|BASICS OF THE START MENU EXPLAINED|
After starting your computer the first place you will go to each time is either the Desktop (to double click on an Icon) or to the START Menu. The START
Menu is where you launch most of your programs from, switch off the computer and carry out common tasks.
You can see the START Menu by clicking on the START button, located in the bottom-left corner of the desktop (screen) - Move the mouse pointer towards the START button until the mouse pointer is hovering over it (Fig 1.0). Keep the mouse pointer still, whilst over the START button, and then click (press) the left mouse button once. This will reveal the START Menu (Fig 1.1).
The START Menu is split into four main areas. On the left is the Programs area where you access the commonly used programs (i.e. Microsoft Office, Paint, NotePad, Calculator, Printer Software, etc) and on the right is the Commonly Used Folders/Files/Settings area where you access commonly used folders/files (i.e. your Documents, Music and Pictures) and system settings (the computer's hardware and software settings). Towards the bottom-right is the Shutdown area which allows you to Shutdown, Restart, Log-Off and so on the computer and towards the bottom-left is the Quick Search area which is a program that allows you to do an initial quick search of the computer for your files.
The Folders and Files section explains folders and files in detail. However, so
you can continue with these lessons all you need to do now is imagine a Dentist's Filing Cabinet. Inside that filing cabinet each patient has his/her own
File (Dental Record), which may consist of one piece of paper or many pieces of paper. To avoid one patient's file from getting mixed up with another
patient's file the Dentist puts each patient's file into its own Folder, with the patient's name on the cover. Therefore, each patient has one Folder with
their File (paper/s) inside it.
It is the same with Windows 7. Certain folders are created/named for a general use, such as the Pictures folder for storing your picture files in and the Music folder for storing your music files in. Unlike a normal filing cabinet folder though, a Windows 7 folder can contain many other folders inside it. These are called Sub-Folders. For example. If the main folder is called Mother you could have folders inside the Mother folder (sub-folders) named after each of her children. So if the mother has 10 children you would have the main Mother folder with 10 children folders (sub-folders) inside it.
So a computer Folder is basically a storage place (like a normal filing cabinet folder). A Sub-Folder is a folder that is inside another folder. And a computer File is like a dental record, except the patient's details are written as Data (0s and 1s) instead of on paper using ink.
I will now explain the Commonly Used Folders/Files/Settings area, on the right side of the Start menu, which is made up mostly of main folders.
DOCUMENTS is the main folder for storing document files. Document files such as Microsoft Office 2007 documents (WORD files, Excel files, Etc), PDF
files (Application Forms, Manuals, E-Books, Etc), Notepad text files and so on. It is the main folder (place) where Microsoft Office programs, System
programs and so on first look when opening/saving a Document file.
DOCUMENTS on the Start Menu is just a menu-item that acts as a shortcut/link to the actual DOCUMENTS sub-folder, which is stored inside the C:\ hard drive. Clicking on DOCUMENTS takes (shortcuts/links) you inside the actual DOCUMENTS sub-folder. More information on DOCUMENTS can be found in the Folders and Files section.
This main folder works in the same way as DOCUMENTS except it is the main folder for storing Picture files. Picture files from a Paint package, Digital
Camera, Scanner and so on. A paint package, for example, will normally use this main folder when opening/saving a Photograph file.
PICTURES on the Start Menu is just a menu-item that acts as a shortcut/link to the actual PICTURES sub-folder, which is stored inside the C:\ hard drive. Clicking on PICTURES takes (shortcuts/links) you inside the actual PICTURES sub-folder. More information about Folders and Sub-Folders can be found in the Folders and Files section.
This is the main folder for storing Music files. Music from the Internet, a CD and so on. Windows Media Player 12, for example, uses this main folder as
the first place to look for Music files (i.e. MP3 files).
MUSIC on the Start Menu is just a menu-item that acts as a shortcut/link to the actual MUSIC sub-folder, which is stored inside the C:\ hard drive. Clicking on MUSIC takes (shortcuts/links) you inside the actual MUSIC sub-folder.
