Windows 8.1 For Seniors For Dummies

Windows 8.1 For Seniors For Dummies


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Seniors, here's what you need to get up and running on Windows 8.1

Microsoft, now a little older and wiser, is back with Windows 8.1, the revamped version that brings fresh changes and welcome improvements to the Windows 8 operating system. And now you savvy seniors can get the very most out of this easier-to-use Windows 8.1 with our friendly new guide. Using large print that makes the book easier to read plus magnified screen shots to help make Windows less intimidating, this book walks you through common tasks and show you how to get things done in fine style.

  • Helps you get to know Windows 8.1, including the basics of PC hardware, the return of the Start screen, the desktop interface, Windows 8.1 applications, customizing, and more
  • Explores how you can best use the Web, including directions on connecting to the Internet, using the e-mail app, connecting with social networks, and messaging
  • Puts the fun in the fundamentals of how to find and install new apps, work with digital photos, and play music and videos
  • Offers practical steps on troubleshooting and maintenance, connecting other devices, storing and organizing files, and backing up your computer
  • Uses straightforward explanations, minimal chit-chat, and easy-to-read large print - perfect for seniors

Work faster and smarter – and enjoy yourself, too – with Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.1 For Seniors For Dummies.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781118821497
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 11/25/2013
Series: For Dummies Books
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 7.30(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Peter Weverka is a tech guru with nearly 20 years of experience as a technology author. His Office All-in-One For Dummies is the top-selling book on Microsoft Office. Mark Justice Hinton teaches classes on a variety of technology topics and maintains a tech-help blog at

Read an Excerpt

Windows 8.1 For Seniors For Dummies

By Peter Weverka, Mark Justice Hinton

John Wiley & Sons

Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-118-82149-7


Getting in Touch with Windows 8.1

Get ready to ...

* Tell Your Computer
What to Do 10

* Move the Mouse 11

* Touch the Screen 12

* Use a Keyboard 13

* View the Virtual Keyboard 15

* Turn On Your Computer 19

* Check Out the Start Screen 24

* Shut Down Your Computer 27

* Start Again on the
Lock Screen 29

With Windows 8.1, Microsoft created a grand version of Windows, its flagship operating system (the master program for any computer). You can use Windows 8.1 on a wide range of devices, from a smartphone to a big-screen TV entertainment system: One size fits most. You can not only use the same programs with a range of hardware but also access the documents you create (such as photos and e-mail — files and data, to nerds) from any Windows-based computer, giving you extraordinary freedom of choice and mobility.

Although countless companies create programs you may use, Microsoft attempts to make similar functions consistent across different programs. For example, opening a document or e-mailing a photo to a friend involves the same steps regardless of the programs you use. You don't have to learn a different way of doing common tasks in each program. This consistency will serve you well when using Windows 8.1 and other new programs.

In this chapter, you start your computer and work with the Start screen, the dashboard for Windows 8.1. You explore options for using the Start screen with your hardware (the computer and related devices). Then you exit Windows 8.1 and go right back in for more.

For those readers familiar with a previous version of Windows, note that the Start button and menu have been replaced by the new Start button and new Start screen, and the desktop and taskbar are in a new location. See Chapter 5 for more information about the desktop.

The easiest way to get Windows 8.1 is preinstalled on a new computer. If your current computer runs Windows 7, you can upgrade to Windows 8.1, although an older machine may lack newer functions, such as a touchscreen.

Tell Your Computer What to Do

How do you get Windows 8.1 to do what you want it to do? You can command a computer in many ways, depending on your equipment (hardware). For example, a desktop computer has different options from a handheld phone. You may have any or all of these choices:

* Mouse

* Touchscreen

* Keyboard

Another device for controlling Windows is a touchpad, which is commonly found on a laptop keyboard. You move your finger on the touchpad to move the pointer on the screen. You may also be able to control Windows using speech and a microphone. Microsoft Kinect is a device that enables you to control your computer with a wave of your hand. Welcome to the future!

If you have a computer with more than one of these devices, you might use one device exclusively or, more likely, vary your choice according to the task. Use whichever technique is easiest for you, but don't be afraid to experiment. In the next few sections, you discover the ins and outs of using all these methods of controlling Windows 8.1. Then you're ready to turn on your computer and use these methods.

In the steps throughout this book, choose or select refers to using a mouse, the touchscreen, or a physical keyboard. Drag refers to using a mouse or a finger.

Move the Mouse

For many years, computers have had a mouse, which is a soap-bar-sized device that you move across a desk with your hand. Move the mouse and note how the arrow called a mouse pointer moves across the computer screen. A mouse has two or more buttons; some also have a scroll wheel between the buttons.

The following terms describe methods for using a mouse with Windows 8.1. In each, move the mouse first to position the pointer over a specified item before proceeding:

* Click: Move the on-screen arrow-shaped mouse pointer over a specified item and press and release the left mouse button: that's a click (sometimes called a left-click to distinguish it from a right-click).

* Right-click: Press and release the right mouse button to display available functions. Note that the word click by itself means use the left mouse button.

