Computer Users’ Group

March 16 2011


Let’s start by visiting some of the sites that we couldn’t get to last week. There’s one site that has links to nearly 300,000 genealogical web sites. That’s a list put together by Cyndi Howells and it can be reached here: http://cyndislist.com/.


Another site that’s run entirely by volunteers is the USGenWeb site that can be reached here: http://usgenweb.org/ .While the content varies from state to state there are some records that you may not find anywhere else.


To see all of the places we talked about last month, go here and scroll down and click on the date Feb 16, 2011: http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~flpslc/prevcomp.htm


Next, we’ll cover some basic computer skills; things you do every day, things that you once knew but forgot about and things that you never knew at all. To start, go to the link above and scroll down and click on the date January 16, 2009. That handout covers some computer basics that we’ll refer to as we expand into areas not covered there.


Did this ever happen to you? “I downloaded something but I don’t know what it was called nor where it went.” It’s happened to most of us. Let’s see what we can do to prevent losing something we download in the future.


One thing we can do is to set up a default download file that every downloaded file will go into automatically. If you don’t have a folder called Downloads, double click on My Computer and then your C Drive. In a blank space between folders or to the right of everything, Right Click and in the ensuing dialog box, click on New and then Folder and name it Downloads. To establish that as the default Download folder, in IE, click on Tools/Options and check the boxes that you want; either establish where all downloads go or have IE ask where you want them to go. Also click the Show Download Box. In Firefox, click on Tools and then on Options. Then make sure the box Show the Downloads Window........ is checked and choose where to put downloads or have Firefox ask each time. Having either IE or Firefox ask each time is useful if you plan on downloading pictures or genealogical data because it lets you put the files where you want them to be. But using a default location insures that you know where they are and you can move files from there to where ever you want them to go.


While the above strategies let you put files where you want them they don’t help much if you don’t know the name of the file. If you don’t know the file name after you download it, open the folder that you put it in and at column headings, click on the heading Date Modified. That will sort items by date so that you can find what was downloaded on today’s date. Scroll past any folders that may be listed first and check the date of the first file. If you just downloaded it, it should have today’s date. If the file has a very old date, click again to sort with the latest date first and the top file should be the one just downloaded. To put them back in alphabetical order, click the column heading Name and click again if folders don’t show up on the top of the list.


If you are downloading a program to install on your computer, you have the option of saving the program and then running it or running it without saving; that option saves space on your computer. When the download box appears and you are asked if you want to save or run the file, choose what ever you want. If you save the file, you can run it by double clicking the file name in the download box or run it later by double clicking it’s name in the folder where you put it.


To copy or move a file to a new location, open the folder containing the file that you wish to copy and resize the folder to half the screen width. Open the parent folder which shows the folder into which you want to copy or move the file. Reduce it to half the screen width and move it next to the folder containing the original file. Swipe across the file to be moved so as to highlight it and then right click on it and drag it to the other folder and onto the folder into which you want it to go. You will be then asked if you want to copy it or move it. Select what you want. Note that if you drag it with a left click of the mouse instead of the right click, you will not get to choose whether to move or copy; that choice is made by Bill Gates in Washington State. Within the same parent folder, it’s a move; to an external folder, it’s a copy.


There is a program called Send to that you can get that will add any folder to the list of options when you right click on a selected file and you can choose from a list where you want to copy or move it to. That function is now also incorporated into Windows 7.

 

When you enter the Universal Resource Locator (URL, the website address) into the address bar you do not have to enter the Http://www part. Just enter the basic part of the address and press enter. If you don’t even want to type the .com part, you can use CTRL Enter instead of Enter to type it for you. It only works with .com and not .org or .net etc. For instance, type google and press CTRL Enter.(That’s 6 letters instead of 15.) If you type as fast as I do that can save 9 minutes or so.


