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Archive for the 'Windows Skills' Category

Preventing cat-like typing

I was assisting in one of our online workshops from home recently. After my cat’s morning nap, he decided to join me. My laptop had been on for quite some time and was warm. So Bailey, of course, decided that was where he wanted to sit.

When I am working from home, I have a monitor, keyboard and mouse attached to the laptop, so I didn’t really mind that he was sitting on it. However, the laptop keyboard still was active, so the folks attending the workshop saw something like this:

Chat window from Connect with several messages of random characters that were entered by cat sitting on a laptops keyboard.




Luckily he didn’t hit manage to step on enter again after he proceeded to type in an entire paragraph of c’s.

So what can you do about this?

Read the rest of “Preventing cat-like typing” »

Rename a file without going nuts

F2 keyI’ve always appreciated the ability to open a list of files in Explorer (that is, just a regular window, or even on the desktop itself), single click on a file name, wait a sec, and then single click again to be able to quickly and easily rename a file. I think I discovered this by accident, early in my GUI experiences with PCs, which made me feel quite clever!

However, I’ve found that my mouse skills are not always up to the job, or more precisely, that I’m not always patient enough to wait that extra beat between selecting the file the first time, and the clicking the second time to edit the file name. If I click the second time too fast, what happens? Why, my oh-so-helpful computer assumes I was double clicking (albeit a bit slower that usual), and happily opens the file for me. Noooo! I didn’t want to open it, I wanted to rename it!  (Could I just use “Save as” in the application it opened in, and give it the new file name? Sure, but then I’ll have two copies of the file, and now I have to go back and delete the one with the old name. Boo.)

In the course of teaching some of our Excel workshops, I learned that the function key F2 can be used after selecting a cell to enable editing. Since you can also use the click-once-pause-click-once-more to edit the contents of the cell, I wondered if that would work for renaming a file. Turns out, it does! Read the rest of “Rename a file without going nuts” »

Happy Birthday Windows 95!

While the Microsoft spotlight is squarely on Windows 10 and its release, let’s pause for a moment and wish Windows 95 a happy 20th birthday! While many of us cannot live without the today, Windows 95 was the first Microsoft operating system to use the task bar and start menu. If you’ve got an hour, check out this Windows 95 introduction, starring Jennifer Aniston and Matthew Perry.

Things have come a long way in the last 20 years!

Switch Your Mouse to the Left Side

Mouse iconAs a rule, a user’s mouse hand is determined by the hand with which they write. Right-handed users position the mouse to the right of the keyboard while left-handed users might choose to position the mouse to the left of the keyboard. Some left-handed users choose to acclimate themselves to the mouse on the right side (especially if they share their computer with a right-handed user); others that are right-handed choose to switch to using their left hand to alleviate repetitive stress injuries in their right hand or wrist.

If you decide to switch your mouse to the left, you may want to consider altering the mouse button assignments – some people just find it more natural to have the “left” click action, or primary mouse button, always controlled by the index finger, and the “right” click action, or secondary mouse button, controlled by the middle finger.

If you do want to reverse the function of the mouse buttons, the switch is quite easy in Windows 8.1. Read the rest of “Switch Your Mouse to the Left Side” »

Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate: A Learning Path

Learning paths road sign.I am interested in becoming a network or computer systems administrator, a computer network specialist, or a Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA). Does IT Training provide coursework that would help me reach this goal?

Earning an MCSA: Windows Server 2012 certification qualifies you for a position as a systems administrator or computer network specialist, and it is the first step on your path to becoming a Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA). The MCSA: Windows Server 2012 certification is intended for information technology Professionals who have knowledge and experience working with Windows operating systems and who want to acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to install and perform the initial configuration of a Windows Server 2012 or Windows Server 2012 R2 server in an existing Windows server environment.

There are currently 2 different paths that you can take to earn this certification.

Read the rest of “Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate: A Learning Path” »

Do you know someone who needs to learn to use a computer?

