Basic Computing Using Windows/Print version

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Table of contents

Computers and Peripherals Operating Systems and Controls

  • The Desktop
  • File Systems
  • Concepts and Settings
  • Networks and the Internet
  • Appendices
    • Switching the Control Panel to Classic View
    • Connecting to the Internet
  • Contributors

Computers and Peripherals

The first thing you should know is that a computer is an automatic, electronic, data-processing machine that takes in facts and figures known as data, and then processes or organizes it in some useful way (what's commonly called computation). Afterwards it outputs, or displays, the results for you to see as information. Keep in mind that data is not information; rather, information is the knowledge that you, the end-user, derive from accurate data that's entered into a computer. Only after processing, is data transformed into information which is then used for decision making. Each part of a computer can be classified as either hardware or software.

Types of computers

There are actually a lot of different kinds of computers. Most of what we'll go through here are classified as Personal Computers (PCs). Most people will describe a computer as a box with a monitor attached; this is a desktop, which are computers designed to stay in one place. There are also much more powerful computers called servers that can be as big as a room or even a house. This is what companies use to, say, power websites and do computations that one person wouldn't really need for themselves. The Wikimedia Foundation even has them!

Some computers are designed to have all its components in one place in a small package, making it easy to travel with it and use it as you go. Smaller, portable desktops are called laptops or notebooks, and even smaller laptops are called netbooks that can be carried in just one hand. In the 2000s, Tablet PCs were common, and unlike laptops, they were just a screen that could be written to with a stylus instead of a mouse. Everything else in the computer was in the screen itself, or behind it. Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) were also common, but have been replaced by smartphones and tablets,[note 1] which are indeed computers! Smartphones have touchscreens that can be tapped using your fingers to do different things for you, like be a calculator or type text. Any computer that doesn't need to be plugged into a wall outlet to work have batteries instead that generally last for about three to eight hours, with some reaching twelve and beyond before needing to be recharged. Smaller devices tend to last longer.


Hardware refers to all of the physical components of a computer. These parts may include:

  • A soft output device (most commonly known as a monitor, but televisions can also be used)
  • A hard output device (i.e. a printer)
  • A keyboard
  • A pointing device (usually a mouse, but varieties exist)
  • Any buttons on the case/chassis of the computer, such as a power button
  • Internal components in the case such as a processor, memory, storage, motherboard, and power supply
  • Any cables that connect these components together

The monitor

You might think among many people today that the part of the computer that normally displays pictures and text is the computer itself. This is usually not true. With a standard desktop computer, the part that does the actual computing is often in a separate box. With a laptop or a netbook, the computing is done in the hardware under the keyboard. The rest is done under the monitor.[note 2] Computers may also refer to the whole assembly of the hardware. When the inside of a computer is actually inside the monitor itself, the computer is called an all-in-one.

Just like computers, there are different types of monitors. Throughout the early era of computing, both monitors and televisions alike used cathode ray tubes, and were often referred by their shortform, CRTs, which could have very high refresh rates for games. However, in the 2000s, the industry made a switch to liquid-crystal displays (LCDs), which had flat panels and were lighter. Now, light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are used near universally for computer monitors.

Monitors are commonly known as soft output devices, because the information that's displayed doesn't stay on the monitor.

The printer

Printers put data on paper. This is why it's referred to as a hard output device. Different types of printers include Xerox, laser, and deskjet, and scanners may also be included, where they can dial out to a number and send pictures of paper. They may also be sent to the computer for viewing at any time. These are fax machines.

Input devices

There are also different kinds of input hardware. For most personal computers, the two important ones are the mouse and the keyboard. The mouse is used to move the cursor (or arrow) around the screen. A keyboard is used to enter (type) letters, numbers, and other symbols into a computer. With the advent of smartphones, fingers have become the mouse, and a keyboard interface appears when text needs to be entered in.


Software is all of the instructions and programming that a computer uses to do what you ask it to do. Packages of software are often called programs, and an operating system is a collection of programs that help all the other programs run. Think of software as the power behind the hardware. Without software, your computer doesn't do anything. Without hardware, the software can't even exist. Computers do not think for themselves, so they need software, which is made to manipulate the computer's hardware in such a way that you, the user, can understand.

As an example, a calculator is a very simple form of computer. It is nowhere near the complexity or versatility of a personal computer. You input information as series of key presses, and the calculator computes the result which is displayed as output on a small screen. Calculators are faster than humans, so this creates utility in the form of time saved. Calculators can also repeat calculations easier than humans.

Computers store all data in binary, which is a number system that only uses ones (1) and zeros (0). One digit in binary code is called a bit, and eight bits is called a byte. A byte is the amount of space one letter takes up. One thing to bear in mind is that all the extra detail about how the letter looks must also be stored in binary code and so word processor documents use more space than one byte per letter.


Some software is not designed to be changed so that when the hardware turns on, it runs the same thing every time. Firmware is common for a computer's BIOS,[note 3] as well as arcade machines since they're meant to use only one game.

Turning the computer on

This is an example of a power button. Every modern desktop and laptop has one.

Desktops often have a power button at the front of the case. When turning a desktop on, first make sure that the power supply is connected to the back of the computer and a power outlet, and then press the button. On laptops and tablets, simply locate the power button and press it.

Windows may present a login screen, in which a username and/or password will be prompted. Newer versions of Windows may not require the username to be typed. On Windows 10, a PIN may be prompted in the place of a password. Type the password into the box, then press the enter key, or click on (put the cursor on top of and push the left button on the mouse) the OK button if there is one. If on Windows 8 and newer the password/PIN box does not come up, it just means the computer is not set to have a password. We will learn more about this later. If this box did not come up, but instead a screen with pictures and names of the user accounts, click the picture with the correct username beside it, type in the password if there is one, and press ↵ Enter on your physical or virtual keyboard.

Turning off the computer

To turn the computer off:

Windows version Method 1 Method 2 Method 3 Method 4
Windows XP (or earlier) Open the Start menu, then click Turn off Computer, then click Shut Down. Open the Start menu by clicking on Start or the Start orb located on the taskbar, then click Shut Down, then select Shut Down, then click OK. Press Alt+F4, select Shut Down, then tap or click OK. This key combination closes programs and should only be used when no programs are running, to prevent data loss. Open Command Prompt as an administrator. Type shutdown.exe /s and press Enter to run the command.
Windows Vista Open the Start menu, then click the power icon.
Windows 7 Open the Start menu, then click Shut Down.
Windows 8
Windows RT
Open the Charms menu by either pressing ⊞ Win+C, moving the pointer to the upper or lower-right corner or swiping in from the right side of the screen. Tap or click Settings, then Power, then Shut Down.
Windows 8.1 Right-click or long-tap on the Start logo located on the taskbar, then tap or click Shut Down.
Windows 10 Open the Start menu, click the power icon, and then click Shut Down.
On Windows 8.1 Update 1, one other method is to open Start, then tap or click on the power icon located in the upper-right corner, then tap or click Shut Down. This method may not work on all devices.

