When you turn on a brand-new computer, you expect the latest cutting-edge technology, from stunning pictures to crystal-clear audio.
While your experience will be satisfactory straight out of the box, desktop operating systems like Windows and macOS cater to the interests and preferences of the majority of users, which may or may not be the same as yours.
You can adjust a range of visual and audio parameters to make the software function just for you.
These 12 tips for PCs and Macs will offer you complete control over the look and sound of your computer,
from changing the appearance of your operating system to enabling all of your connected speakers.
TIPS FOR WINDOWS DISPLAY AND SOUND
Change the theme.
Are you tired of the same old Windows colors and backgrounds? Change the theme: the pre-installed look of the operating system.
A single theme can have a desktop image, color scheme, cursor icon, and even sound effects associated with it.
To change themes, go to the Start menu and select Settings from the cog symbol.
Then select Personalization and Themes from the drop-down menu. You’ll only see a few themes on the screen at first,
but by selecting Get more themes in Microsoft Store, you can access a lot more.
Select a theme from the store and click Get to download it.
Choose your favorite theme from the Themes dialogue once you’ve chosen it (and downloaded it if it wasn’t immediately accessible).
If you like the majority of the theme but not the wallpaper, that’s no problem—you can tweak each element separately.
To alter any aspect, simply click on it.
Colors and transparency can be changed.
If you don’t want to make major visual changes with a new theme, you can play with the colors, accents, and transparency instead.
The accents settings determine how frequently an accent color shows, such as on the title bars of windows or in the Start menu.
Transparency options influence whether you can see the wallpaper through the taskbar and other effects.
Open settings by pressing the cog symbol on the Start menu once again. Then select Personalization and Colors from the drop-down menus.
Do you want to use your wallpaper to inspire your new color scheme? Mark the box that says Select an accent color from my background automatically.
If not, pick a color from the palette. Any changes you make will be visible right away,
allowing you to assess the effect and make adjustments as needed.
In addition to the color picker, you’ll find options to create a custom color,
control the extent to which an accent color is utilized, and toggle transparency effects on and off.
Disable the visual effects.
Visual flourishes in Windows, such as shadows under the mouse pointer and menus that fade in and out of view, make the operating system pleasing to the eye.
You can turn off any or all of these effects if you don’t like them. Aside from reducing the amount of eye candy,
this can also enhance the computer’s speed by reducing the amount of work the system has to do in processing all those visuals.
Start entering “change the appearance…” in the taskbar search box, and you should see an option that says “Adjust the appearance and performance of Windows.”
The Visual Effects tab will open after you click it. You have three options here: let Windows decide what works best on your computer,
optimize effects for the best appearance, or optimize effects for the best performance.
Select Custom to toggle individual visual effects on or off using the tick boxes for more detailed control.
Choose the ones that best fit your preferences.
Connect your speakers.
If your computer has a magnificent 5.1 surround sound setup, make sure your operating system and all of your apps use it.
Here’s how to make your software and speakers work together.
Open the Control Panel application by typing “control panel” into the taskbar’s search box.
Click Hardware and Sound, then Sound from the drop-down menu. You should see a list of devices under the Playback tab.
Choose your speakers from the list, then click Configure to bring up a dropdown menu.
Choose the appropriate setting from this option based on the number of speakers you’ve connected.
On the right side of the screen, when you’ve selected your speakers, you’ll see a schematic of the audio arrangement.
To make sure it’s working, click the Test button. To finish the procedure, select Next and then Finish.
Personalize your alerts.
Do you dislike the low-battery warning sound, the shuffle effect that occurs when the Recycle Bin is emptied,
or any other random noise your computer makes? All of these notifications can be customized.
Open the app by typing “control panel” into the taskbar’s search box. Select Hardware and Sound,
then click Change system sounds or click Sound to open the Sound page.
To turn off the audio alert, click any of the program events in the list and select (None) from the Sounds dropdown menu, or choose another sound file from the menu.
This menu also allows you to execute a few more actions. Click Browse to select sound clips from your PC if you have certain sound clips in mind for events.
Open the Sound Scheme drop-down menu and select No Noises to turn off all sounds.
With its checkbox, you may also enable or disable the Windows launch sound.
Change the audio to mono.
