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Display Settings

As a desktop technician, you will sometimes be tasked to adjust the look and feel of Windows, such as the background, the screen saver, and the display settings. These settings are found by clicking the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking Appearance and Personalization, and clicking Personalization (see Figure 3.10).

Figure 3.10

Figure 3.10 To configure the appearance and sound, open the Control Panel and select Personalize Appearance and Sounds.

Adjusting the Screen Settings

Screen resolution refers to the clarity of the text and images on your screen. At higher resolutions, items appear sharper because they use more pixels to form the images on the screen. Typically when you use a higher resolution, images will appear smaller, so more items fit on the screen. At lower resolutions, fewer items fit on the screen, but they are larger and easier to see. At very low resolutions, however, images might have jagged edges.

To change the resolution, follow these steps:

  1. Open Display Settings by clicking the Start button, Control Panel, Appearance and Personalization, and Personalization. Then click Display Settings.
  2. Under Resolution, move the slider to the resolution you want, and then click Apply (see Figure 3.11).
    Figure 3.11

    Figure 3.11 The Display Settings dialog box enables you to select the resolution and color depth.

To set the color depth (the number of bits that determine the number of possible colors on the screen), follow these steps:

  1. Open Display Settings by clicking the Start button, Control Panel, Appearance and Personalization, and Personalization. Then click Display Settings.
  2. Under Colors, select the color depth. For the most possible colors, set to Highest (32 bit), and then click OK.

To set the monitor refresh rate (the frequency at which the screen is redrawn), follow these steps:

  1. Open Display Settings by clicking the Start button, Control Panel, Appearance and Personalization, and Personalization. Then click Display Settings.
  2. Click Advanced Settings.
  3. Click the Monitor tab, and select a refresh rate.
  4. Click Apply. The monitor might take a moment to adjust. If you get a message asking whether you want to keep the changes, click Yes. If you get this message and don't apply the changes within 15 seconds, the refresh rate will revert back to your original setting.
  5. Click OK.

To change the desktop theme to Windows Vista, follow these steps:

  1. Open Theme Settings by clicking the Start button, Control Panel, Appearance and Personalization, and Personalization. Then click Theme.
  2. In the Theme list, click Windows Vista, and then click OK.

To change the color scheme to Windows Aero, follow these steps:

  1. Open Appearance Settings by clicking the Start button, Control Panel, Appearance and Personalization, and Personalization. Then click Window Color and Appearance. If the Appearance Settings dialog box does not display, at the bottom of the page, click Open Classic Appearance Properties.
  2. In the Color Scheme list, click Windows Aero, and then click OK.

To turn on window frame transparency, the color scheme must first be set to Windows Aero. Then you must do the following:

  1. Open Personalization by clicking the Start button, Control Panel, Appearance and Personalization, and Personalization.
  2. Click Window Color and Appearance.
  3. Select the Enable Transparency check box.

If you sometimes have trouble seeing items on your screen, you can adjust the settings to make text and images on the screen appear larger, improve the contrast between items on the screen, and hear onscreen text read aloud. You can adjust these settings on the Make the Computer Easier to See page in the Ease of Access Center:

  1. Open the Make the Computer Easier to See page by clicking the Start button, Control Panel, Ease of Access, Ease of Access Center, and then clicking Make the Computer Easier to See.
  2. Select the options that you want to use:
    • Choose a High Contrast Color Scheme. This option enables you to set a high-contrast color scheme that heightens the color contrast of some text and images on your computer screen, making those items more distinct and easier to identify.
    • Turn on Narrator. This option sets Narrator to run when you log on to your computer. Narrator reads aloud onscreen text and describes some events (such as error messages appearing) that happen while you're using the computer.
    • Turn on Audio Description. This option sets audio descriptions to run when you log on to your computer. Audio descriptions describe what's happening in videos.
    • Turn on Magnifier. This option sets Magnifier to run when you log on to your computer. Magnifier enlarges the part of the screen where the cursor is pointing and can be especially useful for viewing objects that are difficult to see.
    • Adjust the Color and Transparency of the Window Borders. This option enables you to change the appearance of window borders to make them easier to see.
    • Make the Focus Rectangle Thicker. This option makes the rectangle around the currently selected item in dialog boxes thicker, which makes it easier to see.
    • Set the Thickness of the Blinking Cursor. This option enables you to make the blinking cursor in dialog boxes and programs thicker and easier to see.
    • Turn Off All Unnecessary Animations. This option turns off animation effects, such as fading effects, when windows and other elements are closed.
    • Remove Background Images. This option turns off all unimportant, overlapped content and background images to help make the screen easier to see.

