Join David Rivers for an in-depth discussion in this video Windows basics for first-time users, part of Windows 7 Essential Training.
If you are new to working in a Windows environment, or you're simply brand-new to computers in general, you are definitely in the minority, but congratulations on getting started. This lesson is for you. We are going to cover some basic concepts that will help you move through the various lessons in this title. Notice that I have launched Windows, and what I see in front of me is the desktop. This is where everything happens. Just like in real life working on top of the desk, you may have many papers, different types of files open, maybe you've got books, and reference materials that can happen on your computer, and it all happens here on your desktop.
You'll also notice that you may have one or more icons. In this case I have got one for my Recycle Bin. Every time you delete a file or a folder it goes here. Down below I have got Exercise Files, so I've got an icon representing that folder full of exercise files. Down at the bottom of the screen just below you'll notice a Taskbar. Now this Taskbar is going to display all of your open programs, programs that are running, but on the left-hand side you'll see shortcuts.
These are icons that will take you directly to some very commonly used programs, or applications. You can add your own here as well, but the defaults include Internet Explorer, Windows Explorer for navigating the contents of your computer, and the Media Player for playing things like music, and video files. In the bottom right-hand corner, you are also going to see some icons. In this case it looks like I might have a couple of the issues. I am going to see a little flag with an X. We'll be talking about what all that means later on in this title.
You will also notice that I have got an icon for my Internet or Network access and this little speaker icon for adjusting the volume of my Speakers. So these are all the defaults, and we can definitely make changes to those defaults. If there are certain programs that you use on a regular basis, you might want them appearing on the Taskbar. I will be showing you how to do that later on as well. What we skipped over is down here in the very bottom left-hand corner formally known as the Start button, and many people will continue to call this the start button, because here is where we go to start everything, including shutting down your computer.
It is also known as the Windows Orb, and when we click, meaning press the left mouse button once to display the contents of our Start menu. It's broken up into two sections. On the left-hand side, we are going to see some actual programs. You might see files that you've worked with, and at the bottom you'll see something called All Programs, and when you just move your mouse over there, and hover, that means you don't click anything just hover, after a certain amount of time you're going to see a list of programs, and folders that may contain additional programs.
Here is where you're going to see everything that's installed on your computer. You can also search for it using the Search box down at the very bottom. Now the search functionality is lightning fast. So if you need to find a program or you need to find a file, the contents of a file, we can use this. We will talk about this in detail later on as well. On the right-hand side you're going to see shortcuts to various locations, or folders for example. My own folder, my Documents folder, Pictures, Music, quick access to Games, down here you'll see the entire Computer where I can see a list of all of the drives, and the folders, and their contents.
We also have quick access in the bottom section here to the Control panel, Devices and Printers and so on. So these are all shortcuts that stay here on the right-hand side, which you are going to notice on the left-hand side is that this list is ever changing. Windows is going to keep track of the things you use most often, and display them there. For example when you install new applications they may show up here as well. If you don't want to do anything from a selected menu, such as our Start menu here, just move your mouse away and I am going to go to the desktop where there is nothing showing, and click once.
Press that left mouse button once and it closes everything up for me. So clicking will select and deselect things. Double-clicking is another concept when using the mouse, which is kind of like a shortcut. If I just click the Exercise Files folder you'll notice that it appears selected or highlighted. Now I can press Enter on my keyboard to display the contents, or the shortcut is to double-click. So double clicking will open up my Exercise Files folder, and here you'll notice I've actually got subfolders, and I can double-click those folders to display their contents, and continue until I actually see some actual files.
So here I am in the 02_04 folder. When I select a file, that means click once to select it, like HumbugStory, you are going notice some things happen here in Windows Explorer. For example, at the bottom I see information about this file, when it was created, the author, etcetera. Also I see it is an XPS Document, and that's why if I go up to the toolbar you'll notice on the Open button I see an icon for the XPS Viewer, the default program that will be used to display the contents of this file.
