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Your new PC just arrived. You open the box, excited to hook it up, start surfing the web, send e-mails...and then you see all of the cords, CD-ROMs and parts that need to be connected and installed, and suddenly it doesn't seem like so much fun anymore. The instructions look even more intimidating. Don't panic! Easy Computer Basics can help. This up-to-date, full-color, highly visual guide will walk you through the entire set-up process and then show you how to use the different...
Your new PC just arrived. You open the box, excited to hook it up, start surfing the web, send e-mails...and then you see all of the cords, CD-ROMs and parts that need to be connected and installed, and suddenly it doesn't seem like so much fun anymore. The instructions look even more intimidating. Don't panic! Easy Computer Basics can help. This up-to-date, full-color, highly visual guide will walk you through the entire set-up process and then show you how to use the different programs to accomplish common tasks. You'll learn how to:
|Pt. 1||Understanding how your computer works||2|
|Pt. 2||Setting up your computer||14|
|Pt. 3||Using Microsoft Windows XP||28|
|Pt. 4||Working with files and folders||58|
|Pt. 5||Using Microsoft Works||74|
|Pt. 6||Using Microsoft Word||80|
|Pt. 7||Connecting to the Internet||94|
|Pt. 8||Playing music and movies||132|
|Pt. 9||Working with pictures||152|
|Pt. 10||Adding new devices to your system||180|
|Pt. 11||Setting up a wireless home network||196|
|Pt. 12||Protecting your computer||212|
|Pt. 13||Taking care of your computer||222|
Since this is the Absolute Beginners Guide to Computer Basics, let's start at the absolute beginning. Which is this:
Computers aren't supposed to be scary.
Intimidating, sometimes. Difficult to use, perhaps. Inherently unreliable, most definitely. (Although they're better than they used to be.)
But scary? Definitely not.
Computers aren't scary because there's nothing they can do to hurt you. And there's not much you can do to hurt them, either. It's kind of a wary coexistence between man and machine, but the relationship has the potential to be quite beneficial. To you, anyway.
A lot of people think that they're scared of computers because they think they're unfamiliar with them. But that isn't really true.
You see, even if you've never actually used a computer before, you've been exposed to computers and all they can do for at least the last 20 years or so. Whenever you make a deposit at your bank, you're working with computers. Whenever you make a purchase at a retail store, you're working with computers. Whenever you watch a television show, or read a newspaper article, or look at a picture in a magazine, you're working with computers.
That's because computers are used in all those applications. Somebody, somewhere, is working behind the scenes with a computer to manage your bank account.
In fact, it's hard to imagine, here at the dawn of the twenty-first century, how we ever got by without all those keyboards, mice, and monitors. (Or, for that matter, the Internet.)
However, just because computers have been around for awhile doesn't mean that everyone knows how to use them. It's not unusual tofeel a little trepidation the first time you sit down in front of that intimidating monitor and keyboard. Which keys should you press? What do they mean by double-clicking the mouse? And what are all those little pictures onscreen?
As foreign as all this might seem at first, computers really aren't that hard to understand—or to use. You have to learn a few basic concepts, of course (all the pressing and clicking and whatnot), and it helps to understand exactly what part of the system does what. But once you get the hang of things, computers really are fairly easy to use.
Which, of course, is where this book comes in.
Absolute Beginner's Guide to Computer Basics, 2nd Edition, will help you figure out how to use your new computer system. You'll learn how computers work, how to connect all the pieces and parts together, and how to start using them. You'll learn about computer hardware and software, about Windows and operating systems, and about the Internet. And after you're comfortable with the basic concepts (which won't take too long, trust me), you'll learn how to actually do stuff.
You'll learn how to do useful stuff, like writing letters and balancing your checkbook and creating presentations. Fun stuff, like listening to music and watching movies and playing games. Online stuff, like searching for information and sending email and chatting with friends via instant messages. And essential stuff, like copying files and troubleshooting problems and protecting against thieves and hackers.
All you have to do is sit yourself down in front of your computer, try not to be scared (there's nothing to be scared of, really), and work your way through the chapters and activities in this book. And remember that computers aren't hard to use, they don't break easily, and they let you do all sorts of fun and useful stuff once you get the hang of them. Really!