If you want quick access to web sites that you visit often, there are several options. One option is to add the link to Favorites in IE or Bookmarks in Firefox. When viewing a site that you want to add, click either Favorites or Bookmarks and then Add or Bookmark this site.


Another approach is to make a list of places that you visit in a worprocessor and depending on the worprocessor that you are using, create Hyperlinks to the sites that you want to visit. In Open Office Writer, enter the full URL of the site that you want to add either by typing it or by copying it and it will appear as a link. If the list is long, make several columns. Save or export the page to HTML and then click on it’s name to open it in your default browser. In IE click on Tools and then Internet Options and in Firefox click on Tools, Options and where it asks about setting up your home page, click on Use Current. Now you’ve created your own start page..


One more approach is to go to a web site that you want to visit often, right click on the URL and press CTRL-c. Go to your Desktop and right click where you’d like to add an Icon for the page you want to visit. Click on New, Shortcut and paste to link that you just copied. Add a name for it when requested. You can point to the Icon just created and drag it to where you want it to be. Add any more that you want to be available from your desktop. If you use the program, Fences, you can put all of these web links in a fenced area cleverly called Web Links.


If you have a problem when you try to do something, you can find out what the problem is by going to the Event Viewer. To get there, open the Control Panel, click on Administrative Tools and then Event Viewer. There, you’ll have the option of several logs to look at but System is where you want to look for system related problems. See if there are any errors listed. If so, double click on them one at a time to see what they are. After the description of the error, there will be a link to Microsoft’s web site that you can click on and have Microsoft tell you what to do to fix it. Sometimes that doesn’t get you an answer but they also offer a forum where you might find your problem answered or post it to see if anyone can answer it. You can check other logs for errors as well. Perhaps and Application (Program) has caused a problem.


If you encounter a situation where things worked yesterday but don’t work right today, restoring your computer condition to an earlier time might help. Go to Start, Help and Support and click on restore my computer to an earlier time. Choose a date and the computer will be restarted with conditions rolled back as they were before. If that works, continue to use the computer; if it doesn’t work, you can undo the restore and see if the problem still exists.




The Cloud. We hear a lot about the cloud these days. Let’s see what it’s all about. The cloud is just another way of looking at the Internet but in a somewhat different light. It implies a set of tools and a storage space to store the results of using those tools. Thus, one can use the cloud tools to create documents that are then stored in the cloud. Since the tools are not stored on your computer, they can be accessed by you from any computer wherever you are. You can restrict assess to only those that you want to see your work and you can include others to collaborate on what you are doing. Cloud computing sounds especially useful to businesses but it has value for individuals as well. Google Docs is one source of cloud computing and you can use it from any computer after you create an account. You get over a Gigabyte free and can pay for more.


This Wikipedia article tells all about cloud competing with many links that you can use to determine how to do it and what cloud service providers there are.


We’ll take a look at Google Docs. Go to Google, click on More and then on Even More and that will bring you here . Click on Google Docs to sign up but if you use Google Mail you already have an account. You can upload your existing files that are in any of the major formats and start using Google Docs to edit them or you can start new and create a new document. Since everything is on the Cloud, you don’t need to lug around your computer to edit documents when you travel. Use a friend or relative’s computer or go to a library. You can share any docs that you create and can have others collaborate on the creation and editing of a document. Create a story of your family and invite all of your relatives to join in and add what they know.


I use Wordperfect which is not accepted by Google for editing so I saved this handout in DOC format and uploaded it to Google. Lets try to get it here at the library. And then we can edit it and save it. I do not have it shared with anyone but if I did they could edit it at any time and save it to Google. Spreadsheets are accepted in certain formats and Open Office documents as well as Microsoft’s. Note that I clicked the box about convert uploaded documents to Google Docs format. There are many templates that Google has where you can set up budgets, to do lists, calendars and more.


