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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.