Windows® 7 For Seniors For Dummies®

Table of Contents

About This Book

Foolish Assumptions

Why You Need This Book

Conventions Used in This Book

How This Book Is Organized

Time to Get Started!

Part I: Getting to Know Windows 7

1: Getting Comfortable with the Windows 7 Desktop

Get a New Computer with Windows 7

Turn On Your Computer

Check Out the Windows 7 Desktop

Try Out the Mouse

Go with the Start Button

Get Familiar with the Taskbar

Get Help When You Need It

Close Windows 7

2: Examining the Anatomy of a Window

Explore the Parts of a Window

Resize a Window

Arrange Windows

Snap Windows

Stack Windows

Flip between Windows

3: Creating Your First Documents

Start WordPad and Type Some Text

Save a Document

Add, Delete, Select, and Move Text

Format Text with Bold, Italics, and More

Print a Document

Quit WordPad

Open a Document

Discover How a Dialog Box Works

4: Organizing Your Documents

See All Your Documents As Files on a Disk

Find a Misplaced File

Create a Folder to Organize Your Files

Rename a File or a Folder

Move a File from One Folder to Another

Delete a File or Folder

Get Back a File or Folder You Deleted

Select Multiple Files and Folders

Copy Files and Folders to a Flash Drive or Memory Card

Copy Files and Folders from a Flash Drive or Memory Card

Part II: Getting Things Done in Windows 7

5: Taking Advantage of the Windows Accessories

Display Gadgets on Your Desktop

Keep Time with the Clock Gadget

Check the Weather with the Weather Gadget

Use the Calculator

Capture the Screen with the Snipping Tool

Draw with Paint

Talk to Sound Recorder

Take Sticky Notes

6: Installing and Removing Programs

Determine Which Programs Are on Your Computer

Install a New Program from a CD or DVD

Install a New Program That You Downloaded from the Internet

Remove Programs You Don’t Use

7: Working with Printers and Other Add-On Devices

Trust USB Plug and Play for Add-Ons

View the Printer and Other Devices on Your Computer

Connect a Printer to Your Computer

Add an External DVD or Hard Drive

Add a Second Display for Twice the Fun

Part III: Discovering the Internet

8: Connecting to the Internet

Connect to the Internet Anywhere

Bring the Internet Home

9: Finding What You Need on the Web

Get Familiar with Microsoft Internet Explorer

Browse for News

Use Tabs to Browse Multiple Web Pages at Once

Change Your Browser’s Home Page

Mark Your Favorite Places on the Favorites Bar

Add More Favorites

Search for Anything

Shop Online Using Amazon

Close Internet Explorer

10: Sending and Receiving E-Mail

Set Up an E-Mail Account

Check Your Inbox for New E-Mail

Reply to E-Mail

Create a New E-Mail

Attach a Document or Photo to E-Mail

View or Open Attachments

Keep an Electronic Address Book

Avoid Spam and Other Junk Messages

Part IV: Having Fun with Windows 7

11: Playing Games

Use the Games Explorer

Play Solitaire

Show Your Grandkids Purble Place

Play Internet Backgammon

Get More Games from Microsoft and Others

12: Enjoying Photos in Windows 7

View Photos in Windows 7

See Photos in a Slideshow

Display a Photo on Your Desktop

Edit Photos Using Paint

Print Your Photos

Copy Photos from Your Digital Camera to Your Computer

Control How Windows 7 Names and Organizes Photos

13: Listening to Music and Watching DVDs

Play Music with Windows Media Player

Select Music to Play

Play a CD on Your Computer

Copy Music from a CD to Your Computer

Create a Playlist

Create Your Own CD

Copy Music to an MP3 Player

View Pictures in Media Player

Watch a DVD

Part V: Having It Your Way with Windows 7

14: Making Windows 7 More Fun to Use

Personalize Windows 7 with a Theme

Choose a Desktop Background

Color Your Windows

Change the Sounds Your Computer Makes

Set Up a Screen Saver

Save Your Theme

Change Desktop Icons

Pick Your Mouse Pointers

Change Your Account Picture

15: Using the Taskbar and Start Menu Smartly

Tune Up Your Taskbar

Control System Notification Messages

Pin Icons to the Taskbar

Use Taskbar Jump Lists

Customize Your Start Menu

Pin Icons to the Start Menu

16: Making Windows 7 Easier to Use

Make Your Screen Easier to See

Change Screen Font Size

Turn On ClearType Text

Stop Double-Clicking for Good

Check to Select

Get Recommendations for Specific Needs

Start Magnifier

Use the On-Screen Keyboard

Let Narrator Read to You

Explore All Access Settings

Part VI: Staying Safe and Keeping Windows 7 Healthy

17: Updating Windows 7

Activate Windows Now

Perform a Windows Update

Change the Time When Windows Update Runs

Discontinue Additional Updates

Upgrade Windows Anytime

18: Protecting Your Computer

Check the Action Center

Install Antivirus Software

Register Your Antivirus Software

Scan a Folder or Disk for Viruses

Schedule a Disk Check

19: Keeping Your Data Safe

Back Up Your Documents and Photos

Restore Files from Backup

Create a System Repair Disc

Use the System Repair Disc

Windows® 7 For Seniors For Dummies®

by Mark Justice Hinton


About the Author

