Microsoft Windows is a series of software operating system and Graphical User Interfaces, produced by Microsoft. Microsoft Windows came to dominate the world’s personal computer market, overtaking Mac OS.
Features of Microsoft Windows:
1. Graphical User Interface: It provides user- friendlier interface to work on. It is more powerful, customizable and efficient. It’s improved GUI makes learning and using Windows more natural and easier for all types of users.
2. Start button: Introduction of the START button is windows made life much simpler while there is a need to access multiple programs.
3. Taskbar: As the name suggests, the taskbar provides information and access to the entire task that has been currently activated by windows.
4. Shortcuts: A shortcut is a small file that is linked to a program, document, folder or an Internet address. The file is represented by an icon with an arrow in its lower left corner.
5. Long file names: In order to save a file and retrieve it later, Windows gives it an identity which is called the filename.
The Control Panel is a part of the Microsoft Windows graphical user interface which allows users to view and manipulate basic system settings and controls via applets, such as adding hardware, adding and removing software, controlling user accounts, and changing accessibility options.
Additional applets can be provided by third party software.
The Control Panel has been an inherent part of the Microsoft Windows operating system since its first release (Windows 1.0), with many of the current applets being added in later versions. Beginning with Windows 95, the Control Panel is implemented as a special folder, i.e. the folder does not physically exist, but only contains shortcuts to various applets such as Add or Remove Programs and Internet Options. Physically, these applets are stored as .cpl files. For example, the Add or Remove Programs applet is stored under the name appwiz.cpl in the SYSTEM32 folder.
In recent versions of Windows, the Control Panel has two views, Classic View and Category View, and it is possible to switch between these through an option that appears on the left side of the window.
Many of the individual Control Panel applets can be accessed in other ways. For instance, Display Properties can be accessed by right-clicking on an empty area of the desktop and choosing Properties.
The classic view consists of shortcuts to the various control panel applets, usually without any description (other than the name). The categories are seen if the user use “Details” view.
The category view consists of categories, which when clicked on display the control panel applets related to the category. In Windows Vista, the category displays links to the most commonly used applets below the name of the category.
In the graphical user interface (GUI) for a computer operating system or application, a taskbar is a visual device on the desktop that typically shows the user which applications (tasks) are currently active and running. Some taskbars, such as those in Windows operating systems, also include icons for commonly-used utilities such as the system clock and antivirus software. In some systems, the user is allowed to modify the contents, location, or appearance of the taskbar.
In GUI interfaces, the taskbar is a desktop toolbar application that lets you perform tasks such as switching between open windows and starting new applications. The taskbar is usually associated with the Microsoft Windows interface.
What is Graphical User Interface (GUI)
A GUI (usually pronounced as Goo-ee) is a graphical (rather than purely textual) user interface to a computer.
A GUI is a type of human-computer interface (i.e. a system for people to interact with a computer) that uses windows, icons, pull-down menus and a pointer and that can be manipulated by a mouse or a keyboard.
A GUI represents a major advance over the Command Line Interface (CLI) of the console, which displays text and is accessed solely by a keyboard.
With the increasing use of multimedia, as part of the GUI, sound, voice, motion video, and virtual reality interfaces seem likely to become part of GUI applications.
A system’s GUI with its input devices is sometimes referred to as its “look-and-feel”.
- In GUI, multiple windows with different information can simultaneously be displayed on the user screen.
- GUI offers users, the flexibility to simultaneously interact with several related items at any time.
- Iconic information representation and symbolic information manipulation is possible in GUI.
- A GUI supports command selection using an attractive and user-friendly menu selection system.
- In GUI, a pointing device such as a mouse or a light pen can be used for issuing commands, that led to increase in the efficacy of command issuing procedure.
Windows is a personal computer operating system from Microsoft that, together with some commonly used business applications such as Microsoft Word and Excel, has become a defacto “standard” for individual users in most corporations, as well as in most homes.
The original 1985 version of Windows introduced to home and business PC users, many of the graphical user interface (GUI) ideas, that were developed at an experimental lab at Xerox and introduced commercially by Apple’s Lisa and Macintosh computers.
