Windows 7 Parental Controls
As parents of Web-surfing children, we face a much more complex challenge than the one that TV posed to our own parents. TV provided a one-way media stream that was easy to control and monitor. Thanks to the Internet, today’s children are connecting to each other and strangers daily. Windows 7 provides some basic tools to help you keep your child safe when using your computer.
Win7’s built-in controls let you set three important restrictions: the programs your child can use, the games your child can play, and the amount of time (and the time during the day) that your child can use the computer.To control these settings, click Start, Control Panel, and then click Set Up Parental Controls For Any User under User Accounts And Family Safety. Choose your child’s user account (or click Create A New User Account to make one on the spot) and then choose On, Enforce Current Settings. You can now manage the basic controls.
Windows Live Family Safety
Although Win7’s built-in parental controls provide a good foundation for protecting your children, you may find yourself wishing for features the operating system doesn’t include. That’s where Microsoft’s free Windows Live Family Safety 2011 (explore.live.com/windows-live-family-safety) comes in. The software locks your Internet browsers into their SafeSearch modes (to prevent inappropriate images and search results) and provides monitoring tools that help you confirm your child is behaving responsibly online. Download and install the software. Next, click Start and enter Windows Family in the search field. Click Windows Live Family Safety. A window will prompt you to enter your Windows Live ID and password. If you don’t have a Windows Live ID, click Sign Up to receive one free. Once you’ve entered this info, a window will ask you to select your child’s account for monitoring. At this point, you can configure settings for his account at familysafety.live.com. (The program provides this link for you.) This online security settings tool is handy because it means you can adjust the settings from any Internet-connected computer. It also means that you can view reports of your child’s behavior remotely. If you plan to check on your child’s activity regularly, you’ll like being able to access the Windows Live Family Safety settings anywhere, anytime.
The Best Defense
All this blocking and monitoring won’t protect your child when he visits a friend who has an unmonitored computer. Educating your child about appropriate online behavior is a key complement to the security that software provides.
Personalize Windows 7
Every operating system includes ways to tweak its features to match your preferences, and Windows 7 is no different. In this article, we’ll focus on changes you can apply to the Desktop and particularly the personalization features associated with backgrounds, the Start menu, Taskbar, and Desktop icons.
Change Your Background
Your Desktop background (also called wallpaper) doesn’t have to be the Windows default image: You can get creative and turn your background into a personal photo, a Windows-supplied image, a single color, or a photo outlined in color. If you can’t decide which image to use, it’s also possible to create a slideshow. To access your wallpaper settings, click Start and Control Panel. Type the words desktop background in the Search Control Panel field. Next, select Change Desktop Background. Note any images that you see immediately-if you would like to use one as your wallpaper, click it, and then click Save Changes. Alternatively, you can click the dropdown menu next to Picture Location to v w other categories. If you open Windows Desktop Backgrounds, seven photo groups will appear. Choose from Architecture, Characters, Landscapes, Nature, Scenes, United States, and Windows. The second category, Pictures Library, displays the images stored in My Pictures and Sample Pictures (Top Rated Photos includes Sample Pictures, too). There’s a broad-ranging palette of Solid Colors to choose from, as well, if you don’t want to be distracted by busy images. Your list may also include pictures from your Desktop or Internet Explorer. Next, navigate down to Picture Position and click the arrow to the right. This feature lets you customize the placement of a background picture. Selecting Fill will expand the image beyond every edge of the display. Fit doesn’t alter the image, but rather frames it instead. Stretch manipulates the pixels to fill the screen. Tile minimizes the size of the image and repeats it throughout the display. Clicking Center will place the image directly in the middle of the monitor. Additionally, you can modify slideshow settings in this window. To do so, c k the arrow under Change Picture Every and select the length of time you would like to see each photo on your Desktop. When you’ve completed all of these steps, click Save Changes. For the quickest option, you can turn any image into a Desktop background by right-clicking a photo and selecting Set As Desktop Background. Computer repair
Start Menu & Taskbar Options
The Start menu is one of three sections on the Taskbar, which is the horizontal bar that fills the bottom of your monitor. We’ll address the Taskbar’s middle section (that shows your Quick Launch toolbar) and Notification Area-the far-right section that displays alerts and program statuses-later. It’s also home to lists and features that help you find programs and folders in Win7. By clicking the Start button in the bottom-left corner of your screen, you’ll see all of the following: pinned programs, recently opened items, the Search box, the custom right pane, and the Shut Down command button. Pinning a program to the Start menu is one way to access it quickly, especially if you open several programs on a regular basis. To pin a program, locate it by entering its title in the Search box, right-clicking it, and clicking Pin To Start Menu. Rightclick any program in the Start menu and click Unpin From Start Menu it you want to take it off the pin list. Recently opened items will show up under your pinned programs, but you can remove them to declutter the menu if you like. To unpin your recently accessed programs, right-click the program and select Remove From This List. Everything on the other side of the Start menu comprises the right pane. This area provides inks to commonly accessed locations in Windows. The default locations are as follows: your personal folder (with the name you’ve assigned to it), Documents, Pictures, Music, Games (depending on which version of Windows you’re running) Computer (to link you to drives and hardware), Control Panel, Devices And Printers, Default Programs, and Help And Support. Win7 lets you manage the right pane through the Control Panel. Open the Control Panel, click Appearance And Personalization, and then select Taskbar And Start Menu. Choose the Start Menu tab and click the Customize button. When the Customize Start Menu dialog box opens, click your preferred options for the right pane items and click OK when you’re finished. Looking at the Taskbar in its entirety once again, realize that the items in the middle section of the Taskbar and that Taskbar itself are moveable. Anytime you open a file, folder, or program, Win7 assigns it a button in the Taskbar that you can use to minimize, maximize, and manage the aforementioned items. To reorder any item in the Taskbar, click and drag it to a new spot. To customize the Taskbar, right-click it and select Properties. Select the Taskbar tab, and in the Taskbar Appearance section, checkmark the options you want to apply to the Taskbar, change the Taskbar’s location, or modify Taskbar buttons. For the latter two you will choose from the options in their corresponding drop-down menus. In the Notification Area section, click the Customize button, and from here you will have the opportunity to change your notifications that are on the far right side of the Taskbar by clicking the associated drop-down menus, selecting behaviors for particular icons (such as Show Icon And Notifications or Hide Icon And Notifications), and clicking OK.
Instead of accessing your folders and programs through the Start menu, you can create and use an icon for files and other items on your Desktop. These are called Desktop shortcuts. To add an icon to the Desktop, you will start by finding the file, application, or other item for which you want to create a shortcut. For example, if you want to make a shortcut for Microsoft Excel, locate it by clicking the Start menu, All Programs, and Microsoft Office. Right-click Microsoft Excel and select Send To. Next click Desktop (Create Shortcut). A new shortcut to that item will appear on your Desktop. To hide icons, right-click your Desktop, select View, and if you see a check mark next to Show Desktop Icons, uncheck it. To see all of your icons again, perform the same steps to reselect Show Desktop Icons. In the View menu, you’re also able to change the size of the icons: Simply click Small Icons, Medium Icons, or Large Icons. Want to get rid of an icon? Right-click it, click Delete and select Yes. (You may be asked for the administrator password. If necessary, type it in and proceed.)
Smart Computing | Nevember 2011 p.13
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