The EasyWindows Internet Guide to Windows 
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  From the book
Windows the Easy Way
by
Everett Murdock Ph.D.


The EasyWindows Questions and Answers List
 
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General Windows
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Start Menu
Questions
Taskbar
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Menu
Questions
General Computer
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General Windows Questions

General Windows Question 1: What is Windows?

Answer:
  Windows is a computer program that provides a Graphical User Interface (GUI) within which to run other computer programs.
(Also see General Windows Question #9: What is a GUI, a Graphical User Interface?)

Now found on most of the world's personal computers, the Windows program is usually started soon after the computer itself starts. Then any computer program that has been written specifically to run under Windows can use the Windows graphical interface.

But what is a graphical user interface? As you might guess from the word graphical, it has something to do with pictures. In fact, it provides a pictorial (graphical) way to interact with your computer. For example, using a word processing program under Windows, you may be able to click on a picture of a printer to start the printing process.

In the old days, before Windows, you couldn't interact with pictures on the screen. In those days, computers used a non-GUI system known as MS-DOS (for Microsoft Disk Operating System). It used only text, numbers, and symbols on the screen. The Microsoft Corporation (the company that makes Windows) also made MS-DOS. You can still use DOS if you want to: Windows is loaded on top of DOS. Some older computer programs were made to run under DOS but most of them have now been rewritten to run under Windows. You can still run DOS programs with Windows, but they have to run in their own "DOS window". (Also see General Windows Question #3: What is the DOS window? and General Computer Question #14: What is the DOS window?)

Although Windows is a computer program, it's not like most other computer programs. Windows can be used to control other programs; it can even control some aspects of your computer.

General Windows Question 2: Why the name Windows?

Answer:
   Although it may not be the most important aspect of the Windows program, it can display each new program and each new document created by a program in a new window. OK, then what is a window? A window is simply a box on the screen that contains the visual aspects of a program. For example, if you were using a word processing program to create a letter to your Aunt Martha, the document (the words you typed in) would be contained in an on-screen box. But then, if you used the program to write a letter to your Uncle Fred, that document could appear in another window. But there's more: if you decide you want to start a spreadsheet program to enter your checkbook data, using an entirely different program, that document could be opened in yet another window. The number of different windows you have open is probably only limited by the amount of memory you have in your computer. But there are also other types of on-screen windows besides windows that hold different documents, there are also windows that provide information about options. For example, if, while you were entering that letter to your Aunt Martha, you selected the printing option to print it out, the printing options would appear on the screen in another box on top of the other open windows. In fact, just about any time you do something different using Windows (or using a program made to run under Windows) it appears in a new window of some type.

General Windows Question 3: What is the DOS window?

Answer:
   Windows provides a way to run an older generation of programs, those written to run under DOS. To create a window within which to run DOS programs, click on the Start Button and select Programs/MS-DOS Prompt.
(Also see General Windows Question #9: What is a GUI? and General Computer Question #14: What is the DOS prompt?)

So, what is DOS? The term DOS refers to the programs used to operate a personal computer; collectively they are the computer's operating system. The set of programs used to operate Windows-based computers is known as MS-DOS. Like Windows, they were developed by the Microsoft Corporation. There are many types of software programs that can be used on personal computers, but before any of them can function, that set of software control programs known as DOS must first be called into action. To learn more about DOS, go to www.easydos.com. The site provides information about all DOS commands from the book DOS the Easy Way by Dr. Everett Murdock.

On most modern personal computers, some of the DOS programs are called into action as soon as you start the computer. Then, as a final startup step, Windows is loaded and goes into action. Although these days most people interact with their computer using Windows, the set of DOS commands also provides a way to interact with your computer.

General Windows Question 4: What is the desktop?

Answer:
   On a computer that uses Windows, the background area of the screen, including the on-screen icons, is referred to as the desktop. With the current versions of Windows, you can change the wallpaper (background) on the desktop; that means you can change the appearance of the desktop.
(Also see General Windows Question #30: What is Wallpaper (background) and how do I change it? and General Windows Question #10: What is an icon?)

General Windows Question 5: Can I resize or move an on-screen window?

Answer:
   There are three standard sizes for on-screen windows: minimized, maximized, and restored. Restored is a special name for a window that is neither maximized (filling the full screen) or minimized (occupying only a small space on the taskbar). (See also the
Taskbar Questions.) A restored window can be resized by positioning the mouse's pointer at the corner of the window (watch for the cursor to change to a two-headed arrow) and holding down the left mouse button while you move the mouse. You can also move the edges of a window up or down, left or right, by positioning the mouse pointer at the edge of the window and dragging. You can move the window by positioning the mouse's pointer anywhere along the top of the window and dragging it to a new position. (Also see General Computer Question #12: What is dragging?)

General Windows Question 6: What is the Recycle Bin

Answer:
   The Recycle Bin is actually more like a trash can. It is where you put things you want to get rid of. It doesn't really recycle anything; it is used to throw things away. You do it by dragging an on-screen representation of the thing you want to get rid of (a file, for example) to the picture of the Recycle Bin and releasing the mouse button. In some cases, the same thing happens when you select a delete option (for example, if you click on the Delete button after you have selected a file by clicking on its icon). But if you drop something into the Recycle Bin and you change your mind, you can get into the Recycle Bin to retrieve it before it is erased just by double-clicking it and dragging out the file.
(Also see General Computer Question #12: What is dragging? and General Computer Question #9: What is double-clicking?)

General Windows Question 7: How do I "back up" a hard disk?

Answer:
  Today's computers come equipped with a hard disk. Hard disks are called high capacity storage devices because they can store a lot of computer programs and files. But, believe it or not, hard disks can fail. They spin at high speeds and involve many different moving parts; if anything goes wrong, they can suddenly stop working. So it is a good idea to "back up" some or all of the files. One method is to copy the files to diskettes - also known as floppy disks- (it may take a lot of diskettes). All version of Windows provide special backup programs to do it.
(Also see the Start Menu Questions below) and (Also see General Computer Question #16: What is a hard disk?)

Alternatively, you can get another high-capacity storage device to copy the files to. For example, some computers can use additional hard disks that can be used to back up the files on the main hard disk. Or you can buy other types of high-capacity storage devices such as cartridge drives or tape drives. Most high-capacity devices are similar to hard disks, except tape drives. They store more data, but they are serial devices (they store data sequentially rather than randomly) and therefore it is harder to retrieve files from serial devices.

In addition, many newer computers come equipped with a CD-read/write drive. Windows now includes an Auto-Recognition program that automatically recognizes compact flash cards or CD, ZIP, JAZ disks and it includes a CD burning program that can be used if your computer has a CD-read/write drive.

General Windows Question 8: What is a folder?

Answer:
   A folder is a metaphor for a conceptual storage area on a hard disk or a floppy disk. When computers used character-based operating systems like MS-DOS, hard disks and floppy disks were divided into conceptual file storage areas referred to as directories. With Windows, that designation has changed to folders.
(Also see General Computer Question #20: What is a directory?)

