Click the Microsoft Windows XP logo to return to the start of the Tour
The Windows Desktop The Windows Desktop*
Icons Icons*
Taskbar Taskbar*
Start Start*
Files and Folders Files and Folders*
Windows Windows*
Control Panel Control Panel*
Ending Your Session Ending Your Session*

The Windows desktop, displaying the Recycle Bin icon and a shortcut icon


The small pictures on the desktop are called icons. Think of them as doorways to the files and programs stored on your computer. Place your mouse over an icon. Text appears identifying its name or contents. To open the file or program, double-click the icon.

The first time you start Windows XP, you'll see only one icon—the Recycle Bin—where you can send files you wish to delete from your computer.

Shortcut icons are identified by the small arrow on the lower left corner of the image. These let you access:

  • Programs
  • Files
  • Folders
  • Disk drives
  • Web pages
  • Printers
  • Other computers

Shortcut icons simply supply links to the programs or files they represent. You can add and delete them without affecting the actual programs or files. Next