Know your computer desktop window environment

Desktop window environment (popularly called CDE) is a graphical user interface (GUI), an  implementation of  a bundle of programs running on top of a computer operating system, the desktop environment was seen mostly on personal computers such as laptops and desktop.

Desktop environment GUI helps the user to easily communicate, access and to edit files, that is to say, it enhance communication between the computer and the user, where they usually do not provide access to all of the features found in the underlying operating system.

desktop screen

Instead, the traditional command-line interface (CLI) is still used to have full control over the operating system when required. The following can be found on the desktop environment after the computer finished booting:


Icons are picture that displayed on a computer screen (that is, pictures that appear in the computer desktop window environment, they act as buttons) in order to help the user navigate around the computer system or mobile device. It is say to be a graphical representation of folders, files and application software of the system. The user can activate an icon using a mouse, pointer, finger, or recently voice commands even the keyboard buttons command can also be use.

The placement on the screen can also be in relation to their order of arrangement of the icons, may provide further information to the user about their usage, Icons as parts of the graphical user interface of the computer system in conjunction with windows, menus and a pointing device (mouse), belongs to the much larger topic of the history of the graphical user interface that has largely supplanted the text-based interface for casual use.

The icon is of two types which are programs and folder Icons. Programs icons are icons that contains program inside them which when double  click or point and right click on them to select open will load the program while folder icons serve as a container that contains or used to store files and records. Folders are normally display in a shape of brief case.


A folder is a container that is use to store files in the computer system, it can also be called a directory, is a special type of file on the computer’s file system which contains other files and folders (that is sub-folder). In a folder files are organized by storing related files in the same directory (folder).

Follow this link to read more about folder

Desktop background

These are image, picture and graphic that appear at the front of the computer window normally called desktop background. “It was called Wallpaper by Microsoft Windows before Windows Vista where introduced and was changed to desktop background while macOS it’s called desktop picture.

The desktop sometimes called wallpaper or background (also known as a desktop wallpaper, desktop background, desktop picture or desktop image on computers) is a digital image (photo, drawing, graphic etc.) used to decorate the background of a graphical user interface (GUI) on the screen of a computer, mobile communications device or other electronic device.


This is the horizontal line that appears at the bottom of every computer systems normally with a light blue color, this contains the start menu, system tray, Running/Unrunning program, date and time and other hidden icons etc.

By default, all started applications and open windows are displayed in the taskbar, which allows the user to access any application regardless of the currently active desktop. If you click a window title in the taskbar, the application is open and if it is already opened, clicking the application title will minimizes the application.

Start menu or Start button

The Start button was first introduced with the release of Microsoft Windows 95 and has been featured in all releases of Windows since, this feature is located at the left hand side in the taskbar, it’s the central place where you can find and access all the programs installed on the computer system.

The Start button allows users to access their computer programs easily or configure Microsoft Windows easily by accessing the Start Menu. Windows 8 and 10 has a Start button (shown in the image) that opens the Start Screen instead of the Start Menu.

differnt windows start button

The picture above shows the different examples of the Start buttons found in Windows operating system (OS) today. The gray Start button at the top was the first Start button, found in early versions of Microsoft Windows, the second picture Start button made a brief appearance in Windows XP, the third Start button appears in Windows Vista and Window 7 and the last was for Windows 8 and 10.

System Tray

This feature is the rightmost part on the computer panel usually holds the system clock, the volume control, and several other helper applications and Windows options. When introduced with Windows 95, the system tray is located in the Windows Taskbar (usually at the bottom next to the clock) and contains miniature icons for easy access to system functions such as fax, printer, modem, volume, and more.

Double clicking or right click on an icon to view and access the details and controls, in Windows 7, 8 the system tray can be shown permanently on your taskbar or could be hidden as a pop-up which when clicked the little arrow will displays those hidden icons . To see all options available for display in Windows vista, 7 and 8 follow these steps below:

  • Right-click on the Taskbar
  • Select Properties
  • Next, click the Customize button

On Windows 10 the following steps will guide you:

  • Right-click on the Taskbar
  • Select Settings to review Taskbar settings
  • In the Notification area, you can customize the System icons and more.

Valentine Ernest

Valentine Ernest is the founder and editor of He loves to share knowledge on Computing, knowing full that ICT is fast growing in today's world, so he keeps updating his readers/viewers about news from various sources to keep readers/viewers informed on the latest skills in computing.

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