Thursday, October 4, 2012

Windows 7 Themes and Gadgets

     Windows 7 has an easy to use interface for setting and changing desktop themes.  In addition to themes, users also have the ability to enable useful gadgets that provide various information.  Let us examine how to use these features built into Windows 7.

     To begin, we need to minimize all open windows so that we can see the desktop.  I have already touched on this subject in one of my previous posts.  You can find that information here if you need to review.  Now that we are viewing the desktop move the mouse pointer to an empty area of the desktop (in other words not hovering over any icons) and click the right mouse button.  This will open a menu where users can select from a set of options.  From this menu, left click on "Gadgets" to add gadgets to your desktop or left click on "Personalize" to change the desktop theme.  These two items are discussed in further detail below.


     Selecting "Personalize" from the menu takes you to a screen that allows you to choose from a set of default themes.  There are Aero themes (provided that your computer has sufficient processing power and memory) and Basic themes to choose from here.  You can see which theme is currently applied and if you choose you can select a different theme from among the default Windows 7 themes.  To change your theme simply left click on the theme that you wish to apply.

     Users can also mix the images from one theme with the sound file from another thus creating a custom theme.  To do this, begin by left clicking on the theme that has the images that are desired.  This will apply the theme.  Next, left click on Sounds in the lower area of the personalization window.  This will open a new window where the user can left click on the drop down menu below Sound Scheme and choose the desired sound file.  Once the user left clicks OK after choosing the sound file a new "Unsaved Theme" will appear under My Themes in the personalization window.  To save this theme simply left click Save theme and enter a name for the theme in the next window.  Once the theme has been named left click OK.  You have now created and saved a custom theme.

     There are also more free themes available online.  These can be found by left clicking on "Get more themes online" in the personalization window.  This option opens a web browser and takes you to a Microsoft website where you can choose new themes to add to your computer.  Choose a new theme from the website by left clicking on the download option under the theme.  Depending on which browser is being used your options may vary but Internet Explorer will bring up a bar at the bottom of the page with an option to Open, Save, or Cancel.  Choosing Open will download the theme and automatically apply it for you.

     To see a demonstration of the topics discussed above please watch the tutorial video below.


     Selecting "Gadgets" from the menu takes us to a screen that allows us to choose from a variety of Microsoft gadgets.  Simply double left click on the gadget you would like to enable and it will show up on your desktop.  Once you have a gadget on your desktop if you hover the mouse pointer over the gadget this brings up a small menu to the right of the gadget.

     Here you can click X to close the gadget and remove it from your desktop.  Some gadgets also have an arrow button that allow you to toggle between preset sizes for the gadget.  There is also an option that looks like a grouping of dots that allows you to drag the icon around the screen (appropriately named Drag Gadget) thus allowing you to choose where you would like it to reside on your desktop.  By left clicking and holding on the drag gadget button you are then able to move the gadget to another area.  Release the left mouse button to stop dragging it.  You may notice while dragging a gadget that it will snap to any side of the screen if the gadget gets close to the edge.  Finally, some of the gadgets have an options button that allows you to customize the information that you would like the gadget to display.

     To see a demonstration of the topics discussed above please watch the tutorial video below.

      Please leave a comment with your questions or suggestions.

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