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Personalize your Windows 10 PC



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

From the moment you turn on your PC for the first time, you'll be asked to choose how you manage your privacy and security. But once you have completed that short process, the fun begins: you can select backgrounds, configure your Start menu and choose apps and shortcuts. Consider this story as an addition to our tutorial on how to set up your new PC efficiently and effectively. This is the fun part.

The out-of-the-box experience with Windows 10

Whenever you buy a new PC, you almost certainly go through what Microsoft calls the "Out of Box Experience", & # 39; Or OOBE. Although the OOBE is just a series of installation screens that are told by Cortana's voice, Jen Taylor, it can vary a bit from PC to PC and be determined by your choices. In general you can hold most questions without a hand; you will be asked for your preferred language and keyboard layout, to connect to Wi-Fi, and so on.

  Windows 10 personalization oobe name Mark Hachman / IDG

Personalization starts with entering your name. [19659008] Your most important choices come down to this: whether you want to enter or create a Microsoft password, enable Cortana and choose your privacy settings. If you enter (or create) a Microsoft account, your preferences can follow you from PC to PC & # 39; & # 39 ;, create a OneDrive cloud storage account and more. Creating an account is recommended, although you can use a local account and password instead.

However, Microsoft has made more difficult to enable local accounts. The language and user interface seem to change somewhat randomly. However, if you want a local account, breaking the internet connection seems to help enormously. (Here's how to set up Windows 10 with a local account.)

  Windows 10 personalization oobe windows hello Mark Hachman / IDG

If Windows Hello is enabled on your PC, you can set it in the OOBE. To do! It literally only takes a few seconds.

It is also up to you whether you want to use Cortana. Cortana and Windows Search are now divorced and Cortana is much less important than it once was. But here's a reason to keep Cortana close: you can actually launch Amazon's Alexa via Cortana! You are also free to play with the privacy settings (of course you can also change this correctly in Windows). We will talk a little more about privacy later.

  Windows 10 personalization oobe privacy Mark Hachman / IDG

Although you can configure these privacy settings at your own discretion, you can also take the time to adjust them later.

After a few minutes, the installation process is completed and the Windows 10 desktop is displayed.

Start personalizing your PC with themes & # 39; s

Assuming you have never logged in with a Microsoft account, you will see the default desktop background. It's time to make this PC yours! And the easiest way to do this is by right-clicking anywhere on the desktop and then selecting to personalize .

  Windows 10 personal shortcut Mark Hachman / IDG

Right-click on the desktop, click on Personalize and we are gone!

This opens the Settings menu of Windows 10, in particular Settings> Personal settings> Background. You will see a list of backgrounds to choose from – an image, a solid color or a slideshow, as well as an example of what it will look like. If you select Image, click Browse to locate the folder where your image is located. (If you want to use an image on your phone, try emailing it to yourself, opening the file in your email program, and saving it to a folder on your PC.)

You can also choose from a slideshow of images, which uses the Windows 10 Pictures folder by default. It is probably a better bet to make a subfolder of photos that you have screened and retrieve from there.

If you want to take your personalization a little further, scroll down through the menu options on the left rail to Theme & # 39; s .

  Windows 10 personalization background Mark Hachman / IDG

The personalization settings are where we will begin.

Windows 10 themes & # 39; s are collections of background images, sounds, colors, and mouse cursor. There are several to choose from that ship with Windows. But we recommend clicking on the link to Get more themes from Microsoft Store .

  Windows 10 personalization theme & # 39; s Mark Hachman / IDG

If you have existing themes & # 39; s, this is the page where you can select them.

Clicking on the link opens the store and literally displays dozens of themes, most of which are free. There is an enormous emphasis on architecture, animals and nature photography, and a clear lack of (copyright protected) sport and pop art. Strangely enough, some of Microsoft's video game themes are not published in the store, but appear in this list of themes with customized sounds, such as Halo: Reach, Angry Birds, Eerie Autumn or the French Riviera.

