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Windows XP Home Edition: The Missing Manual by David Pogue

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The Elements of the XP Desktop

Once you’re past the heart-pounding excitement of the new startup logo and the Setup Wizard, you reach the digital vista shown in Figure 2-2. That’s right, it’s the Windows desktop, now graced by a pastoral sunny hillside that should look familiar to anyone who has ever watched Teletubbies.

A brand new Windows XP computer screen looks like this. Everything you’ll ever do on the computer will begin with a click on one of these three elements: a desktop icon, the Start button, or the taskbar, which is described in Chapter 3. (The Start menu, now in a new, improved two-column format, lists every significant command and software component on your PC.) Some people enjoy the newly streamlined Windows XP desktop. Others deliberately place additional icons on the desktop—favorite programs and documents—for quicker access. Let your personality be your guide.

Figure 2-2. A brand new Windows XP computer screen looks like this. Everything you’ll ever do on the computer will begin with a click on one of these three elements: a desktop icon, the Start button, or the taskbar, which is described in Chapter 3. (The Start menu, now in a new, improved two-column format, lists every significant command and software component on your PC.) Some people enjoy the newly streamlined Windows XP desktop. Others deliberately place additional icons on the desktop—favorite programs and documents—for quicker access. Let your personality be your guide.

On a fresh installation of Windows XP, you may be surprised to discover that Microsoft has gone cleanliness-crazy. A brand-new installation of Windows XP on a new computer presents an absolutely spotless desktop, utterly icon-free except for the Recycle Bin. Even the familiar My Computer, My Documents, and My Network Places icons seem to be missing. (If you’ve upgraded from an older version of Windows, you’ll still see your old icons on the desktop. Furthermore, the company who sold you your PC ...

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