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Windows XP - Printer, System Tools

Installing a Printer
As we have already seen in the unit before, it is very easy to install new hardware, such as printers, since the majority use Plug & Play technology. This allows the operating system to recognize the new printer by simply plugging it in.

Nevertheless, in some cases we may need to do the process manually. When we plug a printer into our computer it is necessary to install the appropriate drivers so that our computer will recognize it.
Next we will learn to install a printer manually and to customize it to our needs.
1. Open the Start menu.
2. Select the Printers and Faxes option.
3. If you do not have the option Printers and faxes on your Start menu, you can also reach it through the Control Panel, and then Printers and other hardware.
A screen like this one will appear
A screen like this one will appear

If you select a printer on the contextual panel to the right, it will show you some other options

You will see there: Add a printer, See what is printing, Select printing preferences, etc.

These tasks are the ones that are usually needed to handle a printer.
Now, click on the icon Add a printer to launch the assistant that will help you install a printer.
The assistant will be asking you questions such as if your printer is connected directly to your computer or if it is on the web, to which port it is connected to, and then a screen like the one shown below will be displayed so that you can choose the manufacturer and the type of printer so that Windows can install the appropriate software.
Click on See basic information about your computer.
The System properties window will appear with the General tab selected. On this tab we can see generic information about our system, such as what processor is installed, etc
Click on Hardware Tab to view this screen.
Now click on Device manager.
On this screen the Device manager shows us a list with all of the hardware installed on our computer.
This list contains the hardware by type. For example, in Screen adaptors we have information on the graphics card, in Network adaptors we will find information on the network cards installed.
Hint: To see the content of each type click on the + on the left.
For example: we have opened the content of Network adapters hardware and it shows us two network cards, one of them do no work correctly.
The most interesting thing about this list is that it shows us the state of each piece of hardware.
If there were an error with any hardware, a yellow question mark would appear to the right of it or a red cross as you can see.
The Print Manager
The Print manager is very useful because we can cancel a document if we do not want it to be printed.
The print manager shows the documents that have been sent to the printer. Through the print manager we can cancel or pause a document to be printed.
To manage the print manager:
From the Start menu, go to Printers and Faxes.
Click on the printer that you would like to manage.
On the left hand panel select See what is printing.
This will open a window where a list of the documents being printed or waiting to be printed will appear.
You can see that the name of the document we have sent to print appears (in this example, Document) next is the stage of the document (Printing), and the name of the person who sent the document and the date when it was sent to the printer also appears.
It is possible to restart a print job that has been stopped by turning the computer off or by pausing the documents to give way to other more important ones.
When we send a document to print, the printer icon will appear in the notification area on the bottom right of the screen. Usually an icon will also appear, depending on the program we are printing from, such as Word, Excel, etc.
• To delete a document from the print manager you need to select it and click Delete.
• To pause a document open the menu Document and click Pause.
• To delete all documents from the print manager open the menu Printer and select Cancel All Documents.
• To temporarily stop the printing of all the documents open the menu Printer and select Pause Printing.
• To set the printer as the main printer open the menu Printer and select Set as Default Printer. Setting a printer as the default printer means that by default all the documents will go to that printer unless otherwise indicated.
Printer Properties
Through the printer properties we can control the orientation of the  paper, the number of copies to be printed, etc. Next we will explain in detail all of the options.

This window can vary according to the type of printer that we have installed, but all of them have more or less the same appearance and options.

