Complete Idiot's Guide to Computer Basics

Complete Idiot's Guide to Computer Basics

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When you first get a PC, you want to do something with it. You didn't buy it to learn about it any more than you buy a car to learn about its engine. You want to write a letter, send an email message, check out some Web sites, make a greeting card, or personalize the Windows desktop. Whatever it is you want to do, you don't want to have to read a book describing what a Pentium processor is or how your AGP adapter produces the pretty image on the screen. You want something more tangible; you want to do something practical. The only trouble is that the darn computer won't cooperate. It's just not as easy as it looks. That's the purpose of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Computer Basics. This book identifies the 20-30 tasks that you as a PC novice want to perform and then it draws a map showing you how to achieve your goal. You'll follow simple steps to print a greeting card, reconcile a checkbook balance, decorate the Windows desktop, make the PC run faster, and more.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 546 pages
  • 185.42 x 228.6 x 25.4mm | 453.59g
  • Que Corporation,U.S.
  • United States
  • Ill.
  • 0789722992
  • 9780789722997

Table of contents

I. FIRING UP YOUR COMPUTER: BARE-BONED BASICS. 1. Setting It Up and Turning It On. Finding a Comfortable Home for Your Computer. Unpacking Your New Toys. Making the Right Connections. Bringing the Beast to Life. Installing the Software That Runs Your Hardware. Now What? Shutting It Down or Leaving It On? 2. Meeting Windows: Up Close and Personal. Windows Nickel Tour. The Land Where Mouse Is King. The Keyboard Is Special, Too. A Special Key, Just for Windows. Turbo-Surfing the Web with an Internet Keyboard. Ordering from Menus and Dialog Boxes. Clicking Menu Options. Talking with a Dialog Box. Bypassing Menus by Using Toolbar Buttons. Rearranging the Windows Inside Windows. What's on Your Computer? Trashing Files in the Recycle Bin. Help Is on Its Way. 3. Launching Your First Program. Picking a Program from the Start Menu. More Creative Ways to Run Programs. Make Your Own Program Shortcut. Run Programs from Your Keyboard. Make Your Own Program Folder. Run Programs When Windows Starts. Moving a Program to a More Convenient Location. Running Programs with a Single Click. Opening Documents with a Single Click. 4. Warming Up with Some Computer Games. Installing and Running the Windows Games. Using Your $1000 Computer As a $1 Deck of Cards. Becoming a FreeCell Junkie. Playing Hearts with Virtual Players. Taking a Virtual Risk with Minesweeper. II. PERSONALIZING YOUR WORK SPACE. 5. Using a Cool Desktop Background. Animating Your Desktop with Themes. Installing Desktop Themes. Picking Your Favorite Desktop Theme. Messing with the Screen Colors. Hanging Wallpaper in the Background. Controlling the Desktop Icons and Visual Effects. What's This Web Tab For? Locking Your Desktop Settings. 6. Turning On an Animated Screen Saver. Screen Savers Do Serve a Purpose. Checking Out the Windows Screen Savers. Turning a Screen Saver On and Off. Using a Password for Weak Security. Conserving Energy. 7. Making Your Computer Play Cool Sounds. Checking Your Audio Equipment. Adjusting the Volume. Troubleshooting Audio Problems. Choosing a Different Sound Scheme. Assigning Specific Sounds to Events. Listening to CDs While You Work. Recording Your Own Audio Clips. 8. Taking Control of Your Menus and Programs. Rearranging the Start Menu with Explorer. Making Your Own Toolbars. Turning On the Desktop Toolbar. Transforming a Folder into a Toolbar. Automating Your Programs. 9. Giving Yourself More Room to Work. Clearing Desk Space by Making Everything Smaller. What About the Color Settings? Rearranging Your Desktop Icons. Getting Rid of Icons You Don't Use. Hiding the Taskbar. Tucking Stuff into Folders. 10. Installing and Removing Programs. Buying Software That Your Hardware Can Run. Do You Have Enough Disk Space? Installing Your New Program. No Install or Setup File? Selectively Installing Components. Does Anyone Use Floppy Disks Anymore? Removing a Program That You Never Use. III. CREATING LETTERS AND GREETING CARDS. 