A Pictorial Guide to Customizing Windows 7

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Desktop Backgrounds

It’s hardly a secret that you can change the Windows 7 desktop wallpaper to any variety of alternatives either included with Windows or from other sources such as desktop wallpaper websites. This is not something new, but it’s still one of the best ways to customize the Windows 7 desktop. To add some additional desktop wallpaper check out this Groovy Themes wallpaper website which has a great collection of wallpapers for download. Just follow the guidelines included on the site to add their wallpaper to your desktop.

What is new with Windows 7 is the desktop wallpaper slideshow option. With the slideshow option, Windows 7 will display a variety of selected desktop wallpaper like a slideshow. As such, the selected wallpaper will be changed periodically. You can select this from the ‘Choose your desktop background’ window pictured above by selecting the wallpaper that is be included on the desktop slideshow, and then checking the shuffle option.

Windows 7 Themes

Again, it’s nothing new that you can change Window’s themes. However, Windows 7 has a far greater variety of potential themes to select from than Vista. You can select from up to seven Windows 7 Aero themes and six more basic themes. Among these include themes such as Nature, Landscape and United Kingdom which can be selected from the Personalization window as displayed above. In addition to this, you can also add your own Windows themes to those included with Windows 7. For further details, this Bright Hub Windows 7 Themes Tips & Tricks article is worth noting.

Customizing Windows Colors and Transparency

If you really want to customize the look of Windows 7, you can change the window colors and transparency. Select the window color option from the personalization window and there are a variety of alternative window border colors. In addition to this, there is also the ’enable transparency’ check-box which you can either check or uncheck to add or remove transparent windows. If you have transparent windows you can also adjust the opacity by dragging the slide-bar below this left or right which will either enhance or reduce the transparency.

Gadgets Galore!

The first Window’s gadgets were introduced with the Vista sidebar. In Windows 7 the desktop gadgets have now been enhanced so that you can include them anywhere on the desktop! To add gadgets, right-click the desktop and select gadgets. The gadget window includes a few basic gadgets that you can select from such as a calendar, clock, slideshow and currency. However, do not forget that there are many more gadgets that can be added to the desktop when you select get more gadgets online. This Bright Hub article covers some of the best Windows 7 gadgets.

It’s also worth noting that there are other alternatives to the Windows 7 gadgets. For example, Yahoo widgets can also be added to the desktop if you install Yahoo Widgets. Visit the Yahoo widgets website for further details.

Taskbar and Start Menu

The taskbar and Start menu can also be customized when you right-click the taskbar and select properties. From the Start menu and taskbar window there are various customization options to select from.

To customize the taskbar you can select customize notification area to add or remove shortcuts from there. Or alternatively, you can select the small icon check-box to reduce the size of the Windows 7 taskbar icons. You can even change the position of the taskbar.

To customize the Start menu, select the Start menu tab. Then select the customize option which includes a variety of Start menu customization options. Another way that you can customize the Start menu is with the pin option which you can select to pin shortcuts to it when you right-click a shortcut and select pin to Start menu.

Customize Desktop Shortcuts

Desktop shortcuts can be customized when you right-click any shortcut and then select properties. The shortcut tab includes a couple of noteworthy customization options. Firstly, you can change the shortcut icon when you select change icon and select from one of the alternatives.

In addition to this, you can add additional shortcut keys for the desktop shortcut. Select the shortcut key box and then input a letter. The shortcut will then be Ctrl + Alt + the letter that you input.

Further desktop settings options can also be selected from the desktop settings window. Select change desktop icons from the personalization window. Five desktop icon check-boxes are included here which you can select to add or remove the pertinent desktop icons. By selecting the change icon option you can change the icons for these shortcuts.

Change Screensaver

Screensavers are another way that you can further customize Windows 7. Windows 7 includes a few screensavers such as bubbles and 3-D text that you can select from, and you can also add further screensavers to the list via download. Do not forget that some of the screensavers have customizable settings that you can select from if you select the settings option. For example, you can input alternative 3-D text for that screensaver.

Windows 7 also includes a couple of photo screensavers which are more like photo slideshows. Select either photos or Windows Live Photo Gallery screensavers, and then settings to further select which images are to be included. For this, it’s best to set up a screensaver folder with the images for the screensaver included.

Change Account Picture

If you want to change the image that displays at the logon screen, Windows 7 has a variety of account pictures which you can select from. To do so, select change your account picture from the personalization window. Then select from one of the pictures included, or alternatively you can add your own by selecting browse for more pictures and then select one of your saved pictures.


  • The Ultimate Guide to Windows 7, Dennis Publishing