Thursday, May 19, 2011

Personalize your phone and PC

Tired of boring desktop themes and a blah ringtone? There are many options available in the Windows operating system to customize your PC and phone. Start with Windows 7 themes, or download free ringtones for your cell phone. You can even find emoticons for instant messaging, backgrounds for your Windows desktop, and clip art and photos to customize your folders.
Quick note on security
Some of these options are already available to you on your computer or phone. And you can download countless others—for free or for purchase. But before you even consider downloading a file, make sure that your antivirus software is up to date and that a firewall is installed and enabled (turned on). If you don’t have antivirus software, download Microsoft Security Essentials—high-quality, hassle-free antivirus protection, available at no cost. More information to help keep your computer secure is available at Microsoft Online Safety & Security Center.

Make your PC your own

Here are a few of the ways you can make a statement with your PC and phone.

Windows desktop

Make your Windows desktop pop by changing the background (sometimes calledwallpaper), changing themes, customizing your folder icons, adding useful gadgets (for Windows 7 and Windows Vista), and changing your screen saver. But what are these things? Here are some definitions:
Theme: A combination of elements that define the background, colors, sounds, and screen of Windows on your PC. You can use one of several preexisting themes that come with Windows, or you can create your own.
Here’s how to change your Windows theme:
Screen shot of the Control Panel with available themes
Select a new theme—or create your own from the Control Panel.
Background: The image (or wallpaper) on your Windows desktop. Your background will automatically change if you select a new Windows theme, but if you’d like to change just the background (and not all the other components that a theme would alter), you can either choose from the many standard backgrounds supplied by the Windows operating system or you can create your own. You can do this with any image—a picture of your latest camping trip, a slide show of your pets, or a stock image from the clip art and photos category of the Microsoft Office Downloads Marketplace.
Here’s how to change your desktop:
Default Windows 7 background
The Windows operating system comes with several background choices.
Screen saver: An image that appears when your screen is not in use. All Windows operating systems supply several screen savers that you can choose from. If none of these are what you are looking for, you can also create your own from a photo or download and install a custom screen saver from a trusted source.
Here’s how to change your screen saver:
A colorful Windows 7 screen saver
Only download screen savers from a trusted source.
Gadgets: Desktop tools that provide information, such as clocks, updated news headlines, or calendars. With gadgets, you can get the information you need without closing windows or your browser. Learn more about gadgets and download new gadgets.
The Gadget Gallery in Windows 7
The Gadget Gallery in Windows 7 offers many choices.
Learn more about personalizing your Windows desktop:
Quick tip: Change the look of the folders on your desktop. Each folder on your desktop (or in Documents or My Documents) is represented by an icon. You can easily replace them with different icons. Here's how to change the icons and folder views on your desktop:

Windows 7

Windows XP

Windows Media Player

You can personalize your Windows Media Player windows with custom skins, visualizations, and plug-ins. You may wonder what these are. Here are some definitions that might help:
Skins: Provide a distinctive look to Windows Media Player when you’re in skin mode. You can change skins any time by using the Skin Chooser. To open the Skin Chooser, select the View tab, and then select Skin chooser. Learn more about skins.
Selecting the Windows Media Player Skin chooser
You can change Windows Media Player skins at any time with the Skin Chooser.
Visualizations: Colorful patterns and shapes that synchronize with the music you’re playing in Windows Media Player. Several visualizations are included with Windows Media Player, but you can download more to suit your mood. Visualizations are only visible when you are listening to music and in the Now playing mode. Learn more about how to view and change visualizations.
Screenshot of a visualization
Visualizations synchronize colors and shapes with your music.
You can also get plug-ins for Windows Media Player that provide audio effects, such as patented SRS audio technologies to customize your sound or technologies to add features—such as three-dimensional surround sound and headphone optimization—or enhanced DVD playback capability. Learn more about plug-ins.

Windows Live Messenger

The next time you're instant messaging, insert an emoticon—a graphic that expresses the way that you really feel. Don't just pick the standard happy face when a bolt of lightning, a hug, or a wilted rose better reflects your mood. There's a comprehensive list of ways to create these emoticons with your keyboard on Windows Live Messenger.
Quick tip: Add new emoticons to illustrate your Windows Live Messenger conversations. Create personalized emoticons from your own images to add to your instant messaging conversations. A good place to go for images is the Office Downloads Marketplace clip art category.
Here’s how to add new emoticons:

Windows 7

Windows Vista

Windows XP

You can also find lots of fun animated emoticons on the web at sites like Messenger Freak or Free Smileys.

Personalize your Windows Phone

Now that you’ve done some work to personalize your PC, check out some of the ways you can customize your Windows Phone. Visit the Windows Phone Apps page to download games, useful apps like Adobe Reader and The Weather Channel, and programs for your favorite social networking sites.
You can also go to Windows Phone Marketplace for everything mobile: wallpapers, reference sources, news and information apps, games and entertainment, and, of course, ringtones—the feature that really makes your phone unique. From theWindows Phone Marketplace page, you can also find other Windows Phone resources, such as Help and Community. Jamster and Phonezoo are also great sources for ringtones and other phone applications.
Screen shot of Windows Phone Marketplace home page
Windows Phone Marketplace has many popular apps to download.
You can find even more downloads for your specific Windows Phone operating system:

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