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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Creating a Personalized Desktop Background Slideshow in Windows 7

You want to have a desktop background that changes like a slideshow from your own pictures.

  1. Right-click on your desktop then select Personalize.

  2. In the lower left of the Change the visuals and sounds of your computer window click on Desktop Background to open the Choose your desktop background window.

  3. If the pictures you want to use are not displayed, click the Browse button to navigate to the location of the folder containing the pictures. Once you have the correct folder selected, click OK. The pictures will be displayed in the Choose your desktop background window.

  4. If you want to use all the pictures in the folder click the Select all button.

  5. If you only want to use certain pictures, click the box to the upper left of the pictures you want to use.

  6. In the lower left of the Choose your desktop window is the Pictures position selections. This determines how your pictures will be displayed. For pictures, you will generally want to choose Fit. You can use Center if the pictures are all the correct size for your desktop.

  7. To the right of Picture Position is the Change picture every: drop down list. Click the currently selected time interval and choose the time interval the background should change at.

  8. If you want to display the pictures in a random order, click the box next to Shuffle to place a check in it.

  9. If you want to change the background color, click Change background color. For any unfilled space around the picture, this will be the color displayed. Click OK after selecting your background color to return to the Choose your desktop background window.

  10. If you are satisfied with your changes, click Save changes.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Choosing the Right Keyboard

A keyboard is not all that important, is it? If you spend hours a day typing it can be a big factor in how comfortable your day is.

One of the first things to look at is the shape of the keyboard. There are basically two main choices: the straight keyboard and the ergonomic keyboard. Below are two examples of ergonomic keyboards.

Some people find these types are keyboards more comfortable for typing because it allows a more natural wrist/hand position.

A straight keyboard is what commonly comes with most computers and is probably the most popular. The choice between the two designs is really a matter of personal choice. Basically it has to be comfortable to you. Below are two examples of straight keyboards.

Do you plan on gaming? There are a number of keyboards specifically designed for gaming. The addition of programmable keys and "skins" to identify keys for movement and special actions can make the game more enjoyable. There are even keyboards designed for specific types of games. This may be a factor if you spend a lot of time playing one game. Below are several keyboards specifically designed for gaming.


A built in wrist rest can make long term use of a keyboard more comfortable. The gamer's keyboards above all have wrist rests. A wrist rest can reduce the stress on your wrists.

Do you like to use your computer in a dimly lit area? Consider a keyboard that is backlit. Since the keys are lit it makes it very easy to see the keys even in a completely dark room. Some even come with a choice of colors for the backlighting. Below is an example of a back lit keyboard from Logitech.
Shortcut buttons may make using the computer more efficient. The ability to open your mail, web browser, change tracks and adjust speaker volume, or having programmable keys to open specific programs may be something that is appealing to you. There are a number of keyboards that have these features.

The weight of the keyboard may be something you want to consider. A light keyboard is often easier to more around while using it. A keyboard that has a bit more weight to it may stay in place better.

Spill resistant keyboards can be quite useful. A liquid spill into a keyboard generally means that keyboard is going to stop functioning correctly very quickly. This is far less likely to happen with a spill resistant keyboard. If younger children use the computer, or someone keeps beverages around the keyboard, this can be a very important feature for you. Below is an example of a spill resistant keyboard from Kensington.

Both wired and wireless keyboards are available. If you are trying to reduce the clutter of numerous wires on your desk a wireless keyboard may be a better choice for you. Just be aware that they do require batteries and will cease functioning once the charge on the batteries becomes too low.

Any recent computer will generally have a number of USB ports available on them. Some do have PS2 as well. Many keyboards come with USB to PS2 adapters. If you have and wish to use a PS2 port, the keyboard goes into the purple connection. With USB ports it does not matter which port your keyboard is connected to.

PS2 keyboard port USB ports

Monday, April 25, 2011

How to Change the Date and Time in Windows XP

This guide will walk through how to change the date and time in Windows XP.
  1. Click Start and select Control Panel.

