Basic Windows Tasks

Control Panel

Start>Control Panel. This permits access to a variety of functions of computer; some of these functions may not be available for particular categories of users

Multiple Users Issues

One of the major changes in Windows XP compared with some earlier versions of Windows is that in Windows XP and later versions of Windows, there can be multiple users, each with their own My Documents, Favorites, Start Menu, etc. Users can be assigned different levels of privileges. The top level is Administrator. If you are the only user of a machine, it is simplest to not create a separate user profile for yourself. However, the disadvantage of this is that some operations, such as browsing the internet, are more safely conducted if one doesn't have full Administrator privileges. Thus for security reasons, you may want to create a user account with less than Administrator privileges and conduct most of your activity within this account and accompanying privileges.

If one accepts this recommendation, several problems result:

Start Menu - As you add applications, the Start menu can get very cluttered. You can reorganize it by Right Click on the Start Menu and selecting Explore. There are two Start menus for every user. There is the Start menu associated with your username and one associated with All Users. If you want to make changes for everyone on the system, make it in the All Users area. If it is for one person only, make it within their personal Start menu.


A great way to keep track of sites to which you want to return. You go to the site in Internet Explorer, and you choose Favorites>Add to Favorites. A dialog box then appears which gives you an opportunity to rename the favorite. I use the renaming capability to specify the name the way I want it to appear, and also to record additional information about the site -- for example, I put the username and password as part of the name.

To go to a website for which you have added to your list of favorites, just click on Favorites -- the favorite you just created will be at the bottom of the list -- and then select the favorite and you will go to the website (you must be connected to the internet of course). You can move the favorite up higher in the list by just clicking and dragging.

When you create a favorite, in addition to renaming the favorite, you also have an option of putting the favorite in an existing or new folder. For an existing folder, after clicking Favorites>Add to Favorites, click on the "Create In" button and then browse for the folder, and then click the "Create In" button again. This creates the favorite inside of that folder, although you don't see anything change when you click the Create In" button a second time. Rather than put it in an existing folder, you also have the option of putting it a new folder -- to do this, just click the New Folder button rather than clicking the Create In button a second time.

Organize Favorites - This gives you an opportunity to move favorites around within folders, change the order of folders, and move favorites from one folder to another.

If you didn't create a favorite for a site, and can't remember the URL, at least three things (temporary Internet Files, cookies, and history) all contain indications of which sites have been visited recently on your computer.

Windows Exercise

  1. Using Windows Explorer or My Computer, create a folder named with your last name inside My Documents or on a floppy drive.
  2. Insider the folder you created in (1), create three folders, named day1, day2, and day3.
  3. Choosing Start>Programs>Accessories, open up Word and type your name in and save it with the filename intro inside of the day1 folder.
  4. Using Windows Explorer or My Computer, copy the file intro.docx to the day2 folder. Then copy to the day3 folder but try to use a different way of copying than you did before.
  5. Copy the intro.docx file to the desktop.
  6. Rename the file in the day2 folder to review.docx
  7. Double click the intro.docx on the desktop to open it up in whatever program opens it, make a change in the file noting that you opened it on the desktop, and save the file back to the desktop

Favorites, Searching Exercise

  1. Pick a topic that interests you. Create a folder in Favorites for this topic and name it appropriately.
  2. Create favorites for 5 websites that relate to this topic and put them in the folder. Feel free to use a search engine to help you find these sites.
  3. Rename each favorite as you like.
  4. Create a new folder for the best sites under the topic.
  5. Move two of the sites from the previous folder to the new folder.
  6. Alphabetize the favorites in each folder.

Revised: November 15, 2009, comments to William Pegram,