* Drag: Press and hold down the left mouse button, and then move the mouse pointer across the screen. When you want to move an object, you drag it. Release the mouse button to release the object.

Watch for the word click to indicate using a mouse button and roll to indicate using the mouse wheel.

Touch the Screen

A touchscreen, as the name says, enables you to touch the screen to tell your computer what to do. You typically use one finger or two, although touchscreens may allow you to use all ten digits. In some cases, you can also use a special pen called a stylus instead of your finger. Tablet computers and some smartphones have touchscreens. Touchscreens are less common on desktop or laptop computers, but that situation is changing. Not sure what type of screen you have? When you have Windows 8.1 running, give the screen a poke with your index finger to see what happens.

The following terms refer to ways you interact with a touchscreen:

* Tap: Briefly touch the screen. You select an object, such as a button, by tapping it.

* Drag: Touch and hold your finger on the screen, then move your finger across the screen. You move an object, such as an onscreen playing card, by dragging it.

* Swipe: Touch and move your finger more quickly than with drag. You can swipe your finger across the screen from any of the four sides of the screen to display options and commands. You swipe pages to move forward or back. You may see the word flick instead of swipe. Some people insist that a flick is faster or shorter than a swipe, but let's not get caught up in that.

* Pinch and unpinch: Touch a finger and thumb or two fingers on the screen. Move your fingers closer to each other to pinch and away from each other to unpinch. Generally, a pinch reduces the size of something on the screen or shows more content on the screen. An unpinch (an ugly word) zooms in, increasing the size of something on-screen to show more detail.

Watch for the words tap, swipe, or pinch to indicate using your finger. Touch actions are often called gestures.

See the section "View the Virtual Keyboard" if your computer doesn't have a physical keyboard, as is often the case with a touchscreen.

Use a Keyboard

A typewriter-like keyboard is a traditional device for controlling a computer and is especially useful when you must enter a lot of text. Special key combinations, called shortcut keys, are often the quickest way to do anything (though they require some memorization).

The following keys are particularly noteworthy. No offense intended to fans of keys not noted here. Although you won't use all these keys immediately, locate each one on your keyboard.

Press indicates use the keyboard (physical or virtual) for the specified key or sequence of keys (just as click indicates a mouse action and tap indicates touch). Combinations of keys are not pressed simultaneously. Instead, press and hold the first key in the specified sequence, press the second key, then release both. (I explain exceptions to this method as necessary.)

* [??]: Called the Windows key, this key is usually located on either side of the spacebar, which is the largest key. [??] works by itself, as you'll soon see, and also in combination with many other keys. Throughout the book, I specify these combinations where you might use them. There will be a quiz later. (Kidding! No quizzes.)

* Tab: Press the Tab key to highlight an item. Press Tab repeatedly to skip items you don't intend to select.

The keyboard can be used to select objects but is less direct than using touch or a mouse.

* Arrow keys: Press the arrow keys to move the cursor or selection of an object in the direction the keys point (left, right, up, or down). In some contexts, Tab and the right arrow do the same thing. Sorry to be vague, but context matters, at times.

* Enter: In most cases, the Enter key on the keyboard chooses a selection, much as clicking or tapping do. However, you may need to use the Tab key or an arrow key to select an item before pressing the Enter key.

* Ctrl, Alt, and Shift keys: These keys are used with other keys for commands. For example, press Ctrl+C to copy selected text or an object. (That is, while pressing and holding down the Ctrl key, press the C key — no need to press Shift for an uppercase C. Then release both keys.) The Shift key is used with another key for uppercase.

* Backspace: As you enter text, each press of Backspace erases the character to the left of the cursor.

* Delete: As you enter text, each press of the Delete key erases the character to the right of the cursor. On some keyboards, this key is labeled Del.

* Function keys: All keys function, but Function keys are labeled F1 through F12. You don't use these much in this book, but locate them. Laptops often have a separate Function Lock key to turn these keys on or off.

* Page keys: Locate the Home, End, Page Up, and Page Down keys for future reference. Use these to move the screen, a page, or the cursor.

View the Virtual Keyboard

Windows 8.1 can display a virtual keyboard on-screen. This feature is vital for devices that have a touchscreen and no physical keyboard. With a touchscreen, the virtual keyboard appears automatically when the cursor (a blinking vertical bar) indicates that you can enter text in a box. If the virtual keyboard doesn't appear automatically, you may also see a separate box floating above or below the text box. Tap that floating box to display the keyboard. To type using the keyboard, simply tap or click a letter, number, or symbol key.

Different types of virtual keyboards:

* The standard layout (also called QWERTY) appears automatically (see Figure 1-1). The Enter key changes depending on the context.

* The uppercase layout, shown in Figure 1-2, appears when you tap the Shift key on the standard layout.

* The numbers and symbols layout, shown in Figure 1-3, appears when you tap the &123 key on the standard layout. Tap the &123 key again to return to the standard layout.

