COMPUTER BASICS

Computer Basics introduces general computer use and terminology. It describes the basic hardware components of a PC and introduces basic skills for using software programs in a windows environment. This course will address hardware and peripheral components of the computer and how to use them correctly. After completing Computer Basics the user should be able to: Describe the basic components of the computer. Describe hardware and software. Identify peripheral devices. Identify input and output devices. Start the computer, run programs and shut down the computer. Control program windows and menus.

A computer is an electronic device that has the ability to store, retrieve, and process data, and can be programmed with instructions that it remembers. The physical parts that make up a computer (the central processing unit, input, output, and memory) are called hardware. Programs that tell a computer what to do are called software. A set of instructions that perform a particular task is called a program, software program, or software. Peripherals are any hardware device connected to a computer, any part of the computer outside the CPU and working memory. Some examples of peripherals are keyboards, the mouse, monitors, printers, scanners, disk and tape drives, microphones, speakers, joysticks, plotters, and cameras.

A. MONITOR

Region 4 Teaching, Learning and Technology Center (Revised 8/2003)

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images are smaller. When the computer wants to display something. ▪ Controls for the monitor are located on the monitor itself. Whenever the computer is turned off. the clearer and sharper the picture appears on the monitor. but more information can be displayed. Most monitors come with a . 1024 x 768 PIXELS (SVGA) 1280 x 1024 PIXELS (SVGA)-. and changes the values in the video memory. 6 FLOPPY DISK DRIVE 7 CD ROM DRIVE 5 DISKETTE DRIVE ACCESS INDICATOR 1 POWER SWITCH 2 POWER INDICATOR 3 RESET BUTTON 4 HARD DISK DRIVE ACCESS INDICATOR 1. When you boot up your computer. If you turn your monitor off with the switch. The picture below displays two internal devices—the floppy disk drive and CD ROM drive. An amber light indicates that the computer is in “sleep” mode. The monitor has an ON/OFF Button/Switch (which powers only the monitor) and an indicator light (green or amber). When the monitor light is amber. if the computer is booted up. COMPUTER The computer is a machine that processes data according to a set of instructions that are stored internally either temporarily or permanently. there will be no indicator light. 2. A green indicator light denotes that the monitor is on. The smaller the dot pitch. The smaller the pixels. you will have to turn the monitor on by pressing the ON/OFF switch. the monitor will automatically come on when you move the mouse or press any key on the keyboard. It is expressed as a pair of numbers that give the number of dots on a line (horizontal) and the number of lines (vertical). the better the monitor. Four resolutions commonly used today: ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ 640 x 480 PIXELS (VGA) (SVGA) -.28.28 dot pitch. Software in newer computers automatically shuts the monitor down when the computer is shut down--the monitor is put in a “sleep” mode and the indicator light turns amber.Turns the computer on and off. 800 x 600 PIXELS (SVGA) – most web sites are designed to be viewed at this setting. Region 4 Teaching. it calculates how it needs to change the color and brightness of the different pixels. Learning and Technology Center (Revised 8/2003) 2 . ▪ ▪ ▪ Monitor Resolution refers to the number of dots on the screen or pixels. POWER SWITCH -. always wait at least 60 seconds before turning it back on again. This is the standard for monitors. The computer has either external or internal peripherals attached to it.images are larger for visually impaired students. No indicator light indicates that the monitor is off. Do not buy a monitor if the dot pitch is more than .The computer monitor is an output device that displays input on a screen and is very similar to a television monitor.

