Chapter 2. Explorer, Windows, & the Taskbar

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 7 positively crawls with them.

Universal Window Controls

All Versions

As Figure 2-1 shows, 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 application or in Explorer:

  • Title bar. It’s really not much of a title bar anymore, since the window’s title only rarely appears here (Figure 2-1). But this big, fat top strip is still a giant handle you can use to drag a window around.

    Tip

    The title bar offers two great shortcuts for maximizing a window, making it expand to fill your entire screen exactly as though you had clicked the Maximize button described below. Shortcut 1: Double-click the title bar. (Double-click it again to restore the window to its original size.) Shortcut 2: Drag the title bar up against the top of your monitor. ...

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