You have updated your PC to Windows 11 and even if you are completely satisfied with the functionality of the aforementioned operating system, you intend to change the appearance of its interface to make it more personal and, at the same time, more practical with respect to your usage. Not being particularly well versed in this kind of procedure, however, you don’t know where to “put your hands”, and you would like my help to understand how to intervene.
Well, I’m happy to be able to give you a hand when needed; therefore, below, I will explain to you in detail how to customize Windows 11 through the appropriate functions present in the operating system settings. I want to immediately reassure you that these are particularly simple operations and are within everyone’s reach.
You will see that by following my instructions step by step, you will soon be able to count on a work interface that is perfectly aligned with your tastes and needs, regardless of the build of Windows 11 you have installed on your computer. Having said that, all that remains is for me to wish you happy reading and have fun!
How to customize Windows 11 desktop
To begin with, I want to show you how to customize Windows 11 desktops by intervening on the various components present in the main interface of the extremely popular Microsoft operating system. To make things even easier for you, I’ve made chapters dedicated to changing various aspects of Windows 11 .
If you’re wondering how to customize the background on Windows 11 , I suggest you proceed as follows: first, right-click anywhere on the desktop , then select the item Personalize from the context menu .
Then click on the Wallpaper function and, in the next step, choose the setting you want from the menu on the right next to the Customize the wallpaper box from those listed below.
- Slideshow — this solution allows you to alternate a series of images in your PC’s memory according to a pre-established timing. The options below, therefore, will allow you to define the folder containing the album you want to use ( Browse function ), how often to change the image (from 1 minute to 1 day ) and enable random playback . Furthermore, you can optionally choose to activate/deactivate the option when the PC is disconnected from the power supply and define how the images adapt to the desktop.
- Image — if you prefer to use a single image as your desktop background and then manually change it when you feel like it, with this option you can choose from the contents offered by the operating system or, by pressing the Browse photos button , select a photograph from your folders personal. If necessary, you can eventually adjust it using the function below.
- Solid color — are you more inclined to have a monochromatic background ? In this case, select the Solid color option , then choose one of the background colors proposed by the system by default. If, on the other hand, you want to customize it further, press the View colors button , then move the indicator therein to define the intensity and move the cursor to the color you wish to apply. Once you find the right balance, hit the Done button .
- Windows Spotlight — this is a wallpaper option that displays various background images in slideshow mode and occasionally offers suggestions on the lock screen.
Is your main intention to customize Windows 11 by changing the colors displayed on areas of the operating system and in the windows of the applications used? If the answer is yes, to start right-click on an empty area of the desktop, then select the Personalize item from the context menu and, in the window that opens, press the Colors box .
Next, define the display mode between Light , Dark or Custom (the latter allows you to separately define the mode to be used in Windows 11 and in the apps), then choose whether or not to activate the transparency effect using the appropriate button .
Once this is done, indicate in the Main color section if this should be set automatically by the system or if you prefer to select it manually : in the latter case, therefore, you can define it by clicking on the box showing the chosen color (a check mark will be applied to the selection) or acting on the View colors function to define the gradation using the appropriate selector.
However, bear in mind that some colors may not be supported , while others may limit the readability of the texts : therefore, I advise you to pay attention to the indications given by the system in the dialog box in question. When finished, press the Done button to apply the changes.
If you wish, you can also apply the main color using the appropriate buttons to the Start menu and the taskbar (option available only if the mode has been set to dark , as shown at the beginning of the chapter), as well as to the title bars and at the edges of the windows .
If you intend to apply themes , i.e. a combination of background, color, sound and pointer, the relative tool present in the customization screen can also be accessed in this case by right-clicking on the desktop, pressing the Customize item and selecting the tool Themes .
This function allows you to choose a predefined theme among those proposed by the system (just click on the combination you prefer among those shown under the heading Current theme ), download new ones from the Microsoft Store using the Browse themes function below (some are free , others at payment ), or modify the various elements that compose it to create a personal one .
In the latter case, you will have to press individually on the Background , Color , Sound and Mouse cursor functions located at the top right to define them one at a time. As far as the background and color are concerned , please refer to the instructions given in the dedicated chapters.
Clicking on Sound , on the other hand, will open a window which will allow you, by pressing the element you wish to modify listed in the Events box , to assign it a different audio file by selecting it from the list of predefined Windows sounds or from a personal folder on your PC using the browse tool .
Finally, the Mouse Cursor option will send you directly to the pointer settings , where it will be possible to apply a different element by selecting it from the Customize area and then pressing the Browse button : in this way you will be able to locate, using a File Explorer window , the file ANI or CUR that you want to use instead.
Once the aforementioned steps have been completed, just click on the Save button to assign a name to the combination , then pressing the Save button again to record the changes made to your personal theme.
If you need to use more distinct colors to simplify the readability of the text or the visualization of the apps, you can use one of the solutions proposed in the Contrasting themes section if necessary .
