Home Page
This Week's Edition
Search the Archives
Upcoming Classes
Contact Info

Like Us on Facebook

Take one of our computer classes at a library or community center. Click here for a list of upcoming classes

Hands-On Computer Classes right at your location. We can present any of our basic, intermediate, advanced or customized hands-on computer training classes for your business, group or organization, right at your location. Click here for more information.


To subscribe, enter your email address in the box below and click the Join Now button

Click here to print this page

Welcome to this week's edition of the Computer Kindergarten Newsletter.
Today is Sunday, August 10, 2014

In this Issue:
Special Feature: Spyware Removal
Special Feature: The Windows 8.1 Start Screen - Organize your Start Screen
Special Feature: Intro to the Mac - Mac OS X Mavericks - Mission Control
This Week's Topic: How to Back Up Your Computer to an External Drive
Special Feature: iPad Basics - Messages
Websites of Interest: The Best and Worst Things to Buy in August; Computer Manufacturers Ranked: How to Pick a Laptop That Won't Fail; August 13 is International Lefthanders Day; Senior Law


Special Feature: Spyware Removal

By Peter May of How Stuff Works

If, despite all your efforts, you find your computer has spyware on it, stop working immediately and disconnect the computer from the Internet to avoid passing any information to the bad guys. Run a comprehensive scan using your anti-virus software. It's also wise to contact the help desk of the company that manufactured your computer for advice on how to proceed. Your Internet service provider may be helpful, too.

Updated anti-virus or anti-spyware software will probably catch the errant program, display a warning and take care of the problem for you. Again, that's only if you have a solid protection package in place and are keeping it and your operating system updated at all times.

If all else fails, you may have to reformat your hard drive, reinstall the operating system and software and copy your data back to your drive. While painful and time-consuming, this solution also serves to clean up the system, eliminating unused applications and data. This is almost certain to make the machine run faster and increase the space available on your hard drive. Just be sure you have a recent, clean backup of your data prior to taking the plunge.

While the number of threats to computers seems to increase almost daily, the defense mechanisms available to protect them are also growing in number and sophistication. Today, most users can protect themselves from spyware through the vigilant application and maintenance of the operating system and reputable anti-virus software.


Special Feature: The Windows 8.1 Start Screen - Organize your Start Screen

By Rob Margel of msdn.com

Your Start screen is yours to organize and arrange. You can resize tiles and move them around in whatever way you want. For example, you can make the tiles you use more often bigger, and the ones you use less often smaller. You can size and arrange your tiles in a way that looks best to you. You can also group tiles together to help you keep track of your apps and use them more efficiently. However you choose to organize the tiles, customizing your Start screen makes it easier to get to the apps, folders, sites, and people you interact with the most.

To Move a Tile on Your Start Screen
1. On the Start screen, press and hold the tile you want to move. (If you’re using a mouse, click and hold the tile).
2. Drag the tile to where you want to place it.

To Resize a Tile on Your Start Screen
1. On the Start screen, press and hold the tile you want to resize. (If you’re using a mouse, right-click the tile.)
2. Tap or click Resize.
3. Choose the size you want.

To Create a Group of Tiles
1. On the Start screen, press and hold or right-click the tiles you want to group together.
2. Drag them to an open space, and when a gray bar appears behind them, release the tiles. This will create a new group.
3. If you want to name the group, tap or click where it says Name group above the group, and then enter a new name. Once you've created a group, you can move the entire group around on your Start screen.

To Move a Group of Tiles
1. On the Start screen, pinch to zoom out. (If you’re using a mouse, click the zoom icon zoom icon in the lower-right corner of your screen.)
2. Press and drag or click and drag the group of tiles you want to move to where you want it to go. Once you’re done moving groups, tap or click anywhere on the screen to zoom back in.

In our next newsletter: The Windows 8.1 Desktop


Special Feature: Intro to the Mac - Mac OS X Mavericks - Mission Control

From gcflearnfree.org

OS X Mavericks has a feature that helps you keep open files and apps organized: Mission Control. Mission Control allows you to see everything you currently have open so you can easily access the files or apps that you need.

