Windows 10 comes with several inbuilt personalization settings that let you change the desktop settings like the background, windows colors, lock screen backgrounds and others. If you are looking to personalize your computer to your liking then here is what you will need to know to get your computer to look the way you want.
When the Windows 10 operating system came out, it was a good reason for most people to finally upgrade. Microsoft had ironed out most of the shortcomings in the Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 operating system and released the finished product, Windows 10. However, after upgrading to Windows 10, people who had come from Windows 7 or previous versions realized that most of the settings have changed and the location where they were used to seeing those settings had also changed.
Windows 10 also brought with itself several new customizations which people found difficult to understand in the first place, we were contacted by several of our readers who wanted help and guidance in personalizing their Windows 10 PC’s and Laptops, here is a detailed how to guide on customizing your Windows 10 device.
In this guide, we will be using the personalization settings of Windows which is available at Settings> Personalization. Open the Settings app and navigate to the above-mentioned option now before proceeding with the rest of the guide. Apart from this, there are several other customization options too, you can configure folder options or set up the Action Center in a way you want, but for now, we will be sticking to the Personalization option under the Settings app.
Changing the Desktop Background:
The first customization that we are covering is the changing of Desktop Background on your Windows 10 device, if you’ve been using Windows for a while now then this should be pretty familiar to you.
To use a picture of your choice as the desktop background, choose Picture from the Background option in the drop-down menu list, Similar to as in the previous versions of Windows, Windows 10 also comes with a few default pictures but you can always choose your own by clicking the Browse button.
Once you decide upon a picture, you can then choose how this image is fit on your desktop, you could choose between fit, stretch, tile or one of the other options. In case you are using multiple monitors then you can also choose to Span that uses a single picture across all the connected display devices.
If you have multiple pictures that you want to set as a desktop background then you can use the slideshow option that comes with Windows 10. To use this option you will have to select a folder that contains all your favorite images and Windows will rotate through these images, for this to work you will first have to set up a folder with all your images as it is not possible to create a slideshow with individually selected images. You can use this by selecting the Slideshow from the Background in the drop-down menu and then browse to select the required folder.
Make sure you create the folder of your choice with the desired images before proceeding with the steps, once you have the folder ready and configured as a background slideshow you can choose how often you want Windows to change the desktop wallpaper and choose between randomizing or following the default order. You can also choose the fit as required by you.
If you are one of those classic people and want to keep things simple, you can choose a solid color as your wallpaper. In the drop down select the Solid Color option and then choose one of the offered background colors and apply it. If you don’t find the color of your choice, you can click the custom color button and derive the exact color of your choice and then apply it as a wallpaper.
Change Windows colors:
Now that you have set a background color of your choice you can go to the next step and select the color that Windows uses for the various on screen elements. You will start by selecting an accent of your choice, do this by selecting an accent color from the pre defined pallet of colors or click on the Custom Color to get an exact color of your choice. Alternatively, you can also select the Automatically Pick an Accent color from my background option which will automatically change the accent based on the background that is applied.
Once you have chosen the accent color of your choice you can then choose where this color is used. There are two options here, you can either apply them to the Start, Taskbar and the action center or the Title Bars. Choosing the first option will use the accent color as the background for the Start menu, the taskbar, and even the action center and even highlights a few items such as the app icons on the start menu with this accent color. Choosing the second option uses the accent color for the title bar of the windows that are currently active.
As we talked about in the above paragraph, the Start menu, the taskbar and the action center are clubbed as one group and you cannot use different accent colors for each of these, the accent color is applied uniformly across the group.
Coming back to the Colors screen you should also find a Transparency effect option which will make the Start bar, the taskbar and the action center slightly transparent if you wish to. This effect does not affect the accent color if it is used on the same elements.
With the Windows 10 Aniversary update, you can finally enable a dark mode for the settings and apps. While this setting doesn’t enable the dark mode for every app, there are a few ways to enable it for every app and we can guide you through it if you are interested.
