The standard method to access applications and folders in Windows is through the Start menu. The Start menu is slow because you have to wait for submenus to open and cascade. To be a proficient Windows user, you need quick access to frequently used files and applications on your PC. The quickest access can be achieved through the Quick Launch toolbar on the left-side of the Taskbar.
Note: On Windows XP, if the Quick Launch toolbar is not visible, right-click on the Taskbar to open the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties dialog box. Set the checkbox next to Show Quick Launch. Click on the OK button.
The Quick Launch toolbar is faster than the Start menu because you need only to single-click on an icon to launch the application or open the folder. To put an icon on the Quick Launch toolbar, drag and drop the application's icon over the Quick Launch toolbar.
The drawback to the Quick Launch toolbar is that it can hold only a limited number of icons. Heavy Windows users need quick access to dozens of applications, files, folders, and command scripts. The second quickest access to these objects is to place them, or shortcuts to them, on the desktop.
The drawback to using shortcuts on the desktop is that the desktop is usually covered by open applications and files. The Show Desktop icon on the Quick Launch toolbar allows you to minimize all open windows with one click. Then after opening the desired desktop object, one click on the Show Desktop icon restores any windows that were previously open.
Just to the right of the Start button, on the quick launch toolbar shown above is the Internet Explorer icon, then the Show desktop icon. Note that my quick launch toolbar also contains icons for Shutdown, Task Manager, and Firefox, applications that I use frequently.
The Show Desktop icon is usually placed on the Quick Launch toolbar by default. If the Show Desktop icon is missing, locate the file Show Desktop.scf in the Windows\System, or WINNT\System32 folder and drag it to the Quick Launch toolbar to create a shortcut for it there.
If the file Show Desktop.scf is missing, open Notepad and enter the following lines:
[Shell] Command=2 IconFile=explorer.exe,3 [Taskbar] Command=ToggleDesktop
Save the file in the Windows\System or Winnt\System32 folder with the name Show Desktop.scf.
Note: Notepad may automatically append a .txt extension to the file name. Remove the .txt extension if Notepad adds it.
Then drag the file to the Quick Lanch bar to create a shortcut for it there.
To be a proficient Windows user, you need quick access to frequently used files and applications on your PC. The quickest access to applications can be achieved through the Quick Launch toolbar, but it can hold only a limited number of icons. The second quickest access is through shortcuts on the desktop, but the desktop is usually covered by open windows but the solution is to click on the Show Desktop icon to to minimize all open windows.