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 Desktop apps

While many applications run exclusively in the Start screen, you'll also need to know how to open apps from the Desktop view. If you've used previous versions of Windows before, this should feel more familiar.

To open an app on the Desktop:

There are two ways to open an app in Desktop view:

To pin apps to the taskbar:

By default, only a few apps will have icons on the taskbar. You can pin your favorite apps to the taskbar, which will create a convenient shortcut to the app from the Desktop view.

  1. Right-click anywhere on the Start screen, and a menu will appear at the bottom. Click the All apps button.


    Screenshot of Windows 8Clicking All apps
  2. A list of apps will appear. Locate and right-click the desired app.


    Screenshot of Windows 8Right-clicking the desired app
  3. A menu will appear at the bottom of the screen. Click Pin to taskbar.


    Screenshot of Windows 8Pinning an app to the taskbar
  4. The app icon will now appear on the taskbar.


    Screenshot of Windows 8The app pinned on the taskbar

Not all apps can be pinned to the taskbar. Apps that are designed to run from the Start screen, such as Messaging and Calendar, can only be pinned to the Start screen.