How to Customize the Windows 10 Desktop

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Like other versions of Windows, Windows 10 has a variety of options you can customize the desktop with. The platform has options that enable users to configure the desktop wallpaper, theme, color scheme, desktop icons and more besides. You can select most of those options from the Personalization window under Settings.

Customizing the Colors in Windows 10

First, check out some of the options Windows 10 has for customizing its colors. To open the window in the shot below, right-click the desktop and select the Personalize option from context menu. Then select the Colors option and maximize the window.
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You might find that the Automatically pick an accent color from my background setting is on. If that is so, then click the option to switch it to off. That will then open a color palette as shown below.
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You can select a color scheme for Windows 10 from that palette. To include a matching color scheme on the taskbar and Start menu, switch the Show color on Start, taskbar, action center and title bar option to On. Below that is an option that adds transparency to the taskbar.
At the bottom of the window is a High Contrast Setting option. Click that to open the window in the snapshot directly below. There you can choose some higher contrast theme color settings from the drop-down list. Press Apply to add the selected color scheme to Windows.
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Customize the Start Menu

Next you can configure the Start menu. Click Start on that window to open some further options. That includes a preview of the Start menu at the top with the selected settings.
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To add more tiles to the Start menu, switch the Show more tiles option to On. In addition, you can also add more folders to the menu by selecting Choose which folders appear on Start. That opens the window below where you can choose to add more folders. The extra folders are included at the bottom left of the Start menu.
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Adding new Wallpaper to the Desktop

Of course, you can always add alternative wallpaper to the desktop. To do so in Windows 10, click Themes and Theme settings. Then select Desktop Background from that window to open further wallpaper options.

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The window above includes a drop-down list at the top from which you can choose three wallpaper options. One thing that’s new here is the Solid color setting. Select that to open a palette of solid colors that you can add to the desktop.

Win 10 also has a Slideshow option included with previous versions. Click that option and you can then choose a slideshow with wallpaper. To add your own, select Browse and the folder that includes the slideshow images in it. As such, you’ll need to have set up a new folder and moved your slideshow photos into it.

There are a few extra slideshow options. Adjust the duration each picture is on the desktop for by clicking the Change picture drop-down list.  Below that there is also a Choose a fit drop-down list. If you’re sure the images can fit the whole desktop, select Fill from there
Alternatively, you can add just the one wallpaper to desktop. Click the Background drop-down list and select Picture. Then choose one of the picture thumbnails below, or click Browse to select one of your own desktop wallpaper photos.

Customizing the Windows 10 Theme

You can also customize the Windows 10 theme. Note that will also alter the wallpaper and add additional color configurations to Windows that match the background better. Right-click the desktop, select Personalize, Themes and Theme settings to open window shown below.
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From this window you can select default Windows 10 themes with alternative wallpaper and color configurations. But there’s a lot more you can add from the Windows site. Click here to open a selection of Windows 10 themes.  Then click the Download button beneath a specific theme to save it to the Downloads folder. Select the theme file in the folder you saved it in to add it to the themes listed in the Personalization window. 

Customizing the Windows 10 Desktop Icons

There are a few ways to customize the Windows 10 desktop icons. Firstly, you can customize some of the system icons from the Desktop Icons Settings window. To open that window, right-click desktop, select Personalize, Themes, Theme Settings and then Change desktop icons.
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The window above includes a few desktop icons you can customize. Select an icon there and Change Icon to open a smaller window with a variety of alternative icons to choose from. Select an Icon from there and click OK to close window. Then press the Apply button to switch the desktop icon to the one selected.
You can also remove the system icons included on that window. There are few check boxes at the top of the window. Click a ticked checkbox to remove the system icon from the desktop. Press the Apply button to confirm.
Note that themes can also change the icons on the desktop. To keep the icons as they are, irrespective of the theme, click the Allow themes to change desktop icons checkbox so that it’s no longer selected. Then you can press the Apply button and OK to close the window.

However, you can only customize a few icons from there. You can add alternative icons for software shortcuts by right-clicking an icon on the desktop and selecting Properties to open the window below. Then press Change Icon and click Browse to select an alternative icon for it from one of your folders. Press the OK button on the Change Icon window to confirm selection.
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Of course, you’ll also need to have some alternative desktop icons saved in a folder. To find some new icons, check out sites such as Icon Archive. Enter desktop in the search box on the website to find new icons. Then click an icon there and press the Download ICO button to save it to your Downloads folder.

So those are the main options and settings that you can select in Windows 10 to customize the desktop. With them you can add a little more pizzaz to the desktop. Remember that there are also numerous third-party packages available that you can further customize Win 10’s desktop with.

Posted by Matthew on February 27, 2016

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