Subscriber Ed McDowell also wrote with another question…
I hate to be a pest but something happened to my desktop last night out of the blue to change the background color under the titles of the icons on my desktop.
This was on my older laptop running XP Pro. I prefer no background color under desktop icon titles, then all of a sudden, then a color appeared under the icons.
I can change the background color but can’t figure out how to select no background color.
Am I confusing you? I can send you a screen shot of my desktop if necessary.
I wrote back to Ed to say that I assumed that he had already tried the standard Windows debugging step — that is, restarting Windows.
To change the background for desktop icon titles to be transparent, rather than a solid color (usually black), the steps are:
Start > Settings > Control Panel > Performance and Maintenance > System
In the resulting System Properties dialog box, click on the Advanced tab.
Then, in the Performance part of the Advanced tab, click on Settings.
Select "Custom" and
then put a checkmark in the "Use dropshadows for icon labels on the desktop."
Ed wrote back to say that he hadn’t been able to find the setting:
My version of XP does not have Performance and Maintenance.
I looked at desktop properties and tried every option available last evening when this happened to no avail.
Ed’s answer really told me what his problem was, since I had validated my answer by checking an older XP Professional computer that I still use occasionally.
Windows XP gave users the option to show the Control Panel in the Classic View or in a functional view, and defaulted to the newer functional view.
I suspect that Ed was apparently using the "Classic view" of the Control Panel, which has shortcut icons for the functions. Many people chose to make their transition easier from Windows 98 or Windows Me.
In this case, with the Classic view of the Control Panel, it’s a lot faster to get to the System Properties dialog box. You just open the Control Panel and then double-click the System icon.