Computer Classes For Home Owner

Simplified Computer hook-up for the home owner
First of all do you know how to turn on a computer? Do you think a computer mouse is a rodent that lives in side your computer? Do you think a computer virus is contagious? Then this class is for you. This is a series of internet classes complete for the dumbest of the dumb which will call Morons 101. If you feel like you are beyond this information then go to class 102, 103 etc. etc.etc. But I do cover a lot of stuff even the computer savvy would probably learn a bit. We cover a lot of computer language, even learn what all the jargon on the box means. It wouldn’t be fair to the most illiterate dumb …. about computers if I didn’t start from scratch and teach people hookup a system from scratch and know nothing about computers . Here we teach what to do when you get your computer out of the box. So here we go with class 101. 

The Reason for writing this class
You know the reason I’m writing this class is because 10 years ago I needed to learn about this things called computers. Believe me when I say when it came to computers I was a candidate for “Computer Classes for Morons”. I thought since my secretary knew about computers I didn’t need to waist my brain cells to learn about it. The problem was that the secretary quit and I was stuck with this metal box that had my info on it and I didn’t know what to do with it. It seems like the secretary had something called a password on it. So I pushed buttons and nothing happened so I took it to the warehouse and began to smack it on the floor added a few swift kicks. I figured I could shake the password thing off. I know in the past I had good luck beating something in the shop into submission until it worked. Everybody knows that if something don’t work you beat the heck out of it until something happens. Ether it’s going to start working or set something on fire.….(true story) So I carried the thing back to the secretary’s office and plugged them little wires in even though I didn’t know where they went, then I cut on the power and after a puff of smoke still nothing happened. I then started calling these geek people who knows about these things, and I learned I had committed computer “harry carry”. It appears you have to cuddle these things like the last cold beer on a hot day. It seems these computers have an electric brain and I have given mine a concussion. So now its useless so I put back in the warehouse and I kicked it every time I passed by it. I found it to be a great stress relief for me and my other employees as they were also given permission to drop kick the computer as they passed by it. It worked great seeing how the employees didn’t get paid on time that week due to that computer. So, I had no alternative but to learn about these things. To start with it was about as painful as having all wisdom teeth pulled. The problem is there was no books like this one and I had to learn all these words I never heard before. I could have been cussed out by a foreign language and it would have been the same to me. I decided I would learn one or two words per day until I could talk computer talk. In about a month I could go to Wal-Mart in the electronic section and say a few computer words and they actually thought I knew what I was talking about. However I was still dumb as a rock. It probably took me a year until I was really able to turn the thing on and began to press buttons that meant something. But don’t get discouraged here because I’ve already made all the mistakes and I can give you the compressed version. You will be able to see if your cousin is on naughty sites before you know it because I am now what they call an “expert” for what it’s worth.
More and more computers are being sold and if we are in our later years we find toddlers in daycare are far beyond the older mainstream Americans. I love the remarks I hear like, “I’m too old to start learning about computers”. Well I say to this is that if you live 5 more years and don’t start now, you will be 5 years older and still stupid about computers. With that said I figured I would offer my time to eBook a class on computers a monkey could follow. Heck if a dog didn’t have paws I could teach it about computers. The reason of this is because about 5 years ago, I said “I’m too old to learn about computers”. So with that excuse off the drawing board and just assuming you can read and write, and also you happen to know someone with a computer that will carry you to this website, then you are on your way.

One complaint with computers that hear the most are stuff like “I don’t even know how to turn a computer on”. Another is “I need you to come by and set up my computer because I don’t know how to plug all those cords in the back”. Now if you fall into one of these categories you might be in need of Computer Classes for Red Necks”. Here we will not only know how to turn a computer on, but you will learn how to go out and buy your first computer and make sure when you get it home you find out you been cheated and the thing becomes a coffee table or a boat anchor. I assure you the rectangle box don’t hold the bottom of a lake very well, and you need at least 3 of them to hold the plywood to make a good coffee table. But to ensure you don’t end up with one of these you need to learn a few words to know what you are buying. Another thing bewares if you are buying a computer from your local pawn shop because they are usually as out dated as a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Buy a new one if you can, you will be patting yourself on your back before you know it.

Now its time to get into the meat and potatoes of this project and learn computer language. For the future of this class I am going to shorten com-puter to just “PC” which means “Personal Computer”, because I type like two bird beaks pecking at a keyboard. Which reminds me when we are fix’n a PC we have a corn dispenser that allows corn to settle on a particular key on the keyboard and chicken pecks it. That shows how easy it is to fix one of these things when you have the knowhow. So first thing we are going to learn is this PC language stuff and then you should be able to find the power button and be on your way to find useless information on the internet.

Buying a computer
What Computer do I by? Well with computers being offered from flea markets to pawnshops, Wal-Mart, Best Buy or any other specialty shops, it is as hard to choose what to buy. Of course we usually lean toward a cheap computer when we get our first, so we won’t have a lot invested if we find out we can’t do this computer stuff and pass it down to the next unfortunate individual. Well let me tell you just as I thought computers are not a fad or fashion statement. In fact every year the opposite is happening.