To Switch to a Window With Mission Control:

Click the Mission Control icon on the Dock. Alternatively, you can use an upward three-finger swipe (if you have a trackpad) or two-finger double-tap (if you have a Magic Mouse).

All of your open windows will spread out so you can see exactly which files and apps are open. At the top of the screen will be your desktop spaces, along with any full-screen apps that are open.

When you click on a window, it will switch to that window and exit Mission Control.


In our next newsletter: Working with Desktop Spaces


Today's Topic: How to Back Up Your Computer to an External Drive

By Whitson Gordon of lifehacker.com

You never think losing your files will happen to you until it actually does, and you're caught without a backup. Backups are extremely easy to keep, so there's no reason not to have one. Here's how to set one up.

Whether you accidentally delete a file or lose a bunch of your data to a hard drive crash, regularly backing up your machine is always a good idea. Windows has a great built-in backup utility, so it only takes a few steps to get started.

Here's what you need to do:

1. Get a backup drive. This can be just about any USB external hard drive, and you can get them at most electronics stores. Try to get one that has twice as much space as your computer, so you have room for multiple backups and so you have room for all the data you might get in the future.

2. When you first plug it in, Windows will actually ask you if you want to use it as a backup. Tell it that you do. If you don't get this prompt, you can just go to the Start Menu, type "backup" in the search box, and hit Backup and Restore.

3. From there, click the "Set Up Backup" button. Pick the external drive you plugged in and hit Next. Windows' default settings are probably fine, so you can just hit Next and the next screen too.

4. On the last screen, hit "Save Settings and Run Backup". Windows will make its first backup of your drive, during which you don't want to turn off your computer. After that, it'll make regular backups in the background as you work—you don't need to deal with it again.

If you ever need to restore a file you lost, you can just go to the Start Menu, type in "backup", and go back to "Backup and Restore". You can hit the "Restore My Files" or "Restore Users Files" buttons to get those files back.


Special Feature: iPad Basics - Messages

From gcflearnfree.org

The Messages app does a bit more than your average instant messaging service. With its built-in iMessage feature, you can use it to send unlimited texts, photos, videos, and more to other Apple users—all for free. It's even free for mobile devices, as long as you stick to Wi-Fi instead of data.

If you have more than one Apple device, Messages is great for texting and chatting no matter where you are. For example, the mobile version is perfect for sending quick messages, while the desktop version is ideal for having longer conversations (when you have access to a full-size keyboard).

Have More Than One Apple Device?

Use your Apple ID to sync the Messages app. Just sign into the app using the same Apple ID on each device, and you'll be able to send and receive messages anywhere. If you have an iPhone, your Apple ID should be connected to your device already.

Messages for iPhone

It's important to note that the iPhone version of the app is a little different from the others. That's because it does double-duty—both as your iMessage client, and as your regular text messaging client. In other words, it's the same app you'll use anytime you want to text someone, whether they have an Apple device, or different type of phone (for example, Android, Windows, or a basic cell phone).

The app will default to iMessage—and the conversation will be blue—if the person on the other end has an Apple device. If they don't, the conversation will be green, and the message will be sent as a regular text.

Check your cell phone plan to find out if text and data charges apply. Texts sent via iMessage won't count towards your limit, but regular texts will.

To Set Up Messages:

Setting up the Messages app is fairly straightforward (in fact, on the iPhone, it should be set up already). In this example, we'll demonstrate the process using the Mac version.

Open the Messages app.
Follow the instructions to sign in with your Apple ID. Remember, your Apple ID is what's going to allow your messages to sync across devices if you have more than one.
The app will confirm the email address that's connected your Apple ID. Click Finish to continue.
You'll be taken to the Messages app, where you can start sending and receiving messages right away.

In our next edition: Getting to Know Messages


Websites of Interest:

The Best and Worst Things to Buy in August

Computer Manufacturers Ranked: How to Pick a Laptop That Won't Fail
If you’re thinking about buying a new laptop, be sure to read this article.

August 13 is International Lefthanders Day
Southpaws, celebrate!

Senior Law
This site, created by attorneys, includes a wealth of information for all seniors.