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9:15 AM Set up your computer
9:30 AM Lesson 8, The Web Page http://www.tecc.apcug.org/lesson8.html
10:30 AM One on One help
Windows Q&A December 2012
By Mary Phillips, Secretary, ICON Users Group, MO December 2012 issue, The ICON
www.iconusersgroup.org mary (at) iconusersgroup.org
Q. What are some ways I can customize my Windows 7 computer?
A. Windows 7 provides the greatest number of ways to customize or personalize your computer that Microsoft has given us so far and I will share a bunch of them with you now. Many of the customization options can be reached just by right –clicking on your desktop and selecting the Personalize option.
Q. Change the theme--desktop background, window color, sounds, and screen saver all at once.
A. Right click in a blank space on the desktop of Aero themes (transparent) and a selection of Basic and High Contrast themes. Click on a set of pictures in Aero and there will be an interesting slide show of architecture, art, cartoon characters, landscapes, or nature. You can deselect any of the pictures you don’t want to be included in the show. You can also change the length of time between picture change.
Click on Get more themes online to select additional themes. Don’t forget to click on Save theme and give it a name.
Q. Change the desktop or select a picture for your desktop
A. Find the pictures that you want to include in your slide show. All of the pictures must be located in the same folder. Click on one picture, press and hold the Ctrl key on the keyboard and select additional pictures to create a slide show. Select the amount of time between picture changes, the position, and click Save Changes.
Some folks like to set up a series of personal pictures as a slide show and use their computer monitor as a digital picture frame.
Q. Change only the Window colors (borders, Start menu and taskbar)
A. At the bottom of the Personalization window, click the Window Color icon. Click on a color and adjust the Color intensity with the slider bar. If you want to save energy, uncheck Enable transparency. Click Save Changes.
Q. Change sounds
A. Clicking the down arrow beside the name of a Sound theme lists about 16 different themes. Click on the name, then under Program Events, where there is a speaker icon, there is a sound associated. I click on Exit Windows because it has a longer duration, and click the Test button to hear the associated sound. If you don’t hear anything, check the speaker icon on the Notification bar to see if the sound is turned down or muted. When you’re satisfied, click OK.
Q. Change Screen Saver
A. Under Screen Saver, click the down arrow to see options. It’s no longer necessary to have a screen saver to protect the monitor. Click OK.
Along the left side of the Personalization page are links to more customizations.
Q. Change Desktop Icons
A. Click on Change desktop icons. The first option lists five icons that you may choose to show on the desktop or NOT. Click the checkbox(es) for icons you want to show. Clicking the Change icon button allows one to select a different icon or browse for a new one. Click OK.
Q. Change Mouse Pointers
A. Clicking this link opens the Mouse Properties Window with six tabs. The Buttons tab allows two main changes: Right-handed to left-handed and Double-click speed--click & drag the marker on the slider bar and check the speed by double clicking on the manila folder—when it opens, you’ve used the correct speed.
The second tab, Pointers, lets one choose a scheme that affects all the pointers or Customize that allows the change of one or more cursors. For a scheme, I most often choose Windows Inverted (extra large) (system scheme). If you want a big red pointer, go to http://www.philip-henderson.co.uk/R_download/red_right_lrg.shtml.
Tab 3. Pointer Options, lets one select a Pointer Speed, Snap To the default button in a dialog box, Display pointer trails, Hide pointer while typing, and Show location of pointer when Ctrl key is pressed.
Tab 4. Wheel, sets the number of vertical lines to scroll when the wheel is rolled one notch or one screen at a time, and if the mouse has horizontal scrolling capabilities, how many characters to move at a time.
Tab 5. Hardware, shows what pointing devices (touchpad, mouse, trackball, etc.)are installed on the computer.
Tab 6. Device Settings, allows disabling or enabling of the Touchpad. Click OK.
Q. Change Account Picture
A. Whether it’s an Administrator account or a Standard account, you can change the picture you see when you log in and/or open the Start Menu. Clicking on a picture or Browsing in your Pictures Library and clicking on a picture changes the account picture.
A. Allows one to change the size of text and other items on the screen by clicking in a radio button: Smaller (100%), Medium (125%), and Larger (150%). Laptops may have only two choices.
Q. Change Taskbar & Start Menu
A. The Taskbar and Start Menu Properties window has three tabs: Taskbar, Start Menu, and Toolbars. Under the Taskbar tab, Click checkbox(es) for Lock the taskbar (so it stays docked),
Auto-hide the taskbar (so it disappears when you don’t need it, but pops up when the mouse pointer is in the area), and Use small icons.
Click on the down arrow to select a different Taskbar location. I keep mine at the bottom.
Click on the down arrow for the Taskbar buttons. Choices are: Always combine, hide labels; combine when taskbar is full; and Never
I have my computer set to Always combine because it lets you preview the open windows with Aero Peek (Hover over an icon and thumbnails of the open windows will pop up for your selection.)
Click the Start Menu tab to customize how links, icons, and menus look and behave on the Start Menu. Click Customize. Some items such as Computer, Control Panel, Documents, etc. have three options: Display as a link (Opens the specific window), Display as a menu (Lists the files for individual selection), and Don’t display this item (Don’t show it on the Start menu.) I have selected “Display as a link” or “Don’t display this item” for most. Click OK.
Power Button Actions (Same as clicking the down arrow beside Shut down), NOT THE ON BUTTON: Shut down, Hibernate, Sleep, Restart, Lock, Log off, Switch User. I leave mine on “Shut down”. Click OK.
