Despite tales you hear of Windows being "unstable" (meaning that it locks up all of the time), I’ve found Windows to be quite reliable as long as a few rules are followed. These are listed on the "Stability" page. If your computer starts acting weird, it’s most likely the fault of some program, not Windows, itself.
However, with that said, it’s to note that sometimes the only way to fix a really serious problem is to reinstall Windows. It’s not very difficult, and there are instructions on the site. And, if you’ve made a recent image file of your system, a complete restoration only takes 5 minutes.
There are a number of support programs that come with Windows, such as Media Player for multimedia files (pictures, songs, movies), Notepad for simple text files, WordPad for word processing, Paint for cropping and touching up pictures, and so on. You should certainly feel free to open anything on the Start Menu you want. You can’t hurt anything just by opening programs, and there’s always a ‘Cancel’ or ‘Exit’ button to bail out with.
Also, open everything on the Control Panel, just to get an overall feel for things. Don’t adjust anything unless you’re 100% certain you know what you’re doing.
Again, most Windows problems have nothing to do with Windows, itself. 90% of the time it’s due to some conflict between programs, and usually arises when a new program has been installed. And, worse, sometimes just uninstalling the new program won’t fix things and the only thing that’ll do it is a complete Windows reinstallation. It’s just one more reason why the image file backup system is the way to go. Head here next.