For those new to computing or unsure of the depth of their knowledge, Windows: Basic Computing Skills introduces basic computing terminology and concepts while showing participants how to perform basic tasks in Windows such as word processing, graphic manipulation, and surfing the Web.

This sessions will be offered at no cost to faculty, staff and students AND the general public. Anyone may attend!Computer

This workshop will be offered:
IUB Wells Library W144
1320 E 10th Street
Saturday, January 24

For more information and to register, go to: or call 317-274-2537

Take a break with Big Stretch Reminder for PC or Dejal Time Out for Mac

image of aerobic-dancer

Do you sit at a computer screen all day? Does this cause repetitive stress syndrome, eye strain, or mobility problems? You can combat these problems by using several free or inexpensive software applications that urge you to take breaks. You can configure them to do many things, including darkening your screen and halting your work until you tell it to postpone or skip the break.

I work on both PC and Mac, and my favorites for each platform are both free: Big Stretch Reminder for PC, and Dejal Time Out for Mac. Both of them can gently remind you to take a break on a regular basis, and are quite customizable.



Big Stretch Reminder (PC):

With Big Stretch Reminder, you can configure the time between breaks, the length of the breaks, or the time of the break. You can create your own custom reminder and choose how to be reminded, from a gentle reminder to an intrusive work stoppage. It will allow you to postpone or skip the break. There are reminders in the form of dialog boxes and audio alerts, all customizable. See

Dejal Time Out (Mac)

Time Out lets you configure two kinds of breaks: a longer break to move, stretch and relax, plus a “Micro” break which is a very brief pause of a few seconds every few minutes. You can set how long each kind of break lasts and how long between. Time outs are announced by slowly dimming the screen. You can even run an Automator workflow, AppleScript, Python script, or application at the start and/or end of each break. This would allow you to listen to music or play a video, for example, during the break. When the break is finished, the screen resumes. You can pause or skip each break. See


Comparing two folders in Windows

Have you been in the situation where you have two folders that are almost exactly identical, and you want to know the difference between the two folders? Maybe you want to compare the System32 folder of one computer with that of another, to make sure they both have the same drivers. Checking for differences between folders in Windows is pretty simple, but is a bit hidden from plain view.

For the sake of this tutorial, consider that we FolderA and FolderB, both on the Desktop, and we want to see the difference in the folders’ contents. To do this, we will make use of the Windows Command Processor, which is also known as the Command Prompt.

Read the rest of “Comparing two folders in Windows” »

What Is That Keyboard Shortcut Again?

Do you struggle to remember keyboard shortcuts? Do you tack up sticky notes with Ctrl and Alt symbols everywhere? Instead, you can go directly to, the one-stop shortcut place. is an open, wiki-style Reference Database that contains Keyboard Shortcuts for hundreds of applications– in Windows, Mac, Linus, and web applications. Boost your productivity and save yourself time. 

Windows 7: The Least You Should Know About Keyboard Shortcuts

Are you stuck in a world dominated by a mouse and clicking around a screen? Have you ever wanted to be more of a “Keyboard Junkie?”

Today, I’m going to introduce you to several keyboard shortcuts that will make your life easier while working in Windows. These keyboard shortcuts are tricks that I have been trying to pass along to participants in my workshops over the years, but now they’re written down in one place for easy reference.

I’m not going to be discussing specific applications, but rather universal shortcuts. I’ve also included some web browser short cuts toward the end that will make your life easier.

Let’s start by taking a tour of the common keys that will be used throughout this post:

Labeled Keyboard

Above, you’ll see several keys pointed out and numbered. The numbers correspond with the list below.

  1. Escape (Esc)
  2. Function Keys (F#)
  3. Tab
  4. Control (Ctrl)
  5. Windows Key (Win)
  6. Alt
  7. Home Group
  8. Arrow Keys
  9. Option Menu
  10. Shift

The only keys that are discussed in this post that are not labeled on the above image are the letter keys.

Read the rest of “Windows 7: The Least You Should Know About Keyboard Shortcuts” »

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