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Windows 101 Handbook
By Richard Rost   Richard Rost on Twitter Richard Rost on LinkedIn Email Richard Rost   15 years ago

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Windows 101
Course Handbook Supplement

By Richard Rost

Published By
Amicron Computing
PO Box 1308, Amherst NY 14226 USA

First Printing 12/6/2004
Copyright 2004 by Amicron Computing
All Rights Reserved


Welcome to Windows 101: Introduction to Computers.

This handbook is designed to be a supplement to the full 599CD video course for Windows 101. We recommend you use this handbook to follow along with the class videos. This handbook is not meant as a stand-alone study guide.

We do recommend that you watch the course videos one time through, paying attention to the lessons covered. Follow along with the course videos using this guide. Take notes on the pages where needed. Then, watch the videos a second time, practicing the examples yourself on your computer.

Table of Contents

Welcome 2
Table of Contents 2
Introduction 3
1. Definitions 4
2. Binary System 7
3. Computer Hardware 8
4. System Components 9
5. System Components 12
6. System Components 14
7. Peripherals 18
8. Keyboard 21
9. Mouse 26
10. Software 30
11. Ergonomics 37
Review 40


Welcome to Windows 101: Introduction to Computers, brought to you by I am your instructor, Richard Rost.

Objectives for today’s class:

· Learn Basic Computer Terminology
· Difference Between Hardware and Software
· Understanding Computer Components
· Basic Keyboard & Mouse Usage
· Proper Care For Your PC

This lesson is for everyone. We assume you know how to turn on your computer and start Windows. Beyond that, we assume you have no computer knowledge.

1. Definitions

Let’s start by going over some basic definitions.


First, what is a computer? Webster’s defines a computer as an electronic machine that performs rapid, often complex calculations, or compiles, correlates, and selects data. While there are more elaborate and specific definitions for the word, “computer,” Webster’s definition just about sums it up.

A computer is a machine that knows how to do one thing: manipulate data. All a computer really understands is a series of electrical impulses representing the numbers 0 and 1 (on and off, respectively). To us however, computers can do much more.

Hardware v. Software

Essentially, if you can touch it, it’s hardware. That’s the general rule. We’re going to learn about different kinds of computer hardware today: motherboards, computer chips, memory cards... all these things are computer hardware – the physical objects you can touch.

Software however, generally comes in the form of computer programs. Internet Explorer, Microsoft Excel, Word... different types of programs that you run on the computer. CDs for example, are considered computer hardware. But the music on the CD is the software.


The term, “user” may come up frequently. A user is essentially you and me – someone who uses a computer.

Uses For PCs

There are a lot of different uses for computers:

· Word Processing - the art of editing documents
· Desktop Publishing - to create letters, banners, calendars, different things you can print
· Database Management - most businesses have some sort of a database to track their customers and sales Spreadsheets -for doing financial analysis
· Communications - such as the Internet for sending and receiving email
· Finance – a lot of people use Quicken or Quickbooks to manage their finances and TurboTax to do their taxes
· Education – online computer training for example is a good use for computers
· Entertainment – wouldn't be a computer without a good game of Dukem Nukem!
· News & Information – now readily available online
· Doorstep – you may laugh but, it seems that computers are almost out of date as soon as you buy them, so a doorstop is a good use for some outdated computers.

Tips for Beginners

Let’s talk about tips for beginners.

First, mistakes won’t kill you. A lot of people are afraid to use their computer because they’re afraid they’re going to break something. Don’t worry. Generally, the computer will warn you before you can do something critical.

There’s a feature called UNDO in most computer programs that will allow you to reverse a mistake for example.

Be persistent. The only way to really learn a computer is to try and try again. We can show you how to do things but if you’re not persistent and you don’t practice, you’re not going to go very far.

You can do it. We’ve had people of all ages take our classes – from six years old to eighty years old.

And of course, apply what you’ve learned. Again, you can only learn so much taking a half-hour or two or three hour course. If you don’t practice and apply what you’ve learned, the information is useless. Practice, practice, practice!

Explore your computer. Don’t be afraid to click on things. If you’re curious what a button does, go ahead and click on it. Again, before you can do something catastrophic, the computer will almost always ask you, “Are you sure?” And if you’re not sure, say “No.”

