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Start Menu

Start Menu

When clicked on the start button, start menu appears on the screen giving all the available options to start using the

Windows (See Fig. 1.13). Desktop icons provide access to commonly used programs, folders and files. Overview of the options available in the start menu.

Task Description

All Programs Displays a list of installed program, which a user can start or use My Documents Displays a list of documents used by the current user My Recent Documents Displays a list of recently used documents by the current user My Picture Displays a list of pictures/photos used by the current user My Music Displays a list of music/songs used by the current user Control Panel Displays a list of utilities to configure the computer system and install software and hardware Printers and Faxes Displays a list of currently installed printers and faxes in the current computer system Start the XP help and support program Help and Support to find how to do a task in windows Search Helps the user to find any file or folder from a list of document used by the current user. Run Starts an application program or executes a DOS command Log Off Log off the currently logged in user of the system Turn Off Computer Close currently opened program, log of the current user and switch off the computer system.

Fig. 1.13 Start Menu

Task Bar

When you start the computer system, then start button and task bar appears on the bottom of the screen and by default remains visible when Windows is running (See Fig. 1.14).

Whenever a program is run or a window is opened, an icon representing the program appears on the taskbar. To switch between windows or program, click on the icon representing the window on the task bar. When the program or window is closed, the icon disappears from the task bar.

Task bar System Tray

Task Bar

Fig. 1.14

The system tray is part of the task bar and displays the current time as well as the status icons.

Start a Program

To start a program, do the following;

1. Click on the Start Button.

2. Click on the All Programs, you will see a list of all the program icons and program folders.

3. Point to the desired folder say Accessories and select the desired program to run such as Paint.

Quit a Program

To quit a program, select the close button (×) in the upper-right corner of the window OR

Click on File menu and select Close option.

Getting Help

Online help and support provided is of great help in using and learning windows. One can get help on a specific topic or on current task which is being executed. To start help


 click on the Start button

 click on Help and support option

A list of help and support topics and online tutorial is displayed on the screen (see Fig. 1.15). One can use the tabs in the screen to search for the desired information in several ways.

 Click on a topic or task to know more about how to get the job done or type in a search word to locate the help on a specific topic.

 Click on the Index tab to locate specific topic listed alphabetically and the follow the instructions displayed on the screen.

 Click on Favorites tab to add Help Topics, search results to your Favorites list to make them easy to locate in the future  Click on History to pick from a list of Help and Support pages that you have read in the past.  Click on Support to get various kind of online support such as Microsoft online support, News Group on Windows.

Fig. 1.15  Click on Option to configure the help and support center as per your requirement.

To close Help and Support windows, select the close button

(×) in the upper-right corner of the window.

Searching Files and Folders

If you don’t know where a document or folder is located, you can use the Search option to locate it in the local storage such as Hard Disk, CD or in the network drive (if the system is part of a network). The Indexing Service provided by the Search maintains an index of all the files on your computer, making searches faster.


To search for a file or folder

1. Click Start, and click on Search.

2. Select All files and folders from the left hand side of the windows (see Fig. 1.16).

3. Type the name of the file or folder in part or full, or type a word or phrase that exists in the file to be searched.

4. If you do not know either piece of information select one or more of the remaining options:

 In Look in, click the drive, folder, or network you want to search.

 Click on When was it modified? to look for files that were created or modified on or between specific dates.

 To look for files of a specific size, click on What size is it? Select a size.

Fig. 1.16

 Click on More advanced options to specify additional search criteria.

6. Once you finish specifying the search criteria, click on Search to locate the file.

Similarly you can search for specific information on Internet, or people in your address book, search for a printer or a computer on your network.

Changing System settings

By using Control Panel’s tools you can customize the way Windows look and work! Also you can install new hardware, add and remove (install/uninstall) software programs, change the look and feel of your desktop and much more. It also includes a number of administrative tools in Administrative Tools option for better administration of Windows in terms of User Management, Event viewer, Component Service etc. To start Control Panel and use the available tool, do the following;

 Click on Start

 Click on Control Panel

 Select the desired tool to use

For example to create a new or modify the settings for an existing user click on ‘User Account’ icon in the control panel.

Using 'My Computer's for browsing your disk drives

My Computer Browsing the disk
Your disk drives hold all the information on your computer: all the files, folders, programs as well as the documents.

My Computer displays the contents of floppy, hard disk, CD-ROM, and network drives. One can also search for and open files and folders, and use options in Control Panel to modify computer’s settings.

 To use My Computer, click on Start, and then click on My Computer or double click the My computer icon on the desktop. My computer windows opens to show all the drives present on your computer. (see Fig. 1.17).

Display the storage Contents

 To see what’s on your hard disk, under Hard Disk Drives, double-click the drive you want to see such as C:, D: etc.

 To find a file or folder on a CD-ROM, or other media, under Devices with Removable Storage, double-click on the respective storage media you want to see.

Fig. 1.17

 To find a file in a folder, under Files Stored on This Computer, double-click a folder.