Try copying the 2007 theme files into 2010 folder in a TEST environment and see whether it works. Take a backup of the original before you attempt.

  7. Anonymous

    I think that this will be a feature of a version yet to come. Take a look in the base folder and you'll find themepreview.png.

    I think this is something they want to spend more time preparing.

  8. I do think that the option to change the theme will be back, as it is in 2007.

  9. Anonymous

    I think that it is the option also for if you use other exchange servers in your organisation. Like you can edit the permission for the exchange 2007 (if someone still has his/her mailbox on the 2007 server including the mail client)

  10. Anonymous

    SP1 for Exchange 2010 is to reintroduce themes.

  11. Correct Anonymous & thanks for the comment.

  12. Hi there I have just tried this and got an error not sure where to go from here…

    Any help would be great..

    Enable-MailUser -Identity -ExternalEmailAddress

    VERBOSE: Connecting to
    VERBOSE: Connected to
    [PS] C:Windowssystem32>set-OwaVirtualDirectory "owa " -DefaultTheme 1
    The operation couldn't be performed because object ' ' couldn't be fo
    und on ''.
    + CategoryInfo : NotSpecified: (0:Int32) [Set-OwaVirtualDirectory], ManagementObjectNotFoundException
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : 5C9461A8,Microsoft.Exchange.Management.SystemConfigurationTasks.SetOwaVirtualDirectory

    [PS] C:Windowssystem32>get-OwaVirtualDirectory "owa " -DefaultTheme 1
    A positional parameter cannot be found that accepts argument '-DefaultTheme'.
    + CategoryInfo : InvalidArgument: (:) [Get-OwaVirtualDirectory], ParameterBindingException
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : PositionalParameterNotFound,Get-OwaVirtualDirectory

    [PS] C:Windowssystem32>set-OwaVirtualDirectory "owa " -DefaultTheme 1

  13. Hi Leigh,

    You need to put in the correct name of OWA virtual directory. The command is Set-OWAVirtualDirectory "owa (Default web site)" -Defaulttheme 1

  14. Anonymous

    Hi there

    Great thanks Rajith Jose Enchiparambil

    My bad I was using
    instead of ()

    ha lol


  15. Thanks Anonymous.

  16. keagan oxford

    Can u still access your e-mail accounts if the server running exchang is turned off

  17. You can't Keagan. Both CAS & Mailbox server should be running to access the mailbox.

  18. keagan oxford

    ksy iv been trying to find a way to do it cuz my boss hase been on my back to find a way to do it… but thnx i just needed to know if i could or couldent do it


  19. Thanks Keagan.

  20. It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d without a doubt donate to this brilliant blog! I guess for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to my Google
    account. I look forward to brand new updates and will talk about this
    blog with my Facebook group. Talk soon!

    1. Rajith Enchiparambil

      Thanks Folieren. It is all about getting people excited about Exchange.

  21. Alonzo

    For most up-to-date information you have
    to pay a visit world-wide-web and on the web I found
    this site as a most excellent site for latest updates.

    1. Thanks Alonzo

  22. You are doing a good job Rajith. I was trying to change the theme from morning by following the different articles but I was able to do it by using your wonderful and friendly article. Keep up the good work.

    1. Thanks Maulana

  23. Rene van de Haar

    Is it possible to give 2 users each there own theme.
    We have a company with 2 company names and styles.
    The first 30 users needed theme 1 and the other 10 users needed theme 2.
    The users are not allowed to change theme.

    1. Rajith Jose Enchiparambil

      Hi Rene,

      You can create multiple OWA Mailbox policies and apply different polices to mailboxes. But, you can only select whether the themes can be changed by the user or not (out of the box). I haven’t done this myself, I will let you know if I come across a way to do this.


    2. Rajith Jose Enchiparambil

      Hi Rene,

      An option will be to create a new OWA Virtual directory and change the settings.
      Configure a default theme as mentioned in my article.
      You will need an additional IP as well.
      I would say to try it in lab first.


      1. René van de Haar

        Thank you for your reply.

        I create a Lab first.
        Then can i test the solution.

        1. Rajith Jose Enchiparambil

          Sure Rene.
          Do let me know if you have any more issues.


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