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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.
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.
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.
Search Engine Basics
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.
Virus and Spyware Protection
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.
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