The Geek Essentials: 5 Computing Tricks You Should Probably Already Know

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Who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Lots of hardcore computer users out there might think they know everything there is to know about their operating systems, and may not think they need to learn any new tricks.

Well, that may be true, but we think you’ll find at least one helpful tip listed here that you didn’t know or didn’t fully understand before.

Lock Folders With a Password

Surely you’ve enabled security features on your computer by choosing a hacker-proof password and shared it with no one. You understand common threats of the internet and always use caution when sending sensitive information online. Chances are you have some information saved in the documents or photos folders on your hard drive that you consider private. Admit it, you do.

Did you know that you can password protect those folders? There are various programs out there that you can use to keep your business documents and private information protected. One of these programs is Folder Protector. It’s a password protector for Windows folders that you don’t have to actually install. It’s compatible and tested for use with Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.

How to Get More Power Out of Your Hardware

Everyone these days is concerned with conserving energy. One way to make your computer use less is to change the power management options. It’s understandable to be a bit confused about the exact difference between standby, sleep, and hibernate. After all, they all function differently, depending on the manufacturer; there’s no industry standard.  Make sure your hardware is compatible with your high speed internet connection.

You’ll want to look up your operating system’s definition of these terms to decide which one is right for you. They do all use less energy than leaving the computer on. You can always counteract your energy usage by looking for competitive rates from electric companies and getting the most bang for your buck in that regard.

Understand Resource Usage

A good rule of thumb that most people keep in mind is that when their computer starts running sluggishly, the resource monitor feature is the first place to look. But too often people don’t actually understand what they’re looking at when the charts and graphs pop up. Unless you really know what you’re looking for, it’s nearly impossible to fix the problem by looking at this data.

Look for issues like high CPU usage, as it’s very common for a single app to be responsible for slowing the whole system down. As soon as you close the rogue app the problem should go away. RAM usage is another thing you’ll see on the resource monitor. It’s not inherently a bad thing; the key is to understand the difference between good RAM and bad RAM.

Reduce the Number of Programs Running at Startup

Another key trick you should know as a computer owner is to reduce the number of programs running at startup. As you probably know, the more programs you have set to run at startup, the longer it will take to boot up initially. If your PC is taking a long time boot, you probably have too many programs trying to run at the same time.

To change this setting and fix this problem, go to your System Configuration window. Under the Startup tab you’ll be able to turn off any programs you don’t need to start automatically at startup. If you have Windows 8 OS, you’ll find this under the Task Manager function. Don’t get carried away turning off these programs though. Some processes are necessary for third-party programs or drivers you’ve installed to function. Turning off the wrong ones could cause more harm than good.

Typing Tricks

Any true computer geek knows certain typing tricks that make maneuvering around text documents and general functions faster and more efficient. We all know that CTRL + U, B, and I, will underline, bold or italicize any highlighted text, and CTRL + P or S will print or save a document, but there are many other less common tricks that you can use to speed things up, and impress your friends with your typing prowess.

Move the cursor to the next or last word by pressing CTRL + Left Arrow. This will speed up your typing tasks by eliminating the need to reach for the mouse to select a new spot to type. Similarly, delete an entire word by pressing CTRL + Backspace. Now you don’t have to incessantly hit that backspace button when you’ve changed your mind about which adjective to use. For Mac OS these tricks work by using the Option key instead of CTRL.

Everyone knows how to copy and paste with the keyboard, but often the formatting of the text comes with it, creating an annoying chain of events that adds precious seconds to your project. How’s this for simple: add shift into the mix. That’s right, just type CTRL + Shift + V instead of CTRL + V, and the text will paste unformatted into your document.

Well old dog, did you learn anything new? These tips and tricks for computing will really come in handy for those who utilize them. What are some common tricks you think should be included on this list?

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