How to Customize Windows 10 to the Maximum - We bring you a guide with several options to customize Windows 10 to the maximum to give it that touch of personality that makes it feel more yours and less generic. And it is that in the end there are several types of users, from those who are satisfied with changing the desktop wallpaper once every five years to those who have Windows so modified that it is almost unrecognizable.
The idea of the article is to focus on the native Windows options that allow you to change its appearance, although at each point we will also mention other alternatives in the form of third-party applications. You will have all the alternatives, and then you will be the one who must decide which of them you want to use to give your desktop a unique look.
9 VERY USEFUL and LITTLE KNOWN TRICKS
Change the wallpaper
Since we mentioned it in the introduction, the first step is always to change the Windows wallpaper. To do this, the first thing you have to do is enter Windows Settings. Once inside, click on the Personalization section, which is used to modify the appearance of Windows.
Once inside the Personalization options, in the left column click on Background. You will get to the screen where you can change the wallpaper. In the Background section, you have three different modes, and each of them includes some options added below the selector. Here are the ones you can choose from.
- Image: You can choose an image that you have on your computer as your own wallpaper. You will see that it includes a Browse button to open the browser and find the image.
- Solid Color: Use a solid color as your wallpaper. Includes boxes with different colors and a Customize button to choose your own color.
- Presentation: You can choose a presentation, with a wallpaper made up of several images that change from one to the other after the number of minutes that you decide. You can also manually choose which images to use.
Now, you only need to choose images for wallpapers. Here are the best websites to find them compiled by Genbeta, where you will also see collections of perfect images created by Studio MUTI, Mad Dog Jones, or Simon Stålenhag among others, also with minimalist backgrounds or illustrations of cities.
In addition, you also have this Microsoft application that, when you install it, makes you have a beautiful new wallpaper every day using Bing images. And if you want to go a step further, this other application brings the concept of dynamic macOS backgrounds to Windows, which change tones depending on the time of day. Lighter by day and dark at night.
And not only that, but you also have several other applications that will help you to give Windows different wallpapers at all times. Here everything is a matter of searching, although do not forget that there are also dozens of websites to download wallpapers, even communities on Reddit with more than a million users sharing images that are perfect to use.
Decide between light or dark mode
One of the great novelties of Windows 10 May Update 2019 was the possibility of toggling between light and dark mode. To configure it, start over by going into Windows Settings. Once inside, click on the Personalization section, which is used to modify the appearance of Windows.
When you are in the Personalization settings, click on the Colors section (1) that you will have second in the column on the left. When you are there, click on Choose the color (2), where you can choose between the light and dark theme. The clear leaves everything in pale blue colors as you see in the screenshot, and that will also have the start menu. And the dark theme puts everything black, even the color of the windows.
If you choose the Custom theme, you can configure the Windows mode and the application mode separately. This means that on the one hand, you can make Windows elements such as the taskbar or the start menu dark or light, while the applications and the interior of the windows are the opposite color. For example, in the screenshot, you see the Windows mode in dark and the applications in light.
Another aspect that you can change is the accent color, which is what the system and menu buttons receive, as well as other elements such as the tiles of the Windows start menu. Windows chooses it automatically, but it is best to choose it yourself so that it adapts to your taste in the dark or light mode you have chosen.
And if you can't decide on one or the other, you also have an application that makes Windows automatically switch between light and dark modes depending on what time it is. You can choose when the light and dark theme start, choose a different wallpaper for each one and configure how the applications, the system menus, or the browser will act.
Customize the start menu to your liking
The start menu combining the best of Windows 7 with the interactive tiles of Windows 8 is one of the great strengths of Windows 10, Since we have mentioned it in the introduction, the first step is always to change the Windows wallpaper. To do this, the first thing you have to do is enter Windows Settings. Once inside, click on the Personalization section, which is used to modify the appearance of Windows.
Inside Personalization, in the left column, click on the Start section. Here you will be able to change various parameters related to the start menu. For example, you can turn the app list on or off or leave only the tiles, show a section for the latest added or most-used apps, or let Microsoft show you suggestions. You can even activate the full screen of the start menu to make it look like Windows 8.
And since I know that may not be enough for those who really want to customize the start menu, some applications can allow you to really modify it or even remove the interactive tiles to give it the look of Windows 7 or Windows 95. You also have this application What it does is the opposite, being able to add more tiles, although in this case one for each Steam game you have installed.
Move the taskbar
Being able to move the Windows taskbar is not a new trick, it has been possible for many versions of Windows. But it never hurts to remember it. First, you have to right-click on the taskbar and deselect the Lock taskbar option that will appear in the pop-up menu.
