Customizing Your Windows 8 Machine

Most of us get bored easily especially when it comes to the gadgets that we own and the factory settings that are set active in it. When this happens, we always resort to doing some personal settings and tweaks which even leads to the point where we already install apps and other programs just to add some sense of ownership and personal touch to it. This same thing happens even in the world of computers but the good thing is that Windows operating system versions provide some built-in features, images, settings and other stuff which you can use to better improve its appearance and add a personal touch to how it appears. In this tutorial, we will be looking at some customization steps that will make Windows 8 look better and more personalized.

Changing the Lock Screen Image

In Windows 8, the very first feature that you’ll meet is the “Lock Screen”. If you are using a tablet or any other mobile device, you’ll be able to set a picture password in it while on PCs and mobile computers, you’ll be able to click, scroll or press any key and it will disappear then you’ll see the log in screen and finally enter your password so you can start using your computer. If you feel like changing the lock screen image into something unique, probably your pet’s picture or any other image you’ve downloaded from the Internet then simply follow the steps below.

  • Access the “Settings Charm” by pointing the mouse to the top-right corner of the screen then moving downwards. If you are using a touchscreen device like a tablet, simply put your index finger near the right edge of the screen then swipe it towards the center and you’ll see the Charms bar appear. From here, simply click the “Settings Charm”.


  • An alternative and shorter way of accessing the “Settings Charm” is by pressing the “Windows + I” keys. Once the “Settings” screen appears, you will need to click on a link that says “Change PC settings” found at the bottom.


  • On the next screen, simply click on the “Personalize” option from the left side then hit “Lock Screen” at the top portion of the options found at the right side of the screen and you’ll see all the available lock screen images which are built-in with the system. If you want to use a different picture, simply click on the “Browse” button and look for the picture that you want to set as the “Lock Screen” image.


Personalize the Start Screen

In the same location where you did some personalization with the “Lock Screen”, you will also find another customization option which applies to the “Start Screen”. These options include patterns and themes for the “Start Screen” background and you can choose different color schemes anytime so when you feel bored at looking at its default color and pattern then you can always choose to change it anytime. To do this, simply follow the steps below.

  • Access the “Settings Charm” by doing the same steps I gave above then go to the “PC settings” section. Once you are on it, simply look for the link that says “Start Screen” just beside the “Lock Screen” link which you clicked earlier.


  • After doing so, you’ll see some Start Screen patterns which you can choose from and as well as color schemes for the pattern you selected. Each time you select a pattern or a color for the “Start Screen”, you’ll also be able to see how it appears on the preview section located just above the “Start Screen” patterns and color scheme options.


Setting an Account Picture

Now that the “Lock Screen” and the “Start Screen” has been personalized, it is time to put your picture on your account to make everything look more personalized. To do this process, you will need a photo of yourself or any other image that you want to set as your account picture. If you didn’t set an account picture yet, you’ll only see a thumbnail that looks like a mug shot whenever you log in to your computer. You’ll also see this same image at the upper-right portion of the “Start Screen”.


To put your chosen picture on this area, simply follow the steps I’ll be showing below:

  • Before you even start with the process, you first need to secure an image that you want to use and save it in a location where it can easily be located like the Desktop or the Documents library. Once an image is saved, simply go to the “PC settings”-> “Personalize” section and click on the “Account Picture” link found at the top portion of the options and settings found at the right. This link is just beside the “Lock Screen” and the “Start Screen” links where we did some adjustments and tweaks earlier.


  • After clicking on it, you’ll be directed to the screen that looks like the screenshot below. If you already saved a picture of yourself or any other image that you want to set as your account picture, simply click “Browse” and find the image in the location where you saved it in but if you would like to take a picture using your computer’s built-in camera then you need to click on the button that is labeled “Camera”.


After setting your account picture, you should now be able to see it at the top right portion of the “Start Screen”and on the log in screen as well.

Personalize Your Desktop

The last section that we will be personalizing on this tutorial is a very familiar one. Just like in Windows 7 and the older Windows operating system versions, Windows 8 also allows users to customize the desktop and add more personal touch to it. This is surely a very familiar process to most of us but let me demonstrate it in detail for the benefit of those who are just starting to learn Windows 8.

  • First, you need to access the “Control Panel”. Since the “Start Button” is not present in Windows 8, you need to press the “Windows + X” keys in order to access a system menu where you can find a link that will lead you to the “Control Panel”.


  • You can also access the “Control Panel” by pressing the “Windows + I” keys while you are on the Desktop and you’ll see the “Settings” screen appear at the right edge of the screen.


  • Once the main Window of the “Control Panel” opens, simply click the “Appearance and Personalization” link then “Personalization” on the Window that follows.


  • On the next Window, you will now be able to change the theme, desktop background, sound scheme and screensaver.


  • An alternative way of accessing this section is by going to the desktop, right-clicking an empty space on it then on the contextual menu that would appear, simply click “Personalize”.


You’ll find more about the desktop screen in Windows 8 on our next tutorial. For now, we’ll just settle on these basic personalization steps which will help you get rid of the factory settings that makes your computer look exactly like the rest of Windows 8 machines around you. Do you know of any Windows 8 app that helps in personalizing the metro environment? If you do then we would like to hear from you. Feel free to share the link or add more tips here by using the comments section below.