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Switching from Mac to PC: Desktop Differences

Welcome to a series of articles on transitioning from a Mac to a PC. This series will help you become familiar with the differences and similarities between the two operating systems, and help you in your move from one to the other.

Desktop Differences

Here’s a guide to the elements of a Windows 7 desktop, to help you find your way around when you transition from a Mac to a PC.

Switching from Mac to PC: Desktop Differences
The Windows Desktop

  1. This is the recycle bin. You can drag and drop items from the desktop, or from open windows, directly into the recycle bin if you want to get rid of them. Note: do not use this for uninstalling programs.
  2. These icons are program shortcuts. Double click them to open the corresponding programs. You can then open them in the same way as you would the programs themselves.
  3. These are desktop gadgets, similar to the widgets on a Mac.
  4. This is the Windows Start Button.
  5. This is the shortcut to open Windows Media Player.
  6. These buttons represent active windows. Click once on a button to maximize the corresponding window.
  7. This is the taskbar. You use this in conjunction with the Start Menu to manage your programs and computer status.
  8. This is the Address Bar. You can type a web address in here directly, press Enter, and the website will open in your browser.
  9. These are Toolbars. You can drag folders and webpages and drop them in these toolbars for quick access. Once these items are in the toolbar menus, you only have to open the menu and click the item you want to open.
  10. More toolbars.
  11. This is the notification area. Clicking the arrow gives you a view of any applications running in the background, such as your antivirus software.
  12. The flag is an alert for any PC issues identified by Windows 7. If you click the flag, you will see messages from Windows Action Center, relating to problems which may need solving.
  13. This icon shows the status of your Internet connection.
  14. This icon shows your battery status if you are using a laptop.
  15. This icon shows your speaker status. If you click on the icon, a slider control appears for you to adjust your speaker volume.
  16. This is your desktop clock and calendar.
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