These methods will ensure that your computer will shut down correctly. However, one other method is to hold the power button for approximately ten seconds, or flip the power supply's switch on the back of the computer. This is known has a hard shutdown, and should only be done if the computer freezes for as much as thirty seconds. Upon doing a hard shutdown, Windows may tell you that the computer was not shut down correctly.


  1. The distinction between tablets and tablet PCs is that modern tablets don't only use styluses, but companies can often choose to include it.
  2. Don't confuse this with the internal component known as the video card; that is much more like the processor, and its job is to tell the monitor what to show.
  3. Though in many cases the BIOS can be updated.

Operating Systems and Controls


Software is the set of instructions that tell a computer what it needs to do.

There are two kinds of software: the System Software which includes the Operating System and Applications Software.

Operating System

Abbreviated OS, the Operating System is the resource manager which transforms sectors, bytes, interrupts and ports into files, folders, processes, and the user-interfaces with which you can interact. Examples include: Microsoft Windows (XP, Vista, or 7), any flavor of Linux, and Mac OS X (An apple version of Unix).

Applications Software

Also called user programs, pieces of applications software do the specific things you want.

The Operating System runs the computer and the Applications Software. It makes sure that the Hardware and the Applications Software understand each other. This makes it the most important piece of software on the computer. The Operating System also comes with utilities. These are pieces of Applications Software that mostly deal with managing data. You can also buy Third Party utilities, which means a different company made them than made the Operating System.

Utilities Programs that manage, repair, and optimize data on a computer. A basic set comes with every OS.

Applications Software does the specific things you want the computer to do, Whereas the Operating System is general instructions to the computer for controlling the Hardware, Applications Software is specific instructions that work together with the Operating System to do work for you.

There are as many different kinds of Applications Software as there are things you could want to do with a computer, however the most common are word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, and database software and all computer games. Word processing software is used to create documents, which are formatted pages of text, such as letters, memos, reports or essays. Spreadsheet software organizes data, usually numbers, into columns and rows. It is used mostly for accounting and has many features for doing mathematical operations. Presentation software is used to make virtual (or, simulated) slide shows and usually have all sorts of exciting features for animations and sounds that you just can’t do in a normal slide show. Database software is an advanced way of organizing complicated information in simple formats. A database is your electronic filing cst OS's and programs have the same features whether they use Windows or not, but all computers running Windows will have these features with these names. The thing we did in the last chapter with the box that comes up when you turn on your computer is called logging in. The screen you see after logging in is called the Desktop. Most things on a computer are named after things in real life, and they are usually used similarly too. Just like a real desktop the desktop on a computer is where you go to access all your data. However, a real desktop has a flat horizontal surface.

You can replace the Operating System with another whether or not your system gets a virus. The most common replacement Operating System is called Linux. It is free to download and install and software for it is freely available via the Internet.

Desktop The desktop is the area that appears right after logging in. It contains a background picture (wallpaper),icons and the taskbar.

On the desktop are pictures with text labels under them, these pictures are called icons because they represent something else. If you move or get rid of an icon, all that means is that you have to access what they represent a different way, you haven’t gotten rid of the application software the icon is representing. Icons usually represent programs, but sometimes they represent collections of data. Double-clicking (clicking twice in rapid succession) on one of these icons will open whatever it represents, the text tells you what it represents.

Icons A tiny picture that represents a program, folder, or program function.

There is a bar that is usually at the bottom of the desktop, however it may also be on any other side. If you cannot see it, then move the cursor to the edge where it is and it will come up. It is called the task-bar.

Taskbar The taskbar is the bar along one side of the desktop. It is used for launching programs or opening the window of an open program.

Along the main part of the task-bar is a list of all open programs, clicking on one element of this list will put that program’s window (the box that a program is viewed in) on top of all other open windows. Over on one side of the task-bar is a clock; beside the clock are a bunch of icons that represent open ‘invisible’ programs. These are programs that are always running and do things ‘behind the scenes’. This area is called the system tray. On the main part of the task-bar there is sometimes a small group of icons, this is called the quick-launch bar. Clicking on one of these icons opens whatever it represents.

System Tray The system tray holds icons for programs currently running ‘behind-the-scenes’.

On the opposite side of the task-bar from the clock and the system tray is a button. A button (or command button) is just like a real button, when it is pushed (clicked) it does something. Some buttons have text on them that say what they do, and some have icons representing what they do. Some have both.

(Command) Buttons Buttons do something when you click on them. They may be labeled by text, an icon, or both.

The quick-launch icons are also buttons. Some buttons are raised to look like real buttons and some only raise up when you hover (put the cursor on top of) them. The button on the other side of the start-bar from the clock and system tray is called the start-button. When you click the start-button it opens the start-menu. The start-menu has icons for more programs and data collections, although it is usually programs.

Start button The Start button is a button that opens the start-menu.

Start menu The Start menu contains icons for all installed programs and data collections, usually for programs.

The icons that are on the desktop, the quick-launch bar, and the start-menu are usually shortcuts. On the desktop shortcuts are often indicated by a small symbol on top of the icon (). Shortcuts are what I meant earlier when I said ‘if you move or get rid of an icon, all that means is that you have to access what they represent a different way, you haven’t gotten rid of the actual thing’. Icons represent all data collections and programs even if they are not shortcuts, however normally the ones on the desktop and in the start-menu are shortcuts.

Shortcuts Icons that are only links to the things those icons represent.

The difference between icons and shortcuts is important so be sure you understand it. An icon is any picture that is meant to convey what something is. The icon on the start-button represents the fact that it is a major part of Windows, which is why it is a Windows logo. Shortcuts are a link to a program or data collection; the icon on a shortcut represents whatever the shortcut opens, however the same icon would be on the real thing as well. A Venn Diagram can maybe better show this, see Figure 2.2.

You open whatever is linked to by each shortcut on the start-menu by clicking on it. If any icon has a right-arrow beside it, then hovering over it or clicking on it will make a sub-menu (a menu inside a menu) come out with more shortcuts on it.

Everything we just talked about is part of the Windows interface. An interface is just anything that goes between two or more things. This interface goes between you and the computer, you could also say that the Operating System is the interface between the hardware and software.

Interface An interface, just as the name suggests, is anything that acts as or creates a medium of interaction or communication between multiple things. A user-interface is the means of interaction between (you)the user and the computer.

There are some standard things that are on most user-interfaces. We have already talked about one, buttons. These things are called controls. Below is a table of some of the more common controls, starting with buttons:

Name of control and picture Description
(Command) Button Buttons (also called command buttons) do something when clicked.
Check box A check box turns something on or off. There is a check in the box if it is on, to change it click on it.
Text box Also called edit boxes, these boxes let you type text in them.
Radio button Also called option buttons, these boxes come in groups, you can only pick one per group.
List box These boxes contain lists of things: you can select one.
Combo box Also called drop-down boxes, these boxes are like text boxes, but they have a button on the side that, when clicked, brings up a list of things that you can pick from.
Spin button These buttons increase or decrease numerical values by one when the up or down arrow half is clicked.
Scroll bar Click on the arrows at the top and bottom of these bars to move the screen, you can also drag the box that is on the bar.
Label Often overlooked, labels don’t do anything, but they sit near other controls with text in them to tell you what those things are.

