Chapter 11. Customizing Windows 7 with the Control Panel

In This Chapter

  • Customizing the Control Panel

  • Altering Windows 7's appearance

  • Changing video modes

  • Installing or removing programs

  • Adjusting your mouse

  • Automatically setting the computer's time and date

Anybody who's seen a science-fiction movie knows that robots come with secret control panels, the best of which include an emergency Off switch. Windows 7's Control Panel lives in plain sight, thankfully, living one click away on the Start menu.

Inside the Control Panel, you can find hundreds of switches and options that let you customize the look, feel, and vibe of Windows 7. This chapter explains the switches and sliders you'll want to tweak, and it steers you away from the ones to avoid.

I also list shortcuts that whisk you directly to the right Control Panel setting, bypassing the long, twisting corridors of menus. Still can't find a setting? Type its name in the Control Panel's Search box that lives in the window's upper-right corner.

One word of caution, however: Some of the Control Panel's settings can be changed only by the person holding the almighty Administrator account — usually the computer's owner. If Windows 7 refuses to open the Control Panel's hatch, call the PC's owner for help.

Finding the Right Switch in the Control Panel

Flip open the Start menu and choose the Control Panel, and you can while away an entire work week opening icons and flipping switches to fine-tune Windows 7. Part of the attraction comes from the Control ...

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