The desktop (overview)
The desktop is the main screen area that you see after you turn on your computer and log on to Windows. Like the top of an actual desk, it serves as a surface for your work. When you open programs or folders, they appear on the desktop. You can also put things on the desktop, such as files and folders, and arrange them however you want.
The desktop is sometimes defined more broadly to include the taskbar. The taskbar sits at the bottom of your screen. It shows you which programs are running and allows you to switch between them. It also contains the Start button, which you can use to access programs, folders, and computer settings.
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 (more on that later). Your computer manufacturer might have added other icons to the desktop. Some examples of desktop icons are shown below.
You can choose which icons appear on the desktop—you can add or remove an icon at any time. Some people like a clean, uncluttered desktop with few or no icons. Others place dozens of icons on their desktop to give them quick access to frequently used programs, files, and folders.
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.
A file icon (left) and a shortcut icon (right)
Locate the item that you want to create a shortcut for. (For help with finding a file or folder, see Find a file or folder. For help with finding a program, see The Start menu (overview).)
Right-click the item, click Send to, and then click Desktop (create shortcut). The shortcut icon appears on your desktop.
Common desktop icons include Computer, your personal folder, the Recycle Bin, and Control Panel.
Right-click an empty area of the desktop, and then click Personalize.
In the left pane, click Change desktop icons.
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.
Open the folder that contains the file.
Drag the file to the desktop.
Right-click the icon, and then click Delete. If the icon is a shortcut, only the shortcut is removed; the original item is not deleted.
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.
By default, Windows spaces icons evenly on an invisible grid. To place icons closer together or with more precision, turn off the grid. Right-click an empty area of the desktop, point to View, and then click Align icons to grid to clear the check mark. Repeat these steps to turn the grid back on.
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.
If you want to temporarily hide all of your desktop icons without actually removing them, right-click an empty part of the desktop, click View, and then click Show desktop items 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 items again.
When you delete a file or folder, it doesn't actually get deleted right away—it goes to the Recycle Bin. That's a good thing, because if you ever change your mind and decide you need a deleted file, you can get it back. For more information.
If you're sure that you won't need the deleted items again, you can empty the Recycle Bin. Doing that will permanently delete the items and reclaim any disk space they were using. For more
The Start menu (overview)
The Start menu is the main gateway to your computer's programs, folders, and settings. It's called a menu because it provides a list of choices, just as a restaurant menu does. And as "start" implies, it's often the place that you'll go to start or open things.
Use the Start menu to do these common activities:
Open commonly used folders
Search for files, folders, and programs
Adjust computer settings
Get help with the Windows operating system
Turn off the computer
Log off from Windows or switch to a different user account
To open the Start menu, click the Start button
in the lower-left corner of your screen. Or, press the Windows
on your keyboard.
The Start menu is divided into three basic parts:
The large left pane shows a short list of programs on your computer. Your computer manufacturer can customize this list, so its exact appearance will vary. Clicking All Programs displays a complete list of programs (more on this later).
At the bottom of the left pane is the search box, which allows you to look for programs and files on your computer by typing in search terms.
The right pane provides access to commonly used folders, files, settings, and features. It's also where you go to log off from Windows or turn off your computer.
One of the most common uses of the Start menu is opening programs installed on your computer. To open a program shown in the left pane of the Start menu, click it. The program opens and the Start menu closes.
If you don't see the program you want, click All Programs at the bottom of the left pane. Instantly, the left pane displays a long list of programs in alphabetical order, followed by a list of folders.
Clicking one of the program icons launches the program, and the Start menu closes. So what's inside the folders? More programs. Click Accessories, for example, and a list of programs that are stored in that folder appears. Click any program to open it. To get back to the programs you saw when you first opened the Start menu, click Back near the bottom of the menu.
If you're ever unsure what a program does, move the pointer over its icon or name. A box appears that often contains a description of the program. For example, pointing to Calculator displays this message: "Performs basic arithmetic tasks with an on-screen calculator." This trick works for items in the right pane of the Start menu, too.