You can get a basic description of what any control does by hovering your mouse over it. A little thing with text will pop up. This is called a tool-tip (or a ToolTip).

Besides these there are also menus. Menus all operate the same way as the start-menu. Some of them are found at the tops of programs. These are called main-menus or simply menus. Other menus are opened by right-clicking (pushing the right mouse button over something). These are called popup-menus.

The Desktop

There are no 'real' layers though; you can’t peel off the wallpaper and see the Desktop! However there are ‘virtual’ layers, arranged with the Desktop on the bottom. What you see behind the icons on the Desktop is called the wallpaper, whereas the whole thing is the Desktop, not just the picture/colour that you see behind the icons. Application windows are layered on top.

You can add shortcuts to your Desktop in a number of ways. The most common way is to right-click on the desktop, which brings up the popup-menu. On the popup-menu there should be a sub-menu labelled ‘New’, hover over this. When the sub-menu pops out find the item labelled ‘Shortcut’ and click it. A dialogue-box will come up asking you where the program or data collection is found. Later we will get into how to form something to type in the box, however it is easier to just click the button beside labelled ‘Browse...’.

The Browse button is a standard button that you will see often, clicking it always brings up a dialogue-box in which you can select programs and data collections. Select the program or data collection you want to make a shortcut to and click the button labelled ‘OK’. The OK button is also a standard button on dialogue-boxes that you click to tell it that you are done filling in information and it can use that data now. ‘OK’ is usually paired with ‘Cancel’, ‘Cancel’ closes the dialogue-box without doing anything.

When you have selected the correct program or data collection click the button marked ‘Next >’. The Next button is, again, a standard button that tells the dialogue box you are done this step and to go on to the next step in the process. It usually comes with the Back button to go to the previous step. This dialogue-box also has a Cancel button. After you have clicked ‘Next’ the dialogue-box comes up with a text-box asking what you want the text under the icon to be for this shortcut. When you have typed what you want into the box click ‘Finish’, another standard button.

If you do not like the text under a shortcut, you can change it. There are three primary ways to do this. The first one is to click on the shortcut, selecting it, and then push the ‘F2’ key on your keyboard. The text will become a text-box that you can type in to change what it says. The second way is to right-click on the shortcut, bringing up its popup-menu, and select ‘Rename’ from the popup-menu. The same thing will happen. Another way to cause it to happen is to select the icon and then click on it. Do not double-click! That will open whatever it links to, select it and then click.

If you want to change the icon (picture) one your shortcut, bring up its popup-menu and select ‘Properties’. Across the top of the window, just below the bar with the ‘X’ button on it (the title bar), there are a bunch of tabs, click the one labelled ‘Shortcut’. Then, click the button labelled ‘Change Icon…’, in the dialogue-box that comes up select the new icon that you want, or click ‘Browse’ to find more files with icons. In this same window where the ‘Change Icon’ button is, there is a text-box labelled ‘Target:’. It is the same as the box with a Browse button on the first step of adding a shortcut to the Desktop, only there is no browse button. That it what you change if you want the shortcut to link to something else.

You can also move or sort icons on the Desktop. To sort them right-click on the Desktop and hover over the sub-menu called ‘Arrange Icons By’. Then click on the way you want them sorted. If you want them automatically sorted make sure the ‘Auto Arrange’ option is checked (you can check or uncheck it by clicking on it). If you have Auto Arrange off, you can put the icons wherever you want them. Click on one and don’t let the button go back up. Move the cursor over to where you want the icon to be and it will move right along with it. When you have it where you want it, let go of the mouse button. This is called dragging-and-dropping.

If you want to take an icon off the desktop there are three major ways to do it. You can select the icon you want to remove and push the ‘Delete’ key on your keyboard. A dialogue-box will come up, click ‘Yes’. You can also drag-and-drop the icon onto the recycle bin, which is an icon on the Desktop labelled exactly that. Or you can right-click on the icon and click ‘Delete’. The same dialogue-box will come up for you to click ‘Yes’ on. If you did it by accident you can click ‘No’ and it won’t remove the icon.

There are other settings you can change on the Desktop. To access them right-click on the Desktop and select ‘Properties’ from the popup-menu. To change the wallpaper select the tab labelled ‘Wallpaper’ or ‘Desktop’. To change what picture is displayed for wallpaper select it from the list or if it is not in the list click ‘Browse…’. There is a combo box from which you can select whether to stretch, tile (repeat by picture with itself together likes tiles), or centre the picture. If you just want a colour for your wallpaper, then select ‘(None)’ from the list. Sometimes there is a combo-type box to select the colour right there and sometimes you have to change it under the ‘Appearance’ tab.

You can also change the Screen-Saver. The Screen-Saver is a program that shows up after your computer has not been used for so long so that the monitor will not get wrecked (which can happen if the same picture is displayed on it for hours at a time). To change the Screen-Saver click the tab labelled ‘Screen-Saver’. There will be a combo box that lists all the Screen-Savers on your computer. After you have selected the one you want you can change how long the computer waits before bringing it up in the text box with a spin button that is below the combo box.

You can also change the colour scheme of all the controls in almost all programs. Click the ‘Appearance’ tab. There is one or more combo boxes on this page that allow you to select different combinations of default colour schemes. On this same page, or sometimes you have to click ‘Advanced’ to get there, are other settings. You can select an element from one combo box, and then change it’s colour and how its text looks. You can try experimenting with this if you want, just be sure to save your current settings so you can change back (which some versions of windows don’t allow, so don’t worry then). You do this by clicking the ‘Save As…’ button and typing the name you want to call the colour scheme.

There is one final tab common to most versions of Windows. It is the ‘Settings’ tab. It is not recommended to change settings in this tab unless you know what you are doing. Some games will give errors when you try to start them like ‘256 colours required’ or ‘This program needs 640 × 480 to run’. This is where you set those. There is a combo box here, selecting a different option from this box changes the number of colours your computer can display. More colours mean more quality. There is also a slider labelled ‘Screen resolution’. It increases or decreases the size of everything displayed on your monitor. The larger the numbers, the smaller things are, and the smaller things are the more you can fit. When this is set to make things smaller, some programs (or you can manually) change their stuff so that it looks the same size, allowing them to have more quality in display.

File Systems

Before we get into anything else we need a basic understanding of how a computer stores data. Inside the computer box there are many different pieces of hardware used for storing data.


One of these is the memory. A Computer’s memory is where it stores the data that is currently in use. So, for example, when you have a letter open and are looking at or working on it the computer stores it in memory. All the software currently running is stored in memory too.

RAM(Random Access Memory)

This kind of memory is called RAM (Random-Access Memory). Random-access means that any part of the information may be read or changed randomly, the computer does not have to look through all the data in order so that it can find the right piece. The disadvantage of RAM is that if power goes off, the data is gone.