So that means if I was to double-click this file, the XPS Viewer should launch, and display my document. Now I've got two windows that are open on my desktop. In the background, I have got Windows Explorer and I have also got my XPS Viewer showing up here on top. If I want to switch over to Windows Explorer, I just simply click anywhere there. Notice it appears now on top, my XPS Viewer is in the background. Both of them appear on my Taskbar.
Now Windows Explorer was already there as a shortcut. So when I move down to it and hover I see just a quick thumbnail representation of what's being shown in Windows Explorer. You'll also notice, as I move away from it, that the Windows Explorer icon on the Taskbar is actually highlighted. That means it's in use. It's not just a shortcut now. It's a natural running program. Also you'll notice the XPS viewer, and when I hover over that, I see a thumbnail of that particular program and its contents.
Here is neat thing, I can go right up inside that, and as I hover there everything else kind of goes transparent, so I can focus in on that program. If I want to go to that program I can click once to bring it to the front. In the top right-hand corner of every window you're going to notice a few buttons as well. Notice there is little button that looks like a dash it's the Minimize button. So if I want to not close this up, but just get it out of the way temporarily, so I can come back to it later, I can click the Minimize button, and it appears down below.
Now to bring it back I go down to my XPS Viewer. I can just click to bring it back, or like we did before, click the thumbnail. The next button is a changing button. Now because this window does not fill my entire screen, this button is known as the Maximize button. So if I want this document to fill the screen. So I don't have to use scrollbars by clicking, holding the left mouse button down, and dragging a scroll bar to be able to read the contents. I can have it filled the entire screen, so I can see more.
Clicking the Maximize button displays nothing but the XPS Viewer in this case, and my Taskbar down below. Now I don't have to scroll left or right, but I do need to scroll up and down, because it's a fairly long document. Also notice up here in the top right corner, the Maximize button has changed to a Restore button. As I hover over that I see the tooltip. It says Restore Down meaning when I click the button it's going to restore it back down to its original size. The only other button to discuss on the top right-hand corner of these Windows is the red button with the X on it.
That is the Close button. This is what's actually going to close up the program, not just minimize it. So I am going to close the XPS Viewer, and I am going to go up to the top and click to close my Windows Explorer. Notice that it's still selected, or highlighted here so pressing Enter on my keyboard will bring me right back to the Exercise Files. Now if you want to move things around, you are going to need to know how to select files, and folders and items, and different ways to copy, or move them around.
For example, If I wanted to take the XPS Viewer document, and move it to my desktop, well I could go back into the Chapter 02 folder by double clicking into the 02_04 folder, and just simply click then drag, and you'll notice when I get to the desktop there is a little message down below indicating, I am about to move it to the desktop. So when I let go that's exactly what happened. It's now easily accessible on my desktop, but notice it no longer exists in my 02_04 folder.
So how do I undo that? Ctrl+Z on your keyboard is the shortcut for undoing anything. So if you have deleted text in a document, Ctrl+Z will bring it back. If you have accidentally changed it to the color pink, Ctrl+Z will bring it back. So let's try that. Hold down Ctrl on the keyboard. Press the letter Z. And you'll notice that it's moved from my desktop back to the 02_04 folder. Maybe I'd rather copy it. Well in that case, I can click-and-drag it over.
Now I am going to hold down my Ctrl key before I let go over the mouse button, and it says Copy to Desktop. So when I let go I have made a copy. Now I am going to get the other one as well, but I am going to try a different method here. There is another button on your mouse, on the right-hand side. So when we click that button, we call it right-clicking. Well instead of right-clicking, press the right button down and hold it and now drag over to the desktop, and you'll notice you get the same option which is to Move to Desktop, but when you let go you get some options now, copy it here or move it here.
The Move here is bolded, because it's the default. You could also just simply create a shortcut to it, which means it's not going to copy it to the desktop. That's going to put a little link that will open it up from its original location, or I can just cancel the whole thing. Let's create a Shortcut. Notice that shortcuts look a little bit different. I see it's an Excel file, but I also see this little arrow indicating that this is a shortcut to the original, which still exists in my 02_04 folder. I am going to close this up.
