Applications are the programs your computer runs and in which you’ll spend most of your time when on your computer. Generally, an application is any piece of software used to accomplish a task, whether that task is writing a paper, composing music, printing a digital photo, playing a video game, browsing the web, or checking your email. This video explains how to open and manage multiple applications at once in Windows.
- [Voiceover] Applications are the programs your computer runs and in which you'll spend most of your time when you're on your computer. Generally, an application is any piece of software used to accomplish a task. Whether that task is writing a paper, composing music, printing a digital photo, playing a video game, browsing the web, or checking your e-mail. There are countless applications for countless purposes. Some applications come preinstalled on your computer, like the web browser Microsoft Edge and the basic word processor WordPad. You'll acquire other applications, either by purchasing them on an installation disc at a traditional store, or more often these days, you can buy and download applications over the web from software companies' websites.
Once you've purchased your applications from a store or downloaded them over the internet, you'll follow instructions to install the software on your PC. You'll be able to find the applications you install by clicking the Start button, and then choosing "All apps". So you can see I have quite a few applications installed on my PC. Some are located inside folders, which you can open and browse with a single click but most of the applications just appear here in this main alphabetical list. To start any application from here, just click its name. I'll open up the Google Chrome browser. So now Chrome is running and I can tell it's running, first of all, because I can see its window right here.
But also, I see its icon down here at the bottom of the screen, in this area called the taskbar. In Windows, all running application's icons appear in the taskbar. So for example, if I go back to the Start menu, and I open up, say, the calculator application, and also, say, the Notepad application, you can see that each application's icon is here in the taskbar. So while you can have multiple applications running simultaneously, in order to actively use any particular application, it has to be the frontmost or active application.
When you click an application's icon, you bring it to the front of all the other applications. But if you click the icon of the application that's already in the front, you minimize the application. The application is still running, as indicated by its icon being in the taskbar, but it's just tucked out of the way. Clicking its icon again will bring it back. Minimizing applications can be very handy if your screen is getting cluttered while you're trying to work. For the most part, Windows 10 is very good at managing multiple running applications all at once. But if you're done working in a particular application, you might just want to quit it, so it's no longer running and taking up any attention from your computer.
In just about all applications, you can click the X button in the upper right-hand corner of the window to close an application. If the application has multiple windows open, you might have to close them all before the program quits completely. As long as the program's icon is no longer in the taskbar, you'll know you've quit the program. Now, if you find you use some applications more than others, and that's going to be the case for anyone, it's convenient to do what's called pinning the application to the Start menu or taskbar. For example, I have some icons already pinned down here. This is the Microsoft Edge browser. It's not currently running, but it still appears here in my taskbar.
But notice that the currently running applications have this blue highlight under them. That's how I know that they're currently running. But I have the Microsoft Edge browser here pinned, so I can easily open it at any time, by clicking its icon. And notice the highlight now appears under its icon. I'll just close that for now. So let's say, for example, that I browse the web with the Chrome browser every day. I don't want to have to click Start, All apps, and then scroll down to Chrome every time I want to open the application. So instead, I'm going to right-click on its icon down here in the taskbar, and here we have the option "Pin to taskbar".
So that just means that its icon will appear in the taskbar and will always be visible and available, even if the program isn't running. So that's just a one click process. So now if I close Notepad, its icon disappears, but if I close Chrome, its icon remains, we just don't see the blue bar under it anymore. But now whenever I want to run this application, I just click its icon, which immediately launches it and I can start using it right away, without having to navigate though a series of menus. I suggest doing this with the three or four applications you use the most frequently. You probably don't want to pin too many applications to the taskbar though, or else it will start to look cluttered.
For apps that you frequently use, but not as frequently as those you want to keep in the taskbar, you also have the option to pin apps to the Start menu. Begin by clicking Start, and then find the app you want to pin. For example, maybe I use the Maps app a lot. So to pin it to my Start menu, I just right-click it, and here I can choose "Pin to Start". You can see that adds it here as a tile to my Start menu. So now any time I want to open Maps, I don't have to go to All apps first, I just need to click the Start menu, and then click the Map tile. This is actually the first time I'm using Maps on this computer, so I will allow it to use my location.
And we'll just cancel that. Now, if you ever want to remove a pinned app from the taskbar or the Start menu, that's easy to do, as well. Just right-click its icon and choose the Unpin option. And you can see that immediately removes it. And it works the same for the taskbar too. I'm actually going to leave mine there though. And remember, you can still always open any app from the All apps menu. Alright, so there's your primer on what applications are, where to find them, and a couple of tips for being more efficient when it comes to locating and running them.
Interested in Mac computers? Check out Garrick's companion course, Computer Literacy for Mac.
- What is a computer?
- Purchasing a laptop vs. desktop
- Understanding files and folders
- Opening and saving files
- Working with software
- Setting up printers and Bluetooth devices
- Connecting to networks to go online
- Setting up email
- Receiving and sending email
- Searching the web