Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Windows Desktop

The Windows Desktop is probably one of the most important features of the Windows operating system.  The Windows Desktop is the main screen that will appear once the computer is finished booting and if necessary once you have logged on.  On the desktop one will find shortcuts to various programs, folders, and files.  One can add or remove shortcuts and files as desired.  It is important to note that most items on the desktop are shortcuts to programs and folders and the desktop actually does not contain the programs.

The appearance of the Windows desktop has changed over the years; but, the basic functionality and location of most items has remained the same.  One of the main features of the desktop is the taskbar, which is usually at the bottom of the screen, although it can be moved to wherever you desire (top, left, right, and bottom).  On the left most side of the taskbar is the start menu, which contains access to programs, computer settings, as well as power options (shutdown, reboot, ect.).  At the far end of the taskbar (right side), you will find the clock and notifications area.  In the middle of the taskbar (depending on which version of Windows you have) you will find the running programs.  In older versions of Windows programs only appeared on the taskbar if they where running; with Windows 7, this is not necessarily the case since the Quick Launch area has been combined with the running programs.  Thus even though a program may not be running it will still appear on the taskbar.  In Windows 7, programs that are running will be highlighted, in the screenshot below, Internet Explorer, Blogging Application, MS Messenger, and Photoshop are running.  For older versions of Windows the Quick Launch area was generally right next to the Start button and contained little icons to some commonly used programs such as email, web browser, ect.  The Quick Launch could be configured with any shortcuts to programs that you desire and the same is true of the new Windows 7 taskbar.

Windows 7 Desktop


Windows XP Desktop


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