How to properly use a computer (with pictures)

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How to properly use a computer (with pictures)
How to properly use a computer (with pictures)

Computers have invaded our daily life and we can no longer count what we can do with them. However, for a beginner, using a computer is not that easy as you might think. Fortunately, these machines are relatively easy to use today. There is no longer any need to enter lines of code as before. They are also very easy to set up and configure (a few minutes is enough). Learn how to configure your personal settings, surf the web, install software …


Part 1 of 5: Know the basics

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Step 1. Install the various elements of your computer.

Before turning on a computer, you must connect the various components that make it up. To begin with, find a suitable place for your central unit (tower), preferably close enough to your desk. Then plug in your keyboard, your mouse, your screen. Finally, connect the tower to the mains.

  • These are the essential elements to be connected in order to be able to use a computer. Things have been greatly simplified since the early days of computing. Later, according to your needs, you can add peripherals and various accessories (reader, printer…).
  • As for laptops, it is even easier, since they are compact. All you need to do is connect your computer to the mains, to power your laptop and / or to recharge your battery.
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Step 2. Create a user account

When you have a computer, especially if you share it with someone, you have to create an account per user, on which you will store all your files, your folders, your photos …

If you have a computer that everyone (and especially anyone!) Can access, you will need to protect your account with a strong password, that is, it must contain characters (letters, numbers, symbols) easy for you to remember and difficult to "crack". This recommendation also applies to a personal computer

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Step 3. Familiarize yourself with the concept of an office

Today, whether on PC or Mac, when you turn on your computer, you land on what is called the desktop, where a number of icons, shortcuts and folders are displayed. It is a kind of crossroads where you will find yourself frequently. Desktop varies from operating system to operating system, but overall the basics are the same.

  • On a Windows platform (except Windows 8), you have a button To start up in the lower left corner. It is through it that you will access all your files and programs.
  • Windows 8 no longer has the button To start up, but a home screen. The operation remains the same, but the objects (folders, programs, etc.) appear graphically in the form of “tiles” that must be clicked.
  • With Mac OS X, you can create multiple virtual desktops and switch between them flexibly and quickly.
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Step 4. Familiarize yourself with the mouse and keyboard

These two instruments allow you to control your computer. If you are a beginner, take the time to master them.

  • Learn to use the mouse. It is thanks to it that you can move around the screen to choose a file, enter the insertion point in a word processing file, open a context menu, etc. You can do a lot of things with the mouse. For those who drive, a mouse is a bit like a gear lever: at first you have trouble, then you use it without even thinking about it.
  • For smoother navigation, use keyboard shortcuts without moderation. These are combinations of keys, more or less complex, which are used to launch an action (paste, save, mark a web page…). Often these shortcuts are the same regardless of the software used. Thus, all software has a file saving function (Ctrl + S on a PC and (⌘ Cmd + S on a Mac).
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Step 5. Learn how to launch (“run” is the technical term) software

Any computer, even the one that is assembled at home, always has preinstalled software, applications, utilities … They launch without having to do anything. To see, in Windows, which programs are installed, click on the button To start up. They will then appear tidy in folders. On Mac, see in the "Dock" (menu which automatically appears on one side of the screen), otherwise go to the folders Applications Where Utilities.

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Step 6. Install your first program (software, utility…) This is an operation that you will often have to do in your life as a “geek”

This is done very simply: you generally have to launch a file which will then automatically launch the installation. Windows gradually appear indicating the progress and sometimes asking you for information or confirmations ("step by step" procedure).

  • Install Microsoft Office is often the first software you install when you have Windows. It is a software suite which contains the famous word processor Word and the Excel spreadsheet. It is essential to have such software on your computer. Most often, your computer will be equipped with the trial and free version of Office.
  • Installing software is slightly different on Mac. Indeed, the structure of the operating system is different from that of PCs. Mac supporters claim that it's easier to install software on a Mac than it is on a PC! Quarrel over schools!

Part 2 of 5: Learn Basic Computer Controls

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Step 1. Learn how to select a file or text

For this, you can use either the mouse or keyboard shortcuts. In a text, place your cursor at the start of your selection, click and hold the mouse, then move the cursor until you get the text you want. With a keyboard shortcut, you select all the text in a file by pressing Ctrl + A (PC) or ⌘ Cmd + A (Mac). From there, you will be able to subject your selection to all kinds of operations (delete it, put it in bold, etc.).