If this light is green. Rebooting the system in this manner reduces stress on the system components. The Region 4 Teaching. 3. you should NEVER attempt to eject the floppy disk. A green light indicates the computer is on. INTERNAL COMPONENTS OF A COMPUTER Motherboard Sometimes called the system board or main board.Allows you to reboot (restart) your system without having to power down the entire computer. either retrieving or storing information. CD-DRIVE -. FLOPPY DISK DRIVE -.Located in the center of the power switch. This button is used ONLY when the computer has “frozen” and will not accept any commands. RESET BUTTON -. reads and writes to floppy disks. 7. DISKETTE DRIVE INDICATOR -. the motherboard is the main circuit board of a PC. 6. POWER INDICATOR -.Turns green when the computer is accessing your floppy disk drive. usually called Drive A. HARD DISK DRIVE ACCESS INDICATOR -. 5.Turns green when the computer is accessing your hard drive.2. C. either retrieving or storing information.Storage device that holds. Learning and Technology Center (Revised 8/2003) 3 . 4.Player or reader that reads data from a CD ROM disk.

Chipset The chipset controls the system and its capabilities. Collectively. The actual CPU is about 1. Generally. Chipsets are integrated (soldered onto the motherboard) and are not upgradable without a new motherboard. ▪ MegaHertz -. It also manages the data flow between the computer's operating system and attached peripheral devices. expansion slots. Learning and Technology Center (Revised 8/2003) 4 . The motherboard typically contains the processor (or CPU). a device that adds memory to a computer RDRAM (Rambus Dynamic Random Access Memory) Developed by Rambus Corporation. All components communicate with the processor through the chipset . mass storage interfaces. It reads instructions from your software and tells your computer what to do. the narrow. BIOS (basic input/output system). The chipset uses the DMA controller and the bus controller to organize the steady flow of data that it controls.motherboard is the central nervous system and circulatory system.6 GB/sec bandwidth per channel. high-performance channel also offers performance and capacity scalability through the use of multiple channels in parallel. Capable of providing up to 1. The speed at which the CPU processes information internally is measured in MegaHertz (MHz) and GigaHertz (GHz). even when the power is turned off. entertainment.000 MHz. BIOS (Basic Input Output System) An integral part of the PC. and is usually second in size only to the processor. its contents cannot be altered. memory. The chipset is a series of chips attached directly to the motherboard. mouse. all rolled into one. ROM BIOS chips are used to store information for starting up your computer. Can be accessed without touching preceding bytes.One million cycles per second — used to measure the speed of a CPU chip. resulting in less waiting time and therefore faster access speeds. such as the display screen. and productivity applications. 1 GHz is equal to 1.5 inches square. serial and parallel ports. RAM (Random Access Memory) Available for storing data and programs currently being processed. ▪ Region 4 Teaching. keyboard and disk drive. For example. CPU (Central Processing Unit) The CPU is the computer's control center. SDRAM (Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory). Once data is programmed into the ROM chip. yet it is the most critical part of the computer. RAM is erased automatically when the power is turned off. ROM (Read Only Memory) A type of memory chip that does not lose information. and all the controllers required to communicate with standard peripheral devices. processors with higher MHz or GHz enhance your ability to run creative. the BIOS is the program a microprocessor uses to get the computer started after you turn it on.it is the hub of all data transfer. Think of it as the brain that does all the thinking (computation). RDRAM is able to load a new stream of data before the previous stream has completed. some of the chips which reside on the motherboard are known as the motherboard's chipset. communication. ▪ ▪ DIMM (Dual Inline Memory Module). plus much more.

