desktop personalization

Desktop personalization is the process of adjusting the look, feel and organization of a Windows end-user experience. In general, any adjustment to the user interface that deviates from the default installation settings may be considered to be a personalization, but users typically personalize a desktop to improve the personal comfort of the user interface, enhance its visual behaviors or reflect personal interests.

Desktop personalization also involves selecting from a variety of available themes, which combine desktop backgrounds, window color schemes, sounds and screen savers.  In the Windows 7 environment, any user can personalize a desktop for his user account. When users share a computer with multiple user accounts, each user can personalize the desktop for his own account. To access Windows 7 desktop personalization, right-click anywhere on the open desktop, and left-click the Personalize entry at the bottom of the drop-down menu. This opens a Personalization dialog box.

Comfort settings typically include visual resolution and mouse settings. For example, clicking the Display entry allows users to adjust display parameters including resolution, color depth and screen font characteristics.

Clicking the Change mouse pointers entry opens a Mouse Properties dialog that controls cursor size, speed, button behaviors and other mouse features. Taskbar and Start Menu settings allow users to tailor how applications are launched and managed on the desktop.

Desktop personalization can improve user comfort and perhaps, even user health.  For example, a visually impaired user may benefit from selecting larger desktop fonts and a high-contrast color scheme, while other users may simply find certain color combinations or desktop imagery more soothing. This isn't simply for show. In both cases, Windows personalization can potentially lower fatigue and forestall adverse physical reactions to computing (such as migraine headaches) while lowering user errors and enhancing productivity.

This was last updated in March 2013

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