Find out what lurks inside a PC and sort your way through chips, cards, cables, and connections The Dummies Way. You don't have to be a geek to get the most bang for your computing buck PC's For Dummies, 6th Edition, is the ideal reference for first-time PC users. From putting your PC together to finding quick answers and sage advice on installing new hardware and software, surfing the Internet and sending e-mail, or troubleshooting your PC problems, you can feel confident-and get your work done-in no time at all.
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About the Author
Dan Gookin escribió el libro inaugural de la serie For Dummies en 1991. Sus numerosos libros récord en ventas incluyen todas las ediciones de PCs Para Dummies, Word Para Dummies y Laptops For Dummies.
Read an Excerpt
The Big Red Switch
In This Chapter
- How to turn the computer on
- What happens after you flip the Big Red Switch
- How to log in to the network
- How to get the Windows tip-of-the-day
- How to turn the computer off
- Whether or not to leave your PC on all the time
- How to reset or reboot your computer
Should turning something on or off be complicated? Of course not. But then again, a computer isn't known for being the most logical of devices. Heck, you'd think the computer would have several on and off switches just to make it tough on you. But no.
The truth is that there's just one Big Red Switch that makes the PC stop or go. Of course, the switch is often neither red nor big, but that's not a big deal. What is a big deal is when and how to throw the switch and all the stuff that happens in between. That's what'll make you pull your hair out in clumps or chant a mantra while clutching your New Age Power Crystal in one hand and flipping the power switch with the other.
Well, fret no more. This chapter covers the basics of turning a computer on, covers what happens just after that, and then doesn't neglect the important stuff about turning the computer off. A lot happens as Mr. PC begins his sunshiny day. Oh -- and this is definitely worth $6 of the cover price -- this chapter tells you the lowdown on whether or not you can let your computer run all day and all night without ever turning it off. (Yes, it can be done.)
Turning the Computer On
Turning a computer on is as easy as reaching for that big red switch and flipping it to the ON position. Some computers may have their big red switch in front, and some have the switch on the side. Still other computers may even paint their big red switch brown or fawn-white, or it may be one of those push-button jobbies.
- In keeping with the international flavor of computing, computer companies have done away with the illogical, Western-culture-dominated habit of putting the words ON and OFF on their on/off switches. To be more politically correct, the PC's switch uses a bar for ON and a circle for OFF (go back and see Figure 1-3 to refresh your own memory banks).
- If you can't see the screen, wait awhile. If nothing appears, turn the monitor on.
- If the computer won't turn on, check to see whether it's plugged in. If it still doesn't come on, refer to Chapter 24, "When to Scream for Help."
- Two nerdy terms for turning on a computer: Power-on and power-up.
- If the computer does something unexpected or if you notice that it's being especially unfriendly, first panic. Then turn to Part VI of this book to figure out what went wrong.
- Make sure that a disk isn't in drive A when you start the computer. If a disk is in floppy disk drive A, the computer won't start from the hard drive like it's supposed to. Keep drive A empty. (Some people keep a disk in drive A because it looks cool; don't be a fool. Just say no to disks in drive A when you boot the computer.)
- See Chapter 7 for more information about drive A.
Technical stuff to ignore
Your computer has many plug-inable items attached to it. Each one of them has its own on/off switch. There is no specific order to follow when turning any equipment on or off, though an old adage was "Turn the computer box on last." Or was it first? I don't remember. But one way to save the hassle is to buy a power strip or one of the fancier computer power-control-center devices. You plug everything into it and then turn on the whole shebang with one switch.
"The manual tells me to boot my computer: Where do I kick it?"
Oh, don't be silly. Booting a computer has nothing to do with kicking it. Instead, booting simply refers to turning on a computer. To boot a computer means to turn it on. Rebooting a computer is the same as pressing the Reset button. It's all weird nerd talk.
Look! Up on the screen!
Heavenly choirs rejoice! Windows 95 is here!
Of course, you don't see Windows 95 right away. First comes some text. Then a few fragments and whatnot, a copyright notice, and maybe you'll catch the following -- Windows 95's only text screen message, bidding farewell to the way PCs used to work:
Starting Windows 95 . . .