▪ GIGABYTE (GB) Approximately one billion characters. L2 cache is also called SRAM. Learning and Technology Center (Revised 8/2003) 5 . Newer computers have ports Region 4 Teaching. CD-ROM drives. There are two groups of extremely fast memory chips that allow the computer to operate faster: (1) Internal cache (L1) is built into the CPU. it first checks the fastest source — L1. ▪ MEGABYTE (MB) Approximately one million characters. SIMMs may need to be installed in multiples of two or four. letter or symbol. If the data is not there. and hard drives. Both L1 and L2 store data recently used by the CPU. ▪ KILOBYTE (K) Approximately one thousand characters. or one novel. The L2 cache is an area of high-speed memory that improves performance by reducing the average memory access time. Cache Cache (pronounced cash) is a block of high speed memory where data is copied when it is retrieved from the RAM. If the data still cannot be found.Bytes are used to measure both computer memory (RAM) and the storage capacity of floppy disks. D. This storage of key instructions enables a performance improvement in the processor. The more RAM chips you add to the computer. BACK PANEL AND CABLES The ports that connect the peripherals to the computer are located on the back panel of the computer. a time-consuming search of the slower RAM is required. the faster it operates and the more programs you can run at the same time. A character can be a number. BYTE One character. and (2) External cache (L2) resides on the motherboard.▪ SDRAM synchronizes itself with the processors bus and is capable of running at 133 MHz. the CPU checks the next-fastest source — L2. When the CPU needs data. Depending on the computer. SIMM (Single In-Line Memory Module) A narrow circuit board that contains RAM (also called DRAM) memory chips. Byte -. or one page of double spaced text. Note: A byte consists of 8 bits. Intel processors incorporate level 1 (L1) and level 2 (L2) caches. or one thousand novels. SDRAM enables a system to run applications and temporarily store documents that are being worked on.

Included are pictures of the cable connectors for different peripherals attached to the computer. A processor-independent standard for system-level interfacing between a computer and intelligent devices including hard-drives. Parallel Port 1. printer. When attaching or removing cables from the computer it is important to be very careful. pink printer cable. Keyboard 4. When the computer is stored for the summer it will be very easy to reconnect cables in the fall. The following figure is a diagram of the ports on the back of the computer. Once all peripherals have been connected to the computer. it may be useful to label each cable and it's appropriate port.) and numbering cables and ports (1 & 1.). USB 5. It is important that all cables are inserted completely and securely in their port (pins screwed in all the way) or the peripheral will not function properly. a set of digital speakers. Speaker cables plug into headphone jacks on the back panel and are also color-coded. scanners and many more. Serial Port 6. Learning and Technology Center (Revised 8/2003) 6 . The cables are connected with "pins" that can easily be bent or broken. Two successful methods used to code cables and ports include colored dots using nail polish (red mouse cable. Mouse Port 2. floppy disks. 2 & 2. The back panel may have small icons on the ports showing the correct cables (example --monitor for monitor cable). etc. USB (Universal Serial Bus) is a new technology theoretically capable of connecting a very large number of external devices on a computer. 3. or a PC telephone to their computer. a digital camera. red dot on mouse port. CD-ROM.that are color-coded with their appropriate cables. Region 4 Teaching. Video Port Mouse Cable & Ports Keyboard Cable & Ports Printer Cable SCSI (Small Computer System Interface). pink dot on printer port. Pull cables directly out to avoid damaging the pins. USB give the PC user a no-hassle way to connect a new digital joystick. a scanner. etc. Don't try to remove cables by "wiggling" from side to side.