Changing the lock screen:
Now that you have customized the appearance of Windows interface that comes up after the login, let us try to personalize the lock screen itself. By default in Windows, the lock screen is set to the Windows Spotlight, this downloads and rotates a set of wallpapers from the Bing portal. This is what you see before you slide up the lock screen and log in to your account.
You can alternatively choose to have your own custom picture as the lock screen background if you wish to. Go to the personalization settings and then select Lock Screen, here in the drop-down menu select Background as the option and point the file manager to the image file that you want to save as your background.
As in the case of Windows desktop background, even here you can choose to rotate a set of images as a slideshow on your lock screen. In the drop-down select Slideshow as the option and click on the Add a folder option to add the folder containing images of your choice before you proceed.
The Advanced Setting option lets you choose your camera roll as the source for lock screen photos, or make it use only the photos that fit the screen or even force lock screen instead of turning off the display in case of device inactivity. If you choose this option then you can even set the amount of time before the screen turns off.
In the same lock screen settings, you have a few other options too, you can Get Fun Facts from Cortana right on your Lock Screen if you enable it in the Settings. Scroll down a little and you get an option to Show the lock screen background as the sign in screen background as well. There is also an option to choose apps that can display notifications on the lock screen, you can choose up to 7 apps to display a brief notification on the lock screen and just one app that can display a more detailed notification on the lock screen.
To enable the lock screen notifications, click on the Plus icon or the Application icon and from the drop-down menu containing the list of apps that have notifications enabled, choose the ones that matter to you. In the Choose an app for detailed status, you can choose either a Mail app, a Weather app or any other supported app of your choice to have it display detailed notifications.
Using a Windows theme for personalization:
Coming new in the Creators Update, is the new placement of the Themes into the Settings app instead of the traditional Control Panel. Themes let you change multiple settings concerning visual personalization at once. Themes coordinate the Background, the accent color, the sound theme and even the Mouse cursors as a set that you can easily go back to with just a click.
After applying a theme you can click on each of the categories concerning the Background, the Color or any other settings to set your choice. Clicking these links take you to other parts of the app that let you make the required changes when you have the theme customized to your liking come back to the Themes section and click on Save theme to save the theme for future use.
When you scroll down a little in the Themes page you will find a number of pre-installed themes that come with Windows 10, there is also an option to download a few more from the Windows Store. Browse through the list and pick the one that matches your liking, and download it. The theme can be easily applied by double-clicking it to install.
Changing the Start Menu Options:
With most of the major customizations already covered, let’s now look into the minor aspects that can be customized. Although there aren’t too many options available in the Start personalization screen, you can use them to control where you want more tiles to be displayed on each column of tiles, or if you like most used apps and the recently added apps above the rest of your apps and if you want the Start menu to open in Full-screen mode or not.
You can easily go to the Start Menu folder on your computer and edit, rearrange or even add new apps or folder to the Start menu. This also gives you the advantage of being able to search and the drag and drop functionality. You can also drag the Start Menu from one of the corners to resize the Start Menu to a size of your choice.
If you find yourself using an app a lot, then you can right-click it in the Start Menu and Pin to Start which would pin it to the Start Menu for easier access. You can also right click on any of the tiles to resize it to your liking and even turn on or off the live tiles for each individual app.
If you have multiple apps of a similar requirement as in the case of Microsoft Office, you can drag several of them onto another to create a folder of pinned apps.
Change the Taskbar settings:
Similar to as in the case of the Start Menu, there isn’t a lot to talk about the taskbar and the customization options are very much limited. Here you have an option to lock or unlock the taskbar. You can choose to automatically hide the Taskbar when the device is in the Desktop mode or the tablet mode. If you like it that way, you can also choose to display small taskbar buttons by toggling the switch.
There is an option to enable peak preview which will give you a preview of the desktop when you move your cursor to the Show Desktop which is at the end of the taskbar. The other new addition is an option to replace the traditional Command Prompt to the new Windows PowerShell in the menu. Here you can also choose to display badges on the taskbar buttons and set the taskbar location to either top, bottom or to one of the corners.