Using the Windows Desktop

As mentioned, the Windows desktop is the electronic equivalent of a real desktop. It’s the place where you keep stuff you’re working on right now. Every program that’s currently open is usually contained within some program window. When no programs are open, the desktop and all your desktop icons are plainly visible on the screen.

What’s on the desktop

Users upgrading from previous Windows versions are familiar with the Windows desktop, the primary place for users to start their work in earlier versions of Windows. The term “desktop” was used to describe computer environment that played the same role as a real work desktop. You worked with programs on the Windows desktop in much the same way as you work with paper on an office desktop. With Windows 8, the Start screen replaces the desktop as the primary work environment. However, the Windows desktop can still be used to launch pinned applications and applications that install icons to the desktop.

The desktop is accessed from the Start screen by clicking the Desktop tile. The desktop may get covered by program windows and other items, but the desktop is still under there no matter how much you clutter the screen. It’s the same as a real desk in that sense. Although your real desktop may be completely covered by random junk (as mine is right now), your desktop is still under there somewhere. You just have to dig through the mess to get to it.

The two main components of the Windows desktop are the desktop ...

Get Windows 8 Bible now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.