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Desktop

The Desktop is the basis for the modern GUI paradigm. The Desktop is considered a container for all other resources on your computer, as well as a backdrop for your Windows workspace. The Desktop is always underneath any open windows—to access the Desktop if it’s covered, you need to minimize or close any open windows (press the Windows logo key and D, or right-click on the Taskbar and select Minimize All Windows to accomplish this quickly).

As shown in Figure 3-7, the Desktop contains two types of icons; namespace icons and file icons.

Figure 3-9. Of the icons shown on the Desktop, some are virtual objects and some are files; those that are actual files are also shown in your Desktop folder


File icons can be files or folders (actually located in your \Documents and Settings\{username}\Desktop\ folder on your hard disk)—you can drag-drop them to and from the Desktop as though it were any other ordinary folder. The Desktop is a good place to store newly downloaded files from the Internet, email attachments, items from floppies, and other files you’re currently working on.

Namespace icons, on the other hand, such as My Computer, My Network Places, and the Recycle Bin, aren’t files, but rather specific resources built in to Windows. All of these icons can be renamed or even hidden, although the process isn’t always obvious. (See Chapter 5 for details specific to the object you wish to customize or remove.) The exception is that the Recycle Bin cannot be renamed, unless you have Norton Utilities or edit the Registry manually. (See directions at http://www.annoyances.org.)

As with most other components of the Windows interface, the Desktop has properties you can customize. Right-click on an empty portion of the Desktop and click Properties to change the wallpaper, color, screensaver, and settings for the display. (This is the same property sheet that you will get by opening Display Properties in Control Panel.)


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