  Saving 10 Personalization Theme Mark Hachman / IDG

If you are a photography fan, you can choose from a wealth of free backgrounds in the Theme & # 39; s section of the Microsoft Store. One peculiarity: you must open these themes from the Settings menu. They are currently not accessible via the main shopping app.

If you download themes & # 39; s from the store, they will be placed in your list of themes & # 39; s; downloading the & # 39; s theme with custom sounds from the second link requires downloading the file to install it. Note that on the Theme & # 39; s page of the & # 39; s Settings menu, you can click the Sounds icon, which will open the Control Panel. This is useful if you ever have enough of the custom sounds of a theme and just want to return to the traditional Windows sounds.

Feel free to download as many themes & # 39; s as you want and then select which theme you want to use in the settings > Themes & # 39; s menu. Under Settings> Background you can select how often the individual backgrounds run through the & # 39; s themes. I prefer one per day, but you can renew them as many times as one per minute.

  Windows 10 personalization dark mode Mark Hachman / IDG

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

Your next stop would be the [19459003moetenzijn] Settings> Colors setting, which looks like an option to select accent colors. Boring right? Well, no – the reason to explore is below, where you can select a dark or light theme. Try them both! Some people really prefer fewer light rays from their monitor. Unfortunately, it's not universal: for example, you have to set a dark mode separately in Google Chrome. But it's a start.

Although the setting Fonts in Personalization does not offer much, it is worth configuring the lock screen, the screen that appears when your PC locks itself away after a while have been. For example, by adding your calendar information to the lock screen, Windows can display your next calendar appointment when you return to your PC. It is a great way to mentally reset and plan your next move.

  Windows 10 personalization lock screen Mark Hachman / IDG

Here you can designate various apps to display updates via the lock screen that appears when you are away from your PC for a while.

Organize your Start menu and taskbar

Windows offers many different ways to do the same – in this case, launch apps. The Windows 10 Start menu (accessible by clicking on the Windows icon in the lower left corner) is a fusion of the list of Windows 7 apps and the tiled interface of Windows 8. Immediately adjacent is the Search box, where you can find a type app name to start it. And right next to is that is the taskbar, where you can pin frequently used apps for easy access. (Your currently active windows are also displayed in the taskbar.)

  Start menu for personalization of Windows 10 Mark Hachman / IDG

The Start menu at the bottom left contains all your apps.

How you organize things will be a matter of preference. But consider a few suggestions to get you started:

  • If you prefer a list of apps, go to Settings> Personalization> Start, and then turn to Show most used apps . This places your most used apps at the top of the list, so you no longer have to browse through them.
  • If you right click on a tile or app and go to More > Pin to taskbar you can create a shortcut icon that is in the row of icons on your taskbar at the bottom the screen is displayed. This prevents you from opening Start. Remember that the more icons you pin, the less space you have for shortcuts to active windows. When you hover over the taskbar icons, you will see a pop-up thumbnail of all active windows in that app.
  Windows 10 personalization starts frequently used apps Mark Hachman / IDG

If you select "Show most used apps" in the Settings> Personal settings> Start preferences, Windows will be your most frequent group used apps at the top of the pile.

  • If you use the app list not only the tiles, you can disable the list completely from the same menu. You can even open the Start menu in full screen mode for a "Windows 8.1-like" experience.
  • Each of the tiles appears in one of the three folders (Create, Play, and Explore, default), which you can right-click to change and move the name. If you click on a tile, you can adjust its size. This is useful for apps that update information, such as Mail, Agenda or News.
  Windows 10 personalization starts changing tiles Mark Hachman / IDG

The Mail tile has been reduced to make it the largest available. If there was unread email, the tile would show the latest information t input.

The Search Box and Cortana

Unless you have disabled it, you will see a search box next to the Start icon. Cortana used to be merged with Windows Search; now she is a separate entity.

