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Changing Display Settings, Background Image, Icons, and Screen Saver (Windows 10, 7)

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This document pertains to computers with Windows 10 or 7.
Use the sections in this document to change the appearance of Windows and your screen.

This video shows how to change display settings

View the video in small screen , or view the video in full screen on YouTube Changing Display Settings in Windows 7 .

Changing the size of text and windows and screen resolution

You can adjust the size and the shape of the Desktop to fit your personal preferences. During a normal Windows 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. In Windows, search for and open Display settings (Windows 10) or Display (Windows 7).
  2. To change the size of text and windows, click and drag the slider bar (Windows 10) or click Medium or Larger (Windows 7), then click Apply.
  3. In Windows, search for and open Change the screen resolution (Windows 10) or Adjust screen resolution (Windows 7).
  4. Click the image of the monitor that you want to adjust.
  5. To change the screen size for the selected monitor, select a resolution from the drop-down list, then click Apply.
  6. In Windows, search for and open change the screen orientation (Windows 10) or change screen orientation (Windows 7).
  7. To change the orientation between landscape and portrait or to flip the orientation, select an option from the drop-down list, then click Apply.
  8. A confirmation window opens (Windows 7 only), click Keep changes to save the settings, or click Revert to cancel the change.

Changing the Desktop background

To change the pattern or wallpaper on the Windows Desktop, follow these steps:
  1. Right-click the Desktop background, and click Personalize.
  2. Click Background (Windows 10) or click Desktop Background (Windows 7) to open the settings window.
  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.
  4. Windows 10: If creating a slide show, use the Background drop-down list to select Slideshow. Then click Browse to choose an album for your slide show. Then choose how often the pictures change.
    Windows 7: If creating a slide show, select more than one picture to create a Desktop background slide show. Then choose how often the pictures change.
  5. Use the Choose a fit (Windows 10) or Picture position (Windows 7) drop-down list to change the way the picture displays on the background.
  6. Windows 10: Changes take effect immediately.
    Windows 7: After making the adjustments, click Save changes to save the settings and close the Desktop Background window.

Adjusting Desktop icons

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

Displaying missing Desktop icons

If all Desktop icons are missing, right-click an open area of the Windows Desktop, hover over View, and make sure Show desktop icons is selected.
Figure 1: Show desktop icons
Show desktop icons

Creating a new shortcut

To create a new shortcut icon on the Windows Desktop, right-click an open area of the Windows Desktop, click New, then click Shortcut. Follow the instructions on the screen to create the shortcut.
Figure 2: New Shortcut
New Shortcut

Creating a new folder

To create a new folder icon on the Window Desktop, right-click an open area of the Windows Desktop, and click New, then click Folder.
Figure 3: New Folder
New Folder

Changing a folder name

To change a folder name, right-click the folder icon, then click Rename. Type the new name and press Enter.
Figure 4: Rename
Right-click an icon, then click

Adjusting the icon size

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 Small Icons.
Figure 5: Adjust icon size
Adjust icon size
NOTE: You can quickly adjust the size of all icons by clicking the Desktop, then pressing and holding the CTRL key and using the scroll wheel on the mouse.

Changing the appearance of windows and text

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:
  1. Right-click the Desktop background, and click Personalize.
  2. Windows 10:
    1. Click Background, Color, Lock Screen, Themes, or Start to open the corresponding settings window.
    2. Adjust the settings.
      Changes take effect immediately.
    Windows 7:
    1. Click Window Color, and click the color square you want.
    2. Click Advanced appearance settings.
    3. Click the element to be changed in the Item drop-down list, 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 6: Windows Color and Appearance (Windows 7 only)
      Windows Color and Appearance (Windows 7 only)
    4. Click OK to save the changes and close the advanced settings window.
    5. Then click Save changes.
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 webpages viewed from Internet Explorer, click Page from the tool bar, then click Text Size.

Advanced display settings

Follow these steps to open advanced display settings.
  1. In Windows, search for and open Change the screen resolution (Windows 10) or Adjust screen resolution (Windows 7).
  2. Windows 10: Click Advanced sizing of text and other items, then click Change display settings, then click Advanced settings.
    Windows 7: Click Advanced settings.
    The advanced display settings window opens.
    Figure 7: Advanced display settings
    Advanced display settings
  3. Click a tab to adjust the corresponding settings.
    NOTE:Your computer might 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 tab:
      • 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.
    • Monitor tab:
      • 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 might 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.
      • Colors: (Windows 7 only) 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. Select lower settings if colors are incorrect when using a particular software application.
      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 might permanently damage some monitors.
    • Color Management tab: 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 output for everything displayed in Windows and should be done only if needed.

Changing the screen saver

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. In Windows, search for and open Change screen saver
  2. Select the screen saver to be used from the menu.
    Figure 8: Screen Saver Settings
    Screen Saver Settings
  3. Click Settings to open a settings window for the selected screen saver (if settings are available).
  4. Click Preview to see how the screen saver displays on the computer screen. Move the mouse to return to the Display Properties panel when finished previewing the screen saver.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Click OK to save the settings and close the Display Properties window.

Troubleshooting the screen saver

If the screen saver does not open after the selected time has elapsed, the issue might be due to activity from certain hardware devices.
Use the following steps to prevent these hardware devices interfering with the screen saver:
  1. In Windows, search for and open Device Manager.
  2. Click the arrow symbol next to the hardware device type you want to adjust, then double-click the hardware device to open the Properties window.
    Some devices that commonly interfere with a screen saver are an optical mouse - Mice and other pointing devices, "Always-on" Internet connection - Network Adapters, and High definition audio - Sound, video, and game controllers.
  3. Click the Power Management tab, and remove the selection from Allow this device to wake the computer.
    Figure 9: 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 spacebar on the keyboard.
  4. Click OK, close any open windows, then restart the computer.
    If the problem still exists, continue to the next step.
  5. Disconnect all non-essential connected devices (printers, scanners, USB drives).
  6. 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 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 webpage Getting the best display on your monitor (in English).
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