A “double-density” (DD) diskette has a storage capacity of 740 KB while a “high-density” (HD) diskette has a storage capacity of 1. which attack the hard disk. You can use a floppy disk to exchange information between computers. the “Remove Hardware” window opens.5 inches in diameter and they are enclosed in a rigid plastic shell. However. Disks can be reused as long as there are no bad sectors on the disk. or to hard disk failure or crashes. Floppy disks are 3. E. click the “Stop” button then remove the device. Every disk must be formatted with the operating system used by the computer in order to allow storage of files. and Windows NT. most floppy disks come already formatted. and magnets. or to make a backup of your files. be sure to purchase them for the operating system you are using (IBM/PC Compatible or Apple/Macintosh). either through viruses. When your work is saved it creates a computer “file”. See Section M. single click the hardware button in the system tray. keep them away from heat. When you purchase disks. Disks are inserted into the disk drive with the metal part first. The tab provides protection against erasing or replacing 7 . Macintosh OS. such as floppy disks. It’s very important to back up your important files onto other media. The most common storage devices are hard disks and floppy disks. Learning and Technology Center (Revised 8/2003) Every disk comes with a write-protect tab. for instructions on how to run scandisk on a floppy. you run the risk of losing your data. also called a diskette. Not Write Protected Write Protected Region 4 Teaching. label up. In order to store your work for future retrieval.▪ ▪ Adds the feature of "hot-swapping" so that you don't need to shut down and restart your PC to attach or remove a peripheral. all work is entered into the computer's memory. 1. The operating system is the “language” of the program—the disk must be in the same language as the computer in order to communicate. Fl oppy Disk -. you must “save” your work to a storage device before turning the computer off. it is a good idea to run scandisk on a disk before using as a means of checking the disk for bad sectors. To protect your floppy disks. drinks. Select the device you wish to disconnect. Just plug it in and go! To remove a USB device. If you only save your work on the hard disk. Windows. Use a felt tip pen to label a disk and write on the label before you attach it to the disk. Examples of operating systems are DOS.A removable disk that stores information magnetically. STORAGE DEVICES When working on the computer.44 MB. Today.

called drive C and drive D. and magnetic signals back to electrical ones again. This is usually called a head crash. A special 3. and shock applied to the hard disk while it is in operation. the result can be loss of data. You can write-protect a 3. An external zip drive can be moved from one computer to another. Learning and Technology Center (Revised 8/2003) 8 .250 MB of data (depending on the type of drive purchased) and cost about $11 to $19 each.Zip disks store 100 . Due to the large storage capability of zip disks and mobility of the drives. Today's hard disks provide fast retrieval and can hold several gigabytes of information as compared to megabytes on floppy disks.The primary device that a computer uses to store information.5 inch floppy disk by moving the plastic tab up to the write-protected position (open hole). 4.information on a floppy disk. CD-ROMS—Compact disks can store approximately 650-800 MB of data or 74-80 minutes of music. They are in essence tiny electromagnets that perform this conversion from electrical information to magnetic and back again. :^) The most common causes of head crashes are contamination getting stuck in the thin gap between the head and the disk. 2. No information can be altered on the disk when it is writeprotected. Most software programs today are shipped on CD-ROMs instead of floppy disks. All computers today come with CD-ROM drives that are part of the computer’s multimedia Region 4 Teaching. damage to the surface of the disk. The Read/Write Heads are energy converters: they transform electrical signals to magnetic signals. If the heads contact the surface of the disk while it is at operational speed. they are gaining popularity as storage and backup mediums. Zip disks -. Hard drive-. The terms hard drive and hard disk are used interchangeably. 3. Most computers come with one or two hard drives. located inside the computer case. There is normally one head for each surface used on the drive. or all three. two of the most frightening words to any computer user.5" removable disk drive is needed to retrieve the information from the computer and write to the zip disk. damage to the heads.

