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1 Basic Computer Skills Windows 7 Hardware--is a term for the physical parts of the computer. The computer consists of four basic pieces of hardware. The Monitor The monitor displays the content and the operations of the computer. When purchasing a monitor now you can choose whether you want to pay a little more for a touch screen. The Keyboard The keyboard is another input device that lets you communicate with the computer. The CPU The brains of the computer. An electronic device comprised of millions of electronic components that carry out basic functions on your computer. It houses the motherboard, central processing unit (CPU), power supply, and more. The Mouse The mouse is a hand held device that lets you select, open, move and change items on the computer screen. You use your mouse to point and click on the computer screen. Nowadays you can purchase a wireless mouse if you want. All-in-One New computers are often an All-in-one which means that every component is housed in the same case as the monitor except the mouse and keyboard. Laptops are often able to be used like a tablet also. Holding the Mouse The index finger rests on the left mouse button and the middle finger rests on the right mouse button. Page 1 of 17

2 Mouse Buttons The mouse has two buttons: the left and the right. The left is the main button used to single click and double click most items. The right mouse button will only open up a menu to tell you more about an item. Put the mouse pointer on the blue E for Internet Explorer and right click once. You will see a menu of things you can do with this item. To select something from the menu left click on the item one time. NOTE: Make sure to hold the mouse firmly and as still as possible when doing any type of clicking. Single Clicking If you click the left mouse button once this is called single clicking. Single clicking is used to select an item on the computer screen, click buttons in programs, and links in web pages. A single right click will give you a menu. Double clicking Two quick clicks with the index finger on the left mouse button makes a double clicking motion. This move is used to open programs and files. Be sure to hold the mouse firmly and just move your index finger to perform this action. Page 2 of 17

3 Click and Drag If you put the mouse pointer on an object, click and hold the left mouse button, and then move the mouse the object will come with you as you move. This is called click and drag. You can also put the mouse pointer in the corner of a window and click and drag to make the window bigger. Click and drag is used to move objects, resize windows, or highlight text. Shutting down the Computer Left click on the Start button, and then on the Shut down button. It will automatically shut down. If you would like to do something other than turn the computer off, click on the triangle next to the Shut down button. Your other options include: Switch user If you have multiple user accounts set up on your computer you can switch users without restarting your computer. (See Appendix to learn how to set up new user accounts or delete user accounts on your computer.) Log off Choose this option to log out of your user account but keep the computer on. Lock Choose Lock if you want to walk away from your computer. It will remain On and the programs you were working on will remain open. When you come back you will have to reenter your password to get back into your user account (if you have a password set up). Restart All of your programs close and your computer cuts all power. Then it turns itself back on. Sleep The computer maintains a fast state of readiness. Power is cut to the hard drive and monitor, but you are still using some power as your open programs are held open and ready for you to continue the next time you push the power button. You are up and running in seconds. Starting the computer (Booting up the computer) Turn the computer on by pressing the power button. The power button is usually located on the front of the CPU. It will take a couple minutes for the computer to start and load the programs. Depending on how your computer is set-up you may or may not have to log in with a user name and password. If you had manually turned the monitor off, you will have to turn it back on. The power button for the Power Button monitor is usually in the bottom right corner. It will come on automatically when the computer boots up if you did not turn it off manually. Page 3 of 17

4 The Keyboard A computer keyboard is very much like a typewriter keyboard, but it has some extra keys. The ESC key in the upper left corner will close any menus you have opened but do not want to select an item from. (Try opening the Start menu and then click on the Esc key.) The Function keys along the top of the keyboard each have special uses, often in conjunction with the ALT or CTRL keys, depending on the program you are using. F1 usually open the program s Help options. It is different for every program. The Caps Lock key is used in typing. Pressing this key once will make all letters you type CAPITALIZED. Press the Caps Lock key again to turn off this feature. The Shift key is used in typing to make one capital letter. To capitalize a letter, press the Shift key and hold it down, then press the letter you want capitalized. Release the Shift key and continue to type. The CTRL and the Alt key are in the bottom left corner, which are used in conjunction with other keys to perform various functions. The Arrow keys help you move the cursor around the screen (when using a program like Microsoft Word) or across a line of text when typing in a text box. The Delete key is used to remove text you have typed that is to the right of the cursor or to send selected items to the Recycle Bin. Pressing the Home key sends your cursor to the beginning of a line of text. Pressing the End key sends the cursor to the end of a line. Page Up and Page Down move the cursor through a document page by page, either up or down. The Backspace key is used to remove text you have typed that is to the left of the cursor. The Enter key gives a new line (like a carriage return) when you are typing. At other times the Enter key works like a left mouse click. Page 4 of 17

