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European Computer Driving License Syllabus Version 4.0, http://www.ecdl.com/main/download/ECDLV4SWG110159.pdf
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, http://foldoc.doc.ic.ac.uk/foldoc/contents.html
Ergonomic Guidelines for Arranging a Computer Workstation: 10 Steps for Users, http://ergo.human.cornell.edu/ergoguide.html
Energy Star, http://www.energystar.gov/
Center for Democracy and Technology, http://www.cdt.org/privacy/medical/
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Terms you'll need to understand:
Boot: warm, cold, soft, and hard
Techniques you'll need to master:
Understanding the basic operations of your computer, such as how to
Determining and changing the computer's configuration
Formatting a floppy or Zip disk
Installing and uninstalling software applications
Using and creating desktop icons
Recognizing and manipulating common window elements
Navigating your system's folder and file structure; creating, duplicating, and moving a folder or file
Recognizing a file's type by referring to its extension
Launching a text editor and creating and saving a text file
Deleting a file and then restoring a previously deleted file
Finding specific files and folders using the Search (Find) tool
Understanding file compression: what it is, why you'd use it, and how to use it
Understanding and avoiding computer viruses
Installing a new printer and changing the default printer
Chapter 2, "Concepts of Information Technology," was a great introduction to computing in general, but now it's time for some hands-on experience. In this chapter, you'll learn your way around your system's file structure. Specifically, this module covers the following five topics:
Your computer environment
How to manage files
After learning about each of these topics, you'll be ready to take the test for Module 2!
Windows Explorer standard toolbar.
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In Chapter 2, you learned a little about the magic that happens inside a computer. Specifically, you learned about its internal memory (random access memory [RAM]) and how that memory runs software and stores your work. Now you're ready to actually
How to turn on and turn off your computer
How to learn more about your system and control those settings yourself
How to install and uninstall a software application
How to get help when you need it
How to print screen elements
How to launch a text-editing application, create and save a file, and then close the text editor
Turning on and off a computer isn't always as simple as flipping a switch, but most of the time it is. Sometimes you must turn it on using nothing more than the equipment itself for clues.
Start the computer.
Most of the time, turning on your computer is a simple process, but every system is different, so it's
Perhaps the most important step occurs before you turn on the system. First, check all your cables to make sure they're securely connected. Also check your electrical outlets to make sure that all the equipment is properly plugged in and that any complex outlet units or surge protectors are turned on. If your outlets are controlled by an exterior switch, make sure that switch is in the on position.
Using your system's user documentation or user's guide, locate the on and off switch for each piece of your equipment: monitor, CPU, printer, and any other peripherals. A
is any device you have connected to your system. Every system is different, but most new systems position the power button on the front of the CPU. (Learn about the CPU in Chapter 2.)
After locating the appropriate switches on all your equipment, turn on the monitor.
Turn on the CPU.
Turn on the printer and any other peripherals, such as a Zip drive,
High voltage can quickly fry your system and can enter your computer through power cords and even the modem (online) connection. Protect your system by using a surge protector that absorbs voltage surges so they don't reach your computer. Some surge protectors come with a modem jack that also protects your online connection.
You might hear someone refer to the process of turning on your system as a
as in "boot the system." The
Shut down the computer using an appropriate routine.
Most modern systems use the operating system to power down:
Save your work and close any
Click the Start button on the Windows taskbar to display the list of options shown in Figure 3.1.
Select Turn Off Computer.
Click Turn Off in the resulting dialog box shown in Figure 3.2 to shut down the operating system and turn off the computer (and probably most of the peripherals, depending on how your system is configured). Table 3.1 defines the four options in detail.
If necessary, turn off the monitor, printer, and any other peripherals that aren't automatically shut down by the system.
Switches the system to Standby mode, which
Shuts down the operating system and turns off the CPU.
Shuts down the operating system and then restarts it automatically.
Dismisses the current dialog box without taking any action.
Regardless of how tempted you might be, don't use the on and off switch to turn off your computer. You might seriously damage your files if you don't shut down properly.
Restart the computer using an appropriate routine.
