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Windows 7 Control Panel


Windows 7 Control Panel from the Start menu

In the Windows 7 Control Panel Tutorial we will only cover the features that a senior or beginner computer user would be interested in. The Control panel is full of tools to change the way Windows looks and behaves.

We will cover the topics of User Accounts and Family Safety, appearance and Personalization, and printers and Keyboard. You can click on any of these topics to jump ahead.

We are going to start with User Accounts. To open the Control Panel Click on the windows logo in the lower left corner then click Control Panel in the right hand column. This will open the control panel window.



Windows 7 Control Panel

User Accounts is a place where you can add or delete users, change a password or password protect your user account, Change the picture by your name when you log on or change the way you log on and off, or set parental controls

User Accounts is a beneficial tool because it allows each user of the computer to have their own look and feel for the Windows Desktop, customize their own favorites on the web and have their own My Documents Folder. This is also great for Parents to monitor their children's computer usage.

All of the link options in the control panel are alphabetized. Click on the User Account link and we will get started.

Windows 7 User Accounts

When the user Account Window opens you will see the three options.

We will start by having a little fun with the picture that appears by our name when we log on. Click on Change your picture link.

Windows 7 change picture

In this window you can change the picture that appears next to your name in the Start Menu and when you log on. Browse through the pictures and pick your favorite one then click on it. If you have a favorite picture that does not appear in the list of default pictures click on the Browse for more pictures link and a window will open for you to choose one of your personal pictures.

If you made any changes click on the Change Picture button. If no changes were made click on Cancel and it will take you to the user account window.

Now we will go through one by one to learn more about making changes to a user account. You do not have to make any changes to your computer but I would like you to get a feel for all of the windows in case you need to make changes in the future.

Click on Change your password

Windows 7 Change Password

If your account is currently password protected and you would like to change the password you would enter the information in each text box and the Change Password button at the bottom. Click Cancel if you have not made any changes and you will return to the Make changes to your user account window.

Click on the Remove your password link.

Windows 7 Remove Password

If you computer is currently password protected you can type your current password into the text box and click the Remove Password button and you will no longer need a password to log into your computer. Click Cancel if you did not make and changes to return to the Make changes to your user account window.

Click on the Change your account name link

If you have a grandchild or child that no longer uses your computer or you purchased a used computer from someone you can put your name here or type the name of someone else that would use that account. If you did not make any Changes click cancel to return to the User Accounts Window.

Next click on the Change your account type link.

Windows 7 Change Account Type

If you are doing this tutorial with your account you are probably set up as the administrator. As the administrator you can access all programs and files and install programs on the computer. If you are set up as a Standard User you might not be able to install certain programs. You will still be able to change your own password, picture and desktop settings.

You cannot change an account to a Standard user if they are set up as an administrator and there is only one administrator account. You would need to create another administrator account before changing an administrator to a Standard user.

If you made any changes click the cancel button to return to the user accounts window.

To switch to another account on the computer and make the same changes or create a new account you would click the Manage Another Account link.

Windows 7 Manage Accounts

Click on the Create new account link. Enter the User's name and select what type of user you would like them to be then click Create New Account.

If you did not create a new account click cancel to return to the Manage Accounts Window.

Now we will move onto Parental Controls. Having 2 small children this is one of my favorite features of Windows 7. Parental Controls helps you to manage you children's computer usage, set limits on access to the web, the hours they can log on to the computer, and which games they can play. Click on the setup Parental controls link at the bottom of the window.

Windows 7 Parental Controls

When the Parental Control Window Opens Click on a user that is not an administrator.

Windows 7 User controls

In the Parental Control Setup Window Click On, enforce current settings under Parental Controls. This will allow changes to be made to the three options under Window Settings.

The links that are currently off in the sample will take you to the same location at the Windows Setting links. They are just to let you know what controls have been set.



Windows 7 Time Controls

Click on Time limits. In the time limit window click on blocks of time in the grid to block the selected user from logging onto the computer during the set times.

Click OK to save the changes or cancel to discard and return to the parental control window.



Windows 7 Game Controls

Under Windows Settings click Games. Click the Set game ratings link.