5 Hardware vs Software A piece of hardware is a mouse, keyboard, monitor, or digital camera. Hardware requires software to work. A piece of software is an application (program) that is a set of instructions that tells the hardware what to do. (i.e. Microsoft Word, Chrome, and Internet Explorer). We deal with software on a daily basis which fall into two categories: operating system and applications. The Start Menu The Start Menu has many uses. One thing it s useful for is that it is another way to open a program. If you have trouble opening a program using the icons on the desktop or if your computer does not display an icon on the desktop you can look in the start menu then Left click on the Windows Icon, then left click on All Programs. The list in the menu will change to show your programs list. Then left click on the name of the program you wish to open. When you get home take some time to explore the list of programs in your All Programs list. This lists every program installed on your machine. Using the Internet Internet Explorer is one of most the common programs used to view Internet pages. Once your computer has an Internet connection, you can go to any web page. Page 5 of 17

6 A fast way to jump right to the page you want to view is to type the page s address into the Address bar. Type into your browser s address bar and hit the Enter key on your keyboard. If you don t know the address of the page you want to go to, you can perform a search. You can go to and enter your search topic into the box in the middle of the page. Akron public library computer classes Hit the Enter key on your keyboard after typing into the box. This will take you to a search results page. Click on one of the blue titles to see what is on that page, and use the Back button to return to the previous page. Page 6 of 17

7 Microsoft Windows Microsoft makes the Windows operating system used in many computers. The operating system is a set of instructions that tells your computer how to run and how to manage the different programs that you install. There are several versions of Windows currently in use including Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8. The newest version of the Windows operating system is called Windows 10. When you install a newer version of your operating system, you upgrade to the more recent version. Most recent versions of windows are: Desktop The desktop is the screen you see once your computer has finished booting up and you are ready to get started. The small pictures are shortcuts to programs called icons, which are shortcuts are used to open an item or start an operation. You will double-click icons to start a program. The mouse is used to access an icon s corresponding program. Wallpaper Clicking the Start button also shows a list of programs and other options on the computer. Taskbar The blue bar across the bottom of the screen is the Task Bar. Here you can see the clock in the far right, and also what programs are open on your computer. Page 7 of 17

8 System Tray The system tray of your desktop area has icons to indicate which programs are running in the background. The more programs you have in this area, the longer it takes for your computer to boot up Place your mouse cursor over top of the icons to see what they are. (Don t click. A small explanation box will pop up.) Volume Controls The speaker icon will open the volume controls. Single click on the icon to make a quick volume change. Click and drag on the bar to raise or lower the overall volume, or click on the button to mute all sound. Hidden Icons There may be other icons in your system tray that are not being displayed at all times. To see those other icons, click on the Up arrow to the left of the icons. The other icons will appear in a window above the Up arrow. Antivirus Software - The Norton antivirus program can look like a yellow shield. AVG looks like this: If you have a different antivirus program you will have to look through the icons to see which one it is. To see options for using this program, either right click on the icon to see a menu or double click on the icon to open the program window. (Remember to keep your antivirus program up-to-date!) External Hardware Another icon you may run across quite often is your external hardware icon. This icon only shown when you have a piece of external hardware plugged in. Examples include things like flash drives, digital cameras, external hard drives, etc. When it s time to remove the device, it is recommended that you tell the computer to stop the connection with the device. That way your hardware isn t damaged when you pull the device out. To stop the device, left click one time on the icon. Choose which device you would like to remove, and left click on it one time. (Flash drives are commonly called USB Mass Storage Devices.) You will be informed when it s safe to remove the device. Windows Updates If you see this icon that means your computer has updates from Microsoft that need to be downloaded. Double click on the icon to see what needs to be done. Your computer will walk you through the steps. Power (Laptop only) Place your mouse cursor on top of the symbol and it will tell you the battery is charged or if it is currently charging. Wireless (Laptop only) Laptop computers are capable of connecting to a wireless network to gain access to the Internet. Page 8 of 17

