The computer has insinuated itself into people’s lives so successfully that it seems difficult to remember a time before them. Even the smallest of schoolchildren these days seems to have an innate understanding of computers and how they work, making life harder for those who grew up without any form of digital entertainment.
The assumption is that everyone understands the basics of computing and yet there are still some reasonably basic aspects of IT that continue to elude the embarrassed few as the following eight examples show.
How Do I Create a Zipped Folder?
There is no great mystery about a zipped folder or file. Zipping is a process in which blank spaces in a document are removed in order to compress the contents, allowing for a speedier transfer of information.
To create a zipped folder, simply right-click anywhere on your desktop, then choose the ‘New Zipped Folder’ option from the menu. Files and documents can be dragged and dropped into the folder, which automatically compresses them. Older computer systems still rely on manual zipping through a program such as WinZip.
How Do I Burn a CD?
Just the terminology can be enough to scare the non-technically minded, but ‘burning a disc’ simply means transferring or copying information on to a CD. Nowadays there is no need to format discs, making the process quick and easy. Simply insert a suitable CD into your disc drive, close the drawer and automatic menus will suggest tasks you may wish to perform. Select the files you wish to transfer or copy and select ‘burn to disc’. It really as simple as that!
How Do I Unfreeze a Computer Program?
Now and again there are program conflicts which cause one or more running programs to freeze. Faced with a greyed-out, frozen or blue screen, most people tend to panic and start wildly clicking at the mouse or the function buttons. Instead of adding to the problem by storing up clicks in your computer’s memory, try pressing the Ctrl, Alt and Delete keys at the same time. This will activate the Task Manager, which will allow you to close down the frozen programs and restore order.
How Do I Make the Text in Internet Explorer Bigger?
Some websites seem to think we all have superhero eyesight, but it can be difficult to read small print or awkward fonts. To enlarge the text, simply click on the View button at the top of the page and select ‘Text Size’. Alternatively, you could select ‘Zoom’, which allows you to zoom in and out of a page or document with ease.
How Do I Clear My Browsing History?
Apart from not wanting others to see pages you have viewed online, cleaning up your internet browsing history frees up space on your computer. For Internet Explorer, click on the Tools icon on the top of the page to the right, then choose ‘Internet options’. Check that you are on the ‘General’ page and click ‘delete internet history’.
Do I Really Need Anti-Virus Programs?
Not having some form of anti-virus protection on your computer is akin to going out and leaving your front door open. Maybe nobody will walk into your home, but wouldn’t you rather lock the door and have that security? Malicious software can be programmed to run on a webpage, probably unknown to the website owner, installing itself quietly on your hard drive and tracking information about bank accounts, passwords and access to social-networking sites.
You wouldn’t dream of handing over your birth certificate, passport and detailed personal information to a stranger and yet every single time that your computer is connected to a network you are offering up personal information on an unprecedented level. Anti-virus software doesn’t have to cost the earth but it could end up saving you thousands of pounds in the long run.
Why Have Files Disappeared from the Recycle Bin?
Yes, there really are people who use the Recycle Bin as a form of file or document storage. Although this works on some level, by keeping a group of files and documents in a single place for ease of use, the storage place should never, ever be the Recycle Bin.
Unlike a physical bin, which can be filled to overflowing whilst still allowing individual papers to be retrieved, the computer’s Recycle Bin really does start to recycle disk space once its allocated area of the hard drive is filled. Never assume that a recycled item will automatically be retrievable. Learn how to create and manage files and folders for storing documents.
Why Is My Computer So Slow to Start Up?
Your computer will have come pre-loaded with a number of programs, some of them set to run as soon as you switch it on. Most of these programs are vital to get your operating system up and running, along with browsing programs and essential background processes.
Over time, as you install new software, you will find your computer becoming slower and slower at start-up as non-essential programs load themselves up before they are needed. If you click on the Start button in Windows, then click ‘run’ and type ‘msconfig’ followed by Enter, you will see a dialogue box showing the System Configuration Utility.
Click on the tab labelled ‘start-up’ and you will see a list of all the programs scheduled to run when you boot up your computer. Uncheck the boxes to disable unnecessary programs, but research thoroughly before doing anything in case you are selecting an important and legitimate start-up process.
- License: Creative Commons image source
This guest post was contributed by by Conosco; a company that provides fixed-price IT support to London’s most demanding businesses for 10 years.