Search is an actual program built-in to Windows 7 that allows you to search the hard drive, and the sub-folders within it (such as DOCUMENTS, PICTURES and
MUSIC), for a specific file name, folder name or generic name. If a file or folder with that name can be located, by name, it will be put into the search
results list whereby you can then click on an entry (file name or folder name) in that list to open the file or folder for example.
If there are many files and/or folders found with the same name they will be listed in the search results too. Search also has an Advanced option that allows you to search for files and folders By Date for example.
This main folder shows you what devices (hardware components) are inside the computer. Permanent devices such as the Hard Drive, the Floppy Drive and the
DVD Recorder. Removable devices such as a Flash (Memory) Drive, a Digital Camera and so on. As well Shared folders.
COMPUTER on the Start Menu is just a menu-item that acts as a shortcut/link to the actual COMPUTER folder. Clicking on COMPUTER takes (shortcuts/links) you inside the actual COMPUTER folder, where you can then gain access to the hardware's media (such as the DVD, Floppy Disk or Flash Memory) as long as the media is not password protected of course.
The NETWORK folder is for the Advanced User. It shows you the currently connected network (i.e. Wireless network) and gives you options to manipulate that network (i.e. add a network printer and/or wireless device to it).
CONNECT TO allows you to connect to a Network (i.e. a Wireless network). CONNECT TO should be used by Network Engineers and people who are computer advanced. It should not really be used by an Absolute Beginner.
This folder shows you the core programs needed to add/remove hardware/software from the computer as well as the core programs for changing hardware/software
settings. It is a powerful collection of programs that, in the beginners hands, could mess up the computer so it no longer works. Meaning. If you need to
change hardware/software settings and/or need to add/remove hardware/software you should leave the Control Panel programs to a computer engineer or
CONTROL PANEL on the Start Menu is just a menu-item that acts as a shortcut/link to the actual CONTROL PANEL folder. Clicking on it takes (shortcuts/links) you inside the actual CONTROL PANEL folder, where you then have access to the Control Panel programs.
DEFAULT PROGRAMS on the Start Menu is just a menu-item that acts as a shortcut/link to the Control Panel program called Default Programs. Clicking on
DEFAULT PROGRAMS takes (shortcuts/links) you inside the actual CONTROL PANEL folder and then launches the Default Programs program.
The actual program called Defaults Programs allows you to choose which programs Windows 7 uses as its own default (normally used) programs. For example. You can tell Default Programs to make Internet Explorer the default (normally used) web browser for use with the internet and to make Windows Media Player 12 the default (normally used) media player for certain types of audio and video file. Default Programs is slightly advanced, so use it with care.
This folder shows you what Devices and Printers are installed on the computer. Devices such as the Keyboard, Mouse, Fax, Printer and Scanner. For each
device installed you get a program, or control panel, for it that allows you to change its settings and/or manage its print jobs (printouts) or fax jobs.
DEVICES AND PRINTERS on the Start Menu is just a menu-item that acts as a shortcut/link to the actual DEVICES AND PRINTERS Control Panel. Clicking on it takes (shortcuts/links) you inside the actual DEVICES AND PRINTERS control panel folder, where you can then delete or add a printer for example.
HELP AND SUPPORT is one of the most unused programs available, yet it is one of the best to help you in a whole manner of situations. Basically. It tells
you how to do things. You type in a keyword or phrase and it tries to return results based on that keyword or phrase. For example. If you type in "CD" it
will return results such as Burn A CD, Erase A CD and so on. The program also has a predefined index of general topics (Windows Basics, Security and
Maintenance, Troubleshooting and so on) which when clicked on open up other helpful topics.
Clicking on HELP AND SUPPORT launches the actual Help & Support program.
RUN allows you to run (execute/start) a file. For example. You could run a system file like Paint.exe or WordPad.exe or you could run a file that is on
the hard drive, floppy disk or other media such as a Flash Drive. Although RUN is used mainly by programmers and engineers to diagnose problems, there is
nothing stopping you from using it.
