Start Menu and the Taskbar
If you look to the lower left corner of your screen you will see a button with the Windows logo on it. The button will look different depending on the operating system, here are some examples:
Windows Vista & Windows 7:
Windows 8 does not have a start button or a start menu.
Windows 8.1 has a start button but does not have a start menu.
This is the Start Button that will lead you to the start menu where you can find and launch any program that is installed on your computer.
If you don't see the program you are looking for, click "All Programs" or "Programs" and this will lead you to the rest of the programs on your computer.
However, if you are using Windows 8 or 8.1, you will not see a start menu. By default, windows 8 and 8.1 do not have a start menu at all, they have the Start Screen, click Windows 8 to learn more. However, you can install a start menu which we always do unless requested otherwise by the customer.
The taskbar is the bar that stretches across the bottom of the screen. It is the same bar that the Start Button is located on.
The taskbar will show you what programs are currently running on your computer and it can also have Shortcuts on it. To tell the difference between what is a shortcut and what is a running program, just look at the icon, an open program will have a lighter colored box around it's icon and a shortcut icon, that is not currently open, will not.
Also in your taskbar is your "Notification area" located to the far right on your taskbar. Your notification area has your clock in it as well as your internet status and other programs that run in the background.
If you click the little triangle it will show you what programs are running in the background like your Anti-virus, audio software, mouse software, and so on.
The flag is the Action Center. It will have a red x on it or yellow ! if something is wrong. But it will only alert you about basic things like if your anti-virus is not working.
The little computer screen is your network status which can look like it does in the image above or it can look like any variation of or . For more information on WiFi and network's go to Get Connected.
Finally the 4th icon in the notification area is your volume control.
If someone says, "Click start" they mean click the Start Menu.
If someone says, "look in your taskbar" they are talking about the bar that stretches accross the bottom of your screen.
If someone says, "look in your Notification area" they are talking about the area on the far right of your taskbar.