How to use this tutorial

The content of this tutorial is divided into 11 general themes, and each theme is further divided into sections that cover specific topics within a theme. Many of the different sections also contain exercises to help you understand the concepts and practice the functionalities explained in the section, as well as reflection questions which encourage you to think in more depth about some of the topics we discuss.

In cases where the environment on the computers in the ETI computer lab is different from your environment at home or at work, a special section called 'At the ETI' will explain the difference. In particular, the graphical style (how things look) on the machines at the ETI may be different from what you are used to. The section Windows XP: at the ETI vs. elsewhere explains, and shows using examples, what's different and what's the same in these two cases. Please take the time to read and understand this section. The tutorial uses examples from the version of Windows XP that you are more familiar with, and only uses examples from the ETI environment in certain cases.

The different themes are outlined briefly below.

Basic Vocabulary

A list of the basic vocabulary (and a definition of each word/phrase) that you should know when reading this manual.

The Desktop

Covers topics such as the desktop in general, windows, the Task bar, the Start menu, My Computer, the Recycle Bin, date and time properties, the amount of space on your computer, user accounts, and options for turning off your computer.

Working Efficiently

Covers topics such as keyboard shortcuts, function keys and hotkeys, Windows Explorer, the copy/cut/delete/move/paste actions and where to find help if you have a problem.

Managing your files and folders

Covers topics such as creating naming, renaming, copying, moving and deleting files and folders, searching for files, folder and file sizes, making and keeping backups, and compressing (zipping) files.

Applications - the Basics

Covers topics such as how to find the version of an application, help for the application, File and Edit menus and gives general descriptions of some basic applications available in Microsoft Windows.

Personalizing your workspace

Covers topics such as the Control Panel, creating shortcuts on the desktop, changing the desktop background, and changing the screensaver.


Covers topics such as changing media playback volume, and audio, image and video files.


Covers the basic functionalities for printing such as printing recto-verso and multiple pages on a sheet.


Covers the topics of firewalls, viruses and anti-virus applications, internet security, and how to lock (password protect) your computer.

Other useful things

Covers topics such as ejecting peripheral devices,the PrintScreen functionality and bookmarks and tabs in Internet browsers.

Services at the ETI and UniGe

Covers topics such as your private disk space at the University, accessing your university email account, changing the language settings in Windows on the computers in the ETI computer lab and creating a PDF file.

Note: this manual only gives an introductory level to some of the concepts and functionalities. For more details see:
  • Windows XP: