When you first turn on your computer it flashes images and text across your monitor and when it has finished, it stops at what is called the Desktop.
Your desktop is like a tool shed where you go to get tools to do the things you want to do.
Whether you need to open Internet Explorer, Microsoft Outlook to check your email or Microsoft Word to create a letter to grandma, all of these begin at the desktop.
The “Taskbar” is the bottom-row of icons crossing your desktop. The taskbar is divided into three sections: left, center and right.
To the left, the first button you see is called the Start button. This can be a square with the word “Start” on it, or it may be a circle with four different colored flags that Microsoft uses as one of its trademarks. Through the Start button, you have access to all your programs and the Control Panel of your system.
To the far right, your taskbar will have system icons that show what programs are running. There are other icons for volume control and network connections as well.
The last section is located just to the right side of the Start” button. This is the “Quick Launch” area. These icons are just shortcuts to the programs you use most often. You may have program icons in this tray if your Quick Launch is enabled.
Click on the “Start” button, then click “Control Panel” on the right. Click “Taskbar and Start Menu.” The “Taskbar and Start Menu Properties” dialog box opens. If available, checkmark “Quick Launch.”
Go to the “Taskbar and Start Menu Properties” dialog box. Near the top, you’ll see “Taskbar,” “Start Menu” and “Toolbars.” These are called “Tabs.” Each tab has more options on them.
Let’s start with the “Toolbar” tab. I will help you choose these options, but you can change them as you wish as you determine what your needs and desires are.
You can leave the boxes blank for “Lock the taskbar,” ”Auto-hide taskbar” and “Use small icons.”
Determine where to locate your taskbar. It can be placed on the left, right, top or bottom of your screen. Click the down arrow next to “Taskbar location on screen” and click “Bottom.”
Your next choice will either combine the icons in your Quick Launch area so they appear in groups, or it will have an icon in the tray for every program open. To become more familiar with program icons, I recommend you click the second down-arrow next to “Taskbar buttons” and select “Never combine.”
The last box on this tab is about the Aero Peek feature.
If you are running Windows 7, from your desktop you can place your cursor on the small rectangle in the bottom-right corner of your screen. Pausing your cursor over it will display your desktop and if you click the rectangle button, it will minimize all your open programs and show your desktop. It’s OK to checkmark “Use Aero Peek to preview the desktop.”
You can experiment with the other options and when you have made all your selections, click “OK” to save your changes.
Scott Lindsay actively promotes learning the computer, regardless of age, to better one’s life and circumstances and has helped thousands of people over the past 10 years to become better computer users. He can be reached at Scott@MicroScottPro.com.