Regaining Control of the Desktop

Microsoft has, in terms of the interface, positioned the desktop as the root of all other objects in the imaginary hierarchy depicted by Explorer’s tree. This includes all drives, the Control Panel, the Network Neighborhood, and even all running applications. The following topics cover some fundamental tasks when dealing with the desktop, such as refreshing the desktop and how to make sure your desktop configuration remains intact. For details on the Active Desktop and other Web integration topics, see Chapter 8.

Refresh the Desktop Without Restarting Windows

When Windows starts, it loads the Explorer application, which provides the desktop and the Start Menu. While it’s loading, Explorer reads its settings from the Registry (see Chapter 3). If you make a change to the Registry, such as when following some of the procedures in this book, it might not take effect until you reload Explorer, which usually means restarting Windows. However, restarting Windows can take several minutes and will mean shutting down all applications and disconnecting your dial-up connection to the Internet (if applicable). In some cases you can put your changes into effect without restarting Windows, as outlined in the following solutions. Whether any of these solutions work depends on the type of setting you’ve changed.

Solution 1

Click on any empty area of your desktop or any icon on your desktop with the left mouse button, and press the F5 key to refresh the desktop. ...

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