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Chapter 4. Using the Windows XP Interfac... > The Taskbar, the Start Menu, and Oth...

The Taskbar, the Start Menu, and Other Tools

The taskbar is the command center for your user environment under Windows XP. With few or no desktop icons after initial setup, everything you do within Windows XP has to start with the taskbar. The taskbar (refer to Figure 4.4) is host to several other highly useful tools, such as the Start menu, the Quick Launch bar, the open application buttons, and the system tray.

The Start menu is the control center for Windows XP. Most native applications and installed applications will have an icon within the Start menu used to launch or access them. The Start menu has two columns of access elements. The left column includes Internet and E-mail access on top and a list of most recently used applications on bottom. By default, it displays the six most recently accessed applications. A fresh installation of Windows XP will include pre-stocked items in this list, such as Windows Media Player, MSN Explorer, Windows Movie Maker, Tour Windows XP, and Files and Settings Transfer Wizard. This leaves room for only a single recently accessed application. These prestocked items will eventually disappear, but that can take up to 60 days. You can forcibly remove them one at a time by issuing the Remove from This List command from the right-click pop-up menu. At the bottom of the left column is All Programs , which is an access point to the rest of the Start menu. Those of you from Windows 9x/Me/NT/2000 will recognize this as the Programs section of their Start menus. The Start menu’s right column lists My Documents, My Recent Documents, My Pictures, My Music, My Computer, My Network Places, Control Panel, Printers and Faxes, Help and Support, Search, and Run. Below both columns are the Log Off and Shut Down buttons. Log Off is used to either fully log off the system or switch user contexts. The Shut Down command is used to power down (turn off), restart, or hibernate the computer.


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