Hefp and Support

Windows 7 has an extensive help system that you can use not only to get general and detailed information on how to use Windows, but also to get answers from Microsoft on specific problems that you're experiencing. To open the Windows Help and Support window (see Figure 1-7), choose StartOHelp and Support.

The Windows Help and Support window contains three main links in the Not Sure Where to Start section:

✓ How to Get Started with Your Computer displays a list of links to topics ranging from Protecting Your Computer to Installing Programs.

✓ Learn About Windows Basics displays a list of links to basic topics divided into the following six main categories: Learn about Your Computer;

Desktop Fundamentals; Programs, Files, and Folders; Internet, E-Mail, and Networking; Pictures and Games; and Help and Support.

✓ Browse Help Topics displays a Contents page with links to topics ranging from Getting Started to Hardware, Devices, and Drivers.

In addition to these links, the Windows Help and Support window contains a Search Help text box that you can use to search for particular topics. This text box works just like any other Search text box in Windows 7: Simply type the name of the feature you need help on (such as printing or searching files) and then click the Search Help button (the one with the magnifying glass icon) to display links to all related topics in the Windows Help and Support windoPersonalize

Windows 7 makes it easy for you to personalize your computer by selecting a new desktop background image, a color scheme for the various Windows elements, a screen saver to use when the computer has been idle for a certain period, as well as the sound effects to play when different events take place.

The easiest way to open the Personalization window (see Figure 1-8) for changing these settings is by right-clicking anywhere on the desktop background and then choosing Personalize at the bottom of the shortcut menu that appears.

Note that you can also open this dialog box through the Control Panel (StartOControl Panel) by first clicking the Appearance and Personalization link followed by the Personalization link, but this method requires a whole lot more steps to do the same thing.

The options for customizing Windows 7 in the Personalization window include:

✓ Change Desktop Icons: Choosing this option opens the Desktop Icon Settings dialog box where you can specify which desktop icons to display on your desktop.

✓ Change Mouse Pointers: Clicking here opens the Mouse Properties dialog box with the Pointers tab selected, where you can select a new mouse pointer scheme — very helpful if you suffer a vision impairment that makes it difficult to track the normal mouse pointer — as well as customize what icons are used in various pointing situations.

✓ Change Your Account Picture: Using this option opens the Change Your Picture window, where you can select a new photo to represent you on the Windows 7 Start menu.

✓ Display: Click here to open the Display window, where you can adjust all sorts of display settings for the monitor or monitors connected to your computer, including the screen's brightness, text and icon size, screen resolution, and color depth. Note that the range of the resolution and color settings you have to choose from depends on the capabilities of your monitor or monitors.

✓ Taskbar and Start Menu: Click here to open the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties dialog box, where you can make changes to the appearance of the Windows taskbar, Start menu, and toolbars that appear on the taskbar. (See "Customizing the taskbar," "Customizing the Start menu," and "Adding other toolbars to the taskbar" later in this part for details.)

✓ Ease of Access Center: Use this option to open the Ease of Access Center window, where you can turn on and adjust a wide range of accessibility settings designed to make the personal computer easier to use for those with different visual and auditory physical impairments.

✓ Change the Visuals and Sounds on Your Computer: Use this pane of the Personalization window to select a new predefined theme for your Windows 7 desktop or to save the changes you've made to the desktop background, color scheme, sound effects, and screen saver (as described in the following bullets) as a new theme to reuse. To select a Windows XP color scheme, click Windows Classic or one of the high-contrast themes in the Basic and High Contrast area of the theme list box.

✓ Desktop Background: Click here to open the Desktop Background window (see Figure 1-9), where you can select new, ready-made wallpaper images, select your own photo images as the wallpaper (with the Browse button), change how the wallpaper image is displayed on the desktop (Fill, Fit, Stretch, Tile, or Center), or select a new solid color for the background by selecting Solid Colors from the Picture Location drop-down list.

✓ Window Color: Using this option opens the Window Color and Appearance window (see Figure 1-10), where you can select a new color and the amount of reflectiveness (called glassiness by Microsoft) for the title bars of windows, the Start menu, and taskbar.

✓ Sounds: Click here to open the Sounds tab in the Sound dialog box, where you can assign new sounds to different program events and save your new choices as a custom sound scheme to reuse.

✓ Screen Saver: Use this option to open the Screen Saver Settings dialog box, where you can select a new screen saver to use, customize the amount of idle time before the screen saver kicks in, and adjust your monitor and hard drive power settings (by clicking the Change Power Settings link).

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