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Windows Basics: Desktop, Taskbar and Window. Computer Information Technology – Section 3. Desktop and Taskbar. Objective: To understand the sections of the screen and their meaning and usage. Basic Windows Screen. Screen is divided into 2 major sections:

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Windows basics desktop taskbar and window

Windows Basics:Desktop, Taskbar and Window

Computer Information Technology – Section 3

Desktop and taskbar
Desktop and Taskbar

  • Objective: To understand the sections of the screen and their meaning and usage.

Basic windows screen
Basic Windows Screen

  • Screen is divided into 2 major sections:

  • Desktop – Contains all icons, shortcuts and windows

  • Taskbar – Shows the running programs, etc.


  • The large area that is the upper part of the screen

  • The main purpose of the Desktop is to hold shortcut icons that will help you work efficiently.

  • The Desktop is really just a folder inside the Windows folder, so it can hold anything that any other folder can hold.


  • Across the bottom of the screen

  • The main job is to show what applications are currently running.

  • The middle section of the bar shows a button for each open application.

  • The Taskbar also holds the Start menu button at the far left and the Notification Area at the far right.

  • Other toolbars, such as Quick Launch, Address, Links, Windows Media Player, may also display on the Taskbar.

Taskbar pinned and running applications
Taskbar – Pinned and Running Applications

  • In Windows 7 you can pin icons for your frequently used programs directly on the Taskbar.

  • When the application is open, the icon gains a border and is highlighted. If multiple windows of the application are open, the icon shows edges for up to 3 documents.

Start menu
Start Menu

  • Clicking on the Start Menu brings up a list of shortcuts to start your programs.

  • An item with an arrow at the right, such as Documents or Control Panel, will open another list. There can be several levels of such lists.

Start menu1
Start Menu

  • Clicking on All Programs changes the area directly above to show folders and shortcuts in a folder tree display instead of as cascading menus. Double click a folder to see the shortcuts and other folders inside it. At the bottom of the list, the Back arrow will return you to the original list.

Open applications
Open Applications

  •  Icon for application pinned to Taskbar.

  •  Icon gains a border when a document is open in the application.

  • Icon gains multiple edges, like a stack of icons up to 3, when several documents are open in the application.

Notification area
Notification Area

  • The notification area, or tray, at the far right of the Taskbar is used to show icons for programs that are awake and hanging around in the background, like the clock, anti-virus, and scheduling programs

  • Some icons mean that there is something for you to do, like view a new email message or download/install a new update.

Desktop icons
Desktop Icons

  • Desktop icons represent programs, files, documents or shortcuts.

  • It is important to know the type of icon you are working with to understand what will happen if you move or delete the icon

Desktop icons shortcuts
Desktop Icons – Shortcuts

  • A shortcut points to the file that runs a program, like MS Word, or to a document, like the web page Astronomy Picture of the Day.

  • A shortcut is not the actual file itself – it just points to it.

  • If you delete a shortcut the file still stays on the computer.

  • A shortcut may have a small arrow at the bottom left of the icon.

Desktop icons document files
Desktop Icons – Document files

  • Files can actually be stored as part of the Desktop.

  • This icon represents a document rather than a shortcut to the application

  • If you delete this icon you will delete the file!

Desktop icons special icons
Desktop Icons – Special Icons

  • Computer – Shows all drives on the computer (CD, DVD, Hard Drives, Flash Drives, etc.)

  • Recycle Bin – Allows you to recover files that you deleted. Does not allow you to recover files you have overwritten.

  • Network– Not useful in the home setting…

Desktop parts window
Desktop Parts: Window

  • A window is a rectangular area on the desktop which usually contains a number of standard parts, but it does not have to have any of the standard parts.

Desktop parts window1
Desktop Parts: Window

  • These are the standard parts of a Window: Title Bar, Ribbon, Scroll Bars and a Status Bar

Desktop parts window title bar
Desktop Parts: Window Title Bar

  • Title Bar: The Title bar of an application window shows the title of the current document and the name of the application.

  • Title Bar: Right end: On the right end of the Title bar are buttons to minimize the window to the Taskbar, maximize the window to cover the whole Desktop, and close the window.

Desktop parts window ribbon menu bar
Desktop Parts: Window Ribbon/Menu Bar

  • Ribbon/Menu Bar: The menu bar is under the title bar and changes according to the program being run:

  • These menus may have cascading menus of commands for the program.

    • Cascade means that a menu can have other menus in it.

Desktop parts window menu bar
Desktop Parts: Window Menu Bar

  • The arrow means that another menu will cascade from it.

  • Three dots means that a dialog box will open, containing choices for you to make.

  • The checkmark means that clicking this item will toggle the feature on or off.

  • If there is a keyboard shortcut shown in the menu, you can use those keys to run the command without having to open the menu.

Desktop parts window ribbon menu bar1
Desktop Parts: Window Ribbon/Menu Bar

  • Ribbon/Menu Bar: In many program the menu bar has been replaced with a Ribbon:

Desktop parts toolbar
Desktop Parts: Toolbar

  • A toolbar contains buttons for the most commonly used commands. The icons are supposed to make it easy to guess what the button does.

  • Most applications use similar buttons for the same commands. The toolbar above has icons for the commands:New, Open, Save, Print, Preview, Find, Cut, Copy, Paste, Undo, Insert Date/Time

Desktop parts status bar
Desktop Parts: Status Bar

  • The bottom of a window contains the Status Bar. It displays messages about the status of the program. For example, it might say "Saving document" during the saving process and then "Done" when it is finished.

  • The diagonal lines in the corner of the Status Bar mean that the window can be resized by dragging its edges.

Desktop parts scroll bars
Desktop Parts: Scroll Bars

  • Windows that are too small to show the whole document will have scroll bars for the width or the height of the document, or both, if necessary. You change what part of the document is showing by dragging the scroll box or by clicking the scroll arrow or by clicking in the scrollbar itself.

Rest of today
Rest of Today

  • Complete Homework 2-1 and turn it in on the shelf.