Computing Guide

Getting to know the Windows Operating System

To use a computer, it is extremely important to know what operating system was installed in the computer you are using. After turning on the computer, the desktop environment will appear on the monitor, which is an integral part of the operating system. We will help you to get to know the Operating System of your computer by:
• Learning about the Windows Operating System
• Recognizing the work environment
• Understanding the taskbar and notification area
• Getting to know the Start menu
• Getting to know Windows Explorer

Getting to know the Windows Operating System

The Operating System is the program responsible for the management of the entire computer. It is a set of small programs that control various functionalities, for example, use of computer components like the mouse, monitor, and keyboard, files and folders, and more advanced settings such as memory management and computer processes. The operating system works as support for all programs, not just those that come by default, but all those that can be installed and add more functionality to the system. For example, text editors, Internet browsers, games, etc. There are several operating systems on the market with different programs. Let's look at an analogy, just as there are a variety of automobile, operating systems also have different brands. And just as we have different models within a same automobile brand, the same operating system brand has different models or versions. In this module we will address the Windows 10 operating system, as it is the most commonly used operating system in the world. Briefly, the operating system is the link between the computer and the human being who works with it. After turning on your computer, you may have to wait a few seconds, or even a few minutes. After you start, the first thing that appears will be the desktop and the computer is ready for use.

In some cases, when you turn on your computer, you will need to enter a user name and password (previously defined by you) so that you can access your user account. This feature is useful when the same computer is used by multiple people. In this way, each user is allowed to have individual access credentials so that he can only access the information associated with his account. Thus, the privacy of each user's information is ensured.

Recognize the work environment

The desktop is a work environment that allows the user access to many functions of the computer. For example, you can organize and open your folders with files, access programs, put files/folders you wish to delete in a recycling bin etc. You can also place items on the desktop and arrange them as you wish. The icons that appear in this environment are images that represent folders, files, programs, and so on. On the desktop you can choose a background image that usually occupies the entire screen. You also have an icon that designates the recycle bin (highlighted 1 in figure 1); and the taskbar (highlight 2 in figure 1). You can find folders (highlight 3 in figure 1) or shortcuts for files, folders and/or programs (highlight 4 in figure 1). To open a file, folder or program on the desktop (highlights 1, 3, 4 or 5 in figure 1), double click the left mouse button on the item you want to open. To open a program in the taskbar single click with the left mouse button on the desired item.

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Project Summary

Getting to know the taskbar

The taskbar is another important element of the Operating System and is located, by default, in the lower part of the work environment (highlight 3 in figure 1). However, it may still appear or be located on the top, right or left of the desktop. In this bar you will find the Start menu button (highlight 1 in figure 2), icons for the programs running and / or highlighted (highlighted 2 in figure 2), highlighted programs having the highlighted icon (highlighted 3 in figure 2) and the notification area (highlighted 4 in figure 2).

Programs that are running

In the Start menu icon (highlight 1 in figure 2), the programs that are running are highlighted (highlight 2 and 3 in figure 2). Some highlighted programs appear by default in the taskbar. When the taskbar is visible (unless you choose to omit it), you have the advantage of being able to access the programs you use most frequently in a faster way. In addition to the featured programs, running programs also appear on this bar. The icons of running programs (highlight 3 in figure 2) are highlighted, distinguishing them from the icons of the featured programs (highlight 2 in figure 2).

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Notification area

To finish the presentation of the taskbar we need to refer to the notification area. Here you can see some system options, such as the programs running in the background (highlight 1 in figure 3), computer volume (highlight 2 in figure 3), network connection status (highlight 3 in figure 3), and date and time of the computer (highlight 4 in figure 3). If you are using a laptop computer or a tablet, you may be able to see the battery status. Note that these icons are not required, so the items in the figure may be different from those on the computer you are using. Finally, the taskbar contains a Show Desktop button, which allows you to minimize all windows that are in use, to display the desktop. This button is located in the opposite corner of the Start menu; in case the taskbar is located in the desktop base, this button will be located in the lower right corner of the screen (highlight 5 in figure 3). To hide all the working windows, you must move the mouse pointer to the Show desktop button and left-click, this way the windows will be minimized and only the desktop will appear. If you left-click again on the Show desktop button the minimized windows will reopen on the desktop and occupy the positions they had before they were minimized.

