MICROSOFT WINDOWS NAVIGATION

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1 MICROSOFT WINDOWS NAVIGATION MARGARET E. HEGGAN FREE PUBLIC LIBRARY This walkthrough assumes you have a computer with Microsoft Windows 7 installed. Versions of Microsoft Windows are similar, but different in many ways, be sure to figure out the unique properties of your OS. WHAT IS AN OPERATING SYSTEM? Microsoft Windows is software called an OPERATING SYSTEM (OS). An OPERATING SYSTEM is perhaps the most important software on your computer and has numerous responsibilities from organizing tasks to rendering everything you see on your monitor. There are several operating systems in existence. Computers called PCs or PERSONAL COMPUTERS run on a WINDOWS OPERATING SYSTEM by default. Computers called MACs will run on an APPLE OPERATING SYSTEM by default. These are both proprietary software and cost money to obtain, however, there do exist a few free OPERATING SYSTEMS such as LINIX. It is possible to install a different OS on a computer with one already installed. When turn on your computer the screen will be black and white text will automatically present information. This is the computer searching for boot files necessary to launch your operating system, once it finds them all blue screen should appear asking you to log in. This is where Microsoft Windows begins. The main thing an OPERATING SYSTEM like Microsoft Windows does is present the user with a GRAPHICAL USER INTERFACE (GUI). In order to perform an action a computer needs a sequence of requests in the form many, many, many lines of code. A GUI allows the user to interact with a computer with graphics instead by corresponding interactions with images with code. For instance, double clicking on an object tells the GUI to give the computer the lines of code that instruct it to launch a program. THE DESKTOP Microsoft Windows will first present you with the DESKTOP. The DESKTOP is a surface over which all the programs you launch on your computer will rest. Think of it like a literal desktop, and programs like books and papers and you ll get the basic idea. On the DESKTOP you will find several small icons called SHORTCUTS. A SHORTCUT allows you to jump to a program or location on your computer by double clicking it. These icons are all moveable by via the drag and drop technique. Page 1

2 REFRESHER The drag and drop technique is when you click on an object with the left mouse button but do not release the button. If you move the mouse, you ll notice a ghost of the icon moving along with your cursor. The object will rest in the location you release the left mouse button. THE TASKBAR Below the DESKTOP you will find a blue bar called the TASKBAR. The TASKBAR will be present while you navigate windows unless a program overrides it. The TASKBAR contains information on the tasks Windows is managing. For instance, when you open a program you will see a tab created for it in the TASKBAR. Clicking this tab will allow you to hide the program, but keep it running. On the far right of the TASKBAR you will see the time and a set of icons. These icons indicate what processes are running in the background of your GUI, and are not graphically represented on the desktop. You can stop or interact with these programs by right clicking their icon. On the far left of the TASKBAR you will find the START BUTTON ( ). THE START MENU Clicking the START BUTTON will bring up the START MENU. The START MENU contains all of the programs and functions on your computer (with rare exceptions), in other words it is the place you will always start. You will find icons for frequently used programs in the START MENU, and all other programs will be accessible via ALL PROGRAMS. ACCESSORIES The ACCESSORIES folder contains system programs that assist you in using your machine effectively. The following are a few noteworthy programs. CALCULATOR A calculator. PAINT Allows you to create simple art in an easy to use program. MAGNIFIER (ACCESSIBILITY) Creates a window that magnifies anything behind it. ON SCREEN KEYBOARD (ACCESSIBILITY) Creates a keyboard on the DESKTOP that can be used by clicking keys. Useful if your keyboard is malfunctioning. DEFRAGMENTER (SYSTEM TOOLS) Organizes data in the computer, allowing information to be retrieved easier and the computer to run faster. It is a good idea to do this regularly, every few months or so. Page 2

3 SYSTEM RESTORE (SYSTEM TOOLS) Restores system files (not personal files) to a earlier point in time. This is a life saver if your computer is damaged by something like a virus. MY COMPUTER Think of your computer, CD or flash drive as a filing cabinet. Folders within the filing cabinet can contain folders and those folders can contain folders and so on and so forth. This is how Windows presents its data and MY COMPUTER allows you to select a drive to explore. The C DRIVE (C:/) represents the hard drive of your computer. The D DRIVE (D:/) represents a CD or DVD in your computer (some computers use the E DRIVE). If you insert a flash drive into your computer it will be assigned to a drive usually from F through J. When you click on a drive you will see the first set of folders and files within. All other folders and files exist within these folders. The programs on your computer may use the files you come across so be careful when moving or altering them. That said, it is possible to save or move a file to any location on your computer, so use your best judgment. The safest practice is to keep all of your saved files in the same region on your computer. NOTEWORTHY FOLDERS WINDOWS This folder contains files essential to the performance of your operating system. It is highly advisable that you do not alter anything in these folders. PROGRAM FILES Contains files for the various programs on your computer. Altering any of the files can potentially damage a program, but you ll often need to explore these files to launch a program or retrieve a generated file. If Windows asks you what program to run a file with, you ll be brought to the PROGRAM FILES folder to find it. USERS If your computer has multiple users on it the USERS folder will allow you to select your profile to get at your DOCUMENTS AND SETTINGS. DOCUMENTS AND SETTINGS Contains all unique folders and files to your profile, most notably the MY DOCUMENTS, MY PICTURES, MY MUSIC, MY VIDEOS, and DOWNLOADS folders, which are the default save locations for most programs. You should save everything you create within this region on your computer. MANAGING FILES CREATING A FOLDER A filing cabinet is a organizational device, and for proper organization there are times when new files need to be created. To create a new folder simply navigate to the region of your computer you want your new folder to exist, usually somewhere within Page 3

