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Desktop Computer Tips and Tricks

Category Tips
A person using a keyboard and a mouse on a computer.
You can improve your computing experience, saving time and effort, by learning a few new tips and tricks, such as short cuts. This is a guide about computer tips and tricks.
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By 30 found this helpful
February 14, 2011

Most average users know a few keyboard shortcuts such as ^C for Copy, ^X for Cut, and ^V for Paste, but here are three additional shortcuts that many folks under-utilize. If you spend a few moments learning them, you'll find them incredibly useful.

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Note: When I write ^C it means to press down the Ctrl key and while holding it down, press the C key. You then release both together)

The first is ^A. This selects (highlights) everything in the current window or field. So for example you want to copy this entire article into an email, hit ^A to select everything then ^C to copy it to the clipboard. Open your email and then type ^V to insert it. Try ^A now, it should select this whole web page. Click anywhere to remove the highlighting. ^A is also really useful when you want to delete the contents of a form field or dialog box. Just hit ^A then Delete. I use it a lot to clear the address box in my browser.

The second handy shortcut is ^Home. This takes you to the top of a document or web page. Similarly ^End takes you to the bottom. It's much faster than scrolling. Try it now.

The third shortcut is probably the most useful of all. It involves using the Shift key when selecting long lists or text passages. Let's say you want to select a section of this page covering several paragraphs. The way most users would do this would be to left mouse click at the start, hold the mouse button down and then move the mouse cursor to the end of the text to be selected. That's fine but if the text covers more than one screen it can get tricky. Here's a much better way.

First, left click at the start of the text and release the mouse button. Then scroll down to the end of the text and left click again while holding down Shift key. All the text in between will be selected. Try it now on this page. Neat eh? The same technique works well when selecting items on a list. Incidentally, if you want to select or deselect individual items that aren't consecutive, you can do that by using the Ctrl key when left clicking. But hey, that's a fourth shortcut and I said I was only going to give you three :)

If you really want more, there's a complete list here:

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Source: from my son and Microsoft

By Elaine from Belle Plaine, IA

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By 12 found this helpful
June 4, 2010

If you have difficulty seeing your monitor, rather than get your reading glasses, hold down the control key with your left hand and with hand on mouse scroll away from you to make the print larger. To make it normal again, scroll toward yourself. This makes life much easier.

Source: I got this hint from a Yahoo group.

By Elaine from IA

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November 20, 20071 found this helpful

Has your computer ever been frozen and your just frustrated? Well here is a new way to fix it! Do not, I repeat, do not get a computer dude. Just hit the power button on the control tower and let it reboot. If this doesn't work then it's serious, get a computer dude.

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Source: This family tip book! (this is only at my house)!

By Lauren from Clarkston, MI

Editor's Note: Restarting your system like this should be a last resort as it is really hard on the computer and can cause more problems long term. If your computer freezes, grab a cup of coffee and give it 5 minutes to complete its task. You can also force quit individual programs. If you are having lots of problems like this, it is probably time to optimize your hard drive and do other preventative maintenance.

Comment Was this helpful? 1

July 25, 2017


Is your computer connected to a surge protector? Not good enough!

Do you turn your computer off during an electrical storm? Not good enough!

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Do you unplug your computer during an electrical storm? Not good enough!

What is good enough? After you have done all of the above, get away from your computer, especially a desktop.

I was sitting at my desk, writing an email to a friend. I heard the beginnings of a thunder/electrical storm. There were faint rumblings of thunder off in the distance. I said to myself, 'I will quickly wrap up this email and get off this computer'. I said this because, years ago, even though I was using a surge protector, enough juice went through my computer during an electrical storm to fry my Internet card.

A minute later there was calm, and then I heard a single, very loud crack of lightning. I do mean very loud. Imagine a shotgun being fired two feet from your ears. Imagine the loudest crack of lightning ever, not in the sky, but in the room you're sitting in. Unbelievable.

I got a notice my email did not go through. I thought the problem was with my browser. Then I got a message from AT&T saying I had been disconnected from the Internet and I should reconnect. I tried reconnecting but couldn't.

I thought perhaps I could reset the modem and get connected. That did not work. The modem seemed dead. It was then that I discovered a hole had been blown in the data cable that runs from the outside box to the modem. Some of the wires had been ripped in two.


I had a microphone connected to the computer. A fifty foot cable ran from the input jack on the computer to the microphone. The mic was positioned fifty feet away from the computer in another part of the house. When I discovered what had happened to the mic, I was sorta shocked.

The mic normally had a straight 'wand' for holding it while capturing sound. I saw that near where the wand entered the mic, there had been a 90 degree bend in the wand. I also noticed that all the insulation on a two inch area where the cord was attached to the wand had been melted away.