General Windows Question 9: What is a GUI (Graphical User Interface)?

Answer:
   The word graphical refers to pictures. A Graphical User Interface, therefore, provides a pictorial (graphical) way to interact with your computer. Using a computer program under a GUI (like Windows), you may be able to click on a picture of a printer to start the printing process.

Before GUIs like Windows were invented, most computers used a non-GUI system known as MS-DOS (for Microsoft Disk Operating System). It used only text, numbers, and symbols on the screen. The Microsoft Corporation (that developed Windows) also developed MS-DOS. You can still use DOS; it is still used on computers that use Windows. However, the newer versions of Windows are no longer built on the MS-DOS platform. As a result, there are some changes in the way you use DOS programs under Windows. The e-manual usingdos.html that is included with Windows the Easy Way download summarizes those changes
(Also see General Windows Question #3: What is the DOS Window and General Computer Question #14: What is the DOS prompt?).

Windows 95 and 98 were loaded on top of DOS (DOS always started first, as soon as you turned the computer on). However, using DOS, you cannot use a mouse, or any other pointing device. In the latest versions of Windows, DOS is run in a window as a separate part of the Windows program. (Also see General Computer Question #17: What is a pointing device?)

General Windows Question 10: What is an icon?

Answer:
   An icon is a small picture that appears on the computer screen, usually to represent a program or a file created by a program. Using a pointing device like a mouse, you can move an icon by dragging it
(also see General Computer Question #12: What is dragging?).

You can see all of the options related to an icon by right-clicking on it (also see General Computer Question #20: What is right clicking?).

By double clicking a program's icon (or an icon representing a shortcut to the program) you can start the program. By double clicking an icon representing a document created by a program on your hard disk, you can start the program that created it and have the program open that document. (Also see General Computer Question #9: What is double-clicking?)

You can rearrange the icons by any of several organizational methods (by name, type, etc.) by right-clicking anywhere on the desktop and selecting Arrange Icons. If Auto Arrange is checked, Windows will automatically arrange the icons for you.

You can tell the difference between the various types of Windows icons by their representation.

There are a few types of icons that always appear on the desktop. For example, the Recycle Bin icon is always on the desktop and cannot be deleted. Other icons such as the Internet Explorer icon may also have been placed on the desktop during the installation of Windows. Under prior Windows versions, the My Computer icon was always on the desktop. Using the latest versions of Windows, you will find the My Computer icon under the Start Menu.

You can put any icon you want on the desktop by simply dragging it out of a folder. If the icon represents a document, then it will be moved to the desktop. If the icon represents a program, then a shortcut will be created on the desktop (see the next question in this section, What is a shortcut?).

Folder icons represent Windows folders. They look like a paper file folder with a labeling tab at the top left side. Double-clicking on a folder icon (or single clicking if you are using the web-type of Windows display) opens it. Folders usually contain icons representing files and programs.

Document icons represent document files created and saved to disk by programs. This type of icon often appears to have the upper right corner folded down. Double-clicking on a document icon (or single clicking if you are using the web-type of Windows display) will start the program associated with that file type and display the document.

Program icons represent an executable program file that has been saved on disk. Double-clicking on a program icon (or single clicking if you are using the web-type of Windows display) will start the program.

Shortcut icons represent shortcuts that are linked to a document, program, folder, or even to a page on the internet. This type of icon will have a small arrow in the upper left corner. Double-clicking on a shortcut icon (or single clicking if you are using the web-type of Windows display) will display or launch the associated item.

General Windows Question 11: What is a shortcut and how do I create a shortcut icon?

Answer:
   A shortcut is, as the name implies, a simpler way of doing things. You can create a shortcut to save some steps in many computer tasks. For example, you can create a shortcut method of starting an often-used program or opening a file. A common shortcut method is to create an icon on the desktop or in the Start Menu.
(Also see the Start Menu Questions below.)

As with many techniques in Windows, there is more than one way to do it. An easy way is to right click the program's (or file's) icon (also see General Computer Question #20: What is right clicking?). A little menu will appear on the screen and one of the choices on that menu will be Create Shortcut. Click on that menu option and the shortcut icon will be created in the current location (it will look like the original item except the icon will have a little arrow in the lower left corner). Then you can move it to the location you want. Another way to create a shortcut is to right drag the icon to the place you want it (also see General Computer Question #12: What is dragging?) When you release the right button, the same kind of little popup menu will appear with an option Create Shortcut Here. Select that menu option and the shortcut icon will be created in that location. (Also see General Windows Question #12: What is a keyboard shortcut and how do I create one?)

General Windows Question 12: What is a keyboard shortcut and how do I create one?

Answer:
   A shortcut is, as the name implies, a simpler way of doing things. You can create a keyboard shortcut so you can press a key on the keyboard to save some steps in many computer tasks. For example, you can create a keyboard shortcut to start an often-used program or open a file. You do it by right clicking the program's (or file's) icon
(also see General Computer Question #20: What is right clicking?). A little menu will appear on the screen and one of the choices on that menu will be Create Shortcut. Click on that menu option and the shortcut icon will be created in the current location. Then you can right click that new icon and the popup menu will again appear. This time right click the menu item Properties. A dialog box with several options will appear on the screen. One of the options lets you enter a key on the keyboard that will serve the same purpose as clicking on the shortcut icon. If there is already a shortcut key it will be indicated; otherwise, it will say None. To select the letter you want to use, just click inside the box and press the key you want to use (you don't have to hold down any other keys). The message will change to indicate Ctrl + Alt+ and the letter you selected. From then on, all you have to do to start that program (or open that file, or whatever) is to press Ctrl+Alt+ that letter key; in other words, you hold down the Ctrl key and the Alt key and then, while still holding them down, press the letter you selected. (Also see General Windows Question #11: What is a shortcut and how do I create a shortcut icon?)

General Windows Question 13: What does it mean to minimize?

Answer:
   When you are using Windows, you will see three little squares in the upper right corner of most windows. Those three little boxes have names: the minimize button, the maximize button, and the close button. The leftmost square has a symbol on it that looks like an underline: it is the minimize button. Clicking on it will shrink the window. A rectangle representing that window will appear on the taskbar. You can click that rectangle to restore the window to its original size.
(Also see General Windows Question #14: What does it mean to maximize? and General Windows Question #15: What is the difference between minimize and close?)

General Windows Question 14: What does it mean to maximize?

Answer:
   When you are using Windows, you will see three little squares in the upper right corner of most windows. Those three little boxes have names: the minimize button, the maximize button, and the close button. The center square is the maximize button. It can have one of two symbols on it: a little square that looks like a tiny drawing of a window or a similar representation of two tiny windows, one overlapping the other. If it is showing the single square, it means the window is maximized (as large as it can be). If it is showing the overlapping squares, it means the window may not be as large as it could be. Clicking on it will enlarge the window to its maximum size. (You can also do the same thing by holding down the Alt key and the spacebar and then, while still holding them both down, press the letter X key).
(Also see General Windows Question #13: What does it mean to minimize? and General Windows Question #15: What is the difference between minimize and close?)