First of all new computers verses old computer. Well since computers are not going away I would advise you buy the best computer you can afford so in the future you don’t have to buy another one in a few years because your knowledge has filled up the one you bought from the back of a station wagon traveling computer salesman. Now if you ever go computer shopping you are going to learn more about words like ram, gigabytes, hertz, and the list goes on. You will know all about this computer talk in a matter of minutes, just bare with me. The good thing about buying a new computer is all this information is on the box. If you buy an old computer all you have is a model number. It’s kind of like going and buying a new car verses old car. The new car comes with list of all the extras on it. And old car says “AS IS NO WARRABTEE”. I’m not saying not to buy an older computer, I’m just saying have someone with computer asses to look up the model number and tell you what package it comes with. Another question is asked what brand do I buy? Well from experience I have bout the most expensive computer and the cheapest computer…..who cares they are all probably built in China anyway. So if you are approached about an older computer, say its eMachine model number 4260, write down the make and model number and have a friend search the internet and see what it’s specifications are. It’s that simple.

Now what about this computer stuff on the box? Well most people may as well be reading Greek, because it means nothing. So I’m going to cover the most important aspects of a computer so you will actually sound as you know what you are talking about. The first word is “hard drive”. That scares a lot of people as we don’t want a car that is hard to drive. Well in computer talk a large “hard drive” is good. Now a hard drive is simply the device in the computer that holds information. Lets think of it as a bunch of file cabinets. The more file cabinets you have the more information you can cram in them. This thing is usually the size of 2 sardine cans setting side by side but with more file space than you could ever imagine. The hard drive is measures in something called a “Byte”. To make things simple let’s think of a “Byte” as a piece of paper, or a photograph that you have in your home file cabinet. Most hard drives are measured in “Gigabytes”. You really don’t need to know what a “Giga” is, just trust me it is a bunch. In fact 1 gigabyte file cabinet could hold as much as a 1000 family photo’s. But, since there are other things on the computer are in need of a byte or two, you don’t get a full gigabyte of free information. It’s like taking a date to a free family reunion buffet. Even though they try to grow camel humps and eat enough to sustain themselves for three days, there is still food left over. So we will call the leftovers free gigabytes. Now how many gigabytes do we need on our hard drive? Well it depends on how many programs you want to use, how many family pictures you want to store, or how many movies you want to download. I would say if you can get a computer with at least 50 gigabytes minimum you will be ok. It is not heard of for cheap new computers to have 1000 gigabytes. Now we know what a hard drive is and how it is measured.

Understanding the specifications of a computer
Don’t get sucked in by all this crap that tries to confuse you when you look at a computer specification. This is an example. Now we done learned some computer words let’s put them to use. Read the specs on the computer below and I will break it down to simple ole country talk.
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#770-630-2309·  Athlon II X2 220 Processor 2.8GHz, 1MB cache
·  2GB DDR3 memory 2GB of memory give you options for surfing, video conferencing, documents, basic photo editing and simple eMachines home computer tasks
·  500GB SATA hard drive Store over 333,000 photos, 142,000 songs, or 263 hours of HD videos and more
·  10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet LAN Connect to a broadband modem or a wired broadband router with wired Ethernet using the connection built right into your eMachines desktop PC
·  NVIDIA GeForce 6150SE integrated graphics
·  Expansion ports: 1 x PCI-E, 1 x PCI-E x16
The first thing we see is eMachine it’s black and the model number is EL1352G-14w. This really means nothing. It’s just who makes the computer and their model number.

The  Athlon II x2 220 Processor 2.8GHz, 1MB cache. Most of this is junk. Athlon is just who made your processor; it’s just a name brand. You may find processors by Intel, Celeron, AMD etc. The thing that dose matter is it has a dual processor that is the X2 part of that line. X2 is another way of saying dual core. The next thing is the processor is 2.8GHz this is another way of saying our processor is 2.8 “Giga Hertz”.  The other thing is 1MB cache. We have not covered this because it doesn’t mean much. Notice the new symbol MB that means “Mega BYTES” that is not a bunch but mare than a little.  A Mega is 1/1000 of a Giga. All it is saying that it is taking a spot on your hard drive and dedicating it to remember searches you have made in the future. Like the barn full of file cabinets, you asked for the names on the Titanic. After this search was done let’s pretend instead of filing all the names back in the cabinets, they take my information and stick it in a folder so when I go back to the barn the next day and ask for the same search, they just give me a folder on top of the desk at the front door. That is as cool as a broken ramp of a motorcycle jump.

Now for the 2GB DDR3 2GB Memory. Now do you remember the word “RAM”? Well that is what this is. We like “RAM” because that means more little gremlins are running through our hard drive assessing information. The first number “2GB” is saying this particular computer has 2-Giga Bytes. Let me say that this means you will be very happy with the speed of your computer. The DDR3 is just what type it is, so for our purpose it means nothing. However if your computer has a place to add memory, then this tells you that if you want to increase your ram you can go on eBay “who is the cheapest to get this stuff” and know that you have DDR3.

Now for the big one “500GB Sata Hard Drive”. You can look at the description beside this and see how many photo’s over 330,000 and 142,000 songs or 263 Hours of vides can be held by this object. You might even say it is the brain, and all the other stuff is needed to tell the brain what to do. 500 Giga Bytes is a bunch. I don’t even think my brain is a 10GB hard drive. The average PC user should never fill this up, unless you download a bunch, and I mean a bunch of videos. I want to add that you see beside it is the word “SATA”, or it could be the word “IDE”.  All it means to computer geek is how it hooks to the rest of the computer.  Again this just tells you what kind of Hard Drive you have. At this time that is useless information, so forget about it.