Don’t try to learn too fast. We recommend that you don’t spend any more than a couple of hours trying to study a new computer topic. After that, take a break and come back later or possibly the next day.

Walk away if you get frustrated. Banging your head against the keyboard isn’t going to help. Get a cup of coffee, take a walk, and then come back when you’re refreshed.

Try to apply what you’re learning to non-work topics. If all you’re doing is applying your computer skills to work, you’re not going to find it much fun.

The bottom line is if its fun, you’ll want to do it over and over again.

2. Binary System

This is an optional topic. A lot of times in our classes, people hear the term, “megabyte,” “gigabyte,” or “terabyte,” and they always ask us what these things mean. We’re going to give you a very brief overview of the definitions of these terms.

To start off, the smallest unite of measurement inside a computer is called a bit. A bit essentially represents a 1 or a 0 – an “on” or “off”, “true” or “false” value. Remember that computers are essentially just electrical switches and all a computer knows at its basic fundamental level is a bit. Bits by themselves however aren’t very useful. So programmers group them together in bytes.

A byte is a collection of 8 bits. And a single byte represents a single character like the letter “A” for example or a series of digits (00, 01, and so on.). Again, bytes by themselves don’t do us a lot of good.

So then we have kilobytes. A kilobyte is roughly a thousand bytes. 1 kilobyte could be represented by a small text file. Most files that you create on your hard drive will be kilobyte-sized files.

A megabyte is the next level – roughly a million bytes – or 1024 kilobytes. And a megabyte is the size of a larger document. PC memory is also rated in megabytes. You may purchase a computer with 124 megabytes of memory.

Beyond megabyte, we have gigabyte – billions of bytes, or 1024 megabytes. Gigabytes represent huge databases. Computer hard drives are measured in gigabytes.

We now also have terabytes – roughly 1024 gigabytes. Huge enterprise-level databases are rated in terabytes.

So this is the binary system. It’s not crucial to know all of these terms but you will most likely hear them when you’re talking about computer hardware and software.

3. Computer Hardware

Why learn this stuff? Why learn about computer hardware?

Buying a PC is a perfect example. If you’re going to spend a thousand dollars on a new computer, it’s helpful to know what you’re buying. Especially if you’re going to one of those computer superstores and the guy behind the desk is just trying to make his commission – selling you the latest and greatest. If he tells you, you need 512 Megs of RAM, and you have no idea what he’s talking about, you may be going for a ride.

Having your PC serviced. When I drop my car off at the service center, I just take the technician’s word. I have no idea what car terminology is. You shouldn’t be that way with computers. Computers are very easy to learn.

Calling for support. I used to work in the tech support industry and I know sometimes that the phone technicians can make people feel less-than smart when they call in because they don’t understand some of the basic terms.

Talking to Co-workers and Friends. If someone in the next office asks if you can run out and grab him or her a floppy disk, it’s helpful to know what they’re talking about. Or of course, if you’re talking to your 13 year old.

And of course it’s fun! Learning computer hardware is fun, right? (Of course!)

Hardware Overview

Let’s talk about PCs and Macs. PC stands for Personal Computer. There are a lot of different terms that define PC. Sometimes you’ll hear them called IBM Personal Computers, or IBM PC Clones. Sometimes you’ll hear them called Microsoft PCs. Generally, PCs run operating systems from Microsoft – which is Windows 95, 98, Windows 2000.

Macs are the other popular computers you’ll find on most desktops. Macintosh computers (or “Macs,” for short) are made by a company named “Apple.” Macs are very popular in the education, desktop publishing, and graphic art industries. PCs generally run the rest of the business world.

We’re going to be focusing on PCs for the remainder of this course.

4. System Components

Let’s talk about some of the core computer system components.


The CPU, or processor, generally refers to the processor chip inside the computer that does all the work. You may also hear the CPU referred to as the tower – the whole “box” of the computer. Either is correct. CPUs are generally rated in millions of operations per second called “megahertz.” You may also hear them referred to as gigahertz, which is a billion operations per second.