11. I Just Want to Type a Letter! Making the Transition to the Electronic Page. What's with the Squiggly Red and Green Lines? Inserting Today's Date. Making the Text Bigger or Smaller. Shoving Text Left, Right, or Center. Changing the Line Spacing. Inserting Space Between Paragraphs. Save It or Lose It. Printing Addresses on Envelopes. 12. Editing and Printing Your Letter. Selecting Text. Cutting and Pasting Without Scissors. Oops! Undoing Changes. Checking Your Spelling and Grammar. Setting Your Margins and Page Layout. Setting the Page Margins. Picking a Paper Size and Print Direction. Where's Your Paper Coming From? Laying Out Your Pages. Saving Paper: Previewing Before Printing. Sending Your Letter Off to the Printer. Hey, It's Not Printing! Project Time! Making Your Own Letterhead. 13. Designing Personalized Greeting Cards, Banners, and Other Publications. What You Need to Get Started. Starting with a Prefab Greeting Card. Microsoft Publisher Survival Guide. Playing with Pictures. Text-in-a-Box. Layering Pictures and Text Boxes. Do-It-Yourself Banners. Other Cool Desktop Publishing Stuff. 14. Creating an Address Book and Other Listy Stuff. Tables, Spreadsheets, Databases, and Address Books. Making a Simple Address Book with a Word Table. Using an Electronic Day Planner. Automating Calculations with Spreadsheets. Managing Records in a Database. Setting Up Your Own Table. Typing in the Little Boxes. Rearranging and Resizing Columns and Rows. Adjusting the Row Height and Column Width. Inserting and Deleting Columns and Rows. Sorting Your List. Automating Calculations with Formulas. Decorating Your Table with Lines and Shading. What About Pictures? 15. Form Letters, Mailing Labels, and Envelopes. The Incredible Power of the Mail Merge Feature. The Making of a Form Letter. Inserting the Secret Codes. Initiating the Merge Operation. Printing Addresses on Mailing Labels. Printing a Stack of Envelopes for Mass Mailing. IV. GETTING WIRED ON THE INTERNET. 16. Connecting to the Outside World with a Modem. What Can I Do with My Modem? How This Modem Thing Works. Modem Types: Standard, ISDN, DSL, and Cable. Chugging Along with Standard Modems. Speeding Up Your Connections with ISDN. The New Kid on the Block: DSL Modems. The Pros and Cons of Cable Modems. Plugging Your Modem into the Phone Jack. Dialing Out: Does It Work? Troubleshooting Your Modem Connection. 17. Finding an Information FREEway. Getting a Free Trial Offer to an Online Service. Signing Up for Your Membership. Getting Help Online. Canceling Your Membership. Finding Cheaper, Better Ways to Connect to the Internet. Locating a Local Internet Service Provider. Gathering the Information You Need to Connect. Setting Up Your Internet Connection. Testing Your Internet Connection. What Went Wrong: Internet Connection Troubleshooting. 18. Sending Email: Postage-Free, Same-Day Delivery. Running Your Email Program for the First Time. Entering Email Settings in Outlook Express. Entering Email Settings in Netscape Messenger. Addressing an Outgoing Message. Checking Your Email Box. Sending Replies. Adding Photos and Other Cool Stuff. Attaching Documents to Your Messages. What About Hotmail and Other Free Email Services? Email Shorthand and Emoticons. Email No-No's. 19. Chatting with Friends, Relatives, and Complete Strangers. Hanging Out in Chat Rooms. Checking Out the People Who Are Checking Out You. Sending Private Messages. Making Your Own Public Chat Room. Chatting It Up on the Internet. Chatting It Up at Yahoo! Keeping in Touch with Friends and Family. Chatting Privately with Friends and Relatives on the Internet. What About Audio and Video? 20. Poking Around on the Web. First, You Need a Web Browser. Steering Your Browser in the Right Direction. A Word About Web Page Addresses. Finding Stuff with Popular Search Tools. Opening Multiple Browser Windows. Going Back in Time with History Lists. Marking Your Favorite Web Pages for Quick Return Trips. Changing the Starting Web Page. Can Cookies Hurt Me? 21. Shopping, Investing, Traveling, and Other Cool Web Stuff. Keeping Up with News, Weather, and Current Events. Checking Out Web Newsstands. Getting the Latest Weather Reports. Sports Fans Only. Mail-Order Paradise: Shopping on the Web. Becoming Your Own Stockbroker. Planning Your Next Vacation. For Movie Buffs Only. Creating Your Own Music Library. Getting Technical Support for Your Computer. 22. Publishing Your Own Web Page in 10 Minutes or Less. What Makes a Web Page So Special? Forget About HTML. Making a Personal Web Page Right on the Web. Placing Your Business on the Web. Finding Cool Stuff to Put on Your Page. V. MANAGING YOUR FINANCES. 