If necessary, you can reset your computer to its original settings and defaults by rebooting:
Save your work and close any open software applications.
Click the Start button on the taskbar.
Choose the Turn Off Computer item.
Click Restart from the resulting options (see Figure 3.2). Doing so shuts down the operating system, turns off the computer, and then reboots your system automatically.
Restarting your system is often referred to as a warm or soft boot .
Shut down a nonresponsive application.
Systems and software just keep getting better and better, but occasionally problems occur and your system
When this happens, you might have to force the issue by pressing and holding down all three of the following keys at the same time: Ctrl, Alt, and Del. (The Ctrl key might also be labeled Control, and the Del key might also be labeled Delete.) Doing so displays the dialog box shown in Figure 3.3. Click the Shut Down menu to open its drop-down list and then choose Restart. Windows shuts down and your computer turns off and restarts automatically. This process clears the internal error that caused your system to freeze.
Any activity in memory (unsaved) is lost if you use the Ctrl+Alt+Del keystroke combination. We recommend frequent saves to reduce the amount of work you might lose in the event of such a problem. In addition, don't try to resolve the problem by turning off the system either at the switch or the electrical source. Either could result in corrupted files and unrecoverable data.
Using Ctrl+Alt+Del to restore your system is sometimes referred to as a hard boot because you're unable to save your work and shut down applications before shutting down the operating system.
Sometimes you can shut down the application that's locked up without shutting down the entire system. Check the task list for the status "not responding." If you find one, select that item and click End Task.
You'll want to familiarize yourself with your system, just as you would your car or stereo. After all, would you jump into a new car and drive off without first finding the switch for the lights or the
View the computer's basic system information: operating system, and version number, installed RAM (random access memory).
Perhaps the simplest method to learn a few quick details about the current system is to view the system's properties in the Windows Help window:
Right-click the Start button and select Explorer on the taskbar to open the
the graphical interface Windows uses to display the system's file structure.
In the resulting window, select About Windows from the Help menu to display the window shown in Figure 3.4.
After viewing the information, click OK to close the dialog box.
Change the computer's desktop configuration: the date and time, volume settings, and desktop display options (
Many of the system's default settings, such as the date and time and display options, are used by other software applications. From time to time, you might need to review these settings or even change them.
Most of these settings are accessible via the Control Panel, so we give the instructions for displaying the Control Panel window now. Click the Start button on the taskbar and choose Control Panel from the Start menu to display the Control Panel window shown in Figure 3.5. (This figure shows Windows XP default; your screen might look different.)
To change a system's date and time, double-click the Date, Time, Language, and Regional Options link (in the Control Panel window). Then, click the Change the Date and Time link to display the Date and Time Properties dialog box shown in Figure 3.6. Click the Date & Time tab if necessary. (You can also double-click the clock in the Notification area of the taskbar to open this dialog box.) You change a date component by selecting the appropriate value from that control.
Changing the time is similar to changing the date. The time consists of three components:
In the United States, the operating system might automatically adjust the system's time twice a year when many areas switch to
In addition, most of today's systems are equipped with audio capabilities and speakers. You might need to modify the default volume settings. To do so, click the Sounds, Speech, and Audio Devices link in the Control Panel window. Then, click the Adjust the System Volume in the next window. Or you can double-click the volume control icon in the Notification area of the taskbar. Both
If there's no volume control icon in the Notification area of the taskbar, you can display it. Open the Sounds and Audio Devices Properties dialog box, click the Volume tab, and then check the Place Volume Icon in the taskbar option.
Display options determine the specific colors and the size of each element onscreen. You can adjust the settings, but you should know that most software applications inherit these options. That means any changes you make affect most everything you might seeeven elements within a software application.
There are three types of display options that you might want to adjust:
Color Determine the number of colors your monitor can display.
Resolution Determine the size of individual elements.
Screen Saver Display a graphic or animation when the computer is inactive.
In the Control Panel window, click the Appearance and Themes link and then click the Change the Screen Resolution link to open the Display Properties dialog box. Click the Settings tab (if necessary) to work with the color and resolution. You can use the Color Quality control to select the number of colors that will be displayed on your monitor.
