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Understanding the Basics of Computers, Issue #012
September 30, 2009
Understanding the Basics of Computers
Your source for computer tips and tricks for the beginner computer user
September 30, 2009 Issue 12
School is in full motion and we are busy with homework. Are you brushed up on all of your computer skills for classes or a new job? Video tutorials are still a work in progress, but should be available the end of November. It is taking me longer than I expected to get them put together. 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:
Windows live is a great way to stay in touch with your friends and family. I can let my kids talk to grandma and grandpa in Minnesota using instant messaging and my webcam and they can literally watch their grandchildren grow up from miles away.
The best thing about Windows live is it integrates with the Microsoft programs. You can download the program at http://download.live.com/?sku=messenger . Next you will need a webcam. Some laptops come with a webcam built in. You may also want a microphone so you can let young kids talk instead of typing back and forth. Webcams are fairly inexpensive and you can get them just about any place that sells electronics.
Once you have your webcam and windows live installed on your computer entering contacts is very simple. You just need to type your contact's email address in and send them a personal invitation to join you.
Making a webcam call is as easy as making a call from the telephone in your kitchen. The big difference is that you're using your computer to make the call.
To make a call with Windows Live Messenger:
In addition to making a call where both parties talk to and see one another, there is another feature on Windows Live Messenger you can send webcam videos to someone that are not live.
To use Windows Live Messenger to send your webcam to someone else:
You keep getting a "your system is running low on virtual memory" message
Perhaps you're more than familiar with this scenario: You're working on your PC and notice performance getting gradually slower and slower. Programs become harder to open and close. You wait forever for Web pages to be displayed. And then, you get some serious-sounding "virtual memory is too low" message, like the one in the following graphic.
Don't worry: This message isn't as scary as it sounds. Virtual memory is the space your computer uses when it's short of RAM (Random Access Memory), which is the memory used when running programs like Microsoft Office Word or Microsoft Office PowerPoint.
So what can you do to correct this problem and prevent this message from coming up in the future? The following are some solutions to keep your computer from displaying the "virtual memory minimum is too low" message.
The first solution is to increase your computer's virtual memory settings. To do so, you first need to determine how much RAM you currently have.
If you keep getting that dreaded "Your system is running low on virtual memory" message-even after you increase your computer's virtual memory-then you may need to buy more memory for your computer. The more RAM you have the better. XP needs at least 256MB. Vista needs 512MB.
If you do need to purchase some more memory, stop by your local computer shop. You can probably buy memory from them, and they'll probably install it for you. Or, you can buy memory online.
Your windows slide off the desktop-and you can't grab them
Solution: Use your keyboard to help move your window
Your taskbar has disappeared
The taskbar is that horizontal bar at the bottom or your computer screen that displays open programs on your desktop. The taskbar also contains the Start menu, which allows you to navigate to various programs installed on your computer. There is nothing more frustrating than going to start a program, only to find the taskbar gone.
The following are possible reasons why your taskbar has vanished, as well as solutions to keep your taskbar from ever running away again.
Solution #1: Find your taskbar behind other windows
If you don't see your taskbar, minimize all windows on your desktop. See if your taskbar is hiding behind your open windows.
To set your taskbar so it's always on top of all desktop windows: 1. Right-click the taskbar, and click Properties. 2. Select the Lock the taskbar check box. 3. Select the Keep the taskbar on top of other windows check box.
Now your taskbar will always be visible, no matter how many windows you have open. Locking your taskbar also keeps you from accidentally moving it around.
Solution #2: Find your taskbar elsewhere on your screen
If you have tried minimizing all windows on your desktop and you still don't see your taskbar-perhaps it has been moved. Maybe you've moved it yourself by accident. Or, perhaps someone's playing a practical joke on you. Regardless, the following will help you get your taskbar back to its proper size.
Solution #3: Thicken up your taskbar
You can make your taskbar a thin line-so skinny it's hard to see. To see if you've done this unintentionally, perform the following:
Use Excel 2007 to manage your finances
Microsoft has come up with so many things that make our lives easier. Go to this link http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/templates/CT101172321033.aspx and you will find of 80 spreadsheets that you can download to help you manage your personal finances. These spreadsheets are already built for you with all of the formulas already in place. All you need to do is download the spreadsheet and enter your data and save it someplace where you can find it again.
Play with some of these and if you have any questions please email me.
Microsoft has set a release date of October 22 for Windows 7. I am hoping to have tutorials on the new software posted by the end of November if you are one of those people that loves the latest greatest software. Take a look at cnet and you can watch a preview video of the new software. http://reviews.cnet.com/windows/microsoft-windows-7-professional/4505-3672_7-33704140.html?tag=contentMain;contentBody
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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