Before we can dig into the really fun and productive applications for the computer, we must first learn some basics about "driving" your computer. For most people this means Windows. Even if you are new to computers, you won't find this a difficult task. To learn ALL about Windows would be a course in itself. We will be touching on just enough to get you started.
If you need lessons on Windows 10, switch to Working with Windows 10 .
Be sure to read the page Before you start..., and the disclaimer at the bottom of this page.
Computer: A computer running some version of Windows. WinXP, Windows Vista, Win7, and Win 8 are discussed particularly.
End-of-life: Be aware that security updates and support are not available forever. Older versions of Windows like Win95 and Win98 are no longer supported by Microsoft. They have reached their end-of-life. Use at your own risk! End-of-life for WinXP was April 8, 2014.
You need removable storage for a working copy and a backup copy of your documents and so you can work on your documents in class and at home. For these lessons you do not need large capacity. Be careful as you work to check how much space is left on your device. It is VERY frustrating to try to save a document only to find out that there is not enough room left!
Also consider keeping an up-to-date copy of your work on your home computer and/or at a cloud storage service like Google Drive, Dropbox, or OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive). Start good backup habits early and you won't kick yourself later when your files are lost or corrupted.
You will run into multiple operating systems in your lifetime between work and school and home and friends, between desktop and tablet and phone and auto. You need to get used to seeing interfaces that are not quite the same as what you use normally. Most things behave mostly the same between versions of Windows, even when the 'look' is quite different. As you learn more about computers, you will become the go-to expert for your friends, family, and co-workers, even though their systems are not quite like yours!
Called by many different names: flash drive, flash pen, thumb drive, key drive, jump drive, and mini-USB drive. A USB drive is an excellent choice for storing your class work. It plugs directly into a USB port on your computer.
Before you buy a flash drive:
Check the following for both the classroom computer AND your home computer-
If you do not have a computer at home, consider buying 2 USB drives so that you can use one to keep a backup copy of your work. Don't lose them both at the same time!
Hands-on topic, (symbol in the menu) where you will have Step-by-Step directions.
Tip - something you might find useful to know.
Warning about possible problems.
Problem and Solution, for what to do in case of trouble
Save or retrieve a file (Icon is a USB flash device. You may be using something else)
Sections that apply to a certain version of Windows will be labeled and will have background color.
Win8, Win 8.1
Sections that apply to two or three versions but not all four will show nested background color with the most recent version showing the most.
Win 7, Win 8
Vista, Win7, Win8
Disclaimer: All names, addresses, and phone numbers used in the lessons and exercises are fiction! Any similarity to a real person, business, or place is a coincidence.
The author cannot be held responsible for any damage to hardware, software, or data resulting from your attempts to follow the directions.