BMJ Stone
EZG Manufacturing
Federated Insurance
Fraco USA, Inc.
Hohmann and Barnard, Inc.
Hydro Mobile, Inc.
iQ Power Tools
Kennison Forest Products, Inc.
Mortar Net Solutions
Non-Stop Scaffolding
Pullman Ermator
Southwest Scaffolding
Tradesmen's Software, Inc.
November 25, 2003 2:40 PM CST

Customizing your Desktop


You have your computer, but how do you let people know it?s really yours? You could write your name on it, maybe even put a sticker on it. Or how about customizing it with your own unique style? It?s a lot easier than you may think, and this article will lead you through all the steps. The first step you must take in customizing your desktop is to open the Display Properties. There are two ways to do this:

  • Right click on your desktop and select Properties, or
  • Click on the Start Menu and click on Control Panel. Next, double click on Display.
Now, you can customize just about anything you can think of on your computer. Let?s take a look at a few:

Themes are made up of a background, screen saver, icons, sounds, and other elements. To change your theme, click on Theme in the Display Properties. Here you can simply select a theme from the dropdown box. Also, you can select your own settings, and click Save As to create your own theme. If you don?t care for the themes installed on your computer, you can find several websites around the Internet which allow you to download a variety of different themes.

The Desktop is the large area, including the background image and icons, which appears on your monitor when all programs are minimized.

Changing the background is as simple as selecting a new one from the scroll box. To use a background you have saved on your computer, click the Browse button and double click on the file. If you prefer a solid color, select None, and chose a color from the color dropdown box.

You can also use images from the Internet as your background. To do this, right click on the image and click Set Background.

Next, you can click on the Customize Desktop button, and you will be able to select which icons you would like to appear on your computer. If you click on the Web tab, you will actually be able to set your favorite website as an interactive desktop.

Screen Saver
A Screen Saver is a file (usually animated) that will appear on your screen after a designated time period in order to prevent image burn on your monitor.

Again, selecting a screen saver is very easy. Simply select one from the dropdown box and click OK. To preview the screen saver before you choose it, click the Preview button. If you cannot find a screen saver that you like, you can always search for other options on the Internet.

In some cases, you can customize your screen saver. Click on the screen saver you wish to customize, and then click on the Settings button. Here, depending on the screen saver, you will find many options. Try playing around with these to find a combination you like the best.

Appearance is how your menus look, including the font and color.

Windows and Buttons will determine how your start menu looks.

Color Scheme will display all menus and programs in a color of your choosing (I recommend silver ? it looks great with the right desktop background).

Font Size determines how large the text on menus and programs will appear.

The Effects button allows you to specify several different special effect actions that can occur on menus.

The Advanced button allows you to specify fonts, colors, and styles for individual menu types. This is an area you may want to further explore.

The Settings specify your screen resolution and colors.

The Screen Resolution is how many pixels are displayed on your screen. This should either be set to 800 x 600 or 1024 x 768 (recommended).

The Color Quality determines how many colors you can display on your screen. Most likely this is set at 32 bits or higher, which is an optimal setting.

I recommend staying away from the Advanced button, because if you do not know what you are doing, you may ruin your display settings. These, of course, can be fixed if improperly set, but it is best to avoid them if you are unsure of how to set each option.

That wraps up our lesson on customizing your desktop. There are several additional ways to customize your computer, but I?ll let you explore the rest on your own. If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me at

About the Author

Tim O’Toole is the Director of Marketing for the Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA). He has a Masters in Business Administration from Webster University and has worked in the masonry industry since 2003.


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