The  10/100/100 Gigabit Ethernet Card, is just telling you that you have a connection to high speed internet already installed. Notice the “Giga” word again. It seems like everything computer you put a “Giga” in front of it to make it sound better, like the word magnum, or lightning. What this actually means is that you can run a wire directly from your computer using this port or hole if you don’t know what a port is, then straight into your high speed internet box. Then you can process information fast from the world we call Cyber Space. Don’t be fooled. There are older computers not set up for a port, or hole to plug into a high speed modem. Sometimes you may have to install what is known as an “Ethernet Card”. So guess what the wire is called that plugs from the modem to your Ethernet card? An Ethernet wire of course. For those who never saw one of these, it looks like an oversized phone cable. Heck they sell e’m at Wally World for under $20.00. All I want to tell you about here is that 10/100/100 port has a built in place to plug your Ethernet plug into. We will get into this internet thing later after we learn how to cut the computer on.

The Nivida Geforce. This means nothing other than when they build this computer they went with a Nivida Geforce brand named card. This is just another card that that gives you good graphics on your “Monitor”.  It’s kind of like I use Eveready or Duracell batteries in my flash light. It is just telling you the name brand, so for our purpose, it’s useless information.

The Expansion Ports are kind of important if you continue to read this e-class for rednecks, because you may want to add a device to your computer in the future to kind of “Supper Charge It”. That is after you get to the end of these lessons and I speak more about this. So always get a computer with expansion slots, as it will…hum…..oh….”EXPAND” your computer. Notice This one has 2, and for all out purpose here is that’s cool, and we move on.

What is RAM MEMORY?
Another term you need to know when you are shopping for a computer is “RAM”. No relation to a Dodge ram, nor a mountain goat. RAM means “Random Asses Memory” Now figure you have a very large barn with file cabinets scattered all over it. Now let’s say we have a desk with a clerk when you walk in the door. Say you ask the clerk to search their file cabinets for who was on the Titanic. They turn around and ask one of their helpers to go through all the file cabinets and gather anyone who was shown to have been on the Titanic. If there was only one person searching for this information in all the files cabinets this could take some time. A long long time. But what if there were 5 people searching for this information. This would take 5 times less time. Now let’s pretend there were 1000’s of people searching for this information at the same time. Now we are getting somewhere. So 1000’s are “randomly assessing the information you want. Henceforth “RAM”. Now RAM just like the hard drive is also measured in gigabytes. Naturally the more gigabytes of RAM you have the more file cabinets being searched. There again it’s not unheard of today’s computers to have 6 gigabytes of ram although 1 gigabyte of RAM on an older computer is not bad. On a new one I would want about 2 at least. The good thing about RAM is usually it can be upgraded to more if you find your computer is running too slow. That information is found in the specifications on your computer that your friends looked up.

What is a Processor?
Now we need to talk about another term called processor. Now I know this is a big word. It is pronounced as PRO-CES-SOR. You could use it in other terms like how long it takes to process my order at Kentucky Fried Chicken. So this means how fast can you get your butt off the stool and get my chicken, original recipe, cream potatoes and an ear of corn. So we are going back to our big barn full of file cabinets with a clerk at the front desk telling the runners what he wants. So we can say how long it takes to process my information. Let’s say we have a gigabyte of RAM which means we have a 1000 people getting my information together after I tell the clerk what I want. Well what if my 1000 researchers are a little bit lazy and they just stroll back to the file cabinets shuffling their feet along the way. Well I could put another gigabyte of RAM in to give them another 1000 people to get the job done, or I could light a fire under their sorry butts and get it done in half the time. Or maybe I could make them super fast by strapping jet packs to their backs or cracking a whip or two. The speed they get to Processors are measured in “Hertz”. No relation to the rental car company, nor is it what happens when you get a bee sting. “Hertz” can be remembered by what happens to those nerds searching the file cabinets when the whip is smacked. But realistic it is how fast the people get the job done. A Remember that word “Giga”? Well it’s back. Yes the speed of our processor is measured by “Giga Hertz” All through the computer language seems to have “Giga”, its kind getting the super sized Mega Slurptie at the Gas station. So the more “Hertz” we have the faster our computer will work. I would suggest the processor on an older computer should have at least a 2 Giga hertz processor. Now on some of the new computers we may hear something like a “dual core” processor. Well let’s remember our large barn full of file cabinets. Now figure that same barn had a basement full of file cabinets. Then we have a dual core, or 2 places to process. You see “Dual” means two. Forget about the word “Core” it is something to confuse you. So if you get a dual processor it means your computer can be a bit faster because your processing people have two places to look.

The CPU
Next is the CPU. For those of you who like to impress people with big words to make you look smarter than a first grader while standing around a opossum roast it stand for “Central Processing Unit”. That is the big rectangle gadget that your mouse, keyboard, and monitor will plug into so you can play all the free games that come with it. But we are going to learn that later. So when you get your computer you can call your buddies and say “I have a Central Processing Unit” then shift the subject matter to something else before they ask you what it means. However, we call it a “CPU” for short because again I hate typing. First of all let me tell you to never ever open one of these things up because in has more things spinning around than inspector gadget. Leave that for the professionals, or keep reading this stuff and you to will be a professional later into these classes. All we care about for now is what’s on the outside.

