Windows 7 Feature Focus
Styles and Desktop Slide Shows
While Microsoft's attempts to streamline and simplify the Windows 7 user interface are arguably the number one focus for this new Windows version, personalization isn't far behind. According to the software giant, a huge percentage of Windows users customize their PC desktop with a picture, using either a personal photo or something that they've downloaded from the Web. And users are clamoring for more ways in which to customize the PC experience and make it their own. In Windows 7, Microsoft offers two key desktop customization features that address these needs: Styles and desktop slide shows.
Put simply, Styles are a formal combination of desktop background, Aero glass window color, sound scheme, and screen saver. Windows 7 comes with a number of built-in Styles, and users can create their own by building off of them. Styles can be saved, of course, and they're also portable, meaning that they can be packaged up and copied from machine-to-machine. Microsoft expects users and third party partners to trade and perhaps even sell Styles online when Windows 7 is finalized.
Also, Microsoft is building on a feature that was previously unique to Windows XP/Vista Starter Edition by providing built-in Windows 7 Styles that are unique to different regions around the world. The Beta version of Windows 7, for example, includes Styles oriented towards Australia, Canada, Great Britain, the United States, and South Africa. Secret:
If you have the Windows 7 Beta, most of these Styles are not available by default. But you can find them all hidden in C:\Windows\Globalization\MCT.
Styles can optionally take advantage of another new Windows 7 feature, desktop slide shows. This feature allows you to specify multiple pictures for the background image and then have the system rotate between them on a set schedule. Secret:
In the Windows 7 Beta, Styles are called Themes. Microsoft says it will change the name to Styles in future builds. Tip:
Microsoft offers a number of wonderful pre-built Style Packs on the Windows 7 Web site
. To download and install these Style Packs, click the link "Get more themes online" in the My Themes section of the Personalize window. This site also offers downloadable desktop backgrounds, desktop gadgets, and Sideshow gadgets. Bonus:
I've created five Style Packs for Windows 7 users to enjoy. Each includes 3 to 7 high resolution photos, and two of them include a custom, Style-specific window color. I have personally take each of the photos found in these Styles and would appreciate it if they were not redistributed elsewhere or used for any commercial purpose. Available Style Packs include: