How to use themes in Windows 10 for a more personal desktop experience

Imagine a large white room with nothing more than a boring brown desk and a boring brown chair. That’s no fun, right? It’s sterile and seemingly siphons every creative drop from your soul. What you need is a work area that’s yours and feels comfortable just like home. We’ll show you how to use themes in Windows 10 so your PC’s virtual desktop isn’t boring and sterile.

You acquire Windows 10 themes in four ways: From the Microsoft Store, third-party websites, device manufacturers, and individuals who share their themes. Installing themes from the Microsoft Store is your safest bet while new desktops and laptops typically ship with a custom wallpaper (at the very least).

Our guide to using Windows 10 themes provides several ways to install, change, and even create custom themes. We also show you how to save custom themes as a file to share with friends and family. This guide is based on Windows 10 1809 (October 2018 Update) using Dark Mode.

From the desktop

This method takes the shortest route to theme management.

Windows 10 right-click personalize

1. Right-click anywhere on the desktop and select Personalize in the resulting menu.

Windows 10 Themes panel

2. Select Themes.
3. Click on a theme currently installed on your PC. Window 10 will automatically load the theme.
4. Close the Settings app.

Related: How to enable dark mode in Windows 10, Office, and Microsoft Edge

Create a custom Windows 10 theme

Since we’re here, you’ll see an option to create a custom theme. Let’s start the process from the beginning if you want to create a custom theme later:

Windows 10 right-click personalize

1. Right-click anywhere on the desktop and select Personalize in the resulting menu.

Windows 10 Use Custom Theme

2. Select Themes.
3. Click Use custom theme.

Windows 10 Custom Theme Choose Picture

4. Select Background to choose the images you want as wallpaper. For the Slideshow option, click the Browse button to use an image folder. Do the same for Picture mode only you will select a single image instead. The Solid color option provides 24 set swatches and an option click the “+” to create a custom color.

Windows 10 Custom Theme Choose Color

5. Select Color to change the interface color. Windows 10 provides 48 color swatches and an option to click the “+” to create a custom color. Here you can also choose where the accent color appears, toggle between Light and Dark app modes, and toggle transparency effects.

Windows 10 Custom Theme Choose Sound

6. Select Sounds to change the Windows 10 sound scheme.

Windows 10 custom Theme Choose Pointer

7. Select Mouse cursor to change the mouse cursor appearance.

Windows 10 Save Custom Theme

8. Click Save Theme.
9. Name your theme in the pop-up window.
10. Click the Save button.

Share a custom Windows 10 theme

Again, since we’re here, let’s go over how you can share a custom theme by creating a file friends and family can install:

Windows 10 Save Theme for Sharing

1. While remaining within the Themes section, click on your custom theme to make it active.
2. Right-click on your custom theme.
3. Select Save theme for sharing.

Windows 10 Name Custom Theme File

4. Select a location where you want to save the theme.
5. Enter a file name.
6. Click Save to create a .deskthemepack file.

Related: How to use notifications in Windows 10

Use the Settings app

Windows 10 access Settings

1.  Click Start and select the “gear” icon on the Start Menu. This opens the Settings app.

Windows 10 Settings Personalization

2. Select Personalization.

Windows 10 Apply a Theme

3. Select Themes.
4. On the right, scroll down to Apply a theme and click on a theme.
5. Windows 10 automatically applies the chosen theme. You can now close the Settings app.

Use the Control Panel

If your nostalgic soul just can’t let go of the old-school Control Panel, there’s a way to access the hidden Personalization panel we loved in Windows 7 and older:

Windows 10 Personalization Run Command

1. Type Win + R to open the Run command.
2. In the pop-up box, enter this command:

explorer shell:::{ED834ED6-4B5A-4bfe-8F11-A626DCB6A921}

Windows 10 Control Panel Personalization

3. Select the theme you want to apply.
4. Close the window when done.

Related: How to split your screen in Windows 10

Use File Explorer

Use this method to install themes downloaded from third-party websites, or if you like taking the long, old-school scenic route. Here are two important locations where Windows 10 stores your themes:

  • Default themes – C:WindowsResourcesThemes
  • Manually installed themes – %LocalAppData%MicrosoftWindowsThemes

Windows 10 File Explorer icon

1. Click the folder icon on the taskbar to open File Explorer.

Windows 10 File Explorer Select Theme

2. Locate the destination where your downloaded theme resides, such as Downloads. If you want a default theme or one you manually installed, copy and paste one of the addresses listed above into File Explorer’s address field.
3. Double-click a *.theme file you want as the current theme. Windows 10 will open the Settings app Themes section as well.

Get a new theme

Windows 10 access Settings

1. Click Start and select the “gear” icon on the Start Menu. This opens the Settings app.

Windows 10 Settings Personalization

2. Select Personalization.

Windows 10 Get More Themes

3. Select Themes.
4. On the right, click Get more themes in the Store listed under Apply a theme.

Microsoft Store Windows Themes

5. In the Microsoft Store app, select a theme you want to install.

Windows Store Get Windows Theme

6. Click the Get (free) or Buy (paid) button.
7. Click Install if the process doesn’t begin automatically.

Microsoft Store Apply Windows Theme

8. Click Apply to use the theme.
9. Close the Microsoft Store app.

Related: How to change your screen resolution in Windows 10

Use a high contrast theme

If you need a theme that’s merely black and white like the old days of MS-DOS, you can find these in a different part of the Settings app.

Windows 10 access Settings

1. Click Start and select the “gear” icon on the Start Menu. This opens the Settings app.

Windows 10 Ease of Access

2. Select Ease of Access.

Windows 10 Use High Contrast

3. Select High contrast on the left.
4. Toggle on Turn on high contrast (off by default).

Windows 10 High Contrast Colors

5. On the Choose a theme drop-down menu, select one of the four pre-installed themes.
6. Customize the high contrast colors if needed.
7. Close the Settings app.

You can take the File Explorer route too by heading to C:WindowsResourcesEase of Access Themes and double-clicking on a *.theme file.

Finally, for Windows 10 power users, the operating system keeps track of the current theme at this location in the registry:

HKEY_CURRENT_USERSOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionThemes

It’s listed as the CurrentTheme (REG_SZ) value.

