Introduction to the
Windows Operating System
||this means to click on an object ONCE with the left mouse
||this means to click on an object ONCE with the right mouse
||this means to click on an object TWICE, in rapid succession
with the left mouse button.
||to select an object, you single click on it.
||to open an object, you double click on it.
Introduction to the Windows 95 and Windows 98 Operating Systems
In this section we will discuss some very specific aspects of the
Windows 95 and 98 operating systems. Keep in mind that you can do many of the same types
of things on different operating systems. The only difference is in the way that the
operating system allows you to perform the task. Keep in mind that the appearance of your
OS installation could be a little different from the examples given in this tutorial
because the OS allows you to customize its appearance to your liking.
Lets start at the most obvious place, the Start Menu which
is located in the lower left hand corner of the computer screen when Windows 95 or 98 is
Single click on the Start button with the LEFT
mouse button to display the following menu items. Note that my example says "Windows
NT Workstation". Your computer should say Windows 95 or Windows 98.
Lets start from the bottom and work our way up.
||Use this menu option for three things. 1) To shut down your computer.
2) To restart your computer. 3) To Logoff of your computer, and/or logon as a new user.
||Use this menu option to manually type in a command or program name to
run on your computer. Most of the programs that you will run will be located under the
Programs menu and you should not have to use the Run menu item except when installing new
||This menu item provides help on the Windows 95/98 Operating System. Use
this option if this tutorial fails to answer any questions you might have about the OS.
||Use this menu item to Find Files on your computer, Computers connected
to your computer by a network card or modem connection.
||This is where you can customize the Operating System appearance to your
liking, define network printer connections, and set the properties of your computer.
||This is a list of your MOST recently accessed documents and files.
||The Programs sub-menu is what youll be accessing the most. Any
time a new program or application is installed on your computer, a new menu item is
installed in the Programs menu. Sometimes a program will even install a new button/link
that can be accessed from the top level of the Start menu without going to the Programs
It is literally impossible to go over the Programs
sub-menu in any detail because the contents of this sub-menu will vary vastly from
computer to computer. The Programs menu can be configured ANY way a user wants it to
appear. The important thing to understand is that the sub-menus and buttons under
the Programs menu are simply LINKS that point to the actual programs that get run
when you click on them.
The desktop of the Windows 95/98 operating system is symbolic of a
table desktop. Just as you can open up folders and documents on your office desktop, you
can do the same thing on your Windows 95/98 desktop. When opening up documents, you are
basically covering up your desktop with papers and items. It therefore becomes necessary
to Close or Minimize programs and files on your computer if you need to view
the Windows desktop. The following is only an example of what your desktop might look
All of the items on your desktop can be renamed to be titled something
else. Dont expect the above items to have the exact names as they do above, but most
windows desktops have the above 3 items, or ICONS, on the desktop.
||This is where you can Explore all of the information and devices located
on, and connected to your computer. You can also define properties for your computer here.
||This is where you can browse all of the computers connected to your Local
Area Network (LAN). You can also define properties of how your computer should connect to
||Anytime you delete a file on your computer, it is placed in the recycle
bin. You can use the recycle bin to recover items that you may have accidentally deleted.
You can also define the properties of the recycle bin to automatically delete items after
it fills up to a certain point.
Located directly to the right of the Start menu, is the task
bar. The task bar starts out with nothing on it when you first log into your computer.
When you open up an application, the application will place a link to itself on the task
bar. This way, if you have multiple applications or programs open at once, you can simply
click on the link in the task bar to switch between them. In the previous example, there
are 3 application links in the task bar.
Another important thing to remember about the Windows operating systems
is that there is almost always more than one way to get something done. The way that
Im going to show you in the following examples are simply MY preferences on how to
use the Windows OS.
Browsing Your Computer
Many people "Double Click" on the "My Computer"
ICON on the windows desktop in order to open it up and browse around. The reason that I do
NOT do this is because in the standard Windows environment this would open up a new Window
every time you "Double Clicked" on a sub folder. For this reason, "Single
Click" on the "My Computer" ICON with the right mouse button and choose
"Explore". The Windows Explorer is a much more powerful way to browse through
your computer files and devices.
If you get the following menu upon right clicking on My Computer, then
it means that you clicked on My Computer and dragged the ICON a little before you released
the mouse button. If this happens to you, simply click on "Cancel" with the left
mouse button and try again. Be sure to hold the mouse steady while clicking.
A window similar to the following should have appeared after you
clicked on the Explore option.
The left frame of the Explore window is a list of devices,
folders, and other Operating System objects like the Recycle Bin. The right frame is a
list of what is contained in the object that is currently selected in the left-hand frame.
In order to display the FULL details of the Files and Folders listed in the right frame of
the window, select "Details" from the View menu of the Explorer window.
You should now see details about the files and objects in the right
frame. The following is an example.
Notice that there is a Minus (-) sign next to "My Computer"
in the left frame. This indicates that the Object is expanded to show you what folders and
objects are inside. Notice all of the other Objects, like the C, D, & E drives have a
Plus (+) sign next to them. This indicates that the Objects are NOT expanded and you
cant see whats contained within them. If you were to click on the Plus (+)
sign next to the C drive, you would see it expand to show you all of the sub-folders
contained in the C drive. If you were to single click on the C drive itself, the
right-hand frame of the exploring window would show not only the sub-folders in the C
drive, but it would also list any files which exist in the top level of the C drive.
Remember our first analogy of seeing your computer as a filing cabinet. In the scenario
just described we have opened up the C drawer of our file cabinet but have not opened up
any of the sub-folders in our C drawer yet.
If you followed the above steps by expanding the C drive and viewing
the folders and files in the top level of the C drive, then you have successfully browsed
to the C drive of your computer.
Networking to share information instead of the
As previously mentioned, computer users used to exchange
and share information by copying information to a floppy diskette. However, this is not
necessary in a company which has their computers connected together on a network [Like a
small Internet]. You can create a LINK to a Disk Drive [Folder] on another computer on the
network and access that drive as if it were physically located inside your computer.
Mapping a Network Drive
From the Explore window that you opened earlier, choose the
"Map Network Drive" from the Tools menu.
In the new window that appears, youll need to
provide the following information.
||What logical drive [E through Z] do you want to map to the
remote disk drive to
||The remote computer name
||The share name [or hard drive] on the remote computer that
you wish to map.
In the above window, I am telling Windows that I want to map the
ShareName resource that is located on the ServerName system to my F drive. I can
optionally fill in the Connect As field if I dont have access and need to connect as
someone with the appropriate access to the share name. I will be prompted for a password.
Finally, if I want this drive automatically mapped every time that I log in to my
computer, I can check the Reconnect at Logon box before clicking OK.
Common Application Examples
This section will discuss some common applications/programs that are
used on PCs. Once you learn your way through one or two programs, it shouldnt
be too difficult to tackle other programs. Understanding the underlying concepts will help
you to learn new applications/programs.
Microsoft Word is basically a glorified word processor. It is a
replacement for the typewriter. In the past, when a person made a mistake while using a
typewriter, you would have to use correction tape, and retype over the misspelling to
cover up your typing mistakes. With computers and applications like MS-Word, all you have
to do is hit the backspace key to delete your typo. MS-Word comes with tons of other
features, including spell checking and grammar checking.
Rather than make this a course on Microsoft Word, Im not going to
spend a great deal of time explaining how to do certain things in Word. Instead, Im
going to focus on the commonalties that Word has with other PC applications. The intent is
to help you understand better how to use ALL the applications on your PC, not just
As stated previously, most applications will create a LINK to itself on
the "Programs" menu of the "Start" button. Locate the Microsoft Word
link and single click on it. It should look something like the following.
Once youve opened up MS-Word, MS-Word may be setup to
automatically create a new blank document in the workspace. If not, you can select
"New" from the "File" menu in Word window. For our tutorial here, it
is not necessary to have an open document.
The Windows OS got its name from the fact that anytime you open up an
application or file, a new window looking object opens up on your Windows desktop.
These windows typically have some basic things in common with each other.
They have a title bar that describes the application, and current working file or
document. In the above example, the title bar states, "Microsoft Word
Document 1". The application is "Microsoft Word", and the current
working file is "Document 1". Remember that Word may have automatically created
this blank new document for you. Document 1 is the default name that Word assigned to this
new working document.
In the upper right hand corner of the window, there are three small boxes that can be
clicked upon to manipulate the appearance of the window.
Clicking the first button [the line] will cause the application to MINIMIZE
itself to the taskbar. If you needed to reveal an application behind the current working
application, you could click on the minimize button to move the current application out of
Clicking the middle button [box or boxes] will cause your application
to either EXPAND and use the full space on the desktop, or COLLAPSE to a
smaller window leaving some background items on your desktop visible around the edges of
Clicking on the third button [the X] will cause your application to CLOSE.
