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Windows 10: The Missing Manual by David Pogue

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Chapter 2. File Explorer, Taskbar & Action Center

Windows got its name from the rectangles on the screen—the windows—where all your computer activity takes place. You look at a web page in a window, type into a window, read email in a window, and look at lists of files in a window. But as you create more files, stash them in more folders, and open more programs, it’s easy to wind up paralyzed before a screen awash with cluttered, overlapping rectangles.

Fortunately, Windows has always offered icons, buttons, and other inventions to help you keep these windows under control—and Windows 10 positively crawls with them.

The primary tool at the desktop is now called File Explorer (formerly Windows Explorer). That’s the program—the app—that displays the icons of your files, folders, disks, and programs.

Like any well-behaved program, File Explorer has an icon of its own. You can open a File Explorer window either by clicking the manila-folder button on the taskbar or by choosing File Explorer’s name in the Start menu’s left side.

A desktop window opens, and the fun begins.

Universal Window Controls

A lot has changed in Windows since the Windows of a few years ago. If you’re feeling disoriented, firmly grasp a nearby stationary object and read the following breakdown.

Here are the controls that appear on almost every window, whether in an app or in File Explorer (see Figure 2-1):

  • Control menu. This tiny icon has sat in the upper-left corner of every File Explorer window since Windows XP. It was ...

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