The Operating System is the most important program that runs on a computer. Every general-purpose computer must have an operating system to run other programs. Operating systems perform basic tasks, such as recognizing input from the keyboard, sending output to the display screen, keeping track of files and directories on the disk, and controlling peripheral devices such as disk drives and printers.

Operating systems provide a software platform on top of which other programs, called application programs, can run. The application programs must be written to run on top of a particular operating system. Your choice of operating system, therefore, determines to a great extent the applications you can run. For PCs, the most popular operating system is Microsoft Windows. Windows is the Operating System from Microsoft that is on most new computers. There are several different versions of Windows being used today. The oldest useable version is Windows XP. Then there is a version known as Windows Vista. The newest Windows operating system is Windows 7.

You use Windows to perform all of the functions of your computer from starting and running programs to filing and saving pictures. All of the uses you put Windows to are controlled by rules and specific procedures which you must learn. From learning what a "desktop" is to building a shortcut on the desktop to building and using a folder, all of your Windows questions will be answered here.

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        1. My computer is running painfully slow. What can I do?