This book is organized into six main parts, as follows:
Part 1, Getting Started, describes all the pieces and parts of your system, and how to connect them together to get your new PC up and running.
Part 2, Using Windows, introduces the backbone of your entire system, the Microsoft Windows operating system. You'll learn how Windows works, and how to use Windows to perform basic tasks, such as copying and deleting files and folders. (You'll also learn fun stuff, like how to change the picture on your computer desktop.)
Part 3, Upgrading and Maintaining Your System, contains all the boring (but necessary) information you need to know to keep your new PC in tip-top shape. You'll learn how to add new pieces of hardware to your system, how to set up either a wired or wireless home network, how to perform routine maintenance, and how to track down and fix common PC problems.
Part 4, Using Computer Software, tells you everything you need to know about running the most popular computer programs. You'll learn how to use Microsoft Works Suite, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Money, and all sorts of other programs—including educational software and PC games.
Part 5, Using the Internet, is all about going online. You'll discover how to surf the Web, send and receive email, use instant messaging and chat, and download files. You'll also learn how to shop online, buy and sell at online auctions, and create your own personal Web page—and how to protect your system from computer viruses, email spam, and other nuisances.
Part 6, Working with Music, Movies, and Photos, shows you how to download and play digital music files, how to burn your own audio CDs, how to watch DVDs on your computer screen, and how to use your PC with your digital camera and camcorder.
Taken together, the 38 chapters in this book will help you progress from absolute beginner to experienced computer user. Just read what you need, and before long you'll be using your computer like a pro!
I hope that this book is easy enough to figure out on its own, without requiring its own instruction manual. As you read through the pages, however, it helps to know precisely how I've presented specific types of information.
Most computer programs operate via a series of pull-down menus. You use your mouse to pull down a menu and then select an option from that menu. This sort of operation is indicated like this throughout the book:
Select File, Save
Click the Start button and select All Programs, Accessories, Notepad.
All you have to do is follow the instructions in order, using your mouse to click each item in turn. When there are submenus tacked onto the main menu (as in the All Programs, Accessories, Notepad example), just keep clicking the selections until you come to the last one—which should open the program or activate the command you wanted!
When you're using your computer keyboard, sometimes you have to press two keys at the same time. These two-key combinations are called shortcut keys and are shown as the key names joined with a plus sign (+).
For example, Ctrl+W indicates that you should press the W key while holding down the Ctrl key. It's no more complex than that.
There are a lot of Web page addresses in this book. (That's because you'll probably be spending a lot of time on the Internet.) They're noted as such:
Technically, a Web page address is supposed to start with http:// ). Because Internet Explorer and other Web browsers automatically insert this piece of the address, however, you don't have to type it—and I haven't included it in any of the addresses in this book.
This book also includes a few special elements that provide additional information not included in the basic text. These elements are designed to supplement the text to make your learning faster, easier, and more efficient.
Tip - A tip is a piece of advice--a little trick, actually-- that helps you use your computer more effectively or maneuver around problems or limitations.
Note - A note is designed to provide information that is generally useful but not specifically necessary for what youÕre doing at the moment. Some are like extended tips--interesting, but not essential.
Caution - A caution will tell you to beware of a potentially dangerous act or situation. In some cases, ignoring a caution could cause you significant problems-- so pay attention to them!
Posted August 31, 2005
Naturally, the computer in the title is one running a Microsoft operating system, like MS Windows XP. Miller writes for someone who perhaps has never used any computer before. So pragmatically, he concentrates on the Microsoft machines. Not even a mention of the Macintosh. :( The presentation of material is very vivid. Pages are brightly coloured with screen captures. And with pertinent portions of the windows clearly highlighted. Nor is there much textual material on the pages. Essentially, Miller has made an illustrated guide to computer usage. Not just of the software. The book carefully starts off with step by step explanations of the various common hardware parts. With photos showing explicitly how to plug your machine together. Miller is taking nothing for granted here about the user's background. Don't laugh. Even the starting steps of where do I plug the keyboard cable into? And the mouse cable? Sure, it's simple once you've done it. But there are still many people to whom all this is new. Miller writes for them.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.