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:
- 1 GHz 32-bit or 64-bit processor
- 1 GB of RAM
- 128 MB graphics card
- DirectX 9 class graphics processor that supports a Windows Display Driver Model Driver, Pixel Shader 2.0 in hardware, and 32 bits per pixel
NOTE: Windows 7 Starter and Windows Vista Home Basic do not include the Aero theme.
Windows 7 includes the following new Aero features:
- Shake - Minimize all windows that are not being used by clicking the title bar of one window and shaking the mouse. To maximize the windows again, click the title bar of the visible window and shake the mouse.
- Peek - View the icons and gadgets on the desktop by pointing the mouse at the right edge of the taskbar to make all windows transparent.
- Snap - Resize a window by dragging it to one of the edges of the screen. Dragging the window to the left edge of the desktop fits the window to the left half of the screen. Dragging the window to the right edge of the desktop fits the window to the right half of the screen. Dragging the window to the top edge of the desktop maximizes the window to fill the entire screen.
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:
- Drag and drop the gadget from the menu to the desktop.
- Double-click the gadget to add it to the desktop.
- Right-click the gadget and choose Add.
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.