That wraps up our guide on how to use themes in Windows 10. For additional tips and tricks, check out these guides:

How to use the Mail app in Windows 10 to access Gmail, iCloud, and more

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with using Microsoft’s default Mail app in Windows 10. It’s a native email client that supports Google, Yahoo, AOL, Apple iCloud, Microsoft Exchange, and other POP/IMAP email services. Given it’s baked into Windows 10, you can trust Microsoft will keep your messages secure and the app stable and reliable. We show you how to use the Windows 10 Mail app based on version 1809 (October 2018 update).

Add your first account

Windows 10 Load Mail app

1. Click the Start button.
2. Scroll down the Start Menu to locate and open the Mail app.

Windows 10 Welcome to Mail

3. On the Mail app’s welcome screen, select Add account.

Windows 10 Mail Add Account

4. Select a service on the following pop-up screen.

Windows 10 Mail Add Yahoo

5. Enter your credentials in the following Connecting to a service screen.
6. Click Done when complete.

Windows 10 Mail Pin to Taskbar

Note that if you continuously use the Mail app, you can pin it to the taskbar. This will prevent you from having to hunt down the app on the Start Menu each time you want to check email.

1. With the Mail app already open, right-click on its icon shown on the taskbar.
2. Select Pin to taskbar.

Windows 10 Mail Pin to Start

Another option is to pin a specific email account to Start. For instance, if you have multiple email accounts but use only one as your primary, such as Gmail, you can create a “shortcut” on the Start menu without pinning the Mail app:

1. With the Mail app already open, right-click on the account you want pinned to Start.
3. Select Pin to Start.

Add another account

Windows 10 Load Mail app

1. Open the Mail app.

Windows 10 Mail access settings

2. Click the gear-style icon at the bottom of the left panel to access Settings.

Windows 10 Mail Manage accounts

3. In the rollout menu, select Manage accounts.

Windows 10 Mail Add 2nd Account

4. Select Add account.

Windows 10 Mail Choose 2nd Service

5. Select a service on the following pop-up screen.

Windows 10 Mail Enter Service Info

6. Enter your credentials in the following Add an account screen.
7. Click Sign in when complete.
8. Click Done if successful.

Modify accounts

Windows 10 Load Mail app

1. Open the Mail app.

Windows 10 Mail access settings

2. Click the gear-style icon at the bottom of the left panel to access Settings.

Windows 10 Mail Manage accounts

3. In the rollout menu, select Manage accounts.
4. Select the account you want to modify.

There’s also a shorter way to change account settings. With the Mail app open, right-click on the email account you want to modify and select Account settings.

Windows 10 Change Mailbox Sync

5. Insert an optional custom name for the account.
6. Click the Change mailbox sync settings option.

This section provides control over how often the app checks for mail, when it downloads new content, and other synchronization options. You can also change your account password and server settings here.

Windows 10 Mail IMAP settings

7. While remaining on the sync settings screen, scroll down and click Advanced mailbox settings. Additional settings will appear:

  • Incoming mail server
  • Outgoing mail server
  • Contacts server
  • Calendar server

Click Done and then Save when complete.

A note on changing passwords

As of Version 1809, there is no way to manually change your email account password in Windows 10. For instance, if Google or Yahoo required you to update your account password, there is no direct method to change the same password in Microsoft’s Mail app. Instead, you have two options:

  1. Delete the account and re-add it to the Mail app.
  2. Wait for the Mail app to fail when checking your account. When this happens, you’ll see a yellow banner flashed across the app stating the account’s settings are out-of-date. Click the Fix account button and insert the new password on the following pop-up screen.

Delete an account

Windows 10 Load Mail app

1. Open the Mail app.

Windows 10 Mail access settings

2. Click the gear-style icon at the bottom of the left panel to access Settings.

Windows 10 Mail Manage accounts

3. In the rollout menu, select Manage accounts.
4. Select the account you want to delete.

Windows 10 Mail delete account

5. In the pop-up window, select Delete account.

Related: How to stream the Xbox One to Windows 10

Snooze an account

If you need to temporarily disable automatic email retrieval on a specific account, you have two options.

Windows 10 Load Mail app

1. Open the Mail app.

Windows 10 Mail access settings

2. Click the gear-style icon at the bottom of the left panel to access Settings.

Windows 10 Mail Manage accounts

3. In the rollout menu, select Manage accounts.
4. Select the account you want to snooze.

Windows 10 Change Mailbox Sync

5. In the pop-up window, select Change mailbox sync settings.

Windows 10 Mail download manually

6. On the Download new email drop-down menu, select Manually. This turns off automatic email retrieval but retains the emails you already downloaded in the Mail app.
7. A second option is to toggle off Email synchronization, but this de-lists the account and you won’t have access to the downloaded email. These emails aren’t deleted from your PC, just made unavailable.

General use

Windows 10 Create New Mail

1. To create a new message, highlight the source account and click New mail.
2. In the new message window, select Format for text-based options like italics, bold font, and more.
3. The Insert option allows you to add files, pictures, links, emoji, and tables.
4. The Draw option supports touch-based input, virtual pen widths, pen colors, and a drawing canvas.
5. The Options category allows you to set the email to High Priority, check your spellings, and more.
6. When complete, hit the Send button in the top-right corner.

Add a signature

Windows 10 Load Mail app

1. Open the Mail app.

Windows 10 Mail access settings

2. Click the gear-style icon at the bottom of the left panel to access Settings.

Windows 10 Mail Signature

3. On the roll-out Settings panel, select Signature.

Windows 10 Create Signature

4. In the resulting window, select the source email account that will use the signature.
5. Make sure the Use an email signature slider is blue (on).
6. Enter your custom text in the what-you-see-is-what-you-get field.

Based on Windows 10 version 1809, you cannot use HTML script as a signature. Instead, you must build a signature from scratch. However, you can change the font face and size, insert links and images.

7. If you want to use the same signature across all email accounts, check the Apply to all accounts option.
8. Click the Save button.

Change notifications

Windows 10 Load Mail app

1. Open the Mail app.

Windows 10 Mail access settings

2. Click the gear-style icon at the bottom of the left panel to access Settings.

Windows 10 Mail Notifications

3. On the roll-out Settings panel, select Notifications.

Windows 10 Mail notification settings

4. On the roll-out Notifications panel, select the account you want to modify.
5. Toggle on or off the Show notifications in the action center option.
6. Check or uncheck banners, sounds, and notifications for folders.

