Common Windows Shortcuts

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Common Windows Shortcuts

Windows Keyboard Shortcuts

When I observe most colleagues and friends working on their PC’s they mostly use the mouse as they are unaware of the powerful Windows keyboard shortcuts that will make their lives so much easier. Some people might be aware of the keyboard shortcuts, but they are used to be working mostly with the mouse and old habits are hard to let go.

In this article I will take things step by step so you can learn the keyboard shortcuts that are required to navigate your way around the Windows operating system.

Lets assume your machine is starting up and due to a faulty mouse or some other related problem your system cannot be accessed with the mouse. A user that is not using keyboard shortcuts on a regular basis will be completely lost. Ok its relatively cheap to replace the mouse, but what if you had to quickly perform a task that cannot wait until a new mouse is acquired or the problem is fixed?

Navigating the Start Menu

I will firstly explain how to launch an application without the use of the mouse and instead use keyboard shortcuts. Immediately after system startup if you are required to log in, type out your password and press the Enter key. Once the system have fully initialized you will be presented with the Windows Desktop. As an example we will launch Notepad. Follow the steps exactly as explained below:

Press Ctrl and Esc to show the Start menu or press the Windows Logo key. Now press the Up Arrow until you can see the selection rectangle moving upwards in the Start menu. Once the selection rectangle enters the Start menu press the Left Arrow to move to the left section of the Start menu. Then press the Down Arrow until “All Programs” is selected. Press the Right Arrow to expand the “All Programs” menu. Press the Down Arrow until “Accessories” is selected. Press the Right Arrow to expand the accessories menu. Now press the Down Arrow until the Notepad menu item is selected and the press Enter. This will cause the Notepad application to launch.

Armed with this basic keyboard shortcut knowledge you will be able to launch any application without the use of the mouse.

Moving Around the Desktop

Frequently users place icons on the desktop to quickly access some application, files or folders they regularly use. What now if the mouse packs up and you have to get to that file? Here is how to make use of the Windows keyboard shortcuts to get that done:
Depending on the current situation different steps might be required so keep in mind that you do not have to do all the steps.

Press the Windows Logo key and M simultaneously to minimize all Windows. Press Ctrl and Esc simultaneously and then press Esc again. (Only required under certain conditions so you might only need to perform this step if you do not get the desired results from the step below). Press the Tab key and release it. Keep on pressing and releasing it until you see a “focus rectangle” surrounding one of the icons on the desktop. If there are a lot of icons on the desktop you might need to look carefully if any receives the focus indicated by the focus rectangle. Also occasionally use the arrow keys to see if you can move between different icons if it is difficult to notice the icon with the focus rectangle. Normally the focus will move between the Windows Taskbar and the last icon that had the focus (being selected) on the desktop when the Tab key is pressed. Once you got the “focus rectangle” on any icon on the desktop it is just a matter of moving to the icon of your choice using the arrow keys. When the required icon got the focus or is selected press the Enter key to open the file, folder or launch a program.

Working with Windows

Our next step in this Windows keyboard shortcuts article is to manipulate windows in the context of minimizing, maximizing, moving and closing them. To minimize the currently active window press Alt and Spacebar. The Control Menu for the window will appear. Now press N to minimize the window.

To maximize or get a window to its restored state when it is minimized to the Windows Taskbar hold down Alt and then press and release the Tab key until the desired window is selected. When the window of choice is selected also release the Alt key which will ensure that the window will either be maximized or restored depending on its previous state.

If you want to maximize a window from its restored state press Alt and Spacebar. After the Control Menu appears press X to maximize the window. To restore an maximized window press Alt and Spacebar. When the Control Menu appear press R to get the window from its maximized to restored state.

To move a window press Alt and Spacebar. When the Control Menu appear press M. Now use the arrow keys to move the window to the desired location and press the Enter key to round of this operation.

When you want to re-size a window press Alt and Spacebar. When the Control Menu appear press S. Now press the arrow keys depending on which side you want to size the window from. Right will take you to the right edge of the window for sizing and the Down arrow will take you to the bottom right corner for sizing purposes. When pressing the left key first you will be taking to the window left border to carry out sizing from that side. Once you have selected your sizing location by pressing the left or right arrows and up or down arrows do the sizing by using any of the arrow keys. When finished press Enter to complete this operation. Pressing the Esc key will leave the original size of the window intact.

To close the currently active window press Alt and F4 or press Alt and Spacebar, then press C.

General Use Windows Keyboard Shortcuts

Take note that the WINDOWS key is the Windows Logo key on the keyboard.

ALT+TAB
Display list of open programs and switch to next program.
(Press TAB again to advance to the following program).

ALT+SHIFT+TAB
Display list of open programs and switch to previous program.
(Press TAB again to select the pervious program).

WINDOWS or CTRL+ESC
Displays the Windows Start Menu.

WINDOWS+E
Open My Computer.

WINDOWS+D
Toggle between Show Desktop and Show Open Windows.

WINDOWS+M
Minimize All Windows.

F2
Rename selected folder, file or shortcut.

CTRL+N
Create a New document for the active application.

CTRL+O
Display the Open dialog box of the active application.

CTRL+S
Save the current document of the active application.

CTRL+P
Print the current document of the active application.

CTRL+A
Select All content of the current document.

CTRL+X
Cut the selected text or object.

CTRL+C
Copy the selected text or object.

CTRL+V
Paste contents of clipboard into active document.

CTRL+Z
Undo the last operation.

CTRL+Y
Redo the last Undo operation.

CTRL+B
Make selected text bold or remove bold formatting.

CTRL+U
Underline the selected text or remove underline.

CTRL+I
Make selected text italic or remove italic formatting.

CTRL+F
Displays the Find dialog box.

CTRL+H
Displays the Replace dialog box.


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What is CPU Clock Speed?

The CPU, or central processing unit, of a computer is the part which performs all of its logical and arithmetic calculations you need in order to make the computer work. All calculations are done by first converting the user’s input into binary, and then the calculations are performed on the binary. The binary system consists of only two different digits – 0 and 1. They are referred to as the logical zero and logical one. For every calculation the computer alternates between these two numbers. A single change from 0 to 1 or vice-versa is known as a clock cycle. The speed of a CPU is measured in clock rate. In short, the clock rate is the frequency of the clock in a circuit. It is measured in Hz, MHz (Million cycles per second) and GHz. The clock rate can also be defined as the speed at which the microprocessor executes instructions. This rate is used to compare the speeds of different computers.

The clock rate of a CPU depends on various factors such as system architecture, clock rate of RAM and file system, so two computers with the same clock rates may not perform the same. The first commercial PC the Altair 8800 which used the Intel 8080 chip had a speed of 2MHz while the original IBM had a clock rate of 4.77 MHz.

The Intel Pentium (2002) chip ran at 300MHz while the more recent Core i7 4790k runs at 4 GHz (4 billion cycles per second).

To find your CPU’s speed (Windows):

1. Right click on “My Computer” and click on “Properties”.

2. Under the “System” section, look for Processor – The processor’s name as well as speed (in GHz) will be mentioned.


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Cleaning and Organizing your Computer

It is a good idea to think of your PC as an office. It stores files, programs, pictures. This can be compared to an actual office’s files, machines and decorations. The operating system is the boss. With this image in mind, think of an office you’ve visited that was slow and inefficient. There were probably many different reasons for the inefficiency. This is the same with a computer. There can be many items that slow down your computer. Perhaps the one most commonly overlooked is disorganization and clutter.

Disk Cleanup

An office can accumulate a lot of unnecessary files, machines, and decorations. This is the same with your computer. One of the best ways to keep this clutter under control is to perform a cleaning utility periodically. In Windows this cleaning utility will be called a “disk cleanup.” It removes a variety of unnecessary files depending on the options you have selected.

