Archive for 'Windows'

As a computer trainer, I work with people at all levels when it comes to computer skills.  Whether I am working one-to-one, or in a classroom situation, I ask questions about a student’s experience and goals to help me create a custom training plan.

I also make “quiet” observations that help me quickly assess how well-trained (or not) people are. It is not a judgment of how smart someone is, simply a tool to give me a starting point related to helping my clients.  

Co-workers or others may be more judgmental about some of the same indicators I use. That gave me the idea to write a post about it. See if any of these apply to you:

  1. You have no idea which operating system you’re using on your own personal computer.
  2. You do not know the difference between right click and left click, or have trouble moving your pointer when you reach the edge of the mouse pad.
  3. You turn off your computer by simply pressing the power button.
  4. You do not know the difference between “Windows” and “Office.”
  5. When using the internet, you do not know the difference between the address bar and the search bar.
  6. You do not know what it means to minimize or maximize a window.
  7. You think you must close your current program in order to open something else.
  8. You use your email program as your permanent storage place for files and pictures you’ve received by email.
  9. You are unaware that you can scroll down on a website to see more of the page.
  10. You are clueless when asked to go to your documents or pictures folder.

I know many of my readers are NOT this basic – and may even be giggling at some of these. If you’re not giggling – if you’re tired of being a “computer dummy,”  give us a call to schedule training.

I’ll provide the answers to these in future posts. Stay tuned!

Stop Unwanted Startup Windows

Have you ever had a new window begin appearing every time you start your computer and find yourself asking “Where did that come from?”

This can occur after you have installed a new program, or when your computer has installed a Windows update.

In this illustration, a Windows Live Messenger sign-in screen began to appear every time I started my computer. This occurred after a Windows Update.


True, I could just close the window each time, but there is no need to do that if I remove it from my startup configuration. I could also close down the icon on my Task Bar by right-clicking and selecting [Exit]. But the program will appear again next time I start the computer.

The visual indicator of the programs opening and running in the background on your computer is an area called the Systray, which is where your computer clock is (lower-right corner of your screen).

Several of these programs need to be running, such as the sound, your computer network, your anti-virus software, and perhaps some programs that you use regularly. But the more icons you have in this area:

1. The longer your computer start-up takes.
2. More memory resources are being used by your computer for those programs running in the background.

You have the option of removing these programs from the Start-Up without removing them from your computer.

In this demonstration, I’m on a Windows Vista computer, though the process works similarly with Windows 7.

1.  Click the Start button (lowerleft) and type “run.”  This will find a program called RUN. Click on that.

2.  Type msconfig, press [Enter].

3.  In Windows Vista, you may be asked permission to continue. Click [Continue].

4.  In the System Configuration dialog box, click the Startup tab.
      You will see a list of checkboxes and programs running in the background.
      The Startup Item column can be widened if it’s difficult to see the program name.

5.  Remove the checkmark from the program you want to disable from Startup.  Sometimes it can be difficult to identify which program that is. The command column can sometimes provide some clues.

In this illustration, I want to remove the checkmark from Windows Live Messenger.


You may need to restart your computer. If you are ready to restart, click that button. Otherwise, you can [Exit without restart] to continue working with your computer and restart your computer later. 

After going through these steps, the Windows Live Messenger window no longer opens automatically on my computer. However, the program is still on my computer, so I can open it when I need it.

Tags: ,

Cut/Copy and Paste are computing essentials, giving you the ability to edit quickly and easily. Because it is such a basic yet important skill, many of you already know the drill. However, many of my readers are still learning the basics, so this is for those of you unsure of your Cut/Copy/Paste skills.

Difference between Cut versus Copy

CUT and paste removes text or objects from the original location to move it elsewhere.
COPY and paste leaves the original in place while you copy it to another location.

There are 5 Methods for Cut/Copy/Paste. We’ll use Microsoft Word 2007 as our program example here, but the keyboard and right-click methods can be used in any program.

1. Keyboard
2. Right-Click
3. Ribbon (toolbar)
4 “Drag ‘N Drop”
5. Quick Access Toolbar can be customized to include Cut/Copy/Paste. (Next to Office Button in upper-left corner of screen, must be customized first)

4 out of the 5 COPY or CUT actions happen in four steps. What varies is the command method.

1. Highlight the text you are copying or moving.
2. Activate COPY or CUT command
3. Place cursor where you want to place the text.
4. Issue PASTE command.

