www.riscos.com Technical Support:
First Steps with RISC OS 4



The RISC OS operating system has evolved over the years to gain a reputation as one of the most user friendly available. However for those new to an operating system even the most simple things appearing on the screen will lead to confusion and turmoil.

This is where First Steps with RISC OS comes in. We are using RISC OS 4 as a basis for some detailed introductory tutorials to all aspects of the RISC OS operating system. While the original plan was to produce separate editions for RISC OS 4 and RISC OS 5 users this has, unfortunately, proven not to be viable.

However, that is not a major problem as both RISC OS 5 and RISC OS 4 are based upon RISC OS 3.8 so they share a common heritage and in many ways work the same. RISC OS Adjust (RISC OS 4.39 and later) has significantly changed the visual appearance of RISC OS, but the underlying means of controlling the operating system remains the same.

This book does not aim to replace any Welcome Guide that may have been supplied with your computer; nor does it aim to explain complex hardware issues that are specific to each manufacturer. While in an ideal world that would be nice, there are too many computers available running RISC OS 4, and the latest influx of PCs running RISC OS 4 within VirtualRPC-SE would serve to further complicate the issue.

We have aimed to provide a book that is relatively jargon-free, so that the complex terminology behind what we're doing is explained so you can gain a better understanding of how to carry out these operations with RISC OS. We've therefore adopted very simple language for the different sections of this book. If you find that something has not been explained to your satisfaction, let us know and we'll explain it for you before updating the book to include a better explanation.


The only assumption made is that you'll be able to start the next chapter having turned on your computer (and, if necessary loaded VirtualRPC) and have got the desktop screen in front of you. If this is not the case, please follow the guidance provided with your computer to turn it on; then if applicable the instructions from Virtual Acorn to launch VirtualRPC.

If there is anything you feel this title is lacking, please email me: if we think you have made a valid point, the next edition of this book will include what you believe to be lacking. My email address is given inside the cover.

David Bradforth

Alligata Media - June 2004

I'm writing this at the start of August - this project has taken three months so far, and (for those who have bought the subscription edition) there's still a long way to go. Don't forget - we welcome suggestions, and are aiming to include more of relevance to RISC OS 4.39 users in the future.

Thanks for your patience so far, we hope it's been worth the wait.

David Bradforth - August 2004

Distributed by 3QD Developments Ltd 2013