The second setting on this tab is the Screen Resolution setting. Simply adjust the slider to reduce or increase the number of pixels displayed. The more pixels you display, the more information you can display onscreen (and the smaller everything will appear).
The last display setting we want to explore is the
: that's a file that displays moving elements when the computer is idle for a specific length of time. Newer monitors aren't really at risk, but older
The operating system comes with a number of screen savers, but you're free to purchase one or even download a free file from the Internet. (Not all files are free; read instructions
To specify a screen saver, click the Screen Saver tab and choose a file from the Screen Saver control's drop-down shown in Figure 3.8. Click the Preview button to see what the file looks like in real time; you might decide that you don't like the selected file and try another. Some screen savers have settings you can modify by clicking the Settings button and following the
Set, change keyboard language.
Just because you and your system use English doesn't mean that you won't ever need to
In the Control Panel, click the Date, Time, Language, and Regional Options link.
Click the Add Other Languages link.
On the Languages tab, click the Details button. The default input language is probably English (United States)-US.
Click the Add button in the Installed Services section to display the Add Input Language dialog box.
Open the Input Languages control's drop-down list and choose the language you want to install. Figure 3.9 shows Russian installed. Notice that the Keyboard Layout/IME control updates accordingly.
Click OK to return to the previous dialog box, which now displays two available languages in the Services Installed list, as shown in Figure 3.10.
Open the Default Input Language control's list (the combo box at the top) and you'll find that Russian is now listed as a possible default language. Go ahead and select Russian from the list. (You can quickly switch back to English later.)
Click OK twice. Nothing seems to change: everything is still in English. Check the new Language bar in the taskbar. It should resemble the one shown in Figure 3.11.
The language bar then displays RU (for Russian) as the default language. If you expect the system to magically transpose your English words into Russian, you might be disappointed. All you've done is reset the key-board; the feature doesn't suddenly display everything in Russian. (If you actually reset your system, be sure to reset the default to English before you continue.)
You might not want to change the default language but still need to correspond in languages other than the default. In this case, you can access any number of input languages as you need them. An
is the language you use to enter text at any given time. What that means is you could be typing in English (the default) and then switch to Russian, French, Spanish, or any number of supported languages to type in a single word,
To access a default language, repeat Steps 1 through 6 from the previous exercise. The only difference is that you won't change the Input Default Language selection in that control. Adding the input language displays the Language bar you saw earlier and you're free to switch back and forth. However, the operating system won't change the system's default language.
To use an input language, open a blank document using Notepad or WordPad and start entering text. Then, using the Language bar, choose Russian or another listed language. Any text you enter assumes the input language's keyboard, not the English keyboard you're actually using.
By default, most input languages are installed automatically. However, to enter or display text in any of the East Asian languages or a
Format removable disk media: diskette, Zip disk.
In Chapter 2, you learned a bit about removable storage devices. (See "Storage Devices" in that chapter.) Before you use a floppy or Zip disk, you must format it. In this context, format means to prepare the disk to store electronic data.
You can purchase formatted diskettes, so you might never actually need to format a brand new disk. In fact, we recommend that you use factory-formatted diskettes. However, occasionally, you might want to format a used disk to erase old data.
on a diskette, so use care when formatting your diskettes. In addition, never try to
To format a floppy diskette, follow these steps:
Insert the floppy diskette into the appropriate drive.
Open My Computer and select (don't double-click) drive A in the Devices with Removable Storage section. (Access My Computer from the Desktop or the Start menu.)
Choose Format from the File menu.
Windows displays the dialog box shown in Figure 3.12. Most of the time you can just click Start. Occasionally, you might want to check the Quick Format option to save a little time. This option erases files but doesn't check for bad sectors. Use this option only if the disk has been previously formatted and you're sure the diskette isn't damaged. Otherwise, stick with the Capacity setting.
