Copyright Michael Karbo, Denmark, Europe.
Chapter 8. Entertainment
I will conclude the first part of this booklet with some entertaiment, which Windows XP gives fine opportunities for. You can try some games, and you can listen to music. At the same time I explain a little about the sound system in Windows XP.
Music from the CD-ROM drive
If you have a sound card and speakers in your pc, you can play your music CD’s. That is incredibly easy to do. Just place a CD in the drive, then the music plays! Windows XP will probably notice immediately that there now is a music CD in the drive:
When Windows XP plays the CD, it is done with Windows Media Player. That is a program, which sends the music from the CD to the sound card, from where the signals move on to the speakers.
Figure 35. Windows Media Player plays a regular music CD with great visual effects.
The visual effects
Windows Media Player takes up a lot of space in the landscape – by default the program opens with a huge window that shows a mystical light show, wich appears to pulsate in rythm with the music (Figure 35).
Windows Media Player is a modern playing program. It can be used for almost any kind of sound and video presentation. When you play the CD you can switch between the numbers and turn the sound up or down with these controls:
The program can change appearance in numerous ways. Among other options you can choose between lots of visual effects, which are displayed as the music plays. See the menu item Show à Visual effects. You can also choose to change theme on the player.
This gives the program a quite different format and appearance. You choose between the different themes by clicking on Theme selector:
Figure 36. Windows Media Player can be packed in the most different appearances.
What if the sound card does not work?
You need a functioning sound card and properly connected speakers to play music with Windows Media Player. Later in the booklet we will look at installation of new hardware, but let me briefly describe the sound card.
In practice the sound part (as it is called in Windows XP) can either be built-in in the pc’s
motherboard (like in portable computers), or it could be a plug-in card (a ”real” sound card).
In all cases Windows XP has to determine during the installation that there is a sound card in the pc, and you have to install a driver for the sound card. The driver installation can go awry for different reasons; that happens sometimes. In that situation you have to install the driver yourself (you can read more about that later).
But often the installation works automatically, and then the right drivers are installed. You can see than in the control panel. Select ”Sound, speech and sound units” and then ”Sounds and light units” like here:
Then you should see the name of your sound card (or someting that looks like it) in different places in the dialog box, such as on the Sound units tab:
Figure 37. The dialog box ”Sound and sound units properties” (which is opened from Windows
Control panel) tells about the nstalled sound board (here it is a SoundBlaster Audigy).
Edit or remove system sounds
Windows XP uses system sounds, wich are associated with specific program events. As an example when you close a program. The sounds are usually heard in the pc’s built-in speaker, but when you have sound card and speakers connected to the pc, all the system sounds will be heard in the speakers.
That can be rather irritating if the the pc is located in a place like a living room. Some speakers are easy to turn off, but that is not the case you can ask Windows XP to turn off system sounds. This means that the speakers only work for music, radio, or what else you want to play. The different beep sounds from Windows do not sound in the speakers.
1. Open the tool ”Sounds, Speech and Audio Devices” from the control panel.
2. On the second tab ”Change the sound scheme” you can edit which sounds will be associated with specific program events. You can select sounds for the individual events.
3. You can also choose to turn of these system sounds. Then you have to select the scheme: Mute:
Figure 38. Here all system sounds are removed from Windows XP.
Turn off all sound
Another option is to temporarily turn off the sound. That is quite easy, and you can can easily turn it on again.
1. There is a small sound control unit saved in the message area of the task bar. Start by seeing all the message area’s icons by clicking on the small arrow:
4. This control unit is very easy to use. But if you double click on the small speaker in the message box, a larger control box opens in stead. With that you can regulate all the ”channels” that there are in the sound system.
5. The control box appearance can depend on which soundcard is installed in the pc. Here you see a typical example:
Figure 39. Control unit for all the soundcard channels.
Let us lastly look at a couple of small entertainment programs. If you are bored, you can find a solitaire or another small game:
1. The games are opened from the start menu à All programs à Games:
2. Now you can play games such as the well known 7-solitaire, where you move cards with the mouse. You could also try Pinball:
3. Or you can select Spider Solitaire, which is a great solitaire; it is much more fun than 7-solitaire. I can highly recommend that:
4. Here I finally succeded to win with two suits on the board. That took some time:
5. If you do not know some of the rules for the games, you can open the Help menu. Then it is quite easy to read what the game is all about.
Figure 40. Use the help function to learn the games!
That is the conclusion of part one of the booklet. I hope that you have got some feeling for Windows XP. In the next part we will go more in depth with a great number of the program’s possibilities.
In this part of the booklet you will among other things continue working with different practical applications, which are important to know in your daily work with windows Windows:
We will among other things use the documents, which you made in part one of the booklet for some exercises. By working through the chapters you will get to know the user interface quite well. Take these mixed exercises as a type of windiws gymnastics; you will be working with drives, paths, windows, folders, hyperlinks and much more in a long string of exercises.