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This chapter is from the book

Working Your Way Around the Desktop

If you’re already familiar with Windows, you can start using Windows 7 without much training. However, if this is your first PC, or if Windows 7 looks a little too different to you, take a few minutes to find your way around the Win7 desktop.

As you can see in Figure 3.1, the Windows 7 desktop includes a number of key elements. Get to know this desktop; you’re going to be seeing a lot of it from now on.

Figure 3.1

Figure 3.1 The Windows 7 desktop—click the Start button to get going.

The major parts of the Windows desktop include

  • Start button—Opens the Start menu, which is what you can use to open all your programs and documents.
  • Taskbar—Displays icons for your favorite applications and documents, as well as for any open window. Right-click an icon to see a Jump List of recent open documents and other operations for that application. (This is the most-changed feature from Windows Vista to Windows 7—which is why we’ll discuss it in more depth later in this chapter.)
  • Notification area—Sometimes known as the system tray, this part of the taskbar displays icons for a handful of key system functions, including the Action Center, power (on notebook PCs), networking/Internet, and audio (volume).
  • Aero Peek button—Hover over this little rectangle, and all open windows go transparent so you can see what’s on the desktop below. Click the Aero Peek button to immediately minimize all open windows.
  • Gadgets—These are mini-applications that sit on the desktop and perform specific operations.
  • Shortcut icons—These are links to software programs you can place on your desktop; a “clean” desktop includes just one icon, for the Windows Recycle Bin.
  • Recycle Bin—This is where you dump any files you want to delete.
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