These instructions are geared toward the single-click method of using your mouse. If you use double-clicking, you should compensate accordingly. Additionally, if any terms used in these instructions are unfamiliar to you, refer to the Glossary for their definitions. Menus and items you click on are shown in yellow.
Click on any of the questions below for the answers. To retract an answer for easier viewing of the questions, click on the question again, not the answer.
Q: How can I change the background of my Active Desktop?
A: Right-click a blank area of the desktop and choose Properties from the resulting shortcut menu. In the Background tab of the Display Properties dialog, select a background from the Wallpaper list, and then choose Center, Tile or Stretch from the Display option. The sample screen shows what your desktop will look like with each option. When you've found the wallpaper you like, click Apply, then OK to set your wallpaper.
Helpful Hint: You can also select a pattern to fill in any leftover space around your wallpaper by clicking Pattern, selecting the one you like from the resulting Pattern dialog box, and clicking OK to confirm your selection.
Q: How do I select a different screensaver?
A: Right-click a blank area of the desktop and choose Properties from the resulting shortcut menu. In the Screen Saver tab of the Display Properties dialog, select a graphic from the Screen Saver list. The sample screen shows a preview of each screensaver you select. Click Apply, then OK to confirm your Screen Saver selection.
Q: My screensaver comes on when I'm away from my computer for only 5 minutes. Can I change it to wait longer before coming up?
A: Right-click a blank area of the desktop and choose Properties from the resulting shortcut menu. In the Screen Saver tab of the Display Properties dialog, change the numeric value of the Wait box to the number of minutes you want the computer to wait before activating the Screen Saver. Click Apply, then OK to confirm the selection.
Q: My time on the screen is off by an hour. How do I fix it?
A: Right-click on the time on your systray, then choose Adjust Date/Time. Click on the Date & Time tab of the Date/Time Properties dialog box. To change the month, click on the down arrow next to the month and choose the correct one by left-clicking on it. To change the year, left-click on the up or down arrows next to the year. To change the time, double-click on the time to highlight it, then type in the correct time. Click Apply, then OK when you have to set the clock.
Q: Will my computer adjust the date and time for daylight savings or do I have to do that myself?
A: You can tell it to adjust the clock automatically . Right-click on the time on your systray, then choose Adjust Date/Time. Click on the Time Zone tab of the Date/Time Properties dialog box. Select your time-zone by clicking on the down arrow next to it and choosing the correct one. Put a checkmark in the box for Automatically Adjust Clock for Daylight Savings Changes by left-clicking on the box. Click Apply, then OK to set the selection.
Q: How can I view the current date of my computer?
A: Hold the mouse pointer over the time display on your systray and a box will pop up showing the date.
Q: I don't know what I did, but my taskbar is twice as big as it was yesterday. How can I get it back to normal size?
A: Position the mouse over the edge of the taskar until the mouse pointer changes to a double arrow. Press and hold down the left button, then drag the double arrow until the taskbar is the size you want. Release the mouse button.
Q: How can I move my Taskbar from the top of the screen to the bottom?
A: Position your mouse over a blank section of the Taskbar. Press and hold down the left mouse button as you drag the Taskbar to a new location on your screen. When the outline is at the new location, release the mouse button and the Taskbar will be moved.
Helpful Hint: You can move the Taskbar to the top, bottom, left or right edge of your screen.
Q: How do I change a Desktop Theme?
A: Click Start, then Settings, then choose Control Panel. In the Control Panel window, double-click on Desktop Themes. Click on the down arrow next to the Theme window to display a list of available Themes. When you select a theme, the preview area will display that theme. Click Apply, then OK to confirm your selection.
Helpful Hint: If you find your Desktop Themes are not installed on your computers, see Software on this site for help in installing them.
Q: Those little shortcut icons are so handy. Can I make my own?
A: Locate the program or document in My Computer window for which you want to create the shortcut. Click on the file to select it. Hold down the right mouse button and drag a copy of the selected file onto a blank area on the desktop. When you release the mouse button, choose Create Shortcut(s) Here from the popup and a shortcut will be placed on your desktop.
Q: I'm in View as a Desktop and all the Icons on my desktop are missing. How do I get them back?
A: Click Start, choose Settings, then Control Panel. In the Control Panel window, click Display. On the Effects tab, remove the checkmark in front of the box marked Hide icons when the desktop is viewed as a Web page. Click Apply, then OK and your icons should return to your Desktop.
Q: No matter where I move my taskbar it's in my way. Any suggestions?
A: You can hide the Taskbar when you're not using it. First, remember where your Taskbar is before you hide it. Then right-click on a blank portion of your Taskbar and choose Properties. In the Taskbar Options tab of the Taskbar Properties dialog box, place a checkmark in the Auto Hide box by left-clicking on it. The Taskbar will disappear from your screen. To access it, simply run your mouse over the area where it's hidden and it will appear.
Q: Can I change a shortcut icon of a program, or am I stuck with it?
A: Right-click on the shortcut and choose Properties. Click Change Icon. In the Change Icon dialog box, you will see a list of icons associated with that shortcut's program with the current icon highlighted. Click on a new one to highlight it, then click OK. Once back at the Shortcut dialog box, click Apply, then OK to change the icon to your new selection.
Q: Why can't I rearrange the icons on my desktop?
A: Your desktop must be on Auto Arrange. To change it, right-click on a blank area of your desktop, choose Arrange Icons and remove the checkmark from Auto Arrange by left-clicking on it.
Q: Can I turn my active desktop on and off?
A: Yes. Right click on a blank area of the desktop. In the resulting shortcut menu, choose Active Desktop. View as Web Page should be checked. Click on View as Web Page to uncheck it and turn the active desktop off.
Q: I hate this double-clicking. Can I change it so a single click?
A: Yes you can. Right click on a blank portion of your desktop, choose Active Desktop, then choose Customize my Desktop. On the Web tab, click on Folder Options, then click View as a Web Page.
Alternate method: You can get to the folder options while in any window by clicking View. then clicking Folder Options.
Q: Do I have to go in through the My Computer window to start a program?
A: No, in fact it's better if you don't. Click the Start button to view the Start Menu, then move the mouse pointer to Programs. A new menu of program names appears to the right. Move the mouse pointer to the program you wish to open and click on it.
Helpful Hint: You can use the keyboard to navigate the Start Menu. Press Ctrl + Esc to open the Start Menu. Press the up or down arrow key to highlight and select a menu item. Press the right arrow key to view a sub-menu. When you've highlighted the program you want, press Enter to run it.
Q: My desktop Is completely black, but it still has the icons on it. What happened?
A: You probably turned off your active desktop. To turn it back on, right-click on a blank area of the desktop. In the resulting shortcut menu, choose Active Desktop, then click on View as Web Page. Your desktop should return to normal.
Q: My kids and I use different icons and prefer a very different wallpaper. Can we each have our own settings?
A: Yes. To personalize multi-user settings, first create each user by clicking Start, then choose Settings, then Control Panel. In the Control Panel window, click Users, then follow the instructions on the Enable Multi-user Settings Wizard. Once that is completed, go back to Control Panel and click Passwords. On the User Profile tab of the Password Properties dialog box, make sure there is a checkmark in front of the second option allowing users to customize their preferences and desktop settings.