The Computer Help A to Z Tips-Kit

by John Anthony

25 tips for Windows XP, 7 and 10 to help you get the most from your PC!

------- Press Cntl + S while viewing this file to save it on your PC ------


Notes:

The terms program and application are used interchangeably in this file.

The -> symbol between terms such as A -> B -> C indicates to the successive selection of A then B then C.

Wherever the term 'click' appears, use the left mouse button unless the directions indicate the right button with right-click.

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Notepad and Wordpad - Use them to create documents

Notepad is a very basic word processor.
Wordpad is more advanced and operates like a subset of Word.
Both area available in Windows XP, 7 and 10.

  • Opening Notebook or Wordpad in Windows XP and 7:

    Click Start -> Programs -> Accessories.

    The icons for both programs are found in the list that opens.

    Single click the program you want and it opens with a blank document.

  • Opening Notebook or Wordpad in Windows 10:

    Click Start-> All Apps -> Windows Accessories.

    The icons for both programs are found in the list that opens.

    Single click the program you want and it opens with a blank document.


Sleep, Reset or Shutdown a PC

Sleep puts your PC in a low power state. Laptops routinely enter this state when on battery power.
Restart reboots the PC without completely powering it off.
Shutdown shuts down the PC and then powers it off.

To get the menu from which you can pick Sleep, Restart or Shutdown

Click Start and a pop up window appears.

In Windows XP Click 'Turn Off Computer' and then select the action you want from the pop up window.

In Windows 7 select Shutdown or for other actions click the right side arrow.

In Windows 10 click Power and then select the action you want from the pop up window.


Disk Cleanup - Use it to delete unneeded files on your PC

As you visit Internet sites and work with applications on your PC many files you never see are create.

Most of these files once used at the time they are created hang around and do nothing but take up space.


Running Disk Cleanup deletes them.
  • In Windows XP and 7:

    Click in order: Start, All Programs, Accessories, System Tools.

    From the drop down menu click Disk Cleanup and follow the prompts.


  • In Windows 10:

    Press the Windows + R keys and type cleanmgr in the dialog box then click OK.

    If you have more than one drive then select the Windows C: drive or the drive letter you wanted to clean, and click OK.



Using the Recycle bin

Any time you delete an item (folder, file or icon) it isn't immediately deleted but instead goes into the Recycle Bin where the file remains until you restore it or permanently delete it.

  • Restoring items

    Open the Recycle Bin by clicking the Recycle Bin icon on the Desktop.
    A list of all folders and files in the recycle bin is displayed.

    Select the item to be restored with the right mouse button.

    Click Restore from the menu that appears and the item is restored to it's original location.

  • Deleting items

    Open the Recycle Bin by clicking the Recycle Bin icon on the Desktop.
    A list of all folders and files in the recycle bin is displayed.

    Select the item to be deleted with the right mouse button.

    Click Delete from the menu that appears and the item is restored to it's original location.

  • Emptying the Recycle Bin

    Click File on the recycle bin menu bar, then click the selection Empty Recycle Bin.

    Everything in the Recycle Bin is permanently deleted.



Bypassing the Recycle Bin

If you are sure that you do not want a folder or file, you can bypass the Recycle Bin and permanently delete it.

Select the item you want to delete. Hold the Shift key down then press the Delete key.

The item bypasses the Recycle Bin and is permanently deleted.


What is Windows Explorer

The program provides a way for you to manage all the folders and files on your PC.

Windows Explorer has been included with every Windows OS since Windows 95.
(In Windows 10 it is called File Explorer.)


How to view Folders and Files

Open Windows Explorer by right-clicking Start and then clicking on the Windows Explorer.
(File Explorer in Windows 10).

On the left side of Windows Explorer you will see by default labeled sections that vary in each operating system version.

Locate and click on My computer in Windows XP, Computer in Windows 7 and This PC in Windows 10 and all the drives on the PC are shown.

The C: drive is the drive that displays all the folders and files on your PC.

Folders are shown in the left pane of Windows Explorer.

Select any folder in the left pane by clicking it and all the folders and files in it are displayed in the right pane.

Selecting any file displayed in the right pane causes the program associated with the filetype of the file to open it.


Selecting Text within a File

Place the mouse cursor at one end of the text of interest and hold down the left mouse button as you drag the cursor across the text.

Release the button and the selected text is highlighted.

To unselect an item just move your cursor to a clear area and left click the mouse.


Moving Files and Folders in Windows Explorer

Select the file or folder you wish to move, and continue holding down the left mouse button.

Drag the selected item until it is over the destination folder.

Release the button and the item is moved to the destination folder.

NOTE: When you move a folder all folders and files under it are also moved.


Copying Files and Folders in Windows Explorer

Place the cursor over the file or folder you want to copy, and right-click your mouse.

Select copy from the menu that appears.

Place your cursor over the destination folder and again right-click your mouse.

Select paste from the menu and the item is copied to the destination folder.

NOTE: When you copy a folder all folders and files under it are also copied.


How to add a new folder in Windows Explorer

Select the folder in the left pane that you want to add a new folder to.

Then right click an open area in the right pane and select New from the drop down menu.

Click New and select Folder form the options shown.

A new folder with the name 'New Folder' in high lighted text appears in the right pane.

Type in the name you want to give this new folder and hit the enter key, or left click the mouse.


How to delete a file or folder in Windows Explorer

Right click the file or folder you want to delete.

Select Delete form the drop down list and a pop up asks you to conform the deletions.

