Customizing Windows

Customizing Windows

  • One can have a unique display on his or her desktop – a colorful picture on a desktop, customized start menu, personalized icons, a different mouse pointer –  these things can be done in windows. This is called customizing.

What is customizing?

  • Changing the style of Start Menu and the appearance of the desktop according to one’s preferences is called customizing.

Customizing the Taskbar

  • One can hide the taskbar because sometimes it occupies space on the screen. Hide the taskbar in such a way that it only appears when it is needed.

Steps to hide the Taskbar

  1. Right – click on the taskbar. A popup menu will appear.
  2. Click Properties. The Taskbar and Start Menu Properties dialog box appears.
  3. Click the Taskbar tab.
  4. Look for the Check box marked “Auto hide the taskbar” and click on the box. A check will appear on it.
  5. Click the Apply and OK buttons.
  6. Click anywhere outside the desktop.

What is a Tab?

  • A tab is like an extra part of a sheet where one can put a name tag so you can pull it out of files easily.
  • One will notice the taskbar is hidden. When the mouse pointer is pointed over the taskbar area, the taskbar slides out of its hiding place and shows itself. To hide it again, aim the mouse pointer elsewhere on the desktop.

Note: One may use other options for setting the taskbar. These include lock the taskbar, keep the taskbar on top of a window, show the clock and hide the inactive icons.

Customizing the Windows Desktop

Setting the Date and Time

  • Look closely at the taskbar. One can see and locate the time on the taskbar.

Steps to change the Date and time

  1. Double – click the time on the taskbar. (The Date and Time Properties dialog box appears)
  2. On the Month list box, choose present January.
  3. On the Calendar, click the 12.
  4. To change the time, Double – click the hours and type 6. To change the minute, double – click minute and type 00. To switch between AM and PM, click the arrow – up once.
  5. Click the Apply and OK buttons.

Using the Control Panel

  1. Click the Start button.
  2. Click on Control Panel. The Control Panel window appears.
  3. Double – click Date and Time icon. The Date and Time dialog box appears.
  4. Apply the same procedure in changing the date and time.

Setting Display

  • The desktop may change into a more colorful and attractive one. One can see it according to his or her choice.

Steps on how to set the display

  1. Click on the Start button.
  2. Click Control Panel. The Control Panel dialog box appears.
  3. Double – click on the Display icon. The Display Properties dialog box appears.
  4. One can make changes and choose options in the Tabs available on the Display dialog box like the themes, desktop, screen saver, appearance and settings.

Desktop Theme

  • A desktop theme is a predefined set of icons, fonts, colors, sounds and other window elements that give the desktop an organized and distinctive look. This helps to personalize the desktop. One can use and switch with different themes available, create ones theme by changing a theme ands then saving it with a new name or restore the traditional windows Classic look as the theme.
  • To modify any element of a theme, such as the desktop background or screen saver, it is recommended to save the changes with a new theme name. if changes are not saved, it will be lost if different theme is selected.

Changing the Desktop Theme

  1. Click on Start button.
  2. Choose Control Panel.
  3. Open Display icon
  4. From the Theme Tab, choose the theme to apply.

Changing Wallpaper

  1. Open Display in Control panel.
  2. On the Desktop tab, choose from the Background list.
  3. In position, click Center, Tile or Stretch.
  4. Click Browse to search for a background picture in other folders or on other drives. You can use files with the following extensions: .bmp, .gif, .jpg, .did, .png, .html
  5. Select a color from the Desktop color. The color fills the space not used by the a picture.

What is a Screen Saver?

  • Screen saver is a program of pictures  that moves around on the screen when the computer is not in used. This protects the computer from burning the lights of the monitor.

Changing the Screen Saver

  1. Open display in the Control Panel.
  2. On the screen saver tab, choose from the screen saver list.

Setting up the way the mouse works

  • One can customize the way the mouse works. The speed and appearance of the mouse pointer on the screen can be changed
  • Click on the Start button.
  • Click on the Control Panel. The Control Panel window appears.
  • Double – click the mouse icon. (The mouse dialog box appears)
  • Change the option according to the chosen tab.
  • Click on the Apply and OK buttons.

Note: Aside from the start menu, you can also right – click on the desktop and click Properties to show the Display Properties dialog box.

Adding user Accounts

  • In windows XP, one can have multiple or many users with different desktop setup and installed programs. Multiple users can now switch between accounts without having to restart the computer. One can also get help remembering a forgotten password and store multiple user names and passwords.
  • There are different types of user accounts available on the computer: computer administrator and limited.
  • The guest account is available for users with no assigned account on the computer.

Computer Administrator

  • Can install programs
  • Can open all files
  • Can create and delete user accounts
  • Can change name, pictures, passwords and account types.

Limited Account

  • Cannot change the computer settings
  • Cannot delete files
  • Cannot install software or hardware
  • Cannot change his or her account name or account type.
  • Can change his or her account picture.
  • Can create, change or delete his or her password.

Guest Account

  • Has no password
  • Cannot install software or hardware
  • Cannot change the guest’s account type
  • Can change the guest’s account picture.

Switching user

  • Let us say while someone is playing a game on the computer another person needs to print a document. One can switch to the other person’s account without having to close the game. To do this, follow the steps:
  1. Click on Start button
  2. Choose Log Off.
  3. Then click Switch User.

Changing the account name or type

  • In windows XP, one can use the name to be the account name. This can be done using the administrator account. The account type may change also in the administrator account.

Steps to change the account name or type

  1. From the Control Panel, choose the User Accounts.
  2. Pick account type.
  3. In what do you want to change, click on Change My Name.
  4. Type the name
  5. Click on Change Name.

Changing the Account picture

  • A person’s picture can set as background of his or her desktop. Aside from putting a picture as a background of the desktop, one can also set his own picture in an account. Changing the picture can be done in all types of account.

Steps on changing the picture

  1. From the Control Panel, choose User Accounts.
  2. Pick an account type.
  3. In what do you want to change your account? Dialog box, click on Change My Picture.
  4. One can select a picture from the list or browse for more pictures.
  5. Choose the picture
  6. Then click on Change Picture.

Setting or changing the account password

  1. Follow the steps 1 and 2 for changing the picture.
  2. In What do you want to change dialog box, click on Change My Password.
  3. On the Change My Password dialog box, type the current password, then the new password and type it again to confirm.
  4. Click on Change Password.

Lesson Summary

Windows XP allows one to customize the desktop according to one’s preferences. One can activate or deactivate some settings in the mouse, display or the desktop itself. One of the features of Windows XP is to add and switch from one user to another. One can also customize it, by changing its account name, type, picture and even set a password.


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