Find the Windows 8 Desktop and the Start Screen - dummies

Find the Windows 8 Desktop and the Start Screen

By Andy Rathbone

The Windows 8 Start screen treats the desktop as just another app: a small, single-purpose program. So, you open the desktop just as you’d open any other app: Click the Start screen’s Desktop tile.

The Desktop tile looks like a miniature version of your real desktop, complete with your current desktop background.

When summoned, the desktop pushes aside the Start screen and fills the screen, ready to run your traditional Windows programs.

The Windows 8 desktop works much like the desktop found in previous Windows versions. The Windows 8 desktop is almost indistinguishable from the one in the previous version, Windows 7.


The desktop, with its tiny buttons and thin bars, works best with a keyboard and mouse. If you’re using Windows on a touchscreen tablet, you’ll probably want to buy a portable mouse and keyboard for desktop work.

The Windows 8 desktop will run nearly all the Windows programs that ran on your old Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 computer. Exceptions are antivirus programs, security suites, and some utility programs. Those don’t usually transfer well from one Windows version to another.

Still addicted to apps? You can “snap” an app to the right or left side of your desktop, which gives you the best of both worlds.

For more information about Windows 8 and its features, explore Windows 8 For Dummies, available online.