How Do I Start Learning Computer Basics?

by Tim Chesonis | Last Updated:  February 7, 2022

If you find yourself thinking that computers are too complicated, and beyond your ability to comprehend, let me encourage you.

You can learn the basics of how to use a computer right now and start the learning process by the time you finish reading this article. You will learn how to learn about computers.

Decide Right Now that You Will Learn How to Use a Computer

The hardest part about learning how to use a computer is getting started. It’s not that it is difficult to learn, not at all. But let me encourage you, there it gets easier each day. Learning how to use a computer is like trying to push a stopped car in neutral. Initially, it may take more energy on your part, but after a few feet, the momentum you have built makes it easier the further you go.

Now that you know that once you start, it will get easier, make a decision right now that you are going to learn the basics of how to use a computer. OK, now that you have made that decision, let me help you start you on your journey by showing you exactly what you need to do to start the learning process. In fact, by the time you finish reading this article, you will be well on your way, knowing exactly what steps you need to take to learn the basics of how to use a computer.

Start Small and Take Baby Steps

Learning how to use the computer can be fun. Sure, at first you may feel intimidated, but the more you learn the less intimidating it becomes. Start by taking baby steps. If you learn one small simple thing and master it, what you have learned will become second nature.

As an extreme example, learning how to turn the computer on and the proper way to turn it off is actually very important. It also does not take a rocket scientist to learn how to do this, but it is important, and you can do this. Once you learn how to properly turn it on, and properly turn it off, you don’t even think about it. You just do it. The same applies to 99.999% of all other computer related things.

To make the point, when was the last time you gave a second thought about how to start your car? You’ve probably been starting your car and turning off your car for years, but you really only had to learn how to do it once, and then it became second nature.

The Internet is Your Friend

If you want to learn something, (anything), and you don’t have someone to show you how, remember this: The Internet is your friend. In fact, if you could only learn one thing about the computer, it should be how to turn the computer on, open up a web browser and visit google.com so that you could search for the answers to the questions you don’t know.

In fact, that is exactly what we are going to do right now. I’m going to show you how to turn your computer on, when and how to turn it off; and I’m going to show you how to open up a web browser and use Google to learn the basics about how to use your computer.

Start With the Basics

The biggest hurdle in learning on how to use a computer is believing that you are actually capable of learning how to use it. To help you get there, we start out with baby steps. You may already know how to turn the computer on and turn the computer off properly, but for the sake of this article, just follow the steps so that we can ensure that you are well on your way to being able to learn the basics of how to use a computer.

How to Turn the Computer On

All computers have a Power button to turn the computer on. You need to determine where the power button is on your computer, as it will be in a different place depending on the computer model you have. You will generally find the Power button on the front of your computer, and it will probably be shaped as a round or square button.

Press the button hard, but not too hard, until you see the power light on the button turn on. Then simply let go of the button. At this point, the operating system will start and will eventually you will find icons displaying on your desktop (the computer screen). This can take a couple of minutes so be patient.

Though there are different operating systems, namely Windows and Mac, in this article, we are going to assume that you are using Windows 11.

To turn the computer off I simply move the mouse cursor to the start button in the dock at the bottom of the screen, and click the icon all the way to the left. Once you do, the “Start Menu” will appear. To power off the computer, simply click the icon at the bottom right of the “Star Menu” popup that has appeared. You may then be asked to confirm if you wish to power off the computer. Simply click “Yes” (or OK), and the computer will then power down.

Turn on the computer back on, simply follow the process again by physically pressing the power button on the computer itself.

How to Launch a Web Browser

Once your computer has been turned on and you see all of the icons on the desktop, you will want to launch your web browser. In Windows, the default web browser is called “Microsoft Edge”. To get to that application, we simply need to click the start menu icon and then immediately type the words “Microsoft Edge”, in the search bar as it appears at the top of the Start Menu and hit the ENTER key, or we can simply double-click on the “Microsoft Edge” icon located at the top of the Start Menu. Either method will launch the application for you.

When the application launches, your cursor will automatically default to the Address bar at the top of the application. Now type, “google.com” (without quotes), and hit the ENTER key. You will now be on Google’s homepage, and your cursor will automatically be placed in the search bar in the center of the screen.

How to Use Google

Remember, the objective is to teach you how to fish, (figuratively speaking), not to give you the fish. With that in mind, let me share with you some basics in how to use Google to search for anything you want to know about.

With your cursor placed in the search bar on Google’s homepage, I want to encourage you to enter any one of the following bullet items to learn more about that specific topic. After typing the text, hit the ENTER key, you will find a list of items in the surgery results pertaining to the topic and question. From there, you can click on any one of the links that you find to learn more about that given topic.

A word of caution. The search results will probably offer a couple of YouTube videos for you to choose from that will demonstrate exactly how to do each of the above bullet items listed. That is fine, just keep in mind, that if you want to do another search, you will need to go back to google.com and conduct another search.

The algorithm that Google uses to provide the search results is very accurate, meaning that generally speaking, Google will provide you with the answers to the questions that you are asking, but it is not fool proof. Google is biased, both politically speaking, and financially speaking. For example, when you search for something on their website, the first 2 or 3 search results are generally ad sponsored. That means that someone paid to be listed at the top of your search results, and those search results *may* not be the best answer to your question. For that reason, when I search on Google, I tend to look for the first search result that is not ad sponsored.

Write Questions Down and Look up the Answers

You will find that as you endeavor on your journey to learn more about how to use the computer, questions will pop up in your mind throughout the day. I would encourage you to write them down so that when you do go to the computer you can Google your questions and find the answers to them.

If you follow this advice, you will find that you will learn faster, and be less distracted when searching for questions at google.com. It is all too easy to get distracted and find yourself running down a rabbit trail based on one question that you had. If you write them down, you can always go back and ensure that you are learning what you intended to.

Manage Your Expectations

What I have shared with you so far has intentionally been very basic. The goal here was to show you that you can do this. My objective was to teach you how to “fish”, not to give you the “fish”. If you follow the steps I have provided in this article, and continue to repeat those steps, you will find that in one week, you will know way more than you ever thought you could.

Because we live in a “microwave society”, where are we expected to master something within minutes, you need to manage your expectations. I would recommend that you have a list of three or four questions that you want to learn about each day and Google them to find the answers to those questions. The more that you do, the more familiar and you will become in how to learn using Google as a tool. The more familiar you become without a use Google, the more confident you become.

Keep in mind that this is a starting point. It is a very good starting point, and if the steps provided are followed, you will learn an awful lot and a very short period of time. Keep at it and be very persistent. The more persistent you are the more you will know.