The last function present in the theme customization screen is the one called Desktop icon settings : by pressing on it, a window will open which will allow you to select the PC , network , user folder or trash icon and replace it, using the Change icon function , with a different ICO file present in the system or in your personal folders (for example, an icon downloaded from the Internet or created entirely by you).
If you intend to change the appearance of the application bar , in a previous chapter dedicated to customizing colors I showed you how you can easily apply a different one to the element in question: I advise you, therefore, to refer to the aforementioned instructions if your needs are limited to this intervention.
If, on the other hand, you want to change its functions or position in more detail , right-click on an empty spot in the application bar, then press the Application bar settings item .
In the window that opens, first select the various elements you wish to include by using the respective selectors relating to the Search , Task view , Widgets and Chat functions , then define in the same way the icons of the tools you wish to display in the right corner ( Menu pen , Virtual keyboard , Virtual touchpad ).
To hide an icon from the bottom right corner and transfer it to the overflow area (that is, the one that is shown by pressing the arrow pointing up symbol present there), click on the Overflow function in the corner of the application bar , after which it activates only those that can be displayed (the others will be automatically moved to the aforementioned area).
For example, if you are not comfortable with the alignment of the bar (which, by default, is centered ) or with other particular features, click on the Application bar behavior menu , then choose whether to move it to the left , hide it and show the unread message counter . If you use multiple displays , you ‘ll find handy options to span them across all screens or just selected ones .
Finally, you can also choose whether to enable the possibility of sharing any window from the application bar and whether or not to activate the function that allows direct access to the desktop by pressing the far corner of the element in question: if so, moving with the cursor at the bottom right you will see a vertical line that will allow you to return immediately to the desktop with a click.
If you intend to change only the desktop icons , please refer to the instructions at the bottom of the chapter on themes: here, in fact, there is a dedicated function that I have already explained to you in detail.
If it is the shortcut icon to an app , on the other hand, you can easily change it by right-clicking on the element in question and selecting the Properties item from the context menu: in the window that opens, click on the Shortcut tab and click on the Change icon button present there, then locate the one you want to apply as a replacement, possibly using the Browse function .
Folder icons can be modified in the same way by selecting, in this case, the Customize tab present in its Properties dialog . Furthermore, by pressing the Choose file function located in the Folder image section , you can additionally apply the preview image of one of the files it contains.
How to customize Start Windows 11
You are not comfortable with the Windows start menu settings, to understand what is displayed by pressing the 4 blue squares symbol in the taskbar, and therefore you would like to know how to customize Start Windows 11 ? No problem, I’ll settle you right away.
To get started, right-click on an empty area of the desktop and select the Personalize item from the context menu , then, in the Settings window that appears, press the Start box present there.
Next, choose whether or not to activate the display of recently added apps and the most used apps using the appropriate buttons. Do the same for the Show Recently Opened Items feature in the Start Menu, Jump Lists, and File Explorer . FYI, Jump lists consist of the list of recently opened items which can be viewed by right-clicking on the icons in the system tray.
Finally, press on the item Folders and, in the next step, select the items you want to display in the Start menu next to the item Stop .
As for changing the colors of the Start menu, I refer you to reading the dedicated chapter, which explains how to extend the choice of the main color to the element in question.
How to customize folders windows 11
In the next paragraphs I will show you how to customize Windows 11 folders , understood as viewing them in File Explorer . As for changing the related icons, however, I refer you to reading the dedicated chapter.
If, in particular, you intend to change the display of a particular folder, you just need to access the latter with a double click on the element and select from the View menu at the top the mode you prefer from those proposed ( large , medium , small , list , and so on).
At this stage, you can also enable the compact view and, using the Show option , activate the display of the preview , detail and movement panes , extensions , item check boxes and hidden items .
Once you have defined the viewing mode you deem optimal, you can extend it to other folders of the same type : to do this, press the symbol of the three horizontal dots at the top and select the Options item , then go to the View tab of the window that opens and press the Apply to folders button , confirming your intention in the next notification.
How to customize widgets windows 11
If you want to know how to customize Windows 11 widgets , first open the relevant window by clicking in the lower left corner where, as a rule, there is the weather window . Next, press the [+] symbol at the top right to add new items to the section in question and press the box relating to the topic of your interest.
To manage preferences relating to the information shown in the various widgets shown, instead, click on the Manage interests item present in the screen for adding widgets seen above: you will be sent back via the Bing browser to the appropriate Microsoft Start page (you can also connect via the link above, by logging in to your Microsoft account associated with the version of Windows 11 you use).
Here you will be able to select the categories relating to the topics of your interest from the left panel, and just click on the [+] symbol within the various sub-categories shown to get updates on the chosen topic.
Finally, if you are no longer interested in a specific widget, click on the symbol of the three horizontal dots inside the relative box and select the Hide option from the context menu.