Laptops For Seniors For Dummies

Laptops For Seniors For Dummies

by Nancy C. Muir


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Get the most out of your laptop or tablet PC

Laptops For Seniors For Dummies makes it easier than ever for the 50+ set to enjoy a laptop or tablet PC by taking the intimidation out of working with a new device. Featuring larger text and images, this bestseller empowers you to keep up with your kids or grandkids with all the latest and greatest that technology has to offer.

Assuming no prior knowledge, this accessible guide starts from the beginning by helping you select the right laptop or tablet for your needs, shows how the various parts connect together, and illustrates how to use the keyboard and mouse. Once you've chosen your device and mastered the basics, this book will help you navigate your way around the Windows 10 operating system, show you how to use the touchscreen capabilities, and so much more. In no time at all, you'll wonder why you hadn't bought a laptop sooner!
  • Keep in touch with family and friends through email and social networking sites
  • Get on the internet to shop and browse your favorite sites
  • Ensure your information is safe online
  • Use the latest applications for work and play

Everything you love about your desktop computer can be conveniently taken on the go with a laptop. Laptops For Seniors For Dummies will help you have fun and feel successful with your new device.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781119420262
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 10/23/2017
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 111,105
Product dimensions: 7.40(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Nancy C. Muir is the owner of a writing and consulting company that specializes in business and technology topics. She is the author of more than 100 books, and she has taught technology courses online.

Read an Excerpt

Laptops For Seniors For Dummies

By Nancy C. Muir

John Wiley & Sons

Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-118-71105-7


Discovering the Laptop Advantage

Get ready to ...

* Understand the Difference
between a Desktop and
Laptop 10

* Understand Different
Types of Laptops 12

* Explore All You Can Do
with Your Laptop 14

* Appreciate the Portability
Factor 18

Laptop computers started as very expensive options for those who travelled for business and were willing to carry almost ten pounds of machine to be able to use a computer on the road.

Move forward in time, and you'll find that laptops have become a much more affordable, portable, and ubiquitous option that many are choosing as their only computer, whether they travel much or not. If you're thinking about joining the laptop revolution, it's time you understand the advantages a laptop can offer.

In this chapter, I introduce you to the key differences between a desktop computer and a laptop, the computing opportunities your laptop offers, and the different styles of laptops available.

Understand the Difference between a Desktop and Laptop

The fact is that when it comes to performing computing tasks, a desktop and laptop are pretty much identical. They both have an operating system such as Windows 8.1 or Mac OS X. They both contain a hard drive where you store data and computer chips that process data, and they both run software and access the Internet.

Where a desktop and laptop differ is their physical appearance, size, and weight. Here's a rundown of the key differences:

* Appearance: A desktop computer is typically encased in a tower, into which you plug a separate monitor, keyboard, and mouse. (Some newer models have the brains of the computer incorporated into a monitor base.) A laptop has all its parts in one unit, as shown in Figure 1-1. The central processing unit (CPU) — chips, monitor, keyboard, and touchpad (a laptop version of a mouse) — all fit in one compact package that includes slots called ports for plugging in other devices (called peripherals), such as a little toggle that acts as a transmitter for a wireless mouse or printer.

* Power source: A laptop contains a battery that you charge by plugging it into a wall outlet. You can run the laptop off of a charged battery or plug the laptop into a wall outlet so battery charge isn't a concern.

* Portability: Having a battery and coming in a more compact package makes a laptop more portable (although some larger models are a bit hefty to tote around); a desktop stays put on a desktop as a rule.

* Extras: Very small laptops might not include a CD/ DVD drive and therefore require an external drive, like the one shown in Figure 1-2, to be attached.

Understand Different Types of Laptops

Today, there are several types of laptop that vary by size and weight, functionality, and the way you enter information into them. Here are some options available to you:

* The garden-variety laptop (also referred to as a notebook computer) runs around 5–8 pounds and has a monitor size ranging from about 13 inches to 16 or so. It's portable and can handle most computing tasks. Multimedia/gaming laptops are laptops that have more sophisticated graphics and sound cards.