Consider converting Windows to mono sound instead of stereo sound if you only want to listen to music through one headphone or need to pay attention to the outside world while watching movies on your computer.
To do so, enter Settings from the Start menu by clicking the cog icon.
Then select Audio and Ease of Access. On this page, you’ll find the Mono audio toggle switch.
When you turn it on, all of your system’s programs will generate sound in mono. To return to stereo mode, simply toggle the switch off.
TIPS FOR macOS FOR DISPLAY AND SOUND
Switch up the color palette.
Set colors are used to highlight components on the screen, such as dialogue boxes and the menu bar, in the macOS interface.
You can vary the hues to change your perspective and highlight your preferred colors.
To do so, go to the Apple menu, select System Preferences, and then General.
You can change the color of the menus and highlights, as well as whether the menus, buttons, and windows follow a Light, Dark, or changeable (Auto) theme.
You can also change the size of sidebar icons and whether or not scroll bars are visible on the same screen.
Choose the ideal wallpaper.
While it comes to the overall appearance of your computer screen, the wallpaper you choose takes center stage (especially when all of your applications are closed or minimized).
While choosing a decent wallpaper is crucial, Apple also allows you to cycle between a series of photographs, giving your screen a constantly changing backdrop.
Click the Apple menu, then System Preferences, then Desktop & Screen Saver to change the wallpaper.
To select a photo, go to the Desktop tab. Under the Apple header, Apple offers its own choices,
or you can choose your own from the hard drive by clicking the + icon.
If you want your wallpaper to vary regularly, make a folder of images you like, add it to the list under Folders in the aforementioned Desktop tab with the + button, and then click on one of the images to make it your desktop background.
Then, at the bottom of the window, select how often the visuals should change and whether they should rotate in a set or random order.
The wallpapers in that folder will now be cycled through by macOS.
Adjust the Dock
You may find yourself visiting the Dock frequently as you launch and switch between your favorite macOS applications.
As a result, make sure you personalize it to your liking. To change the appearance of the app launcher, go to the Apple menu and pick System Preferences, then Dock & Menu Bar.
Begin by adjusting the size of the Dock using the Size slider at the top.
Toggle the Magnification option to control whether Dock items expand and contract as you move the mouse cursor over them.
The Position on screen checkboxes enables you to move the Dock from its default location at the bottom of the screen to the left or right sides.
Finally, you may choose whether or not the Dock will automatically hide when not in use, as well as the animations that apps play when they open.
Improve your search.
Finder is your window into your macOS machine’s contents. It also has a variety of modification choices to make it easier on the eyes—whatever “easy on the eyes” means to you.
To begin, open a Finder window.
Select Show View Options from the menu that appears by clicking the three dots in the top right corner of the window.
You can change the size of the icons and the grid on which they are shown, as well as the text size and label positioning.
If you utilize the dropdown menu towards the middle of the window to pick whether to see items as Icons, Columns, List, or Gallery, you’ll see different options.
You can change how files are presented and ordered using the other menu at the top of the window: by date, size, name, and so on.
Sound effects can be customized.
You’ll hear a range of sound effects as you interact with macOS. While some people will be satisfied with the default notifications, you may want to customize them to meet your specific needs.
The majority of these choices may be found by going to the Apple menu, System Preferences, and Sound.
All the clips macOS uses to alert you about an update or warn you about a problem are listed under Sound Effects.
To hear the sound of any item on this list, simply click on it. The volume level of each effect can also be adjusted independently using the slider below it.
Finally, unticking the Play user interface sound effects box will turn off all audible notifications.
Set up external speakers.
You’ll need to configure numerous external speakers if you wish to play audio from your macOS machine on them.
The Audio MIDI Setup software is the easiest way to do this.
This app can be found by searching for it in Spotlight: Use the Cmd+Space keyboard shortcut or the magnifying glass icon on the menu bar.
If you followed the instructions that came with the hardware, your speakers should appear on the list to the left.
Choose Configure Speakers after clicking on the names of the speakers. This is when it gets interesting.
You can inform macOS how they’re connected so that it understands how to send audio to them. Click Apply, then Done when you’re through.
If necessary, Audio MIDI Setup also allows you to fine-tune your settings: Each speaker’s volume can be adjusted separately.