Clicking on RUN opens the RUN Edit Box where you can then type in your command(s) and/or the file name of a launchable program.
The Personal folder is a folder set aside just for you, the account holder. This folder contains sub-folders/links to some of the above mentioned folders
(i.e. DOCUMENTS, PICTURES and MUSIC) as well as sub-folders/links to other folders such as CONTACTS (Address Book contacts), VIDEOS (Sample Videos) and
Favorites (favourite Website Links).
These folders are for your personal use. So you could put your Microsoft Word 2007 documents (files) into the DOCUMENTS folder, add people to your Address Book and put your homemade movies into the VIDEOS folder for example. It is up to you.
|THE PROGRAMS AREA|
The Programs area is split between programs that are pinned-to the START Menu and commonly installed/used folders and files (programs) that only show
when you use the ALL PROGRAMS folder and file viewer. A pinned-to program is a program, and more specifically its icon, that is permanently pinned-to the
left side of the START Menu whenever you click on the START button. In this example the four icons from Microsoft Word 2007 to Notepad (Fig 2.0) are
pinned-to programs and the four icons below them are temporary programs (programs that you have recently used but also programs that might not be used
all the time).
An icon is simply an image that is designed to represent a file, or folder, so that you have some idea of what that file does or what is inside the folder. For example. An icon with a Document image might be representing the Letter (data) file itself or the Word Processor (program) file. Whereas an icon with a Paint Brush image might be representing a painting (program) file or just the photograph (data) itself. An icon with a Folder image though normally represents a folder and more importantly what is inside that folder. When you double click (press the left mouse button twice, quite fast on the same spot) on an icon Windows 7 first determines what file is associated with that icon. If it is a Paint (program) file for example (i.e Paint.exe) Windows 7 will launch that painting program only, but if it is a Photograph (data) file (i.e John.jpg) Windows 7 will launch the painting program before instructing it to automatically open/display the photograph file for you.
Clicking on, or hovering over, ALL PROGRAMS (Fig 2.0) clears the pinned-to list of programs (and temporary listed programs) in order to display the list of commonly installed/used folders and files (programs) instead (Fig 2.1). I call it the ALL PROGRAMS Programs List as this part of the START Menu is primarily used to execute (open/launch) programs, as opposed to primarily opening folders.
Fig 2.0 Click on, or hover over, ALL PROGRAMS....
Fig 2.1 ....to display commonly installed/used folders and files.
After clicking on, or hovering over, ALL PROGRAMS you can go back to the pinned-to programs list at anytime by clicking on BACK (Fig 2.1 above). You can also hover back to the pinned-to programs list but you need to come away from BACK and then hover over BACK again.
With the START Menu already showing the All Programs programs list (Fig 2.1 above), and the mouse pointer hovering over BACK, start moving the mouse pointer upwards until it reaches the folder (yellow icon) called ACCESSORIES (Fig 2.2 below). As you do this each folder in turn will become highlighted as the mouse pointer hovers over it, but only until you hover to the next folder and then finally reach the ACCESSORIES folder. When you reach the ACCESSORIES folder simply click on it (Fig 2.2 below) to reveal the programs (files) and sub-folders within the ACCESSORIES folder (Fig 2.3).
After clicking on the ACCESSORIES folder the programs and sub-folders inside it are revealed (Fig 2.3 above). In this example the programs inside the ACCESSORIES folder go from Calculator down to Wordpad. And the sub-folders inside the ACCESSORIES folder go from Ease Of Access down to Windows PowerShell as far as we can see. To check if there are any more sub-folders inside the Accessories folder you need to scroll down the All Programs programs list, which is done by clicking on the Down-Arrow button of the scrollbar that is attached to the All Programs window (Fig 2.4 below).
Each time you click on the Down-Arrow button of the scrollbar the All Programs programs list moves the top item upwards, out of view, in order to bring
the next bottom item into view....If you have not reached the bottom of the All Programs programs list of course. So in this example Windows Live ID,
which was the top item, went out of view and the folder AceFTP 3 Pro came into view at the bottom of the All Programs programs list. This means the
ACCESSORIES folder has no more sub-folders inside it.
