Sunday, September 29, 2013

What is an App?

Be the first to comment! Posted by Hannah on 10:18 AM

what is an appToday’s How-To Guide for the computer beginner we are going attempt answer the question, ‘What is an app?”

Today I will briefly explain:

What is an App?

What is the difference between a Native app and a Web app?

Don’t worry – the difference is easy to remember!


What is an App?

App is short for ‘application’.  A computer application is what most have referred to in the past as a computer program.  Software program even!

When the word app became popular I remember all the commercials going on and on about ‘We have an APP for that!”

My picture above is what most people see on the face of those fancy phone now days.  They are touch screen, and you push on one of the logos – and the program starts up.

Yes, its like doubling clicking on a program to open it up. You use your finger instead, because the screen is meant for fingers – not mouse clicks!

Just last week we had leak in the roof, and the water was coming into one of the teenager’s rooms.  I asked my daughter's boyfriend if he wouldn’t mind looking in the attic to see where the water was coming from, and if we needed to cover the area until the roofers got here. 

Once he was up there?  It dawned me that a flashlight just MAY help him!  He told me it wasn’t needed, and he whipped out his Apple Iphone – clicked on an ‘app’ called flashlight…and there was LIGHT!  The next thing I know he also clicked on another app to take pictures of where the leak was coming from.

Yep, they have an app for that!

App – to me anyway – is internet slang for computer program.  It’s the new and improved LINGO of this generation!

Now keep in mind there are two different types of apps that most people refer to.   Yes, I’m sure there will be more in the future!  Let’s start with the two basic ones!

You have what you call a Native App, or a Web App.  Most of the time people do not use those terms (they just call them an app), but there is a difference.  Read on, and you can impress your FRIENDS and FAMILY! (giggles)

Native App

Most of the software programs that come preinstalled on our computers in the past are Native Apps.  Yes, that could include your operating system – like Vista, or Windows XP.

One small program I use from time to time is called, ‘Calculator’.  Microsoft Word is another one that I use to write letters.  The flashlight app I spoke about?  That also is a Native app.

All I have to do is turn on the computer, and I can use those programs without the use of the internet.  The native app is installed directly into the operating system of the computer. 

No internet required!

In other words, I can write a letter in my word process, use the calculator to balance the check book, and click on flashlight – all without having to be ON the internet!

Yes, you may get updates to your programs online.  The big difference you need to see today is you don’t NEED to be online to use them!

Web App

With a web app you may have to download some software at the beginning, or small updates from time to time.  The big difference here is if you want to use the program? 

Internet Required!

For example, Facebook has an app that people use on their fancy phones we see today.  If they didn’t have access to the internet (internet is turned on)?  They can open the facebook app all they want to, but they can’t ‘use’ it to read the friend’s notes, or post one themselves.

Its much the same principal as clicking on your Internet Explorer Icon on your desktop to go online, and yet if your computer isn’t connected to the internet.   The window may open, but you can’t ‘surf the net’ can you?

I hope I explained it well enough for everyone to understand.  I tried to keep it pretty simple!

If something is not clear, or you feel something should be added to our lesson? Please feel free to leave your comment or question in section we provided.


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Thank you for reading our How-To Guide for the Computer Beginner, and today’s lesson on “What is an App?”

Saturday, September 28, 2013

What is the Windows Lock Screen?

Be the first to comment! Posted by Hannah on 2:38 PM

Today’s How-To Guide for the computer beginner  handles the question:

What is the Windows Lock Screen?

In the past if you have a password you had to enter into your computer before it would completely boot up?  You saw a screen similar to the one below.  I have heard this referred to as the ‘sign on screen’.

As you can see below on a Windows 7 Machine?  A gentleman named “Paul” will have to enter his password to get into his account on this computer.
Windows 7 Sign on Screen
Windows 8 starts with a lock screen similar to the one below.  When you tap, double click, or hit a key on the board….
windows 8 lock screen
You will get a similar screen to Paul’s sign in screen we pictured first.

As you can tell with Windows 8 lock screen it gives you the most basic of information.  The time and the date are regular’s to show up! 

Depending your machine widgets, known as lock screen apps, they will allow you to view information – such as new emails, weather, calendar appointments, instant messages or social updates – without even unlocking your PC.  If you have  laptop?  It could show you how much battery life you have left.

If something is not clear, or you feel something should be added to our lesson? Please feel free to leave your comment or question in section we provided.


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Thank you for reading our How-To Guide for the Computer Beginner, and today Explanation on What is the Windows Lock Screen.