If you simply want to turn off notifications for a specific email account, right-click on the account in the Mail app’s Accounts menu and select Turn off notifications. Repeat this set to turn on notifications.

Related: How to update Windows 10 and resolve update issues

Enable / disable grouped conversations

“Conversation” is a grouping mechanism that crams all emails stemming from a specific subject into one long message thread. For instance, if you’re emailing and receiving responses from multiple people about a specific topic, everything is crammed together into one entry in your inbox. This tidies up your inbox so there’s less to navigate. Conversations are toggled on by default, but you can easily disable this feature and return to your cluttered old-school email ways.

Windows 10 Load Mail app

1. Open the Mail app.

Windows 10 Mail access settings

2. Click the gear-style icon at the bottom of the left panel to access Settings.

Windows 10 Mail Message list

3. On the roll-out Settings panel, select Message list.
4. Select the email account you want to modify.

Windows 10 Mail Organization

5. Scroll down to Organization.
6. Select Individual messages to turn off grouped conversations or select Grouped by conversation to enable the feature.

Enable / disable Focused inbox (Outlook only)

Here’s another email filter you may find annoying. With Focused inbox, the Mail app splits your Outlook email into two tabs: Focused and Other. Emails deemed “important” fall under the Focused tab while everything gets dumped into the Other group. This filtering system doesn’t always work correctly despite its good intentions.

Windows 10 Load Mail app

1. Open the Mail app.

Windows 10 Mail access settings

2. Click the gear-style icon at the bottom of the left panel to access Settings.

Windows 10 Mail Focused inbox

3. On the roll-out Settings panel, select Focused inbox.
4. Select the email account you want to modify.
5. Toggle on or off the Sort messages into Focused and Other option.

Enable / disable automatic replies (Outlook only)

Windows 10 Load Mail app

1. Open the Mail app.

Windows 10 Mail access settings

2. Click the gear-style icon at the bottom of the left panel to access Settings.

Windows 10 Mail Auto replies

3. On the roll-out Settings panel, select Automatic replies.
4. Select a compatible account.

Windows 10 Mail Create Auto Reply

5. Toggle on/off the Send automatic replies setting.
6. If toggled on, you can set an automatic response delivered within your organization.
7. Click the Send replies outside of my organization to set a second message for everyone outside your organization.
8. Click the Send replies only to my contacts option if you don’t want strangers knowing you’re baking on a nude beach for the week.

Personalize the Mail app

Windows 10 Load Mail app

1. Open the Mail app.

Windows 10 Mail access settings

2. Click the gear-style icon at the bottom of the left panel to access Settings.

Windows 10 Mail Personalization

3. On the roll-out Settings panel, select Personalization.
4. Change your accent color.
5. Switch between Light, Dark, and Windows mode.
6. Switch between Spacious, Medium, and Compact folder and message spacing.
7. Toggle on the Background feature and select an image to fill the entire app window background. Click Browse to search for a custom image.

Windows 10 Mail Expand Menu

8. To collapse the Accounts menu, click the three-line icon in the top-left corner. This is ideal when using the Mail app out in public. Click it again to expand the Accounts menu.

Modify the reading pane

Windows 10 Load Mail app

1. Open the Mail app.

Windows 10 Mail access settings

2. Click the gear-style icon at the bottom of the left panel to access Settings.

Windows 10 Mail Reading pane

3. On the roll-out Settings panel, select Reading pane.

Here you can do the following:

  • Enable or disable auto-opening the next email.
  • Determine when emails are marked as read.
  • Toggle on and off caret browsing. This has nothing to do with grazing for carrots. It’s a cool feature that lets you move the cursor with the arrow keys within an email and select text like a standard document.
  • Disable and enable automatic downloads of external images and style formats.

Related: How to do a System Restore on Windows 10

Access iCloud mail with 2-step security turned on

1. Log in to your Apple ID account.

Windows 10 Mail Add iCloud

2. Scroll down to the Security section and click the Edit button.
3. Under App-Specific Passwords, click Generate Password.

Windows 10 Mail Add iCloud Part 2

4. In a pop-up window, enter a label for the new password.
5. Click the Create button.
6. Copy the password as-is and click the Done button.
7. Open the Windows 10 Mail app and follow the steps to create a new iCloud account.
8. Instead of using your Apple ID password, use the new app-specific password.
9. Click the Save button.

Reset the Mail app

Windows 10 access Settings

1. Click the Start button.
2. On the Start Menu, click the gear-style icon to open the Settings app.

Windows 10 Settings Access Apps

3. Select Apps.

Windows 10 Edit Mail & Calendar

4. The Apps & features section loads by default. Scroll down and click the Mail and Calendar app.
5. Click the Advanced options link.

Windows 10 Reset Mail app

6. In the following window, scroll down to Reset and click the Reset button.
7. Click a second Reset button to confirm.

That concludes our guide on how to use the Mail app in Windows 10. For more Windows 10 fun, check out these guides:

How to change your screen resolution in Windows 10

You finally swapped out that crusty old monitor for a flat, widescreen display with a higher resolution. You fire up Windows 10 and everything on the new screen is big and ugly. That’s likely because your PC is still set at the lower resolution used by your previous display. In this article we’ll show you how to change your screen resolution in Windows 10.

Our guide covers setups with one or more displays. It also shows you how to pick specific resolutions with specific refresh rates and create a custom resolution on Nvidia-based systems. This guide is based on Windows 10 version 1809 (October 2018 Update).

How to change screen resolution in Windows 10: The short route

Windows 10 Display settings

1. Right-click on your desktop.
2. Select Display settings on the menu.

Windows 10 Display Resolution

3. Scroll down to Resolution.
4. Select the resolution you want in the expanded menu.

Windows 10 keep display changes

5. Select Keep changes if the resolution works as expected or Revert if the setting causes issues.

If the new resolution distorts the screen to the point where you can’t make any changes, Windows 10 will automatically revert to your original resolution after 15 seconds.

For the best experience, choose the resolution listed as Recommended.

How to change screen resolution in Windows 10: The long route

Windows 10 access Settings

1. Click the Start button and select the “gear” icon on the Start Menu. This opens the Settings app.

Windows 10 Access System

2. Select System.

Windows 10 Display Resolution

3. The Display category opens by default. Scroll down to Resolution.
4. Select the resolution you want in the expanded menu.