ROM(Read only memory)

There is another kind of memory called ROM (Read-Only Memory). Read-only means that the data on it cannot be changed. ROM is used to store basic information that every computer needs.


When a computer is turned off, data stored in RAM is lost. Because this would cause you to lose your work all the time, disks were created. Disks are round flat objects, but in computer slang they are pieces of data storage hardware that do not need electricity to keep the data stored. There are other things that do this that are not disks, however the things inside of all things called disks are round and flat, so that is how the term came to be. All disks need to be in another piece of hardware that acts as an interface between them and the rest of the computer called a drive.There are two main kinds of disks: Magnetic and Optical.


Magnetic disks are the old kind and are slowly being replaced by flash systems(like SSD). They store data by aligning little pieces of metal inside differently using a magnet. Because of the way they store data magnetic disks can be erased or completely destroyed by magnets, heat, and dust. The two most popular forms of magnetic disks are Hard Disks and Floppy Disks.

Hard Disk Drive(HDD)

Hard disks are stored permanently inside their drive, which is normally installed into the computer box where you cannot see any part of it. Hard Disks can store a lot of data, and are used to store most of the information on computers. The advantage of HDD is cost and capacity. The disadvantage of HDD is that they create noise , are slow and prone to failure. They are slowly being replaced by solid state drives(SSD).

Floppy Disk Drive(FDD)

Floppy disks are small disks that you can pop in and out of their drive. All you can see of their drive is a slit in the computer box with a button and a light. You can put in different disks and then take them out and give them to someone so that you can transfer data between your computers. FDD's are now obsolete. They can store only about 1.44 MB , which is way too little. They are prone to damage and are now unsupported for many years.


Compact disk(CD)

The most popular kind of optical disk is the Compact Disc (CD). CDs can still be put into and taken out of their drive, making them good for buying programs on, and nowadays for transferring data. Normal CDs that you buy with programs on them are CD-ROMs. They are called that because, like ROM, they are read-only. You can also get CD-Rs and CD-RWs, which are not read-only and are not erasable and erasable, respectively. However , CD-R cannot be deleted once it is written(a process known as finalizing). CDs can store around 700MB. And, because CDs store their information with variations in the shape of the disk that reflects a laser differently they cannot be damaged as easily. However, you should still never touch the shiny surface of the CD. CD's are now being replaced by online media , and do not feature in many new computers anymore.


Digital Versatile Discs (DVDs) are another kind of Optical disc that work identically to CDs, however they can store much more information than CD's can. DVD's can store usually about 4.3 GB , but dual-layered DVD's can store up to about 9 GB and DVD-RAM can store about the same amount. They are sometimes called Digital Video Discs because of their extensive use in video and films.

Flash memory

Today you can also get memory cards that are called flash memory or, more properly, EEPROMs. These are cards that operate just like ROM that isn’t read-only, so they don’t lose their information when the power is cut.

SSD(Solid State disks)

SSD's are based on flash memory. They are much quicker than HDD's , do not make much noise and heat , but they are costlier than HDD's , but the cost of SSD's are rapidly declining. Another concern with SSD's is that the cells on the SSD can last only up to a specific number of write cycles. However , they are not of much concern to home users , as SSD's utilize features such as TRIM to extend lifespan. The lifespan of the SSD will usually be mentioned , which could be anywhere between 30 - 150 TB , which is more than the average lifespan of the computer.

Note that defragmentation is not required on a SSD and actually not recommended , as they will not give much benefit and with reduce the lifespan instead.

Files and folders

All data on a computer is stored in collections called files and folders.


Files are the most basic data collections, they store the data for a single thing. A file is the most basic collection of data on a computer. A file can store the instructions for a single program, or the data for a single letter. Folders are collections of files. So a file is like a piece of paper and you put it in a folder.


Also called directories, folders are collections of files.

Sorting files

It is very necessary to sort files properly into folders so that you can find them again. Many people have had to redo entire projects because they lost their file by putting it into the wrong folder. We'll be looking at this as we go on.

File extension

Most files are named with two parts. The first part of the filename is a description of the file. After this comes a ‘.’ followed by the second part. The second part of a filename is called the extension. Extensions are often three letters long and they tell you what kind of file it is. For example ‘exe’ files (files with an extension of ‘exe’) are programs. ‘Doc’ files are Microsoft Word documents.

Note that since Windows hides the main extension by default, hackers and spammers can use this to their advantage. For instance , a spammer could send you an e-mail inviting you to open a PDF file whose filename is 'Test.pdf' and that's what you see. But in fact , it could be 'Test.jpg.exe' and clicking the file could open up viruses. You can force Windows to show all file extensions by going to Folder Options.

Windows Explorer

Besides saving (taking a file you have open in a program and writing it from memory onto a disk) there are many other file operations. These can all be done using the same program. This program is a utility called a file manager. There is a file manager that comes with Windows called Windows Explorer, or sometimes just Explorer. To open Explorer go to ‘Start->Programs->Windows Explorer’ or Right Click Start, Click Explore, and the Directory should show. Yet in Windows XP, You go ‘Start->All Programs->Accessories->Windows Explorer’.

Sometimes Explorer will start you off looking at your ‘My Documents’ folder, and sometimes it will start you off looking at drive C (C:). There are some basic parts of Windows Explorer.

  1. The title bar
  2. The main menu. Below the menu is the toolbar.
  3. The icon representing a folder.
  4. The icon representing a hard disk, also called hard drive, because the disks and the drive are in one, sealed, box, (this one is called ‘C:’, all drives have a letter).
  5. The icon representing a file(6) is what you click to view sub-folders.

So, if there isn’t a tree (the part in the circle) below your hard drive (which should be the icon in the left-hand pane, the part in the square, and should have a name followed by ‘(C:)’ as seen above with (4)) then click the ‘+’ (6) beside it. This is a lot of new stuff so it may be a little bit confusing.

Now we have a tree open below our hard drive showing us all the folders that are directly in the root of the hard drive. Now should be a good time to look at the standard conventions for drives and paths. As you can see above, the drive letter is always is brackets after the name of a drive. The first (or only) floppy drive is almost always ‘A:’. If you have a second floppy drive it will be ‘B:’. Your first hard drive is ‘C:’ and your CD drive is ‘D:’. If you have more hard drives the other drives change accordingly (i.e. if you have a second hard drive that is ‘D:’ and your CD drive will become ‘E:’). You can have folders inside folders as well as files, and the drive itself acts like a folder. So if you wanted to designate a file called ‘Letter.rtf’ that is in the folder ‘My Documents’ and that folder is found in the root of the hard drive ‘C:’, you separate the elements with a back-slash ‘\’ and come up with ‘C:\My Documents\Letter.rtf’.

Navigate means to make it so you are looking at that in your file manager. For example to navigate to ‘C:\My Documents’ you would open the tree on ‘C:’ like we did before (or by double-clicking on it in the right-hand pane). Then you would click the icon that is labeled ‘My Documents’, or double-click on this icon in the right-hand pane (that is, the part in the octagon).

Now navigate to your ‘My Documents’ directory. It should be found at ‘C:\My Documents’ or ‘C:\Documents and Settings\[Your Name]\My Documents’. Now, to open a file in its program, double-click on its icon in the right-hand pane.

