Booting Up & Powering Down HANDOUT

So, you don’t have the faintest idea what to do with a computer. You are afraid you’ll immediately hit the wrong button and blow the whole thing up. That would be OK, wouldn’t it, IF it’s under warranty? So worse case scenario, you blow up the computer and it is returned  for a brand new one. Not so horrible. The good news is, the chances of that happening are virtually null, that is unless you take a stick of dynamite to your computer. I’d stay away from the dynamite if I were you. Bottom line, absence dynamite, hammers, or dropping it on the ground, it’s pretty hard to permanently mess up a computer. So let’s rationalize our fears, and turn that thing on!

First you have to find the power button, which has a little symbol that looks like a little circle with a line going through it.

On a desktop, the power button is usually located on the front of the tower (that tall, rectangular box sitting either beside you or on the floor somewhere). On a laptop, it’s probably somewhere above your keyboard.


You should hear the power go on. Now, if you own a desktop, you also need to turn your monitor on by pushing a button usually located below the screen. (If you own a laptop, you don’t need to do this – your screen will turn on automatically.)

Next, you’ll probably see something on your screen relating to the maker of the computer, like a Dell Or Sony logo. Then, after the computer spits out a bit of jibberish, you’ll probably see what’s called a “splash” screen, telling you what Operating System you have – the software that operates your particular computer - Windows 98 or Windows XP, for example. And after that…drum roll please…you should see a bunch of little pictures with writing underneath them, set against either a colored, pattern or picture backdrop. Congratulate yourself. You have just turned on your computer! The little pictures on your screen are called icons, and your screen’s background is called the desktop.

OK, so we’ll learn how to work the thing later. First you need to know how to turn your computer off, because, contrary to your first hunch, pressing the same button you pressed to turn it on is, 95 percent of the time, NOT  the way to do it. Pressing that button will turn the computer off, but the computer doesn’t like that way very much, and over time using that method will make your computer very unhappy. Bottom line, pressing that button (except in emergencies) to turn your computer off is very hard on your precious little machine.

This is how you turn off your computer:

Take your mouse and click on the button that says Start on the lower lefthand portion of your screen. I know. I know. Why are we clicking on a “Start” button when what we really want to do is turn the thing off? Well, because Microsoft designed it that way. Don’t blame me. But the method works, so let’s just go with the flow and trust me a little.

After you click on the Start button, you should see something right above it that says either “Shut Down” or “Shut Down Computer.” Move your mouse up or over to where you see that written, and click.

A box should pop up. For those of you who do not have a Windows XP operating system, make sure there is a black dot in the circle next to the choice that says “Shut Down.” (For all you curious folks, that circle is called a Radio Button, and with a radio button you can only make one choice.) Click on OK. Your computer should turn off momentarily.

OK, now for all you 21st-Century people who have a computer with the Windows XP® operating system, you need to click on the red button that says Shut Down Computer. Your computer should turn off momentarily.

Hopefully you should now know how to turn your computer on and off – two very important steps in the road to mastering the machine. So if your computer is on, and you ever panic and don’t know what to do, you can turn it off!  GOOD JOB!