After you have all your software installed, you can use Windows XP in several ways to launch your programs. You should use the method that's most convenient to you.
Launching from the Start Menu
Using the Start menu is probably the simplest way to launch an application. If you've used the program recently, it appears on the left side of the Start menu. If not, you need to open the Programs menu and launch the program from there. Just follow these steps:
Click the Start menu and select All Programs. The Programs menu now appears next to the Start menu, as shown in Figure 4.4.
Figure 4.4 Launching an application from the Programs menu.
Point to the application's folder or name on the menu. When you point to a menu item with an arrow, a submenu opens. If the item you want is on that submenu, point to it. The item you point to is highlighted.
Click the highlighted item to launch the application.
To learn how to place a permanent shortcut icon on the Start menu, see the "Managing the Start Menu" section in Chapter 2, "Changing the Way Windows Looksand Acts."
Launching from My Computer
Another way to launch applications is to click the application file from My Computer.
Follow these steps:
From within My Computer, navigate to the folder that contains the program you want to start.
Click the folder icon to display the files stored within that folder.
You can also launch an application by right-clicking an application file and selecting Open from the pop-up menu.
Click the icon for the application file that you want to open. The application starts automatically.
Launching from a Desktop Shortcut Icon
Although Windows XP tries to force you into an uncluttered desktop, you can still create desktop shortcuts to launch your favorite programs. Many users feel that using a desktop shortcut is the fastest way to launch those programs they use all the time. Clicking an icon is certainly a lot quicker than wading through layers and layers of menus and folders.
To learn how to create a desktop shortcut, see the "Working with Desktop Shortcuts" section in Chapter 2.
To launch a program from a desktop shortcut, all you have to do is click the program's icon.
Launching from the Run Command
If you know the name and location of the program you want to run, you can use Windows XP's Run command to launch the program. The Run command is the Windows equivalent of the old DOS command line, when it comes to launching programs.
To use the Run command, follow these steps:
Click the Start button and then click the Run icon.
When the Run dialog box appears, as shown in Figure 4.5, enter the path and name of the application file into the Open box. If you don't know the location of the file, click the Browse button to find it.
Figure 4.5 Use the Run command to launch a program directly.
Click the OK button to launch the program.