How-To Run Disk Cleanup in Windows 8

Be the first to comment! Posted by Hannah on 1:19 PM

Today’s How-To Guide for the computer beginner is going to over Disk Cleanup in Windows 8.

When you run this option Disk Cleanup you also are given an option to clear the Cache (Temporary internet files).

How-To Clean up with Disk Cleanup is an older article that explains what Disk Clean up is, and explains other details about this application.  The definitions are the same even though it speaks about older operating systems.

First we want to go to the Charms Bar on your start screen, and use the ‘Search’ Charm or option.
Windows have an ‘app’ or program now called, ‘cleanmgr’. 

Type in ‘clearnmgr’ (program name for disk cleanup) on the right side side under the search option pictured below.

On the left hand side of the screen under ‘apps’ you will see the program icon come up.  You click or tap that icon to open up the program ‘disk cleanup’ for Windows 8.
Cleanmgr Disk Cleanup Windows 8

The disk clean up screen for Windows 8 will open up, and you will have a pull down menu to pick the computer drive you want to ‘clean up’.
disk cleanup windows 8
Once you have picked the drive you want to clean up, you click OK.  The familiar options screen pops up to allow you to make choices as we have done in the past with other operating systems (Windows 7, Vista, XP, etc).
Disk-Cleanup Options Windows 8
If you click on the options a description box opens up below, and describes what it will delete or clean up.  In the above picture I have highlighted ‘Downloaded Program Files”.  If you look below that section you will see a description field.

Make sure you click (or tap) which fields you have chosen to clean up, and they will have a check mark in the box.  The ones left with NO check mark it will NOT delete or clean up.

Click or Tap “OK” and allow the computer to run the app or program.

That’s IT!  Your done!

If something is not clear, or you feel something should be added to our lesson? Please feel free to leave your comment or question in section we provided.


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Thank you for reading our How-To Guide for the Computer Beginner on Disk Cleanup for Windows 8.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

What is the Windows Key or Button? What are the Windows 8 Hotkeys or Shortcuts?

Be the first to comment! Posted by Hannah on 12:10 PM

Today’s How-To Guide for the computer beginner is Called, “What is the Windows Key or Button?  What are the Windows 8 Hotkeys or Shortcuts?”

I also have a Hotkeys or Shortcut Cheat Sheet at the bottom to print out if you so wish.

What is the Windows Key or Window Button?


I have also heard this key being referred to as:
Windows Button
Windows Logo Key

They are the same thing – just different nicknames!

We will also go over Windows 8 Shortcuts using this button.  These shortcuts are also referred to as:

Windows 8 Shortcuts, or Windows 8 Shortcut Keys
Windows 8 Hot keys
Win8 Shortcuts

Again, same thing just a different label!

In Windows 8 in particular you will be using this key to navigate around your computer.  You will be using the windows key quite a lot!

Notice is has the logo most people identify for Windows Operating System Products.

Windows Key Window Button
Above is a picture of the windows Key, or Windows Button.

When you wish to return to the Start Screen you will push this windows key for example.  That would be called a ‘shortcut’.  Some refer to it as a keyboard shortcut, but again same thing different label.

What are the Windows 8 Hotkeys or Shortcuts?


Below are some examples of Window Key Shortcuts, but keep in mind most of the time people will reference how to use them.  Most people are NOT expecting you to know all of them – all the time!

The Strange looking graphic looks your Windows key pictured above.

The direction below are asking you to do two things.  First you want to hold down the Windows logo key that we have been talking about. 

Notice is also states +C.  This means to also push down the C key at the same time.

Its okay to push the Windows Logo key, and then hold it down to find the second key to push.  Just remember BOTH need to be held down at the same time for the result you are looking for.
Windows logo key Windows logo key +C
Open the Charms
Windows logo key Windows logo key +D
Display and hide the desktop
Windows logo key Windows logo key +F
Open the Search charm and search for files
Windows logo key Windows logo key
Display or hide the Start screen
If you would like to see a more complete list of Window Logo Key Shortcuts?  Microsoft has a very extensive list for you. 

Microsoft Windows 8 Logo Key Shortcut list

If you would like a print sheet of these Windows 8 hotkeys, or Windows 8 Shortcuts I uploaded them here for you to print.
Win8 Shortcuts – Printable Cheat Sheet

If something is not clear, or you feel something should be added to our lesson? Please feel free to leave your comment or question in section we provided.