You might notice that over time, the lists of programs in your Start menu change. This happens for two reasons. First, when you install new programs, they get added to the All Programs list. Second, the Start menu detects which programs you use the most, and places them in the left pane for quick access.
The search box is one of the most convenient ways to find things on your computer. The exact location of the items doesn't matter—the search box will scour your programs and all of the folders in your personal folder (which includes Documents, Pictures, Music, Desktop, and other common locations). It will also search your e‑mail messages, saved instant messages, appointments, and contacts.
To use the search box, open the Start menu and start typing. You don't need to click inside the box first. As you type, the search results appear above the search box in the left pane of the Start menu.
A program, file, or folder will appear as a search result if:
Any word in its title matches or begins with your search term.
Any text in the actual contents of the file—such as the text in a word-processing document—matches or begins with your search term.
Any word in a property of the file, such as the author, matches or begins with your search term. (For more information about file properties, see Add tags and other properties to a file.)
Click any search result to open it. Or, click the Clear button
to clear the search results and return to the main
programs list. You can also click See more results to search your entire
Besides programs, files and folders, and communications, the search box also looks through your Internet favorites and the history of websites you've visited. If any of these web pages include the search term, they appear under a heading called "Favorites and History."
The right pane of the Start menu contains links to parts of Windows that you're likely to use frequently. Here they are, from top to bottom:
Personal folder. Opens your personal folder, which is named for whoever is currently logged on to Windows. For example, if the current user is Molly Clark, the folder will be named Molly Clark. This folder, in turn, contains user-specific files, including the Documents, Music, Pictures, and Videos folders.
Documents. Opens the Documents folder, where you can store and open text files, spreadsheets, presentations, and other kinds of documents.
Pictures. Opens the Pictures folder, where you can store and view digital pictures and graphics files.
Music. Opens the Music folder, where you can store and play music and other audio files.
Games. Opens the Games folder, where you can access all of the games on your computer.
Computer. Opens a window where you can access disk drives, cameras, printers, scanners, and other hardware connected to your computer.
Control Panel. Opens Control Panel, where you can customize the appearance and functionality of your computer, install or uninstall programs, set up network connections, and manage user accounts.
Devices and Printers. Opens a window where you can view information about the printer, mouse, and other devices installed on your computer.
Default Programs. Opens a window where you can choose which program you want Windows to use for activities such as web browsing.
Help and Support. Opens Windows Help and Support, where you can browse and search Help topics about using Windows and your computer.
At the bottom of the right pane is the Shut down button. Click the Shut down button to turn off your computer.
Clicking the arrow next to the Shut down button displays a menu with additional options for switching users, logging off, restarting, or shutting down. For more information, see Log off from Windows and Turn off a computer: frequently asked questions.
You can control which items appear in the Start menu. For example, you can pin icons for your favorite programs to the Start menu for easy access, or remove programs from the list. You can also choose to hide or display certain items in the right pane. See Customize the Start menu for more information.
The taskbar (overview)
The taskbar is the long horizontal bar at the bottom of your screen. Unlike the desktop, which can get obscured by open windows, the taskbar is almost always visible. It has three main sections:
The Start button
, which opens the Start menu. See The Start
The middle section, which shows you which programs and files you have open and 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.
You're likely to use the middle section of the task bar the most, so let's look at it first.
If you open more than one program or file at a time, you can quickly start piling up open windows on your desktop. Because windows often cover each other or take up the whole screen, it's sometimes hard to see what else is underneath or remember what you've already opened.
That's where the task bar comes in handy. Whenever you open a program, folder, or file, Windows creates a corresponding button on the task bar. 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 task bar.
Notice how the taskbar button for Minesweeper is highlighted. That indicates that Minesweeper is the active window, meaning that it's in front of any other open windows and is ready for you to interact with.
To switch to another window, click its taskbar button. In this example, clicking the taskbar button for Calculator brings its window to the front.
Clicking taskbar buttons is one of several ways to switch between windows. For more information, see Working with windows.
When a window is active (its taskbar button is highlighted), clicking its taskbar button minimizes the window. That means that the window disappears from the desktop. Minimizing a window doesn't close it or delete its contents—it temporarily removes it from the desktop.
