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Windows Gross Anatomy: 
It's What's Inside That Counts 

Windows is a graphically driven operating system (opposed to a command line driven system) in which multiple windows may be open simultaneously. Commands, or actions, are applied to the active window.

Below are examples of active and inactive windows. If your color scheme hasn't been changed from its default settings, the active window's title bar is blue while the inactive window's title bar is gray.

The simplest way to tell which window is active is to look for the blue title bar at the top of the window. Also, the active window is always "on top" of other windows that may be open. (See the sidebar for more in-depth information about the "on top" concept.)

Here's a picture of two open windows, one on top of the other. The window labeled Control Panel is the active window. The window labeled My Computer is inactive.

Active vs. Inactive windows


Active window below--notice the blue title bar.

The active window's title bar will always be the most vivid


Inactive window with gray title bar.

The inactive window's will appear dull by comparison with the active window

Here's your Windows anatomy class, where the parts of a window dialog box are named. The functions of the parts will be described in a later lesson. I've taken apart the My Computer window. Its components are listed from the top down.

The title is the name of the dialog box or window that's open
This is the Title Bar. It always gives you the name of the open file or folder.

Control your dialog box The buttons from left to right are named minimize, maximize, and close. They affect the active window.

Control your learning experience The second button from the left is the restore button. It's job is to return a window to its previous size. It only shows if a window has been maximized.

Today's menu includes buttons and spinners
This is the menu. There are four tool bars below the menu.

The tool bars are listed here:

Pick a tool from the toolbar. Why didn't they call it a toolcrib?
This is the standard buttons tool bar.

Link to the world with the Newbie Club
This is the links tool bar.

What's the address?
This is the address bar tool bar.

A slightly interesting Microsoft idea that hasn't really caught on due to bandwidth problems
This is the radio tool bar.


Note: To see all of the tool bars, they must all be selected from the View menu, as shown below:

Sharp tools work best. Take time to sharpen the saw. Sharpen your skills at your own speed


After the tool bars comes the next area of detail as shown below:

Data. Day-ta or dahta. Tomatoe, tomata, whatever
This is the file selection area.


What's the status of your learning? The Newbie Club offers a solid funamental learning package at a great price
This is the status bar.


Put all the pieces together, and you have the following picture:

Bringing everything together is the key. Build a solid foundation and the sky's the limit!

Now you know the gross anatomy of a window, and what makes it tick. 

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