The desktop is the first
screen that you see when you start up a computer. A
desktop typically has items called "Icons" in addition to the
Start button, Taskbar, Quick Launch Bar and Notification
area. I'm currently running Windows Vista version.
a screen shot of what part of my
desktop looks like.
Let us take a look at different
sections of the desktop one at a time:
Start button is located on the bottom left
corner. In Windows Vista, it is a circle with Windows
logo in it. When you click on it, it will
launch a flyout menu. From this menu you can launch
program applications, work with files and folders, look for
help and even change your computer settings.
computer this is what the Start button menu looks like.
You will notice that Start Menu is split into three
areas, common applications (top), regular menu options (middle)
and Shut Down (bottom). In the middle section, when you click
on Programs, you will get a list of all the available programs and
application that are loaded on your computer.
In my case,
here is a partial list of Program items.
Program menu, you can drill down further into the
applications. In my
case, you can see that I have selected QuickTime
from the list. As I continue it gives me even more
options to choose from.
Quick Launch toolbar
Right next to the Start button you will find
the Quick launch toolbar. This feature is handy as
it offers one click launch for commonly used
programs. What I have done in my case is added the
programs that I'm constantly using in the Quick
launch section. These include applications like
Microsoft Outlook and Firefox browser plus a few
In addition to having
commonly used programs here, you can also use the Show
Desktop icon (red rectangle) to minimize all your active
once. Here is a screen shot of what my Quick launch toolbar
Taskbar is long
rectangle present at the bottom
of your desktop area. Using the Taskbar, you can switch
from one active application to another by simply clicking on
the particular program. Lets us take a look at what my current
Taskbar looks like.
As you can see I have a lot of applications running at
the same time. The Taskbar lets you multitask
without the need to close and reopen applications all
the time. On some of the applications you
will notice that we have a drop down arrow e.g. Windows,
Notepad and Internet Explorer. This further breaks
down the active program into different open instances or
When I click
on Internet Explorer arrow, you will notice that there
are different websites that I was looking at. I can
simply switch from one website to another without closing
the other ones in case I need to get back to them again.
Here is a monitor display of
what I am talking about.
On the right side of the taskbar, you will find the
notification area. This typically has controls including
date/time, volume, network icons, antivirus status etc.
On my notification area, you will see many icons. One of
them is for an external drive (red square).
This is what
it looks like shown below.
When I double
clicked on this icon, this opens up a new dialog box with
additional information on the external drive. I can look at
the detailed properties and I can even stop using this
external drive if I like.
Here is a picture of the dialog
Lets us focus on
the desktop area again. As we noticed earlier, this is
where you will find icons and other items like the
Recycle Bin. Icons are nothing more than a link to a
computer program or a file/folder. The idea is to
give you quick access to commonly used programs and
applications. In this manner, you don't have to go to the
Start button, click on Programs, find the particular application
and finally launch the program.
my desktop, you will notice that in addition to having
program icons, I also have icons that point to a few
documents and folders. This lets me work with popular files and folders
much more efficiently without wasting time.
How do you create an icon? If that is what
you are wondering about, let me show two ways you can do
Let us say that you tend to use Microsoft
PowerPoint all the time and you would really like to create an
icon for that. One way is to minimize all the open
applications by clicking on Show Desktop icon. Right
click anywhere on the desktop, select New and then choose
Shortcut. This will then ask you for the Program location. I
think this is harder of the two methods as you have to find
the program file location first.
Here is a screen shot
of this action.
way I think is
a lot simpler. This is what you need to do to create
Click on Start button, Programs, Microsoft
Office and then Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007.
Right click on it and you will see a context menu as
shown below. Go ahead and select Send to and then choose
This will create
an icon on the desktop and now you can launch PowerPoint
with just a click. You can even go one step further
and add this icon to the Quick Launch toolbar if you
like. You click on the desktop icon using the left mouse
button, and then drag the icon to the Quick launch
area. This will add a link and now you can launch
Microsoft PowerPoint from there as well.
The next two
screen shots show these steps
The Sidebar is a
new feature in Microsoft Vista. It is present on the right
side of the desktop and contains mini programs called gadgets.
These programs deliver content like headlines, weather, stock
prices etc to your desktop on a continuous basis. By default,
the sidebar has the clock, slide show and headline gadget
Here is a display of my windows
easily add more items by clicking on the + sign on the top. In
addition to the available gadgets, you can download many other
from the web.
Here is a screen shot of what I see when
I clicked on the + sign.