In the picture below, Calculator is minimized, but not closed. You can tell it's still running because it has a button on the taskbar.
You can also minimize a window by clicking the minimize button in the upper-right corner of the window.
To restore a minimized window (make it show up again on the desktop), click its taskbar button.
When you move your mouse pointer to a taskbar button, a small picture appears that shows you a miniature version of the corresponding window. This preview, also called a thumbnail, is especially useful. And if one of your windows has video or animation playing, you'll see it playing in the preview.
You can see thumbnails only if Aero can run on your computer and you're running a Windows 7 theme.
The notification area, on the far right side of the taskbar, includes a clock and a group of icons. It looks like this.
These icons communicate the status of something on your computer or provide access to certain settings. The set of icons you see depends on which programs or services you have installed and how your computer manufacturer set up your computer.
When you move your pointer to a particular icon, you will see that icon's name or the status of a setting. For example, pointing to the volume icon
shows the current volume level of your computer. Pointing to
the network icon
displays information about whether you are connected to a network,
the connection speed, and the signal strength.
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. Double-clicking the network icon opens Network and Sharing Center.
Occasionally, an icon in the notification area will display a small pop-up window (called a notification) to notify you about something. For example, after adding a new hardware device to your computer, you might see this.
Click the Close button
in the upper-right corner of the notification to dismiss it.
If you don't do anything, the notification will fade away on its own after a
To reduce clutter, 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.
There are many ways to customize the taskbar to suit your preferences. For example, you can move the entire taskbar to the left, right, or top edge of the screen. You can make the taskbar larger, have Windows automatically hide it when you're not using it, and add toolbars to it.
Working with windows
Whenever you open a program, file, or folder, it appears on your screen in a box or frame called a window (that's where the Windows operating system gets its name). Because windows are everywhere in Windows, it's important to understand how to move them, change their size, or just make them go away.
Although the contents of every window are different, all windows share some things in common. For one thing, windows always appear on the desktop—the main work area of your screen. In addition, most windows have the same basic parts.
Title bar. Displays the name of the document and program (or the folder name if you're working in a folder).
Minimize, Maximize, and Close buttons. These buttons hide the window, enlarge it to fill the whole screen, and close it, respectively (more details on these shortly).
Menu bar. Contains items that you can click to make choices in a program. See Using menus, buttons, bars, and boxes.
Scroll bar. Lets you scroll the contents of the window to see information that is currently out of view.
Borders and corners. You can drag these with your mouse pointer to change the size of the window.
Other windows might have additional buttons, boxes, or bars. But they'll usually have the basic parts, too.
To move a window, point to its title bar with the mouse pointer
. Then drag the window to the location that you want. (Dragging means pointing to an item, holding down the mouse
button, moving the item with the pointer, and then releasing the mouse button.)
To make a window fill the entire screen, click its Maximize button
or double-click the window's title bar.
To return a maximized window to its former size, click its Restore button
(this appears in place of the Maximize button). Or,
double-click the window's title bar.
To resize a window (make it smaller or bigger), point to any of the window's borders or corners. When the mouse pointer changes to a two-headed arrow (see picture below), drag the border or corner to shrink or enlarge the window.
A window that is maximized cannot be resized. You must restore it to its previous size first.
Although most windows can be maximized and resized, there are some windows that are fixed in size, such as dialog boxes.
Hiding a window is called minimizing it. If you want to get a window out of the way temporarily without closing it, minimize it.
To minimize a window, click its Minimize button
. The window disappears from the desktop and is visible only
as a button on the taskbar, the long horizontal bar at the bottom of
To make a minimized window appear again on the desktop, click its taskbar button. The window appears exactly as it did before you minimized it. For more information about the taskbar, see The taskbar (overview).
Closing a window removes it from the desktop and taskbar. If you're done with a program or document and don't need to return to it right away, close it.
To close a window, click its Close button
If you close a document without saving any changes you made, a message appears that gives you the option to save your changes.
If you open more than one program or document, your desktop can quickly become cluttered with windows. Keeping track of which windows you have open isn't always easy, because some windows might partially or completely cover others.
