I get asked a lot of questions from people all over the world who assume that just because I have a Website that I must be an expert on computers. I'm not, but most of the questions I'm asked are pretty simple and easily answered. I thought I'd blog about the most Frequently Asked Questions I get asked about. To save us both some time, I won't ask the question, I'll just try to answer it.
To find your computer's IP address, open the Command prompt and type "ipconfig" (without the quotes, of course) and hit your Enter key.
To get to the Command prompt, press the Windows key and type the letter "r" and in the Run box that appears type the letters "cmd" and hit your Enter key.
You're IP number will look something like: 192.168.1.594. Now you can open your firewall program on all of your computers and type the IP numbers of all of the computers on your network into their Trusted Zones. This should allow you to access all files and folders on the network on any computer connected to it.
I've never been asked this but another cool use of the Run box is to open it (Win Key + r) and drag a folder, file or program into it. Doing that will put the complete path to that file, etc. in the Run box. Just click in the box to highlight it and Ctrl + c to copy it to the Clipboard. Open any program that you can type into and type Ctrl + v to paste it into that program. Of course, you can find the path of any file by right-clicking it and choosing Properties. Vista has a little known feature that allows you to hold down the Shift key while right-clicking something to give you an option to Copy as Path and clicking that puts the path to that file or folder on the Clipboard. Betcha ya didn't know that.
If the print is too small to read on a Web page just use Ctrl + the plus key to enlarge it. Ctrl + the minus key will size it back down.
You can enlarge an entire Web page or almost any document by pressing the Ctrl key while turning the wheel on your mouse.
When someone sends you something shocking in an e-mail message, something like: Did you know that Barak Obama took his Senate oath of office by placing his hand on the Koran? don't just blithely pass that on to all your on-line friends, go check it out on snopes.com, the Internet's authority on e-mail myths. And by the way, Obama took his oath on the Bible. And he's a Christian and was never a Muslem. When a politician e-mails you something slamming or sliming his or her opponent don't just take it for granted. Go to factcheck.org and find out the truth.
Have you ever wanted to save an image to your computer so you right-click it expecting to see the dialog box appear that would allow you to Save Image as... but nothing happens? You can save anything you can see on your screen by pressing the PrtScrn key (print screen) and you'll find it on the upper right-hand corner of your keyboard. Pressing that key will place everything that is on your screen onto the Clipboard. Once it's on the Clipboard you can paste it into any Word-like document or go to your Desktop and right-click it and mouse on New and from there click Bitmap Image. When the program opens click Edit and then Paste in XP. You'll have to open the newly created Bitmap from your Desktop in Vista and right-click in it and click Paste.
When searching in Google if you use, let's say, red apples as your search terms you will get results for sites where both of these words are in use, but if you put red apples in quotes "red apples" you will get only results of those sites where those two words appear together. Try it.
Google does math? Oh yeah. Just type something like 17*9+233/7 into Google's search box and Google will spit out the answer which in this case is 186.285714. * means multiply and / means divide by. Google also does unites of measurement and currency conversions. Euros to dollars and such.
Double-clicking a Windows title bar will toggle between maximizing it and half-screening it.
Shortcuts I Use Everyday
You can switch between open programs by using Alt + Tab.
Ctrl + f will bring up the find box in almost any program. Hitting the forward slash key brings it up in Firefox.
In a Web browser, instead of mousing up to the Back Button just use Alt + the back arrow key. You can use the forward arrow key to go the other way.
You can use the spacebar to go down one sreen-worth of text in any browser. Shift + the spacebar goes back up.
Ctrl + c copies anything that's been highlighted to the Clipboard.
Ctrl + v inserts material from the Clipboard onto a document i.e. an email you're composing or whatever.
Ctrl + x works like Ctrl + c but it also deletes the highlighted material provided it isn't Read-only material.
Ctrl + a highlights the entire page.
To highlight a block of text, click in front of the passage you want to highlight to make your curser start blinking there then hold down the Shift key and click behind the last word in the block of text.
To highlight a single word just double-click it.
To highlight an entire paragraph in any Web browser, place your mouse over any word in the paragraph and triple-click it.
You can select (highlight) multiple files that are in a row, say on your Desktop for instance, by highlighting the first one then holding down the shift key while highlighting the last one. All of the files between the two will also be highlighted.
You can select (highlight) multiple files that are not in a row by highlighting one then holding down the Ctrl key while you highlight the others.
By default in both XP and Vista you select a file by clicking it and open it by double-clicking it. You can change this to where you can select (highlight) a file by mousing over it and open it with a single click. This is far superior to the default behavior. To change to this method in XP open Windows Explorer (Windows key + e) and click Tools and then click Folder Options in the drop-box and check the option that says, "single click to open an item (point to select)" and click apply and then OK.
While you're in the Folder Options area of Windows Explorer you might want to make some further improvements to the way Windows behaves. You might want to click the View tab and check "Show hidden files and folders" and uncheck "Hide extensions for known file types" and click apply and ok. You don't really want Windows hiding stuff from you, do ya?
You can follow the same steps to alter Vista's behavior with one additional step. When you open Explorer (Windows Explorer, not Internet Explorer) by holding down the Windows key and typing the letter e, Tools won't be there. To make it appear, press the Alt key.
Always make a note on paper of what you change so that you can go back and change it back to the way it was. If you're not a fairly experienced computer user, and don't know the difference between, say, a .txt file and a .doc file, don't make these changes.
I'll put up some more tips in another post someday soon. In the meantime, if you know of some neat computer tips you'd like to share, post them in the comments section of this post. If you have a question, post it here in the comments section of this post.