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2.1. The Desktop

Like most modern operating systems that use graphical user interfaces (such as theMac,Unix, and earlier versions of Windows), Windows XP uses the metaphor of a Desktop with windows and file folders laid out on it. This Desktop metaphor is provided by a program called Windows Explorer (explorer.exe). Windows XP runs this program automatically every time you start Windows XP.[1]

[1] Occasionally, you may see the icons on your Desktop disappear and then reappear. This is caused by Windows Explorer crashing, and Windows relaunching it immediately thereafter. See Taskbar in Chapter 3 for more information.

Figure 2-1 shows the main features of the Windows XP Desktop. The callouts in the figure highlight some of the special-purposeicons and buttons that may appear on the Desktop. Each of these is described further in Chapter 3.


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