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When you click on the Start Button, the Start Menu leaps up. It has shortcuts to almost everything you might want to use or do.
Starting from the Bottom...
At the very bottom is the Shut Down link. Clicking this does not immediately shut down your computer; it leads you to several choices.
This is used on computers which are set up for two or more people to each have their own desktop and available programs. Each person can have their own password, so that their own files aren't accessible to other users. Arrangements for sharing and exchanging some files can be made. top
Many different things can be started from this window. You click Run..., a small window appears, and you type in your command or browse for your program. It's a quick way in to useful things like the System File Checker.
There's a great deal of information in the help file—if only you can find it! Take some time to familiarise yourself with it when you don't have a specific problem in mind. You'll then have more idea of how things are arranged, and you'll pick up information.
The Contents tab is the best way to get an idea of what's included. When you click on a little book icon, a list of topics appears. Read one that interests you. This is not a waste of time!
If a topic is particularly hard to find, make a note of the words you typed that got the result you needed.
This can be very helpful, so familiarise youself with it as soon as you can. First read the part called "Using Windows troubleshooter" or "Fixing a problem". This tells you how to use this section most conveniently. top
In some parts of the help, you're advised to print the instructions before you begin working on a problem. Do follow this advice. I often think, "That's easy to remember", but once the help file is out of reach, I become less certain. If it says "print", print. top
Be aware that some of the advice is somewhat biased—there may be better or more efficient ways to do some things. Under the heading Exploring the Internet, you could easily get the impression that Internet Explorer is the only browser, and that you should use it to make a connection to the Internet. Neither of these things is true.
You can get much better advice on building web pages, too.
It's perfectly understandable that Microsoft products are mentioned exclusively; even those that do the job poorly. Just take the advice with a large pinch of salt.
Where the advice is about how to do something in Windows, though, it's spot on.
The Start Button is continued in Part 2--Find, which explains how to search for files on your computer.
Other pages about the Start Button are linked below.
Find Find any file on your computer.
Control Panel Settings > Control Panel