Computer Basics

Resources to help you understand how your computer works, how to maintain computers and use them safely, and how to protect your computer from viruses. 

 

Basic Computer Skills

Help Guide for MS Windows

Developed by: Giles Edkins Type of resource: Beginner's  Guide Target audience: General Cost: Free access

This small web site by Giles Edkins is based on his personal experience and  is aimed at true beginners, helping them get started exploring the computer  keyboard, Microsoft Windows and its standard accessories such as Notepad, Paint,  and Calculator.

Dhttp://www.gwydir.demon.co.uk/giles/winhelp/index.htm


Computer Basics - General

Dave's Guide to Buying a Home Computer

Developed by: Dave Kraus, Michigan State University Type of  resource: Web guide Target audience: General Cost: Free  access

Extensive guide covering basic questions to ask yourself before buying a  computer; operating systems and software; hardware; Internet connectivity; and  configuration requirements. Assumes good general understanding of computers.

Dhttp://www.css.msu.edu/PC-Guide/PC-Guide1.cfm


Dave's Guide to Buying a Used Computer

Developed by: Dave Kraus, Michigan State University Type of  resource: Web article Target audience: General Cost: Free access

Overview of things to take into account when buying a used computer.

Dhttp://www.css.msu.edu/PC-Guide/PC-Guide2.cfm


7 Tips to Managing your Files Better

Developed by: Microsoft Support Type of resource: website Target audience: General Cost: Free access

Simple tips for file management in Microsoft Windows, such as keeping  document files separate from programme files, using thumbnail images for easy  file identification, and storing similar file types in the same places to  facilitate easy access.

Dhttp://www.microsoft.com/atwork/manageinfo/files.mspx


A Guide to Troubleshooting PCs

Developed by: Dirk Slater Type of resource: Web  guide Target audience: General Cost: Free access

"Since computers have so many different functions and so many different  elements working together on the same system (software, peripherals, etc.) the  potential for problems is quite high. Programs can stop running properly, or  even worse, the computer itself can fail to even start. If you are the person  with the job of looking after the organisation's PCs and IT infrastructure, then  this article should help."

Dhttp://www.icthubknowledgebase.org.uk/troubleshootingpcs


A Simple Guide to Buying a Computer

Developed by: Techsoup Type of resource: Article Target audience: General Cost: Free access

If you have been entrusted with making the hardware purchases at your  organization, there can be a lot of pressure to avoid mistakes. While the  pressure may be great, you can keep from being buried by following some simple  guidelines as you make the purchases.

Dhttp://www.techsoup.org/articlepage.cfm?articleid=27&topicid=1


An Introduction to Personal Computing

Developed by: University of Durham Type of resource: PDF  file Target audience: General Cost: Free access

Guide aimed at people with little or no experience of computing which  "describes the parts of a computer, explains how information is stored on a  computer and what steps you should take to safeguard your computer-based  information." Although written for users at the University of Durham it is  useful for new computer users more generally.

Dhttp://www.dur.ac.uk/its/info/guides/24intro.pdf


Backing up your data

Developed by: One NorthWest Type of resource: Web  guide Target audience: General Cost: Free access

This document outlines the hardware, software and procedures necessary to  effectively and efficiently back up the key data from your computers. It  includes hardware recommendations, software recommendations, and suggested tips  on what specific items on your hard drive you most need to back up.

Dhttp://www.onenw.org/bin/page.cfm/pageid/8


Buying a Printer

Developed by: Lasa Information Systems Type of resource: Web article Target audience: General Cost: Free access

"Every organisation needs at least one printer. However, with massive choice  spanning a wide range of options, how do you find your way to the right printer  for the job?" This article by the Lasa Information Systems team will hekp you  make an informed choice.

Dhttp://www.icthubknowledgebase.org.uk/buyingaprinter2


Computer starting or running slowly?

Developed by: Lasa Information Systems Team Type of  resource: Web guide Target audience: General Cost: Free  access

"When you first acquired your shiny new PC or laptop you couldn’t believe how  quick it was compared to your old one. The desktop appeared as if by magic and  files opened at lightning speed. Then, over time, you realised that it was  starting to take rather longer than it used to..." This article from the Lasa  Information Systems Team looks at why this happens and links to resources to  help you deal with it.

