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Dell Getting Started Guide - Dell Computers & Internet

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Computer Basics There are more computers out there than we might realize. In addition to the conventional desktop computer, several computers can be found within the microprocessors found in vehicles, small electronics and innumerable other innovations. However, while most of these computers function on their own, personal and supercomputers require some degree of knowledge and proficiency in order to operate.

Computers generally come in three types. The smallest computers are called microcomputers. These are tiny computers that can be found in tablets, cell phones and digital cameras. These computers are small, portable and make few demands on electrical resources. However, since these computers have limitations on processing power, storage space and capabilities, most consumers find themselves using personal computers. These computers are upgradeable, allowing consumers to add programs and increase various characteristics of the computer, such as storage space and speed of the computer. However, some businesses and organizations need serious processing power. For economic and weather forecasting, engineering and designing, very powerful and expensive supercomputers are needed. b> Features Personal computers come in a variety of types, ranging from stationary desktop computers to mobile laptop and handheld computers. These computers are made up of a variety of components called hardware. In addition to the internal workings of the computer, such as the CPU and hard drive, personal computers have upgradeable parts that can increase the speed, color, sound and storage space of the computer. Besides these components, a computer has a variety of input and output devices that allow you to actually interact with your computer. Essentially, the keyboard, scanner and mouse/touch pad/roller ball allow you to control your computer by sending encrypted data that is decrypted and analyzed by the CPU. The CPU then uses instructions found in installed programs to determine which information should be sent to output devices, such as the monitor, printer and speakers. Data is also able to be created and stored on the hard drive, where they can be later retrieved. Examples of this stored data include word files, pictures, music and movies. b> Benefits b> Computer programmers and engineers are constantly creating software and hardware that can allow users to do an increasingly large variety of things with their computers. In addition to being able to serve their original function---very complex calculations---computers allow individuals to create and store numbers, text, images, video, audio and other sorts of data. With the Internet, this data can be stored in a location where all can see and transferred directly from computer to computer. Computers can also be used to communicate and entertain individuals through social utilities and games. Finally, computers have the ability to produce products such as sound, DVDs and information printed on paper. The storage, communication, efficiency and entertainment value of computers make them very popular and widely used products. b> Commonly Used Programs b> Computers come with a variety of basic programs that are helpful to most individuals. Word-processing programs allow individuals to type, store and print word documents in a variety of fonts. Photo-editing programs scans, alters and reprints photos at a low cost. Spreadsheets allow individuals to organize information and perform mathematical calculations in an easy and efficient manner. Microsoft PowerPoint lets instructors and presenters to present data on successive slides, using large and easy-to-read fonts to convey information to large groups of individuals. Web browsers enable easy access to the Internet, allowing users to visit web pages simply by typing the web address into the address bar. Email programs allow users to instantly send text and images from computer to computer. b> Warning b> Besides computer addiction, there are a few problems associated with computer use. But there are many things that can damage a computer. Computers that are overused can become damaged, especially if the computer is not regularly shut down. Older computers can potentially experience damaged screens if the screen is left on without a screensaver, which is a visual that is meant to prevent the image on the screen from burning into the monitor. There are also a variety of illegal malware programs that are created and distributed on the web. These programs corrupt normal computer processes, delete files and slow down computers. In some cases, malware can even crash a computer, rendering it unusable. Fortunately, computer users can avoid almost all cases of malware by keeping their anti-virus software up-to-date and being wary about unknown websites that offer downloads. Computer use can lead to all sorts of physical problems such as glaucoma, posture problems and carpal tunnel. Taking breaks from the computer, closing one's eyes periodically and using hand splints can prevent these problems.


Whether you're learning how to use a computer for the first time, understanding computer basics is more of a necessity than ever. Computers are used in just about every facet of our lives, from business to personal communications.

If you've have limited or no experience with computers you may feel intimidated. Computers have evolved to the point that they are much more user-friendly than they were 15 years ago. An absolute beginner's guide to computer basics is all you need to get started.

Power On and Off
Your computer should be plugged into a power strip to ensure safety. Before powering on, make sure the power strip is on. Next, push the main power button on the computer. You'll know that it is powering on because you will see the hard drive activity light flashing and flickering. The operating system will come up on the screen, or you may be asked to strike a key in order to activate the operating system. b> Desktop b> As the operating system has loaded, you will notice information about your operating system. For instance if you are using a personal computer, the operating system might be Windows XP or Windows Vista. Once the operating system is up, you may notice one or more small icons. Familiarize yourself with the icons on this screen. Getting Online b> You are probably most interested in learning how to access the Internet. You may notice that one of the icons on your computer screen is a lower case "e" with a ring around it. This is Internet Explorer; or the icon may be a globe with a small fox, which is the Mozilla Fire Fox. You can access the Internet using either of these browsers by double clicking the respective icon. If these icons are not on your screen, take your mouse to the lower left hand of the screen where you see the word "Start." Click there, search for the previously mentioned icons on the list, and click to go online. b> Search Engine Basics b> When you need to find information, you can type a subject into a search engine such as Google, Yahoo! Or MSN to get what you need. If you are searching for a car, the nearest pharmacy or anything else, type your description of the searched item in the search engine box and hit "Enter" to get a listing of related results. b> Virus and Spyware Protection b> Going online can put your computer at risk of identity theft, password theft, theft of private files, or at the mercy of spyware and viruses. Viruses can delete or corrupt important files. A Trojan virus can allow a hacker access to all of your most valuable information including passwords, bank and credit card account numbers and other important information. Make sure to do weekly spyware and virus scans to keep your computer and personal information safe. Hope this helps.


Posted on Dec 11, 2012


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