A CDE Definition
To learn how to use the Windows desktop, see Win tips.
Following are a number of ways to use the Windows desktop. With the exception of Windows 8, the desktop "is" the user interface in Windows, going all the way back to Windows 95. Windows 8 has two user interface styles (see Win8 abc's and Win10 abc's).
CHANGE THE LOOK AND FEEL
Windows offers myriad ways to customize the look and feel of your desktop, menus and window frames. See Win Change Windows appearance.
MOVE TASKBAR TO A DIFFERENT SIDE OF THE SCREEN
Placing the Taskbar on the left or right side adds a few pixels to the height of a document or Web page. Right click any uncovered area on the Taskbar, uncheck "Lock the Taskbar," and drag the Taskbar to another side. Then right click the Taskbar and check "Lock the Taskbar."
HIDE TASKBAR UNTIL NEEDED
For small screens, hiding the Taskbar saves screen space. Right click any unused area on the Taskbar. Select Properties and Auto Hide.
HOW TO GET THE EXPLORER FILE MANAGER
Right click Start menu and select Explore, Open Windows Explorer or File Explorer. In Windows 8, select Charm bar/Search/Apps and type in File Explorer.
SHOW EXTENSIONS WITH FILE NAMES
Windows defaults to not showing the file type extensions at the end of the file name, but many people like to see them when viewing files in Explorer. To show the extensions, see Win Show file extensions.
SHOW HIDDEN FILES AND FOLDERS
You can display all hidden files and folders in your Explorer views. See Win Show hidden files and folders.
RUN PROGRAMS AT STARTUP
Windows can run your programs automatically every time you turn the computer on. See Win Startup folder.
VIEW SYSTEM DETAILS
There are several ways to view information about your computer system. See Win Technical details.
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Click any of the following categories for a list of fundamental terms.