After the OS has been installed, you can customize the computer desktop to suit individual needs. A computer desktop is a graphical representation of the workspace and is commonly called a GUI. The desktop has icons, toolbars, and menus to manipulate files. You can add or change images, sounds, and colors to provide a more personalized look and feel. Together, these customizable items make up a theme. Windows 7 and Windows Vista have a default theme called Aero. Aero has translucent window borders, numerous animations, and icons that are thumbnail images of the contents of a file. Because of the advanced graphics required to support the theme, Aero is available only on computers that meet the following hardware requirements:

NOTE: Windows 7 Starter and Windows Vista Home Basic do not include the Aero theme.

Windows 7 includes the following new Aero features:


In Windows 7 and Windows Vista, users can place Gadgets on the desktop. Gadgets are small applications such as games, sticky notes, or a clock. Thousands of Gadgets are available for accessing different types of data. Figure 1 displays weather, calendar, and clock Gadgets on a Windows 7 desktop. You can snap or position gadgets to the sides and corners of the desktop, as well as align them to other gadgets.

NOTE: Windows XP does not feature Gadgets.

To add gadgets to the desktop, follow these steps:

Step 1. Right-click anywhere on the desktop and choose Gadgets.

Step 2. Do any of the following:

Step 3. To snap a gadget, drag it to the desired desktop location. The gadget aligns itself with the screen edges and other gadgets.

In Windows Vista, you can also personalize a feature called Sidebar, as shown in Figure 2. Sidebar is a graphical pane on the desktop that keeps gadgets organized. Sidebar is not available in Windows 7.