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Understanding the Basics of Computers, Issue #009
June 30, 2009
Understanding the Basics of Computers
Your source for computer tips and tricks for the beginner computer user
June 30, 2009 Issue 09
I hope all of my readers are having a fun filled summer break. For all of my readers in the Denver metro area please consider my one-on-one training. The cost is $40.00 for a 1 hour session. All lessons are project based and if you don't feel like you learned everything you anticipated I will work with you free until you understand. Please contact me if you are local to the Denver metro area and interested in a personalized training session. I am also working on making the web pages easier to find things so look for changes at www.free-computer-tutorials.net and let me know what you think. If you have any suggestions for the website please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what you think or what you would like me to add.
In this issue:
With computer programs increasing in size and people doing multiple tasks on their computers memory can cause a problem with your computer. Instead of having to purchase a whole new computer look at increasing the RAM(random access memory) of your computer. RAM can be an inexpensive fix to a slow computer. A local computer repair shop can increase your RAM for a reasonable price.
Before you make any purchases, you need to know how much memory you have.
To see how much RAM is in your PC, go to the Start menu, click Settings, and then click Control Panel. Click System and then select the General tab. At the bottom of the page you should see the amount of RAM
For windows XP and windows Vista you should have at least 512MB of RAM if you are just writing letters and surfing the internet. If you are gaming or running several applications at the same time you should have a minimum of 1GB.
The most common reason your computer starts performing slowly is the hard drive. The Hard drive is the disk inside your computer that holds all of the information you store on your computer. Over time the hard drive loses its' ability to store data efficiently. Windows provides 3 great tools to help with this problem. Disk Cleanup, Defragmenter, and Check Disk. All of these tools can be found by right clicking on the C drive in My Computer and clicking properties, then click the Tools tab. Disk Clean up should be run Weekly, Defragment should be run Monthly, and Check Disk should be run Weekly. Don't worry if you are thinking you are going to have trouble remembering to do this, let Microsoft Windows do the work.
To set up Disk Cleanup to run automatically:
To set up Disk Defragmenter to run automatically:
To set up Check Disk to run automatically:
Physically cleaning your computer
Just like your home your computer needs a little dusting also. If your computer case fills with dust it can cause the cooling fans to stop working and your computer will over heat. Here is a few cleaning tips to keep your computer working in tip top condition.
Only do this if you feel comfortable. Otherwise a computer store or office supply store can do this for you. Using a screwdriver, remove the side of the case. Some computers don't need a screw driver they have twist latches. Touch as little as possible inside the computer, keeping fingers away from cards and cords.
Blow air around all of the components and along the bottom of the case, keeping the nozzle four inches away from the machine. Blow air into the power supply box and into the fan (from the back of the case). Lastly, blow air into the floppy disk and CD drives. Wipe the inside of the cover with a lightly moistened cloth before replacing it. You can purchase canned air at any office supply store.
I would recommend doing this every 6 to 12 months in normal working conditions if your computer is in an area that is dusty do this every 3 months.
You should also clean your keyboard. You will be surprised how much dust and stuff gets in there. Turn the keyboard upside down and gently shake it. Most of the crumbs and dust will fall out. Take a can of compressed air and blow into and around the keys. Next, take a cotton swab and dip it in rubbing alcohol. It should be damp, but not wet. Run the cotton swab around the outside of the keys. Rub the tops of the keys. If you have a laptop, follow the same procedure but take extra care with your machine. Do this monthly.
Twitter is the latest and greatest thing for social networking. Web browsers are updating and coming out with new extensions and updates to make social networking more accessible. Take a look at this news article to learn more about the Firefox extension for Twitter. Twitter news at Cnet.com
I hope this issue of Understanding the Basics of Computers was helpful. If you have any suggestions for next months issue or comments on this issue please let me know.
Keep learning about your computer,
P.S. If you would like to purchase ad space in my e-zine please mail me with Ad in the subject line.
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