From now on, you can modify the bar. By placing the pointer on one end you can make it larger, and keeping the left click pressed you can move it to either side of the screen. Thus, if you are not convinced to have it down, you can always put it up or on either side.
In the menu that appears when you right-click on the taskbar, you can also click on an option called Taskbar settings. This will take you to the Windows settings, to the section where you can also modify some aspects of it. You can unlock it, but also make it hide automatically until you lower the mouse pointer down, or make the buttons and icons even smaller.
You can also deactivate the Badges, which are the notification bubbles of the apps that you have in the taskbar, manually choose in the menu on which side of the screen to place it instead of doing it with the mouse, or decide if the buttons of the applications are combined when there are already too many. There is also an option to show which icons appear on the taskbar, in case you want to separate any of those that appear when clicking Show hidden icons.
And if you like to experiment, in Genbeta they have a tutorial so you can center the icons on the taskbar. What you have to do is create an empty folder somewhere, and insert it as a new bar. It is a change or effect more aesthetic than practical, but the possibility of doing it does not stop being there. You can also customize the icons on this taskbar to your liking.
Change the mouse pointer layout
Windows 10 also allows you to change the layout of the mouse pointer. You have to press the Windows + U keys on your keyboard at the same time. When you do, you will go directly to the Accessibility section within Windows settings without having to navigate through any other menu. Once inside, click on the Cursor and pointer size option that you have in the left column.
When you enter the Cursor and pointer size option, you will have several options. The first is a bar with which you can determine the thickness of the cursor (1) by sliding it sideways to make it more visible. Below, you can change the size of the pointer (2) by selecting one of the three sizes offered.
And just below the option to change its size, you have three other options to change the color of the pointer. The first option is the normal, white pointer with black borders, and the second is the black cursor with white borders. Third, you will be able to change the cursor by putting everything in black. Click on the option that suits you best to select it.
You can also use custom pointers that you download from websites like DeviantArt. To do this, first download the pointer you want in C: \ Windows \ Cursors, and then enter Windows settings and go to Devices, and click on the Mouse (1) section in the left column. Inside, click on Additional mouse options (2) to open the mouse properties.
When the Properties: Mouse window opens, the first thing you have to do is go to the Pointers tab (1). In it, now click on the pointer that you want to change (2) for another that you have downloaded to leave it selected. Now that you have that pointer selected, click on the Browse button (3) to start the process of changing it.
When you click on Browse, an explorer screen will automatically open pointing to the path C: \ Windows \ Cursors where we have told you to download the new pointers. Now, all you have to do is open the design of the pointer you want to replace the one you selected, and repeat the process with the rest of the cursor modes.
Change Windows folder icons
You can also change the icons of any folder. The first thing you have to do is find some websites where you can download free icons. Then, go to the file explorer, and right-click on the folder whose icon you want to change. When the pop-up menu appears, click on the Properties option.
When the properties window of that folder opens, click on the Change icon option. That will open a window in which you will be able to choose the icon you want to use. By default, you will see the icons created by Microsoft, but if you click on Browse you will be able to search for the ones you have downloaded by reaching the folder where you have them saved with the explorer.
The icons for the shortcuts can also be changed independently. You have to right-click on the shortcut and enter the properties. Once inside, in the Direct Access tab, click on the Change icon option to go to the possibilities and be able to explore in search of others.
You can also change the desktop icons, such as the recycle bin. To do this, go to the Windows settings and the Personalization section. Inside, on the left, click on Themes, and scroll down until you see and click on an option called Desktop Icon Settings. When you do this, a window will open in which you will be able to decide which ones are visible and which icons they use.
Change Windows sounds
You may be a person who prefers to have silent Windows without sounds, or on the contrary, you may want it to have custom sounds. In both cases, to change or delete sounds, you will have to go to the option to Change system sounds. You can go from the Windows settings, but the quickest thing is to open the start menu and type "change sounds" so that the section appears as the first option.
The Windows Sounds window will open and in the Sounds tab. There, you will have a list of all the sounds of the operating system. You can select one and click Play to listen to it. To the left of that test button, you will have a drop-down with the system sounds to select another, and to the right a Browse button to search the computer for another sound in .wav format that you want to use.
And if you prefer to look for a more modern, simple alternative that allows you greater customization flexibility, you have third-party applications such as SoundPackager, which allows you to change all the system sounds in just a few clicks. It even has a sound pack system to be able to make everyone related and out of the ordinary. Find your package, and click on the option to apply the package.