In Fig 2.3 above a slightly different thing happened. When I clicked on the ACCESSORIES folder it opened, to show me its contents (16 files and 4 sub-folders), but to do this the All Programs programs list had to move 14 items upwards out of view (Acrobat.com to XPS Viewer) and 11 items downwards out of view (the folders AceFTP 3 Pro to Norton Internet Security) so that the 20 items that make up the contents of the ACCESSORIES folder could be shown (Calculator to Windows PowerShell).
Getting back to the example of opening Notepad from Fig 2.3 above. After clicking on the ACCESSORIES folder, six items down you should see the program (text editor) called Notepad. The mouse pointer will probably be somewhere around the ACCESSORIES folder, but regardless of where the mouse pointer is the ACCESSORIES folder will still be highlighted in blue. So the next thing to do is move the mouse pointer, six items downwards, until it is hovering over Notepad. At this point keep the mouse pointer still, whilst over Notepad, and then click the left mouse button. This will execute (open/launch) the program (text editor) called Notepad.
Once the program called Notepad has been executed (opened/launched) you can start typing something into it. In this example I used it truly as a Note Pad, to make a Holiday Checklist, but it can be used to write Letters as well.
Above I used the ALL PROGRAMS route to execute Notepad, but as Notepad was already pinned (added) to the pinned-to programs list I could of just executed Notepad from there instead. It would of been quicker as well.
To execute Notepad from the Pinned-To programs list begin by clicking on the START button. Then move the mouse pointer upwards towards Notepad until the
mouse pointer is hovering over Notepad (Fig 2.6 above). Keep the mouse pointer still, whilst over Notepad, and then click the left mouse button to
execute (open/launch) Notepad.
To pin a program to the Pinned-To programs list you first need to locate it. The program could be on the START Menu, on the Desktop, inside a Folder or where ever. Once you have found the program hover over its icon and, with the mouse pointer kept still over it, right click on it to bring up its Options menu.
The Options Menu has no Menu Title, only Menu-Items. In this example menu-items from PLAY (at the top) to REMOVE FROM LIST (at the bottom). The third
menu-item down is called PIN TO START MENU. Moving the mouse pointer over the PIN TO START MENU menu-item and then clicking on it with the left mouse
button (Fig 2.7 above) will pin the game Solitaire to the START Menu, on the Pinned-To programs list.
A program can only be pinned to the START Menu, on the Pinned-To programs list, if it has the PIN TO START MENU menu-item available on its Options menu. Also. A program does not have to be on the START Menu itself in order to be pinned, it could be on the Desktop or inside a Sub-Folder for example (as stated above).
To unpin Solitaire, or any other program, from the Pinned-To programs list you simply hover over its icon and then click the right mouse button. This will bring up its Options menu whereby you then select (left click on) the UNPIN FROM START MENU menu-item.
Unpinning a program only removes it from the Pinned-To programs list, more precisely it is only the program's icon that is removed. The programs on the
Pinned-To programs list, and many of the programs on the ALL PROGRAMS Programs List, are just icons that represent their program. So unpinning Solitaire
really means removing its playing-card icon (a copy of it) from the Pinned-To programs list only - The actual game (file) called Solitaire stays inside
its system (Windows 7) Games folder.
Windows 7 uses the technique of using a program's icon only, instead of its real program (file), to avoid the user (you) from deleting the real program. And the same applies to pinning - Only the program's icon (a copy of it) is pinned. When you execute (launch/run) a program it is the icon (a copy of the program's icon) that actually executes the program. In other words, the icon (icon copy) goes and finds the real program (i.e. Solitaire) and then executes it. This is known as a Link or Shortcut Icon, which is explained in the next section.
Microsoft product screen shot(s) reprinted with permission from Microsoft Corporation. As stated here by the Microsoft Corporation.