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What is the Windows desktop?

The Desktop is the basic opening screen in Windows. It consists of 3 primary elements that are broken down into sub-elements. Here is a picture of a simple desktop with the default colors. The various parts are identified. Although XP looks quite different, the elements are the same.
To see the XP desktop, Click Here

The overall area is called the Desktop. The one pictured above is what is displayed if the default colors are chosen. The colors can be changed from the Control Panel using the Display icon or the Desktop Themes icon. In XP, Themes is included in the Display properties.

The entire gray bar at the bottom is the TaskBar. The Start Menu, Quick Launch Toolbar and the Systray are all sub parts or elements of the Taskbar. Each of these elements are separated by a vertical line.

All of the icons are called Objects. The icons on the left are the default icons installed by Windows and cannot be deleted. They can be hidden from view by using an add on program called TweakUI.

The element of the Desktop that is overlooked by many is the blank area. Placing the mouse cursor over any element and clicking the right mouse button displays a menu that varies by the location of the cursor.

There are many things that can be customized beyond just colors. Desktop Themes changes the appearance and sound of everything. You can drag the taskbar to any of the 4 side of the desktop. The bottom location is the default. You can resize the Taskbar or place it in AutoHide.

You can create your own custom colors for any element. You can change the size of almost anything. The page Customizing describes some basic customizing that you can do. The page Customizing The Desktop goes into more items that can be modified.

Barrettism:
Install Go Back Before You Do Anything Else

As of Dec 2009, Symantec has obsoleted GoBack & replaced it with Norton Ghost. The principle still holds- MAKE A BACKUP BEFORE DOING ANY MAINTENANCE. Actually you should do a backup regularly anyway.

Click here to see notes about installing in XP

 

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