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Getting started with the Raspberry Pi OS desktop

Raspberry Pi OS Desktop on Monitor

If you’ve recently purchased a Raspberry Pi and are interested in using it as a computer running Raspberry Pi OS (formerly called Raspbian), then you’ll need to get used to the desktop.

While the basic view of your desktop is pretty simple, you might wonder where to find things or what it is that you’re seeing.

Here, we’ll run down what you can find on your desktop with Raspberry Pi OS and where to look for things you’ll need.

Also read:

  • How to decide which Raspberry Pi to buy
  • Beginner’s guide to setting up your Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi OS desktop

You’ll see that your operating system comes complete with a Trash folder. This is the only icon that appears on the desktop initially. Like other platforms, the Trash is where you’ll find your deleted items.

To add more folders or sort the items on your desktop, right-click any blank spot and make a selection from the menu.

Raspberry Pi OS Desktop Shortcut and Trash

At the top of your desktop is the Task Bar. Starting from the left, here’s what you’ll see and what each item is for.

Raspberry Pi OS Desktop Task Bar

Applications Menu: The Raspberry Pi logo holds a menu of all sorts of items. You have categories for Programming, Education, and Office that contain applications like Scratch, SmartSim, and LibreOffice.

Raspberry Pi OS Desktop Applications Menu Programming

The Accessories area has items you’ll likely use frequently like the Calculator, PDF Viewer, Task Manager, and Text Editor.

You’ll also see a Help section for when you need assistance, Preferences for adjusting the appearance and configuring peripherals, and Run for executing commands.

At the bottom is the Logout option which lets you shut down, log out, or reboot the computer.

Web Browser: By default, Raspberry Pi OS comes with the Chromium web browser. This is convenient for getting you right onto the web.

File Manager: This handy folder holds all of your computer’s files. From downloads and music to your system and temporary files. This is your go-to spot for all of your files, documents, and images.

Raspberry Pi OS Desktop File Manager

Terminal: You can easily open Terminal from the Applications Menu, but the tool is conveniently parked in the Task Bar for quick access to it. You’ll likely use Terminal quite a bit for running commands on your Raspberry Pi.

Raspberry Pi OS Desktop Terminal

To the right you’ll see any windows that you minimize. So like the Dock on Mac or Task Bar on Windows, you can quickly display any open windows or applications.

Raspberry Pi OS Desktop Task Bar Open apps

All the way to the right of your Task Bar, you have a few other items.

Bluetooth: Click the Bluetooth icon to turn it off and on, make your computer discoverable, or add and remove devices.

Wi-Fi: Next to Bluetooth is the Wi-Fi icon. Click to turn Wi-Fi off or on and select a nearby network.

Time: Of course, you have a handy clock on the Task Bar. If you hover your cursor over it, you’ll see the date and if you click, you have an interactive calendar.

Raspberry Pi OS Desktop Clock Calendar

Wrapping it up

Once you know where to find things on your Raspberry Pi OS desktop, you’re off to a great start with using it as your personal computer.

Be sure to check back with iDB for more articles on Raspberry Pi. We’ll cover desktop computer topics like how to customize the Task Bar and appearance, how to take a screenshot, and more.

Is there anything in particular you’re hoping we’ll write about for Raspberry Pi as a desktop computer? Let us know below or hit us up on Twitter or Facebook!

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