Windows Vocabulary

Desktop - the home screen of the computer that has a background and displays icons that represent files and applications. Like items on a physical desktop, the icons can be moved and rearranged, and even "thrown away." 

Window - a rectangular part of the display on a computer screen that presents the contents of the program you are using. Each program you open on a computer will usually open in its own window. Windows open over the desktop, and can be moved, resized, and can overlap each other on the screen. The window will usually have three options in the corner.


1. Minimize. This option collapeses the window so it no longer appears on the desktop. The program continues to run, and by clicking the icon for the application in the taskbar at the bottom of the screen, the program can be reopened.

2. Maximized. This option makes the window full screen, or as large as it will go.

3. Close. This option closes the window and the application completely.

Application - another term for software or a program that is installed on the computer and is designed to help you do something specific. For example, Microsoft Word is an application, and the Google Chrome web browser is another application.

Program - a sequence of instructions that tells the computer what to do. An application or piece of software is made up of a collection of programs that works together to help you perform a task.

Taskbar - the bar along the bottom of the screen that always stays visible even when windows are open on the screen, allowing you to access applications and showing you what applications are open.


Start Button - usually located in the bottom left corner of the screen on the taskbar, the start button lets you open a menu that will display all the applications available on that particular computer. It also provides access to the settings and controls for the computer. See Using the "Start" Button for more information. 


Quick Launch - the part of the taskbar closest to the start button that lets you add shortcuts to programs you use most often. Right click on an application's icon in the taskbar to pin it to the quick launch area of the taskbar. See Create Shortcuts lesson for more information.

quick launch

Shortcut - an icon on the desktop or taskbar that opens a application, folder, or file. Double-clicking on the shortcut will open the application, folder or file. Creating a shortcut for things you use frequently can save you time. See Create Shortcuts lesson for more information.

Control Panel - the area of the computer that allows you to change system settings, such as changing the wallpaper on the desktop and changing how quickly the screen saver comes on when the computer is not in use. The control panel also lets you add or delete applications, check and troubleshoot Internet connections, manage any input devices like keyboards and mice and output devices like printers.

Class Assignment

 Choose a vocabulary word that was new to you. In your own words, tell your instructor what it means and why it is important.