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Graphical User Interface

An operating system is a group of programs that tell a computer how to perform basic functions, e. g. how to respond when a key on the keyboard is pressed, how to display a character on the monitor screen, or how to read and write to a disk. The operating system is started automatically when a computer is switched on. It is then used to start up and control other programs. The operating system determines how the user interacts with the computer. Some operating systems require the user to type commands, but an operating system with a graphical user interface (GUI) makes it easier for the user to control the computer. The most common type of graphical user interface is a WIMP (windows, icons, menus, pointer) system, such as Microsoft Windows or the Apple Mac operating system. It should be noted that the recycle bin icon used in the Microsoft Windows system has the same function as the trashcan icon used in the Apple Mac system, i. e. to access the program that stores deleted files, and allow them to be recovered.

When information has to be given to the user or information has to be input by the user, a window known as a dialog box is often used.

Notice that the American spelling of dialog is commonly used in this context, although the British spelling dialogue is also found. Other American spellings such as disk and program are also normally used in computing. Dialog boxes can contain a variety of elements to gather information from the user including: text boxes, drop-down list boxes, checkboxes, and command buttons. A Find dialog box is used to gather information from the user about the files they wish to find. Note that you can search for a piece of text in a file, or search for a file in a folder, but you search for a file on a disk.

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