To perform a disk cleanup on Windows XP you can simply click on “my computer” under the start menu. Than right click on your “c drive” or “hard disk” and choose properties. Than click “disk cleanup” and follow the prompts. When selecting files to clean up, or delete, Windows will give you information to help you decide. When looking over the list of file types, you would simple click on the name of the file type and read the description placed below in the description area. This will let you know if the files can be safely deleted. To select the file group just check the box next to the group name. When finished selecting press “OK” to finish.

Now, performing a disk cleanup is not very time consuming, just a couple minutes, and it may save more time in the end by making your computer run faster. However, a disk cleanup should be run periodically rather than just once in a great while. One way to make this run periodically is to make it a scheduled task. This will allow your computer to run it automatically with intervals and time of day determined by you. Yet, you can always run it yourself periodically without creating a scheduled task.

Add or Remove Programs

The information given above can help you get rid of some unnecessary files, but you may also need to clean out some unnecessary programs as well. This can be done using the “add or remove programs” utility in Windows. This is located in the control panel and lists all of your currently installed programs along with an option to uninstall them. It is a good idea to browse through the add or remove programs utility every once in a while just to make sure that all programs are of usefulness.

If there are programs listed that are no longer used, you can simply highlight the program and click the uninstall button. Windows will than begin the process to uninstall the program. In most cases, to finish uninstalling a program, it is wise to restart your computer. This will dump and files that are held temporarily.

The add or remove programs utility is very useful, but not all of the programs are listed up front. Programs that come pre-installed on your computer and the Windows operating system can also be uninstalled. For instance, Outlook Express is a default e-mail program that comes with the Windows XP operating system. If you do not use this e-mail program you can uninstall it. Click “add or remove windows components” found in the add or remove programs utility and simply follow the instructions.

Defragment

Many offices contain a large number of files and programs that are valuable and cannot be thrown away. In fact, they may contain files that are not even used, but still have to be retained for some reason. Although these files must remain in the office, they need to be organized. This is why we create file folders that hold groups of files that are related. Than we store them in cabinets that are arranged in alphabetic order.

In a computer, the files that are saved are placed on the hard drive. However, they are placed according to the time that they were saved. So, if you open a word document and save the file as “file A” and than open another document and save it as “file B”, you have a “file A” placed next to “file B.” This is fine, but if you open “file A” later on and save it again, than the added information is saved next to “file B.”

When files are broken up this way it is referred to as a fragmented file. This means that the computer must find the first part of the file and then find the second part of the file to open that one word document. This can make your computer run slower. However, Windows has created a utility that is meant to rearrange files so that they are no longer fragmented but sit right next to each other.

You can run the disk defragmenter by selecting “all programs” under the start button. Next, select “accessories” and “system tools” and you will see “disk defragmenter.” In fact, this is also an alternative way to select the disk cleanup mentioned earlier. Before starting the defragmenter you can analyze your hard drive to see if Windows recommends performing the defragmenter. It will either say that you should or should not defragment at this time.

If you need to defragment your computer, simply hit the defragment button. It may take your computer a while to finish this task depending on the speed of your computer and the amount of defragmented files. It could take from about 15-30 minutes or more. However, you can still use the computer while the disk defragmenter is working.


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Why Get a Desktop Computer

If you are in the market for a computer, there are a number of factors to consider. Will it be used for your home, your office, or perhaps even your home office combo? First off, you will need to set a budget for your new purchase before deciding whether to shop for notebook or desktop computers. Many offices use desktop computers because they are not intended to be moved around a lot. In addition, affordability often plays a large role in someone’s decision as to whether to purchase notebook or desktop computers.

While you are shopping around, it’s important to keep in mind some of the benefits that go along with owning different types of computers. To that end, this article provides five important reasons to purchase desktop computers.

– Desktop computers are typically much more affordable than notebook computers. With notebooks, you are paying more for the convenience of portability. For as little as $299.00, desktop computers can be purchased from one of the leading manufacturers and a notebook computer for as little as $499.00.

– Unlike notebook computers, replacing a keyboard, mouse, speakers or even a monitor does not require having your computer serviced by a professional repair shop. Because notebook computers have everything built in, including the aforementioned features, it is more difficult to replace a keyboard or monitor as opposed to desktop computers, which operate on external connections.

