When you get right down to it, an operating system like Windows is nothing more than a home base from which to launch applications (programs). And you, as a Windows person, are particularly fortunate, since more programs are available for Windows than for any other operating system on earth.
But when you launch a program, you’re no longer necessarily in the world Microsoft designed for you. Programs from other software companies work a bit differently, and there’s a lot to learn about how Windows handles programs that were born before it was.
This chapter covers everything you need to know about installing, removing, launching, and managing programs; using programs to generate documents; understanding how documents, programs, and Windows communicate with each other; and exploiting Vista’s great new hybrid document/program entity, the Sidebar gadget.
Windows lets you launch (open) programs in many different ways:
▸ Choose a program’s name from the Start→All Programs menu.
▸ Click a program’s icon on the Quick Launch toolbar (Section 3.9.4).
▸ Find a program using the Start menu’s Search box (Section 188.8.131.52).
▸ Open a document using any of the above techniques; its “parent” program opens automatically. For example, if you used Microsoft Word to write a file called Last Will and Testament.doc, double-clicking the document’s icon launches Word and automatically opens that file.
What happens next depends on the program you’re using ...