Is your computer running slowly? There are any number of causes but we’ll look at one possible cause especially if you use Computer Associates (CA) Antivirus program. CA bought eTrust a while back and incorporates Pest Patrol into it’s antivirus program. Pest Patrol includes a program called ITMRTSVC which continually scans your disk for rogue pests and consumes a lot of time. Try this to see if it’s a problem. Click CTRL-ALT-Delete and select Processes. (In Windows 7 you have to select Task Manager first). Look through the list of running processes and see if ITMRTSVC is one of them. If it is, select it and press End Process. And then select OK in the warning box. See if your computer runs any faster. It might be helpful before you do this to run some function, especially one that takes a while, and time it. Repeat that after you stop the process and see if there’s a difference. If so, you can prevent the file from starting by going to Run and enter msconfig. And then select Startup and click the box in front of ITMRTSVC. If you want, you can go to Control Panel and select Add and Remove Programs and select ITMRTSVC for removal. Note that after running MSConfig, the next time your computer starts you will be warned that you changed something. Click on the box Do not show this message again and click OK.


You can add items to the Taskbar by dragging the file to the taskbar. You can find the filename in a listing in it’s folder or, it it has an icon on your desktop, you can click on that and drag it to the desktop. Depending on your version of Windows, you either create a shortcut there or pin it to the taskbar. You can open the file by one click on the icon or by pressing the Windows Key and entering how far to the right of the Start key it is; Windows Explorer is 1, and what’s right of that is 2.


If you need to set up your computer to use a second monitor or display as here in the library, the shortcut way to set it up is to press the Windows Key the letter P. You’ll immediately be asked how you want it set up.


To be sure that the website that you are about to visit is safe, you can download the Web of Trust program http://mywot.com It will provide Green, Yellow or Red flags to tell of the site’s safety


One program that provides a complete profile of your computer including any missed updates is Belarc.Advisor that member Fred Wettering told me about. You can get the free download here: http://www.belarc.com/free_download.html When you run it, it will scour your computer and find out lots of things that you never knew, especially installed updates and those that are missing...

 

 

Computer Users’ Group

March 16 2011


Let’s start by visiting some of the sites that we couldn’t get to last week. There’s one site that has links to nearly 300,000 genealogical web sites. That’s a list put together by Cyndi Howells and it can be reached hers: http://cyndislist.com/.


Another site that’s run entirely by volunteers is the USGenWeb site that can be reached here: http://usgenweb.org/ .While the content varies from state to state there are some records that you may not find anywhere else.


To see all of the places we talked about last month, go here and scroll down and click on the date Feb 16, 2011: http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~flpslc/prevcomp.htm


Next, we’ll cover some basic computer skills; things you do every day, things that you once knew but forgot about and things that you never knew at all. To start, go to the link above and scroll down and click on the date January 16, 2009. That handout covers some computer basics that we’ll refer to as we expand into areas not covered there.


Did this ever happen to you? “I downloaded something but I don’t know what it was called nor where it went.” It’s happened to most of us. Let’s see what we can do to prevent losing something we download in the future.


One thing we can do is to set up a default download file that every downloaded file will go into automatically. If you don’t have a folder called Downloads, double click on My Computer and then your C Drive. In a blank space between folders or to the right of everything, Right Click and in the ensuing dialog box, click on New and then Folder and name it Downloads. To establish that as the default Download folder, in IE, click on Tools/Options and check the boxes that you want; either establish where all downloads go or have IE ask where you want them to go. Also click the Show Download Box. In Firefox, click on Tools and then on Options. Then make sure the box Show the Downloads Window........ is checked and choose where to put downloads or have Firefox ask each time. Having either IE or Firefox ask each time is useful if you plan on downloading pictures or genealogical data because it lets you put the files where you want them to be. But using a default location insures that you know where they are and you can move files from there to where ever you want them to go.


