Parts of a Computer Window

By Timothy Allen

Microsoft Windows, the most widely used operating system in the world, employs a windows metaphor for navigation and file management. Understanding the parts of a window is the first step to knowing how to navigate through the operating system.

The Title Bar

At the top of every window is the title bar. The center of the title bar displays either the name of the program you are currently working in, or relevant information about what is happening in the program at any given moment. When the window is not maximized, this is where you can click and drag to move the window to a new location on the screen.

Minimize, Maximize, Close Buttons

In the upper right-hand corner of the window are the three buttons used to minimize, maximize, and close the window. Minimizing the window shrinks it to nothing and places it out of sight. Maximizing the window makes it fill the screen and locks it into position so that it cannot be moved by dragging the title bar. Closing the window shuts down the program.

The Scroll Bar

At the right side of the window is the scroll bar, which appears only if there is information to be displayed beyond the bottom range of the current window size. Clicking and dragging on the slider in the scroll bar moves the contents of the window up or down so you can view all of the data available.

The Menu Bar

Most programs will have a menu bar visible in the upper left-hand corner of the window. The menu bar appears as text for most programs, and usually starts with "File" at the far left. Accessing the menu allows you to view various commands available to that program, including closing the program or the window.

The Work Space

The work space is all of the area inside the window where data for the current program is displayed. usually the work space will have a white background, but it is possible to customize this in all versions of Windows, and it may vary by program.