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Getting to Know Windows 10

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Learn the ins and outs of operating Windows on your PC.

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As you learned in Chapter 1, “How Personal Computers Work,” Windows 10 is the operating system that makes your hardware work. An operating system does what its name implies—operates your computer system, working in the background every time you turn on your PC.

To use your new computer, you need to learn the ins and outs of operating Windows. Fortunately, it’s easy to learn.

Say Hello to Windows

The Windows 10 desktop is what you see when you first turn on your computer, after everything turns on and boots up. Windows is your gateway to every program and app you run on your computer and to all the documents and files you view and edit.

Starting and Logging In to Windows

Starting your computer and logging in to Windows is a simple affair that starts when you push the power button on your PC.

After a few seconds (during which your system unit beeps and whirs a little bit), the Windows Lock screen appears. As you can see in Figure 3.1, the Lock screen provides some basic information—today’s date and the current time, Internet connection status, and power status—against a pretty photographic background while Windows waits for you to log on.


FIGURE 3.1 The first thing you see in Windows 10—the Lock screen.

To log on to your Windows account, all you have to do is press any key on your keyboard or click the mouse. This displays the login screen, shown in Figure 3.2.

Enter your password and then press the Enter key. After you’re past the login screen, you’re taken directly to the Windows desktop, and your system is ready to use.


FIGURE 3.2 Select your username and enter your password to proceed.

Exploring the Windows Desktop

The desktop is your home base in Windows. It’s what you see when you start your computer and Windows launches; it’s where all your programs and documents reside.

As you can see in Figure 3.3, the Windows 10 desktop includes a number of key elements. Get to know this desktop; you’re going to be seeing a lot of it from now on. Note the following elements:


FIGURE 3.3 The Windows 10 desktop.

  • Taskbar—Displays icons for your favorite applications and documents, as well as for any open application. Right-click an icon to see a “jump list” of recent open documents and other operations for that application.

  • Start button—Click the Start button to display the Start menu. Right-click the Start button to display an Options menu with links to other important tools and utilities.

  • Search box—Type within the Search box to search for files and documents on your computer, or topics on the Web.

  • Notification area—This far-right section of the taskbar displays icons for a handful of key system functions, power (on notebook PCs), networking/Internet, and audio (volume).

  • Date and time—This displays—you guessed it—the current date and time. Click to display a larger calendar and appointment panel.

  • Notifications—Click to display the Action Center.

  • Peek button—Hover over this little rectangle at the far edge of the taskbar and all open windows go transparent so that you can see what’s on the desktop below. Click the Peek button to immediately minimize all open windows.

  • Shortcut icons—These are links to software programs you can place on your desktop; a “clean” desktop includes just one icon—the one for the Windows Recycle Bin.

  • Recycle Bin—This is where you dump any files you want to delete.

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