Now computers or CPU’s change quicker than the mind of a politician. Today they are smaller, and more powerful as technology increases. Speaking of small, they have these things called a “Lap Top” which we will talk about in e-class 102, has all the stuff I mentioned in this e-class into one little box that you can carry around with ya. Some even have little cameras in them so someone in cyber space can look at you
The CPU also have a DVD/CD player. This is similar to a small record player. The disc is small. This is the thing on the front of your computer that shoots out a little tray when you press the button. Notice I said DVD/CD. The difference is, if you have a DVD player, you can put a movie in the tray and press the return button and it will play as though you put it into a home DVD player. A CD tray will only play CD’s. “Also known as ”Compact DISK”. This means you can insert disks with programs in your computer, or you can learn to burn information like pictures documents etc. on your disk. In layman’s terms, A CD is just basic data, where a DVD will play movie files. There is a thing as a combination called a DVD/CD player that will do both. So then you can put information on a CD or have the opportunity to watch those movies on your computer that you wouldn’t want the rest of the family to see. I can only imagine what these movies would be. However to get on the internet just a CD player is fine. We will take about CD burning later; we are just trying to get this computer thing up and going.

The CPU has more plugs and gadgets than should be allowed. This is also true with the older ones. We are going to have to sharpen our pencils here and take lots of notes because we are going to cover CD’s, USB’s, Serial, VGA, and other ports. But the first thing we are going over is how to put the thing together so you can be computing. Remember make sure your CPU is unplugged from your electrical outlet before doing anything below.

Peripherals
The computer has a lot of what is called “Peripherals”. It’s a big word but there is no need to remember it because we probably never use it again. But it is a good word to make everyone think you have an education when roasting hotdogs around a bonfire. This is just another way of saying “I just bought me a  engine, and now I need a body, a steering wheel, 4 wheels some tires, and the list goes on”. And if you don’t have this extra stuff you still just have a rectangle box in the floor that does nothing. An example of peripherals is the mouse, key board, monitor, printers and any other of the products that can do crazy things.

Sometimes peripherals require drivers.  These drivers are in the form of cd disk that comes with your device. It is easier than one would think. Today’s drivers – cd’s are very user friendly so you plug in your device and it will tell you step by step as whatnot do. Most of your peripherals are what is called “plug and play.” This means that when you plug in a monitor, keyboard, or mouse, the computer has built in drivers that will accept these items. Remember he word “driver” is just as it’s says it drives the computer to use these devices, kind of like a car. If there is a car setting in the parking lot will just sit there and do nothing if you don’t have a driver for the car.

The Mouse
Plugging in the mouse
Next we plug in the mouse. Now just like the keyboard, the mouse may go either way. A half round color coded plug in the rear, or the rectangle USB port. I forgot to mention that there could be USB’s on the rear or front of your computer. I always try to use the rear ones if that is what my plug calls for so you can use the front ones to plug other cool stuff in we will talk about later.

So the first thing we are going to learn about these computer add-ons is a mouse. Now this is what we think of when we talk about a mouse.

Now this is PC talk when we talk about a mouse.
Notice the resemblance. Now for you who have  “Rat na phobiea” get over it because I didn’t name the thing, I’m just passing along the information. Now this mouse thing is important because it moves the little triangle thing which is also called the “CURSER” across the computer screen once you hook-up your PC. There are all kinds of mousses. Some have roller balls in the center. Others have a little scrolling wheel in the center. Some may have buttons on top where others have buttons on the side. A trip to Best Buy and ask for a mouse, and they will show you a whole bunch of them. But if you are just getting started with this PC stuff I would go with the original design, a Mouse with a button on each side and a button or wheel in the middle. You can always upgrade later. There are three buttons on the mouse. There is one on the left and one on the right. So when I say left click I mean to click one time on the left button. When I say right click simply click on the right button. If you have a center button I will simply say click on the center button. You may have a funky mouse and have to experiment. 

Keyboard
The next important thing we are going to learn is a keyboard like the one below. Now the keyboard is important because it allows you to punch keys to put information in your PC just like I am doing here to type this e-class.  A keyboard is like a flat type writer so if you ever had typing in high school you should be fine. If you are like me you will become the two armed finger pecking bandit. There are programs out there to help you learn how to type. I tried “Typing with Sponge Bob Square Pants” but I found it too hard so I went right back to my same old finger pecking way. Keyboards are like the mouse. There are more selections than Bush’s baked beans in the grocery aisle. You can buy them with all kinds of configurations. But, if you are just getting started I would recommend the ole basic flat one. Now you will notice there are a whole lot more keys on a PC keyboard than the typical typewriter. You will see stuff like “F1-F12, PgUp, PgDn, BkSp, Enter, etc., etc., etc.. We will get into more of this when we have our new PC plugged in and we are actually doing something. Plugging in the Keyboard
Depending on what brand of computer or what brand of keyboard you have can only be plugged in two ways. If you have an end on your keyboard that is round with a flat side on it can only plug in the keyboard port on the back side. Most of the time these are color coded and have a mini picture of a keyboard on the back of the CPU. The other kind has a flat rectangular looking plug that plugs into any of the rectangular ports on the CPU. Again the number of little rectangular ports can vary from one CPU to another. Now these ports are called USB ports. It stands for “Universal Serial Bus”. Remember because in the future when you connect other gadgets into your computer or CPU it will probably be one of these rectangular ports. Unless your computer was the navigation system for the Mayflower then you should have at least four of them any way. Remember USB’s only plug in one way, so if it doesn’t go in one way, just flip it around and try another. No forcing or use of hammers is needed in this process.

