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Personalizing Your Windows 7 Desktop with Themes and Slideshows

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Most users like to personalize the look of their computer's desktop. Microsoft Windows 7 offers more personalization options than ever before, as you'll discover in this article by Windows 7 Your Way author Michael Miller.

If you're like me, one of the first things you do when you start using a new computer is to customize the desktop. I like to personalize the way my desktop looks; I want my own background image, collection of shortcut icons, gadgets, and the like.

If you're upgrading to Windows 7, you'll discover that Microsoft offers more desktop personalization options than in previous versions of Windows. Not only can you change the desktop's background image but you can also display a slideshow of different images—great if you can't settle on just one picture for your desktop.

Even better, Windows 7 lets you select entire desktop themes that change everything about your desktop with a click of a mouse—background image, window color, screen saver, sound scheme, you name it. This is the easy way to change the look and feel of your desktop—and save all your changes in new themes.

Changing Desktop Themes

Let's start with the big picture—not just the desktop background, but also the windows color, system sounds, and screen saver. In Windows 7, all these elements are organized together into what Microsoft calls themes. Windows 7 includes a number of these pre-configured themes—and you can create your own, as well.

Microsoft includes a number of predefined themes in Windows 7. These include the generic Windows 7 theme, as well as Architecture, Characters, Landscapes, Nature, Scenes, and United States themes.

To apply one of these pre-existing themes, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click anywhere on the desktop and click Personalize from the pop-up menu.
  2. When the Personalization window appears, as shown in Figure 1, click the new theme you want to apply.

Figure 1 Selecting desktop themes in Windows 7

The new theme is applied as soon as you click it in the Personalization window; no Save or OK button to click. This means you can see how the theme looks while you're still in the Personalization window—and change to another theme if you don't like the one you first selected.

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