Clicking on the button when the single square is showing will shrink the window to it's smaller size (you can still resize the window by dragging from the window's edges or corners). (Also see General Computer Question #12: What is dragging?)

General Windows Question 15: What is the difference between minimize and close?

Answer:
   Minimizing a window and closing a window both make the window disappear from the screen. But there is a difference in the two actions. Minimizing a window removes it from the screen, but it is still in operation. Because it is still an active program, it is taking up computer memory and may continue its operations. On the other hand, when you close a window by clicking on the Close button (it's the rightmost of the three buttons, the one with the X on it), or by exiting the program using the Exit option under the File menu, you have terminated that program. It is no longer in operation and no longer utilizes computer memory
(Also see General Windows Question #13: What does it mean to minimize? and General Windows Question #14: What does it mean to maximize?).

General Windows Question 16: What is the title bar?

Answer:
   The title bar refers to the bar of color at the top of a window in which the title of the window appears. For example, if you open a word processing document, the title of that document will appear in that area at the top of the document window.

General Windows Question 17: What is the menu bar?

Answer:
   The menu bar refers to the row of labels across the top of a window (just below the title of the window). If you use the mouse to click on one of those labels, a menu of choices pops open. For example, using most programs, the leftmost label in the menubar will be File. If you use the mouse to click on that label, the File Menu will open providing options related to files (open files, save files, etc.). You can also use the Alt key on the keyboard to open a menu. If you press the Alt key, the leftmost menu title on the title bar (often it is the File menu) will be highlighted. You can then use the left or right arrow keys to select a different menu title. Once a menu title is selected you can press the Enter key, to open that menu (you can also open it by pressing the down arrow key). Once a menu has been opened, you can close it by pressing the Alt key again or by pressing the Esc key.

General Windows Question 18: What is the scroll bar?

Answer:
   The scroll bar is the different colored bar (usually gray) along the right side of a window or along the bottom of a window. The scroll bar is used to scroll (move) the contents of the window up or down or from side to side. Somewhere in that scroll bar there should be a little square that looks like a square button: it is known as the scroll box. If you position the mouse pointer over the scroll box and drag, you can use it to quickly move the contents of the window
(also see General Computer Question #12: What is dragging?). For example, you could quickly move from the beginning of a large word processing document to the end of that document by dragging the scroll box from the top of the scroll bar to the bottom. You can also click anywhere on the scroll bar to move the window's content a short distance (the scroll box will be moved toward the point at which you clicked).

Using some programs (for example, a word processing program), you can click on the scroll box to find out what page of the document you are currently on.

Using some programs, if you are editing a document, you can quickly move to the beginning or end of the document in the window by pressing the Home key or the End key.

General Windows Question 19: How can I retrieve a window that has been moved off the edge of the screen?

Answer:
   You can move a window anywhere on the screen that you want to. Surprisingly, it is even possible to move a window off the screen. However, if you look hard enough, part of the window should be showing somewhere. If you can even see a sliver of the missing window, click on it and then press the Alt key and then press the Spacebar key. A little menu will appear on the screen and one of the choices on that menu is Move. Select that option (or press the letter M key) and the cursor will turn into a little diamond with what looks like boxes inside it. You can then press the arrow keys to move the missing window back onto the screen. When you have the window moved to the position on the screen you want, press the Enter key to turn the cursor back to normal.

You can also retrieve a lost window by bringing all the open windows onto the screen at the same time. There are two ways to do it. You can tile all the open windows (none of them overlapping)
(See General Windows Question #21: What does it mean to tile windows?). You can also cascade all the open windows (bring all the open windows onto the screen at the same time with only the lower part of the windows overlapping). (See General Windows Question #22: What does it mean to cascade windows?)

General Windows Question 20: How can I find a particular window when my screen is cluttered with windows?

Answer:
   Every time you create a new window on the screen, it is created on top of whatever was already there. As a result, after you have created a number of new windows, the first ones you created may be buried beneath the newly created windows. If you can see any part of the buried windows, you can bring them to the top of the stack by clicking on that part. But you should also know that all currently open windows will also be represented on the taskbar. You can bring a buried window to the top by clicking on the rectangle representing it on the taskbar.
(Also see the Taskbar Questions below)

General Windows Question 21: What does it mean to tile windows?

Answer:
   Tiling refers to bringing all the currently open windows onto the screen at the same time without any of them overlapping. It is called tiling windows. You start by right clicking a blank area of the taskbar at the bottom of the screen. A little menu will open and two of the options on that menu are Tile Windows Horizontally and Tile Windows Vertically. Either option will align all the open windows without any of them overlapping
(Also see General Windows Question #20: How can I find a particular window when my screen is cluttered with windows? .

General Windows Question 22: What does it mean to cascade windows?

Answer:
   Cascading refers to bringing all the currently open windows onto the screen at the same time with only the lower part of the window overlapping. You do it by right clicking a blank area of the taskbar at the bottom of the screen. A little menu will open with the Cascade Windows option. Click on that option to stack all the windows as if they were cards in a solitaire game. The windows will still be stacked in the same order as they were previously, but the top part of each window will be showing.
(Also see General Windows Question #20: How can I find a particular window when my screen is cluttered with windows?

General Windows Question 23: How do I make a copy of a file or a program using Windows?

Answer:
   As usual, Windows provides a number of different ways of doing this kind of task. One easy method is to right click the icon for the program or file you want to copy. When the small menu appears, choose the Copy option. Then you can right click wherever you want the copy to go and choose the Paste option from the small menu that appears. You can also click once on the icon and then use the keyboard shortcut for copy (press and hold Ctrl while pressing the letter C key). Then you can click on the desktop or open a folder and paste the copy to that location by using the keyboard shortcut for Paste (press and hold Ctrl while pressing the letter V key). You can also right drag the icon to a new location
(also see General Computer Question #12: What is dragging?). When you release the right mouse button, a small menu will appear with four options: Move Here (to move the item to that location), Copy Here (to make a copy of the item in that location), Create Shortcut Here (to create a shortcut to the item in that location), or Cancel. (Also see the Menu Questions below and General Windows Question #24: How do I move a file or a program to a new location?)

General Windows Question 24: How do I move a file or a program to a new location?

Answer:
   An easy method is to right drag the icon for the program or file to the new location
(also see General Computer Question #12: What is dragging?). When you release the right mouse button, a small menu will appear with four options: Move Here (to move the item to that location), Copy Here (to make a copy of the item in that location), Create Shortcut Here (to create a shortcut to the item in that location), or Cancel. If you choose the Move Here option, the item will be moved to that location. (Also see the Menu Questions below and General Windows Question #23: How do I make a copy of a file or a program using Windows)

General Windows Question 25: Can I copy an entire folder along with all the files in it?

