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Understanding the Basics of Computers, Issue #010
July 30, 2009

Ezine issue 10

Understanding the Basics of Computers

Your source for computer tips and tricks for the beginner computer user

July 31, 2009 Issue 10

Summer is winding down and school will start soon. Are you brushed up on all of your computer skills for classes or a new job? Video tutorials will be coming soon. I am slowly working on creating them. 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 and let me know what you think. If you have any suggestions for the website please email me at and let me know what you think or what you would like me to add.

In this issue:

  • Microsoft Free Online Storage with SkyDrive
  • Safe Social Networking
  • Fix PC problems 101
  • New Technology - New camera from Kodak

Microsoft Free Online Storage with SkyDrive

If you don't want to mess with selecting and setting up an exterior hard drive for extra storage for your picture and video files Microsoft has a great way you can store and back up files online for FREE.

To use the Microsoft SkyDrive click on this link. http://www. and sign in if you already have account or click sign up to create an account. Once you are logged in you click the down arrow on More then click SkyDrive.

You will have 4 folder options to place files. You have Documents, Favorites, Shared Favorites and Public. Click on the folder you would like to copy your files to. This will bring you to a webpage where you will be able to see other files you have placed in the folder or click the link to the drag and drop page where you can add more files. To add more files click the Why not add some files link.

Now open your folder that the files you would like to store online are located and make the window smaller than your webpage so you can see the web behind your browser window. Click and drag the file to the webpage until you see a square with a + sign in it then let go of the mouse button. This will copy your file to SkyDrive.

When you are finished adding your files click the upload button. Depending on the size of the files this may take a while. When the website is finished uploading you will be able to access the uploaded files any time from any computer once you have logged into your windows live account.

If you have any specific questions about SkyDrive please email me.

Safe Social Networking

Social Networking is becoming so popular with all of the new hype about Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, and Twitter to name a few. Social networking sites can fall victim to hackers, spammers, viruses, identity thieves and other criminals. These tips help protect you when you use these networks to keep in touch.

Use caution when you click links that you receive in messages from your friends on your social Web site. Treat links in messages on these sites as you would links in e-mail messages.

Don't trust that a message is really from who it says it's from. Hackers can break into accounts and send messages that look like they're from your friends, but aren't. If you suspect that a message is fraudulent, use an alternate method to contact your friend to find out. This includes invitations to join new social networks.

To avoid giving away e-mail addresses of your friends, do not allow social networking services to scan your e-mail address book. When you join a new social network, you might receive an offer to enter your e-mail address and password to find out who else is on the network. The site might use this information to send e-mail messages to everyone in your contact list or even everyone you've ever sent an e-mail message to with that e-mail address. Social networking sites should explain that they're going to do this, but some do not.

Type the address of your social networking site directly into your browser or use your personal bookmarks. If you click a link to your site through e-mail or another Web site, you might be entering your account name and password into a fake site where your personal information could be stolen.

Be selective about who you accept as a friend on a social network. Identity thieves might create fake profiles in order to get information from you.

Choose your social network carefully. Evaluate the site that you plan to use and make sure you understand the privacy policy. Find out if the site monitors content that people post. You will be providing personal information to this Web site, so use the same criteria that you would to select a site where you enter your credit card.

Assume what you write on a social networking site is permanent. Even if you can delete your account, anyone on the Internet can easily print the information or save it to a computer.

Be careful about installing extras on your site. Many social networking sites allow you to download third-party applications that let you do more with your personal page. Criminals sometimes use these applications in order to steal your personal information. To download and use third-party applications safely, take the same safety precautions that you take with any other program or file you download from the Web.

Think twice before you use social networking sites at work.

Talk to your kids about social networking. If you're a parent of children who use social networking sites.

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Fix PC problems 101

These quick tips will help you with some of the most common PC problems.

  • The most important shortcut key you should know is F1. No matter what program you have open if you press the F1 key on your keyboard it will open a help window.
  • Before adding any major hardware or software to your system, make sure you've recently backed up your PC as a safeguard. New hardware can do funny things to your computer so a backup is essential if you want to make sure you don't lose your important information.
  • Many issues can be resolved by simply checking to be sure that all of your plugs are connected properly. After you are sure of that, try restarting("rebooting") your system. Turn your computer off, and then back on a few seconds later. If the problem continues, follow the steps below.
  • Locating a problem - Ask yourself if the problem is related to hardware, software, or the operating system (such as Windows XP or Windows Vista). If you're uncertain, don't worry. Just start at the top by determining if your software is working I have given instruction to figure this out in the next tip. If the issue persists, proceed to the Hardware trouble section and then to the System failure section.
  • Software errors - If programs refuse to install, won't appear on your desktop, can't seem to run without freezing, don't load at a decent speed or function properly, or Internet access is unavailable these are software issues. Here are a few tips to fix these problems.
    • Confirm that your PC meets the software's minimum system requirements. This can usually be determined by right clicking on my computer and selecting properties.
    • Check for compatibility with Windows Vista. Many of the programs are having trouble and creating updates to work with Windows Vista.
    • Close open programs and windows that you're not currently using. These can eat up system memory and processing power, slowing your PC or preventing additional software from running. Try running the program again.
    • Check to make sure you have enough hard disk space by opening My computer and right clicking on your hard drive and selecting properties.
    • Scan for viruses and spyware.
    • Reboot your computer and try reinstalling the program.
  • Hardware trouble - Should equipment fail to turn on, be recognized by your system, or function properly, follow these steps to address some of the most common hardware issues
    • Confirm that your device is securely plugged in and receiving power. For equipment that relies on an A/C (wall outlet plug) power adapter, you can double-check that the outlet is functioning correctly by plugging in another device and observing if it starts up or begins charging.
    • Check to see whether equipment is properly connected to your PC by making sure all cables are securely plugged into the correct ports.
    • Double check to make sure the device is turned on.
    • Look for error messages displayed on either the equipment itself (commonly found on a small LCD screen) or on your desktop.
    • Install or reinstall drivers for the device. Windows automatically searches for drivers when new devices are connected and notifies you of any available updates. It may be necessary to manually install them yourself, if these files are contained directly on the device, on a CD/DVD sold with the equipment, or on the manufacturer's Web site. I have found more often than not you need to install a driver before plugging in your device.
    • Reboot your system and test the device again.

These are just a few ideas to get you started. I hope this helps you with some of your common problems.

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New Technology -New Camera From Kodak

I thought everyone might be interested in some new photo and video technology. I ran across this in my web searches. It looks like it is a great small camera for a reasonable price. The Kodak Zi8 is a pocket size high definition video camera. It can record 1080p HD video and snap still pictures at 5MP. You can read more about it at

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,
Jennifer Anderson

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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