Recycle Bin

If you accidentally delete a file you wanted, you can open the Recycle Bin (double-click on its desktop icon) right-click on the file and select ‘restore’ from the popup-menu. If you want to permanently get rid of all files in the Recycle Bin*, right-click on the Recycle Bin and select ‘Empty Recycle Bin’ from the popup-menu. Deleting or restoring folders works the same way.

* That's not a truly permanent deletion. Shredding is a truly permanent deletion, when shedding, it actually overwrites with a series of zeroes and/or random characters before deleting. The deletion we use in Windows is better called "quick deletion", not "permanent deletion".

Methods of deleting files

Recycle Bin: The deletion used for many people. It only moves files in a special container called the "Recycle Bin", which it's actually at "C:\$Recycle.Bin\%UserSID%" (for Windows 7) for example. Note that files deleted with this way doesn't show in a recovery software

Quick deletion: The deletion we use in Windows. It only removes bits of information, so they show as deleted. Note that files deleted with this way can still be recovered by special recovery software, like Recuva.

Permanent deletion: The deletion that has file shredding programs. It overwrites the file content with zeroes and/or random gibberish before it's deleted. This can be done in from 1 pass to tens of passes, depending on the algorithm of deletion. Note that files deleted with this way it's truly deleted, and doesn't show in a recovering software.

Sorting your files

If you are going to sort your files properly into folders, you need to know how to create them. To create a folder, navigate to the folder you want the new folder in. Then, right-click on a blank area of the right-hand pane to bring up the popup-menu.Then select ‘New->Folder’ from the menu. Type the name of the folder and press ‘Enter’. To arrange file in folders, you also need to be able to copy and move both files and folders. Moving means that the file or folder goes to the new location and is no longer in the old location. To move a file or folder, simply drag-and-drop the file or folder from where it is in the right-hand pane on top of the folder where you want it to be in either the right or left-hand pane. Copying means that the file or folder stays where it is, and a duplicate is created in the new location. To copy a file or folder you right-drag-and-drop (that is, drag-and-drop by holding down the right mouse button instead of the left one) from its old location on top of the new one. A popup-menu will come up asking if you want to copy, move, or create a shortcut to the file or folder. If you want to copy, select ‘Copy Here’.


If you want to search the whole computer for a specific file or folder there are two possible ways to do it. Some versions of Windows Explorer have a button on the toolbar that says ‘Find’, click on this. In all versions of Windows you can go to ‘Start->Find->Files or Folders’ or ‘Start->Search’. Some versions of the search have extra features to make it easier that it displays first. To bypass these click ‘All files and folders’. If your version came up with text boxes right away you don’t have to do this. Once the text boxes are up you can select what drive or folder to search from the combo box. The topmost text box is where you type all or part of the filename.

Wildcard searches

You can also create wildcard searches. To do this you type letters that are in the filename along with symbols called wildcards. The wildcards are ‘*’ and ‘?’. ‘*’ represents an infinite number of characters or nothing. ‘?’ represents exactly one character. So ‘?ello.doc’ would find ‘Hello.doc’ and ‘jello.doc’. ‘Si*.*’ would find all files that start with ‘Si’.

File properties

Finally there are file properties. Different kinds of files have different properties and different versions of Windows can have different kinds of properties allowed. You can experiment with these if you want. To open the properties for any file, right-click on it and select ‘Properties’. In the window that comes up you can change all the properties of the file that can be changed. In this window it also shows the name and location of the file and its size in bytes, kilobytes (KB, 1 024 bytes, usually estimated at 1 000 bytes), or megabytes. It also shows the attributes, the most commonly used and useful of which is the read-only attribute. When you check the read-only check box and click OK, Windows won’t let any program change the file. If you uncheck the box Windows will let programs change it again. This operation can also be done using the 'attrib' command in Command Prompt.

Concepts and Settings

We’ve been moving extremely fast and covering a lot of potentially new and confusing material, so let’s take a second to review (some of you may remember this better if you try thinking about the pictures in brackets instead of the words):

  • Computers are machines that process data (picture a giant contraption with sheets of paper containing information being fed in, and ice cream coming out)
  • Go back to the table of controls in Chapter 2 and review all of those (picture something really obvious for each one, like the control panel of a sci/fi spaceship for buttons)
  • The desktop is behind everything and is your access panel to everything (picture an office desk covered in switches, buttons, and knobs)
  • Shortcuts are only links to other files (picture a whirlpool that looks like Mars sucking you to Mars)
  • Everything, programs, shortcuts, letters, and data of all kinds is stored on the computer as files (come up with your own picture, make it interesting)
  • You copy and move files by drag-and-drop (picture a ball, you pick it up and move it, then you pick it up and put it down somewhere else while it stays in the second place)

There was much more covered (especially terms and the hardware from Chapter 1) but this should help you get oriented and give you a good handle on where we’ve been.

Now we’re moving forward again. The next big centre to tackle in Windows is the Control Panel (CP). The Control Panel is where you change almost all the main things in Windows. “But didn’t we change a lot of things, like the wallpaper and colours and screensaver, without going through there?” Yes, but we took a shortcut. Go to ‘Start->Settings->Control Panel’ or ‘Start->Control Panel’ (it may come up with a window or be a sub-menu), then double-click (click if it’s a sub-menu) on ‘Display’. There it is; the box that we used to change the wallpaper, screensaver, and colours

NOTE: Your Control Panel may come up looking totally different and you may be lost. If there is no icon in your control panel called ‘Display’ then your computer is running in a ‘User Friendly’ mode. To switch out of it into the ‘normal’ view, look at the left-hand side of the Control Panel window and find the option called ‘Switch to classic view’ and click this. If you can’t find it, look at Appendix A.

So now we’ve reached the main control centre of Windows, what’s the first thing? How about a severe warning? The options in the Control Panel are necessary and useful, however do not change anything unless you understand it and know what you are doing. Blindly changing any setting can wreck havoc with your computer.

Now, on to the next item. Desktop themes! We have already changed the way Windows looks, however Desktop Themes (or just Themes) are designed to make it easier. Navigate to ‘Start->Settings->Control Panel->Desktop Themes’ or ‘Start->Control Panel->Display’. These two versions of Desktop Themes are implemented very differently. If you have a ‘Desktop Themes’ item on your Control Panel, the double click on this icon. In the window that opens, you can select a theme from the drop down box near the top. In the centre area, the different items will change to show you what that Theme looks like. There are two buttons in the top right-hand corner of the window that allow you to preview the Screen Saver, sounds, and cursors. The check boxes below these buttons are for selecting which parts of the Theme to apply. So if you only want, say, the wallpaper from one Theme and everything else from another, then you would uncheck everything except for ‘Desktop wallpaper’.

If you don’t have a ‘Desktop Themes’ item on your Control Panel, then Desktop Themes for you are integrated into the Display box. Go to the tab labelled ‘Themes’ and select the one you want from the ‘Theme:’ combo box. Just as with the other version there is an area below that will show a preview of what the wallpaper, colours, and some of the icons will be changed to. Click ‘Apply’ or ‘OK’ to change your settings to those determined by the Theme.