Windows 10 keep display changes

5. Select Keep changes if the resolution works as expected or Revert if the setting causes issues.

If the new resolution distorts the screen to the point where you can’t make any changes, Windows 10 will automatically revert to your original resolution after 15 seconds.

For the best experience, choose the resolution listed as Recommended.

Related: How to enable dark mode in windows 10, Office, and Microsoft Edge

How to change screen resolution in Windows 10 for multiple displays

Windows 10 multiple Displays

If you have two or more displays, you can change their individual resolutions.

1. Take the Short or Long Route listed above to access the Windows 10 Settings app Display section.

2. As shown above, you should see two or more rectangles with numbers. In our example, we have two monitors connected to a laptop. The “1” represents the primary laptop display. If you’re simply duplicating the Windows 10 desktop to external monitors, the resolution you set on Display 1 will be the same across all connected displays if they support that resolution.

If your desktop is in Extended mode, perform the following:

1. Click the rectangle associated with the screen you want to modify.

Windows 10 Display Resolution

2. Scroll down to Resolution and select the resolution you want in the expanded menu.

Windows 10 keep display changes

3. Select Keep changes if the resolution works as expected or Revert if the setting causes issues.

If the new resolution distorts the screen to the point where you can’t make any changes, Windows 10 will automatically revert to your original resolution after 15 seconds.

For the best experience, choose the resolution listed as Recommended.

Related: The best mini laptops you can buy in 2019

How to change refresh rates in Windows 10

If you only want to change the resolution without dealing with refresh rates, then your journey ends here. This section deals with selecting a specific resolution and a specific refresh rate, like 1,920 x 1,080 at 75Hz. It’s a good place for gamers to experiment with resolutions and refresh rates to get the best experience from their connected display(s).

Windows 10 Advanced Display Settings

1. Right-click on the desktop and select Display settings or take the Settings > Display route through the Settings app.
2. Scroll all the way down to the Advanced display settings link.

Windows 10 List All Modes

3. Under Choose display, select the display you want to modify in the drop-down menu.
4. Click the Display adapter properties for Display # (whatever you chose in Step 3) link.
5. In the pop-up window, click the List All Modes button.
6. Select a resolution and refresh rate in a second pop-up window.
7. Click OK.
8. Click Apply.

Windows 10 keep display changes

9. The resolution will change. In another pop-up window, select Keep changes if the switch worked as expected, or click Revert if the switch didn’t work properly. Windows 10 will automatically revert to your original setting at 15 seconds if you can’t see anything on your screen.

Related: How to split your screen in Windows 10

How to create a custom resolution (Nvidia)

Display manufacturers program a list into their displays containing stable resolution and refresh rate combinations that work correctly on their product. Windows 10 uses this list to present your resolution options in the Settings app. But there’s a chance your display can “unofficially” go higher than Windows 10’s recommended setting.

For instance, your PC’s graphics card may support a 3,840 x 2,160 resolution at 120Hz, but Windows 10 has you capped at 2,560 x 1,440 at 60Hz. This limit is based on the display manufacturer’s “safe” list but doesn’t mean you can’t go higher with a little experimentation. The drawback to pushing a higher resolution and refresh rate combo is that you could damage the display, so experiment at your own risk.

As noted, this guide is based on PCs that include a discrete graphics chip provided by Nvidia (GeForce).

Windows 10 Nvidia Control Panel

1. Right-click on the desktop and select the Nvidia Control Panel option on the resulting menu.

Nvidia Control Panel

2. On the left menu in the Nvidia Control Panel, select Change resolution. Note that you can take this route versus using the instructions provided in the Short. Long, and Hardcore routes provided above.
3. Select the display you want to customize.
4. Click the Customize button.

Nvidia Create Custom Resolution

5. In the pop-up window, check the Enable resolutions not exposed by the display option and then click OK.
6. If you still don’t see the resolution you want, click the Customize button again.
7. Click the Create Custom Resolution button.

Nvidia Test Custom Resolution

8. In the next window you’ll see options to set the horizontal pixels, vertical lines, refresh rate, color depth, and more. Again, this customization tool isn’t meant for the Average Joe and could damage your display. Here are a few notes:

Horizontal pixels: The number of pixels in a single line from left to right. We list sample numbers in bold:

  • 1920 x 1080 (Full HD or 1080p)
  • 2560 x 1440 (Quad HD or 1440p)
  • 3840 x 2160 (Ultra HD or 2160p)

Vertical lines: The number of vertical scan lines crammed into the screen from left to right. We list sample numbers in bold:

  • 1920 x 1080 (Full HD or 1080p)
  • 2560 x 1440 (Quad HD or 1440p)
  • 3840 x 2160 (Ultra HD or 2160p)

Refresh rate: How many times the display renders an image each second. If you have a graphics card that outputs 60 frames per second, you want the display set at 60Hz.

Scan type Progressive: Renders the entire picture at once. This reduces flickering.

Scan type Interlaced: Half the image appears followed by the second half 1/60th of a second later. This causes noticeable flickering.

Timing: By default, this is set to Automatic. You shouldn’t need to change these settings if your display is connected via DisplayPort or HDMI. This section addresses DVI ports and analog CRT-based monitors.

9. Click the Test button to see if your custom resolution works. The screen(s) will go black for a moment.

With the right number combination, you should see a pop-up box revealing a successful test. If you want to keep the new resolution, click the Yes button. If not, click the No button. If the test distorts your screen to the point you can’t see anything, Windows 10 will revert to your original working resolution in 15 seconds.

Nvidia Edit Custom Resolution

10. You should now see the new resolution in the Customize window. You can edit this setting by clicking the marker icon next to its name, delete it by clicking the red “X,” or activate it by checking the box. Click OK to close the Customize window.

Nvidia Set Custom Resolution

11. The custom resolution is now available through the Nvidia Control Panel and the Windows 10 Settings app. To set your display to the new resolution in the Nvidia Control Panel, click the setting and then the Apply button.