In the General tab we have the following:
In the Location and Comment section we can write a brief description of the printer.
Next we can see the characteristics of the printer and on the bottom part we have two buttons.
The Printing preferences... buttom shows some windows that will be shown next.
The second option allows you to verify that the printer prints correctly; to do this, simply click Print test page.
After this, another dialog box will appear asking if the test page has printed correctly; in the event the answer is no, help will appear to try and help you solve the problems.
System Tools
System Tools
Windows incorporates certain tools such as the Disk Defragmenter, the Disk Cleanup the tool to free disk space, the Scheduled Tasks etc. Almost all of these tools are designed to optimize the behavior of the computer. Next we will learn in more detail about some of the most useful tools.
The Scandisk
This tool is used to search errors in the system’s units and to repair those errors.
When the computer is turned off in an abrupt manner it is possible that some files may be damage. Normally when the computer is turned on after being turned off abruptly (without using the option shut down from the Start menu) the Scandisk is launched to check the system and repair any error that it may find.
This tool is usually used when we have a damaged disk. By using it we can fix the possible errors and therefore retrieve the information that it contains. Keep in mind that this tool is not a miracle worker and therefore it is not always possible to retrieve the information.
To open Scandisk, click on the My Computer icon on the desktop, and the screen shown here will open up.
Now select the unit that you want to perform the scandisk on, for example unit (D), and right click it.
A shortcut menu will open, like the one shown select Properties from this menu.
This will cause the window Hard disk (D) Properties to open. Select Tools tab and the window shown will open.
If you click Check Now... , the window Checking hard disk (D) will open.
Here you need to choose one of two options available:
Automatically fix file system errors.
Search for and attempt recovery of bad sectors.
Click on Start so that the scan can begin.
Note: This process can take a few minutes, depending on the size of the disk.
Once the scan has finalized a confirmation window will appear.
The Disk Defragmenter
This tool is in charge of reorganizing the information that is stored in the disk, although it can also fix errors on the units.
Windows incorporates this tool because the disk becomes slow as we save new data and delete old data. This is why we need to reorganize the information so that the free spaces between the information disappear and the performance of our disk improves. By doing this we will also be able to access information quicker.
The free spaces that are generated when information from the disk is deleted influence the size that files and programs use. This is the reason why when we see the properties of a file two sizes appear, the real size of the file and the space that the file is using in the disk. If we defragment the disk we will notice that the difference between the two sizes decreases.
Click on Defragment Now... and the disk defragmenter window will appear, similar to the one shown below.
First select the volume from the list clicking on it, and then you can choose to run the defragmenter directly by clicking Defragment, or check the state of the disk first by clicking Analyze.
Depending on the results, you can choose to Defragment the disk or not. When many deletions have been done on the disk a defragmentation in needed because there are many files that are fragmented instead of using a contiguous space on the disk.
System Information
This tool, as its name indicates, is in charge of showing information regarding the system, such as the installed applications, the drivers, the processor, etc.

Here you can find usefull information, such as the models, versions, and manufacturers of your computer´s programs and hardware.

There is also more specific information that is only for use by experts, such as the E/S, Ports, etc.
Restore System
This tool is in charge of restoring the Windows registry, which is the place where all the information about changes to the configuration is kept.
The system itself makes a copy of the registry every once in a while. So with this tool we can restore some of these copies or we can generate a new copy of the current registry when we are going to make important changes to the configuration of the system. This way we can easily go back and restore the system if the new configuration does not work properly.
To run this application select, from the Start menu, All programs, Accesories and System Tools and then choose System Restore.
Note: When you run this tool a screen like the one below will appear. This window gives you the possibility to either Restore my computer to an earlier time or Create a restore point.
Formatting a Disk
To Format a Disk:
1- Open Windows Explorer or click on My Computer, then select the unit you wish to format with the right mouse button to display the shortcut menu.
2- Select the Format option, and a window like the one shown here will be displayed.
3- Select Capacity of the disk; nowadays the majority are 1.44 Mb for Floppy.
4- In the File System for floppies you can only choose FAT. For hard disks you can choose FAT, which is the most used system to date, or NTFS, which is newer and has more restoration and error analysis capabilities.
5- Select Format options, Quick Format or create a an MS-DOS start up disk.
6- You can also label it: simply write the name where the Volume label appears.
7- Once the appropriate options have been selected click Start.
8- When you finish click Close.



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