Basic Applications

Let us discuss now about the basic utilities that form part of the windows Operating system (OS). We are taking the example of Windows XP in this discussion.

My Computer: My Computer displays details of the hardware on your PC. It displays hardware including web camera, drives you have connected to if you are on a network. etc.. It also displays users documents folder. Idea is to show you essential items in one single place. If you do a mouse right click on your “My Computer” icon and click on properties, in the general menu you can see major configuration details like memory capacity, processor speed etc..

Windows Explorer : Windows explorer is similar to my computer but it shows you all the files and folders on your PC in much detail. Windows Explorer displays the hierarchical structure of files, folders, and drives on your computer (this a sort of tree structure explained in organising files under “dependability” topic).

It also shows any network drives that have been mapped to drive letters on your computer. Using Windows Explorer, you can copy, move, rename, and search for files and folders. For example, you can open a folder that contains a file you want to copy or move, and then drag the file to another folder or drive.

NotePad, WordPad : These are simple editors. At a stage when you don’t have MS Office or any other office packages loaded onto your PC, these can be your basic editors to create a file and take a print out. Due to their basic nature they are still useful for some text editing features etc. WordPad is a slightly enhanced version of notepad.

MultimediaMultimedia : On installation you also get multimedia setup if your PC has a sound card. You can check this out from the control panel “sounds and audio devices”. when you have a sound card installed on your PC you get ports for connecting mic, speakers, line in etc.. When you connect a speaker, you are supposed to be able to hear the sound in its best from if the volume is up.

Browser: Browser from Microsoft is called Internet explorer and it is used specifically to look at the Internet web pages. Browser converts HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) to readable format in its view. It has an address bar where you type the address of your Internet destination ( Web site address) and wait for the information to show up on the screen. It has features like storing favorite sites in your favorites, looking at the history of your browsing etc..

Task Bar, Start Menu: Task bar is the bar at the bottom of the screen where all active programs will be shown. You can switch between active programs by clicking on the task bar. As you know windows is a multitasking OS and how many programs you open at a time does not affect its working. Start menu is your first, starting point from where you can open your programs and other tools from within control panel etc..

Printers: When you buy a printer, you install it from within this option under settings, start menu. Basically this is a place to store drivers (software that connects specific hardware with the OS). Faxes are also shown within the printers area (If the fax component is added using add remove programs in control panel). You can open the windows XP fax program from within here.

Computer Management. computer management is what you get when you right button on my computer and choose “manage”. Here you have many options; you can use computer management to:

  • Monitor system events, such as logon times and application errors.
  • Create and manage shared resources.
  • View a list of users connected to a local or remote computer.
  • Start and stop system services, such as Scheduled Tasks and Indexing Service.
  • Set properties for storage devices.
  • View device configurations and add new device drivers.
  • Manage applications and services.

You can view local users and groups. (administrator is a user with full privileges on the PC. When you are not an administrator, you don’t get privileges for installing hardware, software and making many other administrative changes to the PC. So in an event a user need to be given less rights than the administrator, user needs to be made a normal user from within this section.

Windows Messenger : windows messenger is an internet instant messenger program with the following capabilities.

  • See who is online.
  • Send an instant message.
  • Call a contact’s computer.
  • Send someone a file.
  • Have an instant message conversation with a group of friends.