Although most applications will prompt you to save your working document, be careful
when clicking on this X. It could cause your application to exit without saving your work.
To exit cleanly choose EXIT from the FILE Menu.
Just below the title bar of a window, there are typically some Menus that
allow you to perform certain functions within the application. Many applications will have
the three menus FILE, EDIT, & HELP. Because most
applications work with files, it makes sense that they follow the same standard for
certain functions. This makes it easier for users to learn a new application. Here are
some examples of menu items that perform the same function no matter what application you
- Saving your working document will be done the SAME EXACT WAY in most applications that
you use. You will choose Save from the File menu.
- Exiting your application will be done by choosing Exit from the File menu.
Its almost always at the bottom of the File menu.
- The version number or release of the software application will be found by choosing About
from the Help menu.
- You will print your working documents by choosing Print from the File
- You can select text in a working file, Copy it onto the clipboard, then Paste
the text somewhere else in your file. These menu items are always found on the Edit
The clipboard is an invisible Windows OS storage area that you
can use to temporarily store information such as text and images.
Many applications, like MS-Word can be configured to your liking. By default MS-Word
automatically spell checks documents and will offer suggestions while you are typing. This
can be a rather annoying feature at times, but you can turn this feature on or off
depending how you work. These settings are typically found in menu items called Preferences,
Options, or Settings. In MS-Word, the item is called Options, and is
located under the Tools menu.
Most applications will provide some form of online help. There are two types of help
that they may provide. Contents & Index. You can select this contents and index help
option from the Help menu in MOST (not all) Windows applications. The window that opens up
will look something like the following.
Some windows that are opened up within an application, like the above
help window, dont use menus. They use TABS instead. Window TABS are
symbolic of folder tabs you might find in a binder. The tabs in the above example are
Contents, Index, and Find. By clicking on the Contents tab, you are able to open up
virtual books about the application you chose help on. The starting books in the above
example are Key Information, and Getting Help. You can browse through these books for
specific topics to learn more about the application. If you want to search through ALL of
the books for a specific topic or word, then you can click on the Index tab and
enter in a keyword to search for. The index is helpful in getting quick answers to a
specific question you might have without having to page through the online books in the
Most applications offer shortcuts for commonly used functions
like Cut, Paste, Save, and Print. These shortcuts help you work faster by removing the
need to drag the mouse around. Notice that on the menus within Microsoft Word, the first
character of each menu item is underlined.
The underline indicates that there is a shortcut key to that
menu. To access the shortcut keys to the menus, click and release the ALT key, then
press the underlined letter of the menu you wish to access. For example, click the ALT
key, then click the F key. This should display the File menu.
Next, in order to select any of the menu items under the opened
file menu, you can type any underlined character in the file menu. In the above example,
if you wanted to save your current document using the short cut, you could enter in the
key sequence ALT, F, S.
Notice in the above example, the Ctrl+S text that is next to the
Save option under the file menu. This indicates yet another short cut to this function.
The PLUS sign indicates that you need to hold down BOTH keys together in order to execute
the function. So, by holding down the CTRL key and typing S at the same time you can save
your current working document. You now have three ways that you can save your working
document. By clicking on the file menu with the mouse and choosing the Save option, by
using ALT-F-S, and by using Ctrl+S.
When using the ALT key to gain short cut access to the menu system, you
can use ALT again to exit from the menus, and you can also use the arrow keys to navigate
through the menus without using the mouse.
Important Tips and Instructions
Backing up your data
You have learned that when you save a document on your desktop
computer, it is saved on a bunch of tiny magnets as charges and non-charges. Well, what
happens if an electrical surge comes down the power lines and demagnetizes all of the tiny
magnets? You guessed it, you loose ALL of the information stored on your hard drive.
Humans do not make PEFECT products either. What happens if the hard drive breaks or the
surface of the magnets gets scratched because of a malfunction in the hard drive? Again,
youve lost your data. It is therefore important make sure that your data is being
IMPORTANT! Information Services does NOT backup your computers C
drive for you.
This is why it is important to save your documents on one of the shared
network drives available to your department. These shared drives are backed up on a
nightly basis to ensure that we have a backup copy of everything done for that day.
NOTE! What happens if you accidentally delete a document at 4pm
that youve been working on since 9am? Youve lost all your work. Backups do not
typically take place until after 5 or 6pm. You can typically ask that a file be restored
from the previous day, but not from the same day.
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Last Modified on Tuesday, May 11, 1999