There are two popular manufacturers of processors for PCs: Intel and AMD. Intel makes the Pentium processor (Pentium III, Pentium IV). AMD makes the Athlon processor.

Ram – Random Access Memory

RAM is essentially the amount of memory a system has which represents how much information a computer can work with at any one given time. RAM is measured in megabytes and it’s erased when the power goes off. So if you’re writing a letter to Mom in Microsoft Word, that letter is generally stored in RAM (or the system memory) while you’re working on it. If you turn the system power off without saving your letter, you’re going to lose it. Here are some pictures of memory or RAM chips.

Hard Drive

Now you want to be able to save that letter to Mom so you can pull it up later. That’s what the hard drive is for. The hard drive is the amount of storage space your computer has. Hard drives are measured in gigabytes – billions of bytes. And they are permanent storage for all of your documents. You also store computer programs on your hard drive, such as your operating system like Microsoft Windows. Your Word and Excel programs are loaded onto your hard drive. So the hard drive is your permanent storage inside your computer.

Here’s a picture of a hard drive. Generally, hard drives are inside a computer and you normally don’t see them.

Now a lot of people have trouble grasping the difference between RAM memory and hard drive. They usually use the terms interchangeably but they are quite separate. I like to use the analogy of a desk to illustrate RAM vs. Hard drive.

Remember, RAM is the amount of memory – the amount of information that a computer can work with at any given moment. So if you think of a computer as a desk, RAM would be the top of the desk. RAM represents the files that you can have open and work with at any given moment. The more files you open, the more memory you would use.

Eventually, you’re going to run out of memory and Windows may even tell you, “Hey – you’re running out of memory!” So we have to close some of those documents or programs that we’re running down. And what we can do is save some of those programs from memory to the computer’s storage or hard drive. So we take those files - we put them on the hard drive and that frees up the system’s memory.

Now if we want to go work with one of those files again, we have more space available in our system’s memory to open another document while all of our old documents are stored safely on the hard drive.

5. System Components

Let’s talk about some of the other system components inside your computer.

Floppy Drive

Floppy disks store about 1.44 megabytes of data on small plastic disks. Even though those disks are made of hard plastic, they’re still called floppy disks – not hard disks. Inside that plastic case is a wobbly-floppy disk made of magnetic film. So make sure you keep floppy disks away from magnets.

Floppy disks have enough storage space to hold a few documents – maybe a couple of pictures, but that’s about it. Floppy disks are really an outdated storage medium. They’ve been around since the 70s. But almost all computers still come with them. They’re popular, so they’ve remained on most computers.

Zip Drive

Zip drives however, store much more data – 100 to 250 megabytes worth of data. Now not all computers come with zip drives and you may or may not have one. But a zip drive is essentially a poor man’s back up. You can fit a lot more data on a zip disk than you can on a floppy disk. The problem is of course when you want to share that data with anyone else, they have to also have a zip drive.

CDs & DVD Drives

There are a lot of different flavors of CDs and DVD drives.

First we have the CD-ROM. CD-ROM stands for Compact Disk Read Only Memory. These are the classic CD-drives that you’re probably familiar with. They started off coming with music on them then they started coming with data. They store about 650 megabytes worth of data. But the problem is they’re read-only. You can only read information from them.

Then we have the advent of the CD-R. CD-Rs are actually CDs that you can right data to. But you can only write data to them once. Once you burn the data on the disk, that’s it.

Following the CD-R, came the CD-RW, or re-writeable CD which you can burn information to and then erase and then burn more information to. CD-RWs are a little more expensive than CD-Rs, but they’re much more useful.

Now DVD which stands for either Digital Video Disk or Digital Versatile Disk initially started off coming with movies on them. DVD video players usually hook up to your TVs – they’re only good for playing videos.

Computer then started coming out with DVD-ROM drives, which could also play videos and read data. The first DVD-ROMs were read-only and they would store anywhere from 4 to 17 gigabytes worth of data. So instead of buying a program on 10 CDs for example, it would come out on a DVD.

Now we have DVD-RAM drives available which are writeable DVDs. You can actually burn information onto DVD disks. DVD-RAM drives are still pretty pricey.

