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Windows Vista Desktop Tutorial

Before we start the Windows Vista Tutorial Desktop Edition I want to give you a brief description of what a desktop is. A computer desktop allows you to arrange the icons on the electronic desktop just as you arrange real objects on a real desktop by moving them around, putting one on top of another, reshuffling them, and throwing them away.

Many users put files and shortcuts to programs on their desktop so they can find them easily. I would like to show you some fun features of the Windows Vista Desktop.

Start by right clicking any where on the desktop you can to access the features menu.

Windows Vista Desktop View

Put your mouse over View. This will bring up another menu you can use to change the size of your icons by selecting, Large Icons, Medium Icons, or Classic Icons. You can also automatically arrange your icons with Auto Arrange, or hide all icons on your desktop by clicking Show Desktop Icons to uncheck it.

The other tool I find useful is Sort By. Right click again any where on your desktop and put your mouse over Sort By to make a sub Menu appear.

Windows Vista Sort By

When you click on Name it will sort all icons on your desktop alphabetically. This is a useful tool when you start getting several icons on your desktop.

Now let’s move onto the fun part, Personalize. The Personalize Window is where you can change the look and feel of your desktop. Right Click any where on the desktop to bring up the features menu. Then click on Personalize and a window will come up that looks like this.

Personalize Window

I have found that many parents, grandparents, and pet owners like to have pictures of their loved ones on their desktop. To do this click on the Desktop Background link.

You can click the drop down arrow next to Picture Location and choose Windows Wallpapers then scroll through the default items in the section below. Click on a picture you think you might like and it will let you preview it on your desktop.

To insert a picture of you own click on Browse button next to Picture Location. A Window will open for you to find an image. Browse through your folders to choose an image. (Most people save their pictures in the My Documents folder under My Pictures.)

Vista Browse Window

Click on the image and click open. The picture will appear in the preview section below Picture Location. Select an option under How would the picture be positioned and click OK to return to the Personalization Window.

Now that you have your favorite picture on your desktop lets move onto Screen Savers.

A screen saver is a program which displays either a completely black image or a constantly changing image on a computer monitor to prevent a stationary image from "burning" into the phosphor of the screen. Screen savers usually start automatically after the computer has had no user input for a preset time.

If you do not currently have the Personalization Window open, open it by right clicking any where on the desktop and selecting personalization.

When the Personalization Window opens select the Screen Saver Link.

Windows Vista Screen Saver

You can see the many options for screen savers by clicking the drop down menu in the screen saver section. Once you have made your selection click on it and click the Preview button.

Your screen saver will appear on your screen until you move your mouse or type a button.

The last thing I want to cover before moving onto the Window Color and Appearance Link is the timing before your screen saver comes on. You can change this where it says Wait under the screen saver drop down menu. You can change this by clicking on the up and down arrows.

You don't want the time to be too long because that defeats the purpose of the screen saver. Set the Wait time between 1 and 15 minutes.

Let’s move onto the Window Color and Appearance Link in the Personalization Window. The Windows Color and Appearance Link is used to customize the color of your windows.

Windows Vista Appearance Window

Click on a few of the colors so you can preview what they will look like. Select your favorite color and click OK to return to the Personalization Window. Once you are back at the Personalization window click on Mouse Pointers.

Windows Vista Mouse Pointers

The Mouse Pointers link is a great tool if you have trouble seeing the cursor, are left handed or if you just want to have a little fun with your cursors.

In the Scheme section click the drop down arrow and you can choose a style for your cursor.

If you have trouble seeing select one that has extra large in parentheses. In the customize section you can change each individual cursor by clicking on it and clicking browse.

Now click the Buttons Tab.

Windows Vista Buttons Tab

If you are left handed you can click the left handed radio button in the Button Configuration section of the Button Tab. This will reverse the function of the left and right buttons on your mouse so you can put your mouse on the left side of you computer.

If you have trouble with double clicking play with the slider in the Double Click Speed section of the Button Tab. Move the slider either faster or slower and then try double clicking on the folder to the right of the slider until you feel comfortable with the speed.

If you Have trouble holding the mouse button down due to carpal tunnel or arthritis the Click Lock section will help you. Click lock allows you to highlight or drag objects without having to hold the mouse button down. If you would like to use this option check the box then click settings.

Click Lock Window The Settings window lets you choose how long you need to hold the mouse button down before locking the cursor in place so you can highlight. When you have made your selection click OK to return to the Mouse Properties Button Tab.

To use the Click Lock function place your cursor or pointer over the object and hold the mouse button down just a little longer than a regular click. This will lock the pointer in that location and the pointer will move with the motion of your mouse without having to hold the mouse button down.

If you made any changes click Apply then Click the Pointer Options Tab. If no changes were made simply click the Pointer Tab.

Pointer Options

The first section is Motion. If you find that the mouse pointer moves to fast and you have trouble getting it to stop where you want drag the slider toward slow to slow the mouse down. Play with the slider for a minute to see how it affects your mouse pointer.

In the last section of the Pointer Options tab, Visibility you will see check boxes, The first check box puts a tail on your mouse pointer that will trail behind the pointer as you move it across the screen. The next check box will hide the mouse pointer when you are typing. Some people like this and some don't. If your pointer gets in the way of you reading while you are typing check this box. If not I would leave it unchecked.

The last button is useful if you are a person that has trouble finding the mouse pointer. When this button is checked you can press the CTRL key on your keyboard and a bulls eye will appear around your pointer to make it easier to find.

That is all a basic user will need to worry about for this section of the Windows Vista Tutorials. Click the OK button to return to the Personalization Window then click the upper right X to close the Window.

If you have any questions or would like more information please email me.

If you are ready for the next tutorial click the next arrow and we will move onto the Windows Vista Control Panel.


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