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Operating System Interfaces

The appearance of each version of Microsoft Windows is different but there are some components that appear in most versions from Windows 95 upwards. These include:

Component Description
Start menu The Startmenu provides access to the major activity areas of the operating system, including the menus for Programs, Settings, Documents, and Favorites, as well as access to the Run... box, Help system and Find / Search function.
Accessories Accessories contains several add-ins and snap-ins that cover a variety of uses. The main area to concentrate on is Systemtools which includes the Diskdefragmenter.
Command-line MS-DOS prompt This is still used to run diagnostic programs or to troubleshoot a problem, for example to test that the network is configure properly.
Control panel The Controlpanel contains icons that allow you to configure the user environment, including Add / Removeprograms, Desktopthemes, Network, Internet options and Users. From Windows 2000 onwards you are able to alter the way the Controlpanel is displayed.
My computer My computer is primarily used to navigate the Windows file systems, but it also provides access to hardware and device-driver maintenance in the Windows Devicemanager and other administrative tools.
Device manager The Devicemanager shows the current status of the hardware on your computer and is used to update hardware drivers. It is accessed using the System option in the Control panel.

Network neighborhood or

My network places

If connected to a network all shared resources can be accessed through this icon. The name depends on the operating system. By right clicking the icon you can create, modify and delete network connections.
Taskbar The taskbar and the system tray provide a visual status of what is running on a PC at a given time. All open documents, applications, and utilities are displayed on the taskbar. The system tray contains icons for programs that are loaded at start up and are running in the background, such as the speaker controls, an antivirus program or a printer toolbox. If a removable USB device is attached to the computer an icon will appear in the system tray indicating that the device needs to be stopped before removal.
Windows explorer The Windowsexplorer is use to manage the folders and files that are stored on a PC's permanent and removable storage devices. This includes copying, moving, renaming and deleting files.
Computer management console The MicrosoftManagementConsole (MMC) hosts administrative tools that you can use to administer networks, computers, services, and other system components.


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