Using the taskbar. The taskbar provides a way to organize all of your windows. Each window has a corresponding button on the taskbar. To switch to another window, just click its taskbar button. The window appears in front of all other windows, becoming the active window—the one you're currently working in. For more information about taskbar buttons, see The taskbar (overview).
To easily identify a window, point to its taskbar button. When you point to a taskbar button, you'll see a thumbnail-sized preview of the window, whether the content of the window is a document, a photo, or even a running video. This preview is especially useful if you can't identify a window by its title alone.
To see thumbnail previews, your computer must support Aero. For more information about Aero, see What is the Aero desktop experience?
Using Alt+Tab. You can switch to the previous window by pressing Alt+Tab, or cycle through all open windows and the desktop by holding down Alt and repeatedly pressing Tab. Release Alt to show the selected window.
Using Aero Flip 3D. Aero Flip 3D arranges your windows in a three-dimensional stack that you can quickly flip through. To use Flip 3D:
Hold down the Windows logo key
and press Tab to open Flip 3D.
While holding down the Windows logo key, press Tab repeatedly or rotate the mouse wheel to cycle through open windows. You can also press Right Arrow or Down Arrow to cycle forward one window, or press Left Arrow or Up Arrow to cycle backward one window.
Release the Windows logo key to display the frontmost window in the stack. Or, click any part of any window in the stack to display that window.
Flip 3D is part of the Aero desktop experience. If your computer doesn't support Aero, you can view the open programs and windows on your computer by pressing Alt+Tab. To cycle through the open windows, you can press the Tab key, press the arrow keys, or use your mouse. To learn more about Aero, see What is the Aero desktop experience?
Now that you know how to move and resize windows, you can arrange them however you like on your desktop. You can also have Windows automatically arrange them in one of three ways: cascading, vertically stacked, or side by side.
To choose one of these options, open some windows on your desktop, then right-click an empty area of the taskbar and click Cascade windows, Show windows stacked, or Show windows side by side.
Snap will automatically resize your windows when you move, or snap, them to the edge of the screen. You can use Snap to arrange windows side by side, expand windows vertically, or maximize a window.
To arrange windows side by side
Drag the title bar of a window to the left or right side of the screen until an outline of the expanded window appears.
Release the mouse to expand the window.
Repeat steps 1 and 2 with another window to arrange the windows side by side.
To expand a window vertically
Point to the top or bottom edge of an open window until the pointer changes into a double-headed arrow
Drag the edge of the window to the top or bottom of the screen to expand the window to the entire height of the desktop. The width of the window doesn't change.
To maximize a window
Drag the title bar of the window to the top of the screen. The window's outline expands to fill the screen.
Release the window to expand it to fill the entire desktop.
A dialog box is a special type of window that asks you a question, allows you to select options to perform a task, or provides you with information. You'll often see dialog boxes when a program or Windows needs a response from you before it can continue.
Unlike regular windows, most dialog boxes can't be maximized, minimized, or resized. They can, however, be moved.
Using menus, buttons, bars, and boxes
Menus, buttons, scroll bars, and check boxes are examples of controls that you operate with your mouse or keyboard. These controls allow you to select commands, change settings, or work with windows. This section describes how to recognize and use controls that you'll encounter frequently while using Windows.
Most programs contain dozens or even hundreds of commands (actions) that you use to work the program. Many of these commands are organized under menus. Like a restaurant menu, a program menu shows you a list of choices. To keep the screen uncluttered, menus are hidden until you click their titles in the menu bar, located just underneath the title bar.
To choose one of the commands listed in a menu, click it. Sometimes a dialog box appears, in which you can select further options. If a command is unavailable and cannot be clicked, it is shown in gray.
Some menu items are not commands at all. Instead, they open other menus. In the following picture, pointing to "New" opens a submenu.
If you don't see the command you want, try looking at another menu. Move your mouse pointer along the menu bar and its menus open automatically; you don't need to click the menu bar again. To close a menu without selecting any commands, click the menu bar or any other part of the window.
