Saturday, May 31, 2014

Class for June 5th

Understanding Files and Folders.

What is a File and what is a Folder What are they and how can I use them to reorganize my stuff? Can I move them, copy them, rename them, or even delete them? And more...

Then we will have our open forum where you can ask any question you have and we will find an answer to it, if we can.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Class Summary 5-29-2014

This was another open forum or in other words a place form members to come and ask any questions and we find the answers as best we can. We each learn as we delve into different aspects of using our computers in whatever version of Windows you happen to have.

This week we discussed where things go when you download them form the Internet. We often get attachments from others in emails and they go into our computer's hard drive. When we search for programs to add to our system, we download the install programs. Where do they go? Unless you have changed the default location, they end up in a folder called Downloads:

If you are on Windows 8.1, the folder is under This PC. On an older PC it will still be called Downloads but may be under My Computer instead.

Typically a downloaded program will start when the download finishes. If not, or if you want to see those files that were attached to an email you have to locate the Downloads folder and then the file you just added to your PC. Double-click it and it should open.

Is there any reason to keep all the items in Downloads? Not really. Once you have used the file, you may never need to use it again. If it was a picture or a document you do need, you should move it to a more permanent location like Documents or Pictures. If it was an install application, like CCleaner, once you install it there is no reason to keep it. You can download it again at any time. However, if you purchased an application like QuickBooks, Hallmark Card Studio, or some other application you had to pay for I would keep it or at least burn it to a CD in case I had to install it again. After a short time, the software cannot be re-downloaded without paying for it again.

Another question was in regard to hard disk drives. How do we know when they are wearing out? A good clue is when it takes a long time to access anything on it and you see the hard disk access light blinking on and off. Another is when it takes a very long time to boot the system sometimes and other times it seems to boot right up. Could be having issues with reading from some areas of the drive.

If you download and run Defraggler from the same company CCleaner is from,, one of the options is to view the Health of the drive:

You can get a pretty good feel for the use and errors occurring on the drive. As the errors increase it might be a good time to replace the drive.

Someone else asked about downloading videos from YouTube. This cannot be done from the YouTube site. You need to download an application to do it. When searching for programs to download a safe site I used is There are many applications to choose from and three basic types, free, free to try, and pay for. The YouTube Downloader I ended up with was called Free YouTube Downloader:

To use it access the video on YouTube you want to put on your computer and copy the URL. Then paste it into the box by clicking the Paste button. Then click either the Download Video or if you want the audio only click that button. When it finishes you have the video (or audio) on your computer.

Now the question came up as to how to get that video to someone else. Well you could send them the file, but that would take a lot of time and bandwidth. Why not just give them a link to the video on YouTube? Just copy and paste the link, the URL, from the video on facebook. Here is the link to a video of my wife on YouTube. I just copied it from the YouTube screen while it was playing.

I can put that in an email or even in a document that I am attaching to an email. The recipient just has to click on the link to open the video on their computer.

Some noticed that when I hit the CapsLock key my computer beeped. This warns me that I did so and if I did not mean to do that, I tap it again (another beep occurs) and I am back to normal typing. Do make this happen I went to Control Panel > Ease of Access Center > Make the keyboard easier to use

Then I checked the Turn on Toggle Keys box and clicked the Apply button to activate it.

Then we had a Microsoft Word question about how to apply French accents on words. We came across this YouTube video with an easy way to do it

Then we looked at how to set the Home screen on your browser. This is the site that appears when you open your browser. It works a little different depending on which browser you are using. In Google Chrome click the tools button (three horizontal lines in the top right of the window) then click Settings.

Under On startup click Set pages

Add the URLs for the sites you want opened when Chrome starts.

Internet Explorer is a little different. Click the picture of the gear in the upper right corner, then select Internet Options

Like with Chrome, enter the URLs you and opened at startup and click the Start with home page radio button. Then click Apply.

How do we get to display our pictures that are on our PC on our TV screen? If your computer has an HDMI port and your TV also has one, you can use a Male-Male cable to connect the two devices and use the TV as a second monitor. Another approach is to purchase a ChromeCast device to plug into your TV set's HDMI port. After installing an app on your Google Chrome Browser everything you see on your PC can be broadcast through your WiFi connection to your TV set. Works neat and only requires a one time cost of $35 for the device. If you have a Roku box, you can access your Facebook pictures, YouTube videos, Flckr photos and more. This is a one time cost of $49-99 depending on the device you choose. No PC required.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

What to do with my XP machine

We talked a little about this at the last couple of classes. Microsoft has stopped supporting XP. That does not mean your XP machine is no longer any good. You can still use it. Your anti-virus program will still function. All your old programs will still work. If you are concerned about malware sneaking in because Microsoft is no longer supporting it, here is what I would do.

