Let's get start with learning about your start menu and desktop.
The Windows Vista start menu is where you will find and access all of your programs and settings. There are 2 looks to your start menu, classic and the default version. Windows Vista default Start Menu will look like this.
The left hand column is a list of recently used programs and will change as you use your computer. The right hand column is where you will see the classic options of the start menu.
Windows users may prefer using the classic version that looks more like Windows 98 and Windows 2000. The classic version is less cumbersome and will only display one column with the Main Windows options on the bottom and only 4 recently used programs on the top.
If you prefer the classic look you can change the look of your start menu by right clicking on the lower blue bar and clicking properties.