Changing the desktop background image, and color scheme is just as easy. On the menu bar--which is now at the bottom of the display--click System, then hover over Preferences to open that menu, and select Appearance. There are eight built-in color themes to choose from, or you can create a custom color scheme, or click the get more themes online link to surf a virtually endless list of theme options-including one called Vista Basic which essentially mimics Windows Vista if you want a more familiar look and feel.
If you click on the Background tab on the Appearance Preferences, you will find 21 different background images to choose from within Ubuntu Linux. Just like the themes, you can also select your own image to use as a background image, or you can click the get more backgrounds online link and find hundreds of images to choose from.
The System Preferences tools are a lot like the Windows Control Panel. On the list you will also find options to configure the mouse buttons and sensitivity, set up screensaver options, customize how windows behave, and more. The bottom line is that you can make Ubuntu Linux look, feel, and act how you want it to, and without too much effort you can make it look and feel a lot like Windows. So, if your only reason for not giving Ubuntu Linux a chance was that you miss the look and feel of Windows, you are going to have to find a new excuse.
As an aside to Linux developers--it would really help "sell" Ubuntu Linux to Windows users if it were even easier. I appreciate that there is a theme called Vista Basic, but that is just a color scheme and it's not even part of the default options in the OS. There should be a script of some sort called "Mimic Windows", and it should be offered on install as an option for Windows users switching to Linux. The script should automatically adjust every setting possible to make Ubuntu Linux as close to Windows in look, feel, and behavior as possible without the novice Linux user having to go find all of the settings and tweak it on their own.
If such a thing exists already--and I wouldn't be surprised if it does--point me at it. But, again, it shouldn't be something that a novice Linux user switching from Windows has to go find. It should be boldly presented as an option that can't be missed. I find the look and feel of Ubuntu to be just fine, and I don't have any issue navigating around and tweaking what I need to tweak, but I am also not an average user. Just sayin'.