Now to get to something really useful, installing and uninstalling programs! Most programs nowadays come on one or more CDs. You put the CD (or the first CD) in the drive and it auto-starts (automatically runs the installation program). You follow the instructions, answer the questions, and voila! Your program is ready to use. Sometimes, however, this does not work, and what if you want to remove a program? So, navigate to the Control Panel and open ‘Add/Remove Programs’ or ‘Add or Remove Programs’. No matter what your version of Windows, a list will be displayed of most of the programs on your computer. To remove a program (uninstall it), click on it in the list and then click ‘Add/Remove’ or ‘Change/Remove’ and answer the questions, if there are any. To add (install) a new program make sure that its CD or Floppy disk is in the drive and then click ‘Install…’ or ‘Add New Programs’ and answer the questions.

Okay, that was easy, wasn’t it? All automated and simple. Now remember back to Chapter 1 when we logged on to the computer. Some computers don’t have a password to log on: some never show the box. Some computers can be set up to have multiple usernames and passwords (accounts) so that you can log into different desktops. How can we set all this up? From the Control Panel, of course! Open ‘Passwords’ or ‘User Accounts’ on your Control Panel. These two work very differently, and they are both presented below.

If your computer has the ‘Users’ item, then you have to check something before you can change the accounts. Open the Control Panel item called ‘Passwords’. In the window that pops up, click the ‘User Profiles’ tab (profile is another word for account). There are two radio buttons here. Click the first one if you want to have only one account on the computer, click the second one if you want to have multiple accounts. Then use the check boxes at the bottom to specify what things can be customised on each account. It is recommended to check all of these.

Once you have enabled using multiple accounts, it becomes easy to create a new account. To create a new account, just type in a different name and password when you start the computer. Windows will automatically create the new account with that username and password to be used every time you log on with them.

If your computer has the ‘User Accounts’ item then you have a much easier way to change all of these options. To create a new desktop click ‘Create a new account’. The computer will ask you what you want to call the new account, this is the username. Click ‘Next’. The computer will then ask you if you want this to be a ‘Computer administrator’ or ‘Limited’ account. It is recommended to run most desktops as limited accounts, however there are some programs that do not function well this way. There are also many things you cannot do from a limited account (like create a new account, so if the instructions in this paragraph don’t work for you, then it is because you have a limited account). Click ‘Create Account’ and you have a new desktop of that type under that name!

To change an account in ‘User Accounts’, click on it in the list at the bottom of the window. The window will then give you the list of options of what you can change. You can change the account name by clicking on the first option. You can also change the password by clicking the second option or you can make your account password-less with the third option. To change the picture representing the account you use the fourth option. You change the account type from administrator to limited and vice-versa with the fifth option, and you assign a ‘.NET Passport’ to the account with the fifth option. All of these options save the last one should be self-explanatory. The final option will be discussed when we discuss the Internet. If you have multiple desktops on your computer and the account selected is not the account that is currently logged on, then there appears a sixth option ‘Delete the account’. This options starts a wizard to remove the user from the computer.

You can change the ‘Welcome screen’ (which is the log-on screen variation that fills the whole screen talked about in Chapter 1) to the normal log-on box. To do this select ‘Change the way users log on or off’ from the main ‘User Accounts’ screen. Then uncheck ‘Use the Welcome screen’ and click ‘Apply Options’.

All right, was that a lot of stuff or what? Now for some concepts, first of all, viruses, hackers,crackers, scanners, and firewalls. You may have heard some of these terms before. Viruses are what people often like to blame (wrongly) for computer problems. Computer viruses work much the same way as normal ones. They ‘infect’ a computer by getting their files on its hard disk. They then begin to copy themselves all over the computer and onto anything that might carry them to another computer, such as floppy disks and emails (more on emails when we talk about the Internet). They also do damage while they are on the computer. Many viruses do annoying things, like playing a song or slowing the computer down, however some of them delete files and erase crucial data. Therefore many people get Virus Scanners. There are some major benefits to scanners. The biggest one being that they will destroy many (and maybe all) of the viruses on your computer. Their disadvantages are that they must be updated regularly, and they slow your computer down. They also give a false sense of security, making you think you are well protected when they may have missed something.

Crackers are people who break into computers. Sometimes they do it for fun, sometimes for profit, sometimes to show off. They often touch nothing. Sometimes they will take data or erase it. They tend to prefer government or corporate targets and seldom do serious hackers target normal people. However, to protect against the theft of data, many people run firewalls. Firewalls are pieces of software that identify hacker-like things and cut them off, providing a huge measure of protection for the home user. A similar term, hacker, is often used to refer to crackers, however the term hacker more properly refers to someone who knows how to exploit a computer system for beneficial purposes.

We’re almost done, now for error messages. Error messages do not always indicate an error (or at least, not what you call error messages). Many so-called error messages are simply the program asking for more information. The first thing to do when you see an error message is to read it. Many computer experts may seem to violate this rule: that is often because they recognise common messages and know what they say without reading it. Below is a list of common error message buttons and what they usually do:

Button label What it does
OK Confirms the operation and shuts the box
Yes It performs the operation the message box says it is going to
No It does not perform the operation the message box says it is going to
Cancel Stops the operation and shuts the box (any data is lost)
Abort It stops the operation you were trying to do
Retry Tries again giving to time to make changes
Ignore Cancels an error message.

Most error boxes have icons beside them to indicate their nature as well:

Icon What it means
The computer has some information for you.
The computer is warning you that there may be something you forgot to do or did wrong.
There has been a major computer error.

Computers can break. Things can go wrong, viruses can destroy information, and the person using the computer can do something wrong. To protect your data just in case this happens it is necessary to back it up. Backing up is making a second copy of data. If you are changing something and do not want to lose the original you can create a second copy on the hard drive to work with, this is a back up. However to protect your data in the case of major computer error it is necessary to back it up off of the hard drive. The most common way to do this is to put all of your data on CDs or DVDs.

Networks and the Internet

We have now covered all the basic concepts using a computer. In this chapter we are going to cover the concepts related to networking and using the Internet.

A network is a way of connecting two or more computers together so that they can share peripherals (hardware like printers) and data. The most common form of network uses Ethernet. Ethernet is a system of data transfer that uses two different kinds of wire, the older one being like a cable television wire and the newer one being like telephone wire. The newer one is faster and uses an end called RJ-45, which looks like a fat telephone cable end. Normally, computers are plugged into a hub, or switch using an internal piece of hardware called an Ethernet card or simply a network card and one of these cables. Then they can all communicate with each other.

Once the computers can communicate, each item (i.e. printer or folder) that needs to be accessed on the network must be shared, allowing it to be visible to the other computers. Any shared item may be blocked off from general use by a password. One of the other benefits of networks is email (electronic mail). Email allows users to send messages and files to each other. When a new message is received it goes into the users inbox for storage until it is read, so that a user may receive mail while away from the computer.