6. System Components

Tape Drive

One of the least appreciated components in a computer system is the Tape Drive. Now not all computers have tape drives, but if yours doesn’t, I strongly recommend you get one. A tape drive will essentially back up all the information from your hard drive to a tape. These tapes are rated in gigabytes because they can pretty much store all the information on your hard drive. In case your hard drive crashes, all your data is safe and sound sitting on a tape.

A backup is critical. If you don't have a tape drive, you can back up your data to zip or to CD but that usually involves a lot more intervention on your part. Tape drives usually come with software that runs every night. You don’t have to think about it or do anything and all the data is backed up from the hard drive to the tape.

Video Card

Computers also come with a lot of add-in cards. Some of them are required, some aren’t. The video card for example, is what allows you to interface the computer and the monitor (screen). The video card essentially gives the receptacle that you can plug the screen or monitor into.

Audio Card

You might also have an audio card. An audio card gives you sound. It gives you a receptacle to plug your speakers into. Sometimes the audio card and video card come integrated right into the computer and they’re not separate add-in cards. A lot more computers are coming out now a days in that configuration.

Network Card

A network card allows your computer to communicate with other computers. You may have a network in your office where 2, 3, or more computers are connected together with cables.


A modem allows your computer to talk to other computers over the phone line. This is how most people access the Internet. Modem stands for Modulator/Demodulator. And essentially this card just translates its electronic impulses inside your computer.


The motherboard or the system board is essentially a big circuit board inside the computer that all of the other components plug into. The motherboard is the only component out of all of the others that’s not easy to replace. All the rest of the components are pretty much “plug ‘n play.” If one of them like your network card dies, you just pull it out and plop another one in. The motherboard unfortunately requires a service technician so they’re pretty labor intensive to replace.

Case (Chassis)

We have the case system (chassis), which is essentially a big box that everything goes inside of.

Power Supply

The case usually has a power supply in it rated anywhere from 250 – 300 watts. Do not open this power supply. If you happen to be inside of your computer, there are little screws on this power supply that you can use to open it up – but don’t. Even if it’s unplugged, there are capacitors inside which store charges. And you could be seriously injured or killed if you touch one of these charged capacitors.

Be very careful if you go inside your computer at all. We generally recommend that you leave these things to a certified technician.

7. Peripherals

Peripherals are defined as anything that plug into the computer - such as monitors. Monitors generally come in two flavors. We have CRT monitors and LCD monitors. CRT stands for cathode-ray tube. These are the traditional television like screens that you’re familiar with. LCD, or liquid crystal display, screens are the flat panel monitors. They generally come on laptops and higher-end computer systems.


Printers are of course used for making printouts. There are two basic kinds of printers: Inkjet and Laser. Inkjets are less expensive. They give you a less-expensive option for printing color. The cost per page with an inkjet printer however is higher (the ink costs more). Laser printers are generally good for businesses that do high volume black and white printing. Laser printers also give you very crisp black and white text.

The average inkjet printer will cost around a hundred dollars. A small, desktop laser printer will cost around three hundred dollars. And a good-sized black and white laser printer will cost about a thousand dollars.

There are also color lasers available but they’re a little pricier.


Scanners allow you to scan pictures and other data into the computer. If you want to take a picture and put it up on your website, you can load it into a scanner. Some scanners also come with OCR (optical character recognition) software, which means you can take a page of text, scan it into the computer and the software will attempt to give you editable text that you can pull up and edit in Microsoft Word or any other word processor.

Video Cameras

Video cameras are available for computers. The allow you to do video conferencing or set up a web cam, which takes a serious of still pictures and puts them up on your website at regular intervals.


Joysticks are available for playing games. If you want to play a flight simulator for example, a joystick is handy to have.

Power Protection

People almost always overlook good power protection. We strongly recommend you get yourself a computer rated surge protector. This isn’t’ just one of those power shifts you can pick up down at the hardware store. A computer rated surge protector will generally also have little plugs in it for the phone line as well. So that if lightening strikes the power lines or the phone lines, the surge protector will eat it before the computer does.

A good $20 surge protector will protect your thousand-dollar computer from getting hit by lightning.