Dhttp://www.icthubknowledgebase.org.uk/slowcomputer


Copernic Desktop Search

Developed by: Copernic Type of resource: downloadable  program Target audience: General Cost: Free access

As we have increased amounts and varietes of data on our computers, finding  files becomes more difficult. Now there are many different "desktop search"  utilities that can be downloaded for free. Copernic Desktop Search can be  incorporated into a Window's desktop and can search all types of files,  including music, picture and video formats, as well as common office suite  files, all email, recently visited web pages, favorites listings, etc. Available  in English, French, German, and Dutch.

Dhttp://www.copernic.com/en/products/desktop-search/download.html


Digital Directions: Organise Your PC Files

Developed by: New Jersey City University Type of resource: PDF Target audience: General Cost: Free access

This simple document, though prepared in 2000, still gives good advice for  basic document management in a PC setting.  http://www.njcu.edu/dept/its/support/pdfs/Organize_Your_PC_Files.pdf

Dhttp://www.njcu.edu/dept/its/support/pdfs/Organize_Your_PC_Files.pdf


Eleven Tips for Troubleshooting Software: Things to do before you call a  tech-support hotline

Developed by: TechSoup Type of resource: Web  articles Target audience: General Cost: Free access

"Your computer software — be it a Web browser or a donor database application  — likely plays a crucial role in your nonprofit's day-to-day operations. So when  software problems such as unexplained crashes and strange error messages begin  to occur, your workday can unceremoniously come to a silent (or not-so-silent)  standstill." TechSoup looks at some solutions.

Dhttp://www.techsoup.org/learningcenter/software/page6149.cfm


Freezes and crashes

Developed by: Rutgers University Type of resource: Web  guide Target audience: General Cost: Free access

Simple explanation of computer "freezes" and "crashes" and what you can do  about them.

Dhttp://getit.rutgers.edu/tutorials/freezes_crashes/index.html


Glossary of Computer Term Definitions

Developed by: Sharpened.net Type of resource: web  site Target audience: General Cost: Free access

Sharpened.net - Your Free Computer and Internet Resource offers an excellent,  comprehensive listing of computer terms, with easy-to-grasp explanations.

Dhttp://www.sharpened.net/glossary/


Helping others to help you — effectively communicating your ICT  problems

Developed by: Lasa Information Systems Team Type of  resource: Web guide Target audience: General Cost: Free  access

Getting the most out of your technical support requires explaining the  problem in clear terms. The Lasa Information Systems Team shows you what to look  for and how to communicate your problems effectively.

Dhttp://www.icthubknowledgebase.org.uk/communicatingproblems


How do I use a scanner?

Developed by: BBC Webwise Type of resource: Web  article Target audience: General Cost: Free access

The absolute basics of scanner use.

Dhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/webwise/askbruce/articles/scancam/usescan_1.shtml


How to Back up Data

Developed by: CompuMentor Type of resource: Article Target audience: General Cost: Free access

How effective would you be if your email, word processing documents and  contact database were wiped out? How many hours would it take to rebuild that  information from scratch? Backing up your data regularly is vital insurance  against a "data catastrophe." This article by CompuMentor explains how to  protect your data and improve the performance of your computer.

Dhttp://www.compumentor.org/events/spday/prepare.html#backup


How to Migrate to a New PC

Developed by: John Clyman, PC Magazine Type of resource: website Target audience: General Cost: Free access

This article explores three programmes for migrating vital computer  information (ie address books, documents, e-mail, photos, links to preferred  sites, specialised applications, etc.) to a new computer. It suggests thoughtful  steps for planning a migration before launching into the how-tos of migration  for two for-purchase specialty applications (Alohabob and Desktop DNA) as well  as the Windows XP migration tool.

Dhttp://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1895,1819031,00.asp


ICT Troubleshooting for Librarians and Information Personnel

Developed by: INASP Type of resource: Zipped MS  Word/PowerPoint files. Target audience: General, Trainers Cost: Free access

Materials for running a workshop on topics including basic troubleshooting,  common hardware and software problems, peripheral-related problems and  management and maintenance. The materials are free to use, but registration is  required.

Dhttp://www.inasp.info/training/ict-troubleshooting/


Instant Reference Guide to Creating DVDs and CDs

Developed by: Melissa J. Perenson, PC World Type of  resource: website Target audience: General Cost: Free  access

A guide to the burning process for DVDs and CDs. It covers the basics of  burning, including write speeds, drag and drop data, multi-sessions, and data  verification. It also highlights "CD quirks" and how to copy VHS to DVD.

Dhttp://www.pcworld.com/howto/article/0,aid,117720,00.asp


Internet Fraud Tips

Developed by: US National Consumer's League Type of  resource: Web site Target audience: General Cost: Free  access

You received an email from Nigeria or another country with an offer of  millions of dollars - beware! Criminals and con artists are using new media to  carry out old scams and schemes. This site describes how to recognize Internet  scams and frauds and what to do about them.

