The Complete Idiot's Guide to Computer Basics

( 4 )


When you first get a PC, you want to do something with it. You didn't buy it to learn about it any more than you buy a car to learn about its engine. You want to write a letter, send an email message, check out some Web sites, make a greeting card, or personalize the Windows desktop. Whatever it is you want to do, you don't want to have to read a book describing what a Pentium processor is or how your AGP adapter produces the pretty image on the screen. You want something more tangible; you want to do something ...
See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (34) from $1.99   
  • New (3) from $29.73   
  • Used (31) from $1.99   
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any coupons and promotions
Seller since 2015

Feedback rating:



New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

Brand New Item.

Ships from: Chatham, NJ

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
Seller since 2008

Feedback rating:


Condition: New

Ships from: Chicago, IL

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
Seller since 2005

Feedback rating:


Condition: New
PAPERBACK New 0028642309.

Ships from: Bellingham, WA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Sort by
Sending request ...


When you first get a PC, you want to do something with it. You didn't buy it to learn about it any more than you buy a car to learn about its engine. You want to write a letter, send an email message, check out some Web sites, make a greeting card, or personalize the Windows desktop. Whatever it is you want to do, you don't want to have to read a book describing what a Pentium processor is or how your AGP adapter produces the pretty image on the screen. You want something more tangible; you want to do something practical. The only trouble is that the darn computer won't cooperate. It's just not as easy as it looks. That's the purpose of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Computer Basics. This book identifies the 20-30 tasks that you as a PC novice want to perform and then it draws a map showing you how to achieve your goal. You'll follow simple steps to print a greeting card, reconcile a checkbook balance, decorate the Windows desktop, make the PC run faster, and more.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the author of comes this introduction covering the most popular aspects of computers online and offline for both adults and children. Includes a "speak like a geek" glossary. Lacks references. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780028642307
  • Publisher: Alpha Books
  • Publication date: 9/1/2001
  • Series: Complete Idiot's Guide Series
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 456
  • Product dimensions: 7.36 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.03 (d)

