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Part 2: Working with Windows XP > The Windows XP Desktop

Chapter 26. The Windows XP Desktop

An operating system's desktop is what you see once your computer finishes starting up and is ready to use. In the past, the Windows desktop was filled with all sorts of icons and shortcuts to various programs and services, many of them essentially advertisements for Microsoft and its partners. That's no longer necessarily the case.

Originally, Microsoft planned for a clean Windows XP desktop that held only the Recycle Bin, with all the program icons and shortcuts living in the Start menu. However, as a result of the antitrust case against Microsoft, the company agreed to let PC makers put their own icons on the desktop. So if you buy a new PC, you might find icons on your desktop that were put there by the PC maker. It's also possible that Microsoft will wind up promoting its Microsoft Network (MSN) on the XP desktop. Also, when you install software, some programs automatically put an icon on the desktop, so yours may look different than the one pictured here.


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