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Enjoy your favorite photos by saving them

Your own photos can be displayed on your computer’s desktop, or used as a screensaver. With your photos stored on the hard drive, it is very easy to set options so that you can enjoy them while you work.

First you need to have photos stored in your computer. Use an e-mail download from a trusted source, or a cable from your camera to save photos to your Pictures file. Photos saved on a disc or flash drive also are easily transferred to your Pictures file.

To set your wallpaper or background photo, go to your desktop screen where icons are displayed for easy access to the programs you use. Put the cursor on the desktop away from any icons. Right-click, and select “Properties” on your XP computer, or “Personalize” if you have Vista. Go to the tab or heading for “Desktop.”

This screen will allow you to change the background on your desktop. Click on “Browse” to find the photos you have saved. In the column on the left, click on Pictures. Here you might have to open folders in order to find the photo you like most. Click on your favorite photo, which will put that photo’s filename in the box. Click “Open” to select it for your desktop.

Back at the desktop screen, you may have to change the position option so that the photo is displayed best. Finally, click “Apply,” wait for a second or two, then click “OK” in order to set this photo onto the desktop.

Even more fun is using your photo collection as a screen saver. I love to save the photos others send me of their families, then find them scrolling across my screen when I return to my computer. Go to “Start” then “(My) Pictures.” Click on files to see the contents. You can transfer photos to files separate from “(My) Pictures” if you don’t want them included in the screensaver.

Now go back to the desktop and right-click on the background of the desktop again. Select Properties or Personalize, then select the tab or heading “Screen Saver.” There you will see a box with a dropdown menu (click on the down arrow). Select “My Pictures Slideshow” or simply “Pictures” on Vista. Next, click on settings to customize it. There are options for the speed of the slideshow, size of the photo and transitioning effects. If you chose, you can use the arrow keys any time during your screensaver slideshow to move forward and back through the photos. This is very handy when bragging to friends. Back at the Screen Saver box, determine the wait time from your last click or keystroke to when the screen saver starts. Be sure to click on “Apply” then “OK” in order to set your choices.

Also from the Screen Saver box, take a look at your “Power” selections. Here you determine when your computer goes into standby for power conservation. Again, “apply” your choices before exiting. We’ll talk more about Power Selections in the coming weeks.

Patty Harshbarger, the owner of Computer Renaissance in Bradenton, can be reached at