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Tips and Tricks for using Windows
Much of this was for older versions of Windows.

Make a backup before you do any changes.

There are many ways to make Windows easier to use.

1) Learn to customize Windows to suit your needs. Now with Windows 10, look for ways to customize Windows 10 on the web.

2) Learn to use the various shortcuts to operations using the keyboard and mouse.

3) Learn to use the Windows Explorer program and in particular learn how files are named and used

4) Learn to use the various programs that come with all Windows installations. Look in the Start, Programs, Accessories list for installed programs. In Windows 10 review the menu at the left. For example Click Here to check out the Character map. Other useful programs include the Clipboard Viewer, Calculator and Imaging. Me has a new program called Windows Movie Maker. I haven't had time to play with it yet, but the tour that starts when you activate the program looks very useful.

Next there are many utility programs included in Windows that can make your computer work better.

Finally, every computer user should do some maintenance and keep the computer cleaned up regularly.

Some additional tips for getting more fun and productivity out of your computer involve learning to use the Internet effectively. On the Internet, you can obtain updates to your software and hardware. You can download additional programs and music.

You can use your computer as an entertainment center. If you have music CD's and you have speakers attached to the computer, you can play the CD's in the computer. Just put a music CD in the CD player and wait. The music will play automatically.

Windows can be used for entertainment in other ways as well. Although a screen saver serves no practical purpose today because monitor screens do not burn the image onto the phosphorous, the screen saver function can provide entertainment in numerous ways. The basic Windows program includes Desktop themes and selecting various themes can be entertaining. There are additional themes available in the Plus program and more can be downloaded from the Internet. Plus is now obsolete but you can get additional themes on line. In windows 10 Right click the desktop and choose Personalize. Choose Themes. Choose Theme Settings. Choose Get more themes on line. This takes you to the Microsoft site and are safe to download.

CAUTION: GETTING THEMES, WALLPAPER, CURSORS, SCREENSAVERS ANYWHERE ELSE IS DANGEROUS. The programmers providing these things have notoriously caused trouble with porno & virus'

If you have Desktop Themes installed, the Icon is in the Control Panel. Try activating it and browse the various themes to find one you like. My favorite has always been Dangerous Creatures. This theme first showed up in the Plus pack for Windows 95. Here is the wallpaper in that theme:


I do not prefer the screen saver used for this theme, but many people like it. One thing you can do is create your own theme by mixing items from each theme. When you are in the theme window, notice that there is a Save As button. You can select items from different themes, then save it with a new name and then return to it anytime you prefer. As an example, I like a large mouse pointer. When I choose a theme, I use the Mouse dialog box in Control Panel to change the mouse pointer to a large pointer. Then go to the themes dialog box and perform a Save As to save the current settings as my name. In the Customizing page, I describe how to change the mouse pointers. I also don't like the color scheme in this theme, so I just use the wallpaper.

Another use for the wallpaper and screensaver functions is to display your favorite pictures In order to do this, you must understand some basic functions in Windows.

First, Wallpapers must be in the .bmp format and located in the Windows folder to be displayed as wallpaper. To convert a picture from an existing format into a .bmp format, you need a graphics program like Paint Shop Pro. The Paint program supplied with earlier versions of Windows would only work on .bmp, not any other format. Later versions of Windows modified the Paint program to handle .jpg and .gif formats. To determine if your version of paint supports formats other than .bmp, open the Paint program in Start-Programs-Accessories. Then click File, Save As. In the Save As dialog box, Drop the Save As Type list and see if you have multiple file types listed. It looks like this:

If you have the old Paint that only lists .bmp, then you need to download Paint Shop Pro from the Internet.
Another way to get nice wallpaper is to find a nice picture on the Internet, right click on the picture and save it as wallpaper. See the Internet page for complete instructions.


Second, displaying your own pictures as screensavers is not so simple, since these are dynamic motions, not static pictures. You will find your installed screensavers in the Windows\system folder with a file extension of .scr. You can see what screensavers are installed by using Start, Find, Files and Folders and typing in *.scr and Find. BTW, Windows ME has changed the Find command to Search. Also an easy shortcut to the find command is to use the Windows key + F. For a list of Window key commands, see the Shortcuts page.

One way to use the screensaver function to display pictures is to use a graphics program that turns your photos into a slide show. You can download these programs on the Internet. Some of my old favorites are now gone or are now shareware. You can try one here that has a 7 day trial & is $20. But XP has such a good one built in, there is not much need anymore for outside software.

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