Customizing the Windows 7 Desktop

May 24, 2011, By Christian Cawley

I don’t like people using my computer. This isn’t because I’ve been viewing dodgy websites or I’m precious about projects that I’m working on – it’s more to do with the fact  that it’s my computer, not theirs. Perhaps I’m a little possessive, but ultimately, it doesn’t matter.

The reason for this is simple: no one can fathom out how to use my PC. There is nothing complicated about it, I don’t have a hugely secure password (and most days I don’t lock the PC because I’m in front of it) and I don’t suspend myself from the ceiling in order to access the keyboard. In fact, I don’t do anything particularly unusual…

…other than have the Windows taskbar running down the left-hand side of my display.

You wouldn’t believe the confusion this causes when someone tries to find the Start button, but it’s just one of those customization options that Windows offers that I’ve always taken advantage of.

If you’ve ever wondered just why you have to have your Windows desktop as it appears by default, the fact is, you don’t. In fact, you can do pretty much whatever you want with it!

Customizing the Windows 7 desktop

Using Windows 7 the Way You Want

Adjusting the position of the Windows taskbar is simple. To begin with, right-click and clear the check against Lock the taskbar; now that you can play around with it, you can move the taskbar to the top or either side of your display.

You might find that the taskbar in its new home is looking good, but pushes a few things around on your desktop – this isn’t a problem, however. Simple right-click once again and select Properties > Taskbar and check the Auto-hide the taskbar option, and Apply. If you prefer not to drag your taskbar around manually you can also use the Taskbar location on screen option at this stage to select between top, bottom, left and right.

Other ways that you can tweak the taskbar is to add an address bar. This can be used for launching webpages and opening folders, and can be added via the Toolbars tab in the taskbar properties and checking the Address box. When you’re done tweaking the taskbar, don’t forget to right-click and select Lock the taskbar.

Changing Themes and Backgrounds

By right-clicking a bare space on your Windows 7 desktop you can adjust the current theme and potentially find something that you find more appropriate for your computer.

The Personalize screen displays currently available Aero Themes as well as an opportunity to connect to the web and Get more themes online, while it is also possible to choose the classic Windows theme if the round edges and Aero glass isn’t to your tastes.

In order to really personalize things, you might opt to choose your own desktop background for Windows 7. You can do this pretty easily with a suitable image found on a favourite website, but remember that you need a good quality image that should be a similar resolution as your desktop display in order to avoid pixilation.

To add such an image as your desktop background, simply open it in a webpage and right-click, selecting Set as background (or a variation on this, depending on your operating system).

Within a few minutes, you have redesigned your Windows 7 desktop to suit you!

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