Computers 101


What is a Computer?

A computer is a machine that manipulates information or “data.” You can use a computer to type documents, send email, and surf the Internet. You can also use it for spreadsheets, accounting, database management, presentations, games, and desktop publishing. Computers are not just desktop PC’s, laptops and tablets; they are in cell phones, cars, ATM machines, GPS devices and even in appliances.


Computer Components

cpu, monitor, keyboard, mouse

Keyboard: Input Device which looks like a typewriter but has many extra functions. The keyboard lets you type information into the computer. Keep all food and beverages away from this at all time.

Mouse: Pointing device used to select, point and click in Windows applications.

Monitor: Display unit which looks like a television tube. The monitor is an output device which displays all information, in both text and graphic forms.

Disk Drive: Storage media for copying and transporting files. 3.5 inch floppy disks stores 1.44 megabyes of data.

CPU (Central Processing Unit): The ‘brain’ of your computer which processes all the information. Contained within the CPU are various components including a hard drive (internal storage media for storing operating system and software programs), floppy drive unit, CD ROM and many other internal hardware devices.

CD or DVD Drive (Read Only and Re-writable): A read only compact disk drive can read CD or DVD’s that hold 650 megabytes or more of data. A re-writable CD or DVD drive allows you to “burn” data on a re-writable CD or DVD.

Printer: Output device that produces printed reports, letters, etc., which you can design using software programs. Different printers include laser, inkjet and dot matrix.

Laptop: A portable computer that folds and can be operated via battery.


What is Windows?

Windows is a graphical operating system developed by Microsoft which allows you to use various types of software programs within a GUI environment. Windows transforms your screen into a colorful array of graphics and allows you to quickly access multiple programs at the same time. Programs are represented by icons, or menu items on your screen, which can be selected using your mouse.

Upon turning on and booting up your PC, a login prompt may appear. If a login box is displayed, login using your computer’s login and password. Screen prompts may vary depending on the version of Windows and how the PC was configured.


The Windows Desktop



Minimizing and Maximizing

After opening applications in Windows, you may need to minimize certain applications on your screen while you are not using them. Minimizing an application window will still keep the application open. For all open applications, the program name along with an accompanying icon will be displayed on the Task Bar at the bottom of your screen. To return to a minimized application, merely single click on the icon on the taskbar at the bottom of the screen.

Minimize Button: Single clicking on the minimize button will reduce your window to an icon, which will appear at the bottom of your screen along the Taskbar. Once miminized, you can restore the window to its original size by single clicking on the icon.

Maximize/Restore Button: Single clicking on the maximize button will enlarge your window to its maximum size. You can also double-click on the title bar to maximize your window. You may then restore the window to its original size by single clicking on the maximize/restore button once again.

To close an application, click on the X on the upper right of the application window, or click on the application’s icon on the upper left of the window, and select Close.



Switching Between Applications

The window currently in use is referred to as the Active Window. To switch to another window, do one of the following:

  • Click on any exposed part of another window to make it the active window; or,
  • Click on the appropriate icon on the taskbar at the bottom of the screen to switch to that application; or,
  • Press and hold the ALT key down while tapping the TAB key slowly to scroll through applications. When you get to the desired application, release the ALT key to switch to that application.


Rebooting vs. Shut-Down

Sometimes it necessary to “reboot” your computer, to clear memory and start-over. Before rebooting, be sure to save all your work and close all applications. To reboot, press CTRL+ALT+DEL together, then select the reboot/restart option to restart your computer, or click on Start, Shut down, Restart as pictured in the image below.

If you are finished using your computer, be sure to shut-down your computer correctly. To shut down, Click Start, then click Shut down (also pictured below).

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