About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

March 16, 2010

Slideshow Wallpaper

Many of you had questions and suggestions about Windows 7 after last week’s column.  Thanks for asking them!  And no, that is not all I will be writing about now.  Since it is the newest and one of the most popular Windows operating systems I will talk about it from time-to-time.  I do realize that not everyone has W7 or plans on upgrading to it so I will continue with other various computer/internet topics too.

Having said that, today we will look at another W7 feature…themes.

For years people have said that you should be able to change your wallpaper automatically (the picture on your desktop).  Windows 7 allows this through the use of themes.  First, we need a definition of themes.  A theme is a collection of digital images, possibly related sounds, coloring and shading to make your desktop environment more personal.  Interestingly enough Microsoft calls it “Personalization”.

Microsoft estimates that one of the first things that imageapproximately 90% of windows users do is to personalize their desktops.  You know you have a picture of your kids, grandkids, dogs, cats, etc. on the desktop in XP.  Windows 7 allows you to use a themed group of graphics that change at a predetermined interval.  You can also personalize your themes even more by including your own collection of pictures in a theme.  That way you can cycle through your own pictures throughout the workday.

To change your computer’s theme simply right click on an empty space on the desktop and click on “Personalize”.  Next, click on one of the available themes, close the personalization window and you are done.  The new set of graphics will start cycling through at a predefined rate which you can speed up or slow down if you wish.

Now I have a secret for you.  There are several themes loaded in to W7 when it is new; however, there are some hidden ones too.

Getting to them is a multi-step process.  Step one is to click the “Orb” (Start button) and type “Show hidden files and folders” (always without the quotes) and press enter when it appears in the menu area.  Next, under the “Hidden files and folders” section select the radio button labeled, “Show hidden files, folders, and drives” and then remove the checkmark from the “Hide extensions for known file types” checkbox and also from “Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)”.  The only warning here is that you will now be able to see “secret” windows files that you should never try to edit or delete.  If you do you WILL have major issues.

The final step is much quicker.  Navigate to “C:\Windows\Globalization\MCT” and you will see several other themes.  Once you double click them they will each load into the themes window and be ready for use.

You may also create your own themes if you have artistic abilities…or, if you’re like me, Google or Bing for them.

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