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Ask HTG: Changing Windows Icon Font Color, Searching Networked Drives, and Removing Photo Backgrounds

Ask-How-To-Geek-TemplateOnce  week we pull some of the more interesting questions from our reader mailbag and share the solutions with you. Today we’re looking at changing icon font color in Windows, searching networked drives, and removing photo backgrounds.

Changing the Windows 7 Font Color2011-09-19_154728

Dear How-To Geek,

Can you tell me or do you have a way to change the ‘letter’ color in the desktop short cut icons?  White is Windows 7 default color and there seem no way to change this color.  White get ‘lost’ in many of the wallpaper backgrounds.  Black would be a better choice.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Color Shifting in California

Dear Color Shifting,

You’re not missing anything, actually. In Windows XP and earlier version of Windows you could actively change the icon text color to whatever shade you desired. In Windows Vista and Windows 7 that is not the case. The default font is white with a drop shadow. Ideally that should show up on just about anything. Realistically if you use light backgrounds it doesn’t show up very well.

You can easily, if in a rather convoluted way, fix the issue.  First you need to turn off the drop shadow. Navigate to Control Panel –> System and then, under the System Properties menu scroll down and uncheck “Use drop shadows for icon labels on the desktop”—this item should be almost at the bottom of the list.

Go back to the Control Panel and navigate to Personalization –> Window Color –> Advanced Appearance Settings and then, in the Item menu, select Desktop. There you can pick a new desktop color. This won’t change your wallpaper but it will change the backdrop color that is under the wallpaper. If you want white text change it to black; if you want black text change it to white. Unfortunately the changes don’t take effect immediately and you’ll need to reboot. Selecting white will change the desktop lettering to black and then, regardless of what kind of wallpaper you put over the desktop, it will remain that way. Hope that helps!

Searching Networked Drives from Windows

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Dear How-To Geek,

I have a networked attached storage (NAS) drive on my network. I’d really like to be able to use something like Voidtools ‘Search Everything’ to be able to find things quickly on it. However, I have found a distinct lack of support for searching or indexing network attached storage drives. Is the only option to force myself into creating a very easy to navigate file system, and forgo search tools? Or is there an option that I just have not been able to find yet?

Sincerely,

File Searching in Phoenix

Dear File Searching,

You’re right; you can’t use Everything. Everything accesses the local NTFS file tables and is thus limited to searching local NTFS-formatted drives. In order to enjoy fast search over the network you’re going to have to employ an indexer of some sort. It won’t be quite as fast as Everything (since everything is practically instant thanks to the quick referencing it can do) but it should still suit your needs. You might want to check out Locate32, a local search index app that supports networked drives.

Removing Background Images with Photoshop

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Dear How-To Geek,

I’m hoping you can help me. Somehow, at work, I got roped into removing the backgrounds for some images destined for our online product catalog. I have no idea how this happened as I have a very rudimentary set of Photoshop skills. I have no idea where to start and I need to get this project done within the month. Help! How can I easily remove photo backgrounds? Most of them have fairly simply backgrounds. Where do I start?

Sincerely,

Photoshop Tripping in Pennsylvania

Dear Photoshop Tripping,

You’re in luck. Earlier this year we rounded up a whole slew of techniques to remove photo backgrounds in Photoshop. From the complex to the simple, you’ll find a way to remove nearly every kind of background in our tutorial set here and here. You may also want to check out how to create a Photoshop action to remove backgrounds and how to remove complex backgrounds here.


Have a pressing tech question? Shoot us an email at ask@howtogeek.com and we’ll do our best to answer it.

Jason Fitzpatrick is warranty-voiding DIYer and all around geek. When he's not documenting mods and hacks he's doing his best to make sure a generation of college students graduate knowing they should put their pants on one leg at a time and go on to greatness, just like Bruce Dickinson. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 09/19/11

Comments (4)

  1. Ushindi

    I’m missing something here. I go to the Control Panel, then System and Security, then System, and don’t find anything remotely resembling System Properties. I’m running Windows 7 Home Premium, Service Pack 1. What am I doing wrong?

  2. Vacho

    @ Ushindi…If you are looking for advanced system settings, click on ‘Advanced system settings’ on the left hand.
    General System Information would be listed under System.

  3. Vacho

    Regarding the desktop font changing…the new versions of Windows should keep featured customizations from the previous OS and improve upon them; not remove it all together.
    Afterall, MS wants people to upgrade to latest version of OS. If they fail to keep XP users happy; they would never be able to achieve it.

  4. Paul Bradley

    @ File Searching in Phoenix: You can search a whole local network with Lan Search Pro (free and lightweight). Although I think Locate32 will be enough for your present needs…

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