While the above strategies let you put files where you want them they don’t help much if you don’t know the name of the file. If you don’t know the file name after you download it, open the folder that you put it in and at column headings, click on the heading Date Modified. That will sort items by date so that you can find what was downloaded on today’s date. Scroll past any folders that may be listed first and check the date of the first file. If you just downloaded it, it should have today’s date. If the file has a very old date, click again to sort with the latest date first and the top file should be the one just downloaded. To put them back in alphabetical order, click the column heading Name and click again if folders don’t show up on the top of the list.


If you are downloading a program to install on your computer, you have the option of saving the program and then running it or running it without saving; that option saves space on your computer. When the download box appears and you are asked if you want to save or run the file, choose what ever you want. If you save the file, you can run it by double clicking the file name in the download box or run it later by double clicking it’s name in the folder where you put it.


To copy or move a file to a new location, open the folder containing the file that you wish to copy and resize the folder to half the screen width. Open the parent folder which shows the folder into which you want to copy or move the file. Reduce it to half the screen width and move it next to the folder containing the original file. Swipe across the file to be moved so as to highlight it and then right click on it and drag it to the other folder and onto the folder into which you want it to go. You will be then asked if you want to copy it or move it. Select what you want. Note that if you drag it with a left click of the mouse instead of the right click, you will not get to choose whether to move or copy; that choice is made by Bill Gates in Washington State. Within the same parent folder, it’s a move; to an external folder, it’s a copy.


There is a program called Send to that you can get that will add any folder to the list of options when you right click on a selected file and you can choose from a list where you want to copy or move it to. That function is now also incorporated into Windows 7.

 

When you enter the Universal Resource Locator (URL, the website address) into the address bar you do not have to enter the Http://www part. Just enter the basic part of the address and press enter. If you don’t even want to type the .com part, you can use CTRL Enter instead of Enter to type it for you. It only works with .com and not .org or .net etc. For instance, type google and press CTRL Enter.(That’s 6 letters instead of 15.) If you type as fast as I do that can save 9 minutes or so.


If you want quick access to web sites that you visit often, there are several options. One option is to add the link to Favorites in IE or Bookmarks in Firefox. When viewing a site that you want to add, click either Favorites or Bookmarks and then Add or Bookmark this site.


Another approach is to make a list of places that you visit in a worprocessor and depending on the worprocessor that you are using, create Hyperlinks to the sites that you want to visit. In Open Office Writer, enter the full URL of the site that you want to add either by typing it or by copying it and it will appear as a link. If the list is long, make several columns. Save or export the page to HTML and then click on it’s name to open it in your default browser. In IE click on Tools and then Internet Options and in Firefox click on Tools, Options and where it asks about setting up your home page, click on Use Current. Now you’ve created your own start page..


One more approach is to go to a web site that you want to visit often, right click on the URL and press CTRL-c. Go to your Desktop and right click where you’d like to add an Icon for the page you want to visit. Click on New, Shortcut and paste to link that you just copied. Add a name for it when requested. You can point to the Icon just created and drag it to where you want it to be. Add any more that you want to be available from your desktop. If you use the program, Fences, you can put all of these web links in a fenced area cleverly called Web Links.


If you have a problem when you try to do something, you can find out what the problem is by going to the Event Viewer. To get there, open the Control Panel, click on Administrative Tools and then Event Viewer. There, you’ll have the option of several logs to look at but System is where you want to look for system related problems. See if there are any errors listed. If so, double click on them one at a time to see what they are. After the description of the error, there will be a link to Microsoft’s web site that you can click on and have Microsoft tell you what to do to fix it. Sometimes that doesn’t get you an answer but they also offer a forum where you might find your problem answered or post it to see if anyone can answer it. You can check other logs for errors as well. Perhaps and Application (Program) has caused a problem.


If you encounter a situation where things worked yesterday but don’t work right today, restoring your computer condition to an earlier time might help. Go to Start, Help and Support and click on restore my computer to an earlier time. Choose a date and the computer will be restarted with conditions rolled back as they were before. If that works, continue to use the computer; if it doesn’t work, you can undo the restore and see if the problem still exists.