After that, the PC goes graphical. You may see more bits of text fly by, like the closing credits of a movie (but don't bother looking for the Dolly Grip or Best Boy).
- Starting the computer with the Big Red Switch is the mechanical part. What you're starting is the computer hardware, which is really nothing but a lot of heavy, cold, and calculating electronic junk that the cat likes to sleep on. Eventually, your computer's software actually brings the computer to life, allowing it to do something. With Windows 95, you see the "Windows in the clouds" scene, which is only meant to entertain you while Windows seemingly takes several weeks to get out of bed.
"My computer says 'Non-system disk.' What gives?"
This happens a lot, even to Bill Gates!
Non-system disk or disk error
Replace and strike any key when ready
Remove the floppy disk from drive A and press the Enter key. Your computer will then start normally.
The reason you see the message is that you or someone else has left a floppy disk in your PC's A drive. The computer has tried to start itself using software on that disk and -- whaddya know? -- no software is on that disk! The software (your PC's operating system) is really on your PC's hard drive, which can't be loaded until you remove that dern floppy disk from drive A and whack the Enter key.
And just who the heck are you?
Windows seems pretty easy to get into; it's doing all the work! But if your PC is shackled to a network, you'll be forced to show some ID before getting into the good stuff. Apparently, you can't buy liquor or drive a computer without proper identification.
The Enter Network Password dialog box, as shown in Figure 4-1, is Windows' way of gently asking, "Just who the heck are you?" You type in your special user name, press the Tab key, and then type your password. Click the OK button, and Windows lets you in.
If you type the wrong password, the security alarms sound, a metal gate drops over you and the PC, the hounds are released, and Windows dutifully erases the hard drive lest security be breached.
Just kidding! If you goof up, you get a second shot. If you goof up again, Windows lets you in anyway.
- Windows probably already knows your user name and displays it proudly for you, as in Figure 4-1. Your job is merely to enter the proper password.
- Press the Tab key to move between the
- Telling the network who you are is technically called logging in. It has nothing to do with timber.
- Chapter 10 discusses computer networking if you want to go nuts about it.
- If this whole password/login stuff annoys you, just press the Esc key on the keyboard to bypass the feeble security.
- If they guarded the Crown Jewels as feebly as Windows guards its network, we'd all be wearing funny expensive hats.
Here's your tip of the day: Click the Close button and get to work
Microsoft must have felt they didn't make Windows easy enough. Every time you start, you'll see the cheesy Welcome to Windows dialog box. Ugh! Time for another valuable and heretofore unknown tip.
Click the Close button to rid the screen of that annoying dialog box.
- If you don't know how to work a computer mouse or figure that point-and-click is what you do with a gun, refer to Chapter 14 (the latter half).
- If you really never want to see the Welcome to Windows dialog box ever again, click the mouse in the box by
Show this Welcome Screen next time you start Windows(see Figure 4-2). This action removes the little check mark from the box, and you'll never be bothered by it again.
- Don't bother clicking on any button in the Welcome to Windows dialog box other than Close. If you do, you're on your own. (And you've been warned!)
Some "Did you know . . ." things you won't find in the Welcome dialog box
Did you know . . . Elvis used to take a .22 and shoot flashbulbs floating in his pool while he ate watermelon hearts.
Did you know . . . $10,000 of Microsoft stock purchased in 1986 would be worth over a quarter of a million dollars today?
Did you know . . . a chigger bite can itch like the devil.
Did you know . . . sausage was invented by the ancient Babylonians.
Did you know . . . the cheapest palmtop computer is a pad and pencil.
Did you know . . . steamed skim milk with two shots of espresso in a 16-ounce cup is a "double- tall-skinny latté."
Did you know . . . St. Nicholas is the patron saint of pawnbrokers.
Did you know . . . in 558 Chlotar, the son of Clovis, reunited the kingdom of France.
Did you know . . . West Quoddy Head, Maine, is the farthest eastern point in the continental United States.
Did you know . . . a whop bop a loo bop a bop bam boom.
Did you know . . . a porterhouse is a T-bone steak with a larger tenderloin side.
Did you know . . . Mad Magazine's Alfred E. Neuman was originally named Melvin Kosnowski.
