Windows 7 Basics


On the last class of 2015, we learned the best way to use Windows Start 20100717184054!Windows_logo to perform 6 important computer tasks

The Start menu is the main gateway to your computer’s programs, folders, and settings. It’s called a menu because it provides a list of choices, just as a restaurant menu does. And as “start” implies, it’s often the place that you’ll go to start or open things.

Task #1. Improve computer performance

Use Disk Cleanup to reduce the number of unnecessary files on your hard disk to free up disk space and help your computer run faster.

To access this feature:

01 (2)Click on the Start button

02 (2)Start typing the word disk cleanup and as you type, search results will start to appear

03 (2)Click on the Disk Cleanup button in the menu search results

Select which drive you want to clean up and then click “OK

Disk Cleanup will begin to scan your hard drive for removable files.


After Disk Cleanup has finished scanning the files on your hard drive, one last window will appear, and ask which files you want to delete. TIP: you’re safe to delete any “Temporary” files, “Recycle Bin” files, or archived “Windows Error Reports.”

For any files that you’re not sure about deleting:

01 (2)Click on any one of the “Files to delete” and it will highlight in blue

02 (2)Read the Description area to learn more about the file you’ve just highlighted

03 (2)After you’ve made final selections on which files to delete, click the “OK” button to finish


Task #2. Computer backup and Restore

Use Windows Backup to back up your files by creating a system image that will contain a copy of your original Windows system and copies of your programs, system settings, and files. The system image should be stored in a separate location from your original programs, settings, and files. TIP: use an external hard drive that is 500 GB or larger to store your system image on. You can use this image to restore the contents of your computer if your hard disk or entire computer ever stops working.

To access this feature:

01 (2)Click on the Start button

02 (2)

Start typing the word backup and as you type, search results will start to appear

03 (2)Click on the Backup and Restore button in the menu search results


Your computer will prompt you on what to do next. In my case, Windows cannot find the disk or network location where my backups are being saved. So Windows has highlighted the “Options” button for me to click on instead.


If your computer detected a suitable location to backup to, it will highlight the Back up now button prompting you to click it.


Windows makes the backing up process comfortable, as it guides you through each step using highlighted button prompts to lead your way.

Task #3. Find files easily

The search box is one of the most convenient ways to find things on your computer.search_2

The exact location of the items doesn’t matter—the search box will scour your programs and all of the folders in your personal folder (which includes Documents, Pictures, Music, Desktop, and other common locations). It will also search through appointments and contacts, too.

To access this feature:

01 (2)Click the Start button and start typing

02 (2)As you type, search results will start to appear

03 (2)Click the desired file button in the menu search results

A program, file, or folder will appear as a search result if:

  • Any word in its title matches or begins with your search term.
  • Any text in the actual contents of the file—such as the text in a word-processing document—matches or begins with your search term.
  • Any word in a property of the file, such as the author, matches or begins with your search term.

Task #4. Make your computer easier to use

The Ease of Access Center is a central location where you can adjust settings that make it easier to see your computer, use the mouse and keyboard, and use other input devices.

To access this feature:

01 (2)Click on the Start button

02 (2)Start typing the word ease and as you type, search results will start to appear

03 (2)Click on the Ease of Access Center button in the menu search results

You may notice other Ease of Access options appear in the search results. Click on the desired search result button, or go directly to the Ease of Access Center where you’ll find these same options there, too.

Answer a few questions in the Ease of Access Center about your daily computer use and Windows can help recommend accessibility settings and programs that may best suit your specific computing needs.

Task #5. Remove unwanted programs

Slow computer? It may have adware. Adware is the software that allows pop-up advertisements to hijack your computer screen momentarily. Downloading toolbars, unverified browser extensions or free software (freeware) are often the inviting culprits. Use Programs and Features to uninstall these types of programs.

To access this feature:

01 (2)Click on the Start button

02 (2)Start typing the word uninstall and as you type, search results will start to appear

03 (2)Click on the Programs and Features button in the menu search results


TIP: adjust the View to show icons only. Files are much easier to identify this way.


Look for any file names that suggest advertising, like “SmartAd” or something similar. Look for any names that have the mention of “toolbar” in it.

[Click here to download a list of adware programs to look for]

If you’re not sure if you should uninstall a program but are suspicious of it, type as much information about it as you can on the web. Keep track of the programs that you do remove. Create a Restore Point so you can roll your system back in case any problems occur.

If you cannot find a specific program in the Programs and Features area, keep in mind that most programs install automatically in the C:\Program Files folder. Visit this area as a last resort to uninstall programs from there.

Task #6. Change the default web browser setting

As you’re probably already aware, there are a lot of choices available when it comes to using web browsers. Bing, Internet Explorer, Edge, Chrome, Firefox, Safari are a few popular ones that come to mind right now. Read who won Best Web Browser of 2015. If you’ve already downloaded and test-driven a winning web browser but haven’t made it your default browser yet, use Default Programs in Control Panel to make it official.

To access this feature:

01 (2)Click on the Start button

02 (2)Start typing the word default and as you type, search results will start to appear

03 (2)Click on the Default Programs button in the menu search results



After you click on the Default Programs button, a new window will guide you to more prompts. Select Set your default programs.

In the Set Default Programs window below, scroll through the Programs pane01 (5) to find the web browser you want to make as the new default. When you find it, click on it so that the button turns blue02 (5). A description about the browser you selected will appear as well as options for what to do next. Your last step will be to click on the big button that says Set this program as default03 (5).

After you click on the Set this program as default button, you may notice a slight ripple run-across your computer screen. That means the changes have been made. No matter if you didn’t notice anything – click OK to finish. Now, anything you click on inside of your computer that is supposed to take you to a web address like should open up in your new default browser. If it didn’t, Leave a Comment below!

Thanks for visiting.

As always, be sure to visit to get the latest updates on computer lab training sessions, General Meeting information, plus local SIG (special interest group) membership.

Keep on Clickin!