Windows 10

Windows 10 desktop

Background: my laptop was very sluggish. We were looking into needing to a “rip and strip” – format and start over. I hate rip and strip because there’s always something I forget to back up. So, I asked the IT director at work – what do I do about my slow machine? He suggested getting an SSD hard drive (solid state drive) and replacing my current hard drive with that. OK. So I got one for Christmas from my sweety, formatted it (very important), and then purchased Windows 10 to put on the drive.

I will attempt here to list everything I did to customize the Windows 10 experience for myself. This post may get amended as we go. I should have taken notes as I was doing this, but here goes.

  • Add Quick Launch
    • this is always my first task. I love my quick launch, mainly to keep inactive icons out of my work space (task bar), and also so I can open multiple instances of an application such as NotePad
    • to add the Quick Launch, right-click on the task bar and choose Toolbars, add New Toolbar. Choose the %UserProfile%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch folder.
    • once it was active, I turned off “show title” and “show text”
  • Add my most used programs to Quick Launch
    • Show desktop (well, quick launch already comes with it, but it’s one of my most-used features
    • Notepad
    • Calculator
    • File Explorer
    • Internet Explorer (which for some reason is hidden within a context menu somewhere)
    • Later I added various other programs that use most often, including Paint Shop Pro, EverNote, DropBox, OneDrive, Microsoft Office Suite, and my other browsers
  • Change the size of Cortana to be just the looking glass icon. I don’t like my task bar filled to the brim.
  • Changed the power settings for my laptop
    • Sleep settings: keep battery defaults, set sleep to never when plugged in
    • Power button: do nothing when plugged in
    • When closing lid: I initially set it to do nothing because I wanted the laptop to keep running while doing installs etc. But given that my laptop still gets hot, I set it back to sleep for now. I’ve been used to that with this laptop anyway.
  • Theme: I set it to Windows 10. Partially because I didn’t like the black screen with the blue window on it. It was too dark for me. Eventually, I am sure I will find another theme, but out of the box it only comes with 3 defaults and 3 high contrast – 3 of which feature a black background (Why??) and the white background one is a little too high contrast for me. So anyway the Windows 10 one has some pictures that it rotates through. Fairly seamless, quite pleasant.


  • Background: I didn’t just want a solid color – that’s too boring, but didn’t want to spend the time figuring this part out. I have it rotate through the pictures.
  • Colors: for now, I am letting Windows 10 pick an accent color. If that drives me nuts, then I will pick a color myself. I turned off task bar color: I prefer the black. I left the task bar transparent. It’s not too distracting, and gives it a little bit of interest. As a side note, I am surprised at my willingness to let Windows 10 features shine through. I used to be a Classic Windows through and through person.
  • Lock screen: I chose Background, and then the blue tunnel picture because it was the one with mostly the same colors. I may choose my own picture for that one day, but this one is pleasant. I didn’t like the default with the view of the beach from within a cave.
  • Start: I turned off full start screen – that would annoy the bejeezes out of me. Everything else I left on for now.

Desktop Icons:

I chose to turn off the desktop icons. While I was used to having them in the left corner of Windows 7, I mostly ever used My Computer, which I can find in File Explorer anyway. I may add them back at some point, but for right now, I like having a clean desktop with nothing on it.


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