by David Gracey
Since we last visited Cynthia’s Corner, I’ve had several requests for technical support from my Mother-in-Law. This week most of the questions are around Windows desktop settings and making the computer “do what you tell it to do.”
Punching buttons: I’ve learned over the years that many people in the real world don’t use the same language that we IT nerds use. One I hear a lot is “punching buttons”. I’ve also heard of some folks “mashing” buttons. That seems to be a Southern thing. When someone “punches or mashes” buttons, this usually means they are either pressing a key on the keyboard or clicking a button on the mouse. When you’re talking to a tech support representative, it’s helpful for him/her to know if you are single-clicking or double-clicking and if you click the right or left mouse button. Also, it is only necessary to single-click the small icons at the bottom of your screen to launch the application (“start the program”). If you double-click them, it can open two instances of the same program which can create havoc. Remember, IT folks want to help solve your problem. The more of their words you use correctly, the quicker your problem will get solved.
Missing Mountains: Everyone knows that the desktop background on your Windows computer can be customized with a standard image or a personalized photo (people just LOVE photos on their desktops). You simply right-click anywhere on the desktop (not on top of an icon) and choose “Personalize.” This is where all the picture and screen saver settings are located. You can easily change them here. Cynthia called me in a panic recently and said “the mountain went away and it’s all white now.” Fortunately I’m used to such panic-laden questions and reassured her that all would be fine. I learned that somehow something (I still don’t know what) had changed her background from the pretty mountain scene to a basic white backdrop. Who knows, maybe it was snow. But in a few clicks, her mountain was back and there was peace in the world.
Email is Gone: Most home computer users have some sort of free email account that came with their Internet service provider such as Comcast or BellSouth or the use 3rd party services such as Hotmail or Gmail. Either way, almost everyone uses Outlook to manage their email. There are many different views and formatting Outlook that change how the email is sorted and how much detail is revealed. All of us have our preferences and when the view changes, we panic. I’m no exception. I panic, too. The difference is that I’ve done this enough to where I’m able to get myself out of the ditch. Cynthia isn’t so fortunate. She needs help getting out of the ditch occasionally and I’m glad to help. Recently she changed the view in her Outlook simply by clicking on an email folder. This collapsed the tree of folders into a single folder and hid the sub-folders underneath. Clicking on the little triangle next to the folder revealed the subfolders and all was well in the universe.