Beginning Computer I - Outline

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link to VACE website

The course will use the book "For Grandmas Who Do Windows", Second Edition, by Amy C. Lowenstein. I chose it because it offered step by step directions for many common tasks and it clearly covers the basics in an easy to understand way, without talking down to the reader.

It is also one of the most reasonably priced computer books around. I paid $20 at Barnes and Noble. I have seen it at for $12.87

Interview with the author


About this manual

Occasionally you will hear computer user say "RTM" or even "RTFM" in answer to a question. RTM means "Read The Manual". RTFM adds the word Friendly to that.

It is a good idea to Read the book first. Then come to this site and see my notes on the subject.

Your computer is like your kitchen

The cursor

The mouse

Help programs

Files and folders


My Computer

Opening programs

Closing programs

Installing programs

Shutting down your computer

Setting the date and time

Learning about Windows

We worked on all this in class the last three weeks. This is all the basic mechanics of using Windows.

Bars on the windows

Bars on the Windows talks about the Taskbar, Title Bar, Menu Bar, etc. That I have been emphasizing the last three weeks. For review, click the link above and read the book, pages 19-21.

Windows are not a Pane

Windows are not a Pane talks about moving, resizing, closing, etc. windows. Read pages 22 -25.

Windows Explorer - Your other kitchen cabinet

Windows Explorer is another program, like My Computer, that lets you explore files and folders. Read page 26 in the book.

Important things not in the book

Working with files and folders

Starting on page 27 you will start working with files. Read this chapter in the book. Soon I will have notes on this section.

Creating a text file with Word

Pages 27 to 31

This deals with starting MS Word and saving a document in My Documents, in a folder that already exists under My Documents and creating a new folder un My Documents.

After the document has been saved, click on the littled Diskette icon on the toolbar every few minutes to save your changes. If the lights go out and you have been typing for twenty minutes, you just lost that twenty minutes worth of work.


Reopening files

Page 32

This section discusses two ways to reopen a document

  1. From the Recent Documents menu under Start.
  2. From the application you used to create the document.

Locating files and folders

Page 33

The Search command is on the Start menu. This will let you find files that you misplaced. (they are harder to misplace if you put them under My Documents)

Click on Start, then Search; a dialog comes up. If you know what the file is called, you can put some or all of the name in the filename box.

If you know some words that are in the file, put them in the box for that.

Remember: when doing a search, Less is More. If you put a lot in the search box, it might not find it. Just a word or two is all you need usually.

Editing documents

pages 34 to 38

How to select text

What you want What to do
Select 1 word Double click on the word
Select some words Double click and hold on the first word, then drag across the other words you want
Select 1 paragraph Triple click in the paragraph
Select some text drag over the text you want selected
Select one line click in the left margin next to the line you want selected
Select some lines drag in the left margin down past the lines you want
Select the whole document Ctrl-A or or choose Select All from the Edit menu.
Inserting text
click the mouse where you want to start typing. The blinking cursor that appears is the insertion point for new text.
Delete and insert
select the text to delete and start typing the new text.
To remove a selected item (text, a picture, whatever) from where it is and place it on the Clipboard for pasting to a new location
Usually in the Edit menu.
Keyboard Shortcut Ctrl-X
Copies the selected item to the clipboard but leaves it where it was also
Usually in the Edit menu.
Keyboard Shortcut Ctrl-C
Place a copy of the item on the clipboard where the insertion point is.
Usually in the Edit menu.
Keyboard Shortcut Ctrl-V
Undoes the last change you made.
Usually in the Edit menu.
Keyboard Shortcut Ctrl-Z

Formatting text

Pages 39 to 45

Lots of good stuff in here. Read this and play with it.

Remember to point to the different icons on the toolbar and hold the mouse steady. This will bring up the tooltip that tells you what it does.

Printing files

pages 46 to 47

wish we could do this here. I will work on getting printers working in the lab.

File records

Copying files and folders

Moving files and folders

Deleting files and folders

Renaming files and folders

Creating folders


Recycle bin

Floppy disks

Rearranging your computer

Personalizing Windows

View command

Working with graphics



Computer care


Disk Cleanup

Disk space

Systems properties


Email addresses and screen names

Address book

Composing and sending email

Receiving email

Checking email status

Inserting hyperlinks

Inserting graphics

Attaching documents


Buddy system

The Internet and the Web

Accessing the Web

Exploring a web site

Favorite Places

Internet White Pages


Chat Rooms


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