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Understanding Microsoft Windows XP

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Michael Miller provides an overview of what Windows XP is and how to navigate its interface in this guide created for those who are entirely new to computing. Miller describes such computing fundamentals as clicking and doubleclicking, dragging, and navigating context menus.
This chapter is from the book

In this chapter

  • What Windows Is—and What It Does

  • Different Versions of Windows

  • Working Your Way Around the Desktop

  • Important Windows Operations

  • Using the Start Menu

  • Understanding Files and Folders

  • All the Other Things in Windows

  • Getting Help in Windows

As you learned back in Chapter 1, "Understanding Your Computer Hardware," it's the software and operating system that make your hardware work. The operating system for most personal computers is Microsoft Windows, and you need to know how to use Windows to use your PC system. This is because Windows pretty much runs your computer for you; if you don't know your way around Windows, you won't be able to do much of anything on your new PC.

What Windows Is—and What It Does

Windows is a piece of software called an operating system. An operating system does what its name implies—it operates your computer system, working in the background every time you turn on your PC.

Equally important, Windows is what you see when you first turn on your computer, after everything turns on and boots up. The "desktop" that fills your screen is part of Windows, as is the taskbar at the bottom of the screen and the big menu that pops up when you click the Start button.

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