Computer Basics by ghkgkyyt


									Computer Basics

 Belleville Public Library
Welcome to the Belleville Public Library and our Computer Basics workshops. Our
workshops are designed for people with little or no experience using computers.
This set of basic introductory lessons will help you become comfortable using a
computer through learning and practice.

A link to this printout and the resources for our computer workshops are
available through the Belleville Public Library website found at Click on Resources and Services, found in the left
hand menu, and then click on Computer Lessons to access copies of these
lessons. Alternatively, these same resources can be accessed by clicking on
Adults, found in the menu along the top, scrolling down to Computer
Lessons and clicking on the link to FREE Computer lessons.

By the end of this workshop you will be able to:
    • Identify the parts of the computer and recognize the difference between
       hardware and software
    • Turn the computer on and off
    • Use a mouse to navigate between windows on the computer desktop
    • Identify the parts of the desktop
    • Open and close the computer programs

In our other workshops you will learn about:
Word Processing including:
    • Formatting basic documents
    • How to cut, copy and paste in a document
Internet Navigation including:
   • How to recognize an authoritative website
   • Basic search skills
   • How to navigate the BPL website remotely using the Internet

Email including:
  • Setting up your personal email
  • Composing, sending and receiving email
  • Sending attachments with your email

Please keep this handout for reference and review.

                          The Computer and its parts
It is worthwhile to have a basic understanding of the different components that
make up your computer. Computer components are divided into hardware and
software. The hardware components are the parts of the computer that you
can touch and see – computer screen, mouse and keyboard. The software
components consist of information or programs, that tell the computer’s
hardware what to do. Computer software includes programs such as Microsoft
Word, which enables you to write a letter and Internet Explorer, which enables
you to search over the Internet.

The physical parts of a computer are called hardware. They include:
System unit – the main part of the computer that houses many pieces of the
computer’s hardware. Inside the system unit you’ll find the microprocessor, hard
drive, RAM and some other components. The system unit contains ports, which
is the computer term for plugs. Ports are located on the back and front of the
system unit. The front of the system unit contains storage drives, including
CD/DVD drive and USB ports.

Storage drives – used for storage of information. The system unit contains the
hard drive, where the permanent memory of the computer is located. The
system unit also contains portable storage drives which allows information to be
stored permanently but not on the hard drive. Some types of portable storage
include the floppy disk, CD/DVD storage drives and USB or flash memory drives.

Keyboard – a finger tip device that consists of a variety of keys. While similar to
a typewriter there are additional keys especially designed to allow information to
be entered into the computer.

Mouse – a point and click device that controls the pointer on the computer
screen. It enables us to send commands to the computer.

Computer screen – also known as the monitor, it is similar to a TV screen. It
allows information to be displayed visually.

Printer – a device that makes a ‘hard’ copy of information from the computer.
Computer software performs functions, provides instruction and tells the
hardware what to do. Two general types of software include the operating
system and computer programs.
Operating system – manages the computer. It keeps all parts of the computer
organized and allows them to work together. Two common operating systems
are Windows by Microsoft and Mac by Apple.

Computer programs - - a piece of software that enables the computer to
perform specific actions. You can use browsing software such as Internet
Explorer to help you navigate the Internet, or use word processing software such
as Microsoft Word to help you create text documents.

                           Turning the Computer on

All computers work a little differently, but most follow the same steps for turning
on. Both the system unit and the monitor must be turned on. Look for the power
button    , on both of these, push in and let go.
The computer requires a few minutes to load information. During this time you
may see different numbers and letters moving across the screen. The software is
telling the computer what to do. When the computer is finished loading its
information, the monitor will display desktop screen filled with icons.
Desktop – after logging in or turning on your own computer you will find the
desktop visible on the computer screen. This is the starting point where we
access all software, files, and hardware components that make up the computer.
The computer’s desktop is similar to a real desk. Just as you would use a desk to
access paper or pen for writing letters, a phone for connecting to others, or
folders to sort documents, you will use the computer desktop to access the
various tools located on your computer. From the desktop you can access
programs that enable you to type a letter, search the internet for information
and create email messages to communicate with others. Remember that some
software programs, such as Internet Explorer for searching and Email for
communicating, require you to be connected to the internet in order to work.

The desktop is composed of the background (1), icons and shortcuts (2), start
button (3), start menu (4), taskbar (5), taskbar buttons (6), and system tray (7).

