How to customise the desktop colours in Windows 10

Windows 10 looks completely different to previous versions of Microsoft’s operating system and there are new ways to customise it. This is a step-by-step guide to customising the colour scheme.

Have you ever wondered why the colour scheme is the way that it is? Why is the Start menu black, and why are the tiles blue? Can you change these colours? Yes you can. You can customise the colour scheme and change the background colour, the tile colour, the taskbar and action centre.

1 Start colours

Click the Start button on the taskbar and notice that the background is black and the tiles are blue. Select Settings in the menu.

 Windows 10 Start menui

2 Personalise it

In the Settings window that opens on the desktop, click Personalisation. This is used to change the background, colours and lock screen.

 Windows 10 Settings

3 Pick a picture

Select Background in the left panel and on the right is a preview window and some different desktop backgrounds. Click a photo to change the background and notice that the Start menu in the Preview window changes colour.

 Windows 10 backgrounds

4 New tile colours

You can see the new colour scheme for real if the Start button is clicked. As in the preview, the tiles are now green. So why are the Twitter and OneNote tiles not green? Tiles can choose to ignore the colour scheme and that shade of blue is always used for the Twitter logo. It just wouldn’t be right with a green tile or any other colour for that matter. Similarly, Microsoft always uses purple for the OneNote program icon and Start tile, so the Windows tile colour is ignored.

 Windows 10 Start menu colour scheme

5 Automatic colours

It looks a bit odd, and how did green become the tile colour anyway? Select Colours in the left panel and below the Preview images is Choose a colour. Windows can automatically choose a colour by analysing the image used for the background, and this is what is happening.

 Windows 10 colour scheme

6 Choose a colour

Turn off the option to automatically pick a colour. A grid of colours appears and you can click a colour tile to apply it. It instantly changes in the Preview window and you can bring up the Start menu and see it there too.

 Windows 10 colour scheme

7 Colourful Start

After selecting a colour, such as blue, the Start menu is black with blue tiles. The taskbar and action centre are also black. However, this option below the coloured tiles enables the Start, taskbar and action centre background to show the same colour.

 Windows 10 colour scheme

8 New colour scheme

Check the Start menu and the background is blue. So is the taskbar and action centre. Notice that it is not quite the same shade of blue that was selected for the tiles. In order to make the tiles stand out from the background, Windows selects a lightly darker shade for the background.

 Windows 10 colour scheme

There is one more option in step 7 and this is to make the Start, taskbar and action centre semi-transparent. Try this switch in the on and off position and see which you prefer.

What we have done here is to make the Start menu background and tiles use your own colour scheme instead of letting Windows pick some awful scheme based on the background image. This is much better.

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