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Step 2. Learn how to copy and paste

These are two actions that you will be using very regularly. The "Copy" function creates a copy of your selection in what is called the "clipboard" (a kind of temporary memory). The original selection is not affected by this action. Then, you can paste ("Paste" function) this copy where you want, on another word processing file, on a photo …

  • On a PC, the “Copy” shortcut is made with the Ctrl + C keys and the “Paste” shortcut by pressing the Ctrl + V keys. You can also right click with the mouse and in the contextual menu that appears, choose the desired action.
  • On a Mac, the “Copy” shortcut is made with the ⌘ Cmd + C keys and the “Paste” shortcut by pressing the ⌘ Cmd + V keys. You can also right click for these two operations.
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Step 3. Open and save your files

All creation programs (word processing, photo editing, etc.) have a recording function (fortunately!) You will learn it sooner or later: you have to save your work frequently! If you work 2 hours without saving your work and there is a power failure, you will have to… start all over! Saving must become a reflex, we save every 20 to 30 seconds, without thinking about it. Likewise, if you plan to deeply modify a document, always make a copy of your original document. If something went wrong, you wouldn't be starting from scratch. Function Save is done via the shortcut Ctrl + S (PC) or ⌘ Cmd + S (Mac).

After a while, it necessarily happens that you have a lot of important files on your computer. You should then consider making a general and external backup to your computer in order to compensate for a possible failure of your computer. Windows (method 3/5 of the article) and Mac (method 4/5 of the article) have backup systems built into their structures

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Step 4. Organize your files to find them easier

You will quickly realize it, over time, the files (text, photos, videos …) that you recover (or that you create) will tend to accumulate everywhere and finding them is not then a small matter. This is where classification files come in with evocative names (if you are a hunter, make a file Hunting corners, another, Hunting websites, another, Game 2014, etc.) Creating folders allows you to have a directory (or a tree structure) in which it is easy to navigate.

Part 3 of 5: Connect to the Internet

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Step 1. Configure your connection

To connect to the Internet, you must first configure your computer. There are two types of connections: wireless connection (Wi-Fi) or wired connection (cables + modem or router). The type of connection will depend on how your network is configured and your machine.

  • Connect your computer to a wireless network (Wi-Fi). If there is a wireless network at home, at the office, at school, you will be able to connect to it without any problem. All computers today can establish this connection without any particular difficulty. However, with some older computers, you may need to install a wireless network card.
  • Often times, a wired connection is faster and more stable than a wireless connection. If your machine is close to the router or modem, it is possible to connect your computer to it via an Ethernet cable. It is true that it is a solution to be reserved for desktops which, by definition, are fixed. The wired connection is less sensitive to interference inherent in the Wi-Fi system. The speeds are also faster.
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Step 2. Open an Internet browser

It is software that allows you to visit millions of sites around the world. You will be able to view the pages, view online videos, download files, and more. Most often, a browser is preinstalled on a new computer (Internet Explorer on Windows, Safari on Mac and Firefox on Linux), but be aware that there are many others.

  • Google Chrome is a popular browser today. It allows you to log in and sync your Google account. Chrome is available on the Google home page.
  • Firefox is a browser that is also very popular with Internet users. It can be personalized and it has a pretty good security system.
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Step 3. Install an antivirus

Before embarking on the vast world of the Internet, it is better to have a good and up-to-date antivirus. The purpose of this type of software is to protect your machine (and the data on it) against viruses, Trojans and other malicious programs that abound on the Internet. Navigating without antivirus borders on unconsciousness! Again, antivirus is automatically installed on new computers, but this is often a trial version. Note that there are very good free antiviruses (to download from the Internet).

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Step 4. Surf Safely

While there are good and beautiful things on the Internet, there are also the worst. We meet crooks, malicious people … Therefore, there are certain practices to be had when surfing. We do not give personal information to just anyone and anywhere, we do not download files from sites we know nothing about, we carefully open email attachments, we leave shady sites …

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Step 5. Send emails

Email has become the major form of communication between people, businesses, etc. That's why you need to know how to send and respond to emails. For this, you need an account with an email address. Each ISP (Internet Service Provider) offers you one or more email addresses. Setting up an email account is done in a few clicks.

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Step 6. Download a file

You will quickly notice: the Internet is full of files, programs, videos, music to download, free or not. It is up to you to make your choice ! Warning ! not all downloads are legal!

Part 4 of 5: install peripherals

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Step 1. Install a printer

Sooner or later, at school or at home, you will need to print documents. Today, nothing could be easier than connecting a printer to a computer. Just connect the computer and the printer via a USB cable and you're good to go. Today's computer does the installation automatically.