4. Dialog Boxes
5. Command Buttons
8. Windows Explorer
What is an Icon
A computer icon is a graphical symbol that represents a property, function, or entity. In computer applications, icons are used to quickly execute commands or open programs and documents. We access the functionality behind an icon by clicking or double-clicking it. Operating systems often allow us to customize visuals of various objects by applying our own custom icons.
What is the structure of an icon
An icon is composed of several images. They have different sizes (or resolutions) and color depths. Windows defines standard sizes (16×16, 32×32,48×48) and standard color depths (16 colors, 256 colors, 16.8M colors), that should be present in any general-purpose icon.
Formats in Windows XP ‘My Music’ icon:
It is very important to create several image formats in an icon (especially if we wish to redistribute it), in order to be compatible with all screen configurations.
What are folders
Folders are used to organize the data stored on our drives. The files that make up a program are stored together in their own set of folders. We want to organize the files, we create in folders. We may also want to store files of a like kind in a single folder.
What are Option buttons
Option buttons allow us to make one choice among two or more options. They frequently appear in dialog boxes. The picture below shows three option buttons. The “Flip vertical” option is selected ‘ Clicking a button selects that option
To select an option, click one of the buttons. Only one option can be selected.
What are Checkboxes
Check boxes allows us to select one or more independent options. Unlike option buttons, which restrict us to one choice, check boxes allow us to choose multiple options at the same time.
Click an empty checkbox to select that option.
To operate check boxes:
- Click an empty square to select or “turn on” that option. A check mark will appear in the square, indicating that the option is selected.
- To turn off an option, clear (remove) its check mark by clicking it.
- Options that currently can’t be selected or cleared are shown in gray.
When a document, web page, or picture exceeds the size of its window, scroll bars appear to allow us to see the information that is currently out of view. The following picture shows the parts of a scroll bar.
Horizontal and vertical scroll bars
To operate a scroll bar:
- Click the up or down scroll arrows to scroll the window’s contents up or down in small steps. Hold down the mouse button to scroll continuously.
- Click an empty area of a scroll bar above or below the scroll box to scroll up or down one page.
- Drag a scroll box up, down, left, or right to scroll the window in that direction.
What do you mean by Program Manager
Program Manager is the shell of Windows 3.x and Windows NT 3.x operating systems. This shell exposed a task-oriented Graphical user interface (GUI), consisting of icons (shortcuts for programs) arranged into program groups. It replaced MS-DOS Executive, a file manager, as the default Windows shell.
In later versions of Microsoft Windows, starting with Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0, Program Manager was replaced by Windows Explorer as the shell, though Windows 95 gave the user an opportunity to choose, which shell they preferred during setup.
For backward compatibility with old applications, Program Manager was still included in later versions of Windows. It can be accessed by executing PROGMAN.EXE from the command line or Run dialog. The file is located in the Windows directory in older versions, or the System32 director}’ in Windows 2000 and Windows XP.The Program Manager from ReactOS has most of the features of the Microsoft version
Explain the Windows Explorer window
When we open Windows Explorer, the screen shown here will appear.
Windows XP separates the window into two panes. If we click an object in the left pane, the contents of the object display in the right pane. Click Desktop and the contents of the Desktop folder display on the right. Click My Computer and then computer resources display on the right. To see the contents of a drive, click the drive. To see the contents of a folder, click the icon for the folder in the left pane.
To create a new folder:
1. In the left pane, click the drive or folder in which you want to create the new folder.
2. Click any free area in the right pane. A context menu will appear.
3. Highlight New.
4. Click Folder.
5. Type a name for the folder.
How to delete a file or folder
To delete a file or folder:
1. Right-click the file or folder, you want to delete. A context menu will appear.
2. Click Delete. Windows Explorer will ask, “Are sure you want to send this object to the recycle bin?”
3. Click Yes.
How to copy a file or folder
To copy a file or folder:
1. Right-click the file or folder, you want to copy. A context menu will appear.
2. Click Copy. The file or folder should now be on the Clipboard.
How to cut a file or folder
To cut a file or folder:
1. Right-click the file or folder, you want to cut. A context menu will appear.
2. Click Cut. The file or folder should now be on the Clipboard.
How to paste a file or folder
To paste a file or folder:
1. After cutting or copying the file, right-click the object or right-click in the right pane of the folder to which you want to paste. A context menu will appear.