or CD. Read/Write CD-ROMS—CD-ROM drives that write. does not require Region 4 Teaching. Hold the CD-ROM by the edges when handling. 7. Cartridge tapes—These are magnetic tapes similar to cassette tapes used as a storage and backup device. Protect CD-ROM’s by making sure the data side does not get scratched and by providing proper storage (store them in the case they came in).com/2001-200. rather than by sectors. allowing for musical CD-ROMs to also be played on your computer. Two types of CD-ROM disks are used in these drives: CD-Recordable (CD-R) and CD-Read/Write (CDR/W). They are connected to a sound card. The computer must search in sequential order to find the desired information. ◙ Pressing the button opens and closes the drive. the computer's operating system recognizes the device as a removable drive.html .com (click on the Downloads tab) or http://downloads-zdnet. rewrite and record data. When the user plugs the device into their USB port. the information is pressed on one side (the side opposite the label). These drives are read only and cannot be used for recording data. CD/DVD-ROM (internal) Open/Close button CD-Writer (internal) Open/Close button Zip 100mb Drive Headphone Jack Power Light 6. Backup and retrieval of stored information is slower with tapes because the information is stored sequentially. USB/Flash Drive (Jump/Thumb Drive) . ◙ CD-ROM’s are inserted into the CD-ROM drive with the label side up. A keychain drive can be used in place of a floppy disk. a keychain drive does not require rebooting after it's attached. 5. ◙ Handling and storage of CD-ROM’s are the same as musical CD-ROM’s and floppy disks. ◙ Avoid putting fingers on the information side.is a plug-and-play portable storage device that uses flash memory and is lightweight enough to attach to a key chain.zdnet. Unlike most removable drives. Like a musical CD-ROM.configuration. CD-R/W’s can only be “read” by CD Read/Write drives. Zip drive disk. Learning and Technology Center (Revised 8/2003) 9 . while CD-R disks can be read by most CD-ROM drives. You can download CD-RW UDF Reader software from www. ◙ Only retrieve data that’s pre-recorded by the manufacturer.com. The advantage of tape cassettes is that they can be purchased with large storage capacities (1 – 4 GB’s) allowing the entire contents of the hard drive to easily fit on one tape. which provides the computer with stereo speaker capabilities.

and is not platform dependent. opening a program) requires a double click. It allows the user to execute commands using point & click and click & drag techniques. opening a file. New. opening a folder. Some newer mice also include a scroll wheel for scrolling through long documents. Mouse commands are executed by "clicking".lawrencegoetz. Paste.com/programs/mousepractice/ Region 4 Teaching. Several keychain drive manufacturers offer additional features such as password protection. Copy. Keychain drives are available in capacities ranging from 8 MB to 2 gigabytes. As the user moves the mouse across the pad. Mouse – The mouse is a pointing device attached to the computer that controls the movement of the cursor on the screen. and downloadable drivers that allow the keychain drive to be compatible with older systems that do not have USB ports. The mouse should always be used with a mouse pad to provide a smooth surface for mouse movement and to help keep the mouse from damage.the type of file. There is a timed rhythm to double clicking and the mouse must NOT move between clicks.e. Placing the mouse arrow on an object and holding down the left mouse button while moving it. and so on) all dependent upon where you right click. Right Click refers to clicking the right mouse button which reveals a context menu. The term “click” refers to the left mouse button. Click and Drag is also used more generally to refer to any operation in which the left mouse button is held down while the mouse is moved. Shift Click refers to clicking the mouse button while holding the Shift key down. the cursor moves across the screen.adders. in a corresponding range of prices. ▪ Executing commands (i. If you "run out of room" on the pad. because it changes based on the status of the item you clicked -.batteries or an external power supply.html Mouse Practice: http://www. for example. F. ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ Need to practice your mouse skills? Basic Mouse Skills by Grey Olltwit (free): http://www. The phrase to "click" means to select (a screen object) by moving the mouse pointer to the object's position and clicking a mouse button by pressing it down once. and them immediately releasing it. simply pick up the mouse and move it to the opposite edge and continue movement.org/freeware/gomouse. The PC mouse has two buttons (left and right) and newer mice have a scroll wheel between the two. the object can by moved to a new location by “dragging”. Delete. meaning that you must click the left mouse button twice in rapid succession. Learning and Technology Center (Revised 8/2003) 10 . INPUT DEVICES 1. Create Shortcut and Properties (to see an item's settings. Print. on a file or on a blank space in a window. depending on manufacturer. The context menu may display actions such as Open. Send To.