The Cloud. We hear a lot about the cloud these days. Let’s see what it’s all about. The cloud is just another way of looking at the Internet but in a somewhat different light. It implies a set of tools and a storage space to store the results of using those tools. Thus, one can use the cloud tools to create documents that are then stored in the cloud. Since the tools are not stored on your computer, they can be accessed by you from any computer wherever you are. You can restrict assess to only those that you want to see your work and you can include others to collaborate on what you are doing. Cloud computing sounds especially useful to businesses but it has value for individuals as well. Google Docs is one source of cloud computing and you can use it from any computer after you create an account. You get over a Gigabyte free and can pay for more.


This Wikipedia article tells all about cloud competing with many links that you can use to determine how to do it and what cloud service providers there are.


We’ll take a look at Google Docs. Go to Google, click on More and then on Even More and that will bring you here . Click on Google Docs to sign up but if you use Google Mail you already have an account. You can upload your existing files that are in any of the major formats and start using Google Docs to edit them or you can start new and create a new document. Since everything is on the Cloud, you don’t need to lug around your computer to edit documents when you travel. Use a friend or relative’s computer or go to a library. You can share any docs that you create and can have others collaborate on the creation and editing of a document. Create a story of your family and invite all of your relatives to join in and add what they know.


I use Wordperfect which is not accepted by Google for editing so I saved this handout in DOC format and uploaded it to Google. Lets try to get it here at the library. And then we can edit it and save it. I do not have it shared with anyone but if I did they could edit it at any time and save it to Google. Spreadsheets are accepted in certain formats and Open Office documents as well as Microsoft’s. Note that I clicked the box about convert uploaded documents to Google Docs format. There are many templates that Google has where you can set up budgets, to do lists, calendars and more.


Is your computer running slowly? There are any number of causes but we’ll look at one possible cause especially if you use Computer Associates (CA) Antivirus program. CA bought eTrust a while back and incorporates Pest Patrol into it’s antivirus program. Pest Patrol includes a program called ITMRTSVC which continually scans your disk for rogue pests and consumes a lot of time. Try this to see if it’s a problem. Click CTRL-ALT-Delete and select Processes. (In Windows 7 you have to select Task Manager first). Look through the list of running processes and see if ITMRTSVC is one of them. If it is, select it and press End Process. And then select OK in the warning box. See if your computer runs any faster. It might be helpful before you do this to run some function, especially one that takes a while, and time it. Repeat that after you stop the process and see if there’s a difference. If so, you can prevent the file from starting by going to Run and enter msconfig. And then select Startup and click the box in front of ITMRTSVC. If you want, you can go to Control Panel and select Add and Remove Programs and select ITMRTSVC for removal. Note that after running MSConfig, the next time your computer starts you will be warned that you changed something. Click on the box Do not show this message again and click OK.


You can add items to the Taskbar by dragging the file to the taskbar. You can find the filename in a listing in it’s folder or, it it has an icon on your desktop, you can click on that and drag it to the desktop. Depending on your version of Windows, you either create a shortcut there or pin it to the taskbar. You can open the file by one click on the icon or by pressing the Windows Key and entering how far to the right of the Start key it is; Windows Explorer is 1, and what’s right of that is 2.


If you need to set up your computer to use a second monitor or display as here in the library, the shortcut way to set it up is to press the Windows Key the letter P. You’ll immediately be asked how you want it set up.


To be sure that the website that you are about to visit is safe, you can download the Web of Trust program http://mywot.com It will provide Green, Yellow or Red flags to tell of the site’s safety


One program that provides a complete profile of your computer including any missed updates is Belarc.Advisor that member Fred Wettering told me about. You can get the free download here: http://www.belarc.com/free_download.html When you run it, it will scour your computer and find out lots of things that you never knew, especially installed updates and those that are missing...