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Planning Retirement Online

You can do IT in laterlife 

July 2011

Getting the most from your computerYou can do IT is a regular feature of aimed at trying to help laterlife visitors make the most of Information Technology on or off the web. 

Jackie Sherman who runs the You can do IT Question & Answer section is an IT trainer and author. Jackie has spent her career in education and specialises in teaching IT to adults. Her courses for adults include such topics as MS Office, the Internet, e-mail and basic web page authoring.

Jackie has also written the books shown here - you can find more details about these by clicking on the cover images above. Jackie has also been running a course specifically for over 50s. 

Every day computer activitiesVia Jackie aims to particularly help those new to IT and the web to build up knowledge and confidence, so no question is too basic. At the same time she will cover Q&As for the more experienced user. 

So if you would like to ask a question of Jackie, why not email her 

Or if you have discovered something which may be of interest to others in making the most of the web, then she would love to hear about that too..

View previous editions of YoucandoIT for more useful Questions and Answers


July 2011

Minimising Open Programmes Quickly

Q: When I have several programs open and want to go to a different one, it takes ages to minimise all the "layers" before I get back to the desktop. Is there a quick way to do this?

A: If you are using a Windows machine, you may still have the "Show Desktop" button on your bottom task bar (it is the left hand button in the picture below). Just click it and all open windows will be minimised. You will be back on your desktop and can open your target program quickly.

show desktop

If you cannot see the button, there are several other ways to get to the desktop quickly:

• Right click your task bar and select Show the Desktop

show desktop


• Hold down the Windows logo key (on my keyboard, it is next to the left hand Ctrl button) and press the letter D key.



Q: I often send pictures by email. Sometimes I have the chance to reduce them in size but at other times this choice is not offered. How can I make sure I always get asked if I want to send smaller versions?

A: The way to get the message is to locate the picture file on your desktop. Right click and select Send To – Mail Recipient. You then see the picture below and can click to reduce the picture size.

send picture by email

If you start with the email and try to attach a picture, it doesn't seem to go through the same process and so you will only send pictures at the original size, which can be very large.


Exceeding your Download Limit

Q: I am getting into a lot of trouble downloading too many GB when using my broadband service. There is a cap on my provision and if I go over it, I have to pay extra or they limit the speed. What can I do?

A: Amazingly, the spread of broadband across the country, and increased sophistication in technology has NOT freed us all up to surf the net, watch BBC iPlayer or listen to music at a cheap rate. Nearly all the broadband providers now either clearly state there is a cap (e.g. 20- 40GB) OR they pretend they offer 'unlimited' broadband but stick to a rigid "fair usage policy" which may be ridiculously low. For example, I recently saw on a forum that Orange limits users to 5GB a MONTH at peak times (6pm – midnight) which is clearly nothing like unlimited.

It is very hard to do much if you are just behaving in a reasonable fashion, and not downloading huge films or games all the time. All I can suggest, apart from trying to download anything large at off-peak times (midnight – 8am) is to download a free Broadband Monitor. One example is the Broadband Choices Download Monitor from

Set it to warn you when you near your cap during each month and keep it running in the background. Check each day to see how you are doing. It may be that you start to get an idea of where and what you are doing that is using too many GB and you may be able to curb particular activities.

downloads summary

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The above article is part of the features section of called laterlife interest. laterlife interest contains a variety of articles of interest for visitors to written by a number of experienced and new journalists.

It includes both one off articles and also associated regular columns of a more specialist nature such as Healthwise, Gardener's Diary, our regular IT question and answer section called YoucandoIT and there's also 'It could be you' by Maggi Stamp laterlife's counsellor on human relationships. 

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