Module 1 notes
1.4a Setting Up Your Computing
Environment on a PC
Note: These instructions assume that your personal computer is a PC running MS Windows XP. Some of the
screen layouts appear differently under Vista or Windows 7, and so you’ll need to modify the instructions
slightly for those environments. If you are using an Apple Macintosh running Mac OS X instead, read Section
If you compared MS Windows on your computer with MS Windows on the computers of several of your
friends, you would notice several differences. Each of you probably has a different image on the desktop, a
different screen saver, and different programs installed. These differences occur among CS 100 students too!
For this reason, we require that you complete the formal exercises and Assignment 0 to ensure you have all
the pieces you need in order to complete the course. It helps us, too, knowing that you have a standard CS
100 environment in which you are working so we can provide better solutions to your questions.
The Start Menu And Taskbar
For each window that is open, a corresponding button lies on the taskbar, the horizontal bar at the bottom
of the screen. The Start button is on the left-hand side of the taskbar. When you click Start, a menu pops up
with several items on it. Some of these items open other menus. The Start menu gives you access to
programs and some files on your computer. The following figure displays the taskbar, Start menu (including
some submenus) and quick launch bar. If you are having problems with Windows, or you cannot understand parts of the CS 100 course material
pertaining specifically to MS Windows or its applications, the Help and Support system located on the Start
menu may provide solutions. Pick one of the topics or type a word or phrase in the search box to begin. 1.4a.1 Creating a new folder and downloading
As the number of files on your computer increases, it becomes more important for you to keep them
organized in folders. Just as you (probably) don’t use just one box to store all your notes, assignments, and
handouts for all your courses, you are better off to keep computer files organized into separate computer
Create A Folder For CS 100
1. Open up the Start menu (click the start button at the bottom of your screen), and click on My
Documents. This starts an application known as Windows Explorer (not to be confused with Internet
Explorer) and displays whatever files and folders you have stored in the folder named My
2. Create a new folder as follows: go to the File menu, select New then select Folder (we’ll denote this
sequence of selections as File → New → Folder). 3. While the name New Folder is highlighted, type CS 100 (end your typing by striking the enter key) to
give the folder that name. (If the name New Folder is no longer highlighted before you get a chance
to rename it, click once on the folder, pause, and then click once on the folder’s name. This
technique can be used to change the name of any file or folder.)
For your convenience, all files referenced in each CS 100 course module are listed on an associated page
labeled Exercise Files (on the module’s table of contents page, under the heading Resources and Readings).
However, they are also hyperlinked from the referencing text, so that you just need to click on the text to
open or download the file.
1. Download the file Text.txt as follows: right-click on link (the highlighted name of the file earlier in
this sentence) and select "Save Link Target As" from the pop-up menu.
2. At the top of the dialog box that appears, select your CS 100 folder (that you created earlier) as the
location to “Save in” and then click save. (If you wish to rename the file, this can also be done from
the dialog box before clicking save.)
A copy of the document has now been created inside your folder.
Similarly download each of the following files to your CS 100 folder:
1.4a.2 Read Only Files
Sometimes, when transferring files from one media form to another, the computer assigns these files a
Read-Only status. As the name suggests, this means that you can only look at the files, but not modify them.
The Read-Only status can cause many problems when you try to save the file in an application, so complete
the following steps to remove the Read-Only status of your CS 100 files.
Change files to be read-only or read-write.
1. In your CS 100 folder, click on the icon for Text.txt so that it is highlighted.
2. Select File → Properties from the window’s menu.
3. Look for the file’s Read-only box on the pop-up window’s General tab. If the read-only box is not
checked, click on it once to check the box and then click Apply.
4. Click OK to close the window. 5. Double-click on the Text.txt icon to open it.
6. Type anything anywhere and click the window’s save icon.
7. Without changing the file’s name, try to save it in your CS 100 folder (answer yes when asked if you
want to replace the file). Notice that you get an error message that access is denied. This is because
the file is read-only and you are trying to change it.
