Listen carefully readers, this is a test! When are you ready to move on to Intermediate and Advanced level computing subjects? Here are some of the fundamental tasks that I think you should be able to do proficiently before you move to intermediate level computing.
Start with your Desktop. What are all the icons for, how did they get there and how do you change them to suit yourself? What is the Task bar, how many parts are there to it and how do you customize it to your needs? Same questions apply to your Start Menu. Note: the answers to these questions differ from Windows XP to Vista to Win 7 and you may find yourself in a challenging transition with more than one of these operating systems in your home or office.
Can you set up a file system and file and retrieve documents to it specifying where they go, what they are named and in what format they are filed? Can you move or copy them from one folder to another and change their names in the process. How about from one drive to another; C Drive to Thumb drive for example? This paragraph falls under what I call “Filing and Navigating” and is probably the weakest skill among users who consider themselves proficient. You should be comfortable navigating to all the storage spaces in “My Computer” and to all folders in “My Documents”.
Can you set up an email client and send/receive messages that include attachments? Can you save an attached file into your files and retrieve it later for reviewing or transmitting to someone else?
Can you download a picture from your camera, name it and store it in a chosen format in a specified place on your hard drive?
Can you download an application from a given Website, store it in a download folder and then install it to your PC so that you can run the application from a short cut either in the Program Files or on your desktop?
Can you create a document in a word processor, save it to a chosen folder and then retrieve it and send to a friend via email attachment? Can you Cut and Paste back and forth from a word processor doc to email?
Can you access Windows Updates and manually run all the high-priority or important ones? Do you know what it means to update your Anti-Virus Software and how to do it manually? Can you access your control panel and find the Security Center to see if basic security requirements are being met. Do you know how to delete all the temporary Internet files and junk that slowly but surely accumulate and eventually bog your system down? This whole paragraph refers to what I call PC maintenance and security. Remember, on your home PC, you are the IT guy, or you need to designate someone who will be your IT guy.
Do you manage your Recycle Bin and keep your email mail folders current?
If your answer to any of these questions is no, drop back and learn that basic skill. These skills make it possible for you to assimilate new tasks and technologies with ease.