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Microsoft Windows 7 A Beginners Guide
By WR Mills
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2009 W.R. Mills
All right reserved.
Chapter OneThe Basics
What is Windows 7?
Windows 7 is the newest and most exciting operating system from Microsoft. An operating system is a sophisticated software program that controls not only the way you work on your computer, it also controls just about everything that is connected to your computer. If my memory serves me correctly, Windows got its name from all of the little windows the operating system puts on your monitor. I mention this because you can put several of these "little windows" on your monitor screen at one time and jump back and forth between the different windows. This will allow you to work with several different programs at one time. Windows 7 will control each of these programs and keep everything from getting mixed up as you work with them. That in itself says a lot.
Perhaps the best way to describe Windows 7 is to say that it is an improved version of Vista (with the fixes it needed) and a few of the Apple features thrown in. I, for one, was eagerly waiting for Windows 7 and couldn't wait to start playing with it. So far I have been having a lot of fun. I think that you will too.
Chapter one will cover such things as starting Windows 7 and logging in. We will also cover the things you need to know to haveyour computer look and act the way you want. You may be surprised to know that Windows 7 is not really difficult to use. In fact I think that what will surprise you is that is very easy to use.
So, take a deep breath and let's get started.
Lesson 1 - 1 Starting Windows 7
Listed below are the "proper steps" to turning on your computer.
1) Take a deep breath
3) Push the on/off button
Okay, go ahead and try it
After you have performed the above steps, Windows 7 will start automatically. In a few moments, give or take, Windows 7 will jump onto your screen. It is not a fast jump, but it is considerably faster than some of the previous versions.
If you have a password on your computer login name, you will see the Login screen, sometimes called a Welcome Screen, and you will need to enter your password and then press the Enter key on the keyboard. If a password is not required, you will see your desktop on the screen. If there is more than one user on your computer, you will still go to the Login screen and you will have to click on your user name, but you won't have to put in a password, unless you have required a password for your login name.
As you enter your password, if it is required, a series of ****** will be displayed on the screen. This is to prevent anyone from seeing your password as you type. This is a safety feature for your protection. So what if you forget your password? Should we throw our computer away and buy another one? Microsoft wouldn't do that to you. If you enter an incorrect password, the next screen will have the helpful hint that you provided when you set the password. It will be directly underneath the textbox where you type your password. You should know that whoever tries to login to your user account will be able to see this helpful hint. So don't put something like "The password is Bill". Put something that will remind you of what the password is.
The desktop comes in many colors and has many pictures available so that your screen will look more attractive when you look at it. Since this will not affect the way your computer works, we won't deal with changing the picture on the screen until Chapter two. Figure 1-1 shows an example of the login screen.
Lesson 1 - 2 The Windows 7 Screen
When you start Microsoft Windows 7, you will notice that the screen looks similar to the Windows Vista screen. If you have never used the Microsoft Windows Vista this could look confusing and overwhelming. The opening screen is called the Desktop. This provides a background for all of the other windows that will appear on the monitor. Figure 1-2 shows a typical desktop.
As I said the entire screen is called the Desktop. The color on your desktop and the picture shown on your screen may be different than the one shown in the figure.
The icons shown on the left side are shortcuts. These allow you to quickly access some of the programs that you will be using a lot of the time. The shortcuts on your monitor may be different than the ones on my screen. But fret not these can be changed and we will cover just how to do that in Chapter two.
The Start button is the round circle in the lower left corner of the screen with the Windows Logo on it. In past versions (excluding Vista) this was a square button that had the word Start on it. This is where, as the name implies, you start the different programs. We will deal with this more in the next lesson.
The Task bar is the bar going across the bottom of the screen. This holds the Start button on one end and the Notification area on the other. In the center are buttons for the programs that are currently being used. You can also have some programs permanently showing on the Task Bar for quick access, The Task Bar will be discussed in Lesson 1-7.
Some of the things on the Desktop should look familiar to you if you have ever used a computer with Windows on it. The icons for the shortcuts are the same as the earlier versions of Windows. The Task bar was also used in the earlier versions of Windows. The Notification area, where the clock is located, was used in earlier versions of Windows.
The earlier versions of Windows did have one other thing on the Task Bar that is not in the Windows 7 version. This is the Quick Launch Bar. This has been combined as part of the Task Bar.
