The Basics of the Windows Operating System

Windows is an operating system designed for personal computers. It has evolved significantly since its launch in 1985, with each release bringing new improvements and fixes.

Windows is one of the most widely used computer systems in the world. It is used by people for both home computing and business applications.

File Explorer

File Explorer provides a graphical way for users to navigate files, folders and disk drives. It is accessible by clicking the folder icon in the taskbar and it allows users to open, share, copy, cut and paste files as well as move them from one location to another.

Files and folders can be presented in a variety of formats including thumbnail image arrays, icons, lists and detailed information such as size, type, date and time. In addition, Windows Explorer also includes the ability to view metadata for specific types of files such as those created by digital cameras.

When right-clicking a file, folder or other object in File Explorer, a menu displays that contains a series of commands which vary depending on the item selected. These include commands such as Send to, Open with, Share and Properties. Power user tip: Windows 10 now offers the ability to hide hidden items. This is useful when using a computer for work purposes as it prevents other people from viewing sensitive or confidential data.


The Taskbar is a toolbar that runs across the bottom of the screen and provides a way for users to launch applications, access system settings, and view notifications. The taskbar also allows users to pin frequently used programs for quick access. It can also provide Jump Lists, which let users quickly access recently used files or commonly used actions within an application without having to open the application.

The taskbar also contains icons that represent the windows of currently running applications. Clicking on a program’s icon will either launch that application or bring its windows to the front of the desktop. It can also display thumbnails of each open window to make it easier to select a particular window.

The Taskbar can be customized to meet individual needs, with the ability to change its height, position, color theme, transparency levels, and other features. Additionally, the Taskbar can be locked to prevent it from being inadvertently moved.

Control Panel

Control Panel is the central configuration area in Windows computers, laptops and tablets. It helps adjust nearly every aspect of the operating system, including keyboard and mouse function, passwords and users, network settings, power management, desktop backgrounds and sounds, hardware options, program installation and removal, speech recognition and parental control.

It also lets you change the computer’s sound theme and manage the sound devices. You can also change how the power buttons work on the computer, such as changing what happens when you press the sleep or hibernate button. You can also use the program compatibility troubleshooter to fix problems with programs that are made for older versions of Windows.

In previous versions of Windows, the Control Panel was found in the Apps list. Since the release of Windows 10, the option has moved to the Settings app. This app allows you to see all the options in one easy-to-access location. You can also access the Control Panel from the Start menu.

Internet Browser

Most laptops, tablets and smartphones that connect to the Internet come with a browser pre-installed. Apple devices like MacBooks use Safari, Android phones and tablets come with Google Chrome, and Windows computers feature Microsoft Edge.

Features include a search bar, tabs for multiple websites and links to other pages on the web; a menu that includes Bookmarks, Favorites or History; pop-up blocking; zooming in and out of page content; a Refresh button to reload a webpage after it fails to load; and the ability to save personal autofill information like passwords. The browser can also display web documents using a free program like Adobe Reader.

The browser integrates with the operating system so it knows where to find files and what programs should open them. It also helps protect your computer from malware by confirming the origin of downloads and checking whether they’re safe to run.