Recognizing menus isn't always easy, because not all menu controls look alike or even appear on a menu bar. So how can you spot them? When you see an arrow next to a word or picture, you're probably looking at a menu control. Here are some examples:
If a keyboard shortcut is available for a command, it is shown next to the command.
You can operate menus using your keyboard instead of your mouse. See Using your keyboard.
When a document, webpage, or picture exceeds the size of its window, scroll bars appear to allow you to see the information that is currently out of view. The following picture shows the parts of a scroll bar.
To use a scroll bar:
Click the up or down scroll arrows to scroll the window's contents up or down in small steps. Hold down the mouse button to scroll continuously.
Click an empty area of a scroll bar above or below the scroll box to scroll up or down one page.
Drag a scroll box up, down, left, or right to scroll the window in that direction.
If your mouse has a scroll wheel, you can use it to scroll through documents and webpages. To scroll down, roll the wheel backward (toward you). To scroll up, roll the wheel forward (away from you).
A command button performs a command (makes something happen) when you click it. You'll most often see them in dialog boxes, which are small windows that contain options for completing a task. For example, if you close a Paint picture without saving it first, you might see a dialog box like this.
To close the picture, you must first click either the Save or Don't Save button. Clicking Save saves the picture and any changes you've made, and clicking Don't Save deletes the picture and discards any changes you've made. Clicking Cancel dismisses the dialog box and returns you to the program.
Pressing Enter does the same thing as clicking a command button that is selected (outlined).
Outside of dialog boxes, command buttons vary in appearance, so it's sometimes difficult to know what's a button and what isn't. For example, command buttons often appear as small icons (pictures) without any text or rectangular frame.
The most reliable way to determine if something is a command button is to rest your pointer on it. If it "lights up" and becomes framed with a rectangle, you've discovered a button. Most buttons will also display some text about their function when you point to them.
If a button changes into two parts when you point to it, you've discovered a split button. Clicking the main part of the button performs a command, whereas clicking the arrow opens a menu with more options.
Option buttons allow you to make one choice among two or more options. They frequently appear in dialog boxes. The following picture shows two option buttons. The "Color" option is selected.
To select an option, click one of the buttons. Only one option can be selected.
Check boxes allow you to select one or more independent options. Unlike option buttons, which restrict you to one choice, check boxes allow you to choose multiple options at the same time.
To use check boxes:
Click an empty square to select or "turn on" that option. A check mark will appear in the square, indicating that the option is selected.
To turn off an option, clear (remove) its check mark by clicking it.
Options that currently can't be selected or cleared are shown in gray.
A slider lets you adjust a setting along a range of values. It looks like this.
A slider along the bar shows the currently selected value. In the example shown above, the slider is positioned midway between Slow and Fast, indicating a medium pointer speed.
To use a slider, drag the slider toward the value that you want.
A text box allows you to type information, such as a search term or password. The following picture shows a dialog box containing a text box. We've entered "bear" into the text box.
A blinking vertical line called the cursor indicates where text that you type will appear. In the example, you can see the cursor after the "r" in "bear." You can easily move the cursor by clicking the new position. For example, to add a word before "bear," you would first move the cursor by clicking before the "b."
If you don't see a cursor in the text box, it means the text box isn't ready for your input. Click the box first, and then start typing.
Text boxes that require you to enter a password will usually hide your password as you type it, in case someone else is looking at your screen.
Drop-down lists are similar to menus. Instead of clicking a command, though, you choose an option. When closed, a drop-down list shows only the currently selected option. The other available options are hidden until you click the control, as shown below.
To open a drop-down list, click it. To choose an option from the list, click the option.
A list box displays a list of options that you can choose from. Unlike a drop-down list, some or all of the options are visible without having to open the list.
To choose an option from the list, click it. If the option you want isn't visible, use the scroll bar to scroll the list up or down. If the list box has a text box above it, you can type the name or value of the option instead.
In some dialog boxes, options are divided into two or more tabs. Only one tab, or set of options, can be viewed at a time.
The currently selected tab appears in front of the other tabs. To switch to a different tab, click the tab.