A computerist for more than 30 years, Mark Justice Hinton has written two books on digital photography, one on Microsoft Windows Vista, and this new book on Windows 7: He has taught computer classes since 1988 for the University of New Mexico Division of Continuing Education. Mark lives — in the best sense of the word — in front of a computer. He writes a blog on computer topics: He posts favorite photos, as well:


To Lucky Dog, our handsome, gentle, old friend — a true gift from the Universe.

Author’s Acknowledgments

It takes a lot of people to put this book into your hands. The author gets the fame, the fans, and the fat check, but he couldn’t do it without so many other people, too many of whom go unnamed here. Thanks to everyone at Wiley for their part in producing this book. Special thanks to editorial manager Jodi Jensen, my acquisitions editor Amy Fandrei, project editors Leah Cameron and Jean Nelson, copy editor Virginia Sanders, technical editor Russ Mullen, and senior editorial assistant Cherie Case. My deepest thanks, again, to Merri Rudd, long-time senior advocate, photographer, writer, and editor, as well as mi corazón.


Publisher’s Acknowledgments

We’re proud of this book; please send us your comments through our online registration form located at

Some of the people who helped bring this book to market include the following:

Acquisitions, Editorial

Editors: Leah Cameron, Jean Nelson, Virginia Sanders

Acquisitions Editor: Amy Fandrei

Technical Editor: Russ Mullen

Editorial Manager: Jodi Jensen

Sr. Editorial Assistant: Cherie Case

Cartoons: Rich Tennant (

Composition Services

Project Coordinator: Patrick Redmond

Layout and Graphics: Ana Carrillo, Christin Swinford

Proofreaders: Caitie Copple, Betty Kish

Indexer: BIM Indexing & Proofreading Services

Publishing and Editorial for Technology Dummies

Richard Swadley, Vice President and Executive Group Publisher

Andy Cummings, Vice President and Publisher

Mary Bednarek, Executive Acquisitions Director

Mary C. Corder, Editorial Director

Publishing for Consumer Dummies

Diane Graves Steele, Vice President and Publisher

Composition Services

Debbie Stailey, Director of Composition Services


Windows 7 is the latest generation of Microsoft’s operating system, the master program that makes a computer useful and provides support to other programs, including word processors, photo viewers, and Internet browsers. Much as an education equips you to read a novel or play a game, Windows 7 equips your computer to perform a wide range of activities. You can use Windows 7 and other software (programs) to read or write a novel, play games or music, and stay in touch with friends and family around the world.

As Windows has evolved over the last 30 years, so have computers — the hardware. Today, you can buy a computer as small as a paperback book, and even such a little computer is unimaginably more powerful than computers were just 10 years ago, and at a fraction of the price. The hardware provides the mechanisms — the display, the keyboard, the mouse, and more — you use to work with Windows 7.

It doesn’t take much time with a computer to conclude there has to be an easier way to do things. At times, computers seem overly complex and inscrutable. Have you used a cellphone lately? Or a TV remote control? Why are the controls on every microwave oven different? Why does every new tool offer countless options you don’t want that hide the ones you do? Well, I don’t have the answers to those questions, but I do have step-by-step instructions for many tasks you want to perform using Windows 7, which isn’t as dry as that sounds, but which is quite practical.

After 30 years working with computers, I find computers reward patience, curiosity, and a little methodical exploration. In this book, you find the instructions for doing practical activities, such as creating a letter or sending e-mail. In addition to the steps that are necessary, you see what’s possible and what’s consistent (and inconsistent) between different programs.

Seniors, in particular, know that learning never really stops and that new things keep one young, at least figuratively. The computer is a unique tool. Tomorrow, your TV won’t do something new, but with your computer, you’ll do things you don’t yet imagine.

By the end of this book, you may be a multitasking computerist performing virtual gymnastics with Windows 7. On the other hand, if the computer does only one thing for you — whether it’s e-mail, browsing the Web, enjoying photos, music, or DVDs — that one useful thing may be all you need.

About This Book

Age is just a number. This book is intended for anyone getting started with Windows 7 who wants step-by-step instructions without a lot of discussion. The Get ready to . . . bullets at the beginning of each chapter lead you to the practical tasks that you want to find out about. Numerous figures with notes show you the computer screen as you progress through the steps. Reading this book is like having an experienced friend stand behind you as you use Windows 7 . . . someone who never takes the keyboard away from you.

