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Windows 7 Desktop

In this Windows 7 Desktop Tutorial I want to give you a brief description of what a desktop is. You can arrange the icons on the electronic desktop just as you can arrange real objects on a real desktop -- 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 desktop.

Windows 7 Desktop Menu

By right clicking anywhere on the desk top you can access the features menu. These features allow you to move, change the view, and sort icons on your desktop. It will also open windows for you to make changes to the appearance of your desktop.

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 Small Icons. You can also automatically arrange your icons with Auto Arrange. This feature if checked will automatically organize your icons on your desktop when new items are deleted. Align icons to grid will keep all icons in a line and won't let you place them out of line on your desktop. Windows 7 View Show desktop icons if checked will show all icons placed on your desktop. If unchecked no icons will show up on your desktop. Gadgets put information and fun things on your desktop. The Show desktop gadgets option in the view menu will either display or hide any selected gadgets.

Another desktop tool in this menu is Sort By. Right click again anywhere on your desktop and put your mouse over Sort By to make a sub Menu appear.

Windows 7 Sort By Menu on Desktop

When you are adding and deleting icons on your desktop they tend to get placed anywhere and occasionally need to be sorted. The sort by option will sort your icons by name, size, item type, or date modified. The Name option will alphabetize the icons. Size will sort by the size of the file. Item type will group all excel icons, .pdf files, folders, etc. Date modified will organized them according to the date they were placed on your desktop.

The Refresh option in the menu will refresh any gadgets on the desktop along with the icons that might change.

The Paste and Paste shortcut options will be grayed out until you have copied something you would like to place on the desktop.

Undo Copy is used to undo copying a file to the desktop. In Windows XP if a file was copied from the C drive to the desktop and you realized that you copied the wrong file you would have manually moved it back. In Windows 7 you can use the Undo Copy button to make that change.

Windows 7 New Menu on Desktop

Right clicking on the desktop and selecting New will bring up a sub menu with options to create new folders, files or short cuts on your desktop. This list will change from computer to computer based on the programs you have installed.

If you select Folder a new folder will be place on your desktop with the folder name highlighted for you to change. The Shortcut option will open a window for you to browse to the file you would like to create the shortcut to. Once you have selected the file click Ok and you will return to the desktop with the shortcut created. Any other selection will place a file associated with the selected program on your desktop for you to name.

The next option is Screen resolution, clicking on this option will open a window.

Windows 7 Screen Resolution

Screen resolution refers to the clarity of the text and images on your monitor. The higher the resolution the clearer the images and text appear on the monitor. Things may also appear smaller with the higher resolution. The detect button will search the computer for multiple monitors. Identify will flash a number on the screen telling you which display is being used.

Click the drop down arrow for display. This will list all of the options to change the display method used for the monitor you selected. Resolution option has a slide bar tool to click and drag up and down to change the resolution of the monitor. It will be set automatically to the default resolution. Click the Apply button to preview what it will look like. The change will not take effect until you click OK. Click the down arrow for the orientation option. There are four options; landscape, portrait, landscape (flipped), and portrait (flipped) try each option to see the change made by making the selection and clicking the apply button. After a few seconds it will return to the default selection.

Windows 7 Advanced Screen Resolution settings

Now click on the advanced link to the bottom right of the orientation option. This will open the properties window. There are several options for changing appearance of your display. The Adapter refers to the graphics card installed in the computer, Monitor had more options for the monitor resolution and display. Troubleshoot gives you a wizard button to troubleshoot any display problems you are having. Color management tab gives you a button to open the color management window where you will have three additional tabs to make changes to the way different images, text, photography, etc color is handled when viewed on your display. The below screen shot gives you some examples of the drop down menus you will see and make changes to the color of your display.

Windows 7 Color Management

Windows 7 Link to Projector

The connect to a projector link will open a small pane for you to choose the settings for displaying your computer screen on the projector. Make you selection by clicking on it and it will change the display and return you to the screen resolution window.

The next link is make text and other items larger or smaller. Click on this link to open another window.

Windows 7 Display

In this window there is a link for a magnifier tool. Click on this link. It will open a small window that can be used just like a magnifying glass on paper. You can adjust the percentage you would like to magnify with the plus and minus buttons. Windows 7 MagnifierThen there is an icon that looks like a magnifying glass that you can move around your screen to make things easier to see. You can also make this window pinned to your desktop so you don't have to go through the Display properties each time if you use the feature often. To do this click on the Views down arrow and click docked. To exit the magnifier click the x in the upper right corner.

There are two other options in the make text and other items larger or smaller. The radio buttons allow you to make everything on the screen smaller or Medium. Click the button that is not selected and click apply to see how it affects your display. Click the back arrow at the top of the window to return to the display screen.

The last option in this window is What display setting should I choose. Click on this link to see the help window with more detailed information about your monitor and what settings will work best for your configuration. Click OK to exit the window and apply the changes you made.

Return to your desktop and right click. Select Gadgets from the menu. This will open the Gadget window

Windows 7 Gadgets

In this window is a list of gadgets that you can select to place on your desk top. To place a gadget on your desktop double click on the icon you would like or click and drag it to the desktop. You can search for more gadgets online by clicking the link at the bottom right corner titled Get more gadgets online. Click this link to go online now to view the other gadgets available.

Right click on the desktop and select Personalize. In my opinion this is the fun part of the desktop tutorial.

Windows 7 Personalization

The Personalize Window is where you can change the look and feel of your desktop. When you open the personalization window it will default to the themes section. This is a group of selections that you can choose from to change everything included in the look and feel of your computer. To change the theme just click on the one you would like and close the 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 at the bottom of the window.

Windows 7 Desktop Background

Windows 7 Picture Location

You can click the drop down arrow next to Picture Location and choose from Windows Desktop Backgrounds Pictures Library, or Solid Colors; then scroll through the default items in the section below. Click on a picture or color you think you might like and it will let you preview it on your desktop.

Windows 7 Background Picture Position

Below the picture preview is a button to select the position of the picture on the desktop. Click the down arrow to view the options. Click each option to see how it affects the image you selected.

If you have more than one image selected the change picture options will be available for you to select how often you would like the picture changed, if you want them shuffled, and battery power options if you are working on a laptop.

Once you have made all of your selections click save changes to return to the personalization window.

Now that you have your favorite picture on your desktop let's move onto Screen Savers.

Windows 7 Screen Saver Settings

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 anywhere on the desktop and selecting personalization.

When the Personalization Window opens select the Screen Saver Link in the lower right corner.

lower right corner. 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. Click OK to return to the personalization window.

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

Windows 7 Color And Appearance

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 7 Mouse Properties

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.

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 your computer.

Windows 7 Mouse Properties Buttons

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.

Windows 7 Mouse Settings for Click Lock

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 Options Tab.

Windows 7 Mouse 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 option 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.

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 7 Control Panel.