Windows 11 offers a fine out-of-the-box experience, but it feels much better after making a few simple changes to bring back the Windows of yore.
I’m not talking about revamping Windows 11 to look like Windows 10 or tinkering with the new Copilot AI feature. Instead, I’m focusing on making fast, simple changes to enhance the user experience, disable annoying ads, reduce data sent to Microsoft, and more. These changes can be done in under five minutes, which I recently did when setting up a Windows 11 laptop for travel.
Here are five Windows 11 settings worth changing immediately, with a bonus at the end.
1. Move the Start button to the left corner
If you prefer the traditional Start button placement, you can easily move it back to the left-hand corner. Simply go to Settings > Personalization > Taskbar > Taskbar behaviors, and change the Taskbar alignment from Center to Left.
Next, turn off annoying notifications by heading to Start > System > Notifications. You can disable notifications universally or manually configure them for specific apps.
3. Turn off Microsoft ads
If you want to disable Microsoft ads, go to Settings > Personalization > Device Usage and turn off options that allow Microsoft to provide tailored recommendations for apps and services based on your computer usage.
4. Change your default browser
To change your default browser, navigate to Settings > Apps > Default apps, find your preferred browser in the list, and set it as your default browser.
5. Declutter the taskbar
In Windows 11, you can remove taskbar items you don’t use by going to Settings > Personalization > Taskbar and deselecting any unnecessary items.
Bonus: Dark mode, baby!
If you prefer dark mode, simply go to Settings > Personalization > Colors and change the mode from Light to Dark for a better viewing experience.
These quick Windows 11 settings tweaks will improve your user experience, but there are many more customization options available if you want to explore further.