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Speeding Up Slow Computer (Users)

Published: 09/15/2009

A lot of people whine about how slow their computers are. This is often attributed to old hardware, lack of system settings optimization, default configurations from Microsoft, too many applications running at once, too little system memory, etc.. But the slow operation of a computer is not always confined within the computer itself.

Sometimes the problem is between the keyboard and the chair: the user.

On the occasion when I'm helping others with computer problems, I ask them to do something and then grudgingly watch as they put their index finger on the laptop's trackpad and slooooooowly "push" the virtual pointer around the desktop environment. It makes me want to utter "Move!" in an impatient tone.

The truth is that in many cases you don't need to drag that mouse pointer around in a cumbersome manner. You just need to press the right keys in the right combination, and after a little practice, you'll be getting things done much, much quicker. Granted, there are some things where purely using the keyboard isn't practical (such as surfing the web, editing images in photo editor, etc.), but being able to accomplish much more in the same amount of time is what the game is about.

If you're a more productive employee, you might get that raise. If you're a college student, you can spend more time actually studying and less time fiddling with computer operations. And you certainly don't want your kids outpacing you on the keyboard, calling you "old timer" or "stuck in the past." Your kids should never beat you. Ever.

Here in this first-step guide, I'll show you - the unmistakable slow driver - how to efficiently navigate around the Windows operating system interface without having to clumsily move the mouse cursor around the screen just to click on a button. You know who you are. This includes those certified Windows admins who can barely muddle their way through the command line. Time to earn your pay...

Rule #1: Thou shall always remember the Windows key

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Rule #2: Mouse not required for the Start menu

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Rule #3: Learn the built-in keyboard shortcuts

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Rule #4: Switch between application windows

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Rule #5: Scroll through input fields insanely fast

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Rule #6: Rename the file with one button (almost)

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Rule #7: Do not "Right-click, go to Properties" with a mouse

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Rule #8: Do not tickle the scroll bar

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Rule #9: Quickly control settings

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Rule #10: Faster than a speeding website

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Rule #11: Master navigation within Windows Explorer

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Once you learn a handful of these keyboard combinations to get your work done, you'll no longer be seen as a n00b and the Internet can really be an information highway where you don't have to chug along at 30 MPH. In Windows, you can control most GUI elements through the keyboard. Resize a window, close it, minimize it, maximize it, etc.. Once you master these, you will be unstoppable. It'll be like watching someone play Tetris at level 999. By far what slows down a lot of casual computer users is dealing with the interface. Sometimes, using a mouse is just not the fastest path to enlightenment. As we say in the IT industry, "real admins don't click."

But if you can control everything as fast as possible using both the keyboard and mouse, the only other person who can outrun you will be Data on Star Trek.

Now you just have to learn to read and type fast.

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