Now if I click the desktop, neither of them is selected. I can get organized by moving them around, just his click-and-drag. Maybe I want them side-by-side, click the desktop and neither of them is highlighted. Now I have got quick and easy access to them, one through a shortcut, one through a copy of the original. When you no longer need files, and you wish to delete them, you can move them to the Recycle Bin. Deleting them using the Delete key on your keyboard does the exact same thing. For example, if I click the Humbug document and press Delete on my keyboard, a little message appears, are you sure you want to move this file to the Recycle Bin? Notice my Recycle Bin is empty, when I click Yes, it's no longer empty, and my file has been move there.
What's great about the Recycle Bin is if you didn't mean to delete it, or you need to get it back for some reason, you can go get it, double-click the Recycle Bin. It opens up just like any other folder in Windows Explorer, and you can just drag it back to the desktop. Notice the Recycle Bin is empty. There are no files, no contents. I can close the Recycle Bin just like any other window. If you want to move more than one file there is different ways to select multiple files. In this case, we are on the desktop. So if I click HumbugStory, and hold down my Ctrl key on the keyboard, I can select another file.
In this case the shortcut. Let's deselect, by simply clicking anywhere on the desktop. Another option is to use Shift. Let say I want the Exercise Files and both of these documents deleted and put into the Recycle Bin. I would click the first one, Exercise Files, go to the last one, hold down my Shift key, and notice everything in between is selected. So I have used Ctrl to select individual that are not adjacent to each other, use Shift to select everything in between my two selections.
In this case Exercise Files and my Excel shortcut. I am going to deselect one more time. Because we are on the desktop, another option is to marquee select. If I want just these two files I can start out here in my desktop, click-and-hold the left mouse button down, and now you can see I am actually drawing a marquee. As soon as I touch the first one, you can see how it's selected, when I get over close to the Humbug document. It becomes selected. Now they are both selected. So I can just drag them directly into the Recycle Bin.
When I let go, they have been deleted. Of course, I can get those back. When we right-click, remember right-clicking with the right mouse button, such as the Recycle Bin, we see those options, and one of them is to empty the Recycle Bin, and this will permanently delete both of the contents that have been added. So I am going to choose Empty Recycle Bin. I get this warning, and you'll often see warnings when you go to delete something permanently. Are you sure you want to do this? Clicking Yes will permanently delete them, click No, if you are not sure and they will stay there.
So those are just some of the basics you will need to know, as we continue on in this course going through the various lessons, learning all about Windows 7.
- Running Windows XP programs within a Windows 7 installation Accessing favorites quickly through jump lists Establishing user settings through Windows Explorer Setting up a home network with Homegroup Displaying similar sites with suggestions in Internet Explorer 8 Syncing photos on two computers with Live Sync
Skill Level Beginner
Q: Is there a way to share files and printers between computers on network running Windows XP and Windows 7 without using the HomeGroup share method of Windows 7, since XP does not have this feature?
A: While Windows XP does not support the new HomeGroup found in Windows 7, there is another way to share files and printers between the two operating systems. There are a number of steps to follow, but they are all listed here: www.howtogeek.com/howto/windows-7/share-files-and-printers-between-windows-7-and-xp/
Q: Is it possible for a computer running Windows XP to join a Windows 7 HomeGroup?
A: Unfortunately, only Windows 7 supports HomeGroup. If the Windows XP computer must connect with the Windows 7 computer, there are have two options:
1. Upgrade the XP machine to Windows 7 and joining will be no problem.
2. Change the Windows 7 HomeGroup to a regular Workgroup and the XP machine will be able to connect to it.
Here are the steps to changing a HomeGroup to a Workgroup:
- On the Windows 7 computer, click the Start button at the bottom left of the screen.
- Go to the Control Panel and choose Network and Sharing Center.
- Click the link for "View your active networks.”
- In the next window choose "Work network." That will switch the group from a HomeGroup to a Workgroup so the two computers can talk to each other. However, the same workgroup name and share folders in Explorer must be assigned to both computers before they can be networked.