We endeavor to answer many of your basic questions about computers here.
Check these out
Cleaning your computer
How to buy a computer
Keyboard shortcuts you should know
Printer not working properly?
What's a PDF and how do I open one?
What should I do if my computer freezes?
How to choose a flash drive
How to set up a Microsoft Outlook/Express email account
How to set up Gmail in Outlook/Express
Microsoft Outlook Add-ins
Tips for Microsoft Word
Tips for Microsoft Excel
Tips for Powerpoint
Email service for Windows 7
Connect a computer to TV
Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
A few web applications worth considering
Free software worth considering
Setting up multiple screens
The best place to buy a computer is a computer store. Well, we would say that wouldn't we!
Why would I buy from you when I can go to a big department store or warehouse I hear you say. Its bound to be cheaper. Wrong! Buying a computer is not like buying a box of weetbix cereal. A cereal brand is the same product wherever you go and the only variable is price. Computers are not like this.
The good news is computer prices are dropping while computer power continues to increase. Retail margins have also continued to be squeezed so there is little difference in buying power between the large stores and the specialist computer store. Another fact of life is no matter how much you spend and how fancy the computer there will be something better and cheaper on the market a few months after you purchased it. Get over it!
Buy a computer based on what you are going to do with it. If you are a complete novice and are not sure a good rule of thumb is to buy as much computer as you can comfortably afford. Another rule is to pick the fastest. The higher number of Megahertz (MHz) the better. And, most importantly talk to a retailer who knows his stuff!
Big department stores and Warehouse retailers feature sales people who know diddly squat about computing. We call them box pushers because computers are generally treated as just another appliance and they are NOT!
Here are a few tips to consider when purchasing:
1. Look at the speed of the CPU (Central Processing Unit). The faster the better. Most entry level systems start at around 2.0GhHz. Such speed is fine for emails, internet, and word processing.
2. Most people look at how much RAM (Remote Access Memory) a computer has. This is the working memory used to manipulate the files and do the operations you ask it to do. When you open a file it is copied from your Hard Drive to your RAM and similarly when you save it is copied from RAM back to your Hard Drive. The greater the RAM the better the performance. A gigabyte (1Gb) is adequate but you will notice the difference if you have 2Gb or more.
3. The other common issue people look at is the size of the Hard Drive (HD). This is your permanent storage for all the files or data stored on your computer. These days most new computers usually feature several hundred gigabytes. It again depends on what you wish to store. If you wish to store lots of pictures, videos, and music we would suggest you have at least 500Gb. Another common add on these days is external hard drives connected through a USB port. It increases the storage capacity and can also provide a good back up for safety.
Other factors to consider:
1. Get the biggest screen you can afford. The larger the screen the less scrolling needed and its much easier on the eyes. If fact it is becoming quite common for heavy users to use two monitors set up so they can drag windows from one screen to another. If you want to know how to set this up login to our Computer Help Desk Members Section.
2. There is also the debate between a windows based computer and a Mac. There are passionate proponents for both. The Mac being a relatively small player in the market (5-10%) does not have the same issues with virus threats as PC's but they are not invulnerable. As far as basic use is concerned both systems are pretty user friendly and these days documents are interchangeable. However, PC's are usually cheaper and there is much more software available. Technical and repair support for windows based PC's is much more readily available. At risk of upsetting the Mac fraternity we believe the PC is better value.
Helpful keyboard shortcuts can often cut the time it takes to do things. Below are our top keyboard shortcuts we believe are worth memorising.
Ctrl + C or Ctrl + Insert
Copy the highlighted text or item.
Ctrl + V or Shift + Insert
Paste the text or item.
Ctrl + Z and Ctrl + Y
Undo any change. Pressing Ctrl + Y would re-do the undo.
Page Up / Space bar and Page Down
Pressing either the page up or page down key will move that page one page at a time in that direction. When browsing the Internet pressing the space bar will also move the page down one page at a time.
Ctrl + F
Open the Find in any program.
Ctrl + P
Print what's currently being viewed in programs such as Microsoft Word or your Internet browser.
Alt + Tab or Alt + Esc
Quickly switch between open programs.
Open help for the program you're in.
Ctrl + Left arrow / Right arrow
Move the cursor one word at a time instead of one character at a time. If you wanted to highlight one word at a time you can hold down Ctrl + Alt and then press the left or right arrow key to move one word at a time in that direction while highlighting each word.
Ctrl + Home / End
Move the cursor to the beginning or end of a document.
This can be caused by several different reasons. Here are a few ideas that may resolve your problem.
1. Check you have removed the tab protecting the ink from dispersing and it is not still on the cartridge.
2. Check that the ink cartridges have been inserted properly.
3. Sometimes there is a lever on the machine that removes and locks the cartridges in place. Make sure it is back in the apopropriate position.
