Introduction to Windows 95/98/ME/XP

Yes, I know. There are a lot of books out there that talk about Windows. Few of these are on the Internet though. If you have found one that you like, please take a few minutes to share the title with me as I would love to know about it. My attempt here is to help the novice understand some of the power of Windows while getting started with the basics.

Although there are differences between Windows 95, 98, ME, and XP, a lot of the differences are under the covers and should not make any difference for the casual user. When there is a difference, I will attempt to cover what the various versions of Windows look and feel like. If you know of an important difference I fail to mention, please let me know.

This online manual provides information about Windows. It starts with a description of the appearance of Windows and how to control the look and feel of the system. It then goes on to actually running programs. Locating information on the system is important, so My Computer, the Windows Explorer and the Find (Search) function will be addressed. Several applets, or mini-applications, come standard with Windows, and each of these will be introduced.

No attempt is made to cover all the details of Windows as the system is much too complex to be properly addressed here. The reader will become quite familiar with a number of aspects of Windows while exploring this online manual however.

The primary focus of this online manual will be on those features of Windows that will allow the reader to become productive using Windows without having to worry about the operating system.

Although the emphasis here is on the Windows operating system itself, perhaps I should at least say a few words about the mouse as this is your primary tool for controlling the system. You can do a lot of things in Windows without the mouse, but to really be productive, you will need to use the mouse. Before I go any further, let me say that the mouse is not something you talk into. I know of several people who will swear at their mouse when it doesn't do what they want, but you can't control the system by talking into it. The mouse is a pointing device that allows you to select things in Windows. Don't be afraid of it. Put your hand firmly on the mouse and keep two fingers on top ready to press the left or right mouse button. When you get the mouse where you want on the screen, press down on the mouse pad to hold the pointer in place while you click the right or left button. The left button is used to select something in Windows by clicking and releasing the button. To activate or open something, you will want to click the left mouse button twice in rapid succession. You may need to practice this some to get comfortable with it. The right mouse button gives you a context sensitive menu of functions you can perform when you click it. By this, I mean that the menu you'll see when you click the right mouse button will depend on where you are. I encourage you to get to know your mouse as it will be your best friend when you're using your computer.

An operating system (OS) is the software that allows a computer user to interact with a computer. For instance: some computers use MS-DOS (Microsoft's Disk Operating System) which chiefly uses the keyboard. Some computers run UNIX. Earlier versions of Windows were not actually an operating system, but ran as an application under some version of DOS. Windows 95/98/ME/XP and Windows NT are the first operating system versions of Windows. Windows (95/98/ME/XP and NT), DOS, and UNIX are all operating systems.

If you have any comments about what you read in this online manual, please take the time to send them to me. You'll find a link for sending me E-Mail at the bottom of this page as well as in each section of this manual.

Starting and Stopping Windows

Parts of the Screen

Moving Windows

Sizing Windows

Arranging Windows

Arranging Icons

Wallpaper Your Desktop

Setting Your Screen Saver

Switching Between Windows

Using Dialog Boxes

Starting a Program

Exploring Your Disk

My Computer

My Computer Again

Working With Files

Finding a File

Naming a File

Copying a File

Moving a File

File Association











Character Map



Shortcuts, Hints and Tips


Hard Disk Maintenance

Working With Documents

Using the Mouse

User Profiles


Creating Icons & Hotkeys



 Hughes Glantzberg

Last Revised: 05/28/2005

Created by
The PC Help Desk
(Hughes Glantzberg)