That concludes our guide on how to change your screen resolution in Windows 10. Here are a few more guides to help you navigate Windows 10:

How to boot Windows 10 in Safe Mode

If you’re trying to troubleshoot problems with your Windows 10 PC, one option is to enter Safe Mode. In Windows 10 Safe Mode you can safely uninstall troublesome programs, resolve driver issues, diagnose hardware conflicts, and more. But how to boot in Safe Mode is less obvious in Windows 10 than we’ve seen in older Windows releases. In this guide we’ll show you how to start Windows 10 in Safe Mode using version 1809 (October 2018 Update).

Use the Settings app

Windows 10 access Settings

1. Click the Start button and select the “gear” icon on the Start Menu to open the Settings app.

Windows 10 Update and security

2. Select Update & security.

Windows 10 Recovery restart now

3. Select Recovery.
4. Under Advanced startup, click the Restart now button.

Window 10 Choose an option troubleshoot

5. Your PC will restart. Once it reaches the Choose an option screen, select Troubleshoot.

Widows 10 Troubleshoot Advanced options

6. Select Advanced options.

Windows 10 Advanced Options Startup settings

7. Select Startup Settings.

Windows 10 startup settings restart

8. Select Restart.

Windows 10 Safe Mode options

9. Once your PC restarts again, select 4 or press F4 on the list of options to enter Safe Mode. If you need access to the internet, select 5 or press F5. To use the Command Prompt with Safe Mode, select 6 or press F6.

Related: How to stream the Xbox One to Windows 10

From the Start Menu

Windows 10 restart PC

1. Press and hold the Shift key. Do not release!
2. Click the Start button.
3. Click the Power button icon on the Start Menu.
4. Select Restart.

Window 10 Choose an option troubleshoot

5. The PC will reboot to the Choose an option screen. Select Troubleshoot.

Widows 10 Troubleshoot Advanced options

6. Select Advanced options.

Windows 10 Advanced Options Startup settings

7. Select Startup Settings.

Windows 10 startup settings restart

8. Select Restart.

Windows 10 Safe Mode options

9. Once your PC restarts again, select 4 or press F4 on the list of options to enter Safe Mode. If you need access to the internet, select 5 or press F5. To use the Command Prompt with Safe Mode, select 6 or press F6.

Related: How to text with iMessages in Windows 10

From the sign-in screen

Windows 10 Sign-in screen power button

1. Press and hold the Shift key. Do not release!
2. Click the Power button icon located in the bottom-right corner.
3. Select Restart.

Window 10 Choose an option troubleshoot

4. Once your PC starts, select Troubleshoot on the Choose an option screen.

Widows 10 Troubleshoot Advanced options

5. Select Advanced options.

Windows 10 Advanced Options Startup settings

6. Select Startup Settings.

Windows 10 startup settings restart

7. Select Restart.

Windows 10 Safe Mode options

8. Once your PC restarts again, select 4 or press F4 on the list of options to enter Safe Mode. If you need access to the internet, select 5 or press F5. To use the Command Prompt with Safe Mode, select 6 or press F6.

Related: How to split your screen in windows 10

From the Recovery Environment

1. Turn off your PC. When it initially reboots, press and hold down the power button for 10 seconds when you immediately see the manufacturer’s logo or the Windows 10 logo. This turns off your PC.
2. Turn on your PC. When Windows 10 restarts, press and hold down the power button again for 10 seconds. This will turn off your PC.
3. Turn on your PC. Windows 10 should now enter the Recovery Environment. If not, follow step #2.
4. Select your account.

Windows 10 automatic repair advanced options

5. After Windows 10 performs a diagnosis, select Advanced options on the Automatic Repair screen.

Window 10 Choose an option troubleshoot

6. Select Troubleshoot.

Widows 10 Troubleshoot Advanced options

7. Select Advanced options.

Windows 10 Advanced Options Startup settings

8. Select Startup Settings.

Windows 10 startup settings restart

9. Select Restart.

Windows 10 Safe Mode options

10. Once your PC restarts, select 4 or press F4 on the list of options to enter Safe Mode. If you need access to the internet, select 5 or press F5. To use the Command Prompt with Safe Mode, select 6 or press F6.

Use the System Configuration tool

Windows 10 launch Msconfig

1. In Cortana’s search field on the taskbar, type msconfig.
2. Select the System Configuration desktop app in the results.

Windows 10 system config safe boot

3. Once the tool loads, select the Boot tab.
4. Check the Safe boot box.
5. Check Minimal.
6. Click OK.

Windows 10 system config restart

7. Click Restart if you want to restart now. Click Exit without restart if you need to safe your work first.
8. The PC will restart and immediately enter Safe Mode.

Use installation media

1. Insert your CD, DVD, Blu-ray, or USB drive containing Windows 10.
2. Turn on your PC.
3. Press any key to boot from the installation media.

Windows 10 install prompt

4. In the initial setup window, select your preferred language, time and currency format, keyboard region, and then click the Next button.

Windows 10 repair your computer

5. Click the Repair your computer link in the next window.

Window 10 Choose an option troubleshoot

6. On the following Choose an option panel, select Troubleshoot.

Windows 10 Adv options command prompt

7. Select Command Prompt on the following Advanced Options screen.

Windows 10 Safeboot minimal

8. Type the command bcdedit /set {default} safeboot minimal and press Enter.
9. A message stating The operation completed successfully should appear. Close the Command Prompt window.
10. Select Continue on the Choose an option window.
11. Your PC will now enter Windows 10 Safe Mode each time you start it..

Windows 10 Safeboot delete value

12. To put Windows 10 back into its normal boot mode, repeat the previous steps but enter the following command in the Command Prompt: bcdedit /deletevalue {default} safeboot

Use recovery media

1. Insert your CD, DVD, Blu-ray or USB drive you created as a recovery device.
2. Turn on your PC.
3. Press any key to boot from the recovery media.

Windows 10 choose keyboard layout

4. Choose a keyboard layout when prompted.

Windows 10 choose troubleshoot

5. On the Choose an option screen, select Troubleshoot.

Windows 10 choose advanced options

6. Select Advanced options.
7. Select Command Prompt.

Windows 10 Safeboot minimal

8. Type the command bcdedit /set {default} safeboot minimal and press Enter.
9. A message stating The operation completed successfully should appear. Close the Command Prompt window.
10. Select Continue on the Choose an option window.
11. Your PC will now enter Windows 10 Safe Mode each time you start it.

