Reprinted from The Brick Communicator newspaper - May 17th, 2002.

Have you purchased a computer and itís not being used for anything besides sending e-mail or typing letters, maybe you donít want to use it because you are afraid of breaking it or think it is smarter than you, maybe you are just afraid to go and buy one. If any of the above examples sound familiar you arenít alone. I hear people say these things to me quite often, a new computer can be very overwhelming to a lot of people, you get it home, unpack it, set it up, turn it on and you are faced with all these choices on where to go and what to do, where do you begin?

I always tell people to take things slow, start by getting yourself familiar with the basic commands and menus of the Windows Operating System or OS. As long as you arenít somewhere you shouldnít be and delete any files or programs things should be okay. Most programs today have an uninstall program to delete them that can be accessed from the Control Panel and then clicking on Add or Remove Programs, if you arenít sure about something donít click on Okay or Yes, click on Cancel or No and just back out of it. If a program stops responding donít panic, press the keys Control-Alt-Delete all at the same time on your keyboard and the Task Manager will appear showing you the not responding program, if that doesnít work and everything is frozen or you have a blue or black screen press reset on your computer and Windows will start anew. Most likely you will lose any data you were working on before your computer stopped responding if you needed to reboot and didnít get the chance to save it.

When you feel comfortable with Windows then you can move on to the Internet or whichever program it is that you want to learn. Many people jump right in, get frustrated very quickly and give up or they say they feel dumb because they canít figure something out, keep in mind each day will be a learning experience, youíll find a new or easier way of doing something. Before you know it you will be sharing what youíve learned with other people and showing them how to do new things. If you want to learn more or would like to share the knowledge that you already have consider joining a computer users group.

My computer clock always runs fast. Itís been doing so for years. Every week I have to set it back about a half hour or so. Is there a way to correct this?

A simple fix is to download Atomtime 98 at itís a small Atomic Clock program that you can run manually when you need to or you can set it to run automatically from your Startup by placing it in your System Tray, each time you connect to the Internet it will get you the current time from the Atomic time clock server in Boulder, Colorado. On the other hand, if your clock is running slow or your computer isnít keeping your BIOS settings then itís time to change the battery on your motherboard.

I've got icons scattered all over my desktop, how do I organize them?

On a clear spot on your desktop click your right mouse button, highlight Arrange Icons By, if Auto Arrange isnít checked click on it. You can also organize your desktop icons using this same tip by clicking on Name, Size, Type or Modified and it will place them in the order you have chose.

Mark Levy is president of the Jersey Shore Computer Club. Meetings held monthly in the Municipal Complex, Brick Township. For more information visit: or e-mail:

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