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Computer Basics

Windows Program Notes

The Start menu

The  button is the starting point of your Windows experience. This menu contains a variety of special programs such as Shutting down your computer, accessing programs that are not visible on your desktop, or an easy place to see what documents have been opened.  Each aspect is discussed following.

When you point to  and click, a window, similar to our example, will open. 
Depending on which programs you have loaded, there could be additional programs or groups listed above the Programs group in the list.  

The first thing we would like you to notice is the small right-pointing triangles () beside Programs, Favorites, Documents and Settings categories.  Whenever you see these symbols, you know there are lists attached to the category.  

The second thing would be the underlined letters under each word in the list.  If your mouse crashes, you can use the keyboard to restart your computer by first tapping the key and then the "u".  When the Shut Down dialog box opens, tap the "r" and then .  


 From the Start menu
1. Click on the button 
2. Select Programs, a list of available programs will open 
3. Select the program from the available program groups

From the desktop
Position the mouse pointer anywhere on a program's icon.   Double click the left mouse button

Favorites   are places on the Internet you plan to visit regularly.  In essence, a copy of the web site address is copied to this folder, where you simply point to it and single click.  You can also access your favorites folder from you Internet Explorer.
Documents  This folder holds a list of files that have been used on the computer.  This is a rotating list and can be cleared through the Task bar program.

This folder provides easy access to the following programs.  

Control Panel  Also accessed through My Computer
Printers Also accessed through My Computer
Task Bar & Start Menu  Remove files from your Documents folder, re-arrange files on your start menu.
Folder Options Change how you view boxes and folders.  Modify file associations, etc. (discussed later)
Active Desktop  A feature that allows you to use Web pages or channels as your desktop wallpaper.
Windows Update  This program will connect to the Microsoft Web site and update your windows system.
Find is useful if you have misplaced or forgotten where you have stored a file, this program will assist you in locating it.  You can search by name, date, or even look for words inside documents.  It should be noted that the latter search would take longer to perform.
Help        This options will open the Windows Help Library. 
Run          A program commonly used to run setup files or programs that are not accessible through other avenues.
Log Off **  If your computer has had the networking portion of the program installed, this option will appear on the list.  It is commonly used on multi user machines where custom settings have been created.
Shut Down  The proper procedure to shutting off Windows.

Moving the taskbar

As mentioned previously, the taskbar can be moved to either side or top of the screen.  To do this, point to any blank part of the taskbar.  Hold down the left mouse button and drag the mouse indicator to where you want the taskbar positioned.  It should be noted, that you will notice a box shadow when the mouse indicator is located approximately 80% away from its intended mark.


Resizing the taskbar

If you should point to the top of the taskbar, you will notice the mouse indicator will turn into a sizing arrow.  If you hold down the left mouse button and drag your hand in an upward motion, the taskbar will become taller and take up extra space on you screen. 

To reverse the effect, point to the top of the newly sized taskbar.  When the mouse indicator turns into a sizing arrow, hold down the left mouse button and drag down.  Do not pull the indicator down completely to the bottom of the screen or it will disappear completely.

Start a program

Regardless of what you want to do, you must start a program to do anything.  Always begin by asking yourself one question.  WHAT DO I WANT TO DO?  When you answer that question you will have given yourself a road map to your goal. 
Another thing to understand is that, every operations is a sequence of steps.  You miss a step, you won't achieve your goal.  We have tried to lay out the steps as clearly as we could,  we hope we did not make any mistakes.
From the desktop (A shortcut must be created for most programs) From the Start menu
  • Position the mouse pointer anywhere on a program's icon.
  • Double click the left mouse button
  • Click on the Start button 
  • Select Programs
  • Select the program from the available program groups

Close a program

Keyboard convention
Hold the <ALT> key and tap the underlined letter in menu option you want to access.  When the list opens release the <ALT> key and tap only the underline letter of the option you want to access.
Mouse convention
Point at each word on the menu and list options with mouse and click on the desired word.


  • Position the mouse pointer on the File menu option 
  • (generally the first menu option listed on the left)
  • Click on Exit.

Exit Windows

With your mouse, single click on the button, choose Shut Down

When the Shutdown Windows dialog box appears, click on OK

Return to the Window's desktop
If you have a Window's keyboard, tap the  key, then tap the key to Shut Down.  When the close box appears, tap the Enter key

Click here to go to Keyboard Page.


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