In the Beginning Was The Desktop
Congratulations on your purchase of a shiny new Windows 10 Computer!
You have carefully taken it from its box, stripped off all of the protective layers, and placed it carefully upon your table.
Extension cables have been sourced, with multi-plug power-strips.
Numerous plugs are checked and connected. The monitor is adjusted to the perfect height and viewing-angle.
A nervous hand reaches out, finger poised by the Main Power Button …
Let There Be Windows!
What seems like a lifetime later, the computer is finally ready to use, and probably gives a display something like this:
Whether you are new to computers, or have upgraded from a previous version of Windows, it is probably worthwhile having a quick review of what we can see here.
The main area is called The Desktop, an analogy for a desk, as seen in many a 20th-Century office. This is your route to your Tools, Documents, Programs (and Apps!), and generally where you work.
On the Desktop will be a number of small images. These area called Icons, and are usually links to Programs (or Apps!).
The large section to the bottom left is the “Start Menu“, which can be viewed/hidden using the Start Button (sometimes called the
Windows Button, or Flag).
Above the Start Button, from the top, we also have:
- Account Details
- File Explorer
We will discuss the others later, but it may interest you to know that the Power button is where you click to switch the computer off.
Across the base of the screen is a black bar. This is known as the Task Bar, and contains a selection of Icons to launch Programs, along with links to Programs that are already running (if any).
To the very right-hand side of the task Bar is the Notification Area. This contains links to certain System Processes and Background Activities, along with a Digital Clock and at the very end, the Notifications Icon.
So now that we know what all of these things are called, what do we do with them?
Well, it depends what you want to do!
I know that sounds like a bit of a non-answer, but you can do so much with a modern PC that it is difficult to know where to start …
OK, you’ll want to access the Information Superhighway. Getting there is easy.
See that blue “e” at the bottom of the screen (the Icon on the Task Bar), that is Microsoft Edge, an Internet Browser. You may have heard of Internet Explorer, well this is the replacement. Click there, and you will open Edge.
It will probably default to viewing the MSN webpage. This is a perfectly good page, but can be altered if you prefer to begin your browsing elsewhere (e.g. www.google.com, or your email page).
As you can see, there are several distinct areas here.
Everything above the red dotted line is “Browser Tools”.
Everything under it is the Web Page.
Firstly, we have the Address Bar, where you can type the address (the “htttp”,” www”, “.com” bit)of a webpage you wish to visit.
The Settings button will bring up a menu of different Tools.
“Tabs“, are where we can have multiple pages open, and choose which one we are viewing.
We’ll stick with just getting to the page you want, and leave Settings and Tabs for later.
If you know the address of the Web page you require, you click in the Address bar (You can press the F6 key at the top middle of your keyboard), delete anything that is there, and type the address. (e.g. https://www.google.co.uk). TIP: You can usually leave out the https://www. part, and just type google.co.uk or pcwizarduk.com
Press ENTER and the Browser will look for the page, and display it to you!
If you do not know the exact address, you will need to go to a Search Engine page! Notable Search Engines include:
- Google (https://www.google.co.uk)
- Bing by Microsoft (https://www.bing.com)
- Yahoo (https://www.yahoo.com)
- DuckDuckGo Anonymous Search (https://duckduckgo.com)
On the Search Engine page will be a Search Bar. Enter your search terms here. e.g. “Car Hire”, or “Where can I sell my gold”, or “My PC is broken, is there a PC Wizard near me”. Press the Search Button (sometimes a Magnifying Glass, and a list of results will be displayed.
So, that should give you something to play with for a while!
Remember: Be careful on the internet!
What were your first stumbling-blocks with your new PC? Did you get any instructions, or take a course? What was the best advice you received?