* Desktop replacements are laptops with more heft. They might weigh more than 10 pounds and have larger monitors (perhaps as big as 20 inches). Their keyboards are roomier as well. However, although they aren't too difficult to move around your home, they aren't meant to be as portable as other types of laptops.

* Ultrabooks are thinner, lightweight laptops that have lower-power processors for longer battery life. Whereas laptops usually weigh in at about 4 to 7 pounds, ultrabooks (see Figure 1-3) weigh a mere 3 pounds or so and their screens come in at around 12 to 15 inches. Of course, their light weight has tradeoffs, mainly in the form of a smaller keyboard, no DVD drive, and a heftier price point.

You may be wondering about netbooks, very small, inexpensive laptops that came out around 2007. Netbooks had less powerful processors than most laptops and very small keyboards. By 2009, netbooks had grown to become essentially small laptops, using the Windows 7 Starter operating system (still a bit limited compared to the full Windows 7). Netbooks are still around, but have pretty much been upstaged by ultrabooks and by tablet computers such as iPad or Microsoft's Surface that provide the same functionality in an even sleeker package at a similar price.

Many people own both a laptop and a tablet. If you decide to buy a tablet and choose an iPad, you might want to check out my book iPad For Seniors For Dummies, 5th Edition (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.).

Explore All You Can Do with Your Laptop

Your laptop is a computer in a smaller package, so you can perform all the typical computing tasks with it. If you've never owned a computer of any type, your laptop purchase will open up a world of activities.

Even if you're buying your laptop just to do e-mail (I hear this a lot from seniors!), do yourself a favor and explore a few other computing tasks that your laptop will allow you to do, such as these:

* Run software programs to accomplish everyday tasks. Utilize word processors to write letters or create flyers, spreadsheet software to organize your finances or household inventory, or photo-imaging software to work with your snapshots.

* Work with financial activities. From storing your checkbook and credit card records to doing your taxes, a computer can help you gain control over your finances. You can manage your investing, pay bills, and do your banking. Performing financial activities online can be very safe if you know the ins and outs of staying safe online (described in Chapter 21), and working online can be incredibly convenient, with your accounts available 24/7.

* Keep in touch with friends and family. The Internet makes it possible to communicate with other people via e-mail; share video images using webcams (tiny, inexpensive video cameras that capture and send your images to another computer); and make phone calls using a technology called VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) that uses your laptop and Internet connection to place calls. You can also chat with others by typing and sending messages using a technology called instant messaging. These messages are exchanged in real time so that you and your grandchild, for example, can see and reply to text immediately. Part IV of this book explains these topics in more detail.

* Research any topic from the comfort of your home. Online, you can find many reputable websites that give you information on anything from expert medical advice to the best travel deals. You can read news from around the corner or around the world. You can visit government websites to find out information about your taxes, Social Security, and more, or even go to entertainment sites to look up your local television listings.

* Create greeting cards, letters, or home inventories. Whether you're organizing your holiday card list or figuring out a monthly budget, computer programs can help. For example, Figure 1-4 shows the Hallmark greeting card site with lots of options for creating electronic cards to send to your friends' e-mail inboxes.

* Pursue hobbies such as genealogy or sports. You can research your favorite teams online or connect with people who have the same interests. The online world is full of special-interest chat groups where you can discuss your interests with others.

* Play interactive games with others over the Internet. You can play everything from shuffleboard to poker or action games in virtual worlds.

* Share and create photos, drawings, and videos. If you have a digital camera or mobile phone with a camera, you can transfer photos to your laptop (doing this is called uploading) or copy photos off the Internet and share them in e-mails or use them to create your own artwork. If you're artistically inclined, you can create digital drawings. Many popular websites make sharing digital movies easy, too. If you have a digital video camera and editing software, you can use editing tools to make a movie and share it with others. Steven Spielberg, look out!

