Upon trying to customize Windows 10, you’ll soon find out that you don’t have a lot of options. It may be one of the most optimized Windows versions up to date, but it sure isn’t one of the most beautiful.
Thankfully, the Windows community has created lots of little goodies that can make Windows 10 look like a totally different operating system. Let’s get right into it!
How to Customize Windows 10: The Basics
First things first, before moving on to anything advanced, let’s make sure that you’ve tried everything that Windows offers by default. If you’re not satisfied with that, then we can move towards more drastic measures.
The basics include:
- Windows 10 themes
- Taskbar and color settings along with transparency
- And Chrome themes
Starting off with Windows 10 themes, well, they are basically just a wallpaper bundle. If you’re lucky, you may also get a few new notification sounds.
You can find plenty of themes by going to Settings -> Personalization -> Themes -> Get More Themes in Microsoft Store. Once you’re into the MS Store and you got the list of available themes, all you need to do is get whatever you want, wait for the installation to finish, and you’ll be good to go. You can change themes back in the settings menu, so, do keep that in mind!
As for the taskbar, simply click on it then move on to taskbar settings and you’ll have everything you want there. Though, to be honest, there’s not much that you can change. You can make the icons smaller, maybe show the labels, hide or show your contacts icon, things like that.
As for Chrome themes, assuming that you’re using Chrome, you can find plenty of safe options in the Chrome store. Once you’re there, the rest is self-explanatory.
The same thing applies to Firefox. Simply head to the add-ons page, select the theme that you want, and proceed from there. Both browsers have plenty of options. So, just choose whatever works best for you and don’t worry too much about theme availability.
That’s it if you want to customize Windows 10 at its core without much fluff to it. For those of you who feel a bit more open to new stuff, keep on reading!
How to Customize Windows 10’s Desktop
While trying to customize Windows 10, you could be a normie and stick with the classic shortcuts, or you could step out from your safe zone and use something like Rainmeter to up your game. Just joking, though. You can pick whatever you like and feel most comfortable with.
In case you’re not familiar with it, Rainmeter is a program which allows you to customize your desktop in ways that Windows itself would never allow you to. You can add visualizers, gauge meters, moderation tools, fancy icons, anything you want.
This effectively allows you to make Windows look and feel like a totally different OS. And you can do that by either using Rainmeter skins that the community has created, or you can even make your own.
Though, with that being said, to create a custom skin, you’ll need to be a little bit tech-savvy. And it goes without saying that you’ll have to devote a lot of time and effort – assuming that you’re a very creative person.
So, for most of us, using the skins that others have created is the easy way out. And the good thing is that there are plenty of options out there.
You can find Rainmeter skins in:
Those sources should be enough to get you started. All you have to do is install Rainmeter, find a skin that you want, download it, and you can proceed from there.
There are a few paid skins. But, for the most part, you won’t have to give a penny. You can always donate if you feel like the creator should get a small reward for his hard work. Obviously, that’s completely up to you!
We’ve also made a list of the best Rainmeter skins that you can find. So, do make sure to check that out.
Consider Using Animated Wallpapers
Once you try out animated wallpapers, there is simply no going back to “normal” ones. They just feel too dull and stale. Animated wallpapers, on the other hand, can bring new life to your PC – especially if you combine them with Rainmeter.
But, wait. We’re not simply talking about GIFs or videos that are playing on the background here. You can find plenty of interactive wallpapers or even some that will add functionality to your desktop.
This happens because there is a program in the background which is responsible for everything and it’s called Wallpaper Engine. You can easily get it on Steam in a matter of seconds or minutes – depending on your Internet speed.
You may be wondering if there’s a catch, and the truth is that there a couple of things that you must keep in mind:
- You need to have Steam installed – which is free to use anyway
- But Wallpaper Engine itself costs about 5 bucks (depending on your region)
Now, we feel like 5 bucks is nothing for a program that can drastically change the look of your OS. But, that’s a matter of personal opinion. And using it is extremely simple since there are a ton of wallpapers that have been created by the community. Many of them are adult-oriented as well – if you’re into that sort of thing.
As is the case with Rainmeter, Wallpaper Engine allows you create your own animated wallpapers as well. However, you do also need the necessary experience to do such a thing. Still, with time, effort, and patience, everything is possible.
To summarize, if you want to use animated wallpapers, all you need to do is:
- Install Steam
- Buy and install Wallpaper Engine
- Launch it.
- Download any wallpaper that catches your eye
- You’re all set
- Will this slow down my PC? – That largely depends on your computer. My Ryzen 5 build doesn’t feel a thing but that’s a somewhat powerful machine. So, your mileage may vary. You can at the very least try out Rainmeter since it’s completely free and see for yourself.
- Are there any dangers to using these programs? – Not really. Just download all your themes and wallpapers from reputable sources and you’ll be fine. If you mess something up, WTLS won’t take any responsibility for it.
- I’ve got a Laptop. Can I still use these programs? – Again, depends on the Laptop. Not only because of power demands, but also because of thermals. After all, Laptops do struggle considerably more with cooling due to their size. At the very least, you’re going to drain your battery sooner.
- Is this bad for gamers? – Depends. If you’ve got an entry build (Ryzen 3/Core i3/i5 or anything slower) we’d recommend against it. After all, if you need every little bit of horsepower to run your games efficiently, you shouldn’t leave any programs running in the background. For mid-range users and above (At least Ryzen 5/Core i7), you should be fine.