9 To connect to a network, left click on the wireless icon and choose Connect to a network. In the window that appears, choose the network from the list that you desire to connect to and click on the Connect button that will appear in the lower right corner. If the network is Unsecured, anyone can connect to it. If the network is Securityenabled, then you will need a password to connect to it. Add or Remove Desktop Icons You can add or delete Icons or Desktop Shortcuts from the Desktop area. To add an Icon: Click on the Start button. Click on All Programs. A menu will appear with all of your programs. Go to the program that you want to create a shortcut for and Rightclick on it. A menu will appear. Point to Send To Left click on Desktop (create shortcut). Left click on the desktop area to see your new icon. To remove an icon: Left click on the icon once. Hit the Delete button on your keyboard. When your computer asks if you are sure you would like to delete this icon, click on the Yes button. The window that popped up is called a Dialog Box. Wallpaper The wallpaper, or image, that is on your desktop can be changed. To change your wallpaper: Find an empty area on your desktop with no icons or windows in the way. Right click on the empty space. Left click on Personalize. Page 9 of 17

10 A scrollbar indicates that there are more options to see for any given list. It is also found on the right side of Internet and Word documents to see more of the page. To navigate an area that has a scroll bar, either: OR Repeatedly left click on the up or down arrow to navigate up or down the area. Click and hold down the left mouse button on the small bar between the up and down arrows. Move your mouse up or down while holding the button down to navigate up or down the area. Display You can also change how large items appear on your screen. This cannot be done in the Library s computer labs. Find an empty area on your desktop with no icons or windows in the way. Right click on the empty space. Left click on Personalize. Click on Display in the lower left hand corner. Choose Smaller, Medium, or Larger. Click on Apply. Power Schemes Do you want to conserve your computer s energy or maximize the performance? Find an empty area on your desktop with no icons or windows in the way. Right click on the empty space. Left click on Personalize. Click on Screen Saver in the lower right corner. To change the power settings for your computer, click on the Change power settings button. Page 10 of 17

11 You can pick either pre-made power option from the middle of the window (just click on the radio button to select one). If you would like to personalize your power settings click on Change plan settings. Once you click on Change plan settings you will be able to see or change the settings for when the monitor and computer turns off after inactivity. Click on Save changes to save your changes. Page 11 of 17

12 Pin to Task Bar or Start Menu Have you ever wished you had quick access to Word, Excel, or PowerPoint without having to click and minimize whatever is open on your computer to get to it. You can Pin the icon to your Task Bar or Start Menu. Right Click on the icon you want to pin. Choose to Pin to Start Menu or Pin to Taskbar. Pin to Start Menu: Pin to Task Bar: Page 12 of 17

