In this section
Company Support
2 Minute Tutes
Backing Up

Buying a computer
CD Burning
Digital Music
Instant Messaging
Further Reading
2 Minute Tutes - The Basics

In 2 minutes, you should know:


How to turn your computer on & off properly

The power on button is usually the main button on the front of your computer, sometimes marked with a symbol.

Most modern computers can now be turned off safely by using the same button, but if in doubt, Windows users click  Start ,  Shut Down ,  OK .  Apple Mac users, click  Special ,  Shut Down .

If your computer has stopped responding and will not turn off, you can force it to shut down by holding the on/off button in until the power goes off (usually about four seconds).

Identifying & using common objects
(These objects may appear differently on your computer)
Desktop - the whole screen area
Background or Wallpaper - an image you display on the desktop

Pointer - moves around the screen as you move the mouse
Start button - Click it to access programs, settings, help & more
Taskbar - the bar that is normally at the bottom of the desktop, from the start button to the time
Minimize - shrinks a window down to a button on the taskbar so you can access what was behind it.
Maximize - expands a window to occupy the entire desktop area
Restore - returns a window to it's 'in-between' size
Close - closes a window
Title bar - displays the name of the program or document or both.  Drag this bar with the mouse pointer to move a window.
Menu - access to all of a programs functions
Toolbar - quick access to common functions
Cursor - the place where your typing will appear
Operating System - Windows, Apple Mac, Linux & others.  It helps to know which version you have.

How to use your mouse

To click an object, move the mouse until the tip of the pointer is over the object, then press & release the left button.  A double-click is two clicks in quick succession without moving the pointer.  Double-clicks are usually used on icons whereas single clicks are used on buttons, menus & the web.

Left Button

Scroll Wheel

Right Button

The scroll wheel is used in some programs to see part of your document not currently visible.  Roll it under your index finger and your document will scroll up or down accordingly.

A right-click (a click with the right mouse button) on an object displays a menu of some common functions for that object.  For example, if you  right-click the recycle bin, you have the option to empty it.

How to start any program
  • Click
  • Point to  All Programs  (just called "Programs" in older versions of Windows)
  • Point to the menu item for the program you wish to start
  • Click the name of the program

You will be able to start commonly used programs more quickly.  They may appear on the Start menu above "All Programs," as icons on the desktop or buttons near the start button.

Shortcuts & how to create them

A shortcut is a quick way of accessing another file.  Shortcuts are indicated by a small arrow in the lower left corner of the icon.  You can create a shortcut to most files by right-clicking the file, then point to  Send To , then click  Desktop (create shortcut) .  You may now minimize necessary windows to see your new shortcut on the desktop.

You may safely delete a shortcut because the original file is not affected.

Bytes, kilobytes, megabytes & gigabytes

If these terms have confused you, you're not alone!  Here's some help you can refer to when needed.  (If you start to remember these, you could be turning into a geek!)

  • Distance is measured in metres, computer storage is measured in bytes (applies to your hard drive or computer memory), computer speed is measured in Hertz (applies to your computer's processor)
  • One byte stores one character (a letter, number or punctuation mark)
  • A kilobyte (KB) is a thousand bytes (actually 1024 bytes)
  • A megabyte (MB) is a million bytes (actually 1024 KB)
  • A gigabyte (GB) is a billion bytes (actually 1024 MB)
  • A typical word document may be 15 to 30 KB
  • A small photo could be 40 KB
  • A big photo could be 5 MB
  • A word document with photos will be bigger than the size of the photos alone
  • 1 MB takes about 2 minutes to send by modem
  • A floppy disk holds a bit over 1 MB (1.44 MB)
  • Windows XP runs best on a computer with a speed over 500 megahertz (MHz) and memory at least 128 MB (256 MB recommended)
  • A CD holds 700 MB of data or 80 minutes of music
  • Hotmail (a free email service) is limited to a total of 1 MB
  • Emails over 5 MB may be returned for being too big
  • New hard drives generally start from 40 GB now