Copyright Michael Karbo, Denmark, Europe.

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    Chapter 2. Start Windows XP

    Now you are going to do the practical work with Windows XP. If you have not done so already, turn on your pc now.

    The start

    All programs have to be started; Windows XP is no exception, but it happens automatically. When you turn on power to the pc, it boots, the pc gets ready, and the operating system and its various programs are read in.

    Microsoft has done much to optimize the start-up, so ordinarlly Windows XP willl be ready run in 30 seconds after you turn on power. That is a substantial improvement – especially when compared to Windows 2000 and NT, which could demonstrate a very slow start-up.

    After start-up You usually have to click on a user name, since other users may use the same pc (see the description on page 61). To select a user is really called ”log on”. See Figure 5.

    Once you have logged on, you will get to Windows XP itself. This picture may look slightly different from pc to pc.

    Figure 5. Windows XP gives additional users the option of their individual ”log-on”.

    The Start button

    First we will look at the Start button, which most people are familiar with.



    The only change in Windows XP is that the button is now green and got a rounded appearance ...

    The start button is your main entry to the pc. A single click on that opens the Start menu, which I will describe here. You can also activate it with the Windows key – I use that often:

    Figure 6. The Windows key activates the Start menu directly.

    You can actually operate the Start button in yet other ways. Try to press Control+Escape. Hold the Control key and press the Escape key simultaneously, then the Start menu opens.

    The Start menu

    The Start menu (Figure 7) has a rather new look in Windows XP, but the structure is about the same as before. You find:

  • A number of hyperlinks to various programs and functions.

  • An item that opens the sub menu
    All programs.

  • Two buttons in the bottom of the menu, which can be used to change user (Log off) and to close the computer respectively.

    Figure 7. The Start menu, which opens when you press the Start button. The menu is divided in two lists.

    The left program list

    In the left half of the menu you see a list with hyperlinks to selected programs. This list actually consists of two sections. On top are hyperlinks to important programs (Internet and E-mail in Figure 8). Here you can add and rmove hyperlinks. If I right click on the Internet hyperlink, I could choose the menu item ”Delete from this list”:

    Correspondingly I can add hyperlinks to the list. That would typically be a menu item that I find elsewhere in the menu structure, and which I want to emphasize with a fixed position in the left program list. I select the appropriate menu item and right click on that. Then I choose ”Attach[n2]  to Start menu”:

    The bottom section in the left program list is automatically updated with hyperlinks to the most recently used programs. Here we are talking about programs, which you open with the menus Start à All programs. They are automatically emphasized with a hyperlink in the left list, when you have used them.

    In Figure 8 you see six hyperlinks (Noteblock, Paint etc.). Those are hyperlinks that are installed in my list, beyond my control. That happened because I have used or installed the listed programs.

    I can remove these hyperlinks from the list if I do not want to see them, but I don’t have to worry about that. If I don’t use them, they will automatically be replaced with hyperlinks to the programs I use:

    Figure 8. The left list in the Start menu consists of two sections with each their own function.

    The six hyperlinks in the bottom of the left list are thus ”dynamic”; they change with your work. The right list in the Start menu (see Figure 7) has 9-11 fixed hyperlinks, which can activate a number of central Windows functions. But you can change those also, see page 28.

    All programs

    The start menu thus contains a number of hyperlinks. But the most important is probably the access to the pc’s programs. You find that in the menu item All programs, which can be opened by pressing letter a. You can see that by the underlining of the first letter:

    That menu item opens access to a list of varous programs. Some of those are installed with Windows XP, you have installed others yourself. Here is my list:

    Figure 9. The list with All programs is seen to the right.

    If you examine the list, you can find two types of menu items:

  • Hyperlinks, which give direct access to specified programs such as Windows Update, remote support, Internet Explorer etc.

  • Access to sub menus, which are associated with specific program groups. They are recognized by the small arrow to the far right. In Figure 9 you thus see the program groups CloneCD, JetAdminV3.4 and Macromedia Fireworks 4.

    Some of the sub menus are installed by Windows XP. Those are Play, Start and Accessories. The others belong to program packages that I have installed on the pc.

    Try for yourself

    Some of the menu items have a built-in help text, which activates when the mouse cursor rests upon them. Try to place the cursor on the top item, Windows Update. Then the help text appears in a yellow box:

    Try to find for yourself the other menu items that have help texts.

    Now look at the Accessories sub menu. It covers various small programs, which are installed with Windows XP:

    In this menu you again find access to new sub menus (there are four of them on top of the list), but beyond that there is access to 12 small programs:

    If you open the sub menu Entertainment, you get access to three (or possibly more) small programs:

    This means that if you want to activate the SoundRecorder program, You need to navigate through the following menu structure:

    The start menu à All programs à Accessories       --> Entertainment à SoundRecorder

    This entire operation can be done with the mouse, but you can actually also use the keyboard. Nearly all Windows programs have menus, which can be operated from the keyboard. Try for yourself to press the following sequence:

    Windows-key, a, t, u, Enter

    Then one menu layer after another opens, and finally the SoundRecorder program (if it is placed on top of the list). If you check while you press the letters a and e, you will see that the letters match the first letter in Accessories and Entertainment.

    You can probably not use the program Soundrecorder for anything just now, so close it with menu­ items File --> Exit:

    Test the menu structure

    So you see that there is a multi layer hieratic menu structure. Try the following exercise for yourself, where you move around in the menu structure just using the keyboard:

    1.    Open the start menu by pressing the Windows key.

    2.    Press a[n3]  for all programs.

    3.    Press ArrowDown a couple of times until you reach the menu item games.

    4.    Press ArrowRight to open the sub menu Games. There are 11 games included in Windows XP. Use the ArrowDown key to move down though them. Read the help text at each game[n4] :


    5.    After you have looked at each game, press ArrowLeft. That closes the games sub menu. Then press ArrowDown a couple of times until you reach the menu item accessories. Open that with ArrowRight.

    6.    Press ArrowDown, ArrowDown, ArrowRight to reach the system tools submenu. Try also here to look at each individual menu item.

    7.    Now you can close the menus by pressing the Escape key four times. For each press one menu layer closes.

    Other programs

    When you install new programs, they are usually placed in the menu system All programs. Windows XP actually tells you (with a small ”speech bubble”) when new programs are installed:

    The menu structure in All programs is expanded as time goes by. Fortunately you are free to change the structure; you can add and delete elements as needed. We will get to that later in the booklet (on page 76).

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