Selecting yes deletes the folder and all folders and files under it.


How to rename a folder in Windows Explorer

Right click the folder name you want to change.

Select Rename from the drop down list and the folder name becomes high lighted.

Type in the new File name and hit the enter key or left click the mouse.


Control the view of running programs on the Desktop

Every running program in Windows runs in a window on the desktop.
In the upper right corner of each window are three small control boxes that enable you to
minimize, resize or close the window.


Minimize a Window

The left most window control is a minus [-] sign.

Click the minus sign and the application is minimized and placed on the Task Bar as a small icon.

To make the application active again, click the minimized icon for it and it expands and becomes the active program on your desktop.


Resize a Window

The center window control is two small squares, one behind the other.

Click the squares and the application is downsized but remains active on the desktop.

Clicking the squares again returns the window to full size.


Close a Window

The right most control is an [x].

Click the X and the window and application running in it are closed.


Add a shortcut on the Desktop

A shortcut is an icon on the desktop that you click to open an application.

To add a shortcut:

Right-click anywhere on the desktop and a pop-up menu appears.

Select New then the selection Shortcut and a Create Shortcut window opens.

Use the Browse button to find the path to the application or program.

Select the icon of the program you want and the path to it appears in the Command Line box.

Click Next and a Select a Title box appears where you are asked to enter a name for the shortcut.

Enter a name and then click Finish. The new shortcut appears on the desktop ready to use.


Using the Control Panel

The Control Panel is a utility that lets you configure just about everything in your PC.

To open the Control Panel:

Left Click Start (Right Click Start in Windows 10), then click on Control Panel.

The Control Panel Window opens with many icons each representing an accessible function on the PC.


Uninstall programs on your PC

In the Control Panel click the Programs and Features icon (the Add/Remove programs icon in Windows XP).

The Installed Program windows opens showing a list of all user installed programs on the PC.

To remove a program, right click it and an Uninstall button appears. Click and you will asked if you want to proceed.

Clicking 'yes' removes all the components of the selected program.


Set PC Power Options for your PC

In the Control Panel, left click the Power Options icon, (In Windows XP make sure the Power Schemes tab is selected.)

A Power Options Window opens with two power plans.
To the right of each plan is a 'Change plan Settings" link which will open up options to set running/on times of key components in your PC.
There will some variances in these options depending on which Windows operating system you have.

Power schemes is very useful, especially if you leave your PC on all the time or have a laptop with a battery.


Add program icons to TaskBar

In Windows 7 and 10 you can place program icons on the Taskbar where clicking the icon launches the program.

Any icon on the Desktop can be placed on the TaskBar by dragging it from the Desktop to the Taskbar and releasing it.

In Windows XP you cannot add program icons to the TaskBar.
Instead you can open the Quick Launch Toolbar on the TaskBar and add program icons to it.

  • Opening the Quick Launch Toolbar:

    Right click anywhere on the open TaskBar and then click on Toolbars.

    In the drop down box check Quick Launch and this opens Toolbar on the Taskbar.

    Any icon on the Desktop can be dragged it from the Desktop to the Taskbar and releasing it.



Show the Desktop, when it is hidden behind many windows

In Windows 7 and 10 you can open the Desktop by clicking the small vertical bar at the right end of the Taskbar.

In Windows XP the bar is not present but you can add a 'Show Desktop' icon to the Quick Launch Toolbar which does the same thing.

How to Create the Show Desktop Icon.

  • Open Notepad by clicking Start, then Run, then Notepad.

  • Insert the following text into the notepad:

    [Shell]
    command=2
    IconFile=explorer.exe,3
    [Taskbar]
    Command=ToggleDesktop

  • Choose File, then Save as, and save the file with the name, Show Desktop.scf

    to C:\Documents and Settings\User\Application Data\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch (where User is your User Name).

Find the Show Desktop icon on the Quick Launch Toolbar.


How to determine the CPU and software OS installed on your PC
  • In Windows XP:

    Right click My Computer and select Properties from the drop down list.

    Select the General tab which displays:

    The operating system, the version , and Service pack.

  • In Windows 7 and 10:

    Right-click Computer (in 7), or This PC (in 10)

    A system window appears showing the OS and hardware details of your PC.

Protect Your PC with a Surge Protector

This is an area that is critical to the continued operation of your PC. Power surges and lightning strikes can sometimes get coupled onto your PC through the power or phone line.
These surges can damage your PC.

Surge protected power strips have snubber circuits that filter out these potentially dangerous power line transients.

In addition to AC line protection many surge protectors also have protected phone line connectors. Use these to protect your PC's modem:

  • Plug a standard telephone cable between the phone wall connector and the 'In' connector on the surge protector.

  • Use a second cable to connect your modem to the 'Out' connector.

Your modem and PC are now protected from dangerous line transients.

Surge protectors with these features cost around $20 dollars and are well worth every penny of it!


Save your work often

When you are creating or modifying a file make sure to save your work often.
Every time I add a line or two I save it. You'd be amazed at how much work can be produced in just a few minutes and potentially lost if not saved.

Here are a few ways to do this.

  • Most applications have a Save icon (looks like a floppy disk) on the toolbar near the top of screen.
    Just click it and the latest changes are saved.

  • An alternate way is to hold down the 'Alt' key, press the 'F' key then the 'S' key.

  • In some applications there is an auto save feature that will automatically save your work on time intervals you can set.
    You'll need to check the application help feature to find it but it is well worth the time invested.


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