Windows 10 Safeboot delete value

12. To put Windows 10 back into its normal boot mode, repeat the previous steps but enter the following command in the Command Prompt: bcdedit /deletevalue {default} safeboot

Use the F8 key

Windows 10 Type Run Command

1. In Cortana’s search field on the taskbar, type Run.
2. Select the Run desktop app in the results.

Windows 10 run Command Prompt

3. In the text entry box next to Open, type cmd.
4. Press CTRL + SHIFT + ENTER simultaneously. Do not click the OK button.
5. Select Yes on the following User Account Control pop-up.

Windows 10 enable F8 boot option

6. In Command Prompt, type the following: bcdedit /set {default} bootmenupolicy legacy
7. Close the Command Prompt and reboot the PC.
8. Before the Windows 10 logo appears, press the F8 key.
9. On the following list, select one of the three Safe Mode options. This “legacy” screen will have white text on a black background.
10. If you want to remove the F8 key function, use this command: bcdedit /set {default} bootmenupolicy standard

The Startup Settings screen should revert back to white text on a blue background.


That wraps up our guide on how to enter Safe Mode in Windows 10. For additional tips and tricks, take a look at these Windows 10 guides:

How to enable dark mode in Windows 10, Microsoft Edge and Office

Although dark mode originally appeared in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update released in 2016, a more recent update expanded this mode throughout the system, including File Manager. It’s simply easier on the eyes — especially when you’re working in low-light conditions – by replacing all the white backgrounds with gray or black.

In this article we’ll walk you though step-by-step how to enable dark mode in Windows 10, Microsoft Edge browser, and Microsoft Office.

Editor’s Pick

Note that dark mode doesn’t change your desktop background, but rather darkens the overall interface. It won’t change webpage backgrounds either, such as Google, or desktop programs and apps that don’t support interface alterations.

First, let’s start with how to enable dark mode in Windows 10.

How to enable dark mode in Windows 10

Windows 10 Settings Menu - How to enable dark mode in Windows 10

1. Click the Start button and then select the “gear” icon on the left side of the Start Menu. This opens the Settings app.
2. Select Personalization.

Windows 10 Colors Settings - How to enable dark mode in Windows 10
3. Select Colors on the menu to the right.
4. Scroll down to Choose your default app mode in the panel on the right.
5. Select Dark.

How to enable dark mode in Microsoft Edge

Setting Windows 10 dark mode doesn’t affect the Microsoft Edge browser, so you’ll need to darken the interface manually. Follow these steps:

Microsoft Edge browser Settings - How to enable dark mode in Windows 10

1. Click on the three-dot icon located in the top-right corner (Settings and more).
2. Click Settings in the drop-down menu.

Microsoft Edge customize menu - How to enable dark mode in Windows 10
3. In the roll-out menu, switch to the Dark option found under Choose a theme in the Customize section.

How to enable dark mode in Microsoft Office

Like Microsoft Edge, enabling dark mode in Windows 10 doesn’t change the overall appearance of your favorite Microsoft Office apps like Word, Excel, and more. You’ll need to darken the view manually using the following steps:

Microsoft Word home screen - How to enable dark mode in Windows 10

1. Open any Office app. As shown, we used Word for this example.
2. Select Account on the menu to the left. If you’re within a document, click on File at the top and then scroll down to Account on the next page.

Microsoft Word account settings - How to enable dark mode in Windows 10
3. The default Office theme is Colorful. Change this setting to Dark Gray or Black.


That’s how to enable dark mode in Windows 10! For more Windows 10 tips and tricks, check out these guides:

How to stream the Xbox One to Windows 10

One of the coolest gaming features packed into Windows 10 is the Xbox app. It lets you remotely access your Xbox One console and stream games to a Windows 10 PC. This comes in handy when everyone is watching a boring movie on the living room TV where your Xbox One is connected, but you’d rather play Metro Exodus or Tom Clancy’s The Division 2.

So how does it work? In this guide we show you how to stream the Xbox One to Windows 10.

With Microsoft’s method, you absolutely cannot “officially” stream your Xbox One console over the internet like the PlayStation 4. As we’ve seen with Sony’s console, playing across the internet can produce quality and latency issues, sometimes to the point where streaming just isn’t worth the effort. This is why Steam and Microsoft chose to lock game streaming to your local network.

However, there is a method to stream the Xbox One to a Windows 10 PC across the internet, but it requires knowing how to access your router’s control panel and how to edit the settings. We provide those instructions at the end.

Use Ethernet or Wireless AC

For the best results, stream the Xbox One across your local network using a wired Ethernet connection. Of course, not everyone wants Ethernet cables strung across the house, as it’s visually ugly, even when draped along the walls and corners. The plus side with all these cables is that you won’t see the performance dips associated with wireless connectivity.

If Ethernet isn’t an option, fall back on a Wireless AC 5GHz access point. A mesh network is good due to the way it creates a blanket of connectivity versus the standard router that broadcasts from one point like a radio tower. A Wireless N 5GHz connection works as well, but you’ll see limited performance using a 2.4GHz connection on either network.

Microsoft also suggests using Powerline adapters as an alternative to wired connections. You need at least two units that plug directly into your wall’s power outlets to create a network connection through the electrical system. One unit can then plug into your modem or router via an Ethernet cable while the other unit plugs into the Ethernet port on the Xbox One. Unfortunately, Powerline technology heavily depends on your home’s wiring and breaker box, thus you may see better results using wireless connectivity instead.

Finally, you can plug an Xbox One controller into your Windows 10 PC to play games remotely. You can also plug a headset into your Windows 10 PC and communicate as usual with your Xbox One friends.

Let’s begin our guide on how to stream the Xbox One to Windows 10!

Xbox One

How to stream the Xbox One to Windows 10

1. Press the Xbox button on your controller.
2. Scroll right to highlight the “gear” icon and access the System panel.
3. Choose Settings as shown above.

How to stream the Xbox One to Windows 10
4. Select Preferences in the next window.
5. Select Xbox app connectivity listed on the right panel.

How to stream the Xbox One to Windows 10
6. In the next window, enable the Allow game streaming to other devices setting located under This Xbox.
7. Enable the Allow connections from any device or Only from profiles signed in on this Xbox setting found under Other devices.

You’re done on the console side. Now let’s move on to Windows 10.