Getting to know the Start menu

Another of the most prominent features of the operating system is the Start menu, which, as mentioned earlier is located in the taskbar. You can access it by clicking on the Start button (highlight 1 in figure 2) with the left mouse button or pressing the Windows key on the keyboard. The Start menu appears as the entry point for programs, folders, files, and computer settings. After opening the menu, you can see which user is using the computer through a profile photo (highlight 1 in figure 4). The position where the user's name is located indicates the button that refers to the folder on the computer where that user's files and folders are located. You can also find links to the most frequently used programs (highlight 2 in figure 4), and use the scroll button down, or the sidebar. You can access all the programs installed in the computer, sorted by alphabetical order (highlight 3 in figure 4). You can search for programs or files by clicking the magnifying glass on the lower left corner and entering the name of a folder/file/program. There are also buttons for the most common tools, such as calendar, and mail; (highlight 4 in figure 4), there is also a button for the computer settings (highlight 5 in figure 4) and the Shutdown button which contains a submenu to stop the work on the computer (highlight 6 in figure 4). The operating system also allows you to recognize newly installed programs and / or files from the Start menu (highlighted in Figure 4).

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Project Summary

Recognize Windows’ windows

The contents of each window differ, however the windows share some common aspects, such as the fact that they appear on the desktop, and have the same basic components: title bar (highlight 1 in figure 5), menu bar (highlight 2 in figure 5); the maximize, minimize, and close buttons (highlight 3 in figure 5), and the borders and corners that allow changing the window size (yellow line in figure 5). To close a window, you should move the mouse pointer over the red cross in the upper right corner of the window and left-click.

Using Windows Explorer

Windows Explorer is a file and folder manager program that is used to organize, change locate, copy and delete files and folders, and can even be used to access programs, folders and files. It is represented by a yellow folder and is on the taskbar. To open Windows Explorer, move the mouse pointer over the icon and click the left mouse button. After opening, a window will pop up. In the specific case of Windows Explorer there are some elements that do not appear in other windows and need to be referred to. The back and forward buttons (highlight 1 in figure 6) allow you to move backward or forward to previously visited folders, noting that you can only move forward after you have already moved backward, the address bar that allows you to identify the location of the open folder 2 in figure 6, the search bar that allows searching for files or folders (highlight 3 in figure 6), the navigation panel that allows you to browse the different folders on the computer (highlight 4 in figure 6), the list of files where you can view the contents of the folder you are in (highlight 5 in Figure 6) and the details panel regarding the folder you are in, or the selected file (s) or folder (s) ) (highlighted in Figure 6)

Organize folders and files

Documents created by programs are called files. When you save a file created or changed by a program, you can assign a name to them and place them in a folder. When you save a file, you need to ensure that it is stored in a quick and intuitive place so that it can be easily found if we want to use it in the future. Thus, it is advisable to create different folders, according to the files to be stored. For example, a folder for photos, another for videos, another for songs, etc., by default Windows 10 already contains this set of folders inside the Libraries folder (highlight 5 in figure 6). Within each folder you can create other folders, for example, inside the photos folder you can have a folder for each event, example a folder for a dinner party, another for a Christmas party, etc. If you want to know how to create folders, copy or move files among other forms of content organization in the operating system, see the module "Using Basic Operating System (Microsoft Windows 10)".


• You can use the desktop to organize your most frequently used folders and programs;
• To open a program, you can use the Windows start menu or a shortcut icon;
• To close a program, click on the cross in the upper right corner of the screen;
• Keeping files and folders in places with intuitive names makes it easier to find them in the future.