Here are the specifics for each method. Try them to see which one you prefer. Remember to highlight the text first.

1. Keyboard Method: CTRL + C to copy; CTRL + X to cut; CTRL + V to Paste

2. Right-click method: Right-click > Copy or Cut; Right-click > Paste

3. Ribbon Method – on left side of the Home Ribbon
Click Copy button or Cut button (scissors). Click at your destination, then click Paste button (clipboard button at far left of Home Ribbon).

4. Drag-and-drop: Highlight text to copy or move. To move: Point at the highlighted text, use the mouse to “drag” the highlighted area to your destination.
To copy: Hold CTRL key down while you drag

5. Quick Access Toolbar Method
Copy and Paste commands must be added to the toolbar first by clicking on the customize drop-down arrow

Some examples of places to use Cut/Copy/Paste: Email, Internet, Windows, Excel, Photo editing… and much more!

Like knowing the shortcuts?  Our Microsoft Word Shortcuts “Cheat Sheet” is now available. Click here  for more information.

Tags: , ,

Any Microsoft product that starts with the word “Windows” is referring to the Microsoft operating system (OS).  The Operating System is the software that makes the computer work.  It is also the “interface” between we humans – and the machine!  Without the operating system, the computer would not work.  Other operating systems (not Windows) include Mac, and Linux.

 Windows 7 is the most current Microsoft OS, and there are several versions, including Home, Business, and Ultimate. If you need a computer for business purposes, the Professional version is recommended.   

 Home Edition is not a “managed” OS, meaning it’s not typically managed by technology professionals. The Professional edition has more tools for a business in an IT-managed environment. Vista Professional is a business- and power-user oriented superset of Home Edition and includes features that may be too complex for the typical home user. One difference is security, which is vastly simplified in Home Edition.

What is Office?

Microsoft Office refers to a bundle of Microsoft computer programs used widely in business, including Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint.  Not all computers come with Microsoft Office – it must be purchased and installed.  What these programs do:

  • Word – Word processing – letters, memos, reports.
  • Excel – Spreadsheets – financial data, simple data base, number crunching.
  • Outlook – Email, calendar, contacts, and organizational program.
  • PowerPoint – Presentation software – for creating overhead projection presentations, slideshows, or handouts.

The more you can use the keyboard for getting around or doing tasks in programs or online, the faster you will be.  Also, the same keyboard commands often work in situations where you can’t find the command elsewhere in the program you are using. So get to know some of these shortcuts gradually. Commit to picking out one a day to focus on.  You’ll be amazed at how quickly you remember and use them.

These are the shortcuts I teach in my beginning Word class.

Getting around a document or a page using the keyboard: 


Moves Your Cursor:

HOME Beginning of the line
Ctrl + Home Top of the document
END End (right side) of line
Ctrl + End Bottom of the document
CTRL +  right arrow Word-by word
CTRL + down arrow Moves your cursor down paragraph by paragraph

 Selecting text: 

Select What

Do this:

Select character-by-character Shift  + Right Arrow
Select word-by word Double-click on the word
Select sentence CTRL + click on sentence
Paragraph Triple-click on the paragraph
Select blocks of text.  Click once at your starting point, Shift-click at your ending point. Click at your starting point, SHIFT + Click at ending point
Select Vertical blocks of text Hold ALT key down and drag over text.
Select ALL (the entire document!) Get right-pointed arrow in the left margin and CTRL + Click

Other cool shortcuts:


Do This:

Find words or phrases CTRL + F, Type in word or phrase, click Next
Tab (indent) mid-paragraph line CTRL + Tab
Double space CTRL + 2
Single space CTRL + 1
1.5 Space CTRL + 5
Page Break CTRL + Enter
Switch to other windows Hold ALT key down, press TAB
Undo CTRL + Z
Tags: , ,

For those of you who previously had a computer with Windows XP, and
you have purchased a new computer with Windows Vista, there is
always an adjustment to learning a new environment.

And, if you received training from The Computer Tutor, you learned
about the Up One Level button for navigating through your Windows
XP file system. 

Where has it gone in Windows Vista?   No worries – you can still
easily navigate “Up One Level” with Vista’s “breadcrumb”
navigation.  Simply click on a folder on the address bar where you
can see the “path” that you have taken to get to where you are. OR
there is a drop-down arrow next to each folder name for a list of
other locations to jump to.

Use Vista's "Previous Locations" bar to go back up the path
Even Hansel and Gretel could find their way home again!

Back to top