By now you are tired of just reading, so let's actually do something.
Lesson 1 - 3 Using the Mouse Pointing, Clicking, and Double-clicking
The mouse is a small device that will fit into the palm of your hand and lets you point at, select, and move objects on your computer screen. The mouse is linked to a pointer on your computer screen, when you move the mouse, the pointer moves on your computer screen. This lesson will show you how to perform the most basic mouse actions.
Rest your hand on top of the mouse, then move the mouse and watch as the arrow moves across the screen.
The arrow (also called the cursor or pointer) you see on the screen follows the mouse movement as you move your mouse across the desk or mouse pad.
One of the most basic things you can do with a mouse is pointing. To point to something (an object), simply move the mouse until the pointer is touching the object.
Move the mouse pointer until the tip of it is over the Start Button. Leave the mouse pointer there for a few seconds.
A screen tip will appear after a few seconds that says "Start". To use the start button you need to click it with the mouse. "Clicking" means pressing and then releasing the mouse button. The mouse makes a clicking noise when you press and release either mouse button, hence the name clicking.
Move the pointer over the Start Button and press and release (click) the left mouse button once.
When you click the Start Button the Windows 7 Start Menu pops up. You can close the Windows 7 Start Menu without choosing anything by clicking anywhere outside of the Start Menu.
Note: The mouse has two buttons, a left button and a right button. Normally you will use the left button. In these lessons you can assume that when it is stated to click on something, I mean you are to use the left mouse button. The right mouse button has its own purpose, and we will discuss that later.
Move the pointer anywhere outside of the Start Menu and click the left mouse button.
Now that you have used the mouse and feel a little more comfortable clicking it, we will move on to something a little harder: double-clicking. Double-clicking is exactly as it sounds, clicking the mouse button twice in rapid succession. You will usually use double-clicking to open an object, file, or folder.
Move your mouse pointer over to the Recycle Bin and double-click it with the left mouse button.
The Recycle Bin icon is shown in figure 1-4.
The Recycle Bin will open and reveal its contents as shown in figure 1-5.
The contents of your Recycle bin will probably not look like the figure. The figure shows the contents of the Recycle Bin on my computer. Your Recycle Bin may not even have anything in it. The Recycle Bin is where the things that you delete from your computer end up.
Note: A lot of people have trouble double-clicking the first few times they try. If you are having trouble, it is probably because you are not holding the mouse steady or you are not double-clicking fast enough. If you click the mouse button too hard, the mouse will move slightly and Windows will think that you have made two single-clicks and not one double-click.
Close the Recycle Bin by clicking its Close Button, the small box in the upper right corner with the X in it.
The following table tells you what you can click and double-click.
In the next lesson we will practice using the mouse.
Lesson 1 - 4 Using the Mouse Clicking and Dragging
You can move items around on your computer screen by clicking and dragging them with the mouse. There are three steps involved with clicking and dragging, they are as follows:
Move the mouse pointer over the object you want to move, then click and hold down the left mouse button.
While you are still holding the left mouse button down, move the mouse until the pointer is over the place you want to put the object.
Release the left mouse button.
The rest of this lesson may seem silly to you, but you need to master clicking and dragging. Therefore your assignment for this lesson is to play a game, a game of Solitaire. Some people believe that Microsoft still includes this game as a learning tool for clicking and dragging. Either way it is fun and good practice. The following steps will show you how to start the game.
Click the Start Button in the bottom left corner of the screen.
On the right side of the Start Menu, click the word Games
Use the scroll bar on the right side of the menu box that came onto the screen, to go down to where you see Solitaire.
Double-click the card and word Solitaire.
Play a game of Solitaire and practice clicking and dragging the cards.
If you don't know how to play solitaire, here is a quick recap of the game. You move lower numbered card on top of higher numbered card (a queen goes on top of a king etc.), colors must alternate (a red card on top of a black card), a group of cards can be moved if the very bottom card can be played on top of the card where you are moving it to. Aces go up to the top and the next card in the sequence may be placed on the Ace (The Ace of Spades is placed at the top, the two of Spades is placed on the Ace, the three of Spades is placed on top of the two of Spades, etc.). To move a card (or group of cards) simply click on the card (keep holding the mouse button down) and drag it to the new location and release the mouse button. If you drag it to an invalid place it will whisk back to where it started.
