From the Kenosha News on 9-23-07

You can make your Vista desktop look more like “home”

      If you’re beginning to use Windows Vista or thinking about it, be prepared for a more minimal desktop.  I recently set up a Windows Vista laptop “right out of the box,” and there were very few icons on the desktop.  Most of the ones that are there are not ones I want.  About the only useful thing is the Recycle Bin icon.  So, I decided to make my desktop look a lot more like my old computer.  Here’s how.

      First, I like to have a “My Computer” icon on the desktop.  To do this in Windows Vista, click on the Windows button (no longer “Start” as in previous versions) in the lower left corner.  Right-click on “Computer” in the right (black) side of the menu.  Select “Show on Desktop.”  This will put a “Computer” icon on your desktop, which you can rename to “My Computer” by right-clicking and selecting Rename. 

      Second, I wanted a shortcut to my web browser – Internet Explorer – on the desktop.  To do this, click the Windows button and look for the Internet item, which should be the top one on the left (white) list.  Click on it and drag it to the desktop.  This will create a shortcut to the browser.

      Third, I decided to put a My Document folder on my desktop.  Click on the Windows button and look for the “Documents” item on the right-hand side of the list.  Right-click on Documents, and select Send To, then “Desktop (create shortcut.)”  The resulting shortcut has an odd icon and is named simply “Documents.”  You can rename it as explained above for My Computer, and you can change the icon as follows:  Right-click on the item; select Properties; click the Shortcut tab; click the Change Icon button; select the icon you like from the available choices; click OK; click OK again to finish.

      Finally, I decided to clean the unwanted icons from my desktop.  This works the same as it did in Windows XP: right-click on the icon and select Delete.  Confirm the deletion by clicking Yes.  As explained on the screen, this does not uninstall the program; it only removes the shortcut from the desktop. 

      Once you delete unwanted icons, empty spaces may exist, and the desktop will look untidy.  The easiest way to rectify this is to use AutoArrange.  Right-click on an open space on the desktop, then click View, then AutoArrange.  You can then re-order the icons by dragging them up or down, right or left.  Be careful not to drag any icon INTO the Recycle Bin or it will be removed.  If you accidentally do this, double-click on the Recycle Bin to open it, and drag the shortcut back to the desired location on the desktop.

      As a bonus, you can change the wallpaper, which is the background image on your screen.  To do this, right-click on an empty space on the desktop and select Personalize, then select Desktop Background.  Unless you have pictures of your own on your computer already, selecting Windows Wallpapers should give you the best choices.  Click on the image you want, then click OK.

by Carol Sabbar from the Kenosha News on 9-23-07