Hi All, I thought I would write up some material for posting out on the list here and maybe it will be of use to some of you. It is no harm for everyone to read over it as sometimes you forget what's what about such things so consider it a refresher course. We are going to begin with what is an operating system. (A Look at Windows XP ) Before we start pointing and clicking or using the keyboard, it helps if you actually understand what exactly Windows XP is. Windows XP is an operating system . Okay, so what's an operating system ? An operating system is a software program that controls and runs just about everything on your computer. Here's what an operating system does: Controls Your Computer's Hardware Windows XP controls the different devices of your computer system. It's what makes your printer print, what makes graphics and text appear on your monitor, and what makes your mouse point and click or gives you access via a keyboard. Actually, you make the mouse point and click, but Windows XP is what puts the mouse pointer on the screen and electronically connects it to your mouse. This is also true for the keyboard. With the help of keystrokes built into the operating system you can do lots of things using the windows operating system. For example; *. Open up menus. *. Launch particular programs. *.Access the internet and email. *. Write up documents and emails etc. Runs Your Computer's Programs Windows XP is what runs all your programs. Without Windows XP, your word processor, Web browser (Internet), and games wouldn't work. Windows XP lets your programs "talk" to your hardware, so, for example, your word processor can print things to the printer. Organizes Files Windows XP stores information in files and folders on your computer's local disk, just like you store files and folders in a filing cabinet. Think of Windows XP as an orchestra conductor who makes sure all the parts of your computer-your hardware and programs-work together. Operating systems have been around for a long time; what makes Windows XP special is its ability to make computer operations easy. In the computer stone age (about 15 years ago), people had to type hard-to-remember, cryptic commands into their computer to make them do what they wanted, this was called "DOS, Disk Operated System". With Windows XP, all you have to do is point and click to do something or input a keystroke such as Control + P" to print off a document. (Windows XP Appearance) The most obvious and controversial feature of Windows XP is a completely redesigned interface and Start menu that is easier to use and supposedly lets you find what you need more quickly. The jury is still out whether or not users will embrace this drastically new interface. If you can't stand the new Windows XP interface you can always switch to the Windows Classic interface of previous versions. To Switche To Classic View: 1. While on the desktop, Tab key to where it says "start button". 2. Press your application key, "Third key out from right of keyboard" to open what we call the "application control menu. 3. Arrow down to Properties and press the enter key. 4. Press the down arrow till your screen reader or magnification view tells you that you are on "classic start menu" then either press enter key once again or click on the "ok button". Now you will be in classic view. (More stable) Windows XP is based on the same technology as Microsoft Windows NT and Windows 2000 business operating systems. This makes Windows XP more stable than Windows 95, 98, and ME, and greatly reduces the risk of your computer crashing. Better File and Folder Management Windows XP makes it easier to view and work with your files and folders. Better Security (Windows XP Service Pack 2) After years of worms, Trojan horses, and neverending Windows XP security patches, Microsoft has finally begrudgingly acknowledged and addressed many of the security problems in Windows XP with Windows XP Service Pack 2. Windows XP Service Pack 2 contains many dramatic Internet and network security improvements-make sure you visit Microsoft's Web site and download and install this critical update for Windows XP. Wireless Support (Windows XP Service Pack 2) Microsoft's Windows XP Service Pack 2 includes new features and Wizards to support the new and growing wireless networking standards. Above we have just touched on some of the features of windows xp and what windows xp can do for us in our daily work. Read on to find out how we can actually access this world of windows where a password is used. Some of us may not have password logins on our machines, this is no problem as it is entirely optional to have this choice. (Starting and Logging On to Windows XP Home) The Welcome screen is the default log in screen. The Log On to Windows XP dialog box appears if the Welcome screen has been turned off. After taking off your jacket and grabbing a cup of coffee, you probably begin your day by turning on your computer and starting Windows XP. Windows XP should automatically start after you turn on your computer. This lesson also explains what you need to do next. The default login screen is the Welcome screen, Click your account user name. For those using a keyboard it can be slightly different. Personally I disable this screen all the time as it is not particularily screen reader friendly. For keyboard users to use this screen follow the next instructions: 1. When you think your computer has loaded up onto the log-on window just do a "shift + tab key once". 2. Hit the spacebar once" and this should begin logging you in. You may have to get sighted help for the first few times you attempt to log in just to get a feel for what you have to do in order to log in independently. If your account has a password, you will be prompted to enter it. Remember that when you enter your password, Windows XP will display a series of .......s to protect your password from prying eyes. Press Enter or click OK . Windows XP logs in using your account settings. QUICK REFERENCE CLICK YOUR ACCOUNT USER NAME. ENTER YOUR ACCOUNT PASSWORD IF PROMPTED. ENTER YOUR USER NAME AND PASSWORD. IF YOUR ACCOUNT DOESN'T HAVE A PASSWORD, LEAVE THE TEXT BOX BLANK. PRESS ENTER OR CLICK OK . End of lesson.