Windows 10

How to stream the Xbox One to Windows 10

1. If you don’t have the Xbox app already installed on your PC, head here.
2. After installation, sign in to your Xbox Live account.
3. Select the console icon on the left menu labeled Connection as shown above.

How to stream Xbox One to Windows 10
4. The Xbox app will now scan the local network for your Xbox One console.
5. Select the console as shown above.
6. Rename the connection if you have more than one Xbox One console on the network.
7. Choose Connect.

How to stream the Xbox One to Windows 10

Now that you’re linked, the Xbox app Connection panel should show a Now Playing screen. You’ll also see options for initiating the stream, testing the stream, and turn on the Xbox One. The More link opens a menu to disconnect the console, connect automatically, turn off the console, and forget the console.

How to stream Xbox One to Windows 10

You can easily change the quality of the Xbox One stream if the resolution is too low, or if the resolution is too high and causing network issues. Within the Xbox app, perform the following:

1. Click on the “gear” icon located on the left-hand menu. This opens the Settings panel.
2. Click on the Xbox One category.
3. Next to Video encoding level, select Very high, High, Medium, or Low.

With your Xbox One console streaming to your Windows 10 PC on the local network, you can alter a few settings to access the console remotely from across the internet. This will require knowing how to edit settings in your modem or router.

Play from anywhere across the internet

How to stream the Xbox One to Windows 10

1. If you haven’t already, follow the previous setup instructions for the Xbox One and Windows 10. Make sure this connection works correctly before moving forward.
2. Go into your router and assign a “static” IP address to your Xbox One console. This method varies by manufacturer.
3. Locate the port forwarding panel in your router and reserve the three ports listed below. Make sure the forward-to address is the same static IP address you assigned to the Xbox One. Use your console’s name as the rule description if needed. Here are the ports:

  • 4838 (TCP and UDP)
  • 5050 (TCP and UDP)
  • 4900 – 6500 (TCP and UDP)

4. Locate your home’s external IP address. You can typically find this in the router, but you can also type What is my IP in Google’s search field to discover your public IP address.
5. Pull your Windows 10 PC off the network currently used by your Xbox One.
6. Open the Xbox app.
7. Click on the Connection icon on the left-hand menu.
8. Click Add a device.
9. Enter your home’s IP address in the field as shown above.
10. Click on the Connect button.

For additional guides on how to use Windows 10, check out these how-to articles:

Microsoft tells everyone to get off Windows 10 Mobile with new FAQ page

If you’re holding on for dear life to a Microsoft Windows 10 Mobile phone, you have less than a year to upgrade to something else. This comes from Microsoft itself on a new FAQ page surrounding the end-of-life of Windows 10 Mobile.

The FAQ explicitly states that Windows 10 Mobile customers should “move to a supported Android or iOS device” by December 10, 2019. After that date, there will be no more free support, no more software updates, no more security patches, etc., for any Windows 10 phone.

Editor’s Pick

However, if you have a Lumia 640 or 640 XL, Windows 10 Mobile version 1703 was the last supported update for them. As such, those devices will reach the end of support a bit earlier on June 11, 2019.

Either way, after these end-of-support dates, your Windows 10 phone will be unsafe to use, as Microsoft will no longer be keeping it updated with security patches to combat viruses and malware.

While Microsoft admitted defeat long ago when it stopped making and selling Windows mobile devices, this FAQ is a new nail in the coffin for the mobile operating system. Although Windows 10 phones had their ardent supporters — and the OS itself was praised by a devoted fanbase — user engagement was just too low for the system to survive.

If you are one of those supporters, you’ve got some months left to enjoy your device. After that, it will officially be time to move on.

NEXT: How to reset Windows 10, 8, and 7 password if you forgot it

How to use Skype for Chromebook

Skype for Chromebook - Skype on Chromebook Shutterstock

Chromebooks are great at so many things. They’re an inexpensive alternative to many laptops, and their storage is largely cloud based for extra convenience. You can use them for all of your chat needs, but if you want to use Skype for Chromebook? It’s really easy.

There are actually two ways to use Skype on a Chromebook, so let’s jump right in and take a look.

Editor’s tip: New to the world of Chromebooks? Our Chromebook Buyer’s guide helps explain what a Chromebook can and can’t do, your options, and more. 

Going the browser route

Chrome OS is all about the web, so using the browser a simple way to get things done. Here’s how to use Skype for Chromebook via the Chome browser:

  • Open your Chrome browser.
  • Navigate to the Skype website.
  • Log in using your username (or email account or phone number) and password.

Skype for Chromebook - Skype on Chromebook

Once you’ve signed in, that’s it. You’re done. You’re now ready to use Skype to chat with friends, use video, add new contacts, and everything else you usually do — on a Chromebook.

But what if you’d rather use a dedicated app?

While Skype isn’t included out of the box, most modern Chromebooks now support Android apps,and that means you can simply fire up Google Play and download it!

  1. Head to the Google Play app and search for Skype.
  2. Follow the basic installation instructions.
  3. Once it’s installed you should find Skype in the app drawer (that little circle to the bottom left).
  4. Open up the app, login and that’s it!

As you can see, using Skype on a Chromebook is actually really simple and goes to show you that you don’t need a Windows or Mac computer to do basic things like video chat. Of course that’s just scratching the surface, here are some of other great guides below:

Chromebook coverage:

Microsoft intern claims Google tried to sabotage Edge browser, Google issues denial

  • A former Microsoft intern claims that Google introduced minor code into YouTube in an effort to sabotage the Microsoft Edge browser.
  • Google just issued a statement denying the validity of the claim.
  • This isn’t the first time someone has alleged that Google purposely gives other browsers disadvantages.

Earlier this week, Joshua Bakita, a former software engineering intern at Microsoft, posted a comment to Hacker News which lays out a stunning allegation: that Google allegedly tweaked YouTube code in order to hinder other browsers’ use of YouTube content, specifically Microsoft Edge.

According to Bakita, Google introduced “a hidden empty div” over YouTube videos, which caused no effect in Chrome browsers but caused the Edge browser’s hardware acceleration fast-path to malfunction. The result of this hidden code made YouTube videos display faster and more efficiently in Google Chrome than in Microsoft Edge.

