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Changing Display Settings, Background Image, Icons, and Screen Saver (Windows 7)

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This document pertains to computers with Windows 7 .
Use the sections in this document to change the appearance of Windows 7 and your screen.

View a video on changing display settings in Windows 7

Changing the size of text and windows and screen resolution in Windows 7

You can adjust the size and the shape of the Desktop to fit your personal preferences. During a normal Windows 7 installation, the program tests the graphics card and displays the optimal size and resolution for that card.
To change the display settings, follow these steps:
  1. Right-click an empty area of the Windows Desktop, and then click Personalize .
    Figure 1: Personalize
  2. Click Display to open the Display window.
    Figure 2: Windows 7 Display window
    Windows 7 Display window
  3. To change the size of text and windows, select Medium or Larger , then click Apply .
  4. Click Change display settings to open the Display Settings window.
    Figure 3: Display Settings
    Windows 7 Display Settings
  5. Click the image of the monitor that you want to adjust. If you have only one monitor attached, click the rectangle for monitor 1. If you want to adjust a second display device connected to the computer, click monitor 2.
  6. To change the screen size for the selected monitor, select a resolution from the drop-down list.
  7. Use the Orientation drop-down list to change the orientation between Landscape and Portrait or to flip the orientation.
  8. Click OK .
  9. in the confirmation window that opens, click Keep changes to save the settings, or click Revert to cancel the change.
    Figure 4: Display Settings confirmation
    Do you want to keep these display settings? window

Changing the Desktop background in Windows 7

To change the pattern or wallpaper on the Windows Desktop, follow these steps:
  1. Right-click the Desktop background, and then click Personalize .
    Figure 5: Personalize
  2. Click Desktop Background to open the settings window.
    Figure 6: Personalization window
    Personalization window, showing location of
  3. To change the Desktop image, select one of the standard backgrounds, or click Browse and navigate to a picture stored on the computer. To use a personal picture as a background, save the picture in a file format with one of the following extensions: .bmp, .gif, .jpg, .DIB, .png.
    Select more than one picture to create a Desktop background slide show.
    Figure 7: Windows 7 background selection
    Windows 7 background selection
  4. Use the Picture position drop-down list to change the way the picture appears on the background.
    If creating a slide show, choose how often the pictures change.
  5. After making the adjustments, click OK to save the settings and close the Display Properties window.

Adjusting Desktop icons

To adjust or add new Desktop icons, use the following information:

Displaying missing Desktop icons in Windows 7

If all Desktop icons are missing, right-click an open area of the Windows Desktop, click View , and make sure Show Desktop Icons is selected.
Figure 8: Show Desktop icons
Show Desktop icons

Creating a new shortcut in Windows 7

To create a new shortcut icon on the Window Desktop, right-click an open area of the Windows Desktop, click New , and then click Shortcut . Follow the instructions on the screen to create the shortcut.
Figure 9: New Shortcut
New Shortcut

Creating a new folder in Windows 7

To create a new folder icon on the Window Desktop, right-click an open area of the Windows Desktop, click New , and then click Folder .
Figure 10: New Folder
New Folder

Changing a folder name in Windows 7

To change a folder name, right-click the icon for the folder, and then click Rename . Type the new name and press Enter .
Figure 11: Rename
Right-click an icon, then click

Adjusting the icon size in Windows 7

To adjust the size of the icons, right-click an open area of the Windows Desktop and click View . Then click Large Icons , Medium Icons , or Classic Icons .
Figure 12: Adjust icon size
Adjust icon size
NOTE: You can quickly adjust the size of all icons by clicking the Desktop and pressing and holding the CTRL key and using the scroll wheel on the mouse.
To adjust the size and font of the icon text, refer to Changing the appearance of windows and text in Windows 7 .

Changing the appearance of windows and text in Windows 7

You can use the Window Color and Appearance window to determine the colors that Windows uses for the default text color, text background color, window border color, title bar color, and many other elements. To change the appearance of these items, follow these steps:
NOTE:There is no easy way to adjust the size of all fonts without affecting the entire screen size. You can adjust the size of all fonts by selecting Adjust font size (DPI) from Control Panel, but doing so will affect the size of all objects in Windows. Adjusting the font size should be done in the software you use or from the steps that follow for Windows features. For example, if you want to adjust the font size in Web pages viewed from Internet Explorer, click Page from the tool bar and then click Text Size . If you want to change the text size in all Windows menus, use the following steps to change the font size used for the Menu item.
  1. Right-click the Desktop background, and click Personalize .
  2. Click Window Color.
    Figure 13: Windows Color
    Personalization window, showing location of Windows Color
  3. In the Item list, click the element to be changed, such as Window, Menu, or Scrollbar, and then adjust the appropriate settings, such as Color, Font, or Size. Changes affect the item chosen. For example, if you change the font while Menu is selected, the selected font will change for all Windows menus, but not in other items, such as icon labels or message boxes.
    Figure 14: Windows Color and Appearance
    Windows Color and Appearance window
  4. Click OK to save your changes.

Advanced display settings in Windows 7

Follow these steps to open the advanced display settings.
  1. Right-click an empty area of the Desktop, and then click Personalize .
  2. Click Display to open the Display window.
  3. To change the size of text and windows, select Medium or Larger , then click Apply .
  4. Click Change display settings to open the Display Settings window.
    Figure 15: Display Settings
    Windows 7 Display Settings
  5. Click Advanced settings .
    Figure 16: Screen resolution window
    Screen resolution window showing location of
NOTE:Your computer may have more tabs than those listed here. Many video card manufacturers provide settings designed for their video hardware. These extra settings vary by the type of video hardware used and are not discussed here.

