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How to personalize your Windows 10 PC



What makes your house your home? Is it the furniture? The art? A few favorite collectibles arranged on the shelves? The same goes for your PC. If you're new to Windows 10, we'll show you how to personalize your PC to make it feel, well, yours .

From the moment you first power on your PC, you'll asked to choose how to manage your privacy and security. But once you complete that short process, the fun begins: You can select backgrounds, configure your Start menu, and choose apps and shortcuts. Think of this story as a complement to our tutorial on how to set up your new PC efficiently and effectively. This is the fun stuff.

The Windows 10 out-of-the-box experience

Any time you buy a new PC, you're almost certainly going to "Or OOBE. While the OOBE is simply a series of setup screens narrated by the voice of Cortana, Jen Taylor, it could be a PC to PC, and be determined by your choices. Generally, you'll be able to handle any questions without any hand-holding; Windows 10 personalization oobe name ” width=”700″ height=”559″ data-imageid=”100780543″ data-license=”IDG” data-original=”https://images.idgesg.net/images/article/2018/11/oobe-name-100780543-large.jpg” class=”lazy” loading=”lazy”/> Mark Hachman / IDG

Personalization begins with entering your name.

 19659008] Cortona, or choosing your privacy settings. Entering (creating) a Microsoft account allows your preferences to "follow" you from PC to PC, create a OneDrive cloud-storage account, and more. Creating an account is recommended, but you can use a local account and password instead. </p>
<p> Microsoft <em> has </em> made it harder to enable local accounts, however. The language and the UI to do so appears to change somewhat randomly. If it is an internet account, it seems immensely. Windows 10 personalization oobe windows hello ” width=”700″ height=”521″ data-imageid=”100780542″ data-license=”IDG” data-original=”https://images.idgesg.net/images/article/2018/11/oobe-windows-hello-100780542-large.jpg” class=”lazy” loading=”lazy”/> <small class= Mark Hachman / IDG

If Windows Hello is enabled on your PC, you'll have a chance to set it up in the OOBE. Do so! It just literally takes a few seconds.

Likewise, it's up to you to let Cortana. Cortana and Windows Search are now separate, and Cortana is far less important than she once was. Cortana around: You can actually launch Amazon's Alexa via Cortana! So you're free to fiddle with the privacy settings.

 Windows 10 personalization oobe privacy Mark Hachman / IDG

Though you're fit, you can also take the time to adjust them later.

Begin personalizing your PC with Themes

Assuming you never logged in with a Microsoft account, you'll see the desktop wallpaper. It's time to start making this PC yours! Personalize .

 Windows 10 personalize shortcut Mark Hachman / IDG

Right-click the desktop , Personalize and we're off!

Doing so opens the windows 10 Settings menu, specifically Settings> Personalization> Background. You'll see a list of backgrounds to choose from either a picture, a solid color, or a slideshow, as well as an example of how it will look. If you select Picture, click Browse to find the folder in which your picture is located.

You can also select from a slideshow of pictures. (If you want to use a picture that's on your phone, try emailing it to yourself, opening the file inside your email program.) , which uses the Windows 10 Pictures folder as a default.

If you want to take your personalization on the left-hand rail to Themes .

 Windows 10 personalization background Mark Hachman / IDG

The Personalization Settings is where we'll begin.

Windows 10 Themes are collections of background images, sounds, colors, and mouse cursor. There are several to choose from that ship with Windows. Windows 10 personalization themes ” width=”700″ height=”540″ data-imageid=”100780552″ data-license=”IDG” data-original=”https://images.idgesg.net/images/article/2018/11/personalization-themes-100780552-large.jpg” class=”lazy” loading=”lazy”/> Mark Hachman / IDG

If you have any existing themes, this is the page where you You'll be able to pick them up.

Clicking the link opens the store, and displays literally dozens of themes, most of which are free. There's an emphasis on architecture, animals, and nature photography, and a distinct lack of (copyrighted) sports and pop art. Halo: Reach, Angry Birds, Autumn Eerie, or the French Riviera.

 windows 10 personalization themes store Mark Hachman / IDG

If you're a fan, there's a wealth of free backgrounds to choose from in the Themes portion of the Microsoft Store. One quirk: Themes from the Settings menu. They are not accessible via the main Store app at present.

Downloading Themes from the Store places them in your list of Themes; downloading the Themes with custom sounds from the second link actually downloads the file to install it. Note that on the Themes page of the Settings menus, you can click the Sounds icon, which will open the Control Panel. Windows sounds.

Feel free to download as many themes as you want, then select which Theme to use in the Settings > Themes menu. Under Settings> Background you can often select the individual background in the Themes cycle through. I prefer one per day, but you can refresh them as often as one per minute.

 Windows 10 personalization dark mode Mark Hachman / IDG

A "dark theme" option is available via the Settings> Colors menu.

Your next stop should be the Settings> Colors setting, which looks like an option to select accent colors. Boring, right? Well, no-the reason to explore the bottom, where you can either choose a dark or light theme. Try them both! Some people just prefer to lightly blast from their monitor. Unfortunately, it's not universal: You'll have to set a dark mode on Google Chrome, for example. But it's a start.

Fonts Personalization The lock screen does not offer much, it's worth taking a moment to configure the lock screen Lies itself after being away for a while. Adding your Calendar data to the lock screen, allows Windows to display your next calendar appointment when you return to your PC.

