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Ways To Make Your System Feel Like An Extension Of You

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How, in Windows 7, do you make the desktop an extension of you? J. Peter Bruzzese shows how you can change the background, the Screen Saver, and the font sizes to make Windows 7 a reflection of your personality and needs.
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Ways To Make Your System Feel Like An Extension Of You

The new system awaits and you are incredibly excited to see how Windows 7 looks and feels. Yes, there is a definite feel to an operating system. Windows XP had a cartoony and fun feel. Windows Vista was a tad too serious and sleek, almost cold. Windows 7, much like the third bear's oatmeal, is just right. Futuristic yet inviting. You open your new laptop or boot up that new desktop and here it is… Windows 7!!!

Now what?

Eventually, all users decide to make changes. The background, the Screen Saver, the font sizes…everything! The question is how, in Windows 7, do you make it an extension of you? You might sincerely like the wallpapers and such that Microsoft gives you. But if not, you have to go looking for what you do like.

For example, if you like to show the world that you are using the latest and greatest OS from Microsoft (just so they aren't confused that you are using Vista instead), search for Windows 7 wallpapers. I found a great site with lots of options: http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/windows-7-wallpapers-the-finest-so-far/ (Figure 2.1).

For some incredible digital (somewhat mystical and crazy) wallpaper, check out Digital Blasphemy 3D Wallpaper: http://www.digitalblasphemy.com (Figure 2.2 shows an example of mystical and crazy).

Obviously, your likes or dislikes might be different from ours, so search for what you like. When you find it, if you can find a good enough resolution (one that hopefully matches your screen resolution), simply right-click the image in your browser and choose Set as Background. Then you can confirm that you want to change the background you're currently using.

Sometimes you might need to tweak the image a bit in terms of the way it looks on your system. To do this, right-click your Desktop and choose Personalize. The Personalization settings show that you have an unsaved Theme under My Themes. Click the Save Theme link. A Theme, as you know, is comprised of certain styles applied to the background, color, sounds and Screen Saver. However, to adjust your background, you click the Desktop Background link at the bottom.

After clicking the Desktop Background link you will be shown additional options to choose from. For example, you can add more pictures to be displayed (you aren't stuck with one image; you can display as many as you like). You can then click the Picture Position down arrow to choose different ways to display that picture (Figure 2.3): Fill, Fit, Stretch, Tile or Center. If you use multiple pictures, you can set the amount of time the picture displays before the next picture displays; you can also choose between shuffling pictures or displaying them in order.

Click the Window Color link (Figure 2.4) to choose the various colors and appearance for your windows. Click the Sounds link (Figure 2.5) to choose what sounds will play for items like Low Battery Alarm, Exit Windows as well as all the other system sounds.

Finally, click the Screen Saver link to choose from amongst the Screen Savers that have been installed. Or you can go online and look for ones to download.

I find http://www.download.com to be a great site for free downloads without any hassle. That is where I discovered a 3D Fireplace (Figure 2.6), which is one of my favorite Screen Savers. I just love watching the glow on my monitors on a chilly day (especially being that I don't have a fireplace personally). Usually, a good Screen Saver has tools you can use to configure it (Figure 2.7).

At this point, you might have the look of your desktop in order. You might want to remember to save the Theme you just created and then you can use different Themes depending on your mood. But there is more to making the system an extension of you than just the Theme. You'll find three links in the top-left corner of the Personalization settings:

  • Change Desktop Icons
  • Change Mouse Pointers
  • Change Your Account Picture

These can also be tweaked to make the system your system.

You might also want to made adjustments through the Taskbar and Start menu properties. You might want to adjust your time and date settings or determine which items you want to display in your Notification Tray. You might even have a need to work with the Ease of Access center from within Control Panel to assist you with any vision or hearing needs, among others.

As you have learned here, there is much you can do to make Windows 7 a reflection of your personality and needs. Consider it like an adjustable chair in your car. When you get in your car, if the seat is too close to the steering wheel, or if the steering wheel is too low or too high, do you just leave the position of the seat where it's at? Not at all. You typically adjustment your seat, your steering wheel, your mirrors, the radio stations—pretty much everything—until that car feels right to you. An OS has the same needs, so have fun with it!

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