Meet the Author

Joe Kraynak has taught hundreds of thousands of new PC users how to make the most of their PCs with his easy-to-read books for more than 10 years. In addition to writing six editions of The Complete Idiot's Guide® to PCs, he has authored The Complete Idiot's Guide® to Microsoft® Office 2000, Big Basics of Microsoft Windows® 98, and many more.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Rearranging the Windows Inside Windows
Part 1Firing Up Your Computer: Bare-Boned Basics5
1Setting It Up and Turning It On7
Finding a Comfortable Home for Your Computer8
Unpacking Your New Toys9
Making the Right Connections10
Bringing the Beast to Life12
Installing the Software That Runs Your Hardware13
Now What?14
Shutting It Down or Leaving It On?14
2Meeting Windows: Up Close and Personal17
Windows Nickel Tour18
The Land Where Mouse Is King19
The Keyboard Is Special, Too20
Ordering from Menus and Dialog Boxes22
What's on Your Computer?26
Trashing Files in the Recycle Bin27
Help Is on Its Way27
3Launching Your First Program29
Picking a Program from the Start Menu29
More Creative Ways to Run Programs30
Moving a Program to a More Convenient Location32
Running Programs with a Single Click33
Opening Documents with a Single Click34
4Warming Up with Some Computer Games37
Installing and Running the Windows Games37
Using Your $1000 Computer As a $1 Deck of Cards39
Becoming a FreeCell Junkie40
Playing Hearts with Virtual Players41
Taking a Virtual Risk with Minesweeper42
Part 2Personalizing Your Work Space45
5Using a Cool Desktop Background47
Animating Your Desktop with Themes47
Messing with the Screen Colors49
Hanging Wallpaper in the Background50
Controlling the Desktop Icons and Visual Effects51
What's This Web Tab For?52
Locking Your Desktop Settings54
6Turning On an Animated Screen Saver57
Screen Savers Do Serve a Purpose57
Checking Out the Windows Screen Savers58
Turning a Screen Saver On and Off59
Using a Password for Weak Security59
Conserving Energy60
7Making Your Computer Play Cool Sounds63
Checking Your Audio Equipment63
Choosing a Different Sound Scheme66
Assigning Specific Sounds to Events67
Listening to CDs While You Work68
Recording Your Own Audio Clips69
8Taking Control of Your Menus and Programs71
Rearranging the Start Menu with Explorer71
Making Your Own Toolbars72
Automating Your Programs74
9Giving Yourself More Room to Work77
Clearning Desk Space by Making Everything Smaller77
What About the Color Settings?78
Rearranging Your Desktop Icons79
Getting Rid of Icons You Don't Use80
Hiding the Taskbar80
Tucking Stuff into Folders81
10Installing and Removing Programs83
Buying Software That Your Hardware Can Run84
Do You Have Enough Disk Space?86
Installing Your New Program87
Does Anyone Use Floppy Disks Anymore?89
Removing a Program That You Never Use89
Part 3Creating Letters and Greeting Cards93
11I Just Want to Type a Letter!95
Making the Transition to the Electronic Page96
What's with the Squiggly Red and Green Lines?97
Inserting Today's Date98
Making the Text Bigger or Smaller98
Shoving Text Left, Right, or Center99
Changing the Line Spacing100
Inserting Space Between Paragraphs100
Save It or Lose It100
Printing Addresses on Envelopes102
12Editing and Printing Your Letter105
Selecting Text106
Cutting and Pasting Without Scissors106
Oops! Undoing Changes107
Checking Your Spelling and Grammar107
Setting Your Margins and Page Layout109
Saving Paper: Previewing Before Printing111
Sending Your Letter Off to the Printer111
Hey, It's Not Printing!112
Project Time! Making Your Own Letterhead112
13Designing Personalized Greeting Cards, Banners, and Other Publications115
What You Need to Get Started116
Starting with a Prefab Greeting Card116
Microsoft Publisher Survival Guide117
Playing with Pictures119
Layering Pictures and Text Boxes121
Do-It-Yourself Banners122
Other Cool Desktop Publishing Stuff123
14Creating an Address Book and Other Listy Stuff125
Tables, Spreadsheets, Databases, and Address Books126
Setting Up Your Own Table129
Typing in the Little Boxes130
Rearranging and Resizing Columns and Rows131
Sorting Your List132
Automating Calculations with Formulas132
Decorating Your Table with Lines and Shading132
What About Pictures?133
15Form Letters, Mailing Labels, and Envelopes135
The Incredible Power of the Mail Merge Feature135
The Making of a Form Letter137
Inserting the Secret Codes137
Initiating the Merge Operation138
Printing Addresses on Mailing Labels139
Printing a Stack of Envelopes for Mass Mailing140
Part 4Getting Wired on the Internet143
16Connecting to the Outside World with a Modem145
What Can I Do with My Modem?145
How This Modem Thing Works146
Modem Types: Standard, ISDN, DSL, and Cable146
Plugging Your Modem into the Phone Jack149
Dialing Out: Does It Work?151
Troubleshooting Your Modem Connection151
17Finding an Information FREEway153
Getting a Free Trial Offer to an Online Service154
Signing Up for Your Membership155
Getting Help Online157
Canceling Your Membership158
Finding Cheaper, Better Ways to Connect to the Internet158
Setting Up Your Internet Connection160
Testing Your Internet Connection162
What Went Wrong: Internet Connection Troubleshooting163
18Sending Email: Postage-Free, Same-Day Delivery167
Running Your Email Program for the First Time168
Addressing an Outgoing Message171
Checking Your Email Box172
Sending Replies173
Adding Photos and Other Cool Stuff173
Attaching Documents to Your Messages174
