- Windows 10 is an operating system. An operating system is the core software on your computer. It's the platform, or foundation, that supports every operation on your computer. It defines the interface on your system. In a way, you can think of it as the personality of your computer. As operating systems, Windows 10, Linux, and Mac OS10 all do basically the same things. But it's the interface, the design, and the layout of the controls in these operating systems, that make them feel completely different from each other.
Even though we're talking about Windows 10 in this course, I wanna start by setting up some core analogies that will help you understand how operating systems work, in general. So let's start by thinking about your computer as if it were your office. And in my office, the place that I usually start is at my desk. Looking at the surface of my desk, I have a few things that I always need at arms reach. My telephone, my pencil jar, my stapler, and probably some documents that I know I'll be working with today.
The analogy to your computer here is pretty clear. The first thing that you see on your computer is your desktop. That's the empty screen that's underneath everything else on your computer and it's the only thing that you see when you don't have any windows open. Now it's important to mention here that Windows runs on tablets and smartphones, as well as on desktop computers. On phones and tablets, the desktop is not your starting point. Instead, you'll start on the start screen. Now we're gonna talk about that as we go through the course but for the most part, we'll be focusing on Windows for desktop computers.
So for now, we'll talk about the desktop as the foundation and we can think of the Start menu, or the Start screen, as part of the desktop. Now you can also store files and folders on your desktop but just like your real world desktop, I recommend that you keep only a few things that you need quick access to. Generally, it's not a great idea to store everything you need directly on your desktop. Just like your real world desktop, it's very easy for your computer desktop to get really messy and cluttered to the point where you can't find anything.
Besides, there's a much better system in place to take care of all that clutter. And once you make the decision to use it, you can keep things very well organized. So what is the system that we use to keep our files organized? Well that's our next analogy. Here in my office, if I get too many files and documents sitting on my desk, eventually I'm going to want to file away documents that I'm not using right now. So I file those things away in my filing cabinet. Every single document that's important to me can be stored in this filing cabinet.
And I can set up a logical order so that any of those documents can be found quickly. So where is the filing cabinet on your Windows computer? Well the filing cabinet is your hard drive and you access it using the File Explorer. Even if you have five hard drives connected to your computer, you always get to them using File Explorer. You can think of File Explorer like an application, like Microsoft Word or your web browser. But the focus of this application is to browse all of the files and folders on your computer, to organize everything that you have stored in your system.
So let's take a moment here to look at how you can get to File Explorer on your computer. Now down here at the bottom of my screen, you'll see the Task bar, this dark bar with a few icons in it. And we'll be talking more about the Task bar very soon. Now you may have an icon for File Explorer pinned to the Task bar, which gives you quick access to it. I can just click on this and it'll launch the File Explorer. Now of course we'll be talking about pinning and removing items from the Task bar later in the course as well.
Now if you do not have the icon for File Explorer pinned to the Task bar, you can go down in to the Start menu by hitting the Start button in the bottom, left corner, and there's an option right here for the File Explorer. So this of course will open up the File Explorer window which I have right here. And you can use this to browse through all of your files and folders. So I could go in to my Documents folder and I could access some files there. Or I could go in to my Pictures folder and open up some folders and access files there. And of course you can use File Explorer to get things organized to copy and move things around.
And there's gonna be an entire chapter dedicated to File Explorer which we'll get in to later in the course. Now the third thing that I want to establish is the idea of running applications on your computer. For most people, this is the most important part. Usually when you sit down at your computer, it's because you want to use an application like the web browser or a document editor like Microsoft Word or the Photo Library, something like that. If you are the boss in your office, then you can think of each of these applications like your employees.
Now my analogy breaks down a little bit here because all of your applications are stored somewhere inside of your computers hard drive. But in the real world, you don't keep your employees in a filing cabinet. Nevertheless, on your computer, you need a way to interface with your applications. Just like at your office, you need to communicate with all of your employees. So as we learn Windows, we're gonna talk about things, like the Task bar, which we've already seen, where you can launch some of your applications. So I could click on this icon here to launch my web browser, Microsoft Edge.
As we go through the course, we'll also talk about the Start Menu where you can go to launch more applications. So I could launch the Weather application right here from this tile. Or I could go back in to my Start menu, go in to All apps, and then I have a master list of all of the applications on my computer. So I could go to my Microsoft Office folder, if I have Microsoft Office installed, and maybe launch Microsoft Word from here. And of course in this course we'll talk about multitasking. So you can switch between several applications that are currently running.
We'll use stuff like the Task view to tile out multiple windows and then click on the window that you want to be the active application on the top of the stack. So that's just a quick introduction to the Task bar, the Start menu, and multitasking, which also finishes off the analogies that I want you to keep in mind as we go through this course. I hope that this helps you to think about the features of Windows 10 framed as working with parts of your office. You'll get plenty of opportunity to spend some time with each of these features that we just had a glimpse at as we go through the rest of this course.
But this should give you a pretty good idea of what an operating system, like Windows 10, is, and what its capabilities are if you did not already know. For the rest of this chapter, we'll talk about getting your Windows 10 computer set up. And then in the next few chapters, we'll dive deeper individually in to the desktop, in to File Explorer and with working with applications.
Learn all the essential features of Windows 10. This comprehensive course covers everything you need to know to install Windows, customize it to your liking, and start working with files and applications. Author Nick Brazzi shows how to manage folders, use Cortana to search and navigate, browse the web with the new Microsoft Edge browser, and work with Mail, Calendars, and People (aka contacts).
Plus, learn about sharing via a home network, multiuser configurations, security and privacy, and troubleshooting Windows.
- Installing or upgrading to Windows 10
- Connecting to the Internet
- Launching, quitting, and managing applications
- Creating, copying, moving, and renaming files and folders
- Zipping and unzipping files
- Using Cortana to search
- Browsing the web with Edge
- Sending email
- Installing new apps
- Sharing files over home networks
- Backing up and restoring files
- Configuring Windows updates
- Using Windows Defender
Skill Level Intermediate
Q: This course was updated on 05/02/2017. What changed?
A: A new video was added that helps you confirm which version of Windows 10 you’re running, to ensure that you’re choosing the right training course.