2. Click Paste.
To rename a file or folder:
1. Right-click the file or folder. A context menu will appear.
2. Click Rename.
Type the new name.
The programs that come with Windows include the following:
Write, word processor that can prepare
- letter, reports, and articles.
- Paintbrush, a painting program that can create color or black and white drawings.
- Calendar, an appointment calendar that helps to organize your time and alerts you when important events are planned.
- Cardfile, an organizational program you can use to keep and search for information.
- Calculator, a desk calculator that can replace that old pocket model.
What is Windows Clipboard
The Windows Clipboard is like a scratch pad, available to Windows and all running applications. It allows pieces of information to be temporarily stored and then retrieved later by another application. For example, if we’re writing a report and we see a bit of text on a website that we want to include in our report then we can copy that piece of text to the Windows Clipboard and then when we’re ready, website into our document.
Many people use the Windows Clipboard all the time, without even realizing it. The Clipboard is where, stuff goes when we select Edit/Copy, press CTRL-C, or right click and select Copy from the pop-up context sensitive menu. When we Cut we’re also putting that data on the Windows Clipboard. The difference is that the data is also deleted from the source document.
How to change the Currency Value Display in Windows
To Change the Currency Value Display: In the Customize Regional Options dialog box, click the Currency tab to specify any changes, we want to make. We can change the currency symbol, the formats used for positive or negative amounts, and the punctuation marks. To open the Regional and Language Options tool:
1. Click Start, and then click Control Panel.
2. Click Date, Time, Language, and Regional Options, and then click Regional and Language Options.
To change one or more of the individual settings, click Customize
The different Types of Icons available in Windows are:
- Application Icon: Every application has its own unique icon, which represents the application. When we double click it, the related application gets started.
- Shortcut Icon: These icons points to a particular application or document or folder etc.
- Document Icon: This icon is related to a document file. If we double click this, then related document file will be opened within the related application.
- Disk-drive Icon: There are different types of storage devices available in our system such as floppy disk drive, hard disk drive etc. Each type of disk drive has its own icon, which is called disk drive icons.
Some common icons on Windows Desktop are:
(a) My Computer: It allows us to control and view disk drives, set up printers, assess the control panel and controls dial-up networking features.
- Double-click on My Computer and view its components.
- close the window by clicking on |X| in the upper right-hand control corner of the screen.
(b) Network Neighborhood: It shows servers, workstations, and other devices that are connected to a particular workgroup on a network.
(c) Recycle Bin: It is a storage area for deleted files and icons.
Paint (formerly Paintbrush for Windows) is a simple graphics painting program, that has been included with all versions of Microsoft Windows. It is often referred to as MS Paint or Microsoft Paint. The program opens and saves files as Windows bitmap (24-bit, 256 color, 16 color, and monochrome, all with the .bmp extension),
JPEG, GIF (without animation or transparency, although the Windows 98 version, a Windows 95 upgrade, and the Windows NT4 version did support the latter), PNG (without alpha channel), and TIFF (without multiple page support). The program can be in color mode or two-color black-and-white, but there is no grayscale mode. In Windows XP and later versions,
Paint is based on GDI+ and therefore, images can be natively saved as JPEG, GIF, TIFF, and PNG without requiring additional graphics filters (in addition to BMP). Support for acquiring images from a scanner or a digital camera was also added to Paint.