I won't go into all the ridiculous nonsense I had to go through with customer support to get a repairman to come out. I will say the nonsense lasted about two hours.

After running tests, the repairman determined the modem was shot. He gave me a new modem and a new data cable. I hooked them up and I was back on the Internet.

One reason I suggest getting away from the desktop computer is because of its connection to the phone line. There was no surge of electricity to my computer via the power source. Had there been, I believe it would have fried my computer, or at least my network card.

I believe all the damage done was due to a surge in electricity running through the phone line. Whether the mic which was near a window was struck or the phone box or both, I don't know. I do know my head was a mere two feet from wires exploding out of their insulation.

The next time an electrical storm comes, I will turn off and unplug the computer. Rather than disconnect any phone lines, I will just walk away from the computer. If you're using a desktop, maybe you should, too

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By 2 found this helpful
February 2, 2011

Want a list of every software and hardware installed on your computer? This program will give you a file with a list, that you can save and/or print out for free.

Link: http://www.belarc.com/free_download.html

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October 19, 2016

I have issues with sitting, as many of us do. Today it occurred to me I wanted to raise my keyboard so I had the option of standing to do my computer work. But what to use that I already had? I found a basket that now has all my computer paper and card stock in it, and a side basket for the mouse that has rocks in it so it won't tip over.

Using a Basket to Raise Keyboard

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By 1 found this helpful
May 6, 2010

I keep a journal type notebook with me at the computer. I write down tips, valuable information, recipes, websites, etc. I have anything from what to include in a pet first-aid kit, the ASPCA poison control phone number and crafts I'd like to do with my grandaughter.

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June 9, 20170 found this helpful

Creating shortcuts to items you often use on your computer can be a great timesaver. This is a guide about cut your mouse clicks in half.

Computer screen showing settings for adjusting your mouse.

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
January 20, 2012

What is a really good hard copy book to buy that teaches you how to do shortcuts on the computer? Most of the books I have seen or either too basic or just deal with how to use email, internet, etc.

By the way, I have a PC with Windows operating system.

By V. K. Eagan

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
January 22, 20120 found this helpful

My daughter goes to the library and checks out several books at a time to see if she is interested in buying one for herself. If most of the books look like "older" manuals you may be able to get the library to order some newer ones. Some libraries have special computer classes and not all of them are just "basic".

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January 22, 20120 found this helpful

I use a Mac now, but saved a lot of money by using the Internet to learn about my PC. When I bought my first home PC (2004), I looked at hard copies of books but was really shocked at the cost and how quickly they go out of date-the suggestion to use the library is a very good one!

After buying the PC and setting it up, I was frustrated because the thing didn't seem to have a hard copy owner's manual. What? Everything comes with a user guide, doesn't it?

However, after shopping the books stores, I quickly discovered it's actually not a good idea to buy a hard copy of a book to learn my way around the home PC because software and operating systems change so quickly I'd be buying a new book almost every year.

You'd learn more joining an online forum, using the free support info on MS website, and from a site with pages like:

http://search.a  /?q=pc+shortcuts

http://pcsuppor  hm/g/term_os.htm

http://www.about.com/compute/

I've also learned a lot about computer security from these about.com pages:

http://netsecurity.about.com/

http://antiviru  whatisavirus.htm

Good luck, and try to have fun. Learning your way around a computer that goes online can be daunting, I worried I would kill the 'Net when I first went out into cyberspace. LOL, the 'Net is still up, and I sold my first computer in 2010 to a college kid who was thrilled to get one in that clean a condition-I learned to defrag, debug, manage uploads, downloads, upgrade operating systems, and keep my hard drive clean, and all of it from reading online:)

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January 25, 20120 found this helpful

If you mean shortcut keys, just google " Microsoft computer shortcut keys."

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By 0 found this helpful
March 27, 2008

I have added all sort of shortcuts to my toolbars in Excel. Why can I not get shortcuts to stay in Word? Every time I open Word my shortcuts are gone from the toolbars. Is there a setting I need to change somewhere?

Lynn from Albany, NY

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
April 5, 20080 found this helpful

I don't know the answer to your problem, but I know of a wonderful site where you can get the answer. The site is

http://asktcl.com/ and she has a weekly newsetter also. I have been getting her newsletters for about 8 years now, and still learn something new almost every week. You can write and ask her a question in her Guestbook.

Harlean from Arkansas

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

March 4, 20140 found this helpful

I have a computer and I want to upload a picture, but there is no option in the list for computer screen size.

By Itehad

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
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