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What is Windows Operating System

Windows is short for Microsoft Windows Operating System. Windows is a family of Operating System developed by Microsoft Corporation for Personal computers.
It has many versions since it was developed. Some of the earlier version of Windows operating system was Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows Me, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10. Windows 10 is the latest Windows operating system.
It provides basic functions for your computer such as:
  1. It controls computer’s peripheral devices like printer, monitor, keyboard etc.
  2. It Runs your computer programs
  3. It also organizes your data like saving your files and folders etc.

Understanding Windows Terms (Windows XP)

1. The Windows Desktop: This is the large colored area of the computer screen. It consists of taskbar. Everything you do appears inside frame called window. You can open as many as window you want; you can resize them, move them around and stack them at taskbar.

2. Icon: This is small picture seen on the desktop. This is a doorway to file or programs stored on your computer. When you place your mouse over an icon, text appears identifying its name or some other details. To open file or program, double click the corresponding icon on the desktop.

Shortcut Icons are identified by small arrow on lower left. This points to files, folders or programs stored in your computer. You can add or delete icons without deleting the actual files or programs.

When you start your computer for the first time, you may only see one icon called "Recycle Bin". There are some other icons included by default in the system. They are hidden by default. You can unhide them from Display properties.

3. Taskbar: Every time you open a window, a button representing it appears at taskbar. It disappears when you close the window. Taskbar also contains start button and notification area, where clock can be seen. Other buttons can also be seen temporarily showing the ongoing activities. Windows automatic updates reminder also appears there.

Windows keeps the taskbar tidy by consolidating buttons when too many of them accumulate. For example, buttons representing similar entity get grouped into one.

4. Start: Taskbar has got a button titled Start in the left side. It contains everything you need to begin using windows. It has changed with the introduction of Windows 8 onwards. You can start program, open file, customize your system, get help, and search for items on your computer and many more. Some commands on start menu have right facing arrow. That contains additional choices available under secondary menu. Place your pointer over an item within that arrow, and click on it to open that program. Left side of the start menu gets updated with links to programs you use frequently. At the top, there is a list of fix items like internet explorer, outlook express etc.

5. Files and Folders: Your computer is like a desk with file drawers. Your works are stored in files and further they are arranged in folder. Each kind of files like text, image and picture files are stored in folder titled My Documents, My Image and My Music.

6. Windows: It displays the content of your file or program on the screen. The menu of the windows appears at the top in its title bar. Windows can be minimized, maximized and restored. Minimizing the window is to shrink it to a button of taskbar, maximizing it is to fill the screen or restore it is to set it to its original size. Inside a window, different menu and tools can be accessed. When you find a command you want, just click it. If a program needs some information before it can complete the commands – a dialog box appears. To enter information you might click and type selective choice in the list, or choose one option or check off one or more options. If the contents of your file don’t fit into one window at a glance, simply scroll the window up and down.

7. Control Panel: Customizing your computer settings is simple with control panel. It can be opened from start menu. You can change the way Windows desktop looks and acts by add/remove programs or hardware devices, network connections, and user accounts.

8. End the session: To end your session, interrupt your Windows session and let someone use your computer, go to start menu. Here you can log OFF/ON or Switch User. Windows OS will be ready to welcome another user. When everyone is finished, you can turn off your computer. Next time when you turn on your computer, you will be greeted with welcome screen. You just need to click your name and type password to start your session again.

Task Manager is one of the most useful tool in all Windows operating system. Whenever a program crashes or hangs, the easiest step to solve the problem is to forcibly end the process running for the program using Task Manager.
With Windows 95 and 98, it was a combination of CTRL + ALT + DEL. With Windows XP, Vista and 7, the same combination does not take you directly to Task Manager. It opens up a selection windows and you have to select Task Manager to get to there.

What about if you wanted to go directly to Task Manager to avoid this extra step. Here is the combination of Key to open Task Manager directly - CTRL + SHIFT + ESC.

Alternatively, go to Run and type taskmgr.