A Pc That Lets Novices Feel Right At Home

Personal computers have come a long way. But for first-time users, you may have to read book-length manuals to grasp the basics, even the most "user-friendly" machines just aren't simple enough. That's why a year ago, Packard Bell Electronics Inc. decided to build a program called Navigator into all its computers. It lets first-time users run applications as soon as they unpack their computers.

The Westlake Village (Calif.) computer maker has made the program even easier, jazzing up Navigator by adding animated graphics and sound. Rather than learning commands or deciphering icons on the screen, PC owners deal with familiar images: Clicking on a bookcase opens the software section; a file cabinet brings up a document-management screen to organize files. Navigator is also designed for kids. Youngsters can do their work from a space station or tree house, for example. There's even a classroom in the house, should anyone feel the need for a tutorial.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.