* Shop online and compare products easily, day or night. You can shop for anything from a garden shed to travel deals or a new camera. Using handy online features, you can easily compare prices from several stores or read customer product reviews. Websites such as list product prices from a variety of vendors on one web page, as shown in Figure 1-5, so you can find the best deals. Beyond the convenience, all this information can help you save money.

Appreciate the Portability Factor

Because your laptop is portable, you can move it around your house or around town with relative ease. What does this portability allow you to do?

* You can access your e-mail account from anywhere to stay in touch with others or get work done away from home or the office. You can also store documents online so that you can access them from anywhere.

* Use public hotspots — locations that provide access to the Internet, such as airports and Internet cafés — to go online. For example, some hotels today provide Wi-Fi access free of charge, so you can work on your laptop from the lobby or your room.

* Even if you're staying in town, it might be fun to take your laptop to a local café and putter while sipping a latte.

Check your laptop battery-life specifications. Recently, one laptop was shipped from Lenovo with a 30-hour battery life, but some still offer only about 2 hours. If you plan to use your laptop for an extended time away from a power source, be sure you've charged your battery (find out more about this in Chapter 4), and keep an eye on it. You could lose some work if you haven't saved it and the battery power runs out.

Tablets versus laptops

What's the difference between a laptop and tablet? Tablets, also called slates, are more like a hefty pad than a computer. There is no keyboard and no mouse. Instead, you tap the screen to make choices and enter text. The onscreen keyboard is still smaller than a laptop keyboard, but there are physical keyboard and mouse accessories that you can use with tablets to make input (typing text and commands) easier. Tablets also have super battery life at as much as 10 hours — almost a month in standby mode (when you're not actually using them). Tablets connect to the Internet using either Wi-Fi or 3G technologies (Wi-Fi is a network that is in close proximity to you; 3G is what your cellphone uses to connect virtually anywhere). 3G models require that you pay for your connection time.

Tablets, which are coming out from many manufacturers to compete with the iPad as of this writing, weigh about 1.5 pounds (more or less), and were first planned as devices for consuming media (watching videos and listening to music, to you and me). Whether used to read eBooks, play games such as Scrabble, browse the Internet, play music, or watch movies, these devices have proven incredibly popular. The big surprise since the launch of the iPad has been how big a hit tablets are with business and educational groups. Applications (called apps) range from credit card readers for retail businesses to eReaders such as Kindle and reasonably robust productivity tools such as word processors and spreadsheets.

However, tablets are pretty darn small. If you want a computing solution that's comfortable to work on at a desk for a few hours and pretty easy to take on the road, a laptop still has some advantages over a tablet.


Excerpted from Laptops For Seniors For Dummies by Nancy C. Muir. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Excerpted by permission of John Wiley & Sons.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

