How Does a Desktop Window Work in Windows 10?

By Andy Rathbone

The following figure shows a typical window in Windows 10. You might recognize the window as your Documents folder, that storage tank for most of your work.

Here’s the Windows 10 Documents folder window.
Here’s the Windows 10 Documents folder window.

Just as boxers grimace differently depending on where they’ve been punched, windows behave differently depending on where they’ve been clicked.

  • Windows veterans remember their My Documents folder, that stash for almost all of their files. Windows 10 calls it simply the Documents folder. (No matter what it’s called, you’re still supposed to stash your files inside it.)

  • A thick, control-filled panel called the Ribbon lives atop every folder. Some people like the Ribbon’s larger buttons and menus; others preferred the older menu system. Don’t like the Ribbon? Gaze at the folder’s top-right corner and click the little arrow next to the question mark, and the Ribbon disappears. (Repeat to put it back.)

  • Windows no longer shows libraries in the Navigation Pane. Most people won’t miss them. If you do, put them back: Right-click a blank place inside the Navigation Pane and choose Show Libraries from the shortcut menu.

  • Windows is full of little oddly shaped buttons, borders, and boxes. You don’t need to remember all their names, although that would give you a leg up on figuring out the scholarly Windows Help menus.

  • You can deal with most things in Windows by clicking, double-clicking, or right-clicking. Hint: When in doubt, always right-click.

  • After you click a few windows a few times, you realize how easy it is to boss them around. The hard part is finding the right controls for the first time, like figuring out the dashboard on that rental car.