Windows Aero

Windows Aero is the premium visual experience of Windows Vista. It features a transparent glass design with subtle window animations and new window colors. Part of the Windows Aero experience is Windows Flip 3D, which is a way to arrange your open windows in a three-dimensional stack that you can quickly flip through without having to click the taskbar. Aero also includes taskbar previews for your open windows. When you point to a taskbar button, you'll see a thumbnail-size preview of the window, whether the content of the window is a document, a photo, or even a running video. Beyond the new graphics and visual polish, the Windows Aero desktop experience includes smoother window handling, increased graphics stability, and glitch-free visuals, all of which give you a simple, comfortable, and high-quality experience.

Remember that the following editions of Windows Vista support Aero:

  • Windows Vista Business
  • Windows Vista Enterprise
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • Windows Vista Ultimate

In addition, the display adapter must support the following:

  • DirectX 9, with Pixel Shader 2.0
  • Windows Vista Display Driver Model (WDDM)

Finally, the system must have the following graphics memory:

Graphics Memory

Support Single-Monitor Resolution

64 MB

Up to 1,310,720 pixels (equivalent to 1280x1024)

128 MB

Up to 2,304,000 pixels (equivalent to 1920x1200)

256 MB

Greater than 2,304,000 pixels

You must also configure the display system to the following:

  • A color depth of 32 bits per pixel (bpp)
  • A refresh rate higher than 10 hertz
  • The theme set to Windows Vista
  • The color scheme set to Windows Aero
  • Window frame transparency on

If your system has a built-in graphics adapter based on the Unified Memory Architecture (UMA), you need 1 GB of dual-channel configured system memory, and your system must have 512 MB of RAM available for general system activities after graphics processing.

A theme is a collection of visual elements and sounds for your computer desktop. A theme determines the look of the various visual elements of your desktop, such as windows, icons, fonts, and colors, and it can include sounds. For Aero to work, you must configure Windows Vista to use the Windows Vista theme or a theme created by modifying the Windows Vista theme.

To set the theme, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Start button, Control Panel, Appearance and Personalization, and Personalization. Then click Theme.
  2. Under Theme, select the theme you want, and then click OK (see Figure 3.12).
    Figure 3.12

    Figure 3.12 Selecting the Windows theme.

Windows Aero features windows that are truly translucent. This glass effect enables you to focus on the content of a window, while providing better context for the surrounding elements on your desktop. For added personalization and to get exactly the look and feel you want, you can change the

  • Color of your windows
  • Saturation of the screen colors
  • Level of transparency

To configure Windows color and appearance, follow these steps:

  1. Clicking the Start button, Control Panel, Appearance and Personalization, and Personalization. Then click Windows Color and Appearance.
  2. You can then change the color of the windows, Start menu, and taskbar and enable or disable transparency (see Figure 3.13).
    Figure 3.13

    Figure 3.13 Configuring the color and appearance of windows.

If you have a program that is incompatible with the Windows Aero color scheme, one of the following may happen:

  • Some of the visual elements, such as the window frame transparency, may be temporarily turned off.
  • You might receive a message that the color scheme has been changed to Windows Vista Basic.
  • Flip 3D does not function.

Verify that your hardware configuration, screen resolution, theme, color scheme, and color depths have not changed. Another cause could be because your computer does not have enough memory to run all the programs that you have open and also run the Windows Aero color scheme.

In this scenario, close some of the applications and retry the Flip 3D feature. If an application is incompatible with the Windows Aero color scheme, some of the visual elements will be automatically disabled and then reenabled after the incompatible application has been closed.

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