– In the event of an unlawful entry into your home, desktop computers are not as likely to be stolen because of their weight and bulk. Notebook computers, on the other hand, are small and portable. This, alone, makes them more appealing to a thief than desktop computers.

– Desktop computers are stationary by nature. Unlike a notebook computer, which can easily be moved from room to room, they are less likely to be dropped or broken because they are not moved as often.

– The vents on desktop computers are located on the back of the tower, which allows for proper ventilation that will help to prevent the computer from overheating. Notebook computers, on the other hand, feature only one vent on the back with the remaining underneath the base. If placed on a table, the air vents can become blocked and the computer may overheat. If prolonged use leads to overheating, damage may result.

When choosing from the many desktop computers on the market, always make sure that you purchase from a manufacturer who has experience in creating computers. Even though they are more affordable than notebooks, desktop computers are not cheap. With an investment that involves several hundred dollars, you will want to consider the length of time the manufacturer has been in business, their reputation with customers and their warranty.

Additionally, when choosing any system, including desktop computers, always look at the potential for future upgrading. As you grow, you will want your computer to grow with you and a part of that will include a slight upgrade from time to time. This is the only way to get the best use of your desktop computers and make sure that your investment is one that lasts for years to come.


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Why you Need to Keep your Computer Clean

If your computer is used a lot and kept on for hours at a time, it’s a good idea to clean it every now and again. Dirty computers often do not run as fast as they are advertised to and have a lower life expectancy than ones that re well kept and cleaned often. One of the main problems keeping your computer form running at its optimal speed is dust. Dust inhibits the fans form properly cooling the computer parts and often leads to hardware failure. Dust is also conductive, so in theory it could short circuit your computer and cause it to not work any more.

If you have a desktop computer, then the main place dust accumulates is around the CPU unit and fan areas. To prevent your processor from overheating, there is a fan connected to a heatsink which sits on top of the processor to disperse the heat. This fan blows air down in to the heat sink to cool it down as the heat is passed up from the CPU into the heatsink. Because the fan is constantly blowing in air, it also blows the dust particles from the air in to the heat sink. Over time this can clog up the computer’s heat sink, reducing its effectiveness. Because of the dust, the fans ionside of the computer may have to blow faster to maintain the same temperature on the actual processor. This makes your computer louder and more costly to run. Normally, you can see if the fan is clogged up simply by opening your computer up and looking at it. If your fan’s heat sink is really clogged up with dust, it is a good idea to give it a clean. When dealing with the inside of your computer, or anything electrical for that matter, ensure the power is turned off and your computer is unplugged first.

The best way to clean out the insides of your computer is by using a can of compressed air that includes a special nozzle. This special nozzle is a long plastic straw that protrudes from the sprayer. This tool allows you to reach into very small spaces and clean without having to take apart your computer.  You can buy this from any electronics retailer. When spraying the compressed air on to your computer, make sure you don’t spray it for to long as condensation may form some drops of water. When you spray compressed air, the air is very cold. this cools down the parts of the computer and if you spray the air on one place too long, condensation could form. As we all know water plus electronics equals bad results. After blowing away any dust from your computer’s heatsinks, give it a gentle wipe over with an anti-static cloth for good measure. You can also use the compressed air to clean your power unit and keyboard.

Cleaning the inside of your computer doesn’t take long providing you have the correct equipment, and once it is done, you notice an immediate improvement in your computers performance. The fan won’t need to blow as hard, so your computer will be quieter. And thanks to the processor running at a cooler temperature, your whole computer should generally run faster. I try to clean my computer every 4 or 5 months to keep it running efficiently. Doing small things such as cleaning your computer could have lasting positive effects.


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How to Pick Parts When Building A New Computer

Picking the parts for your computer is one of the most important things in building a computer, because you can’t assemble a computer without the parts! Picking parts for computers has become much easier than before, because form factors have been standardized; however, you still need to make sure everything will fit together properly. The first thing to think about when choosing the components for your computer is what you are going to be using your computer for. If you are creating a computer for just checking your eMail and using Microsoft Word, you are going to need different parts than a computer that you are going to be using for gaming.

