A desktop is "the top of a table, counter, or booth at which specified services or functions are performed." In reference to Windows, the Desktop is the area on which your work can be laid out. The term "Desktop" came into official use with Windows 95, but Windows 3.x can also be considered to have a desktop. It is the background. A background is "the general scene or surface against which designs, patterns, or figures are represented or viewed. "If you can't grasp the concept of a desktop from its dictionary definition, you're in sorry shape, because a picture of it won't help you. A typical Windows 95 Desktop looks like this:
Really. But it doesn't have to look like that. Using the Control Panel's Desktop or Display settings (for Windows 3.x or 95, respectively,) you can change the appearance of the desktop to just about anything.
As I mentioned in the disclaimer, the Taskbar is also a window. Like application windows, you can change its size; however, the border is only available on one side of the Taskbar (the side that isn't against the edge of the display.) You can only enlarge the taskbar to half the size of the Desktop, but Windows will happily let you shrink it down to nothing but the border!
You can also move the Taskbar, but unlike other windows, it must be stuck to one side of the display and run the entire length of that side. To move the Taskbar, just hold the mouse button down on a part of the Taskbar that isn't covered by buttons: , and drag it to whichever side of the screen you want it to be.
An icon is "an image; a representation." It is used to represent a window , program , file , or any other object. Icons behave differently depending on what they represent, but usually you need to double-click on the icon to activate it. In Windows 95, clicking the right mouse button on most icons will display a menu that gives you additional things you can do with that icon.