These new mini computers have got so small that I hit about three keys at a time when I’m typing due to my size 12 fingers.

Monitor
The next thing that you need for your computer is a monitor. No it don’t actually monitor you, that is just what a someone called it. In all actuality you monitor it. It looks like a small TV screen. It is so you can see what your PC is doing while you type your keys or scroll around with your mouse.  They come in Flat screens (if you buy a newer setup), or the big bulky kind that looks like your first television, if you inherit an older computer. There’s nothing wrong with either one, the flat one just takes a little less space and take a little less electricity to run. Some of the old picture tube type which and called CRT better named as “Cathode Ray Tube” does allow you to place a piece of bread over the vent holes in the back so you can make your morning toast while playing on the PC. In all honesty they are not that bad but it sounded good anyway. We will discuss where this plug is in the next chapter when we talk about the CPU.

You will find that there is usually only one place to plug in the monitor. If you have the old CRT monitor it will plug into what the geeks call a VGA port. You really can’t screw this up. If you take a little time looking at the back of your computer while looking at the plug in the other hand it don’t take a wizard to say “Hey it goes here”. This plug will be a little different because it has two screw things on it. Once you have plugged it in the two screws on the side of the plug help it stay plugged in. I guess they did this because the monitor has a heavy cord.

Speakers
Speakers are the next thing we need. Sometimes if you buy or inherit a computer second hand, you may or may not get speakers. If you get a new computer it is likely to have speakers. Speakers are nice if you want to hear songs on your computer. They are also a necessity to hear “YouTube” video’s as we will talk about later. There are these supper speakers that plug into a “USB” ports that talked about above. These usually at high tech speakers that can make the glass rattle on your neighbor’s house. Also they normally have on-off and volume controls on them. Of course you can go out and by these things as powerful as you like. But just the basic cheesy speakers are fine if you want to hear some how to video on the internet.

Now to plug these things in, you simply look on the back and you will see 2 little holes. One is green and the other Pink. All you have to do is plug the green cord into the correct colored hole. A monkey could do this. Now sometimes there are speaker ports on the front of your computer. We have already talked about the possibility of speakers having a USB port. If USB is the case just pick one of the many and plug them in. It is simple as that. The CPU will pick them up when you start your computer and they may be a little message to the lower right side of your computer monitor that say’s “New hardware found”.

Plugging in the Microphone
Usually a microphone is something you will have to go out and buy. It is good for chatting to people so they can hear your voice without you having to type keys. But if you sound like Lurch in “THE ADAMS FAMILY” the microphone could be a bad idea. There are programs that type for you while you speak in the microphone called “Dragon Naturally Speaking”. The program works ok, but you have a silent room. Otherwise if your little rug rats holler, the dog barks, or other non-recognized sounds are in the background, you will find it typing gibberish.
For now forget about any other unplugged holes on your computer. We have already graduated to this point of actually getting to turn it on. Now most computers you buy new in the box will have an elementary chart describing all I said above, however if you got your computer from a friend or passed down from another generation, the above information is needed. So no short cuts. So are we ready to start her up? Well there is one cord left…..The Power Cord. Usually toward the top of the computer is a recessed hole with a triangular looking port. Like the monitor just stare at the cord end the hole it might plug in and there you have it. Now take the other end and plug it into any standard wall socket. And we are done…..well for the most part anyway. So now to kill one of my favorite sayings….”I don’t even know how to turn a computer on” we are fixing to fire this puppy up! On older computers there might be a button on the rear close to where you plug the power cord and it might look like this. --/O . You want to press the – line…Just like you start up a new weed eater. However most of the time the power button is on the front..ah…..somewhere. usually it is like a round thing or a recessed round button…just press where it looks good, trial and error till you see those beautiful lights come on. Now a warning, it may take up to a minute or so for the computer to cycle through all the junk and fully emerge. At this time you do nothing….just put your hands in your pocket wait a minute and when there are nothing else happening on the computer screen you can then say “I DID IT” This ends lesson 101 and now on to lesson 102 and we will explore more gadgets and functions.

Class 102 …..Windows XP
The computer can do many things at this point. We are going to look a few of them. Now all this depends on what operating software you have on your hard drive. May be one of many. For example you may have Windows XP Home, Windows XP Professional, Windows Vista, or for newer computers Windows 7. And I left out a few but you can get the idea. Windows is a trademark of the Microsoft Company, which is owned by Bill Gates. I’m sure we have heard of him. He has made enough off these OS to start a small country. Now I could teach a class on each one of these but I’m going to concentrate on Windows XP, I will discuss Windows 7 in class 103. So if you have windows 7 then go on over to class 103, however you will find a lot of similarities with Xp and 7. If you take the time to read about this XP OS then 7 would be a breeze. Notice I left out Windows Vista which is a black eye to Microsoft’s past. Vista uses entirely too much of your ram memory and If I had Vista as I have had in the past, I would down grade to XP. Your computer would have a lot less issues and run much faster. XP is one of Windows better OS. Windows 7 is also a good OS and has been proven so far to be nice to work with and easy to learn without the problems Vista had. To find out which OS you have just keep reading below and it will tell you.

