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Windows Vista: The Missing Manual by David Pogue

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Chapter 6. Programs, Documents, and Gadgets

When you get right down to it, an operating system like Windows is nothing more than a home base from which to launch applications (programs). And you, as a Windows person, are particularly fortunate, since more programs are available for Windows than for any other operating system on earth.

But when you launch a program, you’re no longer necessarily in the world Microsoft designed for you. Programs from other software companies work a bit differently, and there’s a lot to learn about how Windows handles programs that were born before it was.

This chapter covers everything you need to know about installing, removing, launching, and managing programs; using programs to generate documents; understanding how documents, programs, and Windows communicate with each other; and exploiting Vista’s great new hybrid document/program entity, the Sidebar gadget.

Opening Programs

All Versions

Windows lets you launch (open) programs in many different ways:

  • Choose a program’s name from the Start→All Programs menu.

  • Click a program’s icon on the Quick Launch toolbar (Section 2.14.6).

  • Double-click an application’s program-file icon in the Computer→Local Disk (C:)→Program Files→application folder, or highlight the application’s icon and then press Enter.

  • Press a key combination you’ve assigned to be the program’s shortcut (Section 3.10.1).

  • Choose Start→Run, type the program file’s name in the Open text box, and then press Enter.

  • Let Windows launch the program for you, ...

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