Answer:
   Yes. You use the same copying methods you would use for copying a file except you select the icon for a folder instead of the icon for a file or program
(Also see the Menu Questions below) and the three questions above).

General Windows Question 26: Can I change the icons on the desktop?

Answer:
   If you create a shortcut, the icon used to represent that shortcut will be the same as the icon used for the original item (except that it will have the usual little arrow in the lower left corner). If you want your shortcuts to have a different icon, right click the shortcut icon. When the small menu appears, choose the Properties option to display the properties dialog box. The dialog box has a button labeled Change Icon. Click that button and it will display the available icons. You can click the Browse option to search for other types of icons. If you choose a new icon and click on OK, the shortcut will now display that icon.

General Windows Question 27: What is a screen saver and do I need one?

Answer:
   A screen saver is a program that displays a picture (usually a moving picture) on the screen after a period of inactivity. Windows provides a variety of screen saver pictures and the period of inactivity and other settings can be modified by selecting Settings/Control Panel/Display/Screen Saver in the Start Menu. Select the Control Panel option from the Start Menu and click on Appearance and Themes and then click on Choose a screen saver. The truth is you may need a screen saver (for entertainment), but your computer does not. Screen savers were needed in the "old days" when computers displayed data as green letters and numbers on a black screen. If there was no activity on those old types of display screens, the unmoving image on the screen could be "burned in," leaving a ghost-like image permanently on the screen. Modern display monitors do not have this problem.

General Windows Question 28: What is My Briefcase?

Answer:
   It refers to a special folder used to hold files you may want to transfer to a laptop computer.

General Windows Question 29: How does a shortcut icon differ from a regular icon?

Answer:
   Unless you have changed the icon for the shortcut, it will look like the original item, except the icon will have a small arrow in the lower left corner.

General Windows Question 30: What is wallpaper (background) and how do I change it?

Answer:
   Windows refers to it as the display background. To change it, right click a blank area of the desktop and when the small menu appears, select the Properties option and then select the Background tab. Select the Control Panel option from the Start Menu and click on Appearance and Themes and then click on Change the desktop background. You can select from the list of background options or Browse for another picture on the hard disk. After you have chosen a picture, click on OK to change the desktop's background picture.
(Also see General Windows Question #4: What is the desktop?)

General Windows Question 31: How do I change the name of a program, file, or folder?

Answer:
   There are a number of different ways to do it, but they are all fairly simple. The easiest way is, when you are viewing the item, just click on the name of the file (just beneath the icon) and then, after a bit of a pause, click again. We are not talking about a double-click, just two slower discrete clicks directly on the name
(also see General Computer Question #9: What is double-clicking?). The name will be highlighted, allowing you to retype the name. Once the icon has been selected, you can also press the F2 key on the keyboard to highlight the name. No matter which method you use, once the name is highlighted, you can click anywhere on the name to change only part of it.

Another method to is to right click the name and then choose from the small menu that appears. That method also highlights the name.

General Windows Question 32: How can I select more than one icon at a time?

Answer:
   You can hold down the Shift key while clicking on file icons sequentially. You can also "lasso" a group of icons by holding down the mouse button and dragging across the icons
(also see General Computer Question #12: What is dragging?). Once the group of icons has been highlighted, you can cut, copy, or move the icons as a group.

General Windows Question 33: Is the fax program still available?

Answer:
   There is a fax program that comes with Windows 98 that appears to be the same as the one that was part of Windows 95 and some users have reported success in using it. Later versions of Windows have different utility programs. Best bet is to only use the programs that came with your version of Windows.

General Windows Question 34: What is a wizard?

Answer:
   A wizard is a small program that guides you through a process. Windows often starts a wizard program when a number of complicated settings need to be carried out. All you have to do is answer a series of questions and the wizard program does the rest.

General Windows Question 35: How do I use the My Computer option to open two windows at the same time?

Answer:
   This is a bit tricky. If you double-click on the My Computer icon it opens a window that shows the hard disk icon, an icon representing the A drive, and other available options. But if you click on the My Computer icon again it won't open a second window. But there is a way to have two windows open at once (for example, if you want to drag files between the two windows). To do it, double-click on the My Computer icon and then, in the open window, double-click on the C-drive icon. The window will then show the contents of the C drive. Then double-click on the My Computer icon again. Now it will open a second window. Once both windows are open, you can open folders in either or both and drag files back and forth between them.

To make this process easier, you can also put a shortcut to the My Computer option in the Start menu (in the latest versions of Windows the My Computer icon is already in the Start Menu, but you can put a shortcut on the desktop).
(See Start Menu Question #2: How do I add an option to the Start Menu?)

General Windows Question 36: What is context-sensitive help (also known as context-specific help)?

Answer:
   Context-sensitive help is helpful information that is directly relevant to the task you are currently trying to carry out. Most modern Windows-compliant programs provide help for using the program and often the help is related to the task at hand. Windows itself also provides context-sensitive help. When faced with a set of choices in a dialog box you will see a question mark in the upper-right area of the box. Click on that question mark and you will see that the mouse pointer will now be accompanied by a question mark. If you now position the pointer over just about any item in the dialog box and press the left mouse button, a text box with helpful information related to that item will appear. Actually, you can usually skip the clicking on the question mark part and just right-click the item itself. A What's This? button will appear. Click on that button and the context-sensitive information will appear. To get rid of it, click anywhere or press the Escape key.
(Also see Menu Question #7: (Help Menu): What is the Help Menu?)

General Windows Question 37: What is the Escape key used for?

Answer:
   The Escape key is usually used to cancel an operation. For example, if you are carrying out an operation that requires you to make a choice from a dialog box, you can cancel the task and close the dialog box by pressing the Escape key.


Start Menu Questions

Start Menu Question 1: What is the Start Menu and how do I use it?

Answer:
   The Start Menu is a special, always-ready menu that provides a quick way to start programs. It can be accessed at any time by moving the mouse pointer to the Start button in the lower left corner of the screen. When you click on the Start Button, the Start Menu will pop up. Some shortcuts to programs were installed on the Start Menu when Windows was initially installed, but you can add as many of your own as you want to.

Start Menu Question 2: How do I add an option to the Start menu?

Answer:
   Many programs add a shortcut icon that appears in the Start Menu as they are installed on your hard disk. But if they don't, there are two ways to do it. The "regular" way is to click on the Start Menu button and then select Settings/Task Bar & Start Menu. The dialog box that appears provides Taskbar settings and Start Menu settings. If you click on the Start Menu Programs tab, the options that appear include Add and Remove. After you click on the Add button, you can click on Browse to select the program you want to add to the Start Menu.

You can also create a shortcut icon and drag it to the Start Menu folder (it's in the Windows folder)
(Also see General Computer Question #12: What is dragging?).

An even quicker way is to just locate the program in its folder and drag the icon to the Start Menu button. The shortcut will be placed at the top of the Start Menu list.

Start Menu Question 3: How do I adjust the double-clicking speed?