CPU
The first thing you should pick out about your computer is what CPU you are going to use, because it determines what motherboard you are going to get, which determines what other components you get, et cetera. There are two main CPU manufacturers, Intel and AMD. Both have their Pros and Cons, but they are pretty similar. I would suggest using Intel, because they make notable processors like the Core i7 or Xeon processors. If you are spending below $500, I would suggest a budget processor like a core i3 or i5, Between $500 and $1000, midrange and $1000 and above I would suggest a high end processor, like any higher clocked i7.

Motherboard
Choosing the right motherboard is vital to building your computer. First, make sure you find a motherboard that has the right socket type for your CPU. Then, check the different features of the motherboards you are looking at. If you aren’t going to buy a video or sound card, make sure your motherboard has onboard video and/or sound. Other things to check for on your motherboard are the hard drive interface, graphics card interface, expansion slots, the memory size and speed. Also, check for the chipset. There are too many to talk about, but generally Intel and nVidia chipsets are better than the other ones. Now that you picked out your motherboard, you know what to look for in your other components.

RAM
Getting the right speed and amount of RAM is vital to the speed and stability of your system. If you are running Windows 7, you will probably need at least  2Gb of RAM. If you are going to be doing anything memory intensive, gaming, rendering or just want a faster computer, you should get 4Gb or more. I reccomend maxing out the amount of memory your motherboard can handle. To see this number, refer to the motherboard’s website or user manual. Make sure your motherboard has enough DIMMs and the right type of DIMMs for your RAM. Also, be sure to check the speed of the memory

Hard Drive
Now its time to pick your hard drive. There are few variables in picking a hard drive. The first, and most important is size, 250Gb is usually enough for most people unless, you are going to be storing alot of pictures and video. Also, make sure you get an HD with the right interface that fits your motherboard. Almost all motherboards have the SATA (Serial ATA) interface. Sata is a much faster hard drive interface and uses a thinner cable than older IDE drives. Having a thinner cable helps with airflow in your case. There is even SATAIII now, which allows for transfer speeds for up to 6 Gb a second. Also look at rotation speed, almost all desktop HDs are 7200RPM and Cache, most are 16Mb, don’t buy a HD below those standards. If you want to spend some money, you can get 2 smaller HDs and run them in RAID which increases performance. RAID is connecting a series of drives to work as one with greater write and read speeds. This is because different parts of data are stored in different physicasl drives rather than a different location in one drive.

Video Cards
If you are going to be doing any gaming, be sure to buy a video card, if youre not, onboard video is fine. The first thing to check for is the interface, most are PCI-E. I personally like nVidia cards better. If you are going to be doing graphic intensive games or video rendering, I would suggest at least a GTS 250. If you have alot to spend, go with a GTX 980.

Optical/Floppy drives
Another thing you are going to need sometine is a DVD drive, these are IDE or SATA. The optical drive is almost defunct nowadays, but it is a great thing to have when you need to install the operating system from a DVD or want to watch a movie or play a CD. This should not cost you much; it should be only $20.

Power Supply
Make sure you have a sufficient power supply!! If you have a high end computer, you should get a 650W or greater PSU. Otherwise, 350W should be fine for most people. If you need any help figuring out what power supply you need, just do a google search for “Power supply calculator” and that should answer your question.

 

Case

Most cases are ATX, but make sure it is the same type as your motherboard (ATX, MicroATX, BTX, etc…). This is crucial to connect the front panel and fan connectors found inside of the case to the motherboard. Also, look out for package deals where a case is bundled with a power supply. Even though these power supplies are not as good as a main branded one, they do the job.

 

So that’s all of the parts you need to make your computer! A final word of warning: Be sure to make sure all your components are compatible! You don’t want to accidentally fry something or void the warranty on your components. Please do as much research as you can before ordering parts. It will make your life a whole lot easier once you get the parts and are ready to assemble your computer.