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Friday, August 29, 2014
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Published: Saturday, 9/7/2002

Start button is source for shortcuts

Start using the two “secret” keys on the bottom row of most keyboards to speed computing tasks and save a lot of mouse clicks.

These so-called “Windows logo keys” are named for the symbol that resembles the Windows Start button. The keys are short-cuts for making several common keyboard commands, keystrokes that substitute for mouse clicks.

Keyboard commands can be faster and more convenient than mouse clicks, especially for individuals who have difficulty controlling a mouse.

Touch a Windows logo key once, for instance, to access the Start Menu that normally requires a click on the Windows Start button. The menu gives access to programs, recently used documents, help with problems, the computer's control panel for changing settings, and other features.

Other uses for the logo key involve holding it down and hitting other keys. For instance, hold it down and touch:

  • E to run Windows Explorer, which provides access to all the folders and files on the computer for copying, deleting, moving, and managing them in other ways.

  • F to run a program that automatically searches for folders, files, or specific text in files.

  • F1 to run the program that provides help with problems and explains about technical support for the computer.

  • Break/Pause to get the System Properties box, which has tabs that show information about your computer, including the amount of random access memory (RAM) and the kind of processor or main chip.

  • Tab to cycle through the icons on the taskbar, the bar that runs along one side of your screen, with the Start button at one end and the clock at the other. Cycle to an icon and hit enter to bring it onto the screen.

    Clip and save that list near the computer for future use.

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    People who change to Windows XP may not be comfortable with its new look.

    Returning to the classic Windows interface is easy. Right click in an empty space on the desktop, the background screen that appears after starting the computer. Select Properties in the dropdown menu, and click on the Appearance tab. In the Windows and Buttons drop-down menu select Windows Classic Style. Click on Apply and OK to make the change take effect.

    Windows XP also allows a return to the traditional, slimmer Start Menu, which appears when you click the Start button. Right click on the Start button to produce a taskbar and Start Menu Properties dialogue box. Click on the Start Menu tab and select Classic Start menu. Click on Apply and OK.

    Check your computer desktop for clutter, remove unused tools and programs, and straighten everything up.

    The computer desktop should be used just like a real-world desktop - as a resting place for often-used tools and documents. Your computer desktop contains icons that give quick access to programs and documents in digital folders and files.

    When the desktop starts overflowing over the edge of the screen, check for seldom-used programs and documents, and trash them. Use “drag-and-drop.” Click on the icon, hold the mouse key down, drag the icon to the Recycle Bin, and release to trash the icon.

    To line up desktop icons into neat rows, right click in an empty area of the desktop and in the new menu select Arrange Icons. You can line them up by name, type, size, or date. The “auto arrange” option just forms rows.

    Group your often-used icons, like those for word processing, Internet, and e-mail, in a convenient spot on the desktop. To move an icon, right click on it, hold the mouse button down, drag it to the new position, and release to drop.



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