The parts of a desktop

infoThere are really only two parts to the desktop…the ‘work area’ and the ‘taskbar’. Now let’s consider each of these parts.

Work Area
This area takes up the majority of the screen. Here you can place shortcuts to frequently used programs (commonly referred to as apps) to make it easier for you to find and run these programs. The shortcut will be in the form of an icon typically supplied by the program itself. For example, here
is an image of a desktop work area showing shortcut icons:

Main Desktop

In addition to placing program and system shortcut icons in the work area, you can also personalize the area. You can add color, themes and even photos to the screen background. You can also select a screen saver to appear after a specified time, in the event that your computer is going to be idle for a while.

There are certain things that will automatically appear in the work area of your computer screen. For instance, if Windows or a program need to notify you of something, this info will appear on the right side of the screen.

Also, if you click on the Start Menu (white Windows icon in lower left corner of the Taskbar), a 2-pane window will pop up on the left side of the screen. The left pane contains the menu-based list of folders, application shortcuts, settings, and functions. The right pane contains ‘tiles’ where you can access Windows apps; it is this right pane that is totally customizable to include your selected apps, weather and news for your area, etc.

Now, you don’t have to place shortcut icons on your work area…some users like a totally-clean desktop without icons cluttering the space. See the Sidebar for tips on how to go about creating a clean desktop work area. Even the Recycle Bin icon (placed there by Windows) can be moved to the Taskbar (as detailed by Jay L. at the end of the Taskbar discussion). And how about being able to launch any app that you use without having icons for everything all over the work area part of the desktop? These are actually quite easy things to do. You can even 'hide' the Taskbar so that it only shows when you want.

For the record, the Taskbar is the bar that holds the Start Button and clock, along with other items. The Taskbar can be located at the bottom, top or side of the monitor screen. The Taskbar is where magic can happen.

OK, so what are the parts of the Taskbar? Let's cover this in sections. Here is the left half of your Taskbar. What is labeled is what you would likely see on a new Windows 10 system.

Left Taskbar

Going left to right we start with the Start Button. While a bit cumbersome, you can actually run your entire system from this button. You can select specific apps to show here along with a listing of everything installed on your system. This is also where you would shut down or restart your system.

Then you have Cortana, which you will probably either love or hate. The biggest downside with Cortana is how much space it takes on the Taskbar, but this can be fixed. If you right click on the Taskbar there will be a listing for Cortana. You have the options to have it show as in the above image, just the circle icon or not show at all (Hide). If you hide Cortana it still works. Just click on the Start Button and start typing. It works exactly like the Start Button search in earlier versions of Windows.

Task View is another that you will either like or hate. We suggest that you leave it for a while and give it a try. If you don't like the thing just right click on the Taskbar and click on the Task View Option. This is a toggle to show or hide. If enabled and clicked, Task View will show small windows on the desktop of all running apps. This can make it easier to find apps that are running when you want to switch from one to another. You just click on the small window for the app to bring it back up.

Last, we have File Explorer. File Explorer is a file management app that gives a lot of control as to how things are setup on your system. You can add/remove folders, delete files and perform many other functions. This is where you would drag folders if you wanted to go with the sidebar's tip on a clean desktop. File Explorer is also a good tool to get some information on your hard drives. Right click on a drive icon and select 'Properties' and you will see how much space has been used on the drive and how much free space is left.

NOTE: If you store a lot of high resolution photos, videos and/or music, you should check the drive properties now and then to see how much free space is left. If the free space gets to be below 15-20% of the total size of the drive, performance will suffer.

Now let’s look at the other side of the Taskbar:

Taskbar right side

We will hold off on the Recycle Bin as a Toolbar icon until the end, as it is not something that most will bother doing. In fact, Jay L. is the only one of us that does this, so we will leave it to him to deal with this issue, lol.

Then there is the Clock/Date icon. We would not even bother with this except that there are a few tricks that can be done. Time and date are associated with the system calendar. You have the ability to add other clocks according to location. This means that you can show the current time/date for locations other than your own. These added clocks will not actually show on the Taskbar unless you hover your mouse over the clock. You can also add calendar information through the clock. Add birthdays, anniversaries, etc..

Notifications is where Windows tells you something is going on. If there is an issue with your system, it will be shown here. Say that you have your antivirus app set to run on a schedule (as you should). Here is where you will get notified as to results without having to open up your antivirus app.

How to move the Recycle Bin icon to the Taskbar (a tip from Jay L.):
OK, The Recycle Bin on the Taskbar... I use an animated desktop wallpaper so prefer that my desktop be totally clean. With the advice included in the Sidebar blurb on this page we can see how it is pretty simple to pin just about any icon that would normally be on the Desktop to somewhere on the Taskbar except for the Recycle Bin. In the second image above you can see that the Recycle Bin can indeed be attached to the Taskbar, but it does take a little manipulation. Here are the steps:
1) Right click on the Taskbar and hover over Toolbars then select 'Links'. You will now have a Links section on the Taskbar.
2) Now drag your Recycle Bin to the Links Toolbar.
3) Click on the Links Toolbar and delete all entries except for the Recycle Bin
4) Last you will right click on the Links Toolbar and select to disable the title.

You will be left with a small icon of the Recycle Bin with the text 'Recycle Bin' to the right of the icon. If you right click on the result, you will have the option to rename as I did (changing 'Recycle Bin' to 'Trash').

Click the arrow for the next article, The Parts Of A Window.