Formatting a Zip disk is basically the same. Repeat Steps 1 through 3 in the previous exercise. This time, select the Zip drive in the My Computer window. When the operating system displays the dialog box shown in Figure 3.13, click Format. Use the Long Format option only when the Zip disk has developed errors. Remember, just like with a floppy disk, formatting a Zip disk completely erases its contents.
Install, uninstall a software application.
More than likely, your system will
Fortunately, installing software has become simple and routine. To install a software application from a CD-ROM or a floppy drive, follow these steps:
Insert the CD-ROM or the floppy disk in the appropriate drive. If the software automatically initiates the install process, simply follow the instructions.
If not, open the Control Panel by clicking Start and then choosing Control Panel.
Click the Add or Remove Programs link.
Click the Add New Programs option in the Add or Remove Programs window, and then click the CD or Floppy button in the next window.
At this point, the software installation process kicks in: follow the instructions. We recommend that you accept the default (or typical) installation option unless you have specific reasons not to.
Uninstalling a software application is also easy. Follow these steps:
Open the Control Panel by clicking Start and then choosing Control Panel.
Click the Add or Remove Programs link.
Click on the application that you want to uninstall.
Click on the Change/Remove button and follow the instructions to remove the application.
Some software might ask you to reboot the system after you finish the installation or uninstallation. You might want to schedule software installation for a time when you're not doing other important
Use keyboard print screen facility and paste contents into a document.
To save a copy of the screen, press the Print Screen key to copy the entire screen, exactly as it appears. Next, open a program such as Microsoft Paint or Microsoft Word and choose Paste from the Edit menu. At this point, you can save or print the image.
Use available Help functions.
Few people master their computer without a little help now and again. The first place you'll want to go when you have questions is the computer itself. Windows offers a number of ways to get the help you need.
The best place to start is with the Help and Support Center. Click the Start button and select Help and Support Center. Or open the Control Panel window and click the Help and Support link. The resulting page shown in Figure 3.14 has the look and feel of a Web page. From this page, you can quickly access a number of help features.
To use the Index, click the Index button on the toolbar and enter a search string. As you enter
You can skip the Index window and enter search text in the Search control. For instance, enter "default printer" into the Search control and press Enter or click the Search Now button (the arrow to the right of the control). Windows updates the Search Results list accordingly. In this case, clicking the Specify Your Default Printer link in the Suggested Results list displays the same information you saw in Figure 3.15. Click a topic or click one of the
Suggested Topics Attempts to select the most relevant topics to match the search criteria.
Full-text search matches Displays help documents that contain the exact text.
Microsoft Knowledge Base Displays links to appropriate online articles in Microsoft's Knowledge Base.
Everyone uses text files. You might write
Launch a text-editing application. Open, create a file.
Both Notepad and WordPad are accessible through the Programs menu. We'll be working with Notepad, but you can launch WordPad the same way. To launch Notepad, click the Start button on the taskbar and Select All Programs in the Start menu. (If Notepad appears on the Start menu, you can skip the All Programs steps that come next and just launch Notepad from the Start menu.) Then, select Accessories in the Programs menu to display another menu of actual applications. Select Notepad from that list, as shown in Figure 3.16. Notepad launches a blank document in a new window. At this point, you can start entering text, as shown in Figure 3.17.
Save the file to a location on a drive.
Enter the text, "This is my practice text file," and then save the file on your hard drive. To do so, choose Save As from the File menu. In the resulting dialog box, choose a location for the file using the Save in control. Simply open that control's drop-down list and select the appropriate folder. As you can see in Figure 3.18, you can select the hard drive, a floppy drive, the CD-ROM (if you have a CD writer), or even a Zip drive if you have one installed. In the File Name control,
To open an existing file, choose Open from Notepad's File menu, and select the right folder in the Look in control. Select the file from the list of files, and then click the Open button.
Close the text-editing application.
When you're done working with the text file, close Notepad by clicking Exit from the File menu. Or click the Windows Close button (the X in the top right of the title bar).
Most text editors work with just one file at a time, so closing the file is the same thing as closing the text editor. If you don't want to close the editor, but you want to work on a new file, choose New or Open from the File menu. Doing so
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