The Windows 7 Games window allows the parent to either allow or block any games from being played, block games with a specific rating, and block games by a specific name.

To block any games from being played click the no button under Can (user Name) play games?

If the user is allowed to play games but you want to control the rating click Set games ratings under Block (or allow) games by rating or content.

The first selection you can make is to allow or block games that do not have a rating. Click either Allow games with no rating or Block games with no rating. Then read each rating under Which ratings are ok for (user name) to play? Then choose the types of games the user will be allowed to play. The selection you choose and everything above it will be allowed. If the Rating is below what you selected that game will be blocked from play.

Windows 7 Game Restrictions

Use the scroll bar to move down the window to see more options to block games containing certain content. Scroll down through the list and place a check mark on any content you would like to block. Any game containing a marked content will be blocked regardless of the rating.

Click OK if you made any changes or Cancel to return to the Parental Control Game settings and OK again to return to the main Parental Control window.

The last option is allow and block specific programs. Click on Block or Allow specific programs link.





Windows 7 Application Restrictions

When the Block or allow specific programs window opens click on (user name) can only use the programs I allow button. It will take a minute for all the programs to load in the box below.

When the program list is populated scroll through the list with the down arrow on the right of the box and check the box next to each program the user will be allowed to use. After you have finished checking the programs click OK to return to Parental Controls or if no changes were made click Cancel.

Now reopen the control panel. Click on the Personalization link.

Windows 7 Personalization

Notice the links in this window look familiar. We have already covered these in the Windows 7 Desktop Tutorial. This is just another way to get to the same options. Please feel free to click each link to see if you recognize the windows

When you are finished exploring the Personalization window click the back arrow in the upper left corner to return to the control panel.

Click on the devices and printers link in the main control panel window. Printers have never been one of my favorite topics. There are so many different brands and types of printers, and they all install and work differently. The best advice I can give you is to follow the instructions that came with your printer for easy installation.

Windows 7 Devices and Printers

The Printers Window will open. This window gives you all the information you need to know about the printers and devices you currently have installed on your computer. This window will provide a list of each device or printer. To get more information on any item in the list double click to open the properties window for that item.

The Printers Window will tell you the name of your printer. When you place your mouse over a printer if there is any number other than 0 in the documents column or under the printer name there are print jobs that are either in the process of being printed or are stuck in the print queue.

Double click on one of your printers to view the window with the list of print jobs and options to change print settings.

Windows 7 Printer Settings & Options Window

If you are having printer trouble this is the window you need to be in to see what is going on. Most of the time you have a print job stuck in the queue and it needs to be deleted before you can print another document or re-print the current document.

To delete a document out of the print queue click on see what is printing then click the print job to select it and press the delete key on your keyboard. Sometimes you are able to restart the print job to make it work. To restart a print job you select the print job you want and click document in the top tool bar. Then click restart.

Click the x in the upper right corner to return to the Printers window.

The last topic on printers I want to cover is Add a printer. Click on the add a printer link in the top toolbar.

Windows 7 Add a Printer

This will open the Add Printer wizard. You can follow this wizard to install a printer. I am not going to go into detail here because every printer is different. If you have specific questions you can email me and I will send you an individual tutorial specified toward the precise brand of printer you are installing.

Click the Cancel button to go back to the Printers window. Then click the upper left back arrow to return to the printer window.

Once you are back to the Control panel click on the Keyboard icon link.

Windows 7 Keyboard Properties

The settings in Character repeat are Repeat delay and Repeat rate. If you are typing and when you press a key the character types more than once. Repeat delay is how long you need to hold a key down before it will type more than once. Repeat rate is the speed that the character will repeat if you hold the key down too long.

Play with the sliders on both options and click in the test text box and hold down a key on the keyboard to see how the changes affect the keyboard.

The third option is how fast your cursor will blink when you are typing. You can play with the slider if you wish but the default usually works fine.

When you are finished click the OK button to return to the main control panel window.

That completes our tutorials on the Windows 7 Control Panel. Click the next arrow to continue to the Windows 7 Updates tutorial or click one of the links below to return to the home page or select another tutorial.


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