The application is paid and costs 6 euros, although the first month of the trial is free. It also allows you to edit the downloaded sound packages to alter and customize them to your liking with your .wav files, or even combine them.
Modify the lock screen
You can also make modifications to the lock screen. To do this, the first thing you have to do is enter Windows Settings. Once inside, click on the Personalization section, which is used to modify the appearance of Windows.
Once you enter the Personalization options, in the left column, click on the Lock screen section. In it, the first thing you'll see is the Background option drop-down, where you have three different options:
- Windows Featured Content: Every day Windows will try to surprise you with different lock screen wallpapers from the Bing collection.
- Image: Choose an image that you have as a background for the lock screen.
- Presentation: You can choose several images to alternate as wallpaper each time you go to the lock screen.
Below, you can also customize the apps that appear on the lock screen, both in the detailed status and in the quick status. In addition, you can also specify that the login screen has the same image as the one you are using on the lock screen and that it is as if you were in the same place when you are going to enter the password and others.
Change the font of the operating system
If you got tired of the default Windows font, or have gone crazy and want to see it all with Comic Sans or another font, there are two ways to make the change to the system. The first is inadvisable for inexperienced hands since it involves making changes to the system registry. What you have to do is open a notepad and write the following:
[HKEYLOCALMACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows NT \ CurrentVersion \ Fonts]
"Segoe UI (TrueType)" = ""
"Segoe UI Bold (TrueType)" = ""
"Segoe UI Bold Italic (TrueType)" = ""
"Segoe UI Italic (TrueType)" = ""
"Segoe UI Light (TrueType)" = ""
"Segoe UI Semibold (TrueType)" = ""
"Segoe UI Symbol (TrueType)" = ""
[HKEYLOCALMACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows NT \ CurrentVersion \ FontSubstitutes]
"Segoe UI" = "ENTER-NEW-FONT-NAME"
Now you have to change the term ENTER-NEW-FONT-NAME by the name of the font you want to use. To do this, in the Windows settings go to the Personalization> Fonts section and you will be able to see the ones you have installed or install others. So save the notepad file with the name I ended up with the .reg domain.
Once you do, right-click on the .reg file you have created and choose the Combine option. After accepting, restart your computer and the font will have changed. If you want to return to normal later, you have to do the same again but using this text in the notepad:
[HKEYLOCALMACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows NT \ CurrentVersion \ Fonts]
"Segoe UI (TrueType)" = "segoeui.ttf"
"Segoe UI Black (TrueType)" = "Seguibl.ttf"
"Segoe UI Black Italic (TrueType)" = "Seguibli.ttf"
"Segoe UI Bold (TrueType)" = "segoeuib.ttf"
"Segoe UI Bold Italic (TrueType)" = "segoeuiz.ttf"
"Segoe UI Emoji (TrueType)" = "siguiemj.ttf"
"Segoe UI Historic (TrueType)" = "Seguihis.ttf"
"Segoe UI Italic (TrueType)" = "segoeuii.ttf"
"Segoe UI Light (TrueType)" = "segoeuil.ttf"
"Segoe UI Light Italic (TrueType)" = "Seguili.ttf"
"Segoe UI Semibold (TrueType)" = "Seguisb.ttf"
"Segoe UI Semibold Italic (TrueType)" = "Seguisbi.ttf"
"Segoe UI Semilight (TrueType)" = "segoeuisl.ttf"
"Segoe UI Semilight Italic (TrueType)" = "Seguisli.ttf"
"Segoe UI Symbol (TrueType)" = "Seguisym.ttf"
"Segoe MDL2 Assets (TrueType)" = "segmdl2.ttf"
"Segoe Print (TrueType)" = "segoepr.ttf"
"Segoe Print Bold (TrueType)" = "segoeprb.ttf"
"Segoe Script (TrueType)" = "segoesc.ttf"
"Segoe Script Bold (TrueType)" = "segoescb.ttf"
[HKEYLOCALMACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows NT \ CurrentVersion \ FontSubstitutes]
"Segoe UI" = -
But the best thing is that you go to a less complicated and risky alternative method, which is to use a third-party application specially created for this task. You just have to open the program and start playing with the new fonts, being able to change the typography of the title bar, the menus, the message boxes, the title of the palette, the text under the icons, and the pop-up messages that they come out when you hover over a site.
To change the font of an element you must be in the Font tab, click on the element, and choose the new font, style, and size. Make all the changes you want and click Apply to apply the changes. Now, restart the session, and voila, you will have already changed the font.