* The control keys overlay (see Figure 1-4) appears on five keys on the standard layout when you tap the Ctrl key. The Ctrl keys are used in common tasks, such as copying (Ctrl+C) or moving (Ctrl+X) selected text. The overlay disappears automatically after you tap one of the control keys (A, Z, X, C, or V).

* The smiley layout, shown in Figure 1-5, appears when you tap the smiley face key. Tap the smiley face key again to return to the standard layout. (Smileys are also called emoticons or emoji.)

But wait! There's more. Tap the layout key, which is in the lower-right corner of any layout, to display the four options shown in Figure 1-6.

* Tap the standard button (shown in Figure 1-6) to return to the standard layout from the split or handwriting layout. (More on those two layouts next.)

* Tap the split button to view the split keyboard layout, shown in Figure 1-7. This layout is handy for typing with your thumbs while holding two sides of a tablet.

* Tap the handwriting button to view the handwriting layout, shown in Figure 1-8. This layout enables you to write with a finger or a stylus (a special pen). Printing usually works better than script.

If your touchscreen doesn't come with a stylus, you can buy one and use it instead of your finger for improved precision.

* Tap the last button to dismiss or hide the virtual keyboard.

Turn On Your Computer

1. Push the power button briefly and release it. Every computer has a power button. (When we can no longer turn them off, the machines win.) If you have a desktop computer tower, the power button is probably on the front of the tower. Otherwise, you might have to feel around the front and sides of the screen or near the hinges of a laptop. Typically, your computer will beep, some buttons will light, and the screen may flash a logo or a message that disappears before you can read it. (Just let that go.) Soon, you will see the first Windows 8.1 screen.

2. Turn on any separate hardware (such as a monitor or a printer).

The remaining steps in this section occur only when your computer is set up for the first time.

3. The first time you turn on your computer, a series of Windows Setup screens appear. On the initial screen, you select Language to Install, the Time and Currency Format, and the Keyboard or Input Method. Accept the defaults or change them appropriately, and then select the button labeled Next.

4. Select Install Now. (Note the option to Repair Your Computer, used if something goes wrong in the future.) The screen displays Setup is starting.

5. If you see a message asking you for a product key (a mix of 25 letters and numbers found on the back or bottom of your computer or on related paperwork), type those characters (hyphens are inserted automatically) and then select Next.

If your computer doesn't have a keyboard, as is the case with many tablet computers, see the preceding section "View the Virtual Keyboard" for information on how to type on-screen.

6. On the License Terms screen, select the check box next to I Accept the License Terms. Feel free to be the first person ever to read the terms before agreeing to them. (If you refuse to accept the terms, you can't use Windows 8.1.) Then select the Next. You may see an indication of the Windows 8.1 installation progress. Your computer may restart during this process, as well.

7. On the Personalize screen, select a background color for the most common screens. When you make a selection, the screen background changes to reflect your choice. Preview as many choices as you like.

8. In the box under PC Name, type a short, simple name for your computer but don't use spaces. The name can be based on location (such as office) or computer brand (such as Dell) or something more creative (Firefly perhaps). This name is visible on a network, if you have one. Select Next.

You can return to a previous screen (perhaps to confirm or change a selection) by selecting the Back button (an arrow in a circle, near the top-left corner of the screen). The Next button will move you forward again.

9. If a wireless Internet connection is available, you are prompted to select a connection and then enter the network password. For now, select Connect to a Wireless Network Later. See Chapter 4 for information on connecting to a network.

10. On the Settings screen, select the Use Express Settings button for the easiest setup. If you choose the Customize button instead, you'll have to work through several screens of options.

If this is the first time that Windows 8.1 has started on your computer, you must create a user account, even if no one else will use the machine. See Chapter 4 for details on creating and changing user accounts.

11. If you have an Internet connection, you see the Sign In to Your PC screen. (If you don't have an Internet connection, skip this step.) If you see the Sign in Without a Microsoft Account option, select it. You see a screen summarizing the differences between a Microsoft account and a local account. Select the Local Account button. (You use a Microsoft account in Chapter 4.)


Excerpted from Windows 8.1 For Seniors For Dummies by Peter Weverka, Mark Justice Hinton. 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

Part I: Getting Started with Windows 81 7

Chapter 1: Getting in Touch with Windows 81 9

Chapter 2: Using the Start Screen and Apps 31

Chapter 3: Adjusting Windows 81 PC Settings 69

Chapter 4: Working with User Accounts 87

Chapter 5: Getting Comfortable with the Desktop 115

Part II: Windows 81 and the Web 137

Chapter 6: Finding What You Need on the Web 139

Chapter 7: E-Mailing Family and Friends 161

Chapter 8: Staying in Touch with People 181

Part III: Having Fun with Windows 81 205

Chapter 9: Installing Apps from the Microsoft Store 207

Chapter 10: Taking Photos and More 233

Chapter 11: Enjoying Music and Videos 253

Part IV: Beyond the Basics 269

Chapter 12: Maintaining Windows 81 271

Chapter 13: Connecting a Printer and Other Devices 291

Chapter 14: Organizing Your Documents 303

Chapter 15: Backing Up and Restoring Files 329

Index 347

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