Foolish Assumptions

I assume that you have a computer and want clear, brief, step-by-step instruction on getting things done with Windows 7. I also assume you want to know just what you need to know, just when you need to know it. This isn’t Computers 101. This is Practical Windows 7. As an old friend of mine says, “I don’t want to make a watch; I just want to know what time it is.”

Why You Need This Book

Technology always comes with its own terms and concepts, but you don’t need to learn another language to use a computer. You don’t need any prior experience with computers or Windows. Step-by-step instructions guide you through specific tasks, such as starting a program and saving your documents. These steps provide just the information you need for the task at hand.

You can work through this book from beginning to end or simply look at the table of contents and find the content you need to solve a problem or help you learn a new skill whenever you need it. The steps in each task get you where you want to go quickly without a lot of technical explanation. In no time, you’ll start picking up the skills you need to become a confident Windows 7 user.

Conventions Used in This Book

This book uses certain conventions to highlight important information and help you find your way around, including these:

tip.eps Tip icons: Point out helpful suggestions related to tasks in the steps lists.

Bold: I use bold on the important, find-it-now stuff:

• When you have to type something onscreen using the keyboard

• Figure references

tip.eps Many illustrations and figures have notes or other markings to draw your attention to a specific part of the figure. The text tells you what to look for; the figure notes help you find it.

Web site addresses: They look like this: See Chapter 9 for information on browsing the Web.

Menu choices: Look for this arrow symbol: ➪. This shows a sequence of steps a computer menu. For example, Start➪All ProgramsAccessories means to click the Start button, click All Programs, and then click Accessories.

Options and buttons: Although Windows 7 often uses lowercase in options and on buttons, I capitalize the text for emphasis. That way you can find a button labeled Save Now, even though onscreen it appears as Save now.

tip.eps On the computer, you single-click the left mouse button to select an option or object. A single click of the right mouse button always produces a special context, or shortcut, menu with commands tailored to the situation. When appropriate, I tell you to click the right mouse button as right-click. All other times when I tell you to click the mouse, you can assume that I mean the left button. See Chapter 1 for more on using the mouse.

tip.eps When you’re to use the keyboard, I tell you to press a particular key, such as press the Enter key. Later in the book, after you get comfortable with the steps, you may see shorthand for keyboard shortcuts. For example, Q+E means press and hold the Windows logo key (with the flag icon on it, between Ctrl and Alt on most keyboards), press the E key, and then release both. Knowing a few keyboard shortcuts can be very handy.

How This Book Is Organized

This book is divided into six parts to help you find what you need. You can read from cover to cover or just jump to the page that interests you first.

Part I: Getting to Know Windows 7. In Chapter 1, turn the computer on and get comfortable with essential parts of Windows 7, such as the desktop and Start menu. In Chapter 2, explore the parts of a window (an area of the screen). In Chapter 3, use WordPad to create a note or letter. In Chapter 4, discover the organization Windows 7 creates for you and make it your own.

Part II: Getting Things Done in Windows 7. In Chapter 5, use programs for displaying the time and weather, performing calculations, and taking notes. In Chapter 6, install additional programs or remove programs you don’t need. In Chapter 7, set up a printer or other device, such as an external hard drive.

Part III: Discovering the Internet. In Chapter 8, connect to the Internet at home or on the road. (You may want to do this sooner, rather than later.) In Chapter 9, browse the World Wide Web, which can be your international library and marketplace. In Chapter 10, create an e-mail account and then send and receive e-mail.

Part IV: Having Fun with Windows 7. If you haven’t been having any fun until now, I’ve failed you. In Chapter 11, play the games Windows 7 includes, such as Solitaire. In Chapter 12, enjoy photos on Windows 7 and put your own photos on the computer if you have a digital camera. In Chapter 13, listen to music or watch a DVD movie.

Part V: Having It Your Way with Windows 7. Hint: If something about Windows 7 bothers you or is hard to use — for example, things on the screen are too small — turn to this section now. In Chapter 14, make changes to the look of Windows 7. In Chapter 15, adjust the taskbar and Start menu to work better for you. In Chapter 16, change the size of objects on the screen and turn on features intended to make Windows 7 easier to use.

Part VI: Staying Safe and Keeping Windows 7 Healthy. In Chapter 17, keep Windows 7 up-to-date. In Chapter 18, protect your computer against bad software (called malware), such as viruses. (Another thing you should do sooner, rather than later.) In Chapter 19, back up the documents and photos you’d hate to lose.

Time to Get Started!

Scan the table of contents or the index for a topic that interests you most. Or, just turn the page and start at the beginning. It’s your book.

Comments and suggestions are welcome. Write me at Visit the book’s Web site for supplemental material:

Part I

Getting to Know Windows 7