  2. Select the Category view. The Control Panel may already be in Category view.

  3. Select Date, Time, Language and Regional Options.

  4. Select Change the date and time.

  5. Select the Date and Time tab.

  6. Select the proper date and time.

  7. Select the Time Zone tab.
  8. Select the proper time zone and click OK.

  9. Close the Control Panel.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Using Office 2010 Starter-To-Go

A useful feature included with Microsoft Office 2010 Starter Edition is “Starter To-Go”. It allows you to install a version of Microsoft Office (with the limited functionality) on a USB flash drive. The drive can then be plugged into another Windows Vista or Windows 7 computer when the user is away from their primary computer. Word and Excel documents can be created and edited on that computer, whether or not it had Microsoft Office already installed on it.

To set up the installation of Office Starter To-Go to a USB flash drive, take the following steps:
  1. From the Start menu, under Microsoft Office Starter - Office 2010 Tools, Click on Microsoft Office Starter To-Go Device Manager.
    • It is necessary to have a USB flash drive connected with at least 393 MB of available storage space. The computer also needs to be connected to the Internet to download the necessary files.
  2. Click on the Start button at the bottom of the Starter To-Go Device Manger window.

  3. Select the device you wish to install the files on and click on the Install button. When the installation is complete, you can select Create another device or Close.

  4. To launch the application from the USB Flash Drive, double-click on the Microsoft Office Starter 2010 icon from the flash drive. (Alternatively, you can click on Microsoft Office starter from the auto-run option list when you plug in the drive). This will open a window from which you can select Excel or Word.

  5. Opening it for the first time, you will see a message installing prerequisites after which the selected program should open with the message Starting Microsoft Office Click to Run. Accept the license agreement.
  6. You can then begin to use the application.
  7. When you are finished using Office 2010 Starter To-Go on the other computer , you can close the To-Go application by right clicking on the Office icon in the system tray and clicking Close.

System Requirements:
  • Operating system: The computer the flash drive is connected to must be running Windows Vista Service Pack 1 or Windows 7, 32-bit or 64-bit version. If installed on an earlier version of Windows, the following error message will appear: “The application package on this device is corrupt. Repair your device using the Microsoft Office Starter To-Go Device Manager”
  • A network connection is required during the process of setting up the To-Go device. If no network connection is available, the following error will appear: “The application package on this device is corrupt. Repair your device using the Microsoft Office Starter To-Go Device Manger”.
  • A minimum of 393 MB of storage space is required on the flash drive, but more is recommended to allow for updates.
The device will have the Office 2010 logo when viewed in Computer. It will also be listed in the Auto-run window.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Changing Icons in the System Tray in Windows 7

This is a guide for changing the icons that display in the System Tray in Windows 7. If there are informational icons or unwanted icons that you want to remove, the following instructions outline how to modify the default settings:

  1. In the bottom right corner of the screen by the clock, click on the arrow and then choose Customize.

  2. To have the icon displayed at all times, locate the icon on the list and choose Show Icon and Notification under the options to the right of the icon.

  3. To have the icon displayed only when a notification is available, locate the icon on the list and choose Only Show Notifications under the options to the right of the icon.

  4. To have the icon hidden at all times, locate the icon on the list and choose Hide Icon and Notifications under the options to the right of the icon.

Monday, April 18, 2011

How to Change Margins in Microsoft Word 2010

This guide will walk you through how to change the page margins in Microsoft Word 2010. By default, Word has page margins set to 1" on each side and can be changed for document requirements. Follow these steps to modify the margins:

  1. Open Microsoft Word 2010 by clicking Start » All Programs » Microsoft Office » Microsoft Word 2010.

  2. Click the Page Layout tab across the top.

  3. Click the Margins button.

  4. Select Custom Margins.

  5. Set the margins to the desired value and click OK.

  6. Proceed to create and save the document.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

How to Add or Remove Operating System features in Windows 7

This how-to article details how to add or remove operating system features in Windows 7. This can be useful if there are features unnecessarily installed in Windows 7, or if there are features missing or required.

  1. Click on the Start button in the bottom left, then choose Control Panel.

  2. Click on Programs  on the bottom left.

  3. Click on Turn Windows features on or off and allow or grant permission if prompted.

  4. To remove an unwanted Windows feature, uncheck the box next to it and click OK.
  5. To add a feature, check the box next to it and click OK.