The program comes with the following options in its Tool Box (from left to right in image):
- Free-Form Select
- Eraser/Color Eraser
- Fill With Color
- Pick Color
- Rounded Rectangle
The Image menu offers the following options: Flip/Rotate, Stretch/Skew, Invert Colors, Image Attributes, Clear Image, and Draw Opaque. The “Colors” menu allows the user to Edit Colors (only menu option under Colors). The Edit Colors dialog box shows the standard Windows color picker, which includes a 48-color palette and 12 custom color slots that can be edited. Clicking “Define Custom Colors” displays a square version of the color wheel, that can select a custom color either with a crosshair cursor (like a “+”), by Hue/Saturation/Luminance, or by Red/Green/Blue values.
There are 28 color wells in the workspace. The default colors in the Color Box are the following: Black, White, Gray, Silver, Maroon, Red, Olive, Yellow, Dark Green, Green, Teal, Cyan, Navy Blue, Blue, Purple, Magenta, Old Gold, Lemon Yellow, Slate Gray, Kelly Green, Dark Carolina Blue, Aquamarine, Midnight Blue, Periwinkle, Violet-blue, Coral, Brown, and Pumpkin orange. A color palette is also available.
How to set date and time in Windows
The first thing to do is double click the clock on the taskbar, we will be presented with the Windows XP Date and Time Properties box.
In fig above, we can see an example of a typical Windows XP Date and Time Properties box, we have pointed out the areas of interest.
To adjust the date, use the monthly calendar (A) along with the month selector (B) and year selector (C).
To adjust the time, click on the part of the time, we want to change ( an hour or minutes) D and then use the up and down arrows (E) to change it.
To adjust the time zone click on the Timezone, tab (F) and then select your timezone from the selection tool provided.
The Internet Time tab (G) allows us to synchronize our PC’s clock with an Internet server.
What is Notepad
Notepad is a simple text editor for Microsoft Windows. It has been included in all versions of Microsoft Windows since Windows 1.0 in 1985. Notepad is a common text-only (plain text) editor. The resulting files typically saved with the txt extension—have no format tags or styles, making the program suitable for editing system files that are to be used in a DOS environment.
Notepad supports both left-to-right and right-to- left based languages, and one can alternate between these viewing formats by using the right or left Ctrl+Shift keys to go to right-to-left format or left-to-right format, respectively.
Notepad also has a simple built-in logging function. Each time a file that starts with.LOG is opened, the program inserts a text timestamp on the last line of the file.
Notepad accepts text from the Windows clipboard. When clipboard data with multiple formats is pasted into Notepad, the program will only accept text in the CF_TEXT format. This is useful for stripping embedded font type and style codes from formatted text, such as when copying text from a web page and casting into an email message or other WYSIWYG text editor. The formatted text is temporarily pasted into Notepad, and then immediately copied again in stripped format to be pasted into the other program.
Simple text editors like Notepad may be used to edit text with markup, such as HTML. However, because they lack many features (such as syntax highlighting), web developers may favor more specialized editors for this purpose.
How to change wallpaper on Windows desktop
Wallpapers are images that appear in the background on our Desktop, behind all icons. To change Desktop wallpaper, the following steps are performed:
- Click anywhere on the Desktop that is not an icon, but clicks once with the right-hand mouse button.
- A menu pops up. The one below
- Click on Properties, once with Left mouse button
- The following dialog box pops up
This is the Display Properties dialog box. As we can see, there are tab strips for Themes, Desktop, Screensaver, Appearance, and Settings. Click on the Background tab strip and the dialog box will change to this one:
There is a list of wallpapers we can use. Click on one, and then get a preview of what it will look like. Scroll down to see more wallpapers. If satisfied, click the OK button to set the wallpaper. If we have an image somewhere on your computer, and we want to use that instead of the ones on the list, we can click the Browse button, in the image above. Doing so will bring up the Browse Dialogue box:
In the image above, no background files are showing. We can click one of the folders on the left to search for a picture, or use the “Look In” drop-down box at the top. When some background image is showing, click on one to select it. The name of the file you have selected will then appear in the File: name text box.
Click the “Open” button to return to the Display Properties dialogue box. A preview of your image will be displayed. If you’re happy with your selection, click the “Apply” button then OK. Your desktop will change to our selected image.