Un-interruptible Power Supply

If you have the budget, we strongly recommend you get yourself an Uninterruptible Power Supply or UPS. UPSs are basically backups. If the power goes out or if the power is bad for some reason, the UPS will kick over to battery power and provide you with enough time to shut down the computer. UPS are generally rated in volt amps. And for a home or small business, anywhere from 280 – 400 VA are plenty.

8. Keyboard

Chances are, if you have a computer, you have a keyboard. We’d like to take a minute to go over the popular keys on the keyboard and as we go over them, take a moment to find them on your keyboard.

The Alphanumeric Keys represent all the printable characters: A-Z, 1-9, 0, . , $. These are all the alphanumeric keys.

The Numeric Keypad is usually over on the right side of your keyboard. Some keyboards don’t have them. Laptops for example don’t usually come with numeric keypads. The numeric keypad can function either as numbers or as arrows depending on the status of the Num Lock key.

The Enter Key or Return Key is close to the center of the keyboard. The Enter key sometimes has the word, “Enter” on it and sometimes it’s only an arrow pointing to the left.

The Spacebar is the big long key at the bottom of the keyboard.

The Backspace Key is usually located above the Enter key. Sometimes it says Backspace – other times it may only be an arrow.

The Delete Key.

The Tab Key.

The Escape Key. The Escape key will usually get you out of whatever you’re in. So if a window pops up onto the screen and you have no idea what it is. Sometimes hitting the Escape key will make that window go away.

The Arrow Keys. Most keyboards have two sets of arrow keys (another set is on the numeric keypad). Whether the numerical keypad functions as arrows or as numbers depends on the status of the Num Lock key. If the Num Lock key is on, the numeric keypad functions as numbers. If the Num Lock key is off, the numeric keypad functions as arrows.

The Function Keys. These are keys that actually named F1, F2, F3, and so on. So if I tell you in a class to press the F1 Key, I don’t mean press the F key and then the number 1 key. I mean to press the key actually named F1.

Modifier Keys. CTRL, ALT, and SHIFT. Usually you have a set of them on the left side of the keyboard and another set over on the right. Control is usually abbreviated as CTRL. IF I tell you to press SHIFT+A, that means hold the shift key down and then press the A key. That will give you for example, the capital letter A. If I tell you to press CTRL+A, you want to hold the CNTRL key down and then press A. Sometimes you might have to press a combination of these like CNTRL+ALT+DEL (control. alt, delete). That means hold down the control key, hold down the Alt key, and then press the delete key.

The State Keys (Caps, Scroll, Num Lock). These keys indicate the state that the keyboard may be in. The Caps Lock indicates if you’re going to get capital letters. The Num Lock key indicates the status of the numeric keypad. The Scroll Lock key we’ll talk about in a future lesson.

Some keyboards even have lights that indicate the status of each of these buttons. Other keyboards have these lights right on the buttons themselves.

The Windows Keys. Some keyboards have more than one and they look like little Windows logos. The Windows keys are handy for opening up the Start menu in Windows.

The Right-Click Key. Some newer Windows keyboards have a Right-Click key. The Right-Click key substitutes for the right mouse button.

9. Mouse

Before the days of the mouse, the only way we could talk to the computer was with a keyboard and by typing in commands which wasn’t very intuitive. Now that we have a mouse, we can simply point to things on the screen and click on them to make our selections. Let’s talk about the mouse.

First, let’s talk about how to properly hold a mouse. I want you to grip the mouse between your thumb and your ring finger. Squeeze the mouse firmly (not too firmly) and that’s how you’ll move the mouse around on the desktop or on your mouse pad.

Now take your index finger and place it on the left mouse button. Take your middle finger and place it on the right mouse button. You’ll use those fingers to click on those buttons respectively.

Let’s talk about the mouse pointer. You probably see this thing buzzing around on the screen. As you move the mouse across the mouse pad, you’ll notice the pointer moves across the screen. So if I tell you to point to something, that means just move the mouse pointer over it and hold it there (don’t click).

Clicking involves using the left mouse button. Click it once with your index finger.

You may hear me say right-click on something. Right-clicking involves using the right mouse button. Generally, you’re going to use the left button. If I just say click on something, I want you to use the left button. Occasionally I’ll say right-click on something. That’s special and that means I want you to use the right button. The right mouse button isn’t used as much, but it’s important.

