How to Learn Basics of Computing as a Newbie?

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elderly-computersThis is the age of computing when everything from banking to railway ticket booking is done online. Now is the time when more than ever you need to learn computing. We assume, since you are already reading this, you need a reliable no-fuss-type guidance on how to learn the basics of computing as a novice for yourself or for someone you know. We aim towards helping you out in as simple manner as possible.

Read on to first know what defines being a “computer literate” and then continue to some tips to help you along the way to mastering the world of “qwerty” and “dot coms”.

What Skills entitle you to be a Computer Literate?

We mean which skills you absolutely must have to be considered as a computer literate. We believe you should know these skills and try your best to use them as they make life far easier when it comes to doing basic things as a video call in Skype or making an immaculate report in Microsoft Word.

1: Search Engines

Using a search engine is the very first thing you should want to learn and master. Using top search engines like Google can cater to your everyday knowledge needs. You can use them to get instant information about anything you need. Plus, learning the advanced search and Boolean operators arms you to use your computer as a powerful research machine.

2: Word Processing

Word processing is perhaps the oldest uses for a computer. One cannot claim to be a computer literate if he or she is not comfortable with basic functions of word processing like spell check, table creation and working with add-ons.

3: Spreadsheets

People were more than willing to buy personal computers (PCs) in the 1980s just for the utility of spreadsheets. Spreadsheets offer powerful analysis options. Spreadsheets are not just grids of numbers but valuable and actionable data if its resources like formulas, references and macros are made use of. So, take time to learn spreadsheets. It would surely help in making everyday calculations and data maintenance much easy

4: Browser basics

Newcomers to computing may find working with applications inside an operating system out-of-the-world. For example, a basic thing like a web browser that is used to access or visit websites can be already overwhelming to elderly people. It can be difficult for someone with limited or zero experience with computers to sail through the vast ocean of computing. We understand this. Therefore, we suggest you to first learn to use the basics of using a web browser and then go on to master advanced techniques like using bookmarks, clearing the browser cache and understanding common error messages in due course of time.

5: Virus/Malware Scanning

It is necessary to know how to check a system (by “system”, we mean a computer system) for nasty bugs, spyware, malware and other harmful applications. Scanning tools have real-time monitors, but sometimes a virus or two may infiltrate the system before the scanner (e.g., anti-virus) has the right filter for it. You should then learn how to make a manual virus or malware scan, how to spot signs of an infection and other complex techniques.

6: Common Keyboard Shortcuts

It is said that if you do not know how to copy/paste without a mouse, you are not computer literate. All operating systems have some universal keyboard commands and learning these commands goes a long way in making you feel smooth cruising experience with your use of computer.

7: Basic Hardware Terminology

Knowing basic hardware terminology is a pre-requisite if you want to be a savvy user.

8: Simple Networking Diagnosis

The most common trouble with most computers is often in networking. You should know how to determine your IP address and verify physical or logical connectivity to the network.

9: Setting up a Computer

We know that all the color coding of connections can seem too complicated and people sometimes just can’t hook up a computer. Being computer literate, you should be a master in setting your PC up and turning it on without any help.

10: Security/Privacy

It is urgent for you to learn how to protect yourself from attackers on the Internet and keep your personal data private. If you lack the skill of keeping yourself safe online, you need to learn how.

Tips to Master the World of Computing

We shall get down to the point directly, without any “fuss”. We wish you an eye-opening journey to the world of learning computer basics for beginners with these seven tips:

1. Visit websites like, and to learn computing online. Also check out this link for Wikibooks:

2. Learn computer basics through tutorial for beginners for free in and other video blogs. There are countless computer tutorials for beginners available online, which can help you learn computing like a breeze

3. We have shortlisted five “easy-to-use guide” books that can help you with the basics and assume no prior knowledge of computers. Grab these books at your local bookstore or order online in Amazon. Here they go:

  • “PCs For Dummies” by Dan Gookin
  • “Computers For Seniors For Dummies” by Nancy C. Muir
  • “Troubleshooting and Maintaining Your PC All-in-One For Dummies” by Dan Gookin
  • “Laptops For Dummies” by Dan Gookin
  • “The Internet For Dummies” by John R. Levine & Margaret Levine Young

4.There are free and inexpensive software apps like Eldy ( and Maavis ( that are primarily designed for people who are either unsure of computers or unable to use them without adaptation. Make use of them.

5. If you are above 50 years of age and are in the United States then you can also contact support resources like SeniorNet that has learning centers all over the United States for those who are interested to learn computing.

6. Microsoft Windows is quite easier to use and intuitive. There is no plausible reason to split from the flock and try other different operating systems, if you are a beginner.

7. Use search engines as much as possible. Use them for anything and everything. It widens your horizon of knowledge as any information can be a few clicks and taps away. Start with Google search (type and then write and find information you need) and gradually you can proceed to using other search engines.

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