A toggle key that. but does not move the cursor.The computer receives most of its input from the user via the keyboard that is very similar to the typewriter keyboard.Deletes the character just to the left of the cursor (or insertion point) and moves the cursor to that position.burlco.tx. or deletes the selected object. but it can have other meanings depending on which program is running.lib.Used to enter commands or to move the cursor to the beginning of the next line. the end of the page. up. The exact manner in which the keys function depends on the software program. Following is an explanation of the function of these keys. There are extra keys on the computer's keyboard that are not found on a normal typewriter.moves the cursor to the top left corner of the screen or to the beginning of the file.cc.html Mouse Practice: http://www.ckls. CAPS LOCK KEY -. The keyboard is connected by a cable to the keyboard port on the back of the computer.northville.html Practice Using the Mouse Playing Games: http://www.us/tech/tutor/holding. deletes the character at the current cursor position or to the right of the insertion point. Sometimes labeled Return instead of Enter. DELETE KEY-. HOME -.Mouse Aerobics! http://www. when activated. Keyboard -. or the end of the file depending where the cursor is located on the page and on which program is running.Sometimes labeled Del.htm 2.lib.mi.four arrow keys for moving the cursor or insertion point right. or down.nj. Learning and Technology Center (Revised 8/2003) 11 . ENTER -. BACKSPACE KEY-. Region 4 Teaching.com/fun/java/dinodots/dino1.moves the cursor to the end of the line.org/~crippel/computerlab/tutorials/mouse/page1.html New User Tutorial on Using the Mouse: http://www.vc. ARROW KEYS -. Moving the arrow keys does not delete any characters on the screen. left.lizardpoint. causes all alphabetic characters to be uppercase.us/Classes/cns/ Connect the Dots: Provides practice clicking the mouse http://www. END -.us/courses/orie0100/mouse.

CTRL KEY -.Short for Control. ALT KEY -. NUMERIC KEYPAD -. This is often called overwrite mode. or pressing the Windows Logo Key. x being the number of function keys on the keyboard. characters to the right of the cursor are pushed to the right of the insertion point to make room for the new characters. the NUM LOCK must be on (Num Lock light is green). Learning and Technology Center (Revised 8/2003) 12 . If insert mode is turned off. 4. minimize or maximize the window. Numeric keypads make it easier to enter large amounts of numeric data. all characters typed are placed at the cursor position (or to the right of the insertion point). Enter--pressing this key is the same as left clicking the mouse button.RETURN KEY -. KEYSTROKES TO KNOW 1.A separate set of keys on some keyboards that contain the numbers 0 through 9 and a decimal point arranged as on an adding machine. With each new insertion. it may sometimes shift on the screen so that you cannot locate the buttons on the title bar to close. simultaneously. Pressing these three keys will open a window. this key is like a second Control key PAGE UP and PAGE DOWN -. These keys have different meanings depending on which program is running. pressing these three keys simultaneously will usually open the Close Program dialog box which contains a list box of applications that are running: Region 4 Teaching.Another name for the Enter key.Changes between insert mode and overstrike mode in word processing programs.Short for Alternate. Ctrl + Alt + Delete--whenever the computer “locks up” (freezes) and the mouse or keyboard will not work.Special keys labeled F1 to Fx. NOTE: If the keyboard freezes restarting by pressing the Reset button will not correct the conflict. this key is used in conjunction with other keys to produce control characters. with a choice of “Maximize”. 3. you MUST shut down. typing then overwrites existing characters instead of inserting the new ones before the old ones. 2. especially to shut down. FUNCTION KEYS -. will bring up the Start menu.Short for Escape. Often abbreviated PgUp and PgDn. Use your mouse to save work prior to shutting down then press the Power button on the desktop/tower. this key is used to send special codes to devices and to exit (or escape) from programs and tasks. Arrow down and select Maximize and the window will open to a full screen with the buttons showing. INSERT -. G. Shift + Alt + Spacebar--when a window is in the “Restore” mode. The meaning of each control character depends on which program is running. Ctrl + Esc. In insert mode. Use the arrow keys to navigate the Start menu. Ctrl + Esc or Windows Logo Key--pressing these two keys. ESC -.moves the cursor up or down a set number of lines usually one page or screen at a time. Most PC keyboards have an Ins or Insert key that lets you switch back and forth between insert and overwrite modes. For the keypad to function as numbers.

