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Accessing and personalizing the desktop

From: Up and Running with Windows 8

Video: Accessing and personalizing the desktop

It's easy to think of the Start Screen as being the entirety of Windows 8. After all you're going to spend a fair amount of time working with the Start screen, and when you launch Metro applications, they sort of feel like they're running within the Start Screen itself. But of course we still have the traditional Windows desktop environment available to us. And in many cases you'll want to make use of that desktop environment. For example, to run applications that require that environment or to take care of certain tasks related to managing your computer, for example. Let's take a look at how we can access and personalize the desktop. If you don't have any applications running, you can actually just press the Windows key on the keyboard to access the desktop.

Accessing and personalizing the desktop

It's easy to think of the Start Screen as being the entirety of Windows 8. After all you're going to spend a fair amount of time working with the Start screen, and when you launch Metro applications, they sort of feel like they're running within the Start Screen itself. But of course we still have the traditional Windows desktop environment available to us. And in many cases you'll want to make use of that desktop environment. For example, to run applications that require that environment or to take care of certain tasks related to managing your computer, for example. Let's take a look at how we can access and personalize the desktop. If you don't have any applications running, you can actually just press the Windows key on the keyboard to access the desktop.

But there's also a tile associated with the desktop. So you can simply tap or click on that tile to take yourself to the desktop environment. Let's take a look at some of the options for personalizing the desktop interface. Including changing our wallpaper image and the color scheme, for example. I'll go ahead and right-click on the desktop using a mouse. Or, if you're using a touchscreen device that includes support for the desktop environment you can just tap and hold your finger on the screen for a moment. And then from the pop-up menu we can choose Personalize.

That will bring up the personalization dialog. There are a variety of themes available that you can use to quickly configure the overall appearance of the desktop environment. You'll see, for example, that there are several themes that are included with Windows 8, by default. But you can also configure the individual items that make up that overall theme. For example, we can click on the desktop background option, and here we can choose a specific image that we would like to use as our desktop wallpaper. I'll go ahead and change the picture location option to the pictures library. That's the folder containing all of my pictures, and then I can choose which image I would like to use, or, in fact I can allow multiple images to rotate through.

I think I'll simply choose a single image that I would like to use as my desktop picture, so I'll click the Clear All button, and then I'll simply click the check box for one of the images that I would like to use. If I do have multiple images selected, I can specify how frequently I want that image to change, and also how whether or not I want to randomly shuffle through all of the photos. I can also specify whether I want to fill the screen. In other words, have the image cropped to fill the available space or I can use the fit option if I want the image to retain its original dimensions without being cropped.

I can also span across multiple displays. I can stretch the image to fill the available space. And I can also tile the image or simply center the image. I'll go ahead and use the fill option in this case and then I'll click the Save Changes button to apply that change to the desktop wallpaper. You may have noticed, that when I changed the image for my desktop wallpaper, that the color scheme automatically changed as well, and that's because I don't really have a color scheme defined at all. Rather the automatic setting is established. But I can choose a specific color scheme if I'd like simply by clicking on the color option and then clicking on one of the color swatches to choose which color I'd like to use. This color looks rather nice, I think that's working nicely, so I'll go ahead and click the Save Changes button.

I can also specify which sounds I would like to use for various events. You can see that the default option is currently established, but I could also use custom sounds if I wanted to and I can also specify a screen saver. So, for example, I can choose a photo slide show screen saver, and then configure the settings. For example, choosing which images I want to include. By default, the pictures folder is being used. And I can determine the speed of the slideshow and whether or not I want the photos to be shuffled into a random order.

I can specify how many minutes should pass with no activity before the screen saver is activated. And a very nice feature I can turn on a check box so that when I resume the system, in other words, when I press a key on a keyboard or move the mouse, the log on screen will be displayed. In other words, when the screen saver activates, the computer will be locked and require a password. So if you walk away from your computer, and in this case after one minute the screen saver activates. Then anyone who tries to access your computer will need to enter a password, so it's a nice little additional safety precaution you can use as well.

I'll go ahead and click the OK button and if I'd like I can also save this theme so that if I switch themes later it's very easy to get back to this particular theme. I'll go ahead and click the Save Theme option. I'll type in a name for this theme. Since this photo was captured in Croatia I'll just call this my Croatia theme. And then I'll click the Save button in order to save that theme. With my settings established for personalizing my desktop environment, I can then simply close the personalization dialog and enjoy my new desktop experience.

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This video is part of

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Up and Running with Windows 8

46 video lessons · 3697 viewers

Tim Grey
Author

 
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  1. 2m 3s
    1. Welcome
      2m 3s
  2. 31m 6s
    1. A Windows 8 overview
      3m 53s
    2. Changing your environment
      3m 5s
    3. Customizing live tiles
      4m 14s
    4. Helpful keyboard shortcuts
      3m 41s
    5. Using gestures
      4m 18s
    6. Handwriting recognition on a tablet
      3m 7s
    7. Creating and using a picture password
      3m 25s
    8. Working with your account
      3m 0s
    9. Power options
      2m 23s
  3. 1h 2m
    1. Basics of Metro applications
      3m 24s
    2. Working with a typical application
      4m 10s
    3. Updating applications
      2m 27s
    4. Browsing with Internet Explorer 10
      5m 58s
    5. Managing contacts with People
      4m 29s
    6. Configuring and using Mail
      5m 41s
    7. Connecting with Messenger
      4m 16s
    8. Staying organized with Calendar
      6m 7s
    9. Finding places with Maps
      6m 3s
    10. Getting more applications in the Windows Store
      3m 43s
    11. Purchasing applications
      2m 54s
    12. Organizing the Start screen
      2m 59s
    13. Accessing all applications
      2m 47s
    14. Running applications side by side
      3m 28s
    15. Closing applications
      2m 11s
    16. Unpinning or removing applications
      2m 4s
  4. 28m 0s
    1. Working with photos
      5m 56s
    2. Sharing photos
      3m 29s
    3. Copying videos to your computer
      3m 36s
    4. Watching movies and TV shows
      2m 23s
    5. Playing music
      4m 9s
    6. Using the Reader
      3m 59s
    7. Sharing with SkyDrive
      4m 28s
  5. 28m 13s
    1. Accessing and personalizing the desktop
      4m 55s
    2. Using desktop applications
      2m 23s
    3. Window sizing
      2m 57s
    4. Creating a desktop shortcut
      3m 8s
    5. Working with the File Explorer
      6m 11s
    6. Safely removing a device
      2m 51s
    7. Using the Recycle Bin
      3m 12s
    8. Snipping for screen captures
      2m 36s
  6. 18m 7s
    1. Changing Windows settings
      4m 20s
    2. Protecting your PC with Windows Defender
      5m 20s
    3. Adding devices
      2m 56s
    4. Printing
      2m 53s
    5. Backing up your files
      2m 38s

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