I may also ask you to double-click on something. Double-clicking means to click the left mouse button twice, real fast. A mistake that people sometimes make when trying to double-click is they accidentally slide the mouse a little bit across the desk. You have to hold the mouse firmly in place.

Now I may ask you to click and drag. Clicking and dragging means to click with the left mouse button, hold the button down, and drag the mouse across the mouse pad. Then you let it go where you want it to stop.

Some mice come with optional buttons and even a scroll wheel in the center. The scroll wheel lets you scroll up and down a long page of text or a webpage. But not all mice have these extra buttons or scroll wheels so yours may not. But generally, PC mice come with two buttons.

10. Software

So far today, we’ve been talking about computer hardware – the stuff you can physically touch. Now let’s talk about computer software. Computer software can usually be categorized as operating systems, applications, or data. Let’s talk about each one of these things.

Operating Systems

The operating system is usually that software that allows you, a human, to interface with the computer hardware. You can tell the computer to put a letter on a hard disk. You have to have some kind of intermediary program that allows you to interface with that hard disk.

One of the earlier operating systems popularly used by PCs was called MS-DOS (Microsoft Disk Operating System). It was very basic. You had to know commands that had to be typed into the keyboard in order to use it, but it got the job done.

Then Microsoft came out with Windows 95, 98, and ME. And then Windows NT, 2000, and XP. These are all operating systems. Windows 95, 98, and ME were very popular for home computer users, whereas Windows NT, 2000, and XP are very popular for business computer users.

Now Microsoft Windows isn’t the only operating system on the market. Another popular operating system is Linux. Linux is used primarily for web servers.


Operating systems by themselves usually don’t do much. That’s where applications come into play. Applications are additional software products that give you more functionality with your computer.

For example, Microsoft Word is a word processor. It lets you type up letters, do mail merges, store invoices, and all kinds of information.

Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet program. You can use it for analyzing data, or building charts and graphs.

Microsoft Access is a database program. A database is used for storing and manipulating data. You can store large volumes of customer information and product information in a database.

Microsoft PowerPoint is used for creating presentations. This course for example, is being generated with Microsoft PowerPoint.

Microsoft Outlook is an email program. It also has calendar and scheduling features in it.

Microsoft FrontPage is a tool for building websites. The website for example, was built using Microsoft FrontPage.

Microsoft Internet Explorer is a web browser used for browsing around the web. There are other browsers like Netscape Navigator for example.

Windows Calculator. Not all Windows applications have to be big and complex. Windows Calculator is a little application sometimes referred to as an applet that comes with Windows itself. It adds some functionality to the operating system.

Utilities such as McAfee Virus Scan are also available. We strongly recommend you get yourself a virus scanner. Viruses are harmful programs that sometimes get distributed either through the Internet, through email, or even just by sharing disks with others. Virus scans are just one kind of utility application you might find out there.

We have our own utility we wrote. Amicron NetBackup is a utility application that backs up files between computers.

Now these are only a small sampling of applications. There are tons of other applications on the market:

· WordPerfect
· Lotus 1-2-3
· QuickBooks
· Coreldraw!
· HyperCam
· Photo Paint
· Adobe Acrobat
· Photoshop
· Notepad
· WinZIP
· Media Player
· StarCraft

Now let’s talk about data. Data is the stuff that you create. If you write a letter in Microsoft Word and save that document, that’s an example of data. If you create a spreadsheet in Excel, that’s an example of data. If you create a presentation in PowerPoint, that’s an example of data. The music on a CD is considered data.

Data doesn’t necessarily have to be created by you, but data is usually the end-result (product) of what you use an application for.

11. Ergonomics

Ergonomics is the study of the design and arrangement of equipment so that people will interact with the equipment in a healthy, comfortable, and efficient manner. As related to computer equipment, ergonomics is concerned with the physical design of the keyboard, screens, and related hardware and the manner in which people interact with these hardware devices.

We’re going to give you some tips for using your computer equipment to try and make you more comfortable and to prevent repetitive motion injuries and eyestrain.

