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Basics of Windows 10: how to customize your display

If you’ve just bought a new laptop, one of the first things you’ll probably want to do is customize what it looks like. Windows has many options for customizing what you see when you open your device. You can select a lock screen, use a photo or other image as wallpaper, and select a theme.

It’s pretty simple and easy to do once you access your customization settings. To do this:

  • Click the Start button
  • Click the gear icon to open Settings
  • Select “Personalization”

From here you can make various changes to the design of the interface of your computer.

Change your wallpaper

  • Click “Background”
    ; in the left bar

Background page

Here you can change your wallpaper or set a slideshow instead.

  • Use the drop-down menu under “Background” in the main windows to choose whether to use a picture, slideshow, or solid color as wallpaper
  • If you want to select an image for the wallpaper, click on “Picture”. Windows will give you some of your photo options under “Choose your photo.”
  • If you prefer to use one of your own photos, click the “Browse” button. Select an image and click “Choose a picture”.
  • To change the format of the photo, click the drop-down menu under “Select Pass”. There are several different ways you can use the image – fill the space, for example, center it on the screen or create a tile effect.
  • Once you select a fit, you will see your new wallpaper behind the Settings window; feel free to experiment to see what works best for you (and your photo).
  • If the image does not fill the entire screen, you can also select a background color. Scroll down to “Choose your background color” and select a color. (If the image fills the entire screen, you will not see this option.)

Suitable picture background options

Adjust the size of your background.

  • If you prefer to skip setting a photo as your background, you can choose a color instead. Select “Solid Color” from the “Background” drop-down menu, and then select a color from the tiles under “Choose your background color.” You can also choose a color of your choice.

Background page, but with solid color options

Click on a tile to set this as your background color.

  • Finally, you can select “Slideshow” from the drop-down menu under “Background”. To choose which photos appear in your slideshow, click “Browse” in “Select albums for your slideshow,” select a folder, and then click “Select this folder.”

Background slideshow options

The slideshow will play photos from the folder you selected.

  • You’ll then find additional settings to choose from, such as how often the slide show changes images, shuffle shifting, whether to play the battery slideshow, and how the image should fit on the screen. You can also select a background color when the image does not fill the screen.

Additional background settings for the slideshow

Use these switches and options to change your slideshow background settings.

To set a lock screen

  • Select “Screen Lock” from the left sidebar

Lock screen page

Here you can adjust what you see when your device is locked.

  • Open the drop-down menu under Background. You’ll get three options: Windows Projector, Picture, and Slideshow.

Lock screen drop down menu

Use the drop-down menu to customize your lock screen.

  • To use a still image as a lock screen, select Picture. Then select an image from the options below “Select your photo”.
  • As with your wallpaper, you can use your own photo for the lock screen by clicking “Browse” using the pop-up window to go to the image you like, and then clicking “Choose a picture.”
  • To set a slideshow to play when your device is locked, click Slideshow. You’ll see a section called “Select albums for your slideshow,” which shows the folders from which the slideshow will play. To remove a folder, click it, and then click Remove. To add another folder, click the Add Folder button, open the folder you want to select, and then click Select This Folder.

Lock screen slideshow options

You can add or remove folders for your slideshow.

  • Below you will see “Advanced slideshow settings”. Click this to adjust settings such as when to turn off your screen, whether to lock or turn off the screen when the device is idle, and whether to play a slideshow when your Windows is on battery.

Advanced slideshow settings

Use the switches to adjust your slideshow preferences.

  • The third screen lock option is Windows Projector. This feature will give you a photo for your lock screen. You can specify whether you like the photo and your feedback will be used to customize which photos follow.

Lock screen application options

You can allow one application to display a detailed status and other applications to display a short status on the lock screen.

  • No matter which lock screen option you choose, you can adjust which apps will appear on that screen. Click the icon under “Select an app to show the detailed status of the lock screen” and select an app from the drop-down menu. Below this you can select additional applications that will display a status with less detail on the lock screen.

Application drop-down menu options

Click on the tile and select an application from the drop-down menu.

Choose an accent color:

  • Click “Colors” in the left sidebar
  • Click the drop-down menu under “Choose your color.” Here you can choose between light and dark modes. If you select Custom, you can choose to use Light or Dark mode separately for Windows and your applications.

Color settings

You can set the dark mode for your device and applications separately.

  • Whatever you choose, you can scroll down to “Choose your accent color” and choose a color from one of the tiles there, or choose a custom color by clicking + below.

Color accent settings

Choose a color from the tiles or add a custom color.

How to use themes

Themes are a set of wallpapers, sounds, and colors that you can use to customize your device. You can choose a theme that comes with your system, or get more from the Microsoft Store.

  • You can find “Themes” in the sidebar on the left and you’ll see your current theme in a window at the top of the main area.
  • If you want, you can click Background, Color, Sounds, and Mouse Cursor to adjust each of these features individually.

Custom theme settings

You can save the theme you created or choose another one.

  • Scroll down to “Change theme” to see some others to choose from. As before, at the top of the page you will see the results of the changes and you can adjust the background, color, sound and cursor individually. There is also a link to the Microsoft store, where you will find additional themes to play with.
  • Click ‘Save Theme’ to save the custom theme you created.

Theme menu

Use the buttons at the top to customize the built-in theme.

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