   1. Desktop background – a decorative image, often called wallpaper. You
      may customize this with your own choice of image or personal photo.
   2. Icons and shortcuts – small pictures on the monitor representing an
      object such as a document, program, folder or link to the Internet. Each
      icon tells you the name of the program or file. To open, put the mouse
      pointer on the shortcut or icon and double click.
   3. Start button – the gateway to the computer. Clicking on the start button
      opens the start menu that provides you with a variety of options including
      the option to shut-down the computer. The start button is always visible
      on the computer screen making it a good way to navigate the desktop.
   4. Start menu – displays the many options including cascading menus that
      provide access to programs, files, setting and search functions available
      on your computer. Two frequently used menus are Programs and
      Settings. The Programs menu provides access to all the programs
      available on the computer. The Settings menu is full of specialized tools
      used to change the ways Windows looks and behaves. This is where you
      can make changes such as the date and time, background or wallpaper,
      and change the speed of the mouse click.
   5. Taskbar – the long horizontal blue or grey bar along the bottom of the
      desktop. It is between the start button and the system tray. If programs
      or files are open, they will have a button visible on the task bar. When
      you are shutting down your computer the task bar buttons must all be
   6. Taskbar button – displayed on the taskbar when a program/file window
      is open. Each button will have a title identical to the open window.
   7. System tray – displays the clock and other icons representing programs
      that are part of the operating system, e.g. anti-virus programs, sound
      settings etc.
   For an online tutorial about your computer try or if you are
   online Press Ctrl and click on the link Computer Basics from the National Adult Literacy Database.

                                  Keyboard and Mouse

The keyboard and mouse are two input devices allowing us to communicate
information to the computer. If you find the mouse too difficult, there are
keyboard combinations that can perform the same functions.

Familiarize yourself with the keyboard. It is similar to a typewriter keyboard
with extra keys, including command and function keys and a complete numeric
keypad, similar to that on an adding machine.

                        Found at

Some keys are used more often than others, so you will want to become very
familiar with these keys.

   •   The enter key moves the cursor to the next line similar to the hard return
       on a manual typewriter. It also tells the computer to start processing.
       information such as a search on the internet after entering a web address.
   •   The backspace key moves the cursor backward and deletes the text.
   •   The delete key moves the cursor forward and deletes the text.
   •   The shift key works as it did on a typewriter. In combination with a letter
       key it capitalizes the letter. Held down in combination with a number key,
       it will produce the symbol above the number.
   •   The cursor control keys or arrow keys move the cursor up, down, left
       and right.
   •   A combination of CTRL + ALT + DELETE will prompt a security window
       to display on the screen. From this window you can log off windows, shut
       down the computer or close a program using the task manager. Closing a
       program this way is a handy by-pass to use when a program becomes
       frozen and disables all activity.

If you are online press Ctrl and click on Keyboard Practice or go to to practice.

                                      Using the mouse

The mouse is a device that enables us to communicate with the computer. We
can give the computer instructions by clicking the buttons of the mouse.
On the computer screen you will notice a white arrow. This is called a pointer
(also a cursor or arrow). The pointer is connected to the movements you make
with the mouse. Moving your mouse back, forth and side-to-side on the mouse
pad will move the pointer on the screen in the same direction. The mouse rests
on the mouse pad, or flat surface, which is used to sense the movements of the
mouse and move the pointer around on the computer screen.

Using the mouse is a skill that can be easily perfected with practice, practice,
practice! Learning to use the mouse requires time and practice like any other
new activity. Computer games etc. help you develop your mouse skills.
Learn more about the mouse and how to use it by going to or if
you online press Ctrl and click on the link New User Tutorial. Then, don’t forget to practice. Try
this tutorial for practice - Mousercise found at!

                                       Using Windows

Windows by Microsoft is a popular operating system used by many people and
institutions, including our library. Windows is the operating system that manages
the computer, keeping it organized and allowing its parts to work together. The
desktop is part of Windows.

