Windows XP is an operating system that lets you use different types of applications or software. For example, it allows you to use a word processing application to write a letter and a spreadsheet application to track your financial information.
Windows XP is a graphical user interface (GUI). There are pictures (graphical) that you (the user) use to interact with the computer (interface). This type of system is popular because it is logical, fun and easy to use.
This operating system has multi-tasking capabilities, which means it can run several applications at the same time. Multi Tasking lets you see this lesson on the Internet at the same time when you practice using Windows XP and other applications.
At the end of this lesson, you should be able to:
- Discuss parts of Windows XP desktop
- Discuss the parts of the Start menu
- Identify the taskbar
- Identify the recycle bin
- Log out and switch users
- Restart and turn off the computer correctly
Windows xp desktop
Like the previous versions of Windows, the Windows XP uses the desktop interface for standard interfaces. Consider the desktop as a workplace where you can access everything you need to run your computer such as system components, applications and the Internet.
The desktop has:
Start button: This is one of the most important tools used when working with Windows XP. Start button lets you open the menu and start applications.
Taskbar: It is used primarily to switch between open windows and applications. Learn more about using Taskbar in the next lesson
Icon (or graphical picture): It represents applications, files, and other parts of the operating system. By default, Windows XP gives you a desktop icon, a recycle bin. Find out more about Recycle Bin in the next lesson
The appearance of your desktop may change from the example shown below, especially if you have bought a pre-installed XP system
To start exploring Windows XP, click the Start button
When you click on the Start button, the Start menu will appear. The Start Menu is the application gateway for your computer. Program programs on the left of the Start menu, when allowing access to normal Windows folders (my documents, for example) on the right. It also provides support and access, search, and access to run.
If you select all programs, a pop-up menu will be displayed. Pop-up menus like this are called cascading menus. When a cascading menu is available, a small black triangle is displayed next to the name of the application or function.
In the example below, Word program has been selected.
To explore the Start Menu:
- Click the Start button >
- Move the mouse pointer to each option, and see different cascading menus.
- Click > all programs.
- Move the mouse pointer to the right, and see other cascading menus.
- To exit the menu, click outside the menu area or press Esc on your keyboard.
Start menu items, you remember recently opened items and keep each icon in the Start menu so you can easily open them when you open the start menu next time. For example, if you recently opened Microsoft Word using Start All Programs Microsoft Word, then when you open the Start menu, click on the Word icon on the left side of the Start menu.
Small pictures are called icons on the desktop. Icon is an icon of an object. Examples of object icons are My Computer, Resistle Bin, and Internet Explorer. These icons let you open files and programs on your computer.
My Computer Icon
Shortcut icon allows you to quickly open applications. This icon will appear on your desktop and there will be an arrow in the left hand corner. Desktop shortcut files and links to programs. You can add or remove shortcuts without affecting your computer programs. You can learn about making shortcuts later in the lesson.
Word shortcut icon
To open a program using an icon:
Put your mouse over the icon.
Text detects its name or identifies content.
Double click the icon
Taskbar You can see the small blue bar on the bottom of your desktop. It has the Start menu and Quick launch bars, which include icons for Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player and Icon. Click an icon to open a program. Click Show desktop on your desktop quickly without closing any program or window.
Quick launch toolbar
The box on the right is called the notification area. Here, you will get the clock and other icons depending on what you have installed on your computer. Other icons are displayed in the Notification area of your activity status details. For example, when you are printing a document, a printer icon will appear. Microsoft also uses the notification area to remind you when software updates are available for download.
When you open or minimize a window or program, a rectangular button appears on the taskbar, which shows the name of the application. This button disappears when you close a window.
You can learn more about switching between windows in moving and measuring windows lessons.
Log out and switch users
Multiple people can use your computer. For example, many family members may use the same computer at home, while many colleagues may be able to access a computer network on your computer. Windows XP allows everyone who uses your computer to have separate computer accounts. A computer account tracks the unique settings, documents, and email accounts of each person.
Windows XP also enables you to turn off the computer so that someone else can log in without restarting the computer.
To log out or switch users:
Click on the Start menu, then click Log out.
A dialog box is asking you if you want to switch user or log out.
Switch to User Anyone else can log in to the computer. If you want to switch user, your application will continue to be running in the background when a new user logs in.
If you choose to log out, your application will stop.
In both cases, you are taking a Windows XP logo on the screen, where you will be asked to enter your username and password.
Log out dialog box
Close and restart your computer
When you have finished using Windows XP, turn off the computer properly (make sure).
To turn off the computer:
- Click on the Start menu
- Click Close Computer
- Opens a dialog box. Click Close
- Close the computer dialog box
If you’ve encountered computer issues or installed something new, then you can only restart your computer.
To restart the computer:
- Click on the Start menu
- Click Close Computer
- Opens a dialog box. Click Restart
It is usually close to a safe torch or restarts your computer using the above method. However, many computers are designed to safely close when power button is pressed. Your manual advice to read about the proposed shutdown process
- See the Start button, Taskbar and Icon on the Windows XP desktop.
- Click the Start button, and see the Cascading menu.
- Logging off and switching practices in users.
- Turn off your computer properly.