Answer:
   Select the Start Menu option, Settings/Control Panel/Mouse (using the latest versions of Windows, select the Control Panel option from the Start Menu). A dialog box will appear with a left to right on-screen slider that lets you adjust the double-clicking speed (using the latest versions of Windows, the mouse pointer options are found under the Start Menu's Appearance and Themes option).
(Also see General Computer Question #9: What is double-clicking?)

Start Menu Question 4: How do I set up Windows to operate with one click of the mouse, the way it's done on the Internet?

Answer:
   Select Start Menu/Settings/Folder Options (using the latest versions of Windows, select the Control Panel option from the Start Menu). The dialog box that appears provides an option labeled Web Style - Your computer looks and acts like the web (e.g. single click). Using the latest versions of Windows, the mouse pointer options are found under the Start Menu's Appearance and Themes option.
(Also see General Computer Question #10: What is single-clicking?)

Start Menu Question 5: How do I use the Find program (known as the Search option under the latest versions of Windows)?

Answer:
   The Start Menu's Find (or search program can be used to find programs, files, and folders on your storage devices. You can even find text within files. When you select the Find Files and Folders option, a dialog box will be displayed with three main options. The first option, Name and Location provides a way to select the name of the item you are searching for. You can enter the full name of the item or only part of it. You can also enter some text to search for inside the file and you can specify the location to search. When you click on the Find Now button (or press the Enter key) Windows will search the location you indicated.

The second option provides a way to search for files created on a specific date or within a range of dates.

The Advanced option provides a way to search for specific types of files and for files of a specific size.

There are a number of other options and techniques available when you are using the Find tools. For example, if it is a program that was found, you can double click on it (single click if you are using the Web display style) to start that program. If a document or folder is found, you can do the same thing to start the related program and open that document or open the folder.

You can carry out a number of other options by right-clicking on a found item (
also see General Computer Question #20: What is right clicking?).

Start Menu Question 6: How do I set my computer's time and date?

Answer:
   The date and time are both set by selecting the Settings option under the Start Menu and then selecting the Control Panel option (using the latest versions of Windows, select the Control Panel option from the Start Menu then select the Date, Time, Language, and Regional options). When the control panel folder opens, double-click on the Date/Time icon
(Also see General Computer Question #9: What is double-clicking?). The Date/Time dialog box provides two main options: a clock and calendar to set the date and time and a Time Zone option to specify which time zone you are in. To set the date, select the month and year and then click on a date on the calendar. To set the time, select the number (hour, minute, or second) and click on the up or down arrows to change it.

Start Menu Question 7: How do I add a printer?

Answer:
   Printers are added by selecting the Settings option under the Start Menu and then selecting the Control Panel option (using the latest versions of Windows, select the Control Panel option from the Start Menu). When the control panel folder opens, double-click on the Printers icon (using the latest versions of Windows, select the Printers and Other Hardware option.)
(Also see General Computer Question #9: What is double-clicking?). Any currently selected printers will be listed in the Printers folder. Also in that folder is the Add Printer program. Click on the icon for that program and a Windows wizard will walk you through the installation of any new printer you specify. (Also see General Windows Question #34: What is a wizard?)

Start Menu Question 8: If I add new hardware will Windows recognize it?

Answer:
   There is a specific way to add new hardware so that Windows will recognize it. When you add new hardware, you may have to turn your computer off. When you turn it back on, Windows should detect the change? Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. If it doesn't, you can run a special program to notify Windows of the new configuration. You do it by selecting the Settings option under the Start Menu and then selecting the Control Panel option (using the latest versions of Windows, select the Control Panel option from the Start Menu and then select the Printers and Other Hardware option). When the control panel folder opens, double-click on the Add New Hardware icon
(also see General Computer Question #9: What is double-clicking?). A Windows wizard will walk you through the installation process. (Also see General Windows Question #34: What is a wizard?)

Start Menu Question 9: How do I add or remove software?

Answer:
   To add new software, select the Settings option under the Start Menu and then selecting the Control Panel option (using the latest versions of Windows, select the Control Panel option from the Start Menu). When the control panel folder opens, double-click on the Add/Remove Programs icon
(also see General Computer Question #9: What is double-clicking?). The dialog box that appears provides three main options: Install/Uninstall, Windows Setup, and Startup Disk. The option you need is the first one so click on the Install/Uninstall tab. A list of programs that Windows knows about will be displayed. To remove one of the listed programs, select it and then click on the Add/Remove button. If you want to install a new program, insert the program's diskette or CD and click on Install.

Start Menu Question 10: What are the accessories?

Answer:
   When Windows is initially installed, it adds a set of small programs referred to as accessories. They are accessed by selecting the Settings option under the Start Menu and then selecting the Programs option and then Accessories (using the latest versions of Windows, the accessories option will be found under the Start Menu option, All Programs). When the submenu opens the available accessories will be listed. Depending on how your copy of Windows was installed, all the accessories may not have been copied to your hard disk. However, you can always use the Add/Remove Programs option to add them later. The most common Windows accessories are described in the questions that follow, along with a brief description of their purpose.

Start Menu Question 11: What is the Accessibility accessory?

Answer:
   It is a wizard that lets you choose font sizes, magnify the screen, and set other viewing options. In addition, the latest versions of Windows include significant new accessibility options. They are accessed and configured using the Windows Accessibility Wizard. To start the wizard, click on Start and select All Programs. Click on Accessories. Click on Accessibility Wizard.
(Also see General Windows Question #34: What is a wizard?)

Start Menu Question 12: What is the Calculator accessory?

Answer:
   It is an on-screen calculator. You can "press" the numbers by clicking on the numbers or you can type in the numbers on your keyboard's keypad.

Start Menu Question 13: What is the Communications accessory?

Answer:
   It provides a series of communications settings. It includes the HyperTerminal program (used to access command-line BBS systems).

Start Menu Question 14: What is the Entertainment accessory?

Answer:
   It provides settings for multimedia usage, including CD and DVD players.

Start Menu Question 15: What is the Games accessory?

Answer:
   It includes a set of computer games, including card games and the Minesweeper math game.

Start Menu Question 16: What is the Notepad accessory?

Answer:
   It is a basic word processing program that includes rudimentary text management tools and a way to modify or create text files.

Start Menu Question 17: What is the Paint accessory?

Answer:
   It is a basic paint program with painting "tools" and a way to modify or create graphics files.

Start Menu Question 18: What is the Phone Dialer accessory?

Answer:
   It dials numbers using an on-screen phonebook.

Start Menu Question 19: What is the Wordpad accessory?

Answer:
   It is a word processing program, somewhat more capable than the Notepad program.

Start Menu Question 20: What are the System Tools?

Answer:
   Probably the most valuable of all the accessories, System Tools provides a set of very useful programs to fine tune your computer. They include the following programs.

Backup - Copies files to diskettes or to a backup storage device.

Character Map - Provides a way to insert special characters into a document.