Dhttp://www.fraud.org/tips/internet/


Jamani's Guide to Computers Part I: Basic Knowledge and Skills

Developed by: Jamani Type of resource: PDF  file Target audience: General Cost: Free access

Simple and easy to use manuals on basic computer  use for persons without computer experience: Part I: Basic Knowledge and  Skills.

Dhttp://www.jamani.nl/static/Part1.pdf


Listing Folder Contents in an MS Word File

Developed by: PC Magazine Type of resource: website Target audience: General Cost: Free access

These easy instructions are useful for creating an editable index or listing  of the files on your computer.

Dhttp://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1895,1814463,00.asp


MMTK Using Older and Refurbished Computers Unit

Developed by: APC & Bridges.org Type of resource: MS  Word files Target audience: General, Trainers Cost: Free  access

This workshop kit offers materials which trainers can use as the basis of  face-to-face workshop. The handout will be of value to anyone wanting to learn about using older and refurbished  computers.

Dhttp://www.itrainonline.org/itrainonline/mmtk/refurbished.shtml


OpenICDL

Developed by: Go-Open Campaign / ICDL Foundation Africa Type of  resource: Web site Target audience: General Cost: Free  access

"OpenICDL is an open source project that aims to develop and maintain a  Free/Open Source version of the training materials used to ready students for  the International Computer Driving License certification.\" Materials cover  Basic Concepts of IT, Using a Computer and Managing Files (K Desktop  Environment), Word Processing (OpenOffice.org Writer), Spreadsheets  (OpenOffice.org Calc), Databases (OpenOffice DB), Presentations (OpenOffice.org  Impress) and Information and Communications (Mozilla 1.4 and Ximian Evolution  1.4). Materials are available in HTML and PDF versions.

Dhttp://icdl.tsf.org.za/courseware.html


Peter's Online Typing Course

Developed by: Peter Hudson Type of resource: Web course  (uses Macromedia Flash) Target audience: General Cost: Free  access

"By the time you finish this course, you will be able to confidently type all  the letters, numbers and the most common symbols, with proper ten-finger touch  typing technique."

Dhttp://www.typing-lessons.org/


Windows Vista: An FAQ for Nonprofits

Developed by: TechSoup Type of resource: Web  article Target audience: General Cost: Free access

"Windows Vista, Microsoft's first new major operating system (OS) since the  launch of the Windows XP line in 2001, is due to hit stores on January 30.  Vista's launch has already generated some questions about upgrading, new  features, tech support, and whether now is a good time to migrate your computers  to this new OS." To help you make informed decisions about Vista, TechSoup has  answered some questions which they think nonprofits will be most concerned  with.

Dhttp://www.techsoup.org/learningcenter/software/page6113.cfm


Writing CDs with Nero Burning ROM

Developed by: MMTK Type of resource: MS Word  files Target audience: General, Trainers Cost: Free  access

This workshop kit for trainers covers basic CD writing skills using Nero  Burning ROM software. Part of the Multimedia Training  Kit.

Dhttp://www.itrainonline.org/itrainonline/mmtk/nero.shtml


Editor's choice: Information as an Organisational  Asset

Developed by: Summit Collaborative Type of resource: web  site Target audience: General Cost: Free access

This article outlines the impact of disorganised information in any  initiative, the benefits of seeing information as an asset, and gives pointers  to becoming an "information leader" to ensure procedures and staff information  management training.

Dhttp://www.techsoup.com/howto/articlepage.cfm?ArticleId=349&topicid=11


Computer  Basics - Using computers safely (Ergonomics)

How to sit at a computer

Developed by: Ergonomics in Australia Type of resource: Online tip sheet Target audience: General Cost: Free  access

Four steps to setting up your computer workstation for comfortable computing. 

Dhttp://www.ergonomics.com.au/howtosit.htm


HP Safety and Comfort Guide

Developed by: Hewlitt Packard Type of resource: PDF  file Target audience: General Cost: Free access

This 58-page booklet describes proper workstation setup, posture, and health  and work habits for computer users. Available in many languages.

Dhttp://www.hp.com/ergo/intro.html


It hurts right here . . .

Developed by: Mark Dohrmann Type of resource: Online tip  sheet. Target audience: General Cost: Free access

Tips for making your workspace more comfortable and relieving aches and  pains.