13 Appendix Troubleshooting FAQ Can I leave my computer on all the time? Generally yes. If you use your computer frequently throughout the day then you will want to keep it on. You may want to turn your monitor off to safe energy. However if you are on your computer for an hour or two per day then to save power and keep your machine cool you should turn it off when you are finished. You may also want to see other options on page 5. Desktop computers use anywhere from 65 to 250 watts. Laptops use 15 to 45 watts. To determine the exact number for your computer, you can check the manufacturer s website. This website: can give you more information on energy saving. What should I do when everything freezes and the mouse and the keyboard doesn t work? First, make sure the mouse and keyboard did not come unplugged from the back of the computer. If that is not the problem, try pressing the ESC key in the upper left corner of the keyboard. You can also press CTRL+ALT+DELETE to open the Task Manager, click on the program that is not responding, and then click on End Task. If nothing seems to help then you will have to re-start your computer (and you may lose whatever you were working on). Pressing CTRL+ALT+DELETE twice will turn your computer off. If that doesn t work hold the power button down for about five to ten seconds and the computer should power down. The computer is on, but the screen is blank: Check to be sure the monitor is turned on, plugged in, and connected to the computer. If the computer has not been in use for several minutes a screen saver may have started. Jiggle the mouse or press the space bar to stop the screensaver. When thinking about why your computer isn t working consider this: You will want to try and pinpoint when the trouble first began. Think about what has changed recently on your computer. Do the issues coincide with any recent changes? Did you change settings? Any hardware been added or recently removed? Have you downloaded anything from the web? Page 13 of 17

14 When you have an issue: Take notes about error messages and remember the steps you ve taken or write them down so when you speak with technical help you can give them all the information they might need to assist you with your issue. Housekeeping Tips Don t touch the screen. The oils from your fingers will leave fingerprints that are hard to remove. Avoid touching the screen if you can. Don t spray anything directly on the screen. To clean an LCD screen use LCD cleaner or cleaning cloths sold at most computer and electronics stores. To clean a Touch screen use a microfiber cloth. Use the cloth in small circular movements. Keep drinks and food away from the computer. This is tough, but one cup of coffee or can of pop can ruin your keyboard. Also crumbs can be a problem. To clean a keyboard, use compressed air, or a small clean paint brush to brush out lint and other debris. If you spill liquid on the keyboard, shut down the computer, then disconnect and turn the keyboard upside down to allow the liquid to drain. Keep magnets away from your hard drive. This isn t housekeeping, but a magnet can ruin your hard drive, so don t put any around the computer. Keep it cool Don't restrict airflow around the computer. Avoid stacking papers, books, or other items around your computer. Many computer desks have an enclosed compartment for the CPU part of the computer. If you have this type of desk, you may want to position the case so it is not against the back side of the desk. If the desk has a door, you may want to leave it open to improve airflow. Safety Tips Use a surge protector Plug all your computer components into a surge protector. Then plug the surge protector into the wall outlet. The surge protector will protect your computer against power surges that can short out the system. Do not unplug any components until the computer is turned off and unplugged. This includes turning off and unplugging your surge protector. This is to prevent electric shock. Wires You will want to make sure that you keep the area clutter free. Make sure your cords are not under your feet to trip you up. Page 14 of 17

15 Add User Account with Password Click on the Start button. Click on Control panel. Set to Category View. Click on Add or remove user accounts under User Accounts and Family safety. Click on Manage User Accounts. Click Create New Account. Add a name in the New account name box. Click Create Account. Click on the new account you just created. o You have the choice to change the account name, create a password, change the picture, delete the account, etc. Page 15 of 17

16 Create Password If you would like to create a password for either your account or the new account you just created. Click on the account you would like to change. Click on create password. Type in the password. Type it in again to confirm it. Give a hint to the password if you would like to help yourself remember it. Click create password button. Once you create a password you will have two more options either to change password or remove it. Change the Picture Whether you create more than one account or just a main account for yourself you can have a picture that designates your account. Click on the Start button. Click on Control panel. Click on Add or remove user accounts under User Accounts and Family safety. Click on Manage User Accounts. Click on the account you would like to change. Page 16 of 17

17 Click on Change the Picture. Click on the picture you would like to use. Once you have chosen your picture the change picture will become active. Click on Change Picture. Delete an account If you would like to delete an account you have created. Click on the Start button. Click on Control panel. Click on Add or remove user accounts under User Accounts and Family safety. Click on Manage User Accounts. Click on the account you would like to change. Click on Delete Account. A warning message with pop up that allows you to keep all the files, pictures, etc. in the account in a folder on your desktop. Whether you click delete files or keep files you will be asked to confirm this action. Click cancel will cause no action to happen. Page 17 of 17

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