Did you know . . . the tomato was legally declared a vegetable by the U.S. Supreme Court. (It's actually a fruit.)
It's about time this operating system showed up
After a time, and then times and half a time, Windows 95 presents itself on the screen in all its graphical goodness and glory (Figure 4-3). Windows is finally ready for you to use. Time to get to work.
- Chapters 5 and 6 offer more information on Windows and getting to work.
- Windows really does take a while to show up on the screen, so don't be discouraged; rumor has it Samuel Beckett was working on Waiting for Windot before he died.1
1This is a literary reference. Beckett wrote Waiting for Godot (Gah-do), who never shows up.
Getting Your Work Done
Between turning your computer on and off, you should do something. Get work done.
Alas, that's the subject of the next two chapters. This is just the starting and stopping your PC chapter.
Turning the Computer Off
Sure, turning the computer off is easy: just flip the big red switch. The power goes DINK, the fan softly warbles away, and the hard drive spins to a low hum and then stops. Unfortunately, that's just not polite enough for your computer. It's rude. Windows insists that you shut down properly, or it gets really, really sore.
Before you can feel the satisfaction of flipping that big red switch, heed these steps to properly furl Windows' sails:
- Pop up the Start menu.
- Choose the Shut Down menu item.
- Click the
- Windows is outta here!
If you can see the Start button on the taskbar (look in the bottom-left corner of Figure 4-3), click on that button using your mouse.
The best and most reliable way to make the Start menu appear is to press the Ctrl+Esc key combination. This works every time, whether you can see the Start button or not.
Click on it with the mouse or press the U key, since you can't yodel without the U sound.
The Shut Down Windows dialog box appears (see Figure 4-4), filled with even more options for shutting down your PC.
Ignore the options! The proper one you want,
Shut down the computer, is already selected for you.
- If you haven't saved any information in any programs, you'll be told about it. Go ahead and save everything.
- If you've been running some older DOS programs, the whole operation stops. You must quit your DOS programs before you shut down Windows. (It's a sibling-rivalry thing.) Refer to your DOS program's manual or a proper ...For Dummies book near you.
Eventually, after more disk commotion than seems necessary, you see a screen that tells you, and I quote, "It's now safe to turn off your computer." Look ma, no sparks!
Click. You're done.
- Yes, you shut down by first pressing the Start button. Such logic.
- Keyboard shortcut to shutting down Windows 95: Ctrl+Esc, U, Enter. Ah, such lovely little keystrokes to quell the beast. But remember, Windows merely sleeps. It comes back to life again when you restart the computer.
- Never turn off the computer when you're in the middle of something. Always quit your programs, and then shut down Windows properly. The only time you can safely turn off your PC is when the screen tells you that it's safe to do so. An exception to this is when your computer has gone totally AWOL. When that happens, refer to Part VI of this book.
- If you are used to DOS (where you could shut down the computer anytime), be wary of seeing that friendly
C:\>on the screen and thinking "Golly, it's OK to shut down the computer now." Not so with Windows 95! You must first quit DOS, which you do by typing the EXIT command:
This makes your DOS prompt vanish, and, lo, you're back in Windows.
- If Windows detects any unsaved programs as it quits, it will ask you to save them. For DOS programs, Windows will beg you to save them and actually refuse to quit: Go ahead and save your DOS stuff; then quit your DOS programs; then repeat the steps in this section before you flip the big red switch.
- It's a good idea to wait at least 30 to 40 seconds before turning the computer on again. This gives the computer's hard drives time to slow down and stop. (Basically, it's just a bad idea to flip the PC's power switch rapidly from on to off to on again.)
- If possible, try not to turn the computer off more than three times a day. My advice is to leave the machine on all day and, if you really want to turn it off, turn it off only at night. However, there is a school of thought that recommends leaving the computer on all the time. If that's your cup of java, refer to the next section.
"I want to leave my computer on all the time"
The great debate rages: should you leave your computer on all the time? Well, anyone who knows anything will tell you "Yes." Leave your computer on all the time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 14 days a week on the planet Mars. The only time you should really turn a system off is when it will be unused for longer than a weekend.