4 DOCUMENTS AND SETTINGS. In the window for the folder, move your cursor to an empty spot and right click, select NEW and then FOLDER. A new folder will be created with the name new folder, you can start typing to rename the folder, or right click it again and click RENAME. MOVING A FILE TO A FOLDER There are two ways to move a file to another folder on your computer. First you can drag and drop a file on top of the destination folder. Second you can right click the file and select COPY (or CUT to delete it from its current location), navigate to the desired folder, and then right click an empty spot and select PASTE. CREATING A SHORTCUT To create a SHORTCUT right click a file or folder and select CREATE SHORTCUT. A new icon will be created that looks identical to the object you selected but with an arrow in the lower right icon. You can than move the SHORTCUT wherever you want, advisably the DESKTOP. ARRANGING FILES If you right click on an empty space in a folder or on the DESKTOP you will find ARRANGE ICONS BY. Clicking on this will allow you to automatically sort icons in alphabetical order, file type, newest, and more. COMMON FILE TYPES.doc,.docx =A text file that opens with Microsoft Word..txt = A text file that opens with any word processor..tif,.gif,.jpg,.png = An image..pdf = An Adobe PDF file, opens with Adobe Acrobat Reader.exe = An executable file. This launches a program. CONTROL PANEL CONTROL PANEL contains all the tools you need to personalize your computer from how much energy it will use to the colors of the GUI. Everything in here is useful, but the following are the most useful tools for beginners. DISPLAY Allows you to adjust the resolution of your monitor. The larger the resolution the smaller object will appear, however, there will be more space on the desktop and images will appear sharper. KEYBOARD Allows you to adjust keyboard settings, like STICKY KEYS which will enable a toggle function to your shift key. MOUSE Allows you to adjust mouse settings, like what your cursor looks like and how fast it moves. PERSONALIZATION Allows you to set colors for the TASKBAR and a background image for the DESKTOP amongst other things. POWER OPTIONS Page 4

5 Allows you to control how long your computer is idle before it automatically goes into SLEEP MODE. PROGRAMS AND FEATURES Allows you to properly uninstall a program by right clicking it and selecting REMOVE. RECOVERY Allows you to adjust settings relevant to SYSTEM RESTORE, for instance you may choose several restore points with this option. SOUND Allows you to adjust sound settings on your computer including volume and what sounds play when you perform an action on the computer. WINDOWS UPDATE Windows will automatically keep itself up to date with WINDOWS UPDATE, but if you wish to trigger these manually you can do so with this option. Windows will need to RESTART when it installs updates, and will automatically do so unless manually postponed. TURNING THE COMPUTER OFF You will find the SHUT DOWN options in the START MENU. Always use these to turn power down your machine, NEVER USE THE POWER BUTTON TO SHUT OFF YOUR COMPUTER as this can corrupt important data. LOG OFF If you have multiple users on your computer, LOG OFF will allow you to switch profiles by returning to the sign on screen. SLEEP SLEEP will put your computer into a minimum energy mode, running only essential processes and sending no signal to your monitor. This is useful for if you need to step away from your computer for a few hours, as it will save the time and energy needed for the boot process. It is not advisable to leave a computer in SLEEP mode for an excessive amount of time (as in over 8 hours or so) as the energy saved becomes negligible. SHUT DOWN When you SHUT DOWN a computer it ends the system processes that are running in the background of your OPERATING SYSTEM so the machine can power down without corrupting any files. ALWAYS SHUT DOWN YOUR COMPUTER AND ALLOW THE COMPUTER TO TURN OFF ON ITS OWN. NEVER TURN OFF YOUR MACHINE EARLY. DOING SO CAN CORRUPT A SYSTEM FILE AND RENDER YOUR PROFILE INACCESSIBLE. RESTART Will perform SHUT DOWN procedures and then boot up again. RESTART is used when an update is performed and is a good idea whenever your computer behaves strangely. Nine times out of ten a RESTART can fix a computer problem. Page 5

6 USEFUL KEYBOARD SHORT CUTS F8 (DURING BOOT) Pushing F8 when the computer is booting up (before Windows is launched and the blue login screen appears) will present you the option of launching Windows in SAFE MODE. SAFE MODE only runs essential Windows processes and many programs will not function. This is useful when a corrupt file or virus is causing your computer to behave strangely as SAFE MODE is a safe environment for antivirus software to correct the problem. ALT + TAB This allows you to switch between windows. A useful tool if a program overrides the TASK BAR. CTRL + ALT + DELETE This will hide the DESKTOP and give you several options including SHUT DOWN and TASK MANAGER. TASK MANAGER allows you to force a program to end, and is essential to correcting a frozen program. CTRL + ALT + DELETE has top priority in your computer, so if the machine performs strangely or not at all this is your first line of defense. Page 6

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