This is your basic PC training manual. If your computer came installed with Windows 7, rejoice! Getting started will be relatively simple. In no time you’ll be surfing the Internet, printing documents, posting on Facebook and using your favorite programs. Windows 7 is pretty intuitive, especially if you’ve used any Windows operating system in the past ten years. We believe that this basic PC training manual is still relevant even though Windows 7 has been available for the past couple of years.
Microsoft’s newest operating system is Windows 10. With this operating system, Microsoft aimed to combine the user experience of the tablet owner (where you interact with the device through motions on the touchscreen) and the PC owner (with more laptops on the market providing touchscreen functionality).
This basic PC training manual will take you through the paces of Windows 7.When you start your new computer. You will find that at the bottom of the screen there is a bar. This bar provides many of the key ways to interact with your new machine. Far on the left you will see a circle with the Windows logo inside it. This is the Start menu. By clicking on it, you’ll be able to access all of the laptop’s available programs (installed software), as well as the Control Panel (which allows you to change settings and configurations on your device).
To the far left on this bar you will see the local time. If this display is not accurately reflecting the local hour, hover over it, right-click on it (click the right button on your mouse while on top of it), and choose “Adjust Time/Date” from the menu that appears as a result.
Next to the time and date you’ll see a small speaker icon. This controls the volume on the computer. Immediately to its left, you’ll see an icon formed by several bars in ascending order. This is your internet connectivity. (If it is showing a yellow sign with an exclamation mark on it, you’ll need to set up an Internet connection before being able to surf the web.)
The rest of the screen is generally referred to as your ‘desktop’. On this desktop you’ll find several icons – each of these is a shortcut to a program or functionality you are likely to find useful. The icon that looks like a trashcan is where you’ll find any documents you choose to delete. It is worthwhile to regularly ’empty’ this ‘recycling bin’ – as Microsoft calls it – by right-clicking on it and choosing “Empty recycling bin” from the menu.
One of the icons on your desktop should look like a blue lower-case “e”. You may also see this symbol in the menu that appears when you click on the “Start” icon at bottom left, and it may also be displaying on your toolbar at the bottom of the page. This “e” symbol is a shortcut to Internet Explorer – an Internet Browser. (A browser is a program that enables you to interact with the Internet). There are other browsers available – Mozilla Firefox is a popular browser, and Google’s Chrome is also gaining in popularity. However, since Microsoft makes Internet Explorer and Microsoft also makes Windows 7, it is IE (Internet Explorer) that comes standard with the machine. You can use Internet Explorer to access the Internet, or you can choose to download and install Firefox or Chrome and set either of those as your default internet browser.
Connecting to the Internet is usually accomplished by setting up Internet service through a local provider (such as Time Warner or RoadRunner, etc.) and then connecting an internet cable from the Internet modem (the device that the Internet provider company installed as part of their service) to your computer. Alternatively, you can use a Wireless modem. This will allow you to place your computer anywhere in the house – without the need for a cable connection to the modem. In order to connect wirelessly, you’ll need to select the appropriate network from the Internet icon at bottom right on your screen, and then enter the right password. You may seek the assistance of your Internet provider technician to get this done.
Once your computer is connected to the Internet, you will see the bars on that small icon on the bottom right fill with white, indicating a good-quality connection. You can now launch the Internet Explorer browser (by clicking on its icon – either on the toolbar at the bottom of the screen, or on the desktop, or among the items on the Start menu when you click on the Windows logo at bottom left). This should open on a default webpage. You should now be all set to surf the web – you can visit any website or log in to your web-based email account, such as gmail, yahoo or Microsoft live). By typing the URL (universal resource locator) of the site you’d like to visit and pressing “enter”, you should be able to navigate to that site. The URL generally consists of “http://” at the start (this defines the Web’s protocol for accessing files – it stands for ‘hypertext transfer protocol’), followed by the ‘domain name’ (the name of the site, usually with .com, .net. or some similar extension at the end). Google’s URL is http://www.google.com. A URL often has the path of a specific page or file after the domain name – unless it is referring to the “home page” (default or first page) of a site.
In order to access Facebook, for example. you simply type “http://www.facebook.com” on the address bar and press “Enter”.
There are many more things you can do with your computer – and you’re encouraged to learn about those things as well. A really easy way to learn more about your computer is to go to YouTube (http://www.youtube.com), and then entering the topic you’d like to learn in YouTube’s own search bar. For example, if you’d like to learn how to print pages on your computer, type “how do I print pages in Windows 7?” in YouTube’s search bar. YouTube is filled with useful tutorials made by people like you and I. These tutorials cover a vast gamut of topics. Choose the video you’d like to watch, and get ready to learn!
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