Element of Operating System GUI

Element of Operating System GUI


Task Bar


The taskbar is the long horizontal bar at the bottom of your screen. It has three main sections:

  • The Start button , which opens the Start menu.
  • The middle section, which shows you which programs & files you have open & allows you to quickly switch between them.
  • The notification area, which includes a clock and icons (small pictures) that communicate the status of certain programs and computer settings.

Keep track of your windows

If you open one or more program/file at a time, it's hard to see what else is what you've already opened.

Whenever you open a program, folder, or file, Windows creates a corresponding button on the taskbar.

The button shows an icon that represents the open program. In the picture below, two programs are open—Calculator and Minesweeper—and each has its own button on the taskbar. It also highlights the icon whose window is active. Click a taskbar button to switch to that window

The notification area

The notification area, at the right of the taskbar, includes a clock and a group of icons. These icons communicate the status of something on your computer or provide access to certain settings.

When you move your pointer to a particular icon, you will see that icon's name or the status of a setting. Double-clicking an icon in the notification area usually opens the program or setting associated with it. For example, double-clicking the volume icon opens the volume controls.

Windows hides icons in the notification area when you haven't used them in a while. If icons become hidden, click the Show hidden icons button to temporarily display the hidden icons.

Click the Show hidden icons button to display all icons in the notification area


Icons and shortcuts

Icons are small pictures that represent files, folders, programs, and other items. When you first start Windows, you'll see at least one icon on your desktop: The Recycle Bin. Some examples of desktop icons are shown in picture.

Double-clicking a desktop icon starts or opens the item it represents.

Adding and removing icons from the desktop

You can choose which icons appear on the desktop—you can add or remove an icon at any time. If you want easy access from the desktop to your favorite files or programs, you can create shortcuts to them. A shortcut is an icon that represents a link to an item, rather than the item itself. When you double-click a shortcut, the item opens. If you delete a shortcut, only the shortcut is removed, not the original item. You can identify shortcuts by the arrow on their icon.

Common desktop icons include Computer, your personal folder, the Recycle Bin, and Control Panel.

1. Right-click an empty area of the desktop, and then click Personalize.

2. In the left pane, click Change desktop icons.

3. Under Desktop icons, select the check box for each icon that you want to add to the desktop, or clear the check box for each icon that you want to remove from the desktop, and then click OK.

To move a file from a folder to the desktop

1. Open the folder that contains the file.

2. Drag the file to the desktop.

Moving icons around

Windows stacks icons in columns on the left side of the desktop. But you're not stuck with that arrangement. You can move an icon by dragging it to a new place on the desktop.

You can also have Windows automatically arrange your icons. Right-click an empty area of the desktop, click View, and then click Auto arrange icons. Windows stacks your icons in the upper-left corner and locks them in place. To unlock the icons so that you can move them again, click Auto arrange icons again, clearing the check mark next to it.

Selecting multiple icons

To move or delete a bunch of icons at once, you must first select all of them. Click an empty area of the desktop and drag the mouse. Surround the icons that you want to select with the rectangle that appears. Then release the mouse button. Now you can drag the icons as a group or delete them.

Hiding desktop icons

If you want to temporarily hide all of your desktop icons without removing them, right-click an empty part of the desktop, click View, and then click Show desktop icons to clear the check mark from that option. Now no icons are displayed on the desktop. You can get them back by clicking Show desktop icons again.


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