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Step 2. Configure your home network

A network connects all the computers in the same place (home, office, etc.). Each device is assigned a network channel and you can access the Internet, share a printer, play on a network, retrieve documents from another computer, etc. To set up a network, you need a router or a network card. With these devices, you can connect computers, laptops, tablets, either with Ethernet type cables, or wireless (Wi-Fi).

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Step 3. Install a webcam or microphone

With a webcam, you will be able to have video interviews with anyone, wherever they are on the planet. However, you have to go through a service software like Skype or Google+. As often, this device is installed via a USB socket, even if more and more, the webcam is integrated directly into the computer (laptop or desktop).

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Step 4. Add speakers

Laptops and newer computers have built-in speakers. On some machines, you have to add external speakers. The connectors are usually found on the back of the tower or computer (monoblock). They are easily spotted by their colored rings (yellow, red…). You just have to put the correct color of the cable in the connector having the same color ("jack" sockets). As for personal headphones, they plug into the "jack" connector of your computer, even if there is a wireless one.

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Step 5. Connect your computer to a TV

There is only one condition: your computer must be close enough to the television to be able to make the wired connection. Thus, you will be able to transfer what you see on your computer screen to your television set (a small or a large home cinema in a way!) To have sound, you must also connect audio cables. To learn more, read the following Wikihow articles.

  • How to connect your Mac to a TV.
  • How to connect a laptop to a television.
  • How does your PC to a TV.

Part 5 of 5: Maintain and repair your computer

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Step 1. Know some tips to repair your computer

Electronics are not infallible and it happens more or less frequently that your computer crashes, that software freezes, that an action does not start … It is necessary to know some troubleshooting tips that will save you time. time and money. Most often, it is not necessary to be an expert to maintain your computer and it is all the easier because there is very good software for maintenance, diagnosis and repair.

  • Once the classic control operations have been carried out and if the problem persists, it is then necessary to reconfigure the computer. This operation often resolves a large number of problems.
  • In case of persistent internet connection problems, your best bet is to reconfigure your connection.
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Step 2. Know how to recognize a virus

Viruses are annoying at best, destructive at worst. They can attack your files, but also your hardware, for example by disrupting the cooling system. They can slow down your computer, partially or completely erase your data. The easiest way is to avoid catching viruses, first on the Internet or passing infected files via USB drives, for example.

In addition to viruses, be aware that there are malicious software (“malware”), adware (“adware”) and spyware (“spyware”) which, each in their own way, are all threats or inconveniences in your practice. daily. They are often hidden inside programs you download or emails. It is often difficult to get rid of it

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Step 3. Uninstall programs that you no longer need or that look shady to you

After a while, we accumulated a lot of programs, utilities … which, a few months later, are no longer of any use. It is then time to clean up. Get rid of anything that is not useful. You will first free up space on your hard drive. Then you will gain in speed. Indeed, some programs work in the background and consume memory for this, slowing down your work. If you do this dusting job regularly, you will gain in performance. A word of advice: look at the dates of the last use of the software. If it has been more than a year since you opened it, there is little chance that you will ever do so. To learn more, read the following Wikihow articles.

  • How to uninstall software on a Mac.
  • How to uninstall a program on Windows 7.
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Step 4. Optionally, reinstall the operating system

You have one or more problems that you cannot resolve, the solution may simply be a complete reinstallation of the operating system. This operation may seem a little scary and take a long time, but the rewards are worth the effort. You will install a clean system and get back to the performance you started with. With this kind of operation, what scares the most is having to back up everything on the disk and then reinstall everything. However, if you've done regular backups to external media, you've already done a fair bit of the job. Likewise, after reinstalling your software, you will find that you have gained space on your hard drive. To learn more, read the following Wikihow articles.

  • How to reinstall Windows 7.
  • How to reinstall Windows 8.
  • How to install Linux.
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Step 5. Dust off your computer

Heat is certainly the computer's worst enemy. Over time, dust and cigarette smoke settle on the ventilation openings, which ultimately leads to poor cooling of the electronic components and ultimately to failure. To clean these ventilation holes, you can use a brush with soft bristles, a vacuum cleaner, a can of compressed air dry (available in computer stores). Twice a year cleaning is necessary, more often if you have pets that are losing their hair or if you are a smoker.

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Step 6. Replace some parts of your computer

Either the component is out of order and you have to change it, or what you are doing requires more power or an update and you have to change this or that component (drive, hard drive, memory modules, etc.). You will delay the purchase of a new computer to some extent. Thus, you can change or add, in a tower, a hard drive, a network or video card, the motherboard, drives, RAM memory, etc.

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