For Seniors: Customize Your Windows 8.1 Laptop’s Display

When you take your computer out of the box, Windows 8.1 comes with certain preset, or default, settings such as the appearance of the Desktop and a color scheme for items you see on your screen. During the setup process, you have an opportunity to choose a color scheme for your computer.

After setup, here are some of the things you can change about the Windows environment and why you might want to change them:

  • Desktop and Start screen backgrounds: As you work with your computer, you might find that changing the appearance of various elements on your screen not only makes it more pleasant to look at, but also helps you see the text and images more easily.

    You can change the graphic that’s shown as the Desktop background, even displaying your own picture there, or choose from several preset background patterns for the Start screen. You can also set up the Start screen to automatically use the Desktop pattern you choose.

  • Screen resolution: You can adjust your screen resolution to not only affect the crispness of images on your screen but also cause the items on your screen to appear larger, which could help you if you have visual challenges.

  • Themes: Windows has built-in Desktop themes that you can apply quickly. Themes save sets of elements that include menu appearance, background colors or patterns, screen savers, and even mouse cursors and system sounds. If you choose a theme and then modify the way your computer looks in some way — for example, by changing the color scheme — that change overrides the setting in the theme you last applied.

  • Screen savers: These animations appear after your computer has remained inactive for a specified time. In the early days of personal computers, screen savers helped to keep your monitor from burning out from constant use. Today, people use screen savers to automatically conceal what they’re doing from passersby or just to enjoy the pretty picture when they take a break.

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