Copyright Michael Karbo, Denmark, Europe.

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    Welcome to Windows XP. You are about to start a training course in this exciting program environment.

    Chapter 1. Introduction to Windows XP

    In the first chapter I will give a brief introduction to Windows XP. I explain briefly what an operating system is, and show you the most important elements in the user interface.

    New Windows version

    Windows XP was introduced in November 2001 with a great sales campaign. Compared with the previous Windows Me there has also been a very extensive updating of Windows. The main features in the new program are:

  • Technologically Windows XP is based on the Windows NT and Windows 2000 programs (and thus not on Windows 98/Me). With this Windows XP is a genuine 32 bit program.

  • Windows XP replaces both Windows 2000, Windows NT and Windows 98/Me.

  • Windows XP has a new user interface with new buttons, icons and windows.

  • Windows XP is optimized to work with digital pictures, sound- and video-recordings (with use of the modern pc-plugs USB and FireWire).

    All in all this is a very extensive updating – especially when compared to Windows 98/Me.

    Windows is an operating system

    To learn knowing Windows XP, you must understand that it is a operating system. This means that Windows XP is a collection of programs, which enables the entire pc to work. Among Windows’ most important tasks I could list:

  • Assist in starting the pc.

  • Control and handling of all hardware, including RAM, i/o, cards and controllers.

  • Read-in of a graphics user interface with windows, menu bars etc.

  • Forms a platform for the user programs (applications) like Word, Internet Explorer, Photoshop etc.

  • Handling of user data in files.

    Beyond the pure operating system tasks Windows XP includes a large collecton of smaller and larger tools. Among others Windows XP comes with Internet Explorer and the multimedia player Windows Media Player, which are independent user programs.

    Figure 1. Windows XP is both an operating system and a program package.

    Graphics user interface

    Windows XP is first of all characterized by a smart graphics user interface that you need to get acquainted with. The user interface is built basically on the same model we know from Windows 2000 og 98/Me, but the appearance has changed quite a bit. There are many features that you need to know; here are some of the most important:

    The Start button, which covers a wide range of

    Menus. It is in the bottom left of the screen and gives access to all the pc’s programs.

    See the review on page 6ff and read how you can modify the menu on page 29.

    The task bar is normally seen near[n1]  the bottom of the screen. From this you can open those programs that currently are active.



    The task bar is the daily ”cockpit”, from where you control your work. You can modify the task bar in many ways, which I show later.

    Quick start bar is at the bottom of the screen. From here you can open your selected programs with a single click (rather than with a double click from the desk top, and without closing the current window). You place items in the quick start bar in two steps. 1) you drag the program icon from the desk top to the quick start bar (now it is gone from the desk top); 2) copy the icon in the quick start bar and paste the copy back on the desk top.

    Desk top. That is the large area you see when Windows XP starts. Compared with earlier Windows editions there are much fewer default icons on the desk top, which can be modified in different ways (see among others pages 73ff and 81).

    Figure 2. The desk top, which lies "below" all program windows.

    Hyperlinks. The Windows XP user interface makes extensive use of hyperlinks (previously referred to as shortcuts). Hyperlinks appear as small icons, and they can be placed in many places on the Windows XP user interface. Hyperlinks are known from web, where you can open various home pages by clicking on them. In the same way Windows XP gives you very easy access to files, home pages, programs and other objects. You will be working with hyperlinks among other places on pages 24 and 72ff.

    Windows Explorer and My Computer. Windows Explorer is really your tool to work with files, folders, programs, hyperlinks, Control panel and much more. The starting point for work with Windows Explorer is often My Computer. That is a system folder that shows and gives access to most of the pc’s resources. You will work a lot with Windows Explorer in the exercises in this booklet.

    Figure 3. "This computer" is a very important folder, which opens access to the pc’s drives, folders and files.

    The control panel is the entry to the pc’s various settings such as controlling hardware units through the so-called drivers (as I illustrate on page 81).

    Figure 4. The control panel has a new look in Windows XP.

    The three central and well known components Windows Explorer, My Computer and the Control panel are all substantially revised in Windows XP. There are many new feaures added and overall a greatly improved and more flexible handling, which can be recognized from one situation to another. That is good news!

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