Editor’s Pick

Bakita points to this alleged coding trick as an example of Google’s playing dirty to keep Chrome on top and other browsers struggling. He also says it is one example of why Microsoft is overhauling the Edge browser and re-building it with Chromium as its base, which will make it work more like Google Chrome.

Today, via The Verge, a YouTube spokesperson issued a formal statement on the matter, categorically denying Bakita’s allegations. The statement is here:

“YouTube does not add code designed to defeat optimizations in other browsers, and works quickly to fix bugs when they’re discovered. We regularly engage with other browser vendors through standards bodies, the Web Platform Tests project, the open-source Chromium project and more to improve browser interoperability.”

According to the YouTube spokesperson, the “hidden empty div” code Bakita suggests was sabotage was actually simply a bug, which has now been fixed.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time someone has claimed that Google stacks the deck in favor of Chrome. Earlier this year, a Mozilla program manager claimed YouTube code created a page load bottleneck for Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Edge, resulting in five-fold speed deprecation in non-Chrome browsers. The Mozilla employee pointed to a Firefox extension which circumvented the problem.

What do you think? Is Google playing dirty in the browser wars, or are these isolated incidents of bugs blown out of proportion? Let us know your opinions in the comments.

NEXT: Chrome for Android’s ‘Sneak Peek’ loads a link without leaving current tab

5 Android apps you shouldn’t miss this week! – Android Apps Weekly

This is the featured image for Android Apps Weekly 12-08-2018
Welcome to the 272nd edition of Android Apps Weekly! Here are the big headlines from the last week:

  • Microsoft has some big plans for Microsoft Edge. For starters, it’s replacing EdgeHTML for the much more popular Chromium. Microsoft claims the change helps them release more updates and work better cross-platform. The good news is that it might allow some serious developments like support for MacOS. However, it also means that Chrome has gobbled up yet another competitor. Opera also uses Chromium as a base for its operation too. In any case, you can hit the link to learn more.
  • Google’s chat apps are having a pretty bad week. Google Hangouts is turning into a chat platform similar to the likes of Slack or Discord. The change should take place by 2020. It was once a couple of features away from being the iMessage of Android so it’s a staggering change. Then, Google announced the shuttering of Google Allo. Google is transitioning many of the features to Android Messages, an SMS app with RCS support. It seems like Google believes RCS to be the future. Those are two more Google social platforms to bite the dust in 2018 along with Spaces and Google+.
  • Epic Games had an exciting week. Fortnite received a new game feature. There is now a creative mode similar to the creative mode in Minecraft. Additionally, the company announced a competitor to Steam and the Google Play Store. The Epic Games Store houses PC and mobile games in the same place. This could be a big deal because no other store covers both platforms. It’s also not a half bad idea with how many indie games get both PC and mobile releases. We’ll see how that goes.
  • Google announced Hummingbird officially this week. The Hummingbird platform is a simple idea with a complicated execution. It lets developers build a single app that runs on a variety of platforms, including iOS, the web, and Android. All-in-one toolkits are usually bogus with support for a single platform with a few features for a second. Hummingbird has the opportunity to be the first of its kind to not be awful. Hit the link for more details!
  • Google announced its picks for the best of 2018 in the Google Play Store. There were a lot of winners across a range of categories, including PUBG Mobile (fan favorite and best game), YouTube TV (fan favorite), Avengers: Infinity War (fan favorite), Drops (best app), Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff (best ebook), 12 Rules for Life by Jordan B. Peterson (best audiobook), and The Walking Dead (best TV show). You can hit the link to see all of the selections and check them out on Google Play!

Gorogoa

Price: $4.99
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
Gorogoa is a new indie puzzle game. It features elements similar to Noodlecake Games’ Framed series. The game features a bunch of comic book style panels that players arrange and combine into a full story. It features hand-drawn graphics, a fun story line, and simple mechanics. The game itself is fairly fun to play. However, the carefully crafted animations and story are the real story here. Those who enjoy thoughtful narratives should enjoy this one quite a bit. The game is a little bit short, but most people don’t seem to mind. It runs for $4.99 with no in-app purchases or advertisements. This is also from the same developer of Florence, a slice-of-life narrative game.
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY

Yahoo Play

Price: Free
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
Yahoo Play is the latest app from, well, Yahoo. It’s a pop culture app and has tons of celebrity, pop culture, and entertainment stuff. It also does a bunch of other stuff. At its core, it’s a news app with news about the pop culture scene. However, it also includes original video series along with trivia and quiz games. There is honestly quite a bit to do in this app. However, it does suffer from bugs and slow load times. It definitely needs some work. This could be fun for those enjoy entertainment, but we recommend maybe waiting a bit until Yahoo sorts out the issues.
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
Yahoo Play

Command and Conquer: Rivals

Price: Freemium
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
Command and Conquer: Rivals saw its global launch earlier this week. It’s a duel-style battle game. Players choose a hero, build an army, and battle other players online in one versus one battles. The game mechanics also include strategy elements as well. Players must control the battlefield and resupply their troops in order to win. Of course, your army is customizable as well. The game has some serious balancing issues right now. Low level players get matched up with players significantly more powerful and it’s a little annoying. Otherwise, it’s actually not a half bad game.
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY

Google Santa Tracker

Price: Free
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
Google’s yearly Santa tracker app is live in the Play Store as well as on the web. It has about the same content as it did last year. That includes a bunch of kid-friendly min-games, a countdown timer to the big day, and some other little bits of fun. The app then tracks Santa on Christmas Eve to the delight of young children. The min-games aren’t awe inspiring or anything, but they’re good enough for most younger kids. It’s a colorful, fun way to track Santa every year. It’s also entirely free with no ads or in-app purchases. Thanks, Google!
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY

Absolute Drift

Price: $2.99
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
Absolute Drift is the latest game from Noodlecake Studios. It’s a decidedly mobile game with a racing theme. Players drift around corners, avoid obstacles, and collect little red balls for points. The game isn’t fast, but it’s surprisingly intense anyway. Plus, there’s a relaxing soundtrack to bring it all together. The game also features six cars, three game modes, a night mode, leaderboards, and even Bluetooth controller support. It costs an extremely reasonable $2.99 and has no ads or additional in-app purchases. What’s not to like?
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY

If we missed any big Android apps or games news, updates, or releases, tell us about in the comment section below! Also, check out our weekly podcast here!