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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book


There are many things to play with in the Personalization control panel, and you can have hours of self-indulgent fun there. But let’s highlight a few of its more practical features.

To add Desktop icons

  1. Right-click the Desktop and select Personalize from the context menu to view the Personalization control panel red-circle-a.

  2. Click the Change desktop icons link to view the Desktop Icon Settings dialog box red-circle-b.

  3. Make your selections, and then click OK.

Desktop backgrounds are more commonly known as “wallpapers,” and for reasons that escape me, people are truly passionate about them.

To change the Desktop background

  1. In the Personalization dialog box, click the Desktop Background icon to view the Desktop Background dialog box red-circle-c.

  2. Click the Picture Location drop-down menu, and make a selection from a solid color palette, your Pictures library, or another folder that you designate.
  3. Select an option from the Picture Position drop-down menu to fill, fit, stretch, tile, or center the picture.
  4. For a slideshow, select a time period from the Change Picture Every drop-down menu. Select the Shuffle check box, if desired.
  5. Click the Save Changes button to display your new background.

To change your theme

A theme is a collection of Desktop backgrounds, Windows color and font styles, system sounds, and other elements all bundled up as a package and applied at once.

  • Scroll the central window (marked My Themes in gray-circle-a) and select a new theme.
  • Click the Get more themes online link, and find one on Microsoft’s website.

You may want to explore the Change Mouse Pointers and Sound dialog boxes. Click the Change mouse pointers link gray-circle-a to open that dialog box. The Sounds dialog box is opened with the Sounds icon gray-circle-a. Sounds and mouse pointers are part of a theme, along with fonts, window styles, and colors. Mouse pointers are cursor sets that you can apply; several cursor sets are good for the visually impaired, some are helpful on laptops, and a few are simply amusing. Sounds are short clips that play after various window events; changing sound sets has never appealed much to me, but other people like customized sounds.

Themes can apply sets of cursors and sounds, but you can also do this independently, and it does add personality to a system. You can download many more themes from the Microsoft website.

To add a gadget

Gadgets used to be constained to the Gadget bar, but now they have been set free to float above your desktop.

  1. Right-click the Desktop and select the Gadgets command from the context menu.

    The Gadget gallery appears red-circle-d.

  2. Drag a gadget to your desktop.
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