There's only one thing better than getting a brand-new PC—getting a brand-new PC set up exactly the way you want it. Take the time up front to do some simple customization and you'll get a PC that truly reflects who you are—and that organizes all your information so you can spend more time on the things that matter.

5 tips for customizing your desktop

Tip #1: Change your desktop background
Right-click anywhere on your desktop and select Personalize. Then choose Desktop Background. If the picture you want to use isn't displayed, simply navigate to the correct folder. Alternatively, you can select any picture on your PC or the Internet, right-click, and select Set as Background.

Tip #2: Customize your theme
To choose the theme that you want to use, right-click on the desktop, select Personalize, and then choose Windows Vista or Windows Classic. Want something completely new? No problem. You can download many different themes from the Internet—simply search for Windows Vista themes (and make sure that you're downloading from a site you trust). Then, when you're choosing a theme, select Browse, and navigate to the folder where you've saved the theme.

Tip #3: Check out Sidebar
If you've recently gotten a new PC running Windows Vista, you'll probably notice the icons running down the right side of your desktop. Each of the icons you see is a Gadget, or a mini program that pulls information straight to your desktop. Delete any Gadgets you don't want by clicking the X on the left side of the Gadget. Add more by right-clicking the plus sign at the top. You can choose from Gadgets already included in Windows Vista, or view hundreds of Gadgets available for download by clicking Get more gadgets online.

Tip #4:  Personalize desktop icons
Sometimes it's fun to shake up how desktop icons look, too. Right-click on the desktop, select Personalize, and then click Change Desktop Icons under Tasks on the left-hand side. Then choose the icon you would like to change and click Change Icon. From there, you can view your options. And just like themes, you can download many different icons from the Internet. You can also change the size of your icons by Right-clicking on the desktop and selecting View. Decide whether you want to display icons on the desktop, and then choose between large, medium, and classic (small) icons.

Tip #5: Take advantage of Quick Launch
If there are programs you use regularly, think about putting them on your Quick Launch bar, located right next to the Start icon. To add applications, you can either drag the icon onto your Quick Launch bar, or you can right-click on the icon and select Add to Quick Launch.

Next step: Take the deep dive on personalizing your PC
If you thought customizing your desktop was the only way to stake a claim on your PC, think again. From screensavers and skins to calendars, interacting with your computer has never been easier. Get more tips by reading the full version of this article at http://www.microsoft.com/athome/moredone/personalizevista.mspx.