8 Ways to Personalize Your Windows 11 PC

Robert_Stark
edited September 2023 in PC Tech

Got Windows 11? Let's make it yours. Learn how to personalize your Windows 11 experience, from curated web collections to a desktop background that speaks to you. 

The benefits of personalizing Windows 11 

Personalization isn't just about looks; it's about customizing your digital space to your needs.

  • Boost productivity: Cut digital clutter and find apps or files faster. Personalizing streamlines your workspace for increased efficiency. 
  • Lift your mood: The right themes and background images can subtly boost your emotional state. Pick visuals that motivate or relax you. 
  • Increases familiarity: Customizing settings makes new tech less intimidating. Tailor Windows 11 to your liking for a smoother, more user-friendly experience.

1) Custom wallpaper: Make your desktop your own 

Your home screen sets the tone every time you log in. Windows 11 lets you flex your personality with custom backgrounds. Whether it's an awesome photo or a favorite movie scene, make your desktop a reflection of you.

How to set it up 

  1. Click on Start
  2. Hit the Settings icon. 
  3. Go to Personalization
  4. Choose Background

Find your perfect background 

Windows 11 gives you multiple ways to personalize your desktop background. In the Personalize your background section, choose from:

  1. Picture: This is the default setting. Pick from Windows 11's gallery of high-res images, or hit Browse photos to use an image from your personal library. 
  2. Solid Color: Sometimes, less is more. Choose a solid color as your backdrop if you're going for a minimalist look. 
  3. Slideshow: Can't pick just one? No problem. Select Slideshow to cycle through your favorite images right on your desktop. 
  4. Windows Spotlight: Get a daily dose of stunning visuals with Windows Spotlight. It pulls rotating backgrounds from the web, often featuring global landmarks. Bonus: These images come with links for more info.

Different moods call for different backgrounds. Whatever you choose, make Windows 11 a space that feels uniquely you. It's a quick but powerful way to make Windows 11 your own.

2) Windows themes: Sync your style across your system 

With Windows Themes, your style isn't just limited to your wallpaper. Windows Themes in Windows 11 lets you instantly transform the look and feel of your OS. Want something unique? Tinker with each setting and hit Save to create your custom theme. 

How to get started 

  1. Right-click an empty area on your desktop. 
  2. Select Personalize from the context menu. 
  3. You'll see a preview of your current theme and other options. Click one to select it. 
  4. Customize further if you want using the links at the top. 
  5. Click Save.

Expand your theme library 

Bored with the default choices? The Microsoft Store has you covered. Hit the Browse themes button to download new ones with various images and colors.

Accessibility themes 

Got specific visual needs? Check out the Contrast themes. They're designed with high-contrast colors to help you differentiate between different screen elements.

3) Customize your start menu & taskbar: Quick access to what matters

In Windows 11, both the Start Menu and Taskbar can be tailored to your workflow. Use them as shortcuts to your go-to apps and files. Here's how.

A) Pinning faves to your start menu 

  1. Click Start
  2. Scroll to an app you often use. 
  3. Right-click and choose Pin to Start.

B) Taskbar tweaks: Make it work for you 

The taskbar in Windows 11 is more than just a pretty face. It's your quick-access toolbar.

How to pin apps to the taskbar 

  1. Open the app from the Start Menu. 
  2. Right-click its icon on the taskbar. 
  3. Choose Pin to taskbar. 

The app stays on your taskbar even after closing it.

Removing apps from the taskbar 

Need to declutter? It's simple: 

  1. Right-click the app you want gone. 
  2. Select Unpin from the taskbar.

And just like that, it's gone.

Customizing your essential apps can save you clicks and make your Windows 11 more efficient.

4) Change Windows 11 system sounds 

Tired of the default bleeps and bloops? Windows 11 lets you swap out system sounds, from login music to notification alerts. Make your audio cues as unique as your Spotify playlist.

Here's how to change Windows 11's system sounds: 

  1. Open Windows Start
  2. Select the Settings app. 
  3. Tap Sound. 
  4. Scroll down to Advanced sound options
  5. Tap the Sounds tab to see a list of events and their corresponding sounds. 
  6. Click on an event you want to change. 
  7. Use the Browse button to find a new sound file or pick from the dropdown list. 
  8. Test the sound. Like what you hear? Hit Apply and then OK.

Want custom sounds? Sites like SoundBible or BBC Sound Effects have a wealth of .wav files you can use.

5) Disable Windows animations and transparency 

 Windows 11 comes decked out with flashy animations and transparency effects. They're eye-catching but can slow down your system on older machines. Want a speed boost? You can turn these visual extras off. Here's how.

Turn off transparency and animation 

  1. Click Start or use the keyboard shortcut Windows key + I to open Settings. 
  2. Select Accessibility from the sidebar. 
  3. Click Visual Effects: Scroll bars, transparency, animations, notification timeout. 
  4. Flip the switch for Transparency effects to "Off." 
  5. Do the same for Animation effects to remove them.

That's it. You'll see the changes instantly. Your GUI will go from glassy to opaque, cutting the frills while speeding up your system.

Want to revert? 

If you miss the bling, go back to: 

  1. Settings > Accessibility > Visual Effects. 
  2. Flip the switches back on for Transparency and/or Animation.

Trimming these visual extras can free up system resources, creating a more responsive, if less dazzling, Windows experience.

6) Use multiple desktops to level up your workflow 

With multiple desktops, you can separate your tasks and concentrate better. You can sort projects into dedicated spaces or quickly clean up your desktop before a meeting. This streamlines your workflow and keeps distractions at bay.

Create your new desktops 

  1. Click the Task View icon on the taskbar. 
  2. Hit New Desktop
  3. Open the apps you need on that desktop. 
  4. To switch, click Task View again.

Need to hop between desktops? Use the Windows key+Ctrl+D shortcut to create a new one on the fly.

7) Personalize your login and lock screen 

Your lock screen greets you whenever you boot up or lock your PC (Win+L). Go beyond the default and show a customized background or instant notifications.

How to set your lock screen 

  1. Open the Settings app. 
  2. Click on Personalization
  3. Go to Lock Screen
  4. Choose a background that resonates with you.

Stay updated without unlocking 

Want to see the weather or new emails without unlocking your computer?

  1. In Lock Screen settings, find the Choose an app to show detailed status option. 
  2. Pick an app like Mail, Weather, or Calendar.

Your lock screen can be more than a password prompt; make it a dashboard for your digital life.

8) Use night light: Get better sleep and reduce eye strain 

 Your screen emits blue light, which can mess with your circadian rhythm and keep you up at night. Turning on Windows 11 night light displays warmer colors at night that are easier on your eyes and help you sleep.

  1. Select Start 
  2. Select Settings > System > Display > Night light 
  3. Toggle on Schedule night light 
  4. Choose Sunset to sunrise or set your own custom times.

When it's time to wind down, your screen will transition to a softer, sleep-friendly glow.

Your Windows 11, your way 

Windows 11 is all about you. From visual tweaks to usability enhancements, you can personalize it till it fits you like a glove. Dive into these customization options and maximize what Windows 11 offers. Keep your space efficient, your mood lifted, and your day productive. After all, your computer should work for you, not the other way around. 

Robert is a Taiwan-based writer and digital marketer at iamrobert design. He has a passion for helping people simplify their lives through tech.

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