PC Hardware

The Windows Taskbar

The Windows 95 taskbar provides a single location in the interface for important information. By default, it sits at the bottom of the screen, but it can be moved by the user. By clicking and dragging any portion of the taskbar that is not a button, you can move it to the top, bottom, left, or right of the screen. It is comprised of three sections.

  • The notification area (also called the system tray) contains the clock (if you point your mouse at the time, the date will pop up) and any icons representing applications that are running in the background (printer, scanner, antivirus program).

  • The Start Button opens programs.

  • Each Open program is displayed on the taskbar as a button (between the notification area and the Start Button) that contains the program name and icon.

The more open programs there are, the smaller each button appears.

The Recycle Bin

In the early days of the computer, accidental deletion of files was a common occurrence. When a file was deleted, MS-DOS did not delete the contents-it changed the first letter of the filename to a lowercase Greek letter, sigma, and changed all the file's FAT entries to 0 (the clusters could now be used by another file). Later versions of MS-DOS included an UNDELETE command, which could restore a file (provided no other file had used the clusters). However, unless the file was recovered immediately after being deleted, the chances of recovery were slim.

Windows 95 has overcome this problem by creating the Recycle Bin, which is a hidden folder that holds deleted files. The files stay safe and out of sight in this folder until they are removed from the Recycle Bin. You can restore any file by opening the Recycle Bin, selecting the file, and selecting Restore from the File menu. The Recycle Bin is a great tool, but it is not perfect. Here are some things to be aware of:

  • Emptying the Recycle Bin permanently deletes the files.

  • Floppy disk and network drive deletions are permanent.

  • The Recycle Bin can be bypassed by holding down the SHIFT key while deleting. This permanently deletes a file.

  • The Properties dialog box (right-click on the Recycle Bin icon) allows you to customize Recycle Bin activities. You can configure a Recycle Bin independently for each drive, select to remove files immediately when deleted, or set the maximum size of the Recycle Bin.