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Computer Tips – Windows Desktop Help

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Let’s take a tour of the desktop in this Windows desktop help guide. We’ll explore the various sections, what they’re called, what they do, and how to use the desktop to your best advantage.

You can follow along by the numbered circles from the illustration.

The Desktop – Item Number 1

This is the entire area of your viewing screen. The term “desktop” is a metaphor used to describe what you might find on the top of a real desk such as papers, documents, folders, or photos.

The desktop is actually a folder (or directory); the same as any other folder on your computer, except this folder is configured to display on your screen in a graphical display.

This folder is located in different areas depending on the Operating System you have. In Windows 2000 and Windows XP it’s located at C:Documents and SettingsUsernameDesktop. In Windows 98 it’s located at C:WindowsDesktop.

Computer Tips   Windows Desktop Help

Icons – Item Number 2

The items on your Desktop are represented by pictures called “icons”. You can arrange these icons in any way you want. In our illustration, we only have the Recycle Bin icon on the desktop.

Mouse Pointer or Cursor – Item Number 3

The mouse pointer is usually represented by an arrow, but you will have variations (such as an arrow with a question mark or hour glass) depending on the action occurring with Windows at the moment. You can change the scheme of your mouse pointers through the Mouse applet in Control Panel. The items on your Desktop are represented by pictures called “icons”. You can arrange these icons in any way you want. In our illustration, we only have the Recycle Bin icon on the desktop.

Taskbar – Item Number 4

The taskbar contains the following items:

  • Start menu button
  • Quick Launch bar (ours contains icons for Internet Explorer, Microsoft Outlook, and Show Desktop)
  • Taskbar buttons (ours contains buttons for two open programs/windows – Internet Explorer and My Computer)
  • The system tray area (ours contains an icon for a program that is running minimized to the system tray and the clock). Software companies can design programs so that they run a tray program in the system tray instead of showing as a taskbar button.