Click the close button when you are finished playing.
There are other things that you can click and drag besides cards. We will cover these later, but in the mean time table 1-2 lists some of examples of when you can use click and drag.
Lesson 1 - 5 Using the Mouse Right-clicking
You already know that the left mouse button is the primary mouse button that you will use. It is the one used for clicking and double-clicking. The obvious question is what is the right mouse button used for? Whenever you right-click something it brings up a shortcut menu to the screen that lists everything you can do to the object. If you are unsure about what you can do with an object, point to it and click the right mouse button. A shortcut menu will appear on the screen with a list of commands that are related to the object or area you right-clicked.
Move the pointer over the Recycle Bin and click the right mouse button.
A shortcut menu will appear with a list of the commands related to the Recycle Bin as shown in figure 1-6.
If it is available, point to and click the Empty Recycle Bin option on the shortcut menu.
You will use the left mouse button to select a menu item even if you used the right mouse button to open the shortcut menu. A dialog box will appear asking if you are sure you want to delete the contents of the Recycle Bin. Since we don't know what is in the Recycle Bin, let's play it safe and not delete everything.
Click No with the left mouse button.
Now, let's suppose that you have realized that the clock in the bottom right corner of your computer screen did not automatically reset for daylight savings time, because the government decided to change everything again. How are you going to fix that problem? You can display the clock's properties by right-clicking on the clock.
Move the pointer over the clock (located on the far right side of the Task Bar) and click the right mouse button.
Another shortcut menu appears, with commands related to the Notification area, as shown in figure 1-7.
You will notice that one of the commands is Adjust Date/Time. If you wanted to change the date or the time, you would select this option from the shortcut menu. At this time, let's NOT change anything. Now all we need to do is close the shortcut menu without selecting anything.
Move the mouse anywhere outside the shortcut menu and click the left mouse button.
That is all there is to it, you can now point, select, click, double-click, click and drag, and right click the mouse. Now you can take five, get a cold drink, and pat yourself on the back for a moment, then we will move on to the next lesson.
Lesson 1 - 6 The Start Button & Menu
The Start button is the main way you will open programs. If you find yourself not knowing where to start, just remember "everything starts with the Start button". When you click the Start button with the mouse, the Start Menu will jump onto the screen. The Start menu is shown in Figure 1-8.
Click the Start Button
This might be something new for a few of the readers so I will recap. The mouse is the palm sized pointing device with a cord coming out of the back of it. It resembles a small mouse, well sort of. The mouse has two buttons on it (sometimes three). The button on the left is the left mouse button and the one on the right is the right mouse button. I said that without taking into consideration that you might be left handed and the installer might have reversed the mouse buttons for you. When I reference the left mouse button I am speaking as if the mouse was being used by your right hand.
To click the mouse you press the mouse button down one time and then release the button. This is called clicking because if you listen closely you can hear a soft clicking sound every time the mouse button is pressed.
The Start Menu is made up of a Pinned Items list, a Recently Used Items List, a search box, and links on the right side to folders, settings, and other options. Also on the right side is the user's name and image.
A Pinned item is a link to a program(s) of your choosing for easy access.
The "Recently Used Items" is a list of programs that you can get access to easily. It is similar to the pinned list with one difference, Microsoft put these here not you. This can be changed, well sort of, and will be discussed in Chapter two when we discuss personalizing your computer.
Another change is the Search textbox. This is available at all times when the Start Menu is opened. In the versions before Vista, you had to access the search feature when you wanted to use it. It was not always visible. You use this to search for programs and files on your computer.
You can shut down the computer by clicking the Shut Down button. Clicking the small arrow on the right side of the Shut Down button will allow you to put the computer to sleep, logoff the computer, switch user, or restart the computer.
If the program you want to open is not shown in the Recently Used List, you will need to use the All Programs button to show the rest of the programs. Clicking the All Programs button will bring a list of all the programs that are installed on your computer to the screen. This list will take the place of the opening Start Menu.
Click the All Programs Button
The Start Menu will change and all of the programs available will be displayed in the place of the Start Menu. Figure 1-9 shows the All Programs Menu.
Excerpted from Microsoft Windows 7 A Beginners Guide by WR Mills Copyright © 2009 by W.R. Mills. Excerpted by permission.
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