Getting Started with the Desktop

Familiarize yourself with the Windows 8 desktop so you can navigate with File Explorer, pin apps, manage open windows, and more.

Working with files

To work with the files and folders on your computer, you'll use the File Explorer app. In File Explorer, you can navigate to different folders, open files, delete files, and more.

If you want to access your files from any computer, you may want to store your files online (in the cloud). To learn more, check out our lesson on Using OneDrive with Windows 8.

To open File Explorer:

Basic navigation:

If you see the file you want, you can double-click it. Otherwise, you can use the Navigation pane on the left side of the window to select a different location.

Screenshot of Windows 8Navigating File Explorer

Deleting files

Windows 8 uses a Recycle Bin to prevent you from accidentally deleting files. When you delete a file, it is simply moved to the Recycle Bin. If you change your mind, you can move the file back to its original location. If you're sure you want to permanently delete the file, you will need to empty the Recycle Bin.

To delete a file:

  1. Click, hold, and drag the file onto the Recycle Bin icon on the Desktop. Alternatively, you can select the file and then press the Delete key.
    Screenshot of Windows 8Dragging a file to the Recycle Bin
  2. Right-click the Recycle Bin icon, and select Empty Recycle Bin. All files in the Recycle Bin will be permanently deleted.
    Screenshot of Windows 8Emptying the Recycle Bin

For more tips on working with files, check out our lesson on Managing Your Files and Folders.