Ethernet networks create what is called Local Area Networks (LANs). This means that they are used within one area (i.e. a house or business building) and that is it. All the computers in that area may be connected, but no one else. This can be a problem depending on what you want to do, and a larger network could open up immense possibilities. Enter the Internet. In 1957, just after the USSR launched Sputnik, the American government created ARPA, a scientific research branch for the military. In 1969 ARPA decided to attempt the creation of a national computer network for communications by the military. They did not want to use any standard system, however, not just because of the distance, but because of the fear of nuclear attack. They wanted a network where there was not central hub that could be taken out, but where all remaining parts would function if any other part were destroyed.

After their success, the idea spread. Different government and educational institutions started connecting into the network. Because they all used the same protocol (a set of rules that computers use to communicate, in this case TCP/IP) and the same wires that carried telephone across the country as soon as they plugged in it was the same network. Soon different institutions were creating their own servers (computers that store information meant to be accessed on a network). By 1989 there were more than 100 000 servers on what was becoming known as ‘the Internet’. After the Cold War the American government no longer needed a specifically protected portion of this network they had started for their own and the Internet became completely public domain.

In 1990 Tim Berners-Lee invented a protocol based on TCP/IP that could work with it on the Internet and was more flexible. Soon after this, the NCSA (National Centre for Supercomputing Applications) developed Mosaic, a graphical interface for this protocol called the World Wide Web (WWW).

The rest of this chapter is going to be spent looking at the WWW (or ‘the Web’). To view Web pages (the electronic documents with pictures and formatted text that you view on the Web) you need to have a Web browser. The two most popular browsers are Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer. You can use either one or any other Web browser. If you are not sure what you have, then you will still have Internet Explorer, it comes with Windows.

To do anything online (on the Internet), you must first connect to the Internet. If you don’t know how, see Appendix B. After you have connected to the Internet, open your Web browser. Every computer connected to the Internet has an address, called an IP address to identify it. This is a number like ‘’. To have to remember something like that to access a web page would be a pain, so Domain Names were created. Domain names are names that you can type in the location bar (more on this below) in your browser. The name is then sent to a server on the Internet called a DNS (Domain Name Service) server that then returns the correct IP address.

You should be connected to the Internet and have your browser open. (You may not have access to the Internet where you live. Your teacher will provide a substitute.) First we should identify the parts of a browser so that we know what we’re talking about. Figure 6.1 is a picture of Internet Explorer. If your browser looks a little different, that is okay.

The location bar can also be called the address bar, and it is where you type the URL (Universal Resource Locator or Uniform Resource Locator), which is laid out as follows:

http:// /~psweber/
The protocol name The domain name The folder and/or file name on the server

After you type the URL press the Enter key and you web browser will take you to the page. The first button on the toolbar is the ‘Back’ button. It does the same thing as the ‘< Back’ button that we saw before, it goes to the previous screen you were looking at. In this case, the previous web page you were at. The back arrow on the button is a universal icon. Universal icons are ones that are always used to represent the same function. This is different from a program icon like on your desktop or from an icon that only occurs in one program. Even the ‘< Back’ button has a back arrow, that’s what the ‘<’ is for. Note that universal icons do not always look exactly the same (i.e. the arrow can look different, as long as it points left).

A universal icon also identifies the next button on the toolbar, the ‘Next’ button. If you push the back button, then you can go forwards again by pushing this button. The next button on the toolbar has two universal icons used together. A sheet of paper represents a file. An ‘X’ represents stop. So the sheet of paper with an ‘X’ on it represents stop loading the file, which is what this button does. Some web browsers have just and ‘X’ or have a red stoplight on this button. They mean the same thing, stop.

Two icons are also used on the next toolbar button. The paper means the same thing, and the arrows going around mean refresh or reload. This is actually typically a Microsoft icon, although some other companies also use it. The reload button in Netscape as a bent up-arrow, signifying looking at the server again. This button forces the web browser to look at the server and download all the data for a web page again. This is primarily used for when the cache (the place where a web browser stores web pages on your hard drive for quicker access) has an old version of the page that the web browser is displaying and you want to see the newest version of the page.

The next two buttons on the toolbar are the last ones with universal icons. They have a house, and a magnifying glass. A house represents ‘home’ and this button takes you to your home page. A home page is a web page that you have set up for your browser to take you to when it first starts or when you click this button. The magnifying class represents ‘search’ and this button will take you to a web page from which to search the Internet.

There is one more thing you need to know about if you are going to be using web pages, hyperlinks. Hyperlinks (one is labelled in the picture above) can be either text or pictures. When they are text they are often a different colour and underlined. When you click on them they take you to a different web page. The text ones are a different colour once you have been to the web page they point to. Some text hyperlinks are formatted differently, though, and many hyperlinks are pictures. How can you know if something is a hyperlink? Hover your cursor over it and if it is a hyperlink your cursor will turn into a hand, and usually the URL that the hyperlink (or just link) points to will be displayed in the status bar.

The web is very useful for getting information this way, but what if you don’t know the URL you need? That is why search engines were created. There are more than 10 billion web pages on the Internet, not all of them are catalogued in all search engines and when you search for something you will tend to get pages that have nothing to do with what you want. However there are some ways to improve your search results.

Go to a search engine. They all work much the same but if you don’t know of one go to or In the text box you can type keywords (words that have something to do with what you want to find). Some search engines have more advanced features that you can explore on your own, but all of them support Boolean operators. The two most useful for web searches are AND and OR. It is best to type them in all caps. AND tells the search engine that the things on both sides must be in the web page (they may be in its text or in its META tags). OR tells the search engine that one or the other must be in the web page. So typing ‘boats AND models’ will look for all pages containing both words, whereas ‘boats OR models’ will find any page with either word. You can also use NOT, ‘boats NOT Titanic’ returns everything containing ‘boats’ that does not contain ‘Titanic’

You can do more complicated strings too, like ‘boats AND models OR ships AND kits’ which finds all pages containing both ‘boats’ and ‘models’ or both ‘ships’ and ‘kits’. You can also do something like this, ‘boats OR ships AND models OR kits’ which finds anything containing the word ‘boats’ or ‘ships’ along with either ‘models’ or ‘kits’.

Email, Chat-rooms, and IM


Email was already partially explained when we talked about networks. The Internet is often called a ‘network of networks’ but it still has many of the things a network has. One of those things is the ability to do email. The problem with email over the Internet is that it would be impossible to list every person on the Internet in one place, have it current with their names, have those names be unique, and still have it be useful. Since this is the way email on LANs works there needed to be a better addressing system. Email addresses on the Internet work with domain names, but not with URLs. All email addresses go by the format ‘’ , where domain is usually the website you sign up. Thus ‘’ is the email address for the person who signed up with Yahoo! Canada for an email address under the username of ‘julia’. ‘’ is what happens when a name was already taken and someone else wants it.