Create a theme by customizing various things
Windows also allow you to make several changes at the same time and keep them all saved in a kind of appearance profile, customizable themes. To access them, you have to do is enter Windows Settings. Once inside, click on the Personalization section, which is used to modify the appearance of Windows.
Once you are inside the Personalization menu, click on the Themes section that you have in the left column. By default, you will see a screenshot of your desktop as you have it below, and four options to change Background, which are the screen background, the color settings, the system sounds, and the mouse cursor.
Each time you click on one of the four settings options, the corresponding window will open to change pointers, sounds, wallpapers, or colors, which are the same options that we have already told you about in detail above. However, the advantage of doing it here is to be able to click on the Save theme button to give it a name and for a specific configuration to be saved. So, if you make a change later, you can easily undo it.
And if this was not enough, below these options and the Save theme button you have the Change theme section, where you can choose between all the themes that you have created or downloaded. Yes, downloaded, because you will also have a link called Get more themes in Microsoft Store, which will open the Windows store to a section where you can download several dozen third-party themes, with their corresponding backgrounds and colors.
Give Windows the classic screensaver
Do you remember the mythical Windows screensaver? Well, although hidden, you can still activate it in Windows 10. To do this, go to Windows Settings and enter Personalization. Inside, click on the Lock screen section (1). You will not see references to the screensaver in the options that will appear, but if you scroll down all the way you will see some links to extra settings. Here, tap on Screen Saver Settings (2), which is literally the last option on the panel.
The screen saver settings window will open, which is your lifelong screensaver. By default you will have the option configured (none), which means that there is no screensaver activated, but if you open that pop-up window you will be able to choose from a list of the classic screensavers that have been used in Windows for years.
In addition to being able to choose the screen protector, there are other options that you have to take into account. With the numbers that you can put in the Wait option, you will be able to determine how many minutes have to pass without you doing anything so that the screensaver is activated. In addition, you will always have a Preview button to activate it and see how it looks, and some screensavers activate the Settings button, which takes you to a specific configuration for each of them.
Change the letter of a hard drive
Although it is minor customization, if you have several hard drives you can change the letter of each unit. This means that C: can be anyone, and on the secondary hard disk you can put your initials or another letter that indicates the content. To do this, open the start menu and type the word partitions, Click on Create, and format hard disk partitions in the search results that appear.
You will enter the Disk Management application, where you have a complete list of all the hard drives and partitions on your computer. Now you have to right-click on the drive whose letter you want to change. In the drop-down menu, click on the option Change drive letter and paths.
When you do this, a Change drive letter and paths window will appear. In it, press the Change button to access another window in which you will directly have a drop-down tab to choose a specific letter for your drive. Once you have chosen the one you like the most, click OK in the two windows and the changes will be applied to you.
Give Windows new features
And beyond these basic changes, you also have at your fingertips many other extra features that you can add to Windows. Some are designed by Microsoft's own equipment, such as Windows PowerToys with which you can give dynamic corners as in GNU / Linux to perform actions by simply moving the pointer to one of the four corners of the screen that you have customized, or add the Preview function with space as in macOS.
These are the PowerToys that you currently have available for Windows:
- PowerRename: A Windows Shell extension or context menu to be able to rename several files at the same time, which we could call mass changes. To do this, you can do a search and replace elements or regular expressions. It can be changed and searched in a simple way or a more advanced regex match.
- FancyZones: A tool that is a kind of window manager, and allows you to define an area of the desktop to which you can move windows and organize them in an orderly way, with complex designs and placement of windows in these designs to put an order in the open applications.
- Shortcut: Its name means shortcut, and it is a kind of guide to Windows key shortcuts. If you hold down the Windows key for a few seconds, the guide will automatically appear.
- File Explorer (Preview Panes): It is an add-on that shows a new panel within the Windows file explorer that allows you to preview Markdown (.md) and SVG (.svg) files.
- Image Resizer: Another extension of the Windows Shell or contextual menu, in this case, to add an option with which to change the size of the images. Simply select one or more images, and when you right-click on the selection you will see the option to resize them.
- Window Walker: It is an application with which you can search and navigate between the windows you have open. While looking for an open application, you can use the up and down arrows on the keyboard to see a preview. It is something similar to what you do now by pressing Alt + Tab, but you launch with Control + Windows.
You also have other programs such as Rainmeter, which allows you to add skins or widgets to your desktop, both with weather information such as a calendar or controls for music playback or more. You have several themes to customize the tool. And you also have other paid applications that can sometimes be promoted, but that you can always gossip whenever you want.