Clipboard Viewer - Provides a view of what is currently stored in memory as a result of a copy or cut command.

Compression Agent - Uses the DriveSpace program to compact the data on your hard disk.

Disk Cleanup - Provides a way to permanently erase unneeded files from your hard disk.

Disk Defragmenter - Reorganizes your hard disk, making sure each file is stored in one contiguous piece. With time, a computer's hard disk can become fragmented. What happens is that the computer stores as much of the file as it can in the first available spot on the hard disk. If it runs out of room, it stores the rest of the file elsewhere. As a result, many files may not be stored in one contiguous space.

Drive Converter - Adjusts the way files are stored, taking advantage of larger storage spaces to store files more efficiently. Used with very large hard disks (larger than 1 gigabyte).

Net Watcher - Shows which, if any, other computers are connected to your computer through a network.

Resource Meter - Provides a continuing report on the resources your computer is using.

ScanDisk - Analyzes the status of your hard disk. It looks for damaged areas on the disk and for files that are damaged or misplaced. If it finds problems it will attempt to repair them.

Scheduled Tasks - Carries out system tasks at a scheduled time of day.

System File Checker - Analyzes Windows for operating problems and fixes them if possible.

System Information - Provides system information such as the Windows version, installation information, networking information, processor, amount of RAM, available system resources, swap file capacity, and the size of the hard disk and amount of available space on it.

System Monitor - Provides charts on your computer's performance.

Welcome - Provides helpful information about the Windows operating system.

Start Menu Question 21: What is the difference between Single Clicking and Double Clicking and can I change it?

Answer:
   Tasks like opening a folder usually require two fast clicks of the mouse's left button. It is referred to as Double Clicking. But you can change it so that those kinds of tasks only require a single click (Single Clicking). To do it, click on the Start button and select Settings/Folder Options. The Settings button in the dialog box that appears offers a number of options, including single-clicking. Using the latest versions of Windows, select the Control Panel option from the Start Menu. Click on Appearance and Themes and then choose Folder Options.
(Also see General Computer Question #9: What is double-clicking?).


Menu Questions

Menu Question 1 (File Menu): What is the difference between Save and Save As?

Answer:
   Both the Save and Save As options provide a way to save a file to disk in a specified location with a specified name. If you are working on a file and it has never been saved to disk before, there is no difference between the two commands. But if the file has been previously saved, when you use the Save command, it is carried out without any further notification. If the file has previously been saved, the new version will overwrite the existing version. But if you use the Save As option (whether the file has been previously saved or not), you can specify both the name and the location.

Menu Question 2 (File Menu): What are all those Print options and how do I know how to set them?

Answer:
   If you select Print from the File Menu while using many kinds of windows-based programs, you will be presented with a dialog box with many different printing options. The options vary, but they are usually related to the type of printer you are using, the number of pages you want to print, and the number of copies. A typical set of print options might include a way to specify which pages of the document to print. It will usually provide two boxes in which you can enter the starting and ending pages to print, or an option to print all the pages in the current document, or just the current page. It will often also include a way to specify the printer you want to use and sometimes you can select specific aspects of the document to print.

Menu Question 3 (File Menu): What does Page Setup mean and what page is it refering to?

Answer:
   If you select Page Setup from the File Menu while using many kinds of windows-based programs, you will be presented with a dialog box with many different page layout options. The options vary, but they are usually related to printing or page design. Before printing out any page of a document, you might want to specify the size of the page, as well as its margins, the paper source (if your printer uses different paper trays), and other page layout options.

Menu Question 4 (Edit Menu): What is the difference between Cut and Copy?

Answer:
   The Edit menu options Cut and Copy both provide ways to make a copy of a document, program, or graphic. Both place the item in the computer's memory (Windows refers to it as being placed on the Clipboard) ready to be pasted to a new location
(Also see General Windows Question #23: How do I make a copy of a file or a program using Windows?).

Most programs that are designed to be used with Windows provide a way to select an item. Once the item has been selected, you can then use the cut or copy option, placing the item in memory, ready to be pasted. For example, you can use the mouse to select a section of text by dragging across it (also see General Computer Question #12: What is dragging?). Then you can paste that selected text to another location (in the same document or to a completely different document). Or, if you were looking at a folder that contains a set of icons representing files or programs or shortcuts to programs, you can select one of the icons (or more than one), choose the Cut or Copy option, and then paste the icon into a different location (the entire file or program or shortcut will be pasted to the new location, not just the icon).

There is an important difference between the two options: when you cut an item it is removed from the current location, but when you copy an item it is not. Therefore, you would use the Copy option when you want to make a copy of the item in a new location and the Cut option when you want to move the item to a new location without leaving a copy behind. Sometimes when you exit the program you were using, the item currently in the computer's memory will be erased, sometimes it will not; it depends on the program. But remember, no matter what you have in the computer's memory, it will be erased when you turn off the computer. (Also see Menu Question #5: What is the Paste option?)

Menu Question 5 (Edit Menu): What is the Paste option?

Answer:
   If you choose the Paste option from the Edit menu, any item previously copied into the computer's memory (Windows refers to it as being placed on the Clipboard) is "pasted" into the current location.
(Also see Menu Question #4 (Edit Menu): What is the difference between Cut and Copy

Menu Question 6 (Window Menu): What is the Window menu and why isn't it always available?

Answer:
   The Window menu is available when using some programs in the Windows environment. Specifically, it is available when the program is capable of opening more than one window at a time. For example, most modern word processing programs can open more than one document at a time, each in its own window. Such programs will usually have a Window menu wherein you can select which document you want to work with.

Menu Question 7 (Help Menu): What is the Help Menu?

Answer:
   The Help menu should be available in any modern Windows-based program. It provides helpful information about the program you are using, but usually not about Windows itself. To get help with Windows, press the F1 key. It provides a table of contents, an index of terms, and way to search for any keyword.
(Also see General Windows Question #36: What is context-sensitive help?)

Menu Question 8: What is the Control Menu?

Answer:
   The Control Menu is available with most on-screen windows, but it's not very useful. The Control Menu icon is located in the upper left corner of most windows. Click on it to get a small menu that lets you move the window (using the arrow keys), resize, minimize, maximize, or close that particular window.

Menu Question 9: What is the View Menu?

Answer:
   The View Menu is used to change the way items are displayed in Windows. You can use it to change the size of the icons and/or whether the icons are arranged in the folder window or displayed as a list.

Using the Folder Options choice in this menu you can customize, to some degree, how folders are displayed. For example you can choose to open folders in the same window or in their own window (this can result in many more open windows).

You can also specify whether or not the toolbars are displayed.

You can also use this menu to set the display to a web-like appearance and response.


Taskbar Questions

Taskbar Question 1: My taskbar only pops up when I move the cursor to the bottom of the screen; how can I keep it showing all the time?