Email typically operates on two sub-protocols of TCP/IP, SMTP and POP3. SMTP is used for sending email, and IMAP(or the older POP3)is used for downloading (taking off the Internet and putting on your computer) email. Many different email programs exist , for desktops and mobile(iOS , Android , Windows Phone etc). Three of the most popular are GMail(Android), Microsoft Outlook, and Windows Mail. Another popular way to access email is through a web page interface. There are many differences between all the major programs, however there are some things that are standard.

You can create and email, usually by clicking on a button or link labeled ‘new message’. The universal icon for an email message (or just for email) is an envelope and the universal icon for ‘new’ is a star. So there may be an icon of an envelope with a star or something like that. Remember to use tool-tips to find out what buttons with no labels are called. You type one (or more than one separated by a comma) email address in the box labeled ‘To:’. The ‘From:’ box is usually filled in automatically(you may be given options if you use a mail client and have 2 or more e-mail addresses , in which case you should choose the e-mail address you want to send from), and then there are ‘Cc:’(Carbon Copy) and ‘Bcc:’(Blind Carbon Copy).. You can put email addresses in them and the email will be copied to them so that all can see it was copied to all the persons(Cc) or so that they cannot(Bcc), respectively. You then type the text for your message into the big text box at the bottom.

If you are connected to the Internet when you click the ‘Send’ button (or other similar button) on the email it will go immediately. If you are not (or if the button is called ‘Queue’) then the messages go into you Outbox until you check your mail. To check your email(which is usually done automatically) (that is, to download new messages and send the ones in the outbox) click the ‘Check Mail’, ‘Send and Receive’ or other similar button. A progress bar will appear in the status bar or a window will come up with one so that you can know when it is finished. All new messages go into your Inbox, unless you have filters set up (we will not be discussing filters in this book). You can then move them into other mailboxes that you have created by drag-and-drop. (To create a new mailbox there should be a ‘Create new mailbox’ on the menu or on a popup-menu for the Inbox.)

Some emails have attachments, these are files that are in the email that you can open and/or save. The universal icon for attachments is a paper clip. You can attach file to you emails by clicking the ‘Attach’ or similar button. You can open files in email that you receive by either clicking on their icon at the end of an email, or double clicking on it in the ‘Attachments:’ spot at the top, depending on your program. It is important to take caution when opening attachments , as viruses are easily hidden inside attachments. Also there can be file limits depending on your provider.

Chat rooms

Email is very useful, but what if you want to talk to someone directly? So chat-rooms were invented. Chat-rooms are found on web pages all over the place, some are public, and some you need a membership for. Once you are in, to use it is simple. There is (usually) a list of the nicknames (or handles, fake names people use on the Internet) somewhere on the page, and when you sign in you give it the one you use. You type something in a text box at the bottom and press either the ‘Enter’ key or the ‘Send’ or ‘Say’ button and your messages is visible to everyone in the chat-room in the text box above, including yourself. === IRC(Internet Relay Chat) IRC chat was designed to go a step further. You need a program for it and it has a few more features (like the ability to ‘whisper’ to only one person in the room).

IM(Instant Messaging)

IM (Instant Messaging) was designed for one-on-one or conferencing, much like telephones. Everyone has a unique nickname or number that you must know in order to contact them with a message, send them a file, or do a real-time chat, depending on what your program supports. You add people to your contact list or buddy list and then if you are online, the program notifies you when they are too. Then you can send them messages, chat with messages, or do other things.

Some IM programs also let you send them messages when they are offline that they will get when they come online. Something like email, but it works faster. You can also usually invite other people on your list into an existing chat (or messaging) session so that you can have a little chat room with only people you want. There are new features coming out for computers all the time. Many IM programs now let you talk with the people while chatting or even see them! The biggest advantage over telephones? You can talk to anyone in the world for any length of time without paying more than your monthly Internet bill. No long-distance charges!


Switching the Control Panel to Classic View

First click on the Start button on the lower left corner, then click on Control Panel on the right-hand side of the menu that pops up (if using the Classic Start Menu layout, click on Settings and then on Control Panel). When the window opens click on Switch to Classic View in the left column of the same window.

Connecting to the Internet

The Internet is an integral part of Windows. There are many ways of connecting to the Internet.

  1. Using a dial-up connection:-To create a new dial-up connection to the Internet (that is, not a high-speed broadband connection) navigate to one of the three places above (if it is the last one click on ‘Show all connections’). Then there will be either an icon that says ‘Make New Connection’ or an item on the left-hand side labeled ‘Create a new connection’. Open the one that your computer has and follow the instructions. If it is called ‘Create a new connection’ you can also create a high-speed connection in there. This system is outdated , with most computers not having an RJ-45(telephone jack) connector anymore. Dial-ups are also very slow.
  2. Using Ethernet:- Mostly , you can simply connect the cable and then connect to the Internet. If that does not work , make sure that the latest drivers are installed and that the connection is not disabled. Ethernet is often faster than Wi-Fi , where CAT5E can get up to 1 Gbit/s (125 MB/s) while the latest Wi-Fi 802.11 ac can get up to about 600 Mbit/s (75 MB/s) and the more common 802.11 n can get up to about 130 Mbit/s (16.25 MB/s) to 300 Mbit/s (47.5 MB/s). The common types of Ethernet are:-
    1. CAT3 , offers up to about 10 Mbit/s (1.25 MB/s)
    2. CAT5 , offers up to about 100 Mbit/s (12.5 MB/s)
    3. CAT5E , offers up to about 1 Gbit/s (125 MB/s)

Note that they are both backwards and forward comparable(both socket and cable) but you'll not get the benefit of the newer standard.

  1. Wi-Fi:- Wi-Fi(Wireless Fidelity) is a very popular method of connecting to the internet both at home through a router , and outside at popular malls and cafes. First you need to make sure that the network you want to connect is within range. Then click the wireless icon(or open the Charms and click Network) on the taskbar and click Connect to Network. If you see no networks , make sure that Wi-Fi is not disabled. You can go to Network Connections in Windows XP + or open the Charms bar in Windows 8+ , click Network and ensure that Wi-Fi is enabled and Airplane mode is disabled. Click then network , and enter the password if you're prompted. Sometimes , you cannot find your preferred network. In this case , if you know the name , you can click Hidden Network in the list of networks and enter its name. Sometimes , you do not have to enter the password. Instead , you can click on a button and then it'll connect. This feature is called Wireless Protected Setup(WPS) and while it can be easy, it is not recommended as it is not that secure. The common types of Wi-Fi are
    1. 802.11 b , offers up to about 11 Mbit/s (1.375 MB/s)
    2. 802.11 g , offers up to about 54 Mbit/s (6.75 MB/s)
    3. 802.11 n , offers up to about 130 Mbit/s (16.25 MB/s) in 20Mhz frequency and about 300 Mbps (47.5 Mbps) in 40 Mhz frequency.
    4. 802.11 a , offers up to about 54 Mbit/s (6.75 MB/s). Uses a different frequency type(5Ghz) and has shorter range.
    5. 802.11 ac , offers up to about 600 Mbit/s (75 MB/s)

Note that they can reduce their speeds dynamically (eg - from 11 Mbit/s to 5 Mbit/s) if there is not enough range.


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