1. Stop using Internet Explorer. This is where a lot of hack have been made to push malware and viruses into your computer. Microsoft will not be making new IE patches for XP.
2. If you are using MSE for your anti-virus, switch to another free one like AVG or Avast. They are still supporting XP.
3. If you have another computer, non-XP, use it to access the Internet and use your XP machine for everything else. Just unplug the cable from your computer or if you are on WiFi, disable the device.

If you only have one machine, the following article talks about the option of installing a version of Linux in addition to XP on your machine. Use the Linux OS to access the Internet and get your email. Use the XP OS to use all those great old programs you are so used to. And yes, the files you create when in XP can be accessed in Linux so you can attach files to your emails and download files in Linux you can work on in XP. Here is the link:

Meeting Summary 5-22-2014

This was an open forum meeting. Lots of good questions. Here are what I remembered we discussed:

I gave an example of the website for finding what day of the week any date falls on. I found it the other day when I needed to know about a past date. Fun to use and useful as well.

We reviewed again as a great place to go to add new programs or update existing ones. Just check the ones you want off and click Get Installer. Ninite does the rest and either installs the programs if you do not already have them or updates the ones you have that are out of date. The best thing about this application is that it does the installs without ever asking a question of installing anything except the desired program--no toolbars added, etc.

Need to control someone else's computer or have them control yours? try out Join.Me. It is free and easy to use. I like to watch someone as I tell them what to do on the phone. This way they get to actually do the clicking and typing while I guide them.

Need to make what is on the screen larger or smaller while on the Internet? Ctrl + makes everything larger. Ctrl - make everything smaller. Ctrl 0 brings the size back to normal for your computer. Works on all browsers that I know of.

Someone suggested using an adblocker on the browser. It stops those annoying ads popping up while in Facebook and on other sites. I added it to my browser. Works well. Different  version for each browser. I added AbBlock to chrome from their store.

I know we talked about other items, but I do not remember them all.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Class Summary 5-15-2014

Here is the link to the notes from today's class on Crash Planning...

Discussion today started with an explanation of using to make Windows 8 behave like Windows 7. After installation when you boot up you are brought right to the desktop and the start button opens the familiar start menu, not the new start screen with all the blocks. You can even change the look of the start menu to be  that of XP, Vista, or 7.

Then we had a backup question about Easeus Todo Backup. It is free and can be used to make an image of your hard drive. This allows you to restore from that image should you lose your hard drive--physical damage, bad virus, or even a stolen computer. You need an  external hard drive of at least 500gb. 1-2-or 3 tb  drives are available at less then $100. I suggest the portable version. Here are class notes for a talk I gave at a meeting last year: backing up

Today's talk was about finding a cloud solution to daily backups. We looked at three.

  1. Crashplan
  2. Mozy
  3. iDrive
They are all free for a limited amount of storage. I suggest using a free one for critical document files. I used other devices to backup my pictures and music and videos. They take the most space. Links to all three are in today's class notes (see above for that link).

All three allow you to purchase more space at reasonable prices. They cheapest solution at this time appears to be iDrive which give you unlimited space and allows you to backup multiple computers.

Then we looked at getting rid of unwanted toolbars on a browser. Starting with IE we saw how to locate Tools and disable the extensions we did not want. And then to remove the hacked startup page replacing it with one we want to see like Did the same in Firefox and in Chrome.

The browser you use is a personal choice. I believe Chrome is the best and fastest browser today. Second in my opinion is Firefox. My last choice is IE--Internet Explorer that comes with Windows. You can have all three installed and they do not conflict with each other. Make the one you like best your default browser. This does not affect the others or remove any favorites or toolbars form the one that used to be the  default. If you are using AOL, you are using a browser integrated  within their program.

Questions about EaseUS Todo Backup? They have a great set of documentaion at

Here is a nice video on organizing your files into folders

Friday, May 2, 2014

Future Plans

I will be having a class on the 15th of May, God willing. Will be looking at a few backup options for the first part of class.

The week after I will have another focus. Not sure what yet. I have been looking at a number of things such as Windows Movie Maker, Prezi, Abiword, RealPlayer Cloud with 2gb of free storage, and more.

We have looked at PhotStory 3 in the past. MovieMaker is a little more involved allowing you to do more with your movie clips and your individual images.

Prezi is an online presentation app to use instead of PowerPoint or its equivalent. My 8 year old granddaughter showed me this one!

Abiword is a small but powerful word processing application that resides on your PC. Has all the features you would like and saves and reads Microsoft Word documents. Yes, it has a spell checker.

RealPlayer Cloud lets you store your videos on their server for free (2gb) and play them on your PC's, phones, and tablets.

CU on the 15th!