Adapter advanced display settings in Windows 7

Properties: Click the Properties button to access the hardware properties for your video card or on-board video hardware. This properties window can also be accessed through Device Manager.
List all Modes: Lists all the supported graphic resolutions and refresh rates that can be sent to the monitor by the video card or on-board video hardware. You can use the list of valid modes to find a mode that is compatible with the monitor you are using. After finding a compatible mode, you can change the refresh rate from the Monitor tab, and the display resolution from the Settings tab of the basic display properties window.
Figure 17: Adapter tab
Adapter tab

Monitor advanced display settings in Windows 7

Properties: Click the Properties button to access the hardware properties for your monitor. This properties window can also be accessed through Device Manager.
Screen refresh rate: Determines how many times the monitor displays an entire screen in one second. Higher refresh rates may be more pleasing to the eye, but cause the video hardware to work harder and use more resources. Select a lower rate that is compatible with the adapter. If you can detect minute flickering or the change bothers your eyes, try adjusting the rate to the next available higher rate. Never exceed the rate available to the monitor.
CAUTION:Do not remove the selection next to Hide modes that this monitor cannot display. Changing the refresh rate to a rate that the monitor cannot accept may permanently damage some monitors.
Colors: To change the number of colors, select a color setting from the Colors list. For the best compatibility, select True Color 32-bit if it is available. You can however select lower settings if colors are incorrect when using a particular software application.
Figure 18: Monitor tab
Monitor tab

Troubleshoot advanced display settings in Windows 7

Change Settings: the video hardware in the computer might contain options that you can use to overcome specific graphics issues. In most cases, the video driver will add more tabs to the Advance Display Properties window, but some video hardware drivers might allow you to access their settings from this button.
Figure 19: Troubleshoot tab
Troubleshoot tab

Color Management advanced display settings in Windows 7

The Color Management tab provides settings to change the color output to the monitor. Typically, you would not use Color Management unless a special situation called for it, such as matching the colors on the monitor to the colors on a printer. Adjusting this setting changes the color out put for everything displayed in Windows and should be done only if needed.
Figure 20: Color Management tab
Color Management tab

Changing the screen saver in Windows 7

Windows is preloaded with a number of screen savers. Screen savers help prevent stationary images from burning a ghost image into the phosphors of CRT monitors. They are also used to show entertainment when the computer is not being used. To change the screen saver, follow these steps:
  1. Right-click an empty area of the Desktop, and then click Personalize .
  2. Click Screen Saver .
    Figure 21: Personalization window
    Personalization window showing location of
  3. Select the screen saver to be used from the menu.
    Figure 22: Screen Saver Settings
    Screen Saver Settings
  4. Click Settings to open a setting window for the selected screen saver (if settings are available).
  5. Click Preview to see how the screen saver will appear on the computer screen. Move the mouse to return to the Display Properties panel when finished previewing the screen saver.
  6. Select the number of minutes in the Wait field. This is the number of minutes of inactivity that needs to pass before the screen saver opens.
    NOTE:Make sure that the number of minutes for the screen saver is less than the number of minutes that it takes for the monitor to enter a sleep state.
  7. Select On resume, display logon screen if you want the logon screen to open when anyone attempts to use the computer after the screen saver opens.
  8. Click OK to save the settings and close the Display Properties window.

Preventing hardware devices from waking the computer in Windows 7

If the screen saver does not open after the time has elapsed, certain device settings can prevent the screen saver from opening. Activity from devices such as a wireless mouse, network, or high definition audio can cause the computer to receive wake up calls that prevent the screen saver from opening.
Use the following steps to prevent these hardware devices from waking the computer:
  1. Click Start , and enter Device Manager into the Search field. Click Device Manager .
    Figure 23: Opening Device Manager
    Opening Device  Manager
  2. Click the plus sign (+ ) next to the device you want to adjust. Some devices that commonly wake up a computer are listed here:
    • Optical mouse: Mice and other pointing devices .
    • "Always-on" Internet connection: Network Adapters .
    • High definition audio: Sound, video, and game controllers .
  3. Double-click the name of the device to open a Properties window.
  4. Click the Power Management tab, and remove the selection from Allow this device to wake the computer .
    Figure 24: Power management tab for a mouse
    Power management tab for a mouse
    NOTE:If you prevent the mouse from being able to wake the computer, you can wake the computer using the Sleep button on the keyboard or the power button on the front of the computer.
  5. Click OK , close any open windows, and restart the computer.
  6. Click Start , Shut down , and the click Sleep .
    Figure 25: Shut down menu
    Shut down menu
    If the problem still exists, continue to the next step.
  7. Disconnect all non-essential connected devices (printers, scanners, USB drives).
  8. Restart the computer with only the original mouse, monitor, and keyboard connected.
    If this resolves the sleep/standby problem, one of the connected devices was causing the problem. Replace one device and test to see if the problem occurs again. Continue adding devices and testing until the you find the device that is causing the problem.

Related support

For more information on changing display settings, background images, icons, and screen savers in Windows 7, refer to the Microsoft Web page Getting the best display on your monitor (in English).
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