Chapter 2. Using Windows XP

This material in this chapter provides a quick overview of the features of the Windows XP user interface, which should be sufficient to help you get oriented and make the most of the system fairly quickly. If you’re already familiar with the basic Windows interface, you may still find subtle differences between Windows XP and previous versions, making this chapter worth a quick read. If you’re fairly new to Windows, you should definitely take the time to read this chapter. Concepts that advanced users might consider elementary should prove pretty enlightening. The most important thing is to get a sense of the continuity (or occasionally the lack thereof) in the Windows XP interface so that you can tackle any new Windows application with ease. Note, however, that if you are a very inexperienced user, you may prefer to start with a tutorial book on Windows XP, such as O’Reilly’s Windows XP: The Missing Manual, by David Pogue. Even though this chapter is more introductory than the rest of the book, it still moves pretty quickly. Still, if you just take your time and try each feature as it’s introduced, you may find that you don’t need a step-by-step introduction after all.

The Desktop

Like most modern operating systems that use graphical user interfaces (such as the Mac, Unix, and earlier versions of Windows), Windows XP uses the metaphor of a Desktop with windows and file folders laid out on it. This Desktop metaphor is provided by a program called Windows ...

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