Computer Lady Lessons

Windows 7 Chapter 4 - The Control Panel Categories

Welcome to this issue of Computer Lady Lessons! Did you know that more than a billion people use Microsoft Windows every day?

Some people use Windows in their workplace, some use it with their hobbies, just for relaxation, or to keep in touch with loved ones. I find that I use Microsoft Windows in all these areas of my life. I do most of my work using Windows, I relax playing games in Windows, I keep in touch with friends and family from around the corner to across the country, and I even use it with my sewing hobby from digital patterns to creating embroidery designs for my embroidery machine.

No matter what you use your computer for, the quality of your experience relies on two things. One is that that your computer works, and the second is that you know how to make it work. This course is here to help you know how to make your Windows 7 computer work for you.  It is my hope that this course will help you to quickly become comfortable with Windows 7, and learn a few extra tips and tricks along the way.

Today, we are going to take a look at some of the categories in the control panel.

I hope you find this lesson useful, and please remember to visit and support my advertisers and sponsors. They are the ones who make these lessons free to you.

Elizabeth

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The Control Panel: Category View

When you use Category View in your control panel window, all the various applets and settings are divided into eight different categories. This makes it easier to find the settings you want to change, especially if you don't know exactly what the setting, or applet is named.

Today, we are going to take a look at some of those eight categories.

System And Security:

The first category listed is "System And Security". Here you will find settings for security (like the windows firewall settings) along with some general system settings like updating Windows and changing your power options.

When you click on "System and Security" and then click on "System" you will see a listing of important information about your computer. It will tell you exactly what version of Windows 7 you are running, (I have Windows 7 Professional) what kind of processor is in your computer, how much RAM you have (more RAM means a faster computer) and if you have a 32-bit or 64-bit operating system.

 

Here is my System Information. From this control panel window, you can quickly tell that I am running Windows 7 Professional, I have 4GB of RAM and it is a 64-bit operating system.

User Accounts And Family Safety

When you share one computer among several people, user accounts are used to personalize the computer for each person (or user). A user account is created for each person using the computer, each user account then holds information just for that person. This allows each user to have their own background image, their own files, and even allows each person to have the taskbar on a different side of the screen. There are three different kinds of user accounts, standard, administrator and guest. The person with an administrator account can make any changes they want or need to, a standard account does not have as much control, and the guest account can access the internet, but not make any system wide changes.

The "User Accounts and Family Safety" section of the control panel is the category you want to use when it is time to make changes to a user account on your computer, or set up parental controls. Here you can add a user, delete a user, create or change a password for a user, and do fun things like change the user picture.

Network and Internet

Does anyone use their computer without connecting to others anymore? Not very often. That is why the "Network and Internet" section of the control panel is a frequently visited place. Here you can connect to others computers in your network, (if you don't know what that means, don't worry) choose what files you want to share with other users, and connect to a wireless network. In addition, if you have a wireless internet connection and you don't remember what the password is, you can view the password as long as your computer is automatically connecting to it.

You can also access Internet Explorer's internet Options from this control panel category. This is handy if you are having problems with Internet Explorer and can't access it from inside the program.

Appearance and Personalization

Where do you go when you just want to have fun making changes to the appearance of your computer? The Appearance and Personalization category in the Control Panel!

There are seven sub-categories listed under Appearance and personalization. Some, like personalization allow you to make fun changes to the background images, sound effects, and screensaver, while others like folder options and fonts are all business.

In the display section, you can change the size of text and icons, connect to a projector or another monitor, and even change the screen resolution.

The desktop gadgets section allow you to add small gadgets to your desktop. These are little programs that have usually one specific purpose, like display the time, display the current weather at any zip code you choose, there is even one that displays a picture slideshow in a small window. I enjoy having my family photos displayed in the corner of my screen while I am working, it makes me smile.

The Ease of Access Center gives you options for using a magnifier for users who have trouble seeing their screen, a screen reader, an onscreen keyboard, and a high contrast setting. These are all very important for users who are unable to navigate the computer in the traditional way.

Folder Options allows you to change settings for your folders. One popular setting here is the ability to change your icons from requiring a double-click to open them to needing only a single click. If you have trouble getting a double-click to work, this setting will make the computer much easier for you to use.

The Fonts section allows you to browse through all the fonts installed on your computer. You can also add new fonts and delete fonts that you no longer want. Just make sure that the font you delete is not one that Windows is using. You will have some strange results if you delete a font needed to display system text.

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Vocabulary

32-bit Operating System:
The 32-bit refers to how the computer accesses its RAM. 32-bit Operating Systems can't directly access more than 4GB of RAM.
64-bit Operating System:
The 64-bit refers to how the computer accesses RAM. 64-bit operating systems can access more than 4Gb of RAM.
User Account:
A User is a person who uses a computer. A User Account is a group of settings for a specific user.
Control Panel:
The software version of a physical panel that allows you to change settings.
Applet:
A small program that runs in the Control Panel.
Category View:
A Control Panel view that arranges applets according to category.
Classic View:
A Control Panel view that arranges applets in alphabetical order.
Control Panel Search:
A Control Panel function that allows you to search for an applet.

Quick Steps

To Find If You have a 32-bit or 64-bit Operating System:

  1. Click on the "Start" button.
  2. Click on "Control Panel".
  3. Click on "System and Security".
  4. Click on "System".
  5. You will see the information displayed in the "System" section.

To Add a User:

  1. Click on the "Start" button.
  2. Click on "Control Panel".
  3. Click on "Add or remove user accounts".
  4. Click "Create a new account"
  5. Follow the prompts to make a new user.

To Open the Control Panel:

Click on "Start" then Click on "Control Panel" in the right colum of the start menu.

Or

Tap the Windows Logo Key on the keyboard, type the word, "Control" and press the "Enter" key.

To change the Control Panel View

  1. Open the control panel using one of the two methods above.
  2. Click the drop down list next to "View by” and click to select the desired view.
    
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