 Windows 10 personalization lock screen Mark Hachman / IDG

Here you can design various apps to display updates via the lock screen, which appears when you 're away from your PC for a time.

How to organize your Start menu and Taskbar

Windows offers many different ways to do the same thing-in this case, launch apps. The Windows 10 Start menu (accessed by clicking the Windows icon in the bottom-left corner) is an amalgamation of Windows 7's list of apps and the tiled interface of Windows 8. Right next to it is the search box, where you can type app name to launch it. And that is the Taskbar, where you can frequently use apps for easy access.

 Windows 10 personalization start menu Mark Hachman / IDG

The start menu in the lower left all the apps.

How you organize things will be a matter of preference. Settings> Personalization> Start, then toggle on Show most used apps .

  • More > Pin. Pin to Taskbar you can create a shortcut icon on the Taskbar at the bottom of the screen. That will save you from opening. Remember, the more icons you pin, the less space you'll have for shortcuts to active windows. Windows 10 personalization start frequently used apps ” width=”700″ height=”558″ data-imageid=”100780562″ data-license=”IDG” data-original=”https://images.idgesg.net/images/article/2018/11/start-frequently-used-apps-100780562-large.jpg” class=”lazy” loading=”lazy”/> Mark Hachman / IDG

    If you select "Show most used apps in the Settings> Personalization> Start preferences, Windows wants to get your most used apps at the top of the stack.

    • If you do not use the list of apps, just the tiles,
    • Each of the tiles appears in one of three folders (Create, Full-screen mode for a "Windows 8.1-like" experience. Play, and Explore, by default), which you can right-click to rename and move around. 19659055] Windows 10 personalization start resize tiles ” width=”700″ height=”488″ data-imageid=”100780563″ data-license=”IDG” data-original=”https://images.idgesg.net/images/article/2018/11/start-resize-tiles-100780563-large.jpg” class=”lazy” loading=”lazy”/> Mark Hachman / IDG

      The Mail ti it has been resized to make it the largest available.

      The Search box, and Cortana

      Unless you've toggled it off, you should see a box next to the start icon. Cortana used to be fused with Windows Search; now she's a separate entity.

       Microsoft Windows 10 cortana windows search Mark Hachman / IDG

      No, Cortana is not evil; she just matches your accent color if she or Windows has selected one.

      At one time, Cortana would like to see all the latest news and relevant bits of information. Today, she serves three purposes: as an assistant to answer questions, set reminders, and create lists. If you click in the search box, you can ask a query ("How tall is the Eiffel Tower?") And Bing wants to report the result. But it's easier to go to Settings> Cortana and enable the "Hey Cortana" trigger word. If your PC has a built-in microphone, you can ask Cortana's questions, even when the PC is locked. You can also set reminders ("Remind me to call Dad at 8 PM") or create a shopping list.

       Windows 10 cortana reminder Mark Hachman / IDG

      access the assistant. Doing so allows you to ask questions and set reminders.

      To better understand you, Cortana needs to know your information. In Settings> Cortana> Permissions & History you may want to make a document or other file from the search box. You can use the File Explorer (the little folder icon on the task bar) to hunt down a file.

       windows search windows 10 Mark Hachman / IDG

      The Windows Search bar shows you a list of documents before you even find them Begin typing.

      The Microsoft Store app

      As you may already know, one of the easiest ways to configure your PC is to download the apps that you want to use. You can access the Store from the Start menu, or look for the corresponding store entry in the results.

       microsoft store Mark Hachman / IDG

      From apps to games to videos, the Microsoft Store app is the iTunes of Microsoft.

      Which apps all apps are available via the Microsoft Store! If you're looking for suggestions, you can start using our best free software for your PC.

      The Action Center

      Despite its name, the Action Center, tucked way down the bottom right-hand corner of the screen, can be a quiet corner of your pc's operations. The Action Center archives any notifications you receive (new email, calendar reminders, etc.) and, when clicked, pops them out of the right side of the screen. Nearby Sharing toggle wi-fi on and off, to adjust the brightness of your screen and more. Notifications are useful, but if you find them distracting, toggle on Focus Assist for a reprieve.

      You can always make adjustments in the settings menu.

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<p> In the early days of Windows 10, Cortana would make an appearance in the Action Center, providing information. It's much more spartan these days. </p>
</figcaption></figure>
<p> In the October 2018 Update of Windows 10, you had the option to drag and drop them into action center icons. Not any more, unfortunately. </p><div><script async src=
  • A quick note about privacy

    How do you push through the OOBE and push past the privacy defaults? Settings for Privacy menu.

     Windows 10 privacy Mark Hachman / IDG

    Allowing Microsoft access to your data has some benefits, but provide just the basics.

    Microsoft learns about you, but the trade-off is this: Microsoft would like to say that the better your experience is. There's some truth to that. If you allow access to your search history and cloud documents, for example, your searches should be more effective. But you'll still see ads, so there's no need to create a "unique advertising ID," so we suggest you should toggle that switch off in Settings> Privacy> Options. You can also set the Privacy> Diagnostics & Feedback data to Basic without any consequences. Want a deeper dive on windows privacy? Check out our tutorial.

    There is no such thing as a personal computer or a computer that can help you increase your virtual workspace, uninstalling bloatware like Candy Crush, or simply adding a trusty old keyboard and mouse. Remember, it's all about making your PC … your PC.

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