Answer:
   You can customize several different aspects of the taskbar, including when it appears. To do it, right click a blank area of the taskbar and when the small menu appears, choose Properties. The Autohide option is the one that determines whether or not the taskbar is always showing or automatically hides when you move the cursor away from it. You can also specify whether or not the taskbar is in front of orbehind other windows: to keep the taskbar on top of all other windows, select the Always on top option. This menu also provides some Start Menu options.

Taskbar Question 2: I can't find my taskbar. Where did it go?

Answer:
   There are several reasons why the taskbar can disappear. One reason is that it has been configured to automatically disappear until you move the mouse pointer to it. That is based on a setting in the taskbar's shortcut menu. To make it appear again, move the pointer to the bottom of the screen. To change the setting so the taskbar will always be displayed, right click on a blank area of the taskbar and then uncheck the Autohide option.
(Also see General Computer Question #20: What is right clicking?)

Another possibility is that the taskbar has been moved to the top or one of the sides of the screen. It's easy to do, just click on a blank area of the taskbar and drag it to the top of the screen or to the left or right (Also see General Computer Question #12: What is dragging?).

Yet another possibility is that the taskbar has been resized to a size that is too small to find. If you move the mouse pointer to the edge of the taskbar, the cursor turns into a two-headed arrow. If you then drag toward the taskbar's other edge, the taskbar can be made so small it almost disappears; it becomes only a thin line. But if you move the mouse pointer to that line, it will again turn into the double-headed arrow and you can drag it toward the center of the screen to resize the taskbar to the size you want it. (Also see General Computer Question 12: What is dragging?)

Finally, it is possible that the taskbar is on the screen, but it is buried beneath other windows. You can move or minimize the other windows on the screen to find it. Once you have found it, you can right click a blank area of the taskbar and then check the Always on top option to be sure the taskbar will remain on top of the other windows (also see General Computer Question #20: What is right clicking?).

Taskbar Question 3: How do I use the taskbar?

Answer:
   The taskbar is used to quickly open an item or program or to keep track of programs and files you are currently using.

One of the most common uses of the Taskbar is to access a program you were using previously. Whenever you open a new program or begin certain tasks, the taskbar keeps track of it. When you display the taskbar, each currently open window is represented by a button. To switch to any one of those windows, all you have to do is click on the button that represents it.

You can also close a window from the taskbar by clicking on the button that represents it with the right mouse button and chosing Close from the small menu that appears.
(Also see General Windows Question 13: What does it mean to minimize?)


General Computer Questions

General Computer Question 1: What is the definition of a computer?

Answer:
   A common, somewhat simplified definition is that the computer is an electronic device that can be used to process information. As we might expect from this definition, the fact that the computer is electronic means that it will be fast: it can operate at electronic speed. But what do we mean when we say the computer can process information? The answer to that question is not so simple. When computers were first used, they were used exclusively for calculating numbers. During that period, information processing was defined as calculating numbers. But today, computers are not only used for calculations, but also for creating and manipulating text and pictures. They are used to design bridges and spacecraft, to record a company's sales and to keep track of customers, to create a school newspaper or to estimate the cost of a new school. If computers can do all these things, then it appears that we must define information processing in terms of what the current crop of computers can do, and that definition is constantly expanding. Computers today are far more than the number crunchers that they started out to be. Today computers are used to store and manage information in the form of words, numbers, sounds, and pictures.

General Computer Question 2: What is computer memory?

Answer:
   In today's computers, the CPU acts on instructions that are retrieved from a temporary storage system known as main memory. The CPU also uses this main memory to store data temporarily as it carries out processing tasks. In most of today's computers, this temporary storage system is based on sets of silicon chips. Each chip is actually made up of millions of circuits that store data in a coded format. Because data stored using this type of primary storage can be accessed at any time, in any order, it is also known as random-access memory (RAM).

General Computer Question 3: What is a bit?

Answer:
   The smallest unit of data that a computer can deal with is based on the on/off state of a circuit. It can be represented as a binary digit (0 or 1). A single binary digit is known as a bit.

General Computer Question 4: What is a byte?

Answer:
   Although the smallest unit of data that a computer can deal with is a single binary digit (a bit), computers generally do not deal with data as single bits. Instead, computers originally deal with bits in groups of eight. Each such group is referred to as a byte. As a result, the size of computer data management systems, including storage systems are usually measured in bytes.

General Computer Question 5: What is a kilobyte?

Answer:
   Although the smallest unit of data that a computer can deal with is a single binary digit (a bit), computers generally do not deal with data as single bits. Instead, computers usually deal with bits in groups of eight. Each such group is referred to as a byte. The symbol K refers to kilobytes and is commonly used to symbolize thousands. It is often used to represent the number of bytes of storage capacity. One K or kilobyte is actually 1,024 units; therefore, if a computer's main memory is described as providing the capability to store 500 K bytes, it would be able to store 500 X 1,024 bytes (512,000 bytes).

General Computer Question 6: What is a megabyte?

Answer:
   Although the smallest unit of data that a computer can deal with is a single binary digit (a bit), computers generally do not deal with data as single bits. Instead, computers originally deal with bits in groups of eight. Each such group is referred to as a byte. The symbol M refers to megabytes and is used to represent 1,048,576 units. It is commonly used to symbolize millions of bytes. These days, a computer's main memory is likely to have a capacity of up to several hundred M bytes.

General Computer Question 7: What is a gigabyte?

Answer:
   Although the smallest unit of data that a computer can deal with is a single binary digit (a bit), computers generally do not deal with data as single bits. Instead, computers originally deal with bits in groups of eight. Each such group is referred to as a byte. The symbol G refers to gigabytes and is used to represent 1,073,741,824 units. It is commonly used to symbolize billions of bytes. These days, a computer's long-term storage system (such as a hard disk) is more likely to have a capacity of several G bytes (gigabytes).

General Computer Question 8: What is storage and is it the same as memory?

Answer:
   Storage (or secondary storage) refers to your computer's long-term storage system. It is not the same as memory. Secondary storage devices store data not currently being processed. While the computer's main (primary) memory provides temporary storage, the secondary storage systems are used for more permanent data storage. Usually based on magnetic disks or magnetic tape, secondary storage is often used to store data and program files. The most common type of secondary storage systems in use today are based on magnetic disks. As these disks rotate inside a disk drive, the computer interacts with the drive to retrieve data from the disk or to send new data to it.

General Computer Question 9: What is double-clicking?

Answer:
   Double-clicking refers to a method of using the mouse to activate something. It means to press and release the mouse's button twice very quickly while the mouse pointer is over an item such as an icon.

But how fast do you need to double-click? In other words, how much time can elapse between clicks? The answer is that it is variable. You can adjust the speed for double-clicking.
(See Start Menu Question 3: How do I adjust the double-clicking speed?)

General Computer Question 10: What is single-clicking and how do I set it up?

Answer:
   Some people want to control Windows options with a single click of the mouse - the way it works on the Internet (the World Wide Web). The latest version of Windows gives you that option.
(See Start Menu Question #4: How do I set up Windows to operate with one click of the mouse, the way it's done on the Internet?