Computers like being on all the time. You leave your refrigerator on all night or when you're away on trips, so why not the PC? It won't raise your electrical bill much, either.
The only thing you should be careful about is turning the monitor off when you're away from the computer. Switching the monitor off avoids the perils of phosphor burn-in, or what happens when a computer is left on too long and retains an image of Lotus 1-2-3 (or whatever you use a lot) on the screen -- even when the system is off. Turning off the monitor while you're away solves this problem.
- Screen-dimming programs (screen savers) can blank out your monitor after the PC has been idle for a given amount of time. Windows has one located in the Control Panel. From the Start menu, choose Settings-->Control Panel and then open the Display icon by double-clicking on it with the mouse. Click on the Screen Saver tab and do whatever is necessary there, which I don't have time to explain all here.
- If you do leave your computer on all the time, don't put it under a dust cover. The dust cover will give the computer its very own greenhouse effect and bring the temperatures inside the system way past the sweltering point and annoy Al Gore.
Resetting Your PC
Resetting your computer is a way to turn it off and on again without having to actually do that (and it's healthier for the PC than kicking the power cord out of the wall, despite the satisfying feeling that gives you). When you reset, you're restarting the computer while it's on.
You can reset in two ways: If your computer has a reset switch, you can push it. Ka-chinka! The computer stops whatever it's doing (or not doing) and starts all over again.
The reason for leaving your computer on, if you care to know
There are lots of interesting reasons why you should leave a computer on all the time. One is that the initial process of turning a computer on is a tremendous jolt to the system. It's often said that you subtract one day from the computer's life each time you switch the system off and then on. But who knows?
The truth is, leaving the computer on all the time keeps the temperature inside the box even. When you turn the system off, the electrical components cool. Turn the PC on again, and the components heat right back up. (The system's fan will keep them from getting too hot.) It's that temperature change from turning the system off and on that causes the damage. After a time, the solder joints become brittle, and they crack. That's when the real problems occur. By leaving your PC on all the time -- or just by minimizing the times you turn it off and on -- you can prolong its life.
An opposing school of thought claims that, although the preceding is true, leaving the computer on all the time wears down the bearings in your hard drive and causes the cooling fan to poop out prematurely. So be nice to your hard drive's packed bearings and turn the PC off once a day. Ack! You just can't win. (I leave all my computers on all the time, if you care to know.)
The second way to reset is to press the Ctrl, Alt, and Delete keys at the same time. You need to do this twice in a row in Windows, since Windows doesn't like you to press Ctrl+Alt+Delete, reasons for which I'll get into in the next section.
- Ctrl+Alt+Delete is known as the three-finger salute, or control-alt-delete.
- A reset is often called a warm boot. This is like a cold boot that has been sitting in front of the furnace all night.
- As with turning a computer off, you shouldn't reset while the disk drive light is on or while you are in an application (except when the program has flown south). Above all, do not reset to quit an application. Always quit your programs properly and wait until Windows tells you it's safe before you turn off the computer.
- Remember to remove any floppy disks from drive A before resetting. If you leave a disk in, the computer will try to start itself from that disk.
The proper way to reset in Windows 95
Windows 95 just won't let you press Ctrl+Alt+Delete to reset. The reason is probably because it's a bad idea to reset in the middle of something -- and Windows is always in the middle of something. So instead of being a reset command, Windows uses Ctrl+Alt+Delete to kill off programs that run amok.
If you press Ctrl+Alt+Delete in Windows 95, you'll see a Close Program dialog box, like the one shown in Figure 4-5. It's best not to mess with this dialog box, so click on the Cancel button or press the Esc key.
- Don't press Ctrl+Alt+Delete in Windows unless you want to kill off a program. And if you want to kill off a program, see Chapter 25, the section "Killing Off a Program Run Amok."
- If you really want to reset in Windows 95, you need to use the Shut Down command, as described in the section "Turning the Computer Off," earlier in this chapter. In the Shut Down dialog box, step 2, choose the second option,
Restart the computer.
- In the old version of Windows, Ctrl+Alt+Delete also killed off a program, but only the program you were currently using. This process was confusing for everyone, which is a good reason not to use Ctrl+Alt+Delete in the older version of Windows.
