Where’s My Desktop

May 22, 2009

The Windows desktop is the main screen in Windows that has all of your icons on it. At times, you may have several programs open on the screen, but you want to get to your desktop. You can minimize each program one at a time. But there is an easier way.

showdesktopxpBoth Windows XP and Vista have a feature called “Show Desktop”. It’s a quick way to minimize all of your running programs so you can see the icons on your desktop. There are two ways to engage the show desktop function.

Vista and XP, by default, have an icon next to the start button that you can click that will execute the show desktop function. The picture to the left shows the default location of the Show Desktopshowdesktopvista icon and what it looks like in Windows XP. In Windows Vista, the position of the icon is the same, but the icon itself looks different. The icon pictured to the right is what it looks like in Windows Vista.

Be aware, however, that this icon can be turned off or moved, so it’s possible you may not  have that icon turned on, or it may be hidden. Do you have any icons next to your start button? If you don’t, then you’ll need to turn Quick Launch on. To do that, right click on a blank area of the task bar (that bar at the bottom of the screen) and choose properties from the pop-up menu. Then place a checkmark next to “Show Quick Launch”.

Once Quick Launch is turned on, you should have some icons next to the start menu, but you still might not see the Show Desktop icon. If you see icons, but you don’t see the Show Desktop icon, click on the double greater than sign to the right of the icons near the start menu. You should see it in the pop-up list. If it’s in the pop-up list, click on it and drag it and drop it where you want it.

Having said all of that, there is actually a better way to execute the Show Desktop function. On your keyboard, look for the Windows button (looks like a flag and is usually located one or two keys to the left of the space bar. Press the Windows button and hold it down. Now press the D key on the keyboard. Viola!

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