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Windows 7 boots noticeably faster than Windows Vista: it takes about 30 seconds. Booting has been sped up not only due to developers’ optimizations, but also due to the fact that not all services load and registry is not overloaded by all installed and remote applications. The annoying progress bars that we always saw during boot-up of all previous Microsoft operating systems have now been replaced with pretty animation:

As a result, when the first boot-up is complete, we see Windows 7 desktop that looks something like that:

By the way, this fish is part of the default desktop wallpaper for a reason. This type of fish is called in Latin “Betta spendens” or simply “Betta”.

Well, what shall we start with? Of course, with the most important thing: changing the desktop wallpaper. Click the right mouse button and notice that the menu has slightly changed:

The top part is the same, but the bottom part has two additional items instead of the traditional “Personalize”. “Screen  Resolution” contains the same display settings without the color depth option, but instead with the ability to choose between portrait or landscape orientation and font size. And the window opens covering the entire screen.

“Gadgets” contains the familiar applications from the Windows Vista sidebar. Windows 7 no longer has several bars of questionable purpose, including the side bar that would open by default. The applications, however, didn’t go anywhere; you can still use them and place in any part of the screen at your convenience.

Before we open the Windows 7 “Personalization” window, let me remind you what it looks like in Windows Vista. In my humble opinion, it looks absolutely awful. In the previous Microsoft operation systems you could simply click the right mouse button on the desktop and select “Properties” menu item. It opened a small window, where you could change the display parameters on the corresponding tabs, such as: resolution and desktop background, text size and type, theme and color scheme, screensaver and power saving parameters. Who and why had to ruin this fine and convenient system – I have no idea. In Windows 7 these parameters are split into several individual groups within the “Personalization” section, so you will have to really work with your mouse in order to set up everything according to your preferences.

Moreover, in some cases certain settings were hidden too far away and turned out very difficult to find. I remember that during my first Vista experience I spent quite a bit of time trying to find out what system fonts were used. It turned out I had to go to “Window Color and Appearance”, click a barely noticeable “Open classic appearance for more color options” link (note that it all about color, but not fonts, that is why it took me so long to figure it out). Then you will see a familiar small window where you should click “Advanced” button to finally get to the sacred fonts. And I wasn’t even going to change anything; I just needed to know the name of the system font Windows Vista uses by default to display text in windows…

We are not going back to the previous settings menu in Windows 7. The idea of the “Personalization” section remained the same: it still has several sub-sections. However, “Personalization” section now looks way more logical and understandable.

Large icons in the lower row show very clearly what desktop background we have and what window color is used. You can also change the sounds and adjust the screensaver settings. You can change the theme completely by selecting one of the four ready-to-go options in the center. We immediately see what window color and background images will be used. Note that only the default theme offers one single desktop background; all others have a few choices available to you. For example, take the “Landscape” theme. Windows 7 offers you several desktop background images to choose from. You can even set a time interval for the images to switch automatically ranging from a few seconds up to 24 hours.

The list of available themes depends on the region, but you can get a few additional ones from “%windir%\Globalization\MCT” folder.

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