Coly Computer Help

How to Use the Internet

Internet Explorer icon To start Internet Explorer click the icon with blue 'e' on the Desktop.

A Connect or dial-up panel may appear, click Connect or Dial. Your home page will appear . To go to another website enter the desired web address in the Address field in the upper part of the Internet Explorer window. You can wait, or click the Go button to the right of the Address field. If you have accessed the website before there is no need to enter the address, just click the little down arrow to the right of the Address field and then click the website address you wish to load.

Links: These are items on a web page which cause something to happen when clicked. On many websites, the links are blue and underlined.
On other websites the links are not underlined, but they change colour when the cursor hovers over them. Links can be buttons, words, or pictures. With both styles of links a hand usually appears when you rest the cursor on the link. If you wait 1 or two seconds, on a well designed site, a little box appears to tell you what the link does. The blue menu bar at the top of this page is in fact a row of links. Rest your cursor on one of the items to see the hand and also the little explanation box.

The most common links transfer you to another page. To return to the previous page click the Back button or left facing arrow at the top left of the Internet Explorer window.

Dial-up (pay as you go): If you start up Internet Explorer and no dial-up panel appears, click File and then click Work Offline to remove the tick. Then click the the Go button on the right of the Address field.

Website addresses have a suffix that tells you where the owner of the website is based. The suffix .com indicates that the company is either American or has branch offices somewhere else in the world. A suffix such as is obviously British. .es is Spain, .fr is France, .nz is New Zealand and so on.
A rogue American company called Nepco recently set up a website to pretend it was British. When goods were never delivered, the people who were cheated had no redress because British consumer law only applies in Britain. However, a UK consumer contacted the US authority which has taken steps to close down Nepco.
Strangely, some British websites have chosen a .com suffix which costs a lot more than and certainly confuses visitors about the location of the site owner.

British surfers are 6 times more likely to choose a website when looking at a list of websites.

When is it safe to enter private details into a web page (e.g. password, bank account details)? Safe pages have a gold padlock at the bottom right of the Internet Explorer 6 screen. The padlock appears at the right of the Address field in Internet Explorer 8.

To be doubly sure, when you are about to enter personal details, look at the page's web address in the Address field, it should start with https:// (the 's' stands for secure). If the address starts with http:// then it is not secure.

Favourites. Adding a website page to Favourites stores a copy of the web page(s) on your hard disk for off-line viewing. You can also use Favourites as a means of accessing frequently visited websites. However, there are pitfalls. The stored page can go out-of date (see next paragraph).  Some websites refuse to allow pages to be stored in Favourites. Some banks will change the page for security reasons and then refuse to let you access your account via Favourites.

For maximum security you should not put your bank's website in Favourites. Always enter the bank's web address in the Address field. When you have finished looking at your bank's website always click the log off link on the bank's page especially if you are in a public library.

The pages stored in Favourites are old pages stored at the date when you accessed the website and then clicked Favourites. I often get pleas for help because people cannot access the latest version of one of my websites from Favourites. If you must use Favourites and you wish to access the latest page, go on-line, select the website from your Favourites, then when the out of date page appears, click the Refresh button on the Internet Explorer Toolbar. This will force the page on the screen to update itself.

I hardly ever use Favourites because there is a much simpler way of accessing a favourite website which has no drawbacks. In Internet Explorer, just click the little down-arrow to the right of the Address field, then click the required website. You may then need to click the GO button to the right of the little down-arrow. Websites revealed by the little down-arrow cannot be individually deleted, however, the oldest website addresses gradually drop off the bottom of the list. If you use Favourites, the websites you access will not appear in the drop down list.

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Adrian West  © 2007 computer help, computer problems solved

A West web design click here for an example

Searching: When searching on the Internet: In the field labelled Search, type the key words and click the word Go or Search (next to the field). Never enter a web address in the search field, use the Address field for that.

