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While Windows has always been customizable, but Windows 10 and especially the Windows 10 Anniversary Edition have made it easier than ever for you to give Windows your own “personalized” look and feel. If you don’t yet have the Windows 10 Anniversary Edition, Read our article on Forcing the Windows 10 Update or try the newly released link that Microsoft has provided.
Once you have the free Anniversary Edition installed, you will find a revamped Settings area. In the Settings area you will now find a Personalization choice with several different featured areas to. These include Background, Colors, Lock Screen, Themes, Start, and Taskbar.
The Background choice gives you several new options. You can choose a solid color, any picture on your computer, or a slideshow of pictures from your computer. If you choose slideshow, you can also choose to change the picture every day or as often as every minute or at other intervals. You can also shuffle the pictures or have them play in the order submitted. The pictures can be set to fit the screen, fill, stretch, tile, center, or span.
This options lets you choose any solid color as your background. You can also choose to show the color on the Start menu, taskbar, action center or title bar. New to the Anniversary Edition is the Dark mode, shown below. In the Dark mode, the background is black and the text is white which really makes things stand out. It’s perfect for working in low light conditions like at night or on a plane. There are also several high contrast schemes.
There are several new choices for the lock screen. As with the general background, it can show a picture or slideshow with several options. Now, however, you can also choose “Windows spotlight” which gives you special pictures chosen by Microsoft. Don’t dismiss this option. The pictures are taken from Microsoft’s Bing collection of pictures from around the world. Many are colorful and quite dramatic.
In the Lock screen area you can also choose which apps show up on the lock screen, including alarms, weather, mail, calendar, and others. In this area you can also set Cortana to answer you from the lock screen as well as control the timeout and screen saver settings.
A theme is a combination of desktop background pictures, window colors, and sounds. Microsoft is always adding new personalization features and new themes that are pretty exciting. These include panoramic themes that extend across two monitors, and the ability to have your theme appear on your Start screen. The Themes area also gives you the useful ability to decide which Windows icons you see on the Desktop, like Computer, User’s Files, Network, and Control Panel. In addition, as shown below, it gives you a link to peruse all of the themes that Microsoft offers. You can also see them at this Microsoft link.
The Start menu is also very customizable. You can now show more or fewer tiles, and show or hide the most used apps and recently added apps. It even gives you the ability to choose which folders appear on the Start menu. Of course, you can also move tiles around directly on the Start menu and can right-click any tile to resize that tile.
The last choice in the Settings personalization is the Taskbar. This is the area where you can decide to show or hide the taskbar in various modes like desktop and tablet mode. You can also use small or large buttons and can show or hide labels. Here you can also choose to move the taskbar to the right, left, or top of the screen. Of course, you can also drag the taskbar to other edges of the screen as long as it is unlocked.
Mouse & touchpad
The Mouse & touchpad settings are now found in the Settings under Devices.
Other ways to personalize
The Personalization area of the Settings menu is very useful, but if you came from previous versions of Windows, remember that the old Control Panel is still available. Just ask Cortana to start the Control Panel or put it on the desktop from the Themes menu, as stated above.
In the Control Panel you will find many options in a more familiar format. You can set up Power, Keyboard, Sound and other options here as well as in the Settings menu.
And don’t forget that the new Action Center is also quite customizable. Just ask Cortana to start the Action Center or click on the new icon at the lower right corner of the screen. Click on the All setting icon to customize this area to your liking.
Windows 10 Anniversary Edition even gives you a new emoji keyboard to help you express yourself in texts. Now that the Microsoft Edge browser supports extensions, you can also add personalization to the Edge browser.
Most people don’t do much to customize Windows. They just start using it with the default settings and keep on using it that way. Adding your own personalization to Windows 10 is fun. Plus it puts your own personal stamp on Windows. Once you have inserted your customizations into Windows 10, looking at your computer screen will as comfortable as sinking into your favorite armchair.