Windows is the heart of your computer.

I can still tell that Windows is a graphical user interface and operating system, but that all of us already know.

The only thing you perhaps remember, if someone comes to ask is that it is your operating system of your computer. That is indeed the case in 90% of the computers.

The operating system makes the connection between the hardware (printers, keyboard, mouse, etc.), software (programs) and the user (you).

When Windows XP is installed on our computer, we already have some programs that are provided free from Mr Gates (Bill to his friends).

These are: WordPad, Paint, Outlook Express, Internet Explorer and some multimedia software

We discuss this later in the course.

The Windows screen

As soon as we started our computer, and have logged in, we get to see the Windows desktop:


The image above is a typical Windows desktop.

The desktop is the main screen in Windows.

On the desktop, we find some small graphical images which we call icons or pictograms.

Some of these, such as the Recycle Bin and My Computer, are available by default on the desktop.

On the desktop, we can place frequently used documents and shortcuts.

This is useful, because then we do not always look for the file or program that we wish to open on our computer.

A shortcut is also a means to quickly access a program.

At the bottom we find the Start menu, which we click to open a program, or to shut down computer.

We have the Task Bar. In this bar, each program that is accessed is displayed.

We have the Quick Launch toolbar, where we have a few icons of the programs available.
Double clicking it starts the program.

The Mouse

The easiest way to move across your screen and to open or close programs with your mouse.

There are different types, but all are designed for the same basic functions to be carried out.

In our mouse we find three buttons:
the left mouse button, right, and the mouse wheel.

Below I have added a table with a brief explanation about when and where to use the mouse:

name what to do what for
click clicking the left mouse button Selecting objects
double twice quickly in succession clicking the left mouse startup of software, opening folders and files.
click and drag clicking the left mouse button and drag to the correct position select files and folders.
right- clicking the right mouse button displays a pop-up menu with commands that are available.
mouse wheel up or down movement of the wheel to move up or down the contents of the window.

A program start

You can start a program in two ways:

The first is by double clicking on the icon or shortcut on your desktop.

The second way is via the Start button in the taskbar.

To open a program from the Start button, click on the Start button.

In the pop-up menu that appears, choose “All Programs”.


In the list that appears, we see all of our programs that are installed on our computer.

Click the program you wish to access.

Is there a right pointing arrow behind a program, this means that, when we move with the mouse pointer towards this title, a second menu will appear, from which we must choose.

For example, if you mouseover “Entertainment”, several programs appear from which we must make our choice by clicking it.

Using Windows

In Windows, whenever we open a program, a new window or we view the contents of a folder.

The contents of these windows will be different, but some of the basic features of these different windows will be same.

In almost every window that we have opened we find on the top left a title bar, which bears the name of the program and / or the name of the file that is open.


And on the right side we find more buttons:


The “maximize” button is only visible when the “restore” is pressed.
The “Restore” is only visible if the “maximize” is pressed.

Clicking the minimize button, moves the program to the taskbar.

The program is thus not closed, it will only be minimized and displayed in the Task Bar.

To get the program back to enlarge, we click on it in the taskbar.

Clicking the “maximize” button will display the window to the maximum size of your screen.

By clicking on the button “Restore” we can see the dimensions of the window.
Move your mouse pointer over an edge or corner of the program.

Your mouse pointer becomes a double arrow.

Click and drag the window with the mouse pointer to the desired dimensions.


Clicking the “Close” button closes the program.

Windows will always ask if you want to save the file.

Choose Yes, to save your file; choose No, then the file is gone forever.

But about this I have explained it in a later lesson.

Windows scrolling

For longer and / or wider web pages or documents that we want to edit or even read, we must use the scroll bars.

We find the scroll bars to the right and at the bottom of our window


We use the right scroll bar to scroll up and down.

We use the bottom scroll bar to scroll left and right.

For scrolling, we have three options

  1. we click on the arrows at the end of the scrollbar
  2. or we can use by dragging the blue bars in the scrollbar
  3. and we can click in the scrollbar itself.

Shut Down Windows

We turn off the computer by unplugging the power supply.

This can cause problems in our computer.

If we want to shut down Windows and our computer, we click the Start button in the task

And choose “Shut Down”.

In the pop-up window that appears we choose again “Shut Down”.

Modify file views

In Windows, we can choose from five different views for our files in our folders.

Clicking on the button “View” on top of the open folder, gives us the following options to choose from:

  1. Thumbnail
  2. Tiles
  3. Icons
  4. List
  5. Details


Try all the different options listed.

Sorting files in our directory

As more and more files are created, there must be a possibility to sort these files.

However, Windows allows us the ability to sort files and programs in our folders.

For example we can sort in descending and ascending order of name, by clicking on the column title “Name”.

Clicking again on the same column title will sort the files in reverse order.

The same goes for all column headings, “Name”, “Size”, “Type” and “Date Modified”.

We can also automatically set.

Click on an empty spot in the folder with the help of right mouse click.

From the menu that appears, choose “Arrange Icons By”

And choose from the submenu.


Windows Help

The Windows Help function is very useful but yet so little used tool.

If you’ve forgotten how to do something, or you want to learn something new, “Windows Help” will certainly help you with this.

To open Windows Help we click the Start button in the taskbar.

Choose Help and Support in the pop-up window.


In the Help dialog, we can search for particular words related to the problem we have.

And to see all help topics listed in the alphabetical order, we can click on the Index button on top of the window.

You've completed Lesson 1