How to change the look of Windows 10's desktop with native settings or Aero Glass

Adjust color schemes and backgrounds easily with these tools.

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Judith West feels that “The aesthetic quality of my work environment is important to me,” and she can’t find the look she wants in Windows 10.

When it comes to visual aesthetics, Windows 10 is reasonably configurable—but not as configurable as I’d like. For instance, I can’t find a way to replicate Windows 7’s rounded window corners. (If you found one, please add it to the comments section below.) But you can still do a lot to make Windows 10 look better.

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Let’s start with some basic changes:

Select Start > Settings > Personalization. In the default Background tab, you can select the desktop background (I still prefer the old name, wallpaper). You can choose a picture (one of theirs or one of your own), a solid color, or a slideshow made up of various pictures. (If you select Slideshow, you’ll be asked to select an “album.” Don’t worry. A file folder, in this context, is also an album.)

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Once you’ve made that choice, click the Colors tab on the left pane. Here you can pick the accent color that will fill your taskbar and Start menu, as well as frame your windows.

But rather than pick a color, consider turning on Automatically pick an accent color from my background—especially if you set up a slideshow. When the background image changes, the accent color will change to something that goes well with it.

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Miss the transparent Aero look? You can get part of it back by turning on the Make Start, taskbar, and action center transparent.

That option won’t give you the transparent window outlines you got in Windows 7. For that, I recommend Aero Glass and transparency for Windows 8.1—and yes, it works for Windows 10 (just make sure you get the 8.1 version, and not the version for plain old Windows 8). The program is free.

Be sure to download the installer (it’s an EXE file) rather than the library collection (a 7Z file). The change will happen as soon as you install the program.

But it won’t change all windows equally. Modern apps look entirely different from the old-fashioned Windows programs, and Aero Glass’ changes have little or no effect on these.

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Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to turn the Aero look on or off. The easiest way to remove it is to enter Control Panel’s Programs and Features tool and uninstall Aero Glass for Windows. Luckily, it will be near the top of the alphabetical list of installed programs.

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