Also please subscribe by leaving your email in the box supplied, and you will received future lessons by email as they come out.

Thank you for reading our How-To Guide for the Computer Beginner
On: What is the Windows Key or Button? What are the Windows 8 Hotkeys or Shortcuts?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Where is the Start Menu for Windows 8?

Be the first to comment! Posted by Hannah on 8:43 PM

Today’s How-To Guide for the computer beginner is about the Start menu for Windows 8.

We will be covering very briefly:

Where is the Start Menu in Windows 8
What is an App
What Is The Charms Bar, and the Charms themselves.
(I have animations at the very bottom on how to get the charms bar to appear using the mouse and touchscreen.)Windows Start Menu

Where is the start menu for Windows 8?

Here is a picture of a traditional start menu.

Well Microsoft wants to change things UP a bit now.

Microsoft no longer has what we have called in the past a ‘start menu’, but now they have what they called a start screen

They have basically moved the entire start menu onto what was once the traditional spot for our desktop

That is NOT to say that Windows no longer has a traditional desktop anymore.  THEY DO! 
We will get to that later, but lets move on….

Windows_8_Start_Screen_Start_MenuHere I have a picture of the start screen, but keep in mind your start screen may look a bit different.

Microsoft states it has expanded the Start menu, turning it into a full-screen launching pad for your programs.  

It seems what they are trying to do is combine a tablet type of device with the traditional computer. 

Most will say if you are going to get a computer with Windows 8 today a ‘touchscreen’ is a must.  That is NOT to say you can’t use a regular mouse as we have in the past.  Tablets are touchscreen, and instead of clicking as we normally would – we touch!

What is an APP?

Another NEW term they are using today instead of programs is APPS.

I honestly don’t see the big difference between what they call a ‘app’ and a program myself.  Windows 8 does have apps that can only be used on a Windows 8 machine.  That seems to be the only difference between the two.  If it is only for a Windows 8 machine?  They call it an app.

Another important NOTE is if your program runs on Windows 7?  It will still run on Windows 8.  So you don’t have to go out, and buy all NEW software!  That is a GOOD thing yes?!

If you have a fancy phone with ‘apps’ on it?  Windows 8 is the same principal.  You can go to the Windows 8 store, and buy apps (or programs) for your new computer.  In time no doubt there will all kinds of different apps, and YES even for free!

The manufacturer of your computer basically picked the programs, or what they called APPS onto your start screen presently.  That doesn’t mean you have to keep them, or you can’t change the appearance of your start screen to programs you would rather use.

What confused my teenagers is that they didn’t know where the rest of their programs – or apps – were. 

Since you no longer have a start button, or a option to click for ‘all programs’ like we did in the past?  What now?

What is the Charms Bar, and what are Charms?

Move your cursor  to the top right side of the screen – or bottom right hand of the screen.  If you have a touch screen?  Glide your finger to this portion of your screen.

You notice when you do this a Charm Bar comes up.  I’m pointing to it below, and placed a red box around it.

Charms menu
Notice you have 5 prominent ones.

Top magnifying glass is the Search Charm.

Second is a Share charm.

Third is the Windows Charm, and brings you back the start screen

Forth is the Device Charm

and Finally the last one is the Settings Charm.

Now if you glide your mouse (or finger) down in the Charms area they turn from almost transparent to a solid form.

Let’s Click on the Search Charm – or tap if you have touch screen.
Search Charm Apps Search

Now you can type in the white box above to search for the program – or app – you maybe looking for.

We will go into more detail at a later date.  I will tell you if you ever want to get back to the start screen again?

Windows 8 Windows key
Look on your keyboard for the Windows Key, and you click it.

We will also be writing more about the Charms menu at a later date, because it maybe one of the MOST important parts of this new operating system called, “Windows 8”.

Just a reminder!  The Start menu is now the Start screen in Windows 8.
Below is a brief video made by Dell Computers, and it gives you a visual on how to do the above if you have touchscreen.
Windows 8 Start Screen for Touch Screen Computers

Here is a animation on how to use the mouse to make the Charms bar Appear.

Here is an animation on how to use your finger and touchscreen to make the Charms Bar Appear.

If something is not clear, or you feel something should be added to our lesson? Please feel free to leave your comment or question in section we provided.


Also please subscribe by leaving your email in the box supplied, and you will received future lessons by email as they come out.

Thank you for reading our How-To Guide for the Computer Beginner lesson today on Where is the Start Menu for Windows 8?  Its call the Start Screen Now.