"Windows Vista Desktop: Do You Know the Basic Elements and Its Functions?"

The Vista desktop is the first screen that you see when you power on the computer and log on to the desktop environment.

Windows Vista uses the metaphor of a desktop with windows and file folders laid out on it. A program called Windows Explorer (explorer.exe) provides this desktop metaphor.

Below shows the main screen of the Windows desktop environments.

Windows Vista desktop

When you are in the Vista desktop, the following are the desktop elements:

The Start button

  • Provides a launch point for all commands and applications on your system.
  • Can use to quickly start a program, find a file, get Help, shut down computer, etc.

The Quick Launch Bar

  • Gives you fast access to frequently used applications (that placed on that toolbar).

Hover your mouse over a taskbar window icon, and you will see a live thumbnail of its content.

The Taskbar

  • Positioned at the bottom of the screen.
  • It contains Quick Launch bar, icons for each running application, plus toolbars and the System Tray.

The System Tray (also called the notification area)

  • Contains the clock and useful status indicators about programs and services currently running.
  • A shortcut links to a file, folder, or program somewhere else on the system. You can differentiate between shortcuts and regular icons because shortcuts have a curved arrow on them.

The Sidebar

  • Display at the right hand side of the window, used to display Gadgets.
  • Gadgets are mini-applications that can display or add some information for the users. For example, slide show, stock prices or RSS feeds.

To show the desktop icons

  • Right-click a blank area on the desktop; from the shortcut menu, choose Personalize.
  • From the Personalization dialog box appears, click Change desktop icons on the left hand side Tasks pane.

Windows Vista desktop icons settings

  • Check the checkboxes for the common desktop icons: Computer, User's Files, Network, Recycle Bin and Control Panel.
  • Click OK. Your favorite icons are now back.

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