Parts of the Screen

The Windows screen consists of the Desktop, the Taskbar and windows. The Desktop contains some number of icons providing access to different functions. The Taskbar contains the Start button giving access to nearly everything on the system. Each program running on the system will be in a window. Windows consist of several parts: title bar, menu bar, scroll bars, etc. The Windows screen might look something like the following:

Click to enlarge, then close to return here.

Your desktop icons are usually down the left side of the screen as you see here. To activate any of these functions, simply double-click on them.

The Taskbar is normally across the bottom of your screen as you see above. At the left end of the Taskbar is the Start button which gives you access to all the programs available on your computer. To the right of the Start button, you'll see a button for each window you have on the desktop. On the right end of the Taskbar is the SysTray which will normally contain some number of icons in addition to the system time. If you pause the mouse on any icon on the Taskbar, the system will tell you something about it. For example, if you pause the mouse over the time, the system will tell you the day of the week and the date as well. If the Taskbar gets in your way, see Taskbar for a way of making it disappear.

Windows 98 and up add something neat to the Taskbar - Toolbars. If you right-click on the Taskbar (not on an icon), you'll see a context sensitive menu. The first item on this menu allows you control of the Toolbars you can have on your Taskbar. These Toolbars give you quick access to any function you want included simply by single-clicking on them.

Windows will take up some amount of your screen - perhaps even the entire screen depending on how the program has been instructed to run. For now, we will assume that programs run in a window as displayed above. The top line of a window is referred to as the Title Bar. On the left end of the Title Bar is the Control button familiar to people who have used an earlier version of Windows (3.0 or 3.1). Next is the name of the program running in the window along with possibly the file on which the program is working. On the right end of the Title Bar are three buttons. The right-most button has an "X" on it and will close the window if you click on it. The next button looks like a miniature window and will toggle the window between window and full screen. The third button looks like an underline and will minimize the window dropping it down to an icon on the Taskbar. The program is not closed, but is simply not taking up any space on the desktop any longer. After clicking on this button, you can get the window back by clicking on the appropriate button on the Taskbar.

Under the Title Bar is the Menu Bar which will normally contain some number of items. Clicking on each of these will result in a menu of functions from which you can select. The content of the Menu Bar will depend on the program running in the window.

In the window above, there is one scroll bar - at the bottom of the left part of the window. A scroll bar may be down the right edge of a window or across the bottom of a window or both. The purpose of a scroll bar is to allow you to view information that won't fit in the window - you can scroll up or down, left or right to see the rest of the information. There are several ways in which you can use the scroll bar. First, there's an arrow on either end of the scroll bar that will move the information in that window one line at a time each time you click on it. Second, you can click on either side of the slide bar to scroll a screen at a time. Third, you can click and hold on the slide bar itself and drag it up or down (left or right) to see whatever part of the information you want to get to. All three methods of scrolling are useful depending on the situation.

The content of the remainder of the window will depend on the program running in the window.

 Hughes Glantzberg

Last Revised: 02/24/2005

Created by
The PC Help Desk
(Hughes Glantzberg)