COT 204 - Introduction to Windows XP

Revised: November 29, 2005
Credits: 3
Instructor: Ed Nickel
Office: HTC 133
Phone: 753-2241 (office with voice mail)
Class Web Page:
Textbook: Click on How to Do Everything with Windows XP, 3rd ed., by Curt Simmons, ISBN 0072259531 for the prices, click here for some discounters/used book dealers, or pay full price at the college bookstore.

Click here for my home page,
there for syllabi index, or
when for office hours.


Welcome to COT 204, Introduction to Windows XP. This course provides an in depth introduction to the most widely used personal computer operating system. We will cover many aspects of XP from the fundamentals of navigating this OS and customizing it to advanced uses of its networking capabilities and multimedia accessories. COT 204 can be used as a substitute for CIT 112 computer AAS program requirements except in networking. This class has no prerequisites, although it assumes you have some fundamental math and typing skills. You will need additional time each week to do homework assignments and to practice topics covered in class. Due to the specialized and potentially destructive nature of the lab exercises required for this class only the computers in HTC 139 lab are available to do homework for this class. If you have the necessary hardware and software, doing your assignments at home is acceptable.

I can be reached at the phone number listed above or you can make an appointment to see me during office hours or at other times. Office hours are posted on my office door and on my web site. The schedule of reading assignments, homework and tests is found below. Additional assignments may be given verbally or as handouts in class.


The primary objective for this class is to provide students with a strong working knowledge of Windows XP as a workstation environment. To this end, since most people have a basic familiarity with XP, we will quickly move through the essential basics of this operating system and then cover more advanced topics like installation and configuration, multimedia capabilities, and networking both in peer-to-peer and client/server environments. The more important topics to be covered in this class include:


The successful student in this class will be able to:

  1. install, configure, & operate the Windows XP operating system
  2. implement a functional Windows XP workstation operating environment;
  3. install & configure software applications on a Windows XP system
  4. install & configure peripheral devices and their drivers on a Windows XP system
  5. use the embedded multimedia functions of Windows XP, such as Media Player, Movie Maker, etc.;
  6. locate & properly use the most important XP file structures;
  7. establish basic network connectivity between peer systems & with a server;
  8. facilitate anti-virus & firewall security on Windows XP;
  9. perform basic Windows XP diagnostics.
Student Outcome Assessment
Assessment Method Learner Outcomes
Class Discussion 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Hands On Exercises 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Exams 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

This is a letter grade class an A=90-100%, B=80-89%, C=70-79%, D=60-69%, F=59% or less or W=Official Withdrawal by the official withdrawal date. There is no curve in this grading scale. Your grade will be based 20% on class participation and discussion, 30% on your assignments, and 50% on exam results. All assignments are due by the beginning of the next class. Any excused absences must be agreed to by the instructor in advance unless there are strong extenuating circumstances. Three (3) unexcused absences result in an Failing grade. The code of conduct stated in The Rules and Disciplinary Procedures for Members of the University Community will be enforced.


You should have read and be prepared to discuss each week's topics by the beginning of class. We will have significant hands on experiences during most lessons.

Topics & readings by week:

  1. The Beginning: Installation, Activation, & the Desktop Appendix & Chapter 1
  2. Basic Computer Management and Configuration Chapters 2-3
  3. File Management Chapter 4
  4. Program Management Chapter 5
  5. Hardware Management Chapters 6-7
  6. Internet Connectivity Chapters 8-9
  7. Outlook Express, etc. Chapter 10
  8. Review & Mid-Term Exam
  9. Home Networking Chapter 11
  10. Small Business Networking & Users and Groups Chapter 12 & handout
  11. Workstation & Network Security Chapter 13
  12. Windows Media Player & Movie Maker Chapters 15-16
  13. Digital Photos & Some XP Options Chapters 17-18
  14. XP Care and Feeding & Disk Management Chapters 19-20
  15. Basic Troubleshooting & Review Chapter 21
  16. Final Exam

Click here for my home page,
there for syllabi index, or
when for office hours.