Working with files and folders
A file is an item that contains information—for example, text or images or music. When opened, a file can look very much like a text document or a picture that you might find on someone's desk or in a filing cabinet. On your computer, files are represented with icons; this makes it easy to recognize a type of file by looking at its icon. Here are some common file icons:
A folder is a container you can use to store files in. If you had thousands of paper files on your desk, it would be nearly impossible to find any particular file when you needed it. That's why people often store paper files in folders inside a filing cabinet. On your computer, folders work the same way. Here are some typical folder icons:
Folders can also store other folders. A folder within a folder is usually called a subfolder. You can create any number of subfolders, and each can hold any number of files and additional subfolders.
When it comes to getting organized, you don't need to start from scratch. You can use libraries, a feature new to this version of Windows, to access your files and folders, and arrange them in different ways. Here's a list of the four default libraries and what they're typically used for:
Documents library. Use this library to organize and arrange word-processing documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and other text-related files. For more information, see Managing your documents.
By default, files that you move, copy, or save to the Documents library are stored in the My Documents folder.
Pictures library. Use this library to organize and arrange your digital pictures, whether you get them from your camera, scanner, or in e‑mail from other people. For more information, By default, files that you move, copy, or save to the Pictures library are stored in the My Pictures folder.
Music library. Use this library to organize and arrange your digital music, such as songs that you rip from an audio CD or that you download from the Internet. For more information, see Managing your music.
By default, files that you move, copy, or save to the Music library are stored in the My Music folder.
Videos library. Use this library to organize and arrange your videos, such as clips from your digital camera or camcorder, or video files that you download from the Internet. For more information, By default, files that you move, copy, or save to the Videos library are stored in the My Videos folder.
To open the Documents, Pictures, or Music libraries, click the Start button
, and then click Documents, Pictures, or Music.
For more information about libraries, see Working with libraries.
When you open a folder or library, you see it in a window. The various parts of this window are designed to help you navigate around Windows or work with files, folders, and libraries more easily. Here's a typical window and each of its parts:
What it's useful for
Use the navigation pane to access libraries, folders, saved searches, and even entire hard disks. Use the Favorites section to open your most commonly used folders and searches; use the Libraries section to access your libraries. You can also use the Computer folder to browse folders and subfolders. For more information, see Working with the navigation pane.
Back and Forward buttons
Use the Back button
Use the toolbar to perform common tasks, such as changing the appearance of your files and folders, burning files to a CD, or starting a digital picture slide show. The toolbar's buttons change to show only the tasks that are relevant. For example, if you click a picture file, the toolbar shows different buttons than it would if you clicked a music file.
Use the address bar to navigate to a different folder or library or to go back to a previous one. For more information, see Navigate using the address bar.
The library pane appears only when you are in a library (such as the Documents library). Use the library pane to customize the library or to arrange the files by different properties. For more information, see Working with libraries.
Use the column headings to change how the files in the file list are organized. For example, you can click the left side of a column heading to change the order the files and folders are displayed in, or you can click the right side to filter the files in different ways. (Note that column headings are available only in Details view. To learn how to switch to Details view, see 'Viewing and arranging files and folders' later in this topic.)
This is where the contents of the current folder or library are displayed. If you type in the search box to find a file, only the files that match your current view (including files in subfolders) will appear.
The search box
Type a word or phrase in the search box to look for an item in the current folder or library. The search begins as soon as you begin typing—so if you type "B," for example, all the files with names starting with the letter B will appear in the file list. For more information, see Find a file or folder.
Use the details pane to see the most common properties associated with the selected file. File properties are information about a file, such as the author, the date you last changed the file, and any descriptive tags you might have added to the file. For more information, see Add tags and other properties to files.
Use the preview pane to see the contents of most files. If you select an e‑mail message, text file, or picture, for example, you can see its contents without opening it in a program. If you don't see the preview pane, click the Preview pane button
When you open a folder or library, you can change how the files look in the window. For example, you might prefer larger (or smaller) icons or a view that lets you see different kinds of information about each file. To make these kinds of changes, use the Views button
in the toolbar.
