Windows Environment

The Windows environment is the onscreen work area provided by Windows, analogous to a physical desktop, and the operating system's core extension points. Learn how to leverage the desktop, taskbar, notification area, control panels, help, and user account control for your app.

In this section

Topic Description
Desktop
The desktop is the user's work area for their programs. It's not a way to promote awareness of your program or its brand. Don't abuse it!
Taskbar
The taskbar is the access point for programs displayed on the desktop. With the new Windows 7 taskbar features, users can give commands, access resources, and view program status directly from the taskbar.
Notification Area
The notification area provides notifications and status. Well-designed programs use the notification area appropriately, without being annoying or distracting.
Control Panels
Use control panel items to help users configure system-level features and perform related tasks. Programs that have a user interface should be configured directly from their UI instead.
Help
Use Help as a secondary mechanism to help users complete and better understand tasks the primary mechanism being the UI itself. Apply these guidelines to make the content truly helpful and easy to find.
User Account Control
A well designed User Account Control experience helps prevent unwanted system-wide changes in a way that is predictable and requires minimal effort.