Top of Monitor at Eye Level

First, keep the top of your monitor at eye level. This way you don’t have to bend your head too far back or forward to see the screen comfortably.

Monitor arm’s length

You should also keep the monitor at arm’s length. Don’t sit too close or too far away from the monitor. This will prevent eyestrain.

Hands, Arms Parallel to Table

Keeps your hands and arms parallel to your desk surface.

Use Wrist Rest

Try to use wrist rests for both the keyboard and the mouse. They’re very inexpensive.

Feet Flat.

Keep your feet flat on the ground.

Remove Glare to Prevent Eyestrain

If you need to, get a glare screen cover for your monitor. Essentially, this can be a simple as closing the drapes in the room. If you’ve got a lot of glare on your monitor from a window or some other light source, that’ll also promote eyestrain.

Do NOT Work in a Dark Room

If the room around you is too dark, it can also hurt your eyes.
Eye Exercises

Do some eye exercises regularly. This may sound silly, but after staring at a monitor for an hour, we suggest you take a look out the window and focus on something off in the distance, and then focus in on something closely. And do that several times to strengthen your eye muscles.


Make sure you sit up straight and keep good posture.

Break Every 15 Minutes

Get up, stretch, walk around a little bit, get a glass of water...

Computer Caveats

Now we have a section of things to beware – things that a lot of people don’t know:

· Beverages are evil. Try to keep your drinks away from the computer! If you spill a drink on your keyboard, CPU, or monitor, you may be looking at a costly repair.
· A lot of people don’t realize it, but magnets are not a computer’s friend. The hard drive and floppy disks especially are magnetic media, which means the information is stored in a magnetic format on these disks. Keep all magnets away from your computer – including powerful speakers.
· Laser printers have very strange power requirements. Usually they’ll go into sleep mode when they’re not in use. As soon as you send something to be printed, the laser printer kicks in and draws a huge amount to power so we usually suggest you don’t put your laser printer on the same power strip as your computer. If you have an UPS, do not plug the laser printer into your UPS.
· If you can, keep your computer tower on your desk. It’ll suck in less dust and it’ll also be less prone to get kicked.
· If you’re having weird error messages pop up on the screen, reboot the computer.
· In most applications, there’s a save button that looks like a little floppy disk. If the power does go out, or if you kick your computer, you’ll lose information if you haven’t saved it.

· If you have a power strip, don’t use the power strip’s ON/OFF switch to turn on your computer and monitor. Use the individual power buttons on the computer, printer, and monitor.
· Don't eject a floppy when the floppy drive is on. When the light is on, that means the drive is busy. Wait till the light goes off.
· Direct sunlight is sometimes enough to melt floppy disks. They might not look melted, but they might melt or warp enough to not fit in the floppy drive properly.
· Only hold a CD using the edge. Don’t hold the shiny surface of a disk. If you get fingerprints on the disk, you may make it unreadable. It’s ok to wash a CD in soapy water. Use your fingers and rub it from the center out – not in concentric circles and you want to make sure you use a soft terry-cloth towel to dry the CD. Do not use paper products like paper towels – you may scratch the surface. You can also pick up an inexpensive CD cleaner which is a small CD with a brush on it you can insert into your CD drive to clean your drive lens.
· Use the button to push in your CD tray. If you use your hands, you could force the tray off its tracks. So use the little eject button, which will also close the CD tray.
· It’s a good idea to blow the dust out of your computer regularly using a can of compressed air. However don’t just blow air into the computer without opening up the computer case and blowing the dust out.
· Computers are very static sensitive. Get yourself an anti-static strip you can apply to your keyboard and clip onto something metallic. You touch the strip before touching your keyboard or your mouse and it’s discharge any static. If you don’t get yourself a static strip, just make sure you touch the underside of your desk or something metal nearby before touching your computer.


Let’s take a moment now to review what we covered in class.

· We learned about the differences between hardware and software.
· We learned about the different types of hardware.
· We learned about the different types of software.
· We learned about ergonomics.

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RICK’S NOTE: I really do enjoy getting surveys from you! Make sure you visit the web page above and fill out the survey for this class. Let me know if I’ve moved too fast, and whether or not I covered material that was helpful to you!

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