Icons
Now you are looking at a Computer screen. In computer language, this means the “Desk Top”. You may see all kinds of pretty boxes here. These are called “Icons”. So later when I ask you to click on an icon it could be any of the literally thousands of stuff inside a computer. One may the “Recycle Bin” Which will be your trash can to put unneeded stuff in the future. Notice this is call a recycle bin rather than a trash can. Even computers are going green and environmentally friendly. Another may look like a large blue “e” this is called “Internet Explorer”. You will use this later when we get on the internet. These two are the most important at this time. Others may be “My Documents”, “My Network Places”, and “My Computer”, and many extras. Don’t start being over whelmed at this time, just do as I say and everything will be just fine. At the bottom is the Start button, and other stuff to right side of this bar. Some may look like a microphone, which is the speaker volume when you click on it. Another may be the time. Move the cursor with the mouse to “Start” left click on it then you will see all kinds of other icons that pop up. One of these is “Programs”. Now place your curser on programs and left click on the mouse and you will see all the programs on your computer.

Let’s take a look at programs
Now computers without programs are totally useless. The program is what makes a computer do things when it is summoned. For example accessories are the first program on your list. When you scroll your curser over it and left click the mouse you will see it expand. It is usually most of the tools for the computer, Have fun now. Notice you have a calculator, address book, notepad, and even a program called paint. Paint can be lots of fun you can draw stuff put in text and a bunch of other stuff. I use paint and the calculator here often. Another important tool is “System Tools”. Now this can be a little scary when you open this one. It can do all kinds of cleaning on your hard drive. However click on it anyway and then click on “System Information”. The first line says OS. Unless you been skip hopping around the class you will know OS is operating system. Now beside the OS it should say Windows Home, Windows professional, etc. Now you know what operating system you have. I would advise you to write this down, so if you went out and bought a program you would know it’s compatibility.
Now for having fun. Click start again, click programs again, and below accessories you will see games. Now one note: These things could become addictive. So make sure you get professional help if you play games more than 2 hours a day.

Signing up to get on the internet
Most of us want a computer for the reason of surfing the internet. For those of you who don’t know about the internet, means that you have been either in a comma for the past 20, or you have really been living under a rock. The internet is a web of information. The web part is due to the shape of a spider web. Notice that most webs are like a semi circle and all the strands on the web are tied together in some way. Note, some spiders are good so don’t take a stick and destroy the web and crush the spider. Another thing maybe you look at fishing net and notice all the strands are connected together. But we have learned 2 new words here that we will use latter, “Web” and “Net”. So remember this.

In order to get on the internet we have to plug in another cord. Now if you are in an area and don’t have “High Speed Internet” your only option is a satellite or dial-up. Satellite is a little expensive, dialup is real slow. If you have Satellite or high-speed internet, you will have something called a modem. This is a box that comes in various shapes and sizes. Setting up a modem can be a real pain, besides the fact that you will spend hours talking to someone from India who has an assent that you only understand every other word. Some modems come with very in depth directions that a moron can follow. If you are lucky enough to get one of these that is GREAT!. If not it would be worth the extra cash to have someone to set it up for you, as these things can be complicated as choosing the rite numbers of a lottery ticket. If you have a modem it will either plug into a port called “Ethernet”. This looks like an oversized flat phone line and sometimes has a little blinking light beside it. Most modems come with this wire, and a disk is usually accompanied with this item.

If you have dialup, you them you simply plug a phone line from your computer into a normal phone jack. However it is not that simple. You cannot just plug it is and expect internet. You have to have an internet carrier. It’s like a door you have to pass through to get to the party. So this door has many companies. For example: AOl, Earthlink, ATT, etc. etc. etc. The best thing to do in this case is to have a friend who is on the internet to look these companies and chose one. These companies could range from a few dollars to the National Dept Ceiling. One thing to consider is that make sure who ever you chose, actually services your area. You can usually find this information by going to their website and typing in your phone number. A lot of times they will send you a disk that you insert in your computer and after answering some worthless questions and you are on the internet. Dial-up is ok for surfing the web, but is real slow if you try to download something. This includes songs, movies, programs, and the list goes on.  The difference in speed is more like 300 kilo bytes per second for high speed internet, to 5 kilo bytes per second for dial-up. A satellite could go somewhere in the middle at about 50 Kilo bytes for satellite internet. Of course we haven’t described what a kilo byte is so we now cover that. A kilo is a thousand bytes.  A byte is a measurement of small bit of information that rest out there in cyberspace, or the notes or photo’s you install on your computer. To give you a difference in speed, high speed is 300 kilo, where as dial up is around 5. So you divide 300 by 5 you get 6, so we can say the low side of high speed internet is 6 times faster that dial-up. Now let’s look at this by time let’s say you have a free program out there on the net, and believe me there are many of them out there. The program we download is 10 mega bytes. Now here is another term, “mega”. Well this is a thousand kilo. So if we download this via high speed it would take about 5 minutes, dial-up would take about 33 minutes, and satellite would be about 16 minutes . So if you want to download you really need to find a technician in the field to get high speed.

