The complete guide to customizing Windows 10

Make Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system look exactly the way you want it to.

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal Freelance Writer
Sarah is a freelance writer and CNET How To blogger. Her main focus is Windows, but she also covers everything from mobile tech to video games to DIY hardware projects. She likes to press buttons and see what happens, so don't let her near any control panels.
Sarah Jacobsson Purewal
3 min read
Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

An operating system is only useful as it is customizable. After all -- if you can't make an OS look and act the way you want it to, then who cares if it's objectively better (faster, more powerful) than any other OS?

Good news, Windows 10 users: You can easily customize both the look and feel of Microsoft's new OS, and make it work for you. Here's our guide on how to make Windows 10 pretty and easy to use.

Windows 10 Settings menu: The Personalization tab: Take a look at Windows 10's new Personalization settings -- the bedrock of all your visual customization needs.

How to customize the Windows 10 Start menu: In the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, Microsoft has switched up the way the Start menu looks and feels. Here's what's changed, and how you can customize it to make it work for you.

Pin links to the Start menu from any browser: Put your favorite links on the Start menu, no matter what web browser you favor.

10 ways to customize the Taskbar in Windows 10: If you're like me, the Taskbar -- not the Start menu -- is the real workhorse in Windows 10.

How to disable the Windows 10 lock screen: Windows 10 is designed for every device, including mobile devices, which is why it has a lock screen and a log-in screen. But for many of us desktop and laptop users, the lock screen is redundant and inconvenient. Here's how to get rid of it.

Make people jealous of your lock screen with Windows Spotlight: If you must have a lock screen, it might as well look awesome with pretty, high-res photos from Windows Spotlight feature.

How to uninstall default apps in Windows 10: Windows 10's default apps don't take up a lot of space, but do visually clutter up your Start menu (especially if you don't use them). Here's how to uninstall them (and how to reinstall them).

3 ways to customize Microsoft Edge: Microsoft's new Edge browser is a work in progress, but here's what you can do right now to make it look pretty.

How to get the home button back in Edge: Edge has decided to take a leaf out of Google Chrome's book and be too cool for a home button. But some of us like home buttons, so here's how to get it back.

You can now try out browser extensions in Edge: Edge finally has browser extensions! Here's how to get them.

Here's how to get rid of Internet Explorer: Edge is sucha work in progress that Windows 10 also ships with Internet Explorer 11. You can't really uninstall IE11, but you can hide it so you don't have to look at it.

Get rid of default cloud service icons in File Explorer: Cloud storage service icons show up in the left menu of your File Explorer, whether you want them to or not. But you can remove them with a relatively simple Registry hack.

How to change your computer's name in Windows 10: What's customization if you can't customize your PC's name?

How to get Windows 10's dark theme: In the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, Windows 10 gets a sleek dark black-and-gray theme for native Windows apps (including the Settings menu, but excluding File Explorer). Here's how to turn it on.

Put Cortana on your lock screen: Microsoft's digital assistant can now answer questions and perform tasks from your lock screen, which means you'll never have to unlock your device just to schedule a meeting again!

Cortana is mandatory in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update: Cortana was always "mandatory" (to some extent), but now she officially has no "off" button. If you find her presence too invasive, you can limit her ability to nose into your business -- here's how.