Making your Windows 7 desktop … yours

There's a restless spirit in some of us, yearning to be free. A philosopher in some of us, striving for order. An artist in some of us, desperately seeking expression.

Once again, Windows 7 is here for us, giving us the tools we need to become fully actualized ... at least, from a Windows desktop perspective. To find and display your true colors, while making your desktop a more convenient and aesthetically rewarding place to hang out, simply right-click the desktop and choose Personalize. Up pops the Personalization menu, where you can make all the adjustments described below.


Themes. Themes pull together a number of computer settings— desktop background, screen saver, window border color, sounds, icons, and pointers—in a coherent, harmonious manner.

Windows 7 comes with some nifty, ready-to-use themes, some put together by the same kind of people you might trust to decorate your condo, and others designed to improve system performance or improve readability. The
pre-configured Aero themes, unique to Windows 7, are downright striking in their appearance. I could stare at them all day.

You can select from installed themes on the Personalization menu. Need more to choose from? Click Get more themes online and find them in the Windows 7 Personalization Gallery. You can also set things up yourself, and save your own theme (see how).

Sounds. For most of us in an office environment, computer sounds are kept turned down low or muted altogether, in deference to our colleagues. But some professions demand the use of sound, and anyone can use a headset if they just can't handle the silence any more. In Windows 7, sounds—for all sorts of alerts, warnings, notifications, and events—can be changed individually or set up as a scheme of related sounds. Watch this video to learn how.

Desktop Background. What's behind every successful thing you do on your system? You guessed it. You can set just about anything as your desktop background, or set up a slideshow (learn how). I recommend not using the photos you took at last December's office party.

Screen saver. Unlike some earlier versions of Windows, themes specify screen savers (they can even specify "none"). If you change themes, you might want to make sure your screen will behave as you want it to when your system is idle for a while. That theme your coworker told you was "totally cool" might be missing a screen saver—or, worse yet, show something dorky.

Reading text. You can make text—and other items like icons—larger and smaller without adjusting your screen resolution. This is great if you have vision problems, or if you like to back off from your computer and pretend you're not looking at that chat site. Read all the details—in your current font size, of course.

There. You've personalized your desktop. It looks great! Very nice. That's a wonderful look. Enjoy! OK, back to work.


Comments (0)

Skip to main content