For example I awaken only to find our internet didn’t work one day. After an hour or so with “customer no service” I found that the phone company did not take our bill amount from our auto pay. Then they said our internet was sold to someone down the street and there were no more internets remained on our road. Now being a service company without internet I was devastate. So my partner would not accept this. So she literally rode around in a truck until she found a technician working on the phone lines. She told him of our dilemma. The service tech finished what he was doing and came over to our house. He said “Let me see what is in the box out front and see what we can do”.  A few moments  after that he said  “I put a jumper wire in and opened up a trunk line and now there are 14 more places open on your road”. Of course we jumped for joy, but we got customer no service, and they said there were no available lines open on our road. The technician got on the phone and explained that there were lines open. So we jumped for joy again. The tech told us a secret that we didn’t know. He said that we could get high speed and not have a dial tone. In other words we didn’t have to sign up with a phone line. This saved us about $200.00 dollars a year. So it shows the lowest man on the corporate totem pole can be the one who is the most helped. I told a friend of mine what had happened and he to rode around and found a tech because high speed did not exist where he lived. The tech told him that he could run a 60 foot cable from one box to another and open up internet to everyone on that highway to everyone. My friend moved from that location in a month so I guess there is still no internet  on that road. As a cost comparison dial-up could cost $9.00 on average per month, satellite $50.00 per month plus the purchase of equipment. And high speed only about $29.00 per month. All of these are average.

The Browser
This browser is usually “Internet Explorer” that comes with your computer. Now for a few hints. If you can, download “Modzilla Fire Fox” as your preferred internet browser. You can do this by simply typing in “Modzilla” in the blank bar in Internet Explorer a downloadable file. This is easy if you have “high Speed Internet”. If you only have dial up don’t worry about it because this is a big file. Of course you can start the download and allow it to run overnight and install it in the morning and it will give you I say this because Fox Fire is a faster browser than internet Explorer. If you have dial-up don’t worry about it. When you click on the browser of your choice you may get pretty much anything. So when  your browser comes up, look at the top of your screen. It may say “File, Edit, View, History, Bookmarks, Tools and help”.

Now whatever internet you have it is time to get surfing. I assume you have used a disk for dial-up or high speed it doesn’t matter as long as you get onto the net. One thing you need before surfing the internet is you must have a browser. A browser is a web page that has a search engine. It’s kind of like the index of a book. If you want to find something in a book you go to the index in the back and find a word and it will tell you what page it is on. So a browser is a web page with a blank box you type words in and it will come back with several websites you can click on that have information on the words you type into the blank. Remember to use the mouse and left click on the blank space so you will see a flashing bar allowing you to type in the blank.

Downloading Programs
When you get a little practice going to websites we want to learn how to download a program. Now a program is a bunch of files telling the computer to do something. For example; you may want your computer to search for viruses, you may want your computer to have an invoice program for your small business, you may want your computer to have a program to type letters like the one I’m using to type these classes. There are is unlimited amount of programs you can download for free. One site which is a favorite of mine is “www.downloads.com”. You can type this in the address bar or type it in the search engine/browser, and the website for this location will probably come up first. But, remember if you have a small Hard Drive you may be limited as to how many programs you can download. Also remember many of these programs run as “ghost” in the background. This means when you turn on your computer some programs will start up and start taking pieces of your RAM in the background without your knowledge. A little RAM here a little Ram there and before you know it your computer is at a speed comparable of a snail gliding across your screen.

Next let’s talk about these downloaded files used for the program. This is usually a folder with a hidden execution file in it. If you want to download a program for instance it will come up on your computer where the folder is going to be installed on the computer. It always says “do you want to save this file” and you click yes. Usually it will next ask you if you “Agree with Terms and Conditions”. Don’t even try to read these agreements as it will take days to read this worthless information. Anyway just click yes again. It may ask you some other information and click “Yes” again. Then you will probably see a screen to whereas the program is installing. You may be asked if you want to “Automatic Install, or Custom Install”. Always click “Automatic Install”, and things will go better for you. There are rare time you may have to find the “execution file” to install the program but we need to learn a little more before we get into that, so we will mention that later. No need to mess up a good thing.
Another good browser that many people like Google Chrome” This is a quick download and many people like this better than Modzilla. If you don’t like it, you can always delete it.

Deleting Programs
Sometimes, including myself download programs that are not exactly what I wanted. So we need to learn to delete programs. You don’t want to do a search for the files and delete it, because the computer uses other files that the program uses. It’s kind of like doing landscaping and your friend brings over a rake, and you already own a shovel. Your friend can use his rake to rake up leaves and do what he is programed to do however he may need a shovel every now and then so instead of bringing a shovel your friend already knows you have one he can borrow. This is like a program it will see files on your computer it can use, so it won’t down load a certain file because you have one already installed. I hope this makes sense.

