indows XP makes owning a PC easier than ever, making it as easy as possible to use your new acquisition for the reasons you bought it instead of fiddling about behind the scenes. But whether you've come to Windows from an earlier version (or just bought your first PC) or are an old hand looking for new tricks, you'll find this feature essential reading.
Anyone who's skipped the instructions when building something for the first time will know the dangers of doing so: you might get something completely wrong, or spend hours getting it into place when even a cursory glance at the instructions sheet would have revealed how to get it built within 20 minutes.
The same is true of Windows: while you can quickly start using XP, it makes perfect sense to take a little time to acquaint yourself with the core skills you'll need. These are the attributes you'll need to work with XP for the rest of its life, so it pays to get things right now. By following our advice over the next five pages you'll save yourself time later: you won't need to consult Help and Support or waste time implementing the wrong technique; instead, you'll quickly get to what you want to do, freeing up time for other activities later.
Learning the interface
The first thing you need to know is how to get around Windows XP. The next two sections of this feature reveal how you get to the different parts of Windows - your programs, settings and personal data - using the desktop, Start menu and taskbar. We'll reveal what they do, how they work and how to tailor them to your personal needs.
We'll then turn our attention to Windows Explorer, which shows you how to get at and work with the files on your computer. Explorer takes a virtual filing cabinet approach: files are organised into folders and you can move between them quickly and easily.
If you mislay a file or document, we'll show you how the Search Companion can help you locate it again. We'll also introduce you to the Control Panel, where you'll find tools that will help you refine Windows XP further to your individual tastes and needs.
By the time you've worked your way through this feature you'll be well on the road to getting a handle on Windows XP, and we'll finish the feature by revealing more useful tutorials on SupportPCs that help you get even more from Windows. Come on, join us as we take a tour of its key features.
Key terms explained
We don't like using jargon, but sometimes it's unavoidable. Here are some key terms you'll find useful
Click: tap the left mouse button.
Double-click: quickly tap the left mouse button twice.
Right-click: tap using the right mouse button.
Click and drag: click and hold the left mouse button down, then move the mouse to drag the object. Let go of the mouse button when your object is in position.
Select/Choose/Pick: click the object or option referred to.
Tick/Untick or Check/Uncheck: click in the highlighted object's box to place or remove a tick mark or cross (x).