Common Problems That Slow Down Your PC (1)

Remember how fast your PC was when it was brand new? Back then it would start up within seconds and programs would load almost instantaneously. But how is it these days? Is it taking several minutes to start up and programs you load seem slow and unresponsive? This is a very common scenario and one that can be avoided with a little care and attention. If you are not fully confident in tackling any of these issues you should get professional help as any mistakes may totally wreak your PC.

1. Not Enough Memory – It’s important to have enough memory on your computer to keep programs running smoothly, especially if you have large programs like Microsoft Office, or play a lot of PC games. If you are using Windows XP I would recommend at least 1Gb RAM and 2Gb RAM if you are using Vista. The amount of RAM your PC has can be checked by right-clicking ‘My Computer’ and choosing ‘Properties’.


Google Tips 1

If you are a regular user of the Internet then no doubt you have used Google to search for information. Most people using Google just type in some words or a phrase to do with the topic they are looking for. However, Google has some very helpful tricks to make your search far more powerful and I would like to introduce you to a few of these.

1) site:URL and search term. For example “wireless router”. Notice no spaces between the word ‘site’ and the colon and the website you wish to search. Putting the search term within quotation marks makes sure Google searches for the phrase “wireless router” and not just the words “wireless” or “rotuer”.
2) Define:word This is such a helpful tool in Google. How many times have you been reading something on a web page or in a manual and come across some acronym or technical word that you didn’t know the meaning of. Just type it in to Google with the “define:” (don’t forget the colon) prefix. For example define:isp to get a list of definitions for the acronym “isp”. Oh, and it works for any dictionary word too e.g. define:monogenism
3) Filetype:file extension and search term. This lets you search for particular types of file related to your search term. For example to find powerpoint presentations about castles use the following:
“filetype:ppt castles” .

How to Disable the “Desktop Cleanup” in XP

Do you get a message every so often that says “There are unused icons on your desktop” and offers to clean it up for you?  If you’ve ever accepted the offer you then find that some of your essential, but infrequently used, shortcuts have gone missing.  Or maybe you are jusst fed up with being reminded now and then that “there are unused icons on your desktop”.

This is how to stop it happening:

  1. Right click a blank space on the desktop and select Properties.
  2. Click the “Desktop” tab.
  3. Click the “Customize Desktop” button.
  4. Click the check box labeled “Run Desktop Cleanup Wizard Every 60 Days” to clear the box.
  5. Click OK and then OK again to close the dialog boxes.

You can still run the Desktop Cleanup Wizard whenever you like by following steps 1 & 2 and then clicking the “Clean Desktop Now button”

Spell Check Your Emails

It’s easy to misspell a word when you are writing an email.  From typing errors (like ths) to general ignorance of correct spelling.  Luckily, for those of us who care about our spelling, computers can come to the rescue.  But there’s a catch, as you’ll see.

If you use Outlook Express or Microsoft Outlook, it’s easy to set the program to automatically check your emails before they are sent.

1. Open Outlook Express or Microsoft Outlook and click on “Tools” and then “Options…” in the menu bar.

2. In the “Options” window, click on the “Spelling” tab at the top.

3. On the Spelling page, click to put a check mark in front of the option that says, “Always check spelling before sending”.

4. Click the button at the bottom of the window that says “OK” to save your changes.

The catch I mentioned is that the spell check program used is actually that contained in Microsoft Word.  If you don’t have Microsoft Word installed the spell check for emails will not work.

Write Freehand on a Slide in a Powerpoint Presentation

Let’s say you are in the middle of a Powerpoint presentation and you wish to draw the attention of your audience to a particluar part of a slide.

You can use the mouse to draw freehand directly on to the slide without leaving the presentation.

On the kepboard press crtl + P

The mouse will change from being a pointer (the mouse arrow) to a pen with which you can draw on the slide.

How to Select Text in Word

You already know that whenever you need to copy, cut or change the format of text in Word you need to select it first.

Selected text looks like this.

Using the mouse makes it very easy to select text.

  • To select just one word; double-click on the word.
  • To select a group of words; click on the first word, hold down the shift key and click the last word you want to select. All the words – from first to last, and those between are now selected.
  • To select a whole sentence; hold down the Ctrl key and click anywhere in the sentence.
  • To select a line of text; move the mouse to the left until the mouse arrow points in towards the document and click.
  • To select a whole paragraph; triple-click anywhere in the paragraph.
  • To select everything i.e. the entire document and any pictures use the keyboard; hold down the Ctrl key and press “A”.

Accents and Foreign Characters in Word

Wether it’s a name like Siân or a word like résumé there are many occassions when we need to add an accent or a foreign character. Of course, we could use Insert|Symbol but it gets a bit tedious if you need to add an accent or foreign character frequently.

There is a quicker, easier way using the keyboard as follows:

NB the “+” denotes hold down keys together not press the plus/equals key

Acute accent such as é or á – ctrl + ‘ (apostrophe) then the letter.
Grave accent such as è or ù – ctrl + ` (the key to the left of 1) then the letter.
Circumflex such as â – ctrl+shift+^ then the letter.
Cedilla as in garçon – ctrl+, then the letter
Umlaut such as ü – ctrl+shift+; (semi-colon) then the letter
Tilde such as ñ – ctrl+shift+~ then the letter
This may seem like a daunting list but, like most keyboard shortcuts, those who need to use them frequently will soon use them almost unconsciously.

Calculation formula in a table in Word

If your table has a row or column of numbers you can enter a formula similar to those in Excel to add up all the numbers.

For example:

To add up a row of numbers; click in the right-most cell of the table (making sure it’s empty, of course) and on the Word toolbar click Table / Formula. Word will suggest a formula of =SUM(LEFT). Press enter and it will automatically add up all the values in the row. If the values change then click in to the cell with the formula and press F9 to update the calculation.

The same method can be used to add up a column of numbers. Click in the bottom cell of the column. Choose Table / Formula in the Word toolbar and accept the suggested formula =SUM(ABOVE).

NB: You can’t just enter the formula like you can in Excel. You must use the toolbar command Table/Formula.

Keyboard shortcuts to Copy, Cut and Paste in Word

Instead of using the mouse to point and click at the edit menu and choose “copy”, “cut”, or “paste” you can use the keyboard for swift editing.

While holing down the Ctrl key press:

“C” to Copy

“X” to Cut

“V” to Paste

For Example:

To move a word select the word then press Ctrl and X to cut the word out.

Using the mouse click on the new position and press Ctrl and V to paste the word.

These keyboard shortcuts should work in ANY windows application not just Word.

Quick date entry in Excel

If you want to quicly enter the date in Excel then simply hold down the “ctrl” key and press the semi-colon key “;” and woosh – the date is entered.

This is a static value unlike using NOW() or TODAY() the date will not update.