About This Book 1

Foolish Assumptions 1

Beyond the Book 2

Where to Go from Here 2

Part 1: Get Going! 3

Chapter 1: Buying a Laptop 5

Understand All You Can Do with Laptops 6

Overview of Hardware 9

Appreciate Software 10

Understand the Difference between a Desktop and Laptop 11

Choose a Laptop 14

Select a Version of Windows 17

Determine Your Price Range 18

Understand Displays 19

Opt for Longer Battery Life 20

Use USB Ports for Storage or DVDs 21

Choose Features for Faster Performance 21

Determine How You’ll Connect to the Internet 23

Chapter 2: Setting Up Your Laptop 25

Install and Charge the Battery 26

Log on to Windows 10 27

Use the Mouse 29

Work with a Touchscreen 31

Use Shortcuts 31

Use the Function Keys 32

Set the Date and Time 33

Create a New User Account 34

Switch User Accounts 37

Shut Down Your Laptop 37

Chapter 3: Getting Around Windows 10 39

Get an Overview of Windows 10 40

Work with the Desktop 42

Display the Start Menu 44

Use Task View to See Open Apps 45

Use the Snap Feature to Organize Apps on the Desktop 46

Search for Files and Web Content with Cortana 48

Explore the Action Center 49

Find a File or Open an Application with File Explorer 50

Work with Windows 10 Using a Touchscreen 51

Create Additional Desktops 52

View All Apps in the Start Menu 53

Empty the Recycle Bin 54

Add an App to the Start Menu 56

Create a Desktop Shortcut 56

Resize Windows 57

Chapter 4: Managing Power 59

Change How Quickly the Computer Goes to Sleep 60

Change How Quickly the Display is Turned Off 62

Change the Display Brightness 63

Adjust the Battery Saver 64

Choose a Power Plan 65

Create a Customized Power Plan 67

Define Power Button Functions 68

Chapter 5: Setting Up Your Display 71

Customize the Appearance of Windows 72

Set Your Screen’s Resolution 73

Change the Desktop Background and Color 74

Change the Lock Screen Picture 76

Change Your Account Picture 77

Choose a Desktop Theme 79

Set Up a Screen Saver 81

Name Tile Groups 82

Rearrange Tiles in the Start Menu 83

Resize Tiles 83

Chapter 6: Getting Help with Vision, Hearing, and Dexterity Challenges 85

Use Tools for the Visually Challenged 86

Replace Sounds with Visual Cues 89

Make Text Larger or Smaller 91

Set Up Speech Recognition 92

Modify How Your Keyboard Works 95

Use the Onscreen Keyboard Feature 96

Set Up Keyboard Repeat Rates 98

Customize Mouse Behavior 99

Change the Cursor 101

Make Your Touch Visible 102

Chapter 7: Setting Up Printers and Scanners 105

Install a Printer 106

Add a Printer Manually 107

Set a Default Printer 110

Set Printer Preferences 112

View Currently Installed Printers 114

Remove a Printer 116

Modify Scanner Settings 116

Part 2: Getting Things Done with Software 119

Chapter 8: Connecting with Cortana 121

Get an Overview of Cortana 122

Set Up Cortana 123

Set Up Cortana’s Notebook 126

Interact with Cortana 127

Set Reminders 128

Search with Cortana 130

Identify Music with Cortana 131

Chapter 9: Working with Software 133

Launch Software 134

View Open Apps in Task View 136

Close Software 137

Move Information between Apps 137

Set App Defaults 140

Uninstall an App 141

Chapter 10: Working with Files and Folders 145

Understand How Windows Organizes Data 146

Access Recently Used Items 149

Locate Files and Folders in Your Laptop with File Explorer 150

Work with the View Ribbon 152

Search with Cortana 153

Move a File or Folder 154

Rename a File or Folder 156

Create a Shortcut to a File or Folder 157

Delete a File or Folder 158

Create a Compressed File or Folder 159

Add a Folder to Your Quick Access List 161

Back Up Files 163

Chapter 11: Working with Windows Apps 165

Get Up to Speed with the News App 166

Display Weather Views 170

Specify a Location in Weather 171

Add a Contact in the People App 173

Edit Contact Information 175

Send Email to Contacts 176

Add an Event to Your Calendar 178

Invite People to an Event 181

Work with Paint 182

Discover Paint 3D 184

Part 3: Going Online 187

Chapter 12: Hitting the Road with Your Laptop 189

Use the Maps App 190

Set Your Location 190

Show Traffic 191