What About Hotmail and Other Free Email Services?175
Email Shorthand and Emoticons176
Email No-No's178
19Chatting with Friends, Relatives, and Complete Strangers181
Hanging Out in Chat Rooms182
Checking Out the People Who Are Checking Out You183
Sending Private Messages183
Making Your Own Public Chat Room184
Chatting It Up on the Internet185
Chatting Privately with Friends and Relatives on the Internet188
What About Audio and Video?189
20Poking Around on the Web191
First, You Need a Web Browser192
Steering Your Browser in the Right Direction192
A Word About Web Page Addresses193
Finding Stuff with Popular Search Tools194
Opening Multiple Browser Windows195
Going Back in Time with History Lists196
Marking Your Favorite Web Pages for Quick Return Trips196
Changing the Starting Web Page197
Can Cookies Hurt Me?198
21Shopping, Investing, Traveling, and Other Cool Web Stuff201
Keeping Up with News, Weather, and Current Events201
Mail-Order Paradise: Shopping on the Web205
Becoming Your Own Stockbroker206
Planning Your Next Vacation208
For Movie Buffs Only209
Creating Your Own Music Library210
Getting Technical Support for Your Computer211
22Publishing Your Own Web Page in 10 Minutes or Less215
What Makes a Web Page So Special?216
Forget About HTML216
Making a Personal Web Page Right on the Web217
Placing Your Business on the Web221
Finding Cool Stuff to Put on Your Page222
Part 5Managing Your Finances225
23Putting Your Checkbook on Your Computer227
Choosing a Good Personal Finance Program228
Entering Account Information228
Recording Transactions232
Printing Checks235
Reconciling Your Account and Bank Statement236
24Budgeting 101239
Who Needs a Budget?240
Starting with a Budget Template240
Tweaking Your Budget241
Entering Income and Expenses242
Making Adjustments243
Using Your Budget to Stay on Track244
Keeping Track of Your Cash Flow with Reports244
Planning Ahead with Financial Calculators246
25Paying Bills and Tracking Investments Online249
Electronic Banking 101250
How Much Is This Going to Cost?250
Signing Up for Electronic Transactions251
Enabling Online Transactions for an Account254
Paying Your Bills Electronically255
Setting Up Automatic, Recurring Payments256
Transferring Cash Between Accounts258
Downloading Transaction Records and Balances258
Tracking the Performance of Your Investments258
Part 6Kids and Other Family Stuff261
26Finding and Playing Cool Games263
Shopping for the Right Games264
Additional Equipment You May Need265
Running Stubborn DOS Games in Windows265
Getting Free Games off the Web267
Buying Games Online269
Finding Game Reviews and Tips270
27Tapping the Power of Educational Software273
Researching Topics with Multimedia Encyclopedias274
More Books for Your Reference Library275
Learning to Read with Your Computer276
Reinforcing Math Skills277
Encouraging Your Child to Play with Language278
Learning to Play the Piano279
Learning a Foreign Language280
Bringing Out the Artist in Your Child281
28Safely Introducing Your Child to the Internet285
Explaining the Rules of the Road286
A Little Personal Supervision Goes a Long Way287
Censoring the Internet287
Playing Games Online292
Visiting the White House293
Visiting Museums and Libraries294
Helping Your Child Find a Pen Pal295
29Making a Family Photo Album297
Getting a Kodak Picture CD297
Adding Photos from Another Kodak Picture CD299
Enhancing and Editing Photos299
Typing Your Own Captions300
Printing Your Photos on Photo-Quality Paper301
Sharing Photos via Email and Disk303
Avoiding the Middleman with a Digital Camera303
Scanning Photos305
Creating Your Own Digital Photo Album307
Changing Yourself and Others with Morphing308
30Drawing Your Family Tree311
Picking a Good Genealogy Program312
Plugging In Names, Dates, and Relationships312
Digging Up Your Roots with CD-ROM Databases313
Researching Your Family Tree Online314
Growing Your Family Tree318
Printing Your Family Tree319
Part 7Maintaining Your Investment323
31Keeping Your Computer Clean325
Tools of the Trade326
Vacuuming and Dusting Your Computer326
WASH ME: Cleaning Your Monitor327
Shaking the Crumbs out of Your Keyboard328
Making Your Mouse Cough Up Hairballs329
Cleaning Your Printer (When It Needs It)329
What About the Disk Drives?330
32Giving Your Computer a Tune-Up333
One-Stop Optimization with the Maintenance Wizard333
Clearing Useless Files from Your Hard Disk334
Checking for and Repairing Damaged Files and Folders335
Defragmenting Files on Your Hard Disk336
Making Windows Start Faster 
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 2.5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 – 2 of 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2002

    One of the Easiest Computer Books to Understand!!

    If you are having trouble understanding how to make your computer work, this is the book for you. The book tells you how to do simple tasks, written in a way that is simple and easy to understand. You don't have to be a computer whiz to know how to run your computer-- this tells you everything you need to know. I'm sure that this book will definately help you with your problems. It is a great reference guide, and even has a sense of humor (which is hard to find in most computer books). Don't pass up on this one-- you probably won't find a better (or funnier) computer guide anywhere else!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 2 of 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)