Desktop The desktop, of Windows '95, is similar to your own real desk in your office. On top of your desk you have a writing pad, jar of pens and pencils, and several other quick sources like calculators, typewriters, and even a trash can. In Window's 95 you can completely customize your desktop to suit your taste and expedite your work. Customizing the desktop can be done in appearance and functionality. You can also add shortcuts to your favorite programs, folders, and files.

Mouse The mouse is a fundamental part of the Windows environment. It offers a fast access to opening programs by pressing the left mouse button twice quickly (double click). Also right mouse clicking, made famous by Win '95, allows for fast short cuts to menu items like print, save, and open. It can be difficult to master at first. With practice you can learn to navigate using the mouse quickly and efficiently.

Task Bar The task bar lets you know what's going on with your computer. Typically a gray bar across the bottom of your screen with a "START" button on the left, the task bar indicates what programs are open and active on your computer. You can run more than one program at a time, and still manage your system well by keeping an eye on the task bar to see what is open and what is not.

Menu (START button) The START button in the bottom left of the screen in the task bar, is a launch to the computer's menu. If you mouse click once on the start button you will be offered a selection of standard menu choices. By moving the mouse over to the programs you are interested in, and then clicking on them with one left mouse click, you will launch the program that you wanted. Most often the program you wanted isn't in the original menu, and you have to guide your mouse to the right of the pointing arrow to find the submenus that the start menu offers. An example of this is "Programs" and "Documents". If you scroll up with the mouse to the "Documents" then a bit to the right you will see a list of your most recent documents that you have worked on and can open straight away by clicking on them. The same applies to "Programs" just continue to follow the hierarchy of submenus until you are at the proper choice, then one mouse click on the item should open your program.

Find Find is a great help in Windows '95. What if you don't see a shortcut on the screen, or find the program you want in the START Menu? Then you need to seek out the file you saved, or the application you need. Go to the Start Menu and choose "Find", slide right and choose "Files or Folders." At this point, you can type the name of the file you saved into the open slot, or the name of the software you want to run.

  • Example: To find your file named "resume.doc" you can type in a majority of the characters in order locate your file. "resume.*" The asterick (*) allows you to wild card search for a file if you do not know the full name or extension.
    To find a program on the machine you simply type the name of the program and sift through the results for the proper APPLICATION type file.
  • Example: Searching for Netscape will bring up an assortment of Netscape related files, but only one should read netscape.exe and be noted as an "application" under the Type listing.

At this point you can left mouse click on the name of the application, keep your finger on the button and drag the icon straight to the desktop, then let go. This is how to create a shortcut on the desktop, so that you will not have to try and Find every time you need to launch the program. A shortcut is just an extension to the real program so if you do not want it you can delete it off the screen.

Cut and Paste or Copy and Paste Using a combination of the mouse and the keyboard you can save yourself a lot of time retyping information. You grab a sample paragraph, image, or anything from one place and copy and paste it into a new document. Place the mouse in front of the text you are interested, click once on the left mouse button and leave your finger down, slide the mouse directly to the end of the portion of text you are interested in and then let go. This should darken the entire area in between start and finish points. If you lost some letters, or missed the mark completely you have to start over. Once all of the information you want is darkened (highlighted), then you are ready to copy.

  • Copy = CTRL + C (press down the key that reads CTRL and then at the same time press down the "C" key) Nothing will change in front of you, however the bit of text you highlighted is being saved in a buffer waiting to be pasted into a new document. You are now ready to Paste. Open up a fresh page, or insert the cursor in the document you want the text placed in and then paste.
  • Paste = CTRL + P (press down the key that reads CTRL and then at the same time press down the "P" key) The bit of text you copied should be in front of you. The added benefit is that you can repeat the process more than once so that you can create lists and redundant data across the new document.

Folder You should create a folder on your desktop for quick access to all your documents. Right mouse click (once) in the middle of the desktop. Go to New, and then slide right to Folder. A blank folder with a blue bar reading "New Folder" will be there. Immediately type the name you wish to call that folder in its place.

Created by Cynthia Hetherington, MLS
Thursday, March 05, 1998