When to reset
Now the question arises: When should you reset? Obviously, anytime you're panicked. Personally, I only reset if the keyboard is totally locked up, and the program appears to have gone to the mall for some Mrs. Field's cookies and a soda. (Sometimes Ctrl+Alt+Delete doesn't work in these situations, so if you don't have a big reset button, you have to turn the computer off, wait, and then turn it on again.)
The only other time you really need to reset is just to start over. For example, I was experimenting with a program that made my keyboard click every time I pressed a key. There was no obvious way to turn off this annoying pestilence, so I reset.
Table of Contents
Que Hay de Nuevo en Esta Edicion? 1
Donde Empezar 2
Convenciones Utilizadas en Este Libro 3
Lo Que No Necesita Leer 4
Suposiciones Tontas 4
Iconos Usados en Este Libro 5
Contactar al Autor 5
Hacia Donde Ir Desde Aqui 6
Su Computadora No Va a Explotar 7
Una Introduccion Indolora a las Computadoras 9
Conceptos Sencillos de Computacion 10
Hardware y Software 13
La PC (Como en "PCs Para Dummies") 16
"Ah, Sobre Ese Tema de las Explosiones" 17
El Punto de Vista Nerd 19
Sabores de PC 19
Su Hardware Basico 20
Visita Guiada por la Consola 22
Instalacion de la PC 33
Desembalar las Cajas 33
Instale Primero la Consola 34
Manual de Instrucciones para Enchufar Cosas en la Consola 35
La Conexion Final: Energia 41
El Boton Mas Poderoso (Encendido) 47
Encender Su PC 48
Aqui Esta Windows! 50
Apagar la Computadora (Shutdown) 53
Boton de Poder, Cual Es Tu Funcion? 58
Deberia Dejar la Computadora Encendida Todo el Tiempo? 62
Normas de Windows 65
La Cara Sonriente de Windows 66
El Panel de Control 70
Control de Redes 71
Lugares para Sus Cosas 73
Ayuda de Windows 74
Las Tripas de la Computadora 75
Misterios de la Consola 77
Una Mirada al Interior de la Consola 77
La Madre de Todas las Placas 81
El Microprocesador No Es el Cerebro de la Computadora 81
Ranuras de Expansion 85
El Latido de la PC: Tic Tac 87
Sobre la Bateria de la PC 90
El Chipset o Circuito Integrado Auxiliar 90
La Fuente de Energia de la PC 91
Caja de Conectores Sorpresa 93
Es un Puerto, un Enchufe o Tan Solo un Orificio? 93
Alabado Sea el Puerto USB 94
El Puerto con Muchos Nombres, IEEE 98
Puertos Tradicionales 99
Almacenamiento Temporario (Memoria) 101
Por Que la Memoria? 101
Deliciosos Chips de Memoria de Chocolate 103
Un Byte por Aqui, un Byte por Alla, Bytes por Todas Partes 104
Algunas Preguntas y Respuestas Sobre la Memoria 106
Agregar Mas Memoria a Su PC 110
Tributo a Gilbert y Sullivan 112
Almacenamiento Permanente (Discos y Medios) 113
Almacenamiento Hasta el Fin 114
La unidad de Disco Duro 118
La Unidad de DVD 119
La Unidad de Discos Flexibles (Floppy Drive) 121
Tarjetas de Memoria 122
Almacenamiento Externo 125
ABC del Almacenamiento Permanente 126
Gloriosa Virtud Grafica 129
Las Cosas por Su Nombre 130
El Sistema de Graficos de la PC 130
Enamorese de Su Monitor 134
Windows y Su Monitor 136
Compinches de Entrada: Teclado y Mouse 145
Aprietele los Botones al Teclado 145
Controlar el Teclado en Windows 153
Actitud Apropiada para Digitar 154
Usted y el Mouse de Su PC Van de la Mano 155
Operaciones Basicas del Mouse 158
Jugar con el Mouse en Windows 159
Lo Que Importa Es la Impresora 163
Observar la Impresora 164
Configurar la Impresora 171
Windows y Su Impresora 171
Funcionamiento Basico de la Impresora 174
Suena Bien 179