The Windows operating system allows you to open many programs at the same
time. Each program opens in a different window. You can open a window for a
software program to write a letter, a second window to search for information on
the Internet and a third window to read you email, all at the same time. The
picture above has three open windows on the desktop and three taskbar
buttons, with the same name as each window, on the taskbar at the bottom.
You can easily move from one window to another by using the taskbar buttons.
Clicking on a taskbar button will bring its corresponding window forward and on
top of the other open windows. Note that the window on the top, the active
window, is easily recognizable because the taskbar button and the title bar, on
the top of the window, are both a darker colour.
                            Working with windows

When you open a program to perform a task, e.g. letter writing, web searching
etc., the program will open in a window. A window is made up of various parts
including the title bar, minimize button, restore down button, close button, menu
bar, tool bars and scroll bars. These parts help you work with the window and/or
program and surround the display or working area.

   •   The title bar, at the top of the window, displays the name of the file or
       website and the program that is operating it in the left hand corner. In
       this example, the name of the file is IPAC 2.0, which is the website for the
       Belleville Public Library’s online catalogue and the program used to access
       the catalogue is the internet browser, Microsoft Internet Explorer.

   •   In the right hand corner of the title bar are three small squares. When you
       put your cursor on these squares, a small text box will pop up, indicating
       what will happen when you left click on your mouse. Clicking the left or
       minimize button will make the window shrink down to a button on the
       taskbar. You might do this when you want to hide a window but not close
       down the program. To revert to the original full screen, click on its taskbar
   •   The restore down/maximize button, in the middle, of the three
       buttons on the upper right title bar, performs two functions depending on
       the size of the window. If the window fills the entire screen, clicking on
       this button will restore down or reduce the window to a smaller size.
       When the window is a smaller size than the full screen, clicking on
       maximize button will restore the window to its full size. Full screen display
       provides the best visibility. Other open windows can be hidden behind the
       currently open window, just as curtains hide windows.
   •   The close button, the red X button on the upper right corner, will close
       the window and the corresponding taskbar button will disappear from the
       taskbar at the bottom of the screen. Certain programs, such as Microsoft
       Word, will require you to save your work before completely closing the
   •   The menu bar contains menus such as file and view. Clicking on a menu
       title will display its drop-down menu options. You can select an option
       from the menu by scrolling down to the desired option and clicking.
       Remember that you can use the         key to scroll down to your selection
       and press enter or scroll down using your mouse to selection.

For example, go to the File menu to find the      Or, go to the Edit menu to Cut, Copy,
option to Print what is on your screen.           and Paste text.

   •   The tool bar contains buttons that help you to perform tasks. Tool bars
       are different depending on the software program you are using. Many of
       the tasks can also be found on the menu bar. There are some common
       toolbar buttons such as       (Print). Clicking on this button will print the
       contents of the current screen view.
   •   The vertical and horizontal scroll bars help you to bring the hidden
       portions of the screen into view. Remember that the scroll bar only
       appears when only when there is content outside the visible screen area.
       If the scroll bar is small, then there is quite a bit of content for you to find
       by scrolling.

The tutorial found in the section ‘Using the Mouse’ will explain more about
scrolling and give you practice.

                                  Turning off the computer

When you are finished with the computer it must be turned off.

Go to the Start Button to shut down the computer.
Using the mouse, move the pointer to the Start menu and rest it on Shut Down…
Left click on Shut down. You will get a new text box appearing which will ask you
What do you want to do? On the drop down menu there will be several options.
Using your mouse highlight Shut Down and click on it. Shut Down will now
appear in the option box and will be what the computer performs. Click on the
OK button will tell your computer to Shut Down.

**Your computer will now shut down with out you pressing any other buttons.
You should also turn off the monitor power to conserve energy.


During this workshop you have learned the basics about operating a computer.
Our public-use computers on the main floor have some differences. They are for
Internet use which includes searching and email, and for looking at our library
catalogue. They are not used for word processing. Our computers open
automatically when you enter the password you are given. Just click on an icon
on the desktop to get started. When your session is finished, these computers
will automatically log off.

If you need word processing capabilities, including résumé writing and printing,
you can ask at the Information Services desk on the second floor to use the
computers located there.

A member of the library staff will be ready to help, but remember, to learn more
about computers and software, the library has many excellent, current books
about computers and the many functions they perform.

                              Books & DVD’s @ your Library

    •   Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Computer Basics Michael Miller 004 Mil
    •   The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Computer Basics Joe Kraynak 004 Kra
    •   PC Basics : Get a Great Start 004.16 PC
    •   The Seniors Guide to PC Basics 004 Sen

This Introduction to the Computer has been adapted from a variety of resources including the Burlington
Public Library, Palm Beach County Public Library and TLN (The Library Network).


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