Each time you click the left side of the Views button, it changes the way your files and folders are displayed by cycling through five different views: Large Icons, List, a view called Details that shows several columns of information about the file, a smaller icon view called Tiles, and a view called Content that shows some of the content from within the file.
If you click the arrow on the right side of the Views button, you have more choices. Move the slider up or down to fine-tune the size of the file and folder icons. You can see the icons change size as you move the slider.
In libraries, you can go a step further by arranging your files in different ways. For example, say you want to arrange the files in your Music library by genre (such as Jazz and Classical):
Click the Start button
, and then click Music.
In the library pane (above the file list), click the menu next to Arrange by, and then click Genre.
Depending on how many files you have and how they are organized, finding a file might mean browsing through hundreds of files and subfolders—not an easy task. To save time and effort, use the search box to find your file.
The search box is located at the top of every window. To find a file, open the folder or library that makes the most sense as a starting point for your search, click the search box, and start typing. The search box filters the current view based on the text that you type. Files are displayed as search results if your search term matches the file's name, tags or other properties, or even the text inside a text document.
If you're searching for a file based on a property (such as the file's type), you can narrow the search before you start typing by clicking the search box, and then clicking one of the properties just below the search box. This adds a search filter (such as "type") to your search text, which will give you more accurate results.
If you aren't seeing the file you're looking for, you can change the entire scope of a search by clicking one of the options at the bottom of the search results. For example, if you search for a file in the Documents library but you can't find it, you can click Libraries to expand the search to the rest of your libraries. For more information, Copying and moving files and folders
Occasionally, you might want to change where files are stored on your computer. You might want to move files to a different folder, for example, or copy them to removable media (such as CDs or memory cards) to share with another person.
Most people copy and move files using a method called drag and drop. Start by opening the folder that contains the file or folder you want to move. Then, open the folder where you want to move it to in a different window. Position the windows side by side on the desktop so that you can see the contents of both.
Next, drag the file or folder from the first folder to the second folder. That's all there is to it.
When using the drag-and-drop method, you might notice that sometimes the file or folder is copied, and at other times it's moved. If you're dragging an item between two folders that are stored on the same hard disk, then the item is moved so that two copies of the same file or folder aren't created in the same location. If you drag the item to a folder that's in a different location (such as a network location) or to removable media like a CD, then the item is copied.
The easiest way to arrange two windows on the desktop is to use Snap. For more information, see Arrange windows side by side on the desktop using Snap.
If you copy or move a file or folder to a library, it will be stored in the library's default save location. To learn how to customize a library's default save location, see Customize a library.
Another way to copy or move a file is to drag it from the file list to a folder or library in the navigation pane so you don't need to open two separate windows.
The most common way to create new files is by using a program. For example, you can create a text document in a word-processing program or a movie file in a video-editing program.
Some programs create a file as soon as you open them. When you open WordPad, for example, it starts with a blank page. This represents an empty (and unsaved) file. Start typing, and when you are ready to save your work, click the Save button
. In the dialog box that appears, type a file
name that will help you find the file again in the future, and then click Save.
By default, most programs save files in common folders like My Documents and My Pictures, which makes it easy to find the files again next time.
When you no longer need a file, you can remove it from your computer to save space and to keep your computer from getting cluttered with unwanted files. To delete a file, open the folder or library that contains the file, and then select the file. Press Delete on your keyboard and then, in the Delete File dialog box, click Yes.
When you delete a file, it's temporarily stored in the Recycle Bin. Think of the Recycle Bin as a safety net that allows you to recover files or folders that you might have accidentally deleted. Occasionally, you should empty the Recycle Bin to reclaim all of the hard disk space being used by your unwanted files. To learn how, see permanently delete files from the Recycle Bin.
To open a file, double-click it. The file will usually open in the program that you used to create or change it. For example, a text file will open in your word-processing program.
That's not always the case, though. Double-clicking a picture file, for example, will usually open a picture viewer. To change the picture, you need to use a different program. Right-click the file, clicks Open with, and then click the name of the program that you want to use.
At the end i want to give credit of this tutorial to windows help documentation