then pressing them again will. click “End Task” to close the program—if you have not saved all data entered since the last save will be lost. Windows Logo Key + M—Minimizes all open windows.html Senslang Touch Typing 1. does not bring up the previous window. The keyboard focus goes to the least recently selected icon on the desktop.com. Ctrl + Alt + Delete. 11. NOTE: If pressing these keys. click on the Downloads tab then enter “keyboarding” in the search box. OUTPUT DEVICES Output devices are computer devices that display or output information.0 is a “Free” program that can be downloaded at www. A bold rectangle appears around the title creating a text box and the title is highlighted. provides a hard copy. pressing these keys again will open the “Shut Down Windows” dialog box.com/games/typing-test. Laser. 7. 9. F2—Rename a selected item. The monitor is a common example of an output device.internet. usually. F3—Opens the Find All Files dialog box. ▪ Speaker(s)—provides output of sound or speech. 10. Learning and Technology Center (Revised 8/2003) 13 . 5. ▪ Video projector.” A second dialog box may open allowing you to rethink this decision. Other output devices are: ▪ Printers—take information from the CPU and transfer it to paper. Alt + Print Screen—Copies an image of the active window to the Windows Clipboard. Region 4 Teaching. Once all open windows are closed. Ink Jet. 8. Scan Converter or LCD overhead projector—projects the image onto a wall screen for greater view by large groups. shut the computer down. Press ESC to cancel. F1—Displays Help information for the active object or the window as a whole. There are a number of different printer technologies available: Dot Matrix. ▪ Plotters—produces high-quality line drawing graphic output (used for blueprints). Print Screen—Copies an image of the screen to the Windows Clipboard.Highlight the program that is “not responding” and may be causing the problem and choose “End Task. Type the new name and press Enter.zdnet. 6. Need to learn how to keyboard? Typing Test: Practice keyboarding skills at http://javascript. H. Alt + F4—Closes the active application window.

System Case -. The power supply fan should be inspected. Power Supply Fan -. Doing this helps keep the monitor looking good and improves cooling. 3.The system case should be cleaned annually to prevent excessive buildup of dust. The best way to clean the outside of the case is just to wipe it with a damp cloth (don't spray liquids right on the case). Either using a vacuum cleaner with a small tip attachment can clean it or blowing it out with an air duster (remove case cover and blow out otherwise simply spreading the dust inside the case which can cause other problems). Magnets will erase all data! J. 2. but in fact food and drink. Moisture can damage the internal components of the computer. Check Positioning: Make sure the case hasn't over time been pushed into a place where it shouldn't be. 6. The inside can be cleaned either by blasting with compressed air or using a small vacuum with a PC cleaning attachment. 3. heater vents and chalkboards. Check the Cable and Connector: Make sure that the keyboard cable is not caught on anything or pinched between desk drawers. Cover the computer when not in use to keep dust away from it. 1. Once a year. The following is a list of "dos" and "don'ts" for computer care. Keyboard -.Keep Food and Drink Away: The number one enemy of keyboards is not dust.I. it is a good idea to clean the dust off the outside of the case. Keep all magnets away from the computer or disks. 5. Plastic dust covers are not recommended as they retain heat and do not allow for the computer to cool down properly. some desktop machines tend in time to be pushed back to the very back of the desk where they might cause the power supply fan to be blocked by a wall. companies will try to sell you fancy wipes but they are not generally necessary (and some can leave annoying smudges).. etc. soft cloth. Position the computers away from air-conditioner vents. The best way to clean the screen is just to wipe it with a slightly damp. OVERALL COMPUTER CARE Taking proper care of the computer is essential in keeping it working properly. Keep all food and drinks away from the computer. Make sure that the monitor's cooling vents are never blocked off. CARE OF INDIVIDUAL COMPONENTS 1. Monitor -. approximately quarterly. and this is usually caused by excessive dust and dirt coating the components and clogging the power supply fan. There should be slack Region 4 Teaching. There should always be air space behind the computer so the fan can cool the computer. to make sure that it is providing good ventilation and that it is not gummed up with dirt. The monitor should always be turned off if it will not be in use for one or two hours. Plug all computer components into a surge protector.The power supply's chief enemy is overheating.The monitor screen should be cleaned weekly since dust accumulates more quickly on the surface of a monitor than elsewhere because of the static charge generated by many monitors. to prevent damage. For example. forming moisture. 4. 2. Never place foreign objects into the computer or its drives. 4. An old sheet is an excellent cover for your computers. Learning and Technology Center (Revised 8/2003) 14 .