Dhttp://www.ergonomics.com.au/officetips.htm


Mouse Ergonomics

Developed by: Charles H. Booras Type of resource: http://jaxmed.com/articles/wellness/mouseErgo.html Target audience: General Cost: Free access

Whether you spend five minutes or five hours using your mouse or trackball,  these suggestions can help you stay comfortable and productive.

Dhttp://jaxmed.com/articles/wellness/mouseErgo.html


Computer Basics - Maintaining a  PC

A 10-Step Tune-Up For Improving the Performance Of Your Windows PC

Developed by: Kris Driessen/Wise-Women Type of resource: Web article Target audience: General Cost: Free access

Ten basic steps for maintaining your Windows 3.x - Windows 98 PC.

Dhttp://www.wise-women.org/tutorials/tuneup/


Course for Technical Service Centre Managers

Developed by: SchoolNet Africa Type of resource: Online  tutorial Target audience: General Cost: Free access

Aimed in the first instance at the education sector, this self-paced online  course from SchoolNet Africa covers all the steps involved in setting up,  running, and maintaining a technical support, training and service centre.

Dhttp://www.schoolnetafrica.net/fileadmin/1MillionPCsTraining/Index.htm


Five Steps to Extend Your Computer’s Life

Developed by: TechSoup Type of resource: Web  guide Target audience: General Cost: Free access

John Avellanet sets out a five step routine to help keep your computer  healthy.

Dhttp://www.techsoup.org/learningcenter/hardware/page6006.cfm


What to Do When Things Go Wrong

Developed by: Mathew P. Graven, PC Magazine Type of  resource: website Target audience: General Cost: Free  access

PC Magazine runs through a list of 10 practical tips to help yourself when a  computer problem arises. Focussed on Windows and PC solutions, the tips vary  from checking cables to using basic Windows features to update or roll back  versions of drivers or operating systems. It also provides simple diagnostic  tips. Finally, depending on the problem area, there is a list of helpful support  sites listed by software types (Word, Excel, Word Perfect, Adobe, Windows,  etc).

Dhttp://www.pcmag.com/print_article2/0,1217,a=120845,00.asp


Windows Support Centre

Developed by: James Eshelman Type of resource: Web  site Target audience: General Cost: Free access

Trouble starting up or shutting down Windows? James Eshelman provides  advanced Windows tips and troubleshooting advice.

Dhttp://www.aumha.org/


Computer Basics - Virus  protection

Free Virus Cleaning Tools

Developed by: Softwin Type of resource: Software Target audience: General Cost: Free access

Softwin provides you with a powerful set of virus cleaning tools designed to  detect and remove viruses from your system. Because of their small size, these  applications are easily downloadable even with a slow Internet connection. They  can also easily be sent by e-mail to clients, friends, and partners. Thanks to  http://www.techsoup.org for this link.

Dhttp://www.bitdefender.com/html/free_tools.php


Computer Basics - File  formats

File Type Extensions

Developed by: Computer User High-Tech Dictionary Type of  resource: Web page Target audience: General Cost: Free  access

These extensions at the end of a filename refer to the type of file it is.  This information is used by your operating system to launch an appropriate  program when you click on the filename. Example: file.txt is a text file and can  be opened by a text editor program.

Dhttp://www.computeruser.com/resources/dictionary/noframes/nf.filetypes.html


Optimizing PDF Files

Developed by: PCMag Type of resource: Web  article Target audience: General Cost: Free access

Tips for optimizing PDF creation using Adobe Acrobat and other PDF  writers.

Dhttp://www.pcmag.com/print_article2/0,2533,a=154248,00.asp


Computer Basics - Data  compression tools

7-zip

Developed by: 7-zip Type of resource: Software Target  audience: General Cost: Free access

Open source zip software, very useful for more efficient compression, for  example when backing up your computer.

Dhttp://www.7-zip.org/download.html


How File Compression Works

Developed by: Tom Harris, Howstuffworks Type of resource: Article Target audience: General Cost: Free access

File compression is a very handy invention, especially for Web users, because  it lets you reduce the overall number of bits and bytes in a file so it can be  transmitted faster over slower Internet connections, or take up less space on a  disk. This article explains what happens when you compress (or "zip") a computer  file.

Dhttp://www.howstuffworks.com/file-compression.htm/printable


Introduction to WinZip

Developed by: Delaware County Community College Type of  resource: Web tutorial Target audience: General Cost: Free access

What WinZip is and how to use it.

Dhttp://learn.dccc.edu/~lori/tutorials/winzip/

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