Audio Audaz 179
Control de Audio en Windows 183
Windows Hace Ruido 186
Modems Poderosos 191
Que Hace un Modem? 191
Tipos de Modem 192
Instalar un Modem de Conexion Telefonica 196
Usar el Modem de Conexion Telefonica 198
Administracion Positiva de la Energia de Su PC 201
Que Es la Administracion de Energia? 201
Administracion de Energia en Windows 202
La Vida Es Digital 207
Hagase la Imagen 209
Trasladar Imagenes a la PC 209
Trabajar con Archivos Graficos 215
PC TV 223
Como Convertir una PC en una TV 223
Estan Dando Algo en la Tele! 225
Imagenes en Movimiento 233
El Oido Digital 237
Su PC Ahora es Su Estereo 237
La PC Puede Hablar y Escuchar 244
Redes e Internet 247
R de Redes 249
El Panorama General de la Red 249
Hardware de Redes 251
El Lado Software de la Red 254
Estuve Trabajando en la Red 261
Windows Forma la Red 262
La Red: Compartir y No Compartir 265
Dan, el Vaquero y Su Rodeo de Internet 271
Que Es Internet? 272
Como Acceder a Internet 272
Es una Red de Alcance Global Que Nosotros Mismos Tejemos 275
Llego el Correo! 278
Respuestas del Cuestionario 280
Mover Archivos con Total Libertad 281
Capturar Cosas de una Pagina Web 281
Software Proveniente de Internet 283
Tiene un Documento Adjunto en Su Correo! 286
Seguridad en Internet y Su PC 289
Villanos y Superheroes 289
Herramientas de Internet Explorer 291
El Centro de Seguridad de Windows 294
El Lado Soft de la Computacion 301
Archivos: La Clave para Entender el Software 303
Sabe Lo Que Es un Archivo? 303
Peguele un Nombre a Ese Archivo 307
Tipos de Archivos e Iconos 309
Crear Archivos 313
Organizar Su Compur-queria 317
La Historia de las Carpetas 317
Carpetas Famosas a Traves de la Historia 318
El Programa Explorador de Windows 323
Deje Que Haya Carpetas 324
El Cuadro de Dialogo Open 325
Control de Archivos 327
Trabajar con Grupos de Archivos 327
Archivos Aqui, Alla y Mas Alla 331
Encontrar Archivos Caprichosos 337
Software, Programas, Aplicaciones 339
Instalacion de Software 340
Ejecutar un Programa 342
Desinstalar Software 345
Actualizar y Mejorar el Software 347
Hacer Sus Propios Discos 349
Su Fabrica de Discos Personal 349
Su Propio Disco de Datos 352
Desechar un Disco 357
La Parte de los Diez 359
Los Diez Errores Comunes de un Principiante 361
No Cerrar Windows de Forma Correcta 361
Comprar Demasiado Software 362
Comprar Hardware Incompatible 362
No Comprar Suficientes Suministros 362
No Guardar Su Trabajo 363
No Hacer Copias de Seguridad de los Archivos 363
Abrir o Borrar Cosas Desconocidas 364
Tratar de Salvar al Mundo 364
Responder al Spam 365
Abrir un Programa Adjunto a un Correo Electronico 365
Diez Cosas Que Vale la Pena Comprar para Su PC 367
Almohadilla para Mouse y Descansa Munecas 367
Pantalla Antirreflejo 368
Protector para el Teclado 368
Mas Memoria 369
Un Disco Duro Mas Grande y Mas Rapido 369
Teclado Ergonomico 369
Una UPS 370
Escaner o Camara Digital 370
Reproductor de Musica Digital Portatil 371
Diez Consejos de un Guru de la PC 373
Recuerde Que Usted Controla a la Computadora 373
Tenga en Cuenta Que a los Fanaticos de la Computacion les Encanta Ayudar a los Principiantes 374
Use Software Antivirus 374
Entienda Que Actualizar el Software No Es una Necesidad Absoluta 375
No Reinstale Windows 375
Ajuste Perfectamente Su Monitor 376
Desconecte Su PC Cuando Actualice el Hardware 376
Suscribase a una Revista de Computacion 377
Evite el Despliegue Publicitario 377
No Lo Tome Tan en Serio 378