There are a number of simple tips which can make working with computers a much less frustrating experience and take you a long way towards becoming a ‘power user’.
The first one is to learn the basics. The basic skill of using a mouse to select, cut, copy and paste text, pictures or files and folders makes everything you want to do with a computer faster and easier. This applies to every program or application, and every task you can do with them – from editing an email message, letter, or picture, to copying and moving files and directories around. It is also extremely useful to have at least a basic understanding of folders and files. This makes it much easier to organize your files for backup, and also to locate the particular file you want.
Another basic but extremely useful computer skill is knowing how to make pop-up menus (brought up by clicking the right mouse button) work for you. Learning how these menus of ‘context-sensitive’ commands relate to the currently highlighted or selected item (a file, some text, or whatever) can allow you to finish what you want your computer to do in a fraction of the time. As a general rule, anything you can select in windows has a pop-up menu of commands that can be applied to the selected item – whether it is some text, a file(s), a folder(s), the pop-up menu will contain the menu options most commonly used with data of the selected type.
One of the simplest ways to protect your personal data is to subdivide your hard drive into two or more partitions, and make sure that you save your personal data somewhere other than the first partition (‘C’ drive). The reason that this partitioning of the hard drive is effective (barring mechanical breakdown of the hard drive) is because most viruses and other serious operating system problems only affect the first partition (the ‘boot’ partition or ‘C’ drive for computers running a version of Windows). If your data is stored on a different partition, the boot partition (where the operating system is installed) can be reformatted and the operating system and other applications reinstalled without deleting your personal data. A side benefit of this hard drive partitioning is that this can also make backing up your data a simpler operation.
Another simple way of protecting your personal data is to keep them on removable storage devices – i.e. rewriteable discs, USB storage devices (flash drives or external hard drives), etc.