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You can do IT in laterlife 


You 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 several books - you can find more details about these by clicking here. Jackie has also been running a course specifically for over 50s.

Via 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

October 2013

Removing unwanted toolbars; Finding operating system information; Sound settings; Hardware Vs. Software; Finding downloaded files

Q:  My computer is quite slow and my start-up screen is often very cluttered with toolbars I don't even remember installing.  How can I remove unwanted stuff?

A:  You often find that when you install new programs from the Web they include toolbars and extra programs that sneakily appear without you positively choosing to download them.  All you need do is, now and again, look in a number of places to see what is on your computer and – where necessary – uninstall these unwanted items.

Look at:

  • Add or Remove Programs after opening your Control Panel.  Any programs you rarely or never use and don't want, just click Change/Remove and have them uninstalled.
  • Start – All Programs.  You often find an "uninstall" option as part of a suite of programs attached to anything from a printer to a pdf reader or game.  Again, click to run the uninstall program.
  • Toolbars – if you right click an empty part of any toolbar, you can see a list of all toolbars open on your computer.   If you don't want them, just click to take off the tick. 
  • Browser Tools - Add-ons.  Open your browser and select this option from the Tools menu to see these and any plugs have been activated or added.  Either click to inactivate or remove unwanted software.  Plug-ins are normally updates of common tools such as PDF readers or Java, and Add-ons are any programs like phone apps that offer services e.g. cheap price-finders,  password savers, security features, search engines etc.

Q:  I had a problem with a computer and the person on the phone asked about my operating system.  Where do I find this sort of information?

A:  If you right click the icon you will have on your desktop or Start menu labelled My Computer, you will be offered a list of options.  Click the bottom one, Properties and it will open a window in which you will see your System Properties.  You can also go to Start – All Programs – Accessories – System – System Information.   The term OS stands for operating system and this will show you e.g. if you have a Windows or Mac system, and what type it is e.g. Windows XP Home Edition

Q:  I have a laptop that works perfectly well except I cannot get any sound.  What do you think the problem might be?

A:  A simple answer is that you have not turned the sound on.  Sounds silly, but we've all done it.  Feel down the side and you will probably find a rolling or toggle button.  If you roll that forwards while you are trying to listen to an audio CD or sound on a website you will soon find if that is the answer.

Q:  How can you tell if a computer problem is hardware or software related?

A:  One simple way is to try to run your computer in Safe Mode.  Start it up, keep pressing F8 and select this option.  If the computer works, the problem is probably software.  If it won't work, it is more likely to be hardware.

Q:  I can never find programs I download from the Web.  Where do they go?

A:  You can set the folder in which to store downloads from your browser window.  If you go to Tools – Options and check on the General tab in Firefox, for example, you will see two radio buttons under Downloads.  Either set the system to always ask for a location or click the button labelled Save files to: and then click in the box and select the preferred location for all your downloaded files and programs.  From now on you should be able to find them easily.

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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.

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