• Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint
Share this Page URL

Chapter 1. Getting Started with Windows XP > Checking Out the Desktop

Checking Out the Desktop

The desktop is what you see when you first start your computer and Windows XP. The desktop provides access to all the programs and files on your computer (see Figure 1.1). Here's a quick overview of what you see:

  • The desktop is the background area. Think of this area as your computer “desk.” You can place handy tools on the desktop.


    You can change the appearance of the desktop by selecting a different set of colors or using a picture for the background. See Chapter 13, “Customizing Windows XP,” for more information.

  • The only icon that appears by default on the desktop is the Recycle Bin. You can place additional icons on the desktop so that you have fast access to commonly used programs and folders. For instance, suppose that you use Microsoft Word, a word processing program, often. You can add a program shortcut icon to the desktop so that you can quickly start the program from the desktop rather than a command. For more information on adding desktop icons, see Chapter 14, “Setting Up Programs.”

  • The Start button is located in the lower-left corner and is used to display the Start menu. You learn more about this button in the “Starting a Program” and “Starting a Recent Program” sections later in this chapter.

  • The taskbar displays a button for any open window or program. For instance, if you are working in a Word document, you'll see a taskbar button for the program and document (see Figure 1.2). If you are viewing files in the My Documents folder, you see a button for that folder. The taskbar provides not only information about what's currently going on, but also offers a quick and simple way to switch between tasks.

    Figure 1.2. The taskbar gives you a view of what you are currently working on.

  • The system tray includes status icons for current tasks. For instance, if you are printing, you see a printer icon. If you are connected to the Internet, you see a connection icon. For more on the system tray, see the section “Viewing the System Tray” later in this chapter.



Not a subscriber?

Start A Free Trial

  • Creative Edge
  • Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint