Tutorial Windows: How to Personalize Windows 10 When Not Activated

Ever since it got announced, Windows 10 was released to the public free of charge for testing, taking a risk, of course, because each new build brought a handful of issues. Although the new OS from Microsoft is just around the corner, you might still want to tweak it further and can’t.

For some reason, Microsoft temporarily shut down the activation system, which oddly enough blocks all ways of personalization, including changing the background picture. Luckily, we managed to learn a few tricks while trying out the previous builds, and now know how to change colors and themes even if Windows says you can’t.

It’s goning to take a bit of time, because you need to work with the Registry Editor, and keys are spread out in different locations. If you don’t like working with the Registry Editor, here are a few alternatives to find and jump to registries. When you’re ready to go, the steps below illustrate how almost all Personalization tweaks can be handled from registries.

Personalize Windows through registries

Changing the background:

This is probably the easiest step, since it doesn’t require much effort, nor any registry tweaks. Just go online to find a wallpaper, download it, and choose to set it as background.

Switching to a picture slideshow through the registries isn’t so easy. However, if you have access to a Windows 8 computer, simply create a custom theme with a few pictures for the slideshow, export it, and load it in Windows 10.

Changing the Taskbar color

If you want the taskbar to automatically grab a color accent from the background picture, a single registry item needs to be changed.

Step 1: Hit Win + R to launch the Run utility.

Step 2: Write down regedit to launch the Registry Editor.

Step 3: Navigate to this location: HKEY_CURRENT_USERSOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionThemesPersonalize.

Step 4: With the Personalize folder selected, double-click ColorPrevalence and change the Value Data field to 1.

Step 5: Now, go here: HKEY_CURRENT_USERControl PanelDesktop.

Step 6: Don’t expand the Desktop directory, simply select it.

Step 7: Double-click the AutoColorization entry in the right panel, and change the Value Data field to 1.

Step 8: Close the Registry Editor and restart File Explorer for changes to take effect.

Toggle the Start Screen / Menu

Luckily, no registries need to be modified for this one.

Step 1: Hit Win + S to initiate a search.

Step 2: Write down Tablet Mode Settings and access the result.

Step 3: Turn On the option to Make Windows more touch-friendly when using your device as a tablet.

On an ending note

Sure enough a lot of customization can be brought by desktop enhancements as well. It’s probably a good option to rely on them for now, since it can be a little time consuming to manually enable colored title bars, change selection color and more. Moreover, until Windows comes out, registry tweaks are subject to change, and not even mandatory if you managed to activate your Insider Preview.