Once 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 Color
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.
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
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?
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
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?
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.
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