General Computer Question 11: What does the right mouse button do?

Answer:
   In previous versions of Windows, the mouse's right button wasn't used for much. But with Windows versions after Windows 95 the mouse's right button has a number of uses. What it does depends on where the mouse's pointer is positioned when you click the right mouse button.

When you position the mouse over something on the screen and press the right mouse button, a menu of options will appear (sometimes it is called the Shortcut Menu). The menu provides a list of the things that can be done with that item.

General Computer Question 12: What is dragging?

Answer:
   Dragging refers to moving something on the screen using the mouse. You position the mouse's pointer over an item on the screen, hold down the left mouse button, and, while continuing to hold down the mouse button, move the mouse until you have the item (the item could be a picture, some text, a window, or some other on-screen representation) where you want it on the screen. When you release the mouse button the on-screen object will be in the new position.

General Computer Question 13: What is drop (as in drag and drop)?

Answer:
   The drop (in drag and drop) is very simple: it just means to release the mouse button. In other words, after you have dragged the selected item to the position on the screen where you want to place it, you simply release the mouse button and it will be placed there
(also see General Computer Question 12: What is dragging?).

General Computer Question 14: What is the DOS Prompt?

Answer:
   If you select MS-DOS from the Start menu (usually under Programs), a new window will appear on the screen. That window will look very much like the "old" computers, with standard-sized white letters on a black screen. But the window itself isn't the DOS prompt; it's that place on the screen where you can enter DOS commands (usually there will be a flashing underline cursor after an indication of the current drive and directory). Using the latest versions of Windows, simply choose Run... from the Start Menu (or in Windows 7, use the search box to search for "command prompt" and type in the name of the DOS program you want to run.
(Also see General Windows Question #3: What is the DOS Window?)

The DOS prompt is an indicator that the system is ready to go to work. When the computer is started, DOS goes into action, starting a series of programs to configure your computer's operation. The last program to be loaded is usually the Windows program.

After you have opened the DOS prompt window, you may be dismayed to discover that it does not present the familiar Windows interface: there is nothing you can use the mouse to click on, no helpful menus, no convenient scroll bars (however you can change the basic font minimize or resize the window itself). Everyone who has used the DOS operating system at first wondered, "What is that letter doing on the screen? What am I supposed to do now?" The answer, you soon learn, is that it is waiting for you to enter the name of a program so it can load that program and begin to operate under the guidance of that program's instructions. The program name you enter can be the name of a DOS operating program or any other program that has been developed expressly to run in DOS. Either way, you call the computer into action by typing in the program name right next to the DOS prompt and then pressing the Enter key.

To learn more about DOS, go to www.easydos.com. The site provides information about all DOS commands from the book DOS the Easy Way by Dr. Everett Murdock.

General Computer Question 15: I'm stuck in the DOS window; how do I get out of it?

Answer:
   When you are in DOS window, you can't use the mouse or other keyboard shortcuts to get out of it. Instead, you have to do it the "DOS way" by typing in a command; in this case the correct command is the word "exit." It will close the DOS window and get you back to the familiar Windows interface.

General Computer Question 16: What is a hard disk?

Answer:
  A hard disk (also known as a fixed disk) is a high-capacity storage device. Unlike a computer's memory (RAM), which is temporary and based on memory chips, a hard disk can store files permanently
(See Start Menu Question 2: What is computer memory?). Today's computers almost always come equipped with a hard disk. Hard disks are called high capacity storage devices because they can store a lot of computer programs and files. They spin at high speeds and have write heads to write data to the rapidly spinning disks and read heads to read data from them.

General Computer Question 17: What is a pointing device?

Answer:
   A pointing device is a computer tool used to point at an on-screen representation. The most common pointing device is the computer mouse. Using a pointing device like a mouse you can position the on-screen pointer over an on-screen representation like an icon a window, or a block of text and click one of the mouse buttons to tell the computer you want to take some kind of action related to that item. Examples of other pointing devices include light pens, touch pads, and track balls.
(Also see General Windows Question #9: What is a GUI?

General Computer Question 18: What is the cursor?

Answer:
   The cursor is the form the mouse's pointer takes when you are ready to type in something. You can tell when the mouse's pointer has turned into a cursor: it starts blinking rhythmically.
(Also see General Computer Question #17: What is a pointing device?)

General Computer Question 19: What is clicking?

Answer:
   Clicking refers to pressing AND releasing a button on the mouse. Clicking generally refers to pressing and releasing the mouse's left button (right-clicking refers to pressing and releasing the mouse's right button). If left or right is not stated, clicking refers to pressing and releasing the mouse's left button
(also see General Computer Question #20: What is right clicking?).

General Computer Question 20: What is right clicking?

Answer:
   Clicking refers to pressing AND releasing a button on the mouse. Right-clicking refers to pressing and releasing the mouse's right button. If left or right is not stated, clicking refers to pressing and releasing the mouse's left button
(Also see General Computer Question #19: What is clicking?).

Sometimes instructions will tell you to click on something. That means to position the mouse's on-screen pointer over the specified item (it could be text on the screen or a picture of something) and then press and release the mouse's left button.

General Computer Question 21: What is a directory?

Answer:
   When computers used character-based operating systems like MS-DOS, hard disks and floppy disks were divided into conceptual file storage areas referred to as directories. Modern computer operating systems like Windows use a different word, folders for the same concept.
(Also see General Windows Question #3: What is the DOS window?) and General Computer Question 14: What is the DOS Prompt?

General Computer Question 22: What is a file?

Answer:
   A computer file is data saved on a hard disk or a floppy disk. It could be data in the form of a letter or memo created by your word processing program and saved to your hard disk. It could also be data in the form of a collection of numbers representing your checking account balance or business expenses saved to disk by your spreadsheet program or database program.

General Computer Question 23: What is the default?

Answer:
   Default refers to a standard or current option. More specifically, it usually refers to the option that will be selected if you just press the Enter key without changing anything. For example, if you have selected the Save As option from the File menu and are getting ready to save a file, you can just press the Enter key to accept the default name; in other words, to go ahead and save the file under the name that is already shown. Dialog boxes provide another type of example. They often present a set of choices that can be changed by the computer user. However, they usually display a set of pre-selected choices, the default options (they are usually the most commonly selected options).

General Computer Question 24: When I turned on my computer, it said it had been shut down improperly. How do I shut down my computer properly?

Answer:
   The message that you have shut down your computer improperly appears whenever you turn off your computer without allowing Windows to carry out its usual shut down procedure (it can also happen when the power goes off). The proper way to shut down a computer running Windows is to click on the Start menu button and then select the Shut Down option and choose Shut Down from the dialog box that appears. If any programs are running and there are documents that have not been saved, Windows will give you a chance to save them. Some computers will then automatically shut down. But some computers will not shut down completely: in that case, Windows will display the message It's now safe to turn off your computer. You can then turn off the computer's power switch.
(Also see Start Menu Question 1: What is the Start Menu and how do I use it?



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