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Windows

Tech Tip #48: Quickly Switch Between Windows

As a working technology teacher, I get hundreds of questions from parents about their home computers, how to do stuff, how to solve problems. Each Tuesday, I’ll share one of those with you. They’re always brief and always focused. Enjoy!

Q: I’m copy-pasting between a Word doc and an Excel doc on my computer. I know how to do that, but here’s the problem: I have three Word docs open. I don’t want to close the other two because I’ll need them soon. It takes a lot of time to click down to the taskbar, bring up the Word group and find the correct Word doc. Is there an easier way?

A: Oh yes, Much easier. Use Alt+tab. That takes you to the last window you visited. If you’re toggling between two windows, this is the perfect solution. I use it a lot for grading and report cards.

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Tech Tip #45: Your Screen Upside Down?

As a working technology teacher, I get hundreds of questions from parents about their home computers, how to do stuff, how to solve problems. Each Tuesday, I’ll share one of those with you. They’re always brief and always focused. Enjoy!

Q: My screen is sideways 90 degrees. How do I fix that?

A: If you ever needed this, you’re going to be blessing me. If you’ve never faced that off-kilter screen, you’re going to wonder why I’d post this tip.

Of course, I’ve faced it–I run a tech lab and there are always those pesky prodigies who want to outsmart me. They know if they push Ctrl+Alt+(down arrow), it’ll turn the screen upside down. The first time it happened, I was at a loss. That’s when a different pesky prodigy told me how to fix it:

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Tech Tip #40: Where Did Windows Explorer Go?

As a working technology teacher, I get hundreds of questions from parents about their home computers, how to do stuff, how to solve problems. Each Tuesday, I’ll share one of those with you. They’re always brief and always focused. Enjoy!

Q: I have Windows 7 and I can’t find Explorer anymore. Where did it go?

A: Right click on the start button and select ‘Explore’.

DOS is a lot harder to find. Type ‘command prompt’ into the search field and it’ll pop up.

I still miss DOS…

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Tech Tip #38: My Desktop Icons Are All Different

As a working technology teacher, I get hundreds of questions from parents about their home computers, how to do stuff, how to solve problems. Each Tuesday, I’ll share one of those with you. They’re always brief and always focused. Enjoy!

Q: My desktop icons (those little pictures that allow you to open a program) are all different. What happened?

A: I get this question a lot. Push the start button and check who the log in is. That’s the name at the top of the right-hand side of the start menu. It should have your log-in name. Any other, log out and log in as yourself and the world will tilt back to normal.

This happens a lot in my lab because I have separate log-ins for different grades. Students being students often forget to log out. I teach even the youngers how to check for this problem and solve it.

Truth be known, lots of adults have this problem, also. They’re used to sitting down at a computer they share only with themselves. When tech comes and does something on it–say, fixes a problem–and they don’t log out, my teachers are also lost

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Tech Tip #33: My Desktop Icons are Messed Up

As a working technology teacher, I get hundreds of questions from parents about their home computers, how to do stuff, how to solve problems. Each Tuesday, I’ll share one of those with you. They’re always brief and always focused. Enjoy!

Q: I have several kids/students who share the same computer. Kids being kids loving moving the icons around on the desktop. Sometimes they create the first letter of their name in icons. It’s cute, but makes it difficult for the next student to find the shortcut they need. What’s the best way to handle this?

A:  I’ve tried everything. Refusing to allow them to play doesn’t work and asking them to undo their play at the end of their time doesn’t either. The best solution is to teach all students how to organize their desktop:

  • Right click on the desktop
  • Select ‘arrange icons’
  • If you’re in Win &, pick ‘sort by’ and ‘type

This can be part of their start-up maintenance when they sit down to begin their class. They’ve learned a new skill. They feel empowered to solve their own problems. Life is good.

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Tech Tip #32: My Taskbar Got Moved to the Side

As a working technology teacher, I get hundreds of questions from parents about their home computers, how to do stuff, how to solve problems. Each Tuesday, I’ll share one of those with you. They’re always brief and always focused. Enjoy!

Q: The taskbar at the bottom of my screen got moved. I liked it at the bottom. How do I move it back?

A: It’s easy to move, intended to move. Click on the bar and drag it back to the bottom. If you don’t want it to move (maybe you have precocious children), right click on the taskbar and click on ‘lock taskbar’.

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Tech Tip #105: Create Shortkeys for any Windows Tool

As a working technology teacher, I get hundreds of questions from parents about their home computers, how to do stuff, how to solve problems. Each Tuesday, I’ll share one of those with you. They’re always brief and always focused. Enjoy!

Q: I love the Windows snipping tool, but it takes too long to get to. Is there a shortkey for it?

A: Oddly, there isn’t, which is why I’ve never used it. I want a screen capture that’s instantaneous. Jing is even too slow for me (though I tolerate it because of all its very cool annotations.

Then I discovered how to create a shortkey for it:

  • Go to Start–accessories
  • Right click on ‘snipping tool’
  • Select ‘properties’
  • Click in ‘shortcut’ (I never knew that field was there. Maybe they added it with Win 7)
  • Push the key combination you want to use to invoke the snipping tool. In my case, I used Ctrl+Alt+S
  • Save

Now all I have to do is remember the shortkey!

BTW, this works for any tool.

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Tech Tip #27: My Taskbar Disappeared

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As a working technology teacher, I get hundreds of questions from parents about their home computers, how to do stuff, how to solve problems. Each Tuesday, I’ll share one of those with you. They’re always brief and always focused. Enjoy!

Q: My taskbar disappeared. What do I do?

A: Push the flying windows key (it’s located between Ctrl and Alt on the bottom left of your keyboard). That brings up the start button

It might have disappeared because its properties got reset to Autohide. Here’s what you do to fix that:

  • Hover over the area where the toolbar normally lives.
  • If it appears, right click on it and select Properties
  • Go to the tab that says Taskbar
  • Make sure the box that says Autohide toolbar isn’t checked.

What if the toolbar doesn’t appear when you hover over it? That means it got minimized to the bottom edge of your screen. Here’s what you do:

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Tech Tip #14: Did Your Desktop Icons Disappear?

As a working technology teacher, I get hundreds of questions from parents about their home computers, how to do stuff, how to solve problems. Each Tuesday, I’ll share one of those with you. They’re always brief and always focused. Enjoy!

Q: My desktop icons disappeared for no known reason. What do I do?

A: This is a question I get from parents more often than you’d think. One moment, they’re all there, lined up like little soldiers. The next, they’re gone.

Here’s what works about 80% of the time:

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Tech Tip #5: What to do When Your Taskbar Disappears

As a working technology teacher, I get hundreds of questions from parents about their home computers, how to do stuff, how to solve problems. Each Tuesday, I’ll share one of those with you. They’re always brief and always focused. Enjoy!

Q: Some programs hide the taskbar when they open (especially for young children–like KidPix). How do I access other programs without closing down the one I’m working on?

A: Push the Flying Windows key (it’s between Ctrl and Alt). That brings up the start menu as well as exposing the taskbar. Now, you can access open programs on the taskbar and/or new programs from the start menu.

Questions you want answered? Click this link, then fill out the form toward the bottom of the page.

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