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Switching from One Program to Another

When you fire up a program, Windows Millennium marks the occasion by adding a button to the taskbar. If you then coax another program or two onto the screen (remember, Windows Millennium is capable of multitasking—running multiple programs simultaneously), each one gets its own taskbar button.

For example, Figure 3.12 shows Windows Millennium with two programs up and running: WordPad and Paint. (To run the latter, select Start, Programs, Accessories, Paint.) It looks as though Paint has lopped off a good portion of the WordPad window, but in reality Windows Millennium is just displaying Paint "on top" of WordPad. In addition, the taskbar has changed in two ways:

  • There are now buttons for both WordPad and Paint in the taskbar.

  • In the taskbar, the active program's button (the Paint button in this figure) looks as though it's been pressed. (The active program is the one you're currently slaving away in.)

The taskbar has another trick up its digital sleeve: You can switch from one running program to another by clicking the latter's taskbar button. For example, when I click the WordPad button, the WordPad window comes to the fore, as shown in Figure 3.13.

Figure 3.12 Windows Millennium with two programs on the go.

Figure 3.13 You can use the taskbar buttons to switch from one program to another.

Multitasking Is Slick, But...

Although it's true that Windows Millennium is happy to deal with multiple running programs—think of it as the electronic equivalent of walking and chewing gum at the same time—that doesn't mean you can just start every program you have and leave them running all day. The problem is that because each open program usurps a chunk of Windows' resources, the more programs you run, the slower each program performs, including Windows itself. The number of applications you can fire up at any one time depends on how much horsepower your computer has. You probably need to play around a bit to see just how many applications you can launch before things get too slow.


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