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What do you mean by 'close? To configure (ie how many, etc), right-click the desktop. To determine whether the pager (the buttons in the panel) appears, right click the panel, choose 'add', then choose 'add applet'. It should be on that list.
Like aaa said, if you right-click anywhere on the desktop you should get the 'Configure Desktop' option. Inside the configure desktop dialogue you click on the tab for 'Multiple Desktops'. There you can choose the number of virtual desktops you want and their names. To place them on the panel, you right-click on the panel and go 'Add' > 'Applet' > 'Pager'. It should appear. Maybe you have only one desktop set up, but in that case you should still have a little box showing on your panel. Other than that there is really nothing I can tell you.