23. Putting Your Checkbook on Your Computer. Choosing a Good Personal Finance Program. Entering Account Information. Creating an Account. Selecting an Account. Recording Transactions. Printing Checks. Reconciling Your Account and Bank Statement. 24. Budgeting 101. Who Needs a Budget? Starting with a Budget Template. Tweaking Your Budget. Entering Income and Expenses. Making Adjustments. Using Your Budget to Stay on Track. Keeping Track of Your Cash Flow with Reports. Planning Ahead with Financial Calculators. 25. Paying Bills and Tracking Investments Online. Electronic Banking 101. How Much Is This Going to Cost? Signing Up for Electronic Transactions. Setting Up Your Internet Connection in Quicken. Applying for an Online Bank Account. Finding a Bank Supporting Quicken Online Features. Activating Your Online Account in Quicken. Enabling Online Transactions for an Account. Paying Your Bills Electronically. Setting Up Automatic, Recurring Payments. Transferring Cash Between Accounts. Downloading Transaction Records and Balances. Tracking the Performance of Your Investments. Applying for an Online Investment Account. Investing Online. VI. KIDS AND OTHER FAMILY STUFF. 26. Finding and Playing Cool Games. Shopping for the Right Games. Additional Equipment You May Need. Running Stubborn DOS Games in Windows. Running DOS Games and Other Programs. Running a DOS Game That Won't Budge. Getting Free Games off the Web. Buying Games Online. Finding Game Reviews and Tips. 27. Tapping the Power of Educational Software. Researching Topics with Multimedia Encyclopedias. More Books for Your Reference Library. Learning to Read with Your Computer. Reinforcing Math Skills. Encouraging Your Child to Play with Language. Learning to Play the Piano. Learning a Foreign Language. Bringing Out the Artist in Your Child. 28. Safely Introducing Your Child to the Internet. Explaining the Rules of the Road. A Little Personal Supervision Goes a Long Way. Censoring the Internet. Using America Online's Parental Controls. Censoring the Web with Internet Explorer. Using Censoring Software. Playing Games Online. Visiting the White House. Visiting Museums and Libraries. Helping Your Child Find a Pen Pal. 29. Making a Family Photo Album. Getting a Kodak Picture CD. Adding Photos from Another Kodak Picture CD. Enhancing and Editing Photos. Typing Your Own Captions. Printing Your Photos on Photo-Quality Paper. Sharing Photos via Email and Disk. Avoiding the Middleman with a Digital Camera. Taking Pictures. Copying Pictures to Your Computer. Scanning Photos. Creating Your Own Digital Photo Album. Changing Yourself and Others with Morphing. 30. Drawing Your Family Tree. Picking a Good Genealogy Program. Plugging In Names, Dates, and Relationships. Digging Up Your Roots with CD-ROM Databases. Researching Your Family Tree Online. Searching Online with Family Tree Maker. Visiting Genealogy Web Sites. Getting Advice via Newsgroups and Email. Tracking Down Lost Relatives. Growing Your Family Tree. Printing Your Family Tree. VII. MAINTAINING YOUR INVESTMENT. 31. Keeping Your Computer Clean. Tools of the Trade. Vacuuming and Dusting Your Computer. WASH ME: Cleaning Your Monitor. Shaking the Crumbs out of Your Keyboard. Making Your Mouse Cough Up Hairballs. Cleaning Your Printer (When It Needs It). What About the Disk Drives? 32. Giving Your Computer a Tune-Up. One-Stop Optimization with the Maintenance Wizard. Clearing Useless Files from Your Hard Disk. Checking for and Repairing Damaged Files and Folders. Defragmenting Files on Your Hard Disk. Making Windows Start Faster. Boosting Performance with Shareware Utilities. Glossary: Speak Like a Geek. Index.
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About Joe E. Kraynak

Joe Kraynak has taught hundreds of thousands of new PC users how to make the most of their PCs with his easy-to-read books for more than 10 years. In addition to writing six editions of The Complete Idiot's Guide(R) to PCs, he has authored The Complete Idiot's Guide(R) to Microsoft(R) Office 2000, Big Basics of Microsoft Windows(R) 98, and many more.
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Rating details

11 ratings
3.09 out of 5 stars
5 9% (1)
4 36% (4)
3 18% (2)
2 27% (3)
1 9% (1)
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