Demystifying Computers

How They Really Work

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Scott Badman, Instructor

Session 7: Where's My Data? Disk Drive Structure in Windows and MacIntosh
                  Operating Systems (Windows)

October 28, 2013

This evening we will look at the Windows operating system and how it works .

Core Concepts

The isolation of complexity

Maintaining compatibility whenever possible, especially backwards compatibility

The importance of standards and protocols to allow different components to work together

If any software starts acting really funky, just uninstall it, and then reinstall it.

Always, always, let Microsoft (or Apple, or whoever) automatically apply the latest Operating System updates.

Turn on and use all of Microsoft's (or Apple's, or whoever's) security features.

The core tasks of an operating system -- multithreading, managing memory, handling all input and output, and security


Operating Systems (Windows)


Task Manager (press Start - run - and type in: taskmgr or press ctrl-alt-del (all together), then click the Task Manager button)

Resource Monitor (press Start - run - and type in: resmon)

Task Manager Applications tab

2 threads being used in FreeFileSync file scan)

Task Manager Performance tab

Disk Management (press Start - Control Panel - switch to Classic View - Administrative Tools - Computer Management - Storage - Disk Management)

BE VERY, VERY CAREFUL - don't change anything!

Physical and Virtual Disks

thrasher.cpp and >>> careful, this will slow down your computer >>> thrasher.exe

crasher.cpp and >>> careful, this will crash and create a protection error >>> crasher.exe

monopolizeCPU.cpp and >>> this program uses a lot of CPU time, but multiple copies can be run using normal priorities >>> monopolizeCPU.exe

Booting the Computer

dxdiag (Start - run - type in dxdiag), gives information about your monitor, Microsoft Direct X graphics software, and other periferals.

Every connector and socket you will ever see! (medium resolution .png picture file)

Every connector and socket you will ever see! (high resolution .png picture file)