8. Now open My Documents again and single-click on the CS 100 folder to highlight it.
9. Select File → Properties from the window’s menu.
10. Look for the folder’s Read-only box on the pop-up window’s General tab. If the read-only box is
checked or coloured (probably green), click on it once to clear the box.
11. Click Apply. You will receive a second dialog as shown below. Select “Apply changes to this folder,
subfolders and files,” which will ensure all files within the folder are no longer read-only.
12. Click OK. All the files currently within the folder will now be writable.
One of the most important parts of this module is to ensure you have the correct software installed and that
your version of the software can read the files you’ll be using this term. Please complete the following steps
to ensure you have the correct software and the version you have is compatible with the files you’ll be using
1. Open your CS 100 folder. The folder contains several files.
2. Starting with the file Adobe.pdf, open each of the three files in the folder by double-clicking on
them one after the other. The following table lists each file and the application in which it should
open. File Application
Adobe.pdf A PDF (Portable Document Format) file is similar to a snapshot of
another type of file that can be read on most machines without
being modified. If you do not have a copy of this software, a free
version is available at http://get.adobe.com/reader/ — follow
the directions found on that site to download and then execute
the file you download to install the software.
Image.jpg Windows Picture and Fax Viewer is a simple image viewing
application provided with MS Windows and found under start →
All Programs → Accessories as shown in the screenshot at the
start of Section 1.4a.
Text.txt Notepad is a simple text creation application provided with MS
Windows and found under start → All Programs → Accessories.
If you cannot open one of the files, verify that you have the correct software. If you do not have the
software, please obtain it as soon as possible. If you have the software and the file does not open, please
contact a Course Tutor for assistance.
1.4a.4 Erasing a File
You do not have unlimited disk space. As a good housekeeping habit and so you will not run out of disk space
at a crucial time, you should periodically examine your disk and get rid of any files you no longer need (i.e.,
files for lab exercises or assignments that have been marked and returned to you).
Erase A File
1. Make the window showing your CS 100 folder active and click once on the Image.jpg icon to select it
(but not open it).
2. Press the delete key (del). Whenever you are about to perform a potentially destructive task, you
are given a warning and asked to confirm (Yes) your decision.
If you need to “undelete” a deleted file, you can find it in the Recycle Bin located on your desktop. Undelete A File
1. Double-click on the Recycle Bin, located on your desktop (you might have to move some of your
windows out of the way first).
2. Double-click on the filename Image.jpg.
3. Click Restore and then click OK.
4. Close the window that is displaying the contents of the Recycle Bin.
1.4a.5 Searching for a File
Often you know that you have a file somewhere on your computer, but you’ve forgotten in which folder or
sub-folder it is stored.
1. Open up the Start menu and choose Search. A search window will open.
2. Click All files and folders if you don’t want to restrict the type of file sought.
3. In the box under “All or part of the file name,” type a string that you think appears in the file name.
4. To select specific places, select a location from the pull-down menu under “Look in” in which you
want to search (select Local Hard Drives (C:)):
5. Click once on the Search button to execute the search. All matches will be displayed in a new
window. For example, if you searched for “Microsoft Word” you should see results similar to what is shown below.
1.4a.6 Taking a snapshot of your screen
Many of the figures presented in this course display images of what appears on the computer screen. These
images are called screenshots and are useful for demonstrative purposes. For example, you could take a
screenshot after paying your Visa bill online and provide the image as proof (the screenshot would display
confirmation of payment).
Taking A Screenshot
1. View your desktop. Press PrtSc (print screen).
2. Open Paint from the Start → All Programs → Accessories submenu (as shown in the screenshot at
the start of Section 1.4a).
3. Paste the screenshot into the blank document by clicking the Edit → Paste or using Ctrl-V.
4. Save the file as follows: Select File → Save As, which opens a pop-up window. Click in the top box,
labeled Save in, and choose Desktop. Click in the box labeled File name near the bottom of the
window, and replace the current text with the string desktest. Click in the bottom box labeled Save
as type, and choose JPEG. Click Save.
5. Close the Paint window. An image of