Say you want a new ink jet printer , if you type ink jet printers in the Search field you will get thousands of items on ink, thousands on jet, and thousands on printers. To narrow the field, put double quotes around the words e.g., "ink jet printers". Now only ink jet printers will be listed.

Some people use Google as their Home page. (the Home page is the first page you see when you connect to the internet). Google is not a Home page, it is a search engine. Google is therefore a very feeble substitute for a home page as it has only one function. Most ISPs (Internet Service Providers) provide a comprehensive home page which includes
(i) a search engine (often Google or better still, Bing)
(ii) all the latest news,
(iii) the weather, and
(iv) the ability to peep into your email Inbox which is located at the ISP's headquarters. Try using your ISP's home page as the default home page instead of Google. I much prefer
In Google, in the Address field (NOT in the search window), type one of the proper home page addresses listed below. Then click Go or press Enter . When the proper Home page appears click Tools-->Internet Options. In the next window click the Use Current Button. Then click Apply and also OK . Here are some real home pages:- or or
The BBC home page is excellent, but if you insist on going back to using a search engine such as Google as your 'home' page, enter in the address window and follow the above instruction to make it your default but very limited home page.

Cannot access a website: I often receive calls for help because people cannot access a particular website. I usually find that they have entered the address into a search engine's Search field instead of the Address field.

Windows XP users: If you see a screen from Microsoft announcing the new version of Internet Explorer (IE 8), download it if you have broadband. Do not uninstall the old version, it will be uninstalled and replaced automatically. If you are on dial-up, it will take 90 minutes to download, in this case call a technician (like me) who can promise to load it from a CD in a few minutes.

If you have upgraded to Internet Explorer version 8 you will see that Microsoft, in its wisdom, has omitted the most important feature, i.e. the menu bar. To restore the menu bar, click the little down arrow at the far right of the tool bar (next to the Tools button). On the drop down menu click Menu Bar .

If you have upgraded to Internet Explorer version 8 and the internet pages now look bold and blurry, Internet Explorer has re-set itself to show Clear Type. This is ideal for TFT screens (Thin Flat screens) but does not work on CRT screens (bulky screens like a television ). Conversely, if the text on your TFT screen looks blurry you need to set it to Clear type as follows:-

For TFT screens: Click Start-->Control Panel. Then double click the Display icon. Click the tab labelled Appearance. Click Effects .
Select Use the following method to smooth edges of screen fonts.
Make sure that Clear Type is ticked.

For CRT screens: Using the above method, make sure that Clear Type is NOT ticked. Then set Internet Explorer so that it uses the same un-blurred text as Windows; in Internet Explorer, click the Tools button, click Internet Options then the Advanced tab. Scroll down to Mutimedia . Un-tick the box next to Always use Clear Type for HTML . Click OK.

Increase the internet viewing area: When browsing the Internet, you can increase the viewing area by pressing the F11 key. Press the same key to return to the traditional window area.

Facebook: You may have read about the millions of people loading their personal details into Facebook (a so-called social website). Social websites are a bonanza for identity theft criminals. On the surface, Facebook is a means of making new friends and contacts over the internet, however, its primary purpose is to supply advertisers with your personal details, and preferences.

Self inflicted problems are on the increase, people are clicking on offers for free B.H.O.s (browser helper objects) and as a result the computer is slowing down or the computer begins to behaving oddly. The major menaces are Comet Cursor, CoolWebSearch, Hotbar, Starware Toolbar, Win-Spy, and Nok-Nok. They variously claim to speed up web searches, to improved mouse pointers, and to add extra facilities to Internet Explorer’s Toolbar. Avoid downloading any gadgets that claim to improve web searches or to enhance your computer. You do not need such devices, they don’t work and they can cause expensive damage. Some legitimate B.H.O.s and search aids are also a nuisance and quite unnecessary; the Google toolbar, AVG tool bar and Yahoo add-ons are very little use; they fill up your screen area, slow your computer and clog the memory of the computer.

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