How to Change Themes in Windows 11 Without Activating Windows

So, you've installed Windows 11 on your system and now you want to check out the new themes. However, there's a catch – the new Windows 11 OS will not activate with your old Windows 10 key, at least not yet. This means that themes, customization, and Taskbar settings will be disabled by default. But don't worry, there's a way to bypass all of this. Here's how you can change themes, wallpapers, and even the Start Menu position without activating Windows 11.

Activate Dark Mode in Windows 11

To try out the systemwide dark mode in Windows 11, you can edit the registry keys using Registry Editor. Here's how:

  1. Press Win+R to open the Run menu, type “regedit,” and hit Enter to open Registry Editor.
  2. Inside Registry Editor, copy and paste the folder path below and press Enter:
  3. In the Personalize folder, you need to change the values of the following two keys to 0:

    Double-click on each key, enter 0 in the Value field, and click OK.

As soon as you change the values of these keys, your system and other Windows apps will instantly switch to the Dark Theme. No need to reboot your computer.

Try New Windows 11 Wallpaper

By default, Windows 11 won't allow you to change the background wallpaper without activating the OS. However, you can still do it manually. Here's how:

  1. Copy and paste the folder path below in Windows 11 File Explorer:
  2. Inside this folder, you'll find several new Windows 11 wallpapers in subfolders. Right-click on any wallpaper you want to apply and select “Set as Desktop Background.”

This way, you can try out all the new Windows 11 wallpapers. If you're still using Windows 10, you can find and download Windows 11 wallpapers to enjoy a new look while waiting for the official release.

Move Start Menu to the Left Like in Windows 10

In Windows 11, the Start Menu and Taskbar icons have been moved to the center, resembling macOS. If you prefer the old Windows 10 look, here's how you can revert it:

  1. Press Win+R, type “regedit,” and hit Enter to open the Registry Editor.
  2. Copy and paste the following folder structure in the Registry Editor and press Enter:
  3. In the Advanced folder, right-click anywhere in the right window-pane and select “New > DWORD (32-bit) value” to create a new key.
  4. Rename the newly created key as “Start_ShowClassicMode.”
  5. Double-click on the key, change the Value to 1, and click OK. This will change your Start Menu style back to how it was in Windows 10. If you want to revert to the new Windows 11 Start Menu look, change the value of the “Start_ShowClassicMode” key back to 0 or delete the key.
  6. Finally, restart your system for the changes to take effect. The Start Menu icon will still be at the center, but when you open it, the Start menu will launch on the left side of the window.

Please note that currently, there is no way to change the position of the Start Menu and other Taskbar icons in Windows 11 without an active Windows license.

The Windows 11 version circulating on the web right now is a developer version. The stable version of Windows 11 is set to release on June 24, 2021. When it launches, you'll get a free upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11. So, stay tuned for the official release and enjoy the new features of Windows 11!

Also Read: Best Windows 11 Features That You Should Know About