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The Windows 7 desktop is a folder that can store information. However, it is one of the easiest folders to use because it is always there underneath your other work.

Changing Your Wallpaper

Your wallpaper is the image that is displayed as the background picture on your desktop:

Figure 1: Desktop with Windows Wallpaper.

Your wallpaper picture can be anything you like and nearly any image file format is usable as wallpaper.
To change your wallpaper, right-click on any blank area of the desktop and click Personalize:

Figure 2: Right-click dialog.

The Personalization folder will appear and offers several commands to adjust the visuals of your computer. To adjust your wallpaper, click the Desktop Background button at the bottom:

Figure 3: Personalization folder.

This will show you a window with various background options:

Figure 4: Desktop background options.

At the top of the window, you can use the combo box to choose the source for your wallpaper. You can also click Browse to select another folder that contains images.

Figure 5: Background sources.

Next, you can select one or more images to use as your wallpaper. To select multiple images, hover your mouse over a picture and then click the checkbox. Repeat this until you have selected all the images you want:

Figure 6: Checked and unchecked Radio button.

Now you can adjust how the image will be displayed on your screen. These options will force the image to conform in different ways relative to your screen resolution:

Figure 7: Picture Position options.

Finally, if you have selected more than one image to use as a background, you can control how often Windows switches between images:

Figure 8: Change picture timing options.

Moving Icons

The Windows desktop is designed to be used as you would a desk or table. Items can be arranged in any order, folders and files can be saved on the desktop, and all programs run in windows on the desktop. Consider the following desktop:

Figure 9: Desktop with icons.

Icons can be moved one at a time around the desktop by clicking and dragging. If you want to move many icons at once, click and drag a box around the icons first:

Figure 10: Selected icons on desktop.

Now if you click and drag any of the selected icons, you can move all of them as a group:

Figure 11: Moving selected icons.

Sorting Icons

If you use your desktop as a place to dump files and deal with them later (like me) it sometimes comes in handy to first sort the icons in different ways. Consider the following icons on my desktop right now:

Figure 12: Scattered icons on desktop.

As you can see, there are files, folders, and other icons arranged in no particular order. Windows allows you to sort these icons by Name, Size, Type, and the Date they were modified. To do this, right-click on any empty space on the desktop, point to Sort, and click an option.
Since I have lots of different kinds of files, I will sort by name:

Figure 13: Right-click dialog and sort by options.

Now all of the icons will be arranged alphabetically:

Figure 14: Sorted icons.

Setting View Options

By default, Windows displays medium size icons and aligns the objects to an invisible grid. However, Windows allows you to modify lots of display options, including the look of the icons themselves. You can change view options by right-clicking on the desktop and pointing to View:

Figure 15: Right-click dialog and view options.

Let's explore the different options:



Icon Size

Choose between large, medium, and small icon sizes:

Figure 16: large icon

Figure 17: Medium icon

Figure 18: Small icon

Auto Arrange

If you arrange your icons by name as we did earlier in this lesson, then enabling Auto Arrange will automatically sort any new folders or file types alphabetically into the icons that already exist. For example, if your desktop contains biographies of famous people and you sorted all of them by name, then any new file would automatically be placed in alphabetical order for you.

Align to Grid

All of the icons on the desktop are by default arranged in a grid pattern. Any new icons added to the desktop are automatically fitted into an invisible grid to keep everything neat. However, you can turn that alignment off if you like.

Show Desktop Icons

Enable or disable this option to show or hide the Recycle Bin.

Show Desktop Gadgets

Enable or disable this option to show or hide your gadgets.

Deleting Icons

To delete something from the desktop, you can click and drag an icon on top of the Recycle Bin or right-click the icon and click Delete. If you try to remove a shortcut to a program, you will see a warning like this:

Figure 19: Delete shortcut dialog.

To truly remove something from your computer, empty the Recycle Bin.