By Nancy C. Muir

Playing Windows’ games such as Minesweeper allow you to clear your mind with a few minutes of fun. With Windows Minesweeper, the object is to flip over all the tiles without blowing up (hitting a mine).

1Choose Start→Games, then double-click Minesweeper.

The Minesweeper window appears, and the tiles conceal the hidden mines.

If you’ve never played the game before, the Select Difficulty window appears. Click your comfort level: Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced. The level controls the size of the tile grid and the number of hidden mines.

2Click a square on the board.

A timer starts counting the seconds of your game. If a number appears, it indicates the number of mines in the eight surrounding squares. If a square is blank, there are no mines within the eight squares surrounding it.

Minesweeper is a game of deduction. If you guess where a mine is, right-click the square to place a flag on it marking it as a mine. Right-click a square twice to place a question mark on it if you think it might contain a bomb but you’re not sure.

3If you click a square and a bomb appears the game is over.

All the hidden bombs are exposed if you hit a mine. Start a new game by choosing Game→New Game. In the New Game dialog box, click Quit and Start a New Game. If you want to play a game with the same settings as the previous one, click Restart This Game.

4To close Minesweeper, click the Close button.

Click either Save or Don’t Save in the Exit Game dialog box that appears.

If you want a bigger game board (more squares, more bombs, more fun), choose Game→Options and then click Custom and specify the number of squares across, down, and the number of bombs hidden within them.