Customizing Your Windows 10 Desktop

Posted on July 3, 2020 by Brad Sams in Windows, Windows 10 with 32 Comments

When Apple unveiled its complete overhaul of the macOS interface, it left many Windows fans disheartened because Fluent has been implemented poorly across the entire OS. While Fluent was announced with high hopes that it would bring Windows into the modern era in terms of appearance, the reality has been a test of patience.

But one of the primary benefits of Windows 10 is that if you have the time and know where to look, you can fully customize the appearance of the OS. And if you want to add a little more personalization to your desktop, here is how I created the desktop you see above.

To get started, you are going to need a few apps – most are free, some are not.

  • Taskbar X – Center the icons on the taskbar

  • Rainmeter – the widgets you see on the right side

  • Curtains – Replaces start button icon with colored Microsoft logo

  • Files UWP – Modern app to browse your files

  • PowerToys – Enables modern UI for search

Once you get all of the apps downloaded, it’s up to you to customize your desktop to your preference. Each app has various ways you can tweak the interface to get exactly the design you prefer but it will take time to fully understand all the different settings.

For example, TaskbarX has various features that let you customize the taskbar with transparency, animations, and more. But keep in mind, all of these features don’t play nice with Curtains that allows for a more complete overhaul of the UI.

Of all the apps listed above, Rainmeter is the oldest and allows you to create dashboards with widgets but also interactive components on your desktop. It can also be tricky to get it set up exactly how you would like as you sometimes need third party apps, like CoreTemp, to get the CPU temperature to show up; skins are not typically well documented – you can find many different skins to apply, here.

Everything else is pretty much downloading the app and running it – TaskbarX and Rainmeter will require you to define your preferences. Keep in mind that Curtains is a premium app but everything else is free but TaskbarX does have an app in the store if you want to support the developer, it costs $2. And PowerToys is a Microsoft app that is free.

These are the apps that I use to customize my experience with Windows 10, did I miss any? Curious if there are other apps you are using to improve the UX of the OS.

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