Now how to delete this program is easy. To get to the program and to launch it, “move the mouse over the start menu at the left corner of the page and click on it”. All programs will show up, and the program you downloaded is usually the last one in this block of programs. Sometimes you could hover the mouse over the program and it will give you an option to “Uninstall”. This is great, just hover your pointer over the “Uninstall” and click on it. It may ask you if you are sure you want to uninstall, just click yes. It may say “this program shares files with other programs, and do you want to delete”. To be on the safe side click “No” The other menu may say “Do this for all files”. Of course to speed up the processor just say yes.  Then it will uninstall the program.

Sometimes you won’t have the option to hover over the program and click “Uninstall” as mentioned above. You will have to go to a place in the computer you may be uncomfortable area, but believe me it’s not that bad. First of all go to that Start button, by the way it will be used more than anything else. Once this is selected, look to the right side and you will see something called the “Control panel” now left click this button. You will see all sorts of stuff pop up. Do not explore any of these options because before we can get into what all this means, you could really mess up your computer. The button you want to press is “Add Remove Programs”. Double Left click “this means to click twice real fast” and wait a minute. You will see a bunch of programs on your computer. They are sometimes ascending from a-to z. find the program you want to remove. It may say “Remove/ Change program” click on this and it will uninstall similar to the discussion in the last paragraph. Then you are done. You have seen how to uninstall an unwanted program. Just remember sometimes you have to double click on a button. This is preferred on most buttons to get them to activate.

Let’s Keep Your Computer Healthy
A healthy computer is a happy computer. Since we are now going to internet sites and adding programs we accumulate little bits and pieces of useless files here and there. They might be files only used to install a program, or they may be files left over from going to a website. You may go to a website with a virus on it. You never know which website some 14 year old Nigerian snooked a virus on it. I can say 95% of our computer repair is because some nasty virus picked up on a website. And 90% of them are caused by going to naughty websites. So if you are into the internet porn stuff, don’t do it. You will be at your local computer repair shop before you know it. Believe it or not we had a kid come to us with a bad virus, and we got rid of it. The very next day he comes back with the same virus and blames it on his nephew and, who was 10 years old were going to these naughty sites.
The first thing we are going to learn is very simple in Windows XP and 7 you have a ”Start” button in the lower left hand of your computer. You want to scroll your mouse down to the “Start” button and left click. You will see a button called “All Programs”. Left click on this and it will show you the programs already installed on your computer. You want to scroll your mouse over “Accessories”. You will see a pop-up menu will give you all kinds of options. Here you want to left click on “System Tools”, and you will have another bunch of stuff pop-up. Here you want to left click on “Disk Clean Up”. You will see a bar that will slowly inch by inch start to add blue bars. This may take as much as an hour or as little as a few minutes, depending when the last time your computer was cleaned out. Now to get to this menu may take several attempts because the mouse can float off one of the menus leading up to this “Disk Clean Out” menu, so if it takes a couple of times to get there it are ok.

Once this clean out is done, a menu will appear like “Down load Files”, or “Recycle Bin” plus a lot of other boxes on the left. Click on all of them. Just scroll the mouse over each one and left click the box to check and un check. Now click “OK” then a bunch of stuff starts to happen and then you will be asked “Are you sure you want to perform these actions”, or something like that. Click “Yes” and let the computer do its thing. At some time, there again how long it’s been since your computer was cleaned out the pop-up boxes will go away. Now you should have a computer that runs a little or a lot faster.

Having Fun With Programs
Windows 7 and XP may appear a little different on this lesson, but they are primarily the same. If would go to the start menu. As we have been there before, and click on this icon. Remember the word “icon” it will be used more as we go about the lesson.  Previously I have used the word “button” buy its now called “icon”. I don’t know what computer geek came up with this name, but it is what we will call it from now own. Icon, should stick with you for a while.

So again go ahead and click the start icon in the left corner. You will see all sorts of programs on your computer. Even if it was whipped clean and reformatted it should still have basic stuff. If you get a new computer out of the box, you will have more programs than you will want.

Let talk about this a moment. I remember AOL once plagued a computer to the point if you didn’t sign up with them you would think you had a virus on your computer. Others include Quicken Norton  anti virus, Microsoft Office ect. etc. etc. These 60 or 90 days or whatever will play well until your subscription runs out. Then you get “POP UP” windows that will drive you in sane until you by their product. If you like the program, just go out and buy it. I’m not saying these are bad programs, all I mean *is they will pester you like a used car dealer until you get rid of them. Now we are going into new territory, how to remove a program. First of all press the start button/ icon. Scroll until you see the program you want to get rid of. Point the curser/mouse over it and it sometimes will show an, “uninstall icon” if you are lucky and click on the uninstall and the program may ask you a few questions and it goes away.

Now if you are not so lucky, we are going a little deeper into the computer.  On your list of many things on your computer along with start, there are icons like ‘MY documents”, My Computer. You want to find the one that says “Control Panel” Click this Icon and the screen will turn Greek. Now I must urge you not  to be frightened by this because you will be coming back many tines to this menu of  items. What we want to focus now is the “Add Remove Programs”. It will take a few seconds to come up. When it does come up we want to know ahead of time the program you want to delete. Do Not go crazy and delete windows service packs or and other programs. To delete the program in question, is to scroll up or down on the mouse, and click on the program, and to the right is a delete icon that will start the deletion of the program.