4. Perform a head cleaning on printer if available. This is the most common fault. Few people remember to clean the printer each time the ink cartridges are replaced. Some printer brands do this automatically but many do not. To check this, in your Control Panel go to 'Printers and devices'. Right click on the appropriate printer and then click on 'properties'. If there is a cleaning function for your printer left click on this and give it a clean. If the problem is still not resolved repeat the clean. This will also often resolve problems of poor printing.
5. Verify no software errors are occurring and/or print a test page. If the test page does not print accurately clean the printer using the instructions previously described.
6. If any indication lights are flashing or are different, refer to your printer documentation or printer manufacturer's web page for additional information on what the lights are indicating.
If the printer is still giving you problems bring it in and we will check it for you and make sure the printer does not have any component faults. Note: If it is an old printer it may be worthwhile considering the purchase of a new one. Printer prices have dropped and often it is cheaper to buy new rather than repair your old one.
Whats a PDF and how do I open one?
Portable Document Format (PDF) lets you capture and view robust information — from almost any application, on any computer system — and share it with virtually anyone, anywhere. Individuals, businesses, and government agencies around the world trust and rely on PDF to communicate their ideas and visionPortable Document Format (PDF) lets you capture and view robust information — from almost any application, on any computer system — and share it with virtually anyone, anywhere. Individuals, businesses, and government agencies around the world trust and rely on PDF to communicate their ideas and visionPortable Document Format (PDF) lets you capture and view robust information — from almost any application, on any computer system — and share it with virtually anyone, anywhere. Individuals, businesses, and government agencies around the world trust and rely on PDF to communicate their ideas and visionPortable Document Format (PDF) lets you capture and view robust information — from almost any application, on any computer system — and share it with virtually anyone, anywhere. Individuals, businesses, and government agencies around the world trust and rely on PDF to communicate their ideas and vision
Portable Document Format (PDF) lets you capture and view information from almost any software application, on any computer system — and share it with virtually anyone, anywhere. Individuals, businesses, and government agencies around the world trust and rely on PDF to communicate.
To open one you need to download an Adobe PDF Reader. Its free and it safe to download from ADOBE.
It can be really frustrating when your computer freezes. If this is occurring frequently it is a good idea to bring it in and let us give it a check. It could be freezing for a variety of reasons; software, driver, over heating, a windows issue, hardware problems, or an operating system fault.
However, it may have just got confused. Sometimes it has not frozen but working hard. Be patient and give it a minute. Don't repeat your request because you are adding to the computers workload and it will take even longer.
To check whether it is really frozen a good tip, if you are using Microsoft Windows, is to press the NumLock key and observe whether its light turns on/off. Press CTRL+ALT+DEL which will bring up your task manager. In applications choose the offending program and end task.
If it is completely locked reboot the computer by holding down your start button until the computer stops. Remember you are likely to lose the work you have been doing unless it was auto saved or you saved it prior to the machine freezing.
Flash drives have turned from being a gadget for geeks into a commodity that everybody around seems to be carrying around. A flash drive is a portable, fast and highly durable hard drive. Flash drives are continually becoming larger in capacity and reducing in price. There are so many brands, sizes, and shapes choosing the right USB flash drive for you can be a nightmare. We suggest to help you choice use the following tips.
1. Be realistic and assess your storage needs. There is no use for you to buy an expesnive flash drive with 8 GB or more of storage space if you are going to carry small .doc files on it;
2. Some additional features. For example, you can buy an MP3 player with a built-in flash drive;
3. Choosing a design and style that appeals to you. Some come on lanyards to hang around your neck or at least have the the ability to connect one or attach to your key ring. Flashdrives are lost as easily as low budget pens so it is worth thinking about how you intend to carry it.
4. We recommend that you consider a flash drive that offers some sort of protection for its USB connector. Most flash drives will come with a cap, though many are now widely available that come with a retractable connector.
5. What Brand? There are well known brands and no name brands of USB flash drives. Expect that named brands like Kingston, Sony, Verbatim, Memorex, Scandisk (to name a few) will cost more. However, these are reliable manufacturers that you can count on and their products come with a warranty. Read user reviews and forums to find out the pros and cons of the various USB flash drive options currently in the market.
6. Price. The cost of the USB flash drive will depend on a number of factors including the storage capacity and the manufacturer. There are inexpensive USB flash drives in the market but these may be unreliable and eventually cost you thousands of dollars due to lost or damaged data. If you have important information it pays to spend a little more.
The USB flash drive has many names: memory stick, jump drive, thumb drive, pen drive, to name a few. You can choose from a variety of colors, shapes, designs, and storage capacities. But the number one factor in choosing your USB flash drive should be based on your storage or data backup needs.