  Microsoft Windows 10 cortana windows search Mark Hachman / IDG

No, Cortana is not bad; it just matches your accent color if you or Windows has selected one.

Cortana once kept an eye on all your interests and news about the surface and relevant bits of information. Today she has three goals: as an assistant to answer questions, set reminders and make lists. If you click in the search box, you can ask a question ("How big is the Eiffel tower?") And Bing reports the result. But it is easier to go to Settings> Cortana and the trigger word & # 39; Hey Cortana & # 39; to enable. If your PC has a built-in microphone, you can ask Cortana these questions even when the PC is locked. You can also set reminders ("Remind me to call Dad at 8 p.m.") or create a shopping list.

  Windows 10 cortana reminder Mark Hachman / IDG

Click the Cortana button to access the assistant. This allows you to ask questions and set reminders.

However, to better understand you, Cortana needs to know your information. In Settings> Cortana> Permissions and History If you enable permission to allow access to your search history in the cloud and on different devices, it is easier to find a document or other file in the search box . You can use the file explorer (the small folder icon on the taskbar) to search for a file. But you can also search for it from the search box and receive a list of suggestions.

  windows search windows 10 Mark Hachman / IDG

The Windows search bar shows you a suggested list of documents before you start typing.

The Microsoft Store app

As you may already know, one of the easiest ways to configure your PC is to download the apps you want to use, and a useful source for this is the Microsoft Store. You can open the Store from the Start menu or type the desired app in the search bar and search for the corresponding Store item in the results. Try it with something like "Facebook" or "Spotify".

  Microsoft Store Mark Hachman / IDG

From apps to games to video & # 39; s, the Microsoft Store app is the iTunes from Microsoft.

Which apps you download is up to you – and not all apps are available through the Microsoft Store! If you are looking for suggestions, you can start with our list of the best free software for your PC.

The Action Center

Despite its name, the Action Center, tucked away in the lower right corner of the screen, can be a silent corner of your PC's activities. The Action Center archives all notifications you receive (new e-mail, calendar reminders, etc.) and lets them click on the right side of the screen. But note the quick actions at the bottom of the pop-out, where you can adjust things to your liking: adjust the brightness of your screen, enable Sharing nearby enable and disable Wi-Fi, and more. Reports are useful, but if you find them distracting, turn on Focus Assist for a delay. Just make sure you switch it off afterwards.

You can always make these adjustments in the Settings menu (or sometimes even via the keyboard of your laptop), but here they are easily accessible.

  Action Center Windows 10 [19659086] Mark Hachman / IDG </small><figcaption>
<p>  In the early days of Windows 10, Cortana appeared in the Action Center with information. It is much more Spartan nowadays. </p>
</figcaption></figure>
<p>  In the October 2018 update of Windows 10, you had the option to drag these small Action Center icons around and organize them as you see fit. Unfortunately no more. </p>
<h2 class= A brief remark about privacy

Do you remember how we encouraged you to click through the OOBE and go beyond the default privacy settings? Perhaps it is a good time to go back and think about what information you want to provide to Microsoft, via the menu Settings> Privacy .

  Windows 10 privacy Mark Hachman / IDG

Allowing Microsoft to access your data has some advantages, but only offers the basics.

You are free to decide what data Microsoft learns about you, but the disadvantage is this: Microsoft wants you to believe that the more data you provide, the better your experience will be. There is a truth in that. For example, if you allow access to your search history and cloud documents, your searches must be more effective. But you still see ads, so there is really no need to have a & # 39; unique ad ID & # 39; so we recommend that you disable that switch in Settings> Privacy> Options. You can also set the data Privacy> Diagnostics & Feedback to Basic without any consequences. Do you want a deeper dive in Windows privacy? View our tutorial.

There are certainly other touches you can do to customize your PC: add a second monitor to increase your virtual workspace, remove bloatware such as Candy Crush, or just add a familiar old keyboard and mouse. Remember that it's all about making your PC … your PC.

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