Get Directions 192

Plan Travel Online 194

Get Travel Advice and Information 196

Chapter 13: Understanding Internet Basics 199

Understand What the Internet Is 200

Explore Different Types of Internet Connections 202

Set Up a Wi-Fi Internet Connection 205

Practice Navigation Basics with the Microsoft Edge App 207

Use Other Browsers 209

Understand Tabs in Browsers 210

Understand Start and Home Pages 212

Set Up a Home Page in Microsoft Edge 212

Chapter 14: Browsing the Web 215

Learn More about Microsoft Edge 216

Search the Web 218

Search the Web with Cortana 220

Use Reading View 221

Find Content on a Web Page 222

Add Your Own Notes to a Web Page 224

Add a Web Page to the Reading List 225

Pin a Tab 226

Add a Website to Favorites and Create a Folder 227

Use Favorites 228

View Your Browsing History 229

View Your Reading List 231

Print a Web Page 232

Adjust Microsoft Edge Settings 233

Chapter 15: Staying Safe While Online 235

Understand Technology Risks on the Internet 236

Use Suggested Content 239

Download Files Safely 241

Use InPrivate Browsing 243

Use SmartScreen Filter 244

Change Privacy Settings 245

Understand Information Exposure 246

Keep Your Information Private 249

Spot Phishing Scams and Other Email Fraud 251

Create Strong Passwords 253

Chapter 16: Keeping in Touch with Mail 255

Sign Up for an Internet-Based Email Account 256

Set Up an Email Account 258

Get to Know Mail 261

Open Mail and Receive Messages 263

Create and Send Email 265

Send an Attachment 267

Read a Message 269

Reply to a Message 270

Forward Email 272

Make Account Settings in Mail 273

Chapter 17: Working in the Cloud 277

Use Applications Online 278

Understand How OneDrive Works with the Cloud 280

Add Files to OneDrive Online 282

Share a File or Folder Using OneDrive 284

Create a New OneDrive Folder 285

Turn On the Sync Feature 286

Choose Which Settings You Want to Sync 288

Chapter 18: Connecting with People Online 289

Use Discussion Boards and Blogs 290

Participate in Chat 292

Understand Instant Messages (IMs) 294

Explore Skype and Add Contacts 296

Send and Receive Instant Messages (IMs) in Skype 298

Make a Call 299

Use a Webcam 301

Get an Overview of Collaborative and Social Networking Sites 303

Sign Up for a Social Networking Service 304

Understand How Online Dating Works 307

Select a Dating Service 308

Play Games Online 309

Part 4: Having Fun 311

Chapter 19: Getting Visual: Using Video, Photos, and Camera Apps 313

Get an Overview of Media Apps 314

Find Movies and TV Shows in the Store 316

Play Movies and TV Shows 318

Stream Videos from Other Sources 321

Upload Content from Your Digital Camera or Smartphone 321

Take Photos with the Camera App 322

Record Videos with the Camera App 324

View Photos in the Photos App 325

Edit Photos 327

Share Photos 328

Run a Slide Show in the Photos App 330

Chapter 20: Playing Music in Windows 10 331

Set Up Speakers 332

Adjust System Volume 333

Use Windows Media Player to Rip Music 335

Find Music in the Store 337

Buy Music 339

Search for Music with Cortana 340

Create a Playlist 341

Play Music 343

Part 5: Windows Toolkit 347

Chapter 21: Working with Networks 349

Join a Homegroup 350

Make a Connection to a Network 351

Specify What You Want to Share over a Network 353

Set Up a Wireless Network 354

Make Your Laptop Discoverable to Bluetooth 356

Connect to Bluetooth Devices 357

Go Online Using Your Cellular Network 358

Chapter 22: Protecting Windows 361

Understand Laptop Security 362

Use Other Software Protection 363

Understand Windows Update Options 364

Check for Windows Updates 365

Enable Windows Firewall 367

Run a Scan with Windows Defender 369

Change Your Laptop Password 370

Allow Firewall Exceptions 372

Use a Lock to Deter Thieves 374

Use a Fingerprint Reader 375

Protect Your Laptop from Damage 376

Use a Service to Find a Lost Laptop 377

Chapter 23: Maintaining Windows 379

Shut Down a Nonresponsive Application 380

Create a System Restore Point 381

Restore Your Laptop 383

Reset Your Laptop 385

Optimize Your Hard Drive 387

Free Disk Space 389

Index 391

Customer Reviews