Q. Ease of Access Center
A. The Ease of Access Center is especially helpful for users with vision problems (including blindness) or difficulties using the mouse or keyboard. It includes 1) a Magnifier that enlarges up to 1600% by clicking the Plus (+) key on the screen. Decrease by clicking the minus (–) sign. 2) a Narrator that reads to you, echoes user’s keystrokes, and announces System Messages. 3) An On-Screen Keyboard is used by mouse clicking or touchpad rather than the keyboard. 4) Choose a High Contrast theme for ease of reading.
Q. Side-by-side split screen
A. With two windows open in un-maximized (restore down) positions, press and hold the Windows key and press and release the Right Arrow key to send one window to the right. Click on the other window and press and release the Left Arrow key to send that window to the left.
Backup and Restore – A very useful Windows 7 feature
Phil Sorrentino, Member, Sarasota PCUG, Florida
November 2012 issue, PC Monitor www.spcug.org philsorr (at) yahoo.com
I’m going to go out on a limb, here and say that we are all aware that our computers software has to be backed up. Your data, the Operating System and the Applications that you have installed, all should be backed up with some regularity. Data is fairly easily backed up with a simple “copy” or a free backup utility such as SyncToy, but up until Windows 7, the system had to be backed up with an “imaging” application that was typically not for free. But now, with Windows 7, Microsoft has provided a feature (Image and Restore) that allows the system (OS and Applications) to be easily backed up. Windows 7 refers to the backup of the system as an image because it is a bit-for-bit copy (an image) of the system that is loaded and running in memory. The saved system image is what you use to “restore” your computer after a problem is fixed. The problem could have been a bad virus infection, a replaced hard drive, or any hardware problem that may have kept you from booting your system in a normal fashion. (I’ve had each of these types of problems in the past and none of them are very much fun. Fortunately, I’ve had my system backed up so after the problem was fixed, I was back up and running right after the most recent Image was Restored.)
The “Image and Restore” capabilities can be found in the Control Panel. If your Control Panel is in the “Category” view then it is under System Security, just click “Backup your computer”. If you prefer the Icon view of the control panel, click on “Backup and Restore”. Either way you will get to the Backup and Restore screen. In my opinion, this screen is not the easiest to understand. The middle of the screen has a lot of Backup and Restore information, but none of this applies to the system image. The upper left area has the two controls for the system imaging process. A system image is created by selecting “Create a system image”. The other control is used to “Create a system repair disc”. (The system repair disc is used to initially boot the system after the problem has been fixed.)
To create a system image, click “Create a system image”. After you make this selection, you will see a screen that indicates “Looking for backup devices…” and finally a screen that asks “Where do you want to save the backup?”. (Note here a confusion with terms, in that the “system image” is referred to as “the backup”.) This screen also gives you a link to “How do I restore my computer from a system image?”, which you can click on to review some ideas relating to restoring the system image. The system image should be stored on something that is not part of your normally operating computer. The typical choice is a set of DVDs, or preferably an external hard drive. If you choose DVDs, you will probably need from 5 to 15 blank DVDs. A DVD can hold approximately 4.7 GB, while an image of your OS and applications could be from around 25 or 30 GB for a fairly new installation with few Applications, up to 70 or 80 GB for a system with loads of Applications that you have been using for a long time.
An external drive is the preferred choice for saving a system image. Today, external drives are fairly inexpensive (under $100), and are large enough (500 GB and larger) to save multiple system images. Most external drives are easily connected to the computer via a USB connector. In order to take advantage of your external hard drive, and make it a choice for the system image, you have to connect the external drive to the computer, before going to the control panel. So if you intend to put the system image on an external drive, exit from the control panel, connect the external hard drive, go back into the control panel and choose “Create a system image”. Now one of the choices for the saved system image should be your external drive. (If you don’t immediately see your external drive, try pulling down the triangle in the “On a hard drive” box, where all possible drives will be listed.) The external drive should be listed with an indication of the available space on it. If you have previously saved a system image on this disk, that date will also be indicated. (Also note that if you try to put the system image on the same physical drive the OS is currently on, you will receive a warning indicating “The drive selected is the same physical disk that is being backed up. If this disk fails you will lose your backups.”)
After you have selected DVDs or external drive, you will be asked to “Confirm your backup settings”. These settings are the Backup location:, (where you are going to store the system image), and a selection of “The following drives will be backed up:”, (typically the C: drive). The Backup location setting also gives an estimate of the size of the backup. If all looks right, then click the “Start backup” button in the lower right corner of the screen and be prepared for a long process. If you have selected DVDs, be prepared to remove the DVDs as they are finished and mark them as indicated, and to put in blank DVDs when requested. If you have chosen an external drive you can leave the system unattended until it completes.
When the system image has been created (backed up), don’t forget to “Create a system repair disc”. For this system repair disc you will only need one CD. When you click on “Create a system repair disc”, you will be presented with a window that describes the uses of the system repair disc and a button to “Create disc”. Put a blank CD into the CD/DVD drive indicated and press “Create disc”. It will only take a few moments to create the disc. When it is finished, label it and include the date and the computer you used to create it. Keep the disc and the system image backup (DVDs or external drive) together in a safe place, and hope you never have the kind of tragedy that forces you to use them. But, when that day comes, you will be very happy that you took the time to create these “Restore tools” with this Windows 7 very useful feature.
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