This includes cleaning the mouse ball.in the cable as well. Failure to do so could cause damage or loss of data. and also the rollers on the inside of the unit. or worst of all. There should be slack in the cable as well. If the ball becomes dirty then it doesn't roll properly. If you are lucky. connector. RUNNING SCANDISK (Win 98) Before using. If the computer "freezes". At the bottom of the window will be three tabs. Mouse -. Place cursor on Start Button. However. Learning and Technology Center (Revised 8/2003) 15 . It is imperative that you shut down the computer properly. Insert the disk (metal side first) into the disk drive. Type the word scandisk (all one word) in the box and click the OK button. click Shut Down. The following window will open: Region 4 Teaching. floppy disks should be checked to be sure they contain no bad sectors. Click on the one that says “End Task”. if the keyboard cable is too tight this can damage the cable. go to Run. SHUTDOWN To shut down your computer. and then click Shut Down The Computer (Shortcut: Press the Windows Logo Key. click the Start button. M.Clean the Mouse Regularly: It should be cleaned on a monthly basis. many times. Run scandisk to check a disk for bad sectors. 1. A window will appear (see #4 under Keystrokes to Know) showing all programs currently open with the one currently in use highlighted. it may be necessary to restart (also known as "reboot") the computer using alternate means. If using "Control" "Alt" and "Delete" will not restart your computer. Make sure the write protect tab on the right side of the disk is closed. Pressing the "Control" "Alt" and "Delete" keys at the same time is an alternate way of rebooting the computer. you need to reboot your computer by pressing the reset button in front of your computer. 2. Check the Cable and Connector: Make sure that the mouse cable is not caught on anything on the workplace to prevent damage. 5. then the U key and then the S key). and the cursor won't move smoothly. the plug on the motherboard where the keyboard connects to it. even this will not work. K. the program will close and you can continue as normal. Bad sectors can result in data loss.

throw the disk away. Under the “Type of test” section click the radio button next to “Thorough”. 4. This window will open when scandisk is complete.3. Region 4 Teaching. Check the third line--if there is a number. 2. Error-Checking (Win XP) 1. Highlight the first icon [3 ½ Floppy (A:)]. a pop-up menu appears. Check the first line--if it found errors. Click on Properties. throw the disk away. Learning and Technology Center (Revised 8/2003) 16 .” 3. Insert the 3-1/2 floppy diskette into the drive. Make sure there is a check mark on Automatically fix errors. Click Start button. Double-click “My Computer. Right click on the 3-1/2 Floppy (A:) drive icon.

The “3-1/2 Floppy (A:) Properties” window opens. Click on the “Tools” tab. Learning and Technology Center (Revised 8/2003) 17 .4. Region 4 Teaching.

You will see the following window: 6.pcguide. The following window opens when the scan is completed.dell. References: Lafayette Parish School System Instructional Technology Department (www.com/dictionary/) PCGuide (http://www. Click OK.lft. Click the Start button.5.us/handouts) Dell (www.intel.k12.com) Region 4 Teaching. Click the “Check Now…” button in the “Error-checking” section.la.com) Intel (www.maran. Learning and Technology Center (Revised 8/2003) 18 .com) MaranGraphics (http://www.

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