The Windows User Interface

The Taskbar

The Windows 9x user interface (9x refers to Windows 95 and Windows 98 together) is characterised by a bar at the bottom of your screen (it may be moved to another edge by left-mouse-clicking on it and dragging it to the desired edge while continuing to hold down the mouse button).

This bar is called the "taskbar." It includes:

  • The "Start menu" (which contains shortcuts to applications stored on your hard drive)

  • The list of open windows on your desktop (the Windows desktop is the entire portion of the screen located above the taskbar, where shortcuts to applications may be placed in the form of icons)

  • Icons representing shortcuts to programs loaded in the computer memory, and which can be configured

The Start menu

The Start menu contains shortcuts to all of Windows' features.

It includes the following shortcuts:

  • Shut down: To shut down or restart a computer, or restart it in MS-DOS mode
  • Run: Run a program using a command line (like in DOS). Arguments can be added to an application (for example, in "dir /s", "/s" is an argument)
  • Help: Windows online help
  • Find: Lets you search for a file on the hard drive, or for another computer if you are on a network
  • Settings: This is the computer's "control center", where display, hardware, and software settings can be configured.
  • Programs: This contains links to your favorite programs. It can be modified by going to Settings/Taskbar and Start menu, then clicking on Start menu
The menu can include other shortcuts, too, such as:
  • Documents: List of the most recently opened documents
  • Favorites: Lets you sort your favorite shortcuts, whether on the Internet or your hard drive
  • etc.

The Desktop

The Desktop is the rest of the space of the user interface. You can copy as many shortcuts as you want onto it, change its background image, and do many other things.

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