Customizing the Windows Desktop

There is NO right or wrong way to have your desktop look.  You can make it look any color and have any arrangement you choose. 

If more than one person uses the computer, each person can have the desktop look however they desire, as long as each person is a separate user with their own logon.  You can have many icons on the desktop, or none at all.  You can have everything work with one mouse click or two.  You can reverse the mouse buttons.  You can use any colors or pictures for the desktop, you can make it look any way you want to. 

You're the one who has to spend time on the computer, so you might as well have it as pleasing to your tastes as possible.  Let's discuss some of the changes you can make.  I'm going to gear this discussion more towards Windows XP since, before long, the majority of people will be using it and most, though not all, the things here also are true for previous versions of Windows.

One thing I'll suggest here is, BEFORE you start making changes, click here for information on how to set a system restore point.  If you get things all hosed up, you can just do a restore and then you don't need to panic trying to figure out what you did wrong.

First of all, lets discuss what you can do with the desktop appearance.  This is another thing which has changed in the later versions of Windows.  Click here to go to the Windows XP section.

For the newer versions of Windows, in the Desktop screen, right-click anywhere there are no icons.

Left clicking on Display Settings will bring up the screen below.  Here you can set things such as power & sleep settings, changing the size of screen objects, and screen orientation. Clicking on Advanced display settings will give you additional screen settings.

 Right-clicking on Personalize gives you the following options.  You can setup a slideshow of desktop backgrounds, colors, setup the lock screen, etc.



 Right-click on the desktop anywhere there are no icons. Now, left-click on Properties. On the Themes tab, you can select various themes which will control all of Windows elements, including colors, icons, sounds, etc.


The Desktop tab is where you can select the wallpaper (picture which is used for the background) that you want to use.  If you have a picture, for instance one you took with your digital camera, you can click on the browse button and find the picture you want to use.  The position button will be used to make the picture look the way you want it to. In earlier versions of Windows, you had to have the pixel size ( the actual size of the picture) match the screen resolution. Now, you can tell it to stretch the picture to fit the screen.  The drawback to this is that it may distort the picture.  If you want to use a small design, you can tile it so that it pastes copies of the design together to fill up the screen. Go ahead and play with changing these settings so you can see what effect it has on the way the desktop looks.


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Please Note: All information provided in The Help Desk web site is in easy to understand terms, in my opinion only, and may not necessarily be the only accepted answers or advice.  I will not be responsible for any problems caused from anyone making any configuration or hardware changes to their computer system resulting from information obtained from this web site.  Please contact me prior to using any content from this web site.