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Tag Archives: computer training

Computer Training for Windows 8: SGU’s Top Tips and Tricks


By Sarah Freese
Artwork by Danielle Adams

If you’ve bought a new PC in the last few months, then you’ve noticed the very obvious changes made to the Windows operating system.  Welcome to Windows 8, the hybrid OS from Microsoft you can operate with touch control or the traditional keyboard and mouse.  They have designed a system that would operate both on phones and on laptops – virtually interchangeable.  

The system is beautiful, and it works like a charm (pun intended – the Win 8 charms bar is your key features touch menu).  However, many users have run into problems adapting to the new OS with their keyboards, as the new Windows 8 is geared towards a touch screen like a phone or a tablet.  

But never fear, your trusty SGU team is here to help with computer training.  There is definitely a learning curve for Windows 8 – especially if you’re sticking to the traditional keyboard and mouse.  That’s why we’ve devised a list of the top 10 tips and tricks for handling your new OS – plus a keyboard shortcuts bonus!

Top 10 Tips and Tricks for Windows 8:

  1. Quick Access Menu – The quick access menu in the new Windows 8 system will be your key to understanding and using the entire system.  This menu, hidden in the lower left hand corner of the screen, gives the user direct access to the most important functions in the system, including Disk Management, Task Manager, Device Manager, and the Control Panel. 

    Jump to the end of our blog to see the shortcut [Windows + X ] in action!

  2. Quick-close Your Apps – For traditional Windows users, you will discover that conventional ‘close’ buttons do not exist in Windows 8.  In keeping with transitioning user and computer to an interchangeable system, Windows now encourages you to keep your applications running in the background (sound similar to your cell phone?)  They don’t take up much of the computer’s access or run time this way, and can still be accessed at any time.  However if you’re a stickler for closing things (guilty!), you can still close your applications by dragging your applications to the bottom of the screen, where they will turn into thumbnail size and then disappear.
  3. Privacy – Any system that features apps has access to your privacyinformation, whether it’s your cell phone or even Facebook.  More often than not, these apps get access and use your personal information without you even knowing it.  However, on the Windows 8 system, you can control which apps are allowed to use your information (if any,) and which apps can use specific information.  All of this can be found under ‘privacy’ in the Settings panel.
  4. Zoom – The new start screen will probably remind you of the new Windows phone – big chunky tiles on the screen that allow you to keep track of different apps that you check regularly.  However, if you have a ton of apps that you use, Windows singles out the most often used ones and displays those the largest.  As a result, some of your apps may get lost from view. 

    On your desktop or laptop computer, you have the option to zoom in on your apps to make them both more accessible and view them more easily.  You can zoom by in on any point of the start screen by holding down the <Ctrl> key and using your mouse wheel (or track pad for laptop users) to zoom in and out of your start screen.

  5. Task Manager – In the new Windows 8, Microsoft has changed how they manage your start up items.  task managerWhat used to be found under the configuration program can now be found under the new task manager.  Under the task manager, you can select which apps will automatically start at power up (and change them around whenever you’d like).

    Get to the Task Manager by pressing the trusty <Ctrl><Alt><Del> combo.  You can click the Startup tab to choose which programs you want to run every time you boot up.

  6. Picture Password – This is a cool new feature created for the Windows 8 system (and our personal favorite).  In your settings, you can ‘create a picture password’ under the sign-in options.  In the window, you select the picture you like, and then you create three gestures anywhere on the image that will represent your login password.  For example, you could draw circle-circle-swipe, or circle-swipe-circle.  Whatever pattern you decide becomes your new password for your log in.  Cool, huh?
  7. Start Up to Desktop – The Windows 8 system starts up and takes the user straight to the tiled start screen, filled with your apps.  But, if you prefer a more traditional style, you can change your settings to start your computer up straight to the desktop.  SGU can help you set up this setting in our computer training course.   

    Another way to get right to your desktop is with the Windows + D shortcut. See the bonus section below!

  8. Refresh Your PC – Have you ever felt like your laptop or computer system is clogged with extra data that you don’t use?  Well, with the new Windows 8 system, you can completely refresh your software.  With just one click of the refresh your PC without affecting your files section under Settings, your system will wipe your computer (while still maintaining all of your important documents, pictures, etc) and upload a fresh version of Windows 8.  This allows you to get rid of unneeded apps and other unused tools without taking the time to delete them all individually.

    Need a more detailed run-down?  Click Settings -> Change PC Settings -> General -> Refresh your PC without affecting your files -> Get Started -> Refresh.

  9. Quick troubleshoot – If you’re frustrated because your processor is running slowly, or your apps won’t load as quickly as you’d like, it could be that your system needs troubleshooting.  In other Windows systems, reaching the troubleshooting menu was complicated and didn’t always work.  However, with the new Windows 8 system, you can simply hold down the <Shift> key and select the restart option on your power menu.  The computer will reboot, and should take you straight to the new troubleshooting menu.
  10. Quick Shutdown – The Windows 8 system doesn’t want you to shut it down – it’s designed so that finding the power button is difficult.  However, you can create a shortcut button on your Start screen that will make it easy to find whenever you need to power down.  Instead of going through the multi-step shut down process, this shortcut lets you shut down your computer with one click.  Here’s the recipe:
    • Right-click -> New -> Shortcut -> type [shutdown /s /t 0] -> Next -> name the shortcut -> Finish
    • Right-click new shortcut -> Properties -> Change Icon -> OK -> Choose icon of your choice from list
    • Right-click shortcut again -> Pin to Start -> Place icon wherever you want on your Start screen!

    As you can see, there are a few steps to creating this one-step shortcut.  Contact SGU for help if you should need a more detailed tutorial.


Bonus section:  Keyboard Shortcuts!

Check out our favorite keyboard combos that can make your Windows 8 life easier!  Be sure to watch in full screen mode to get the best view.

If Windows 8 is still an enigma (and don’t worry, you are not alone), SGU has a team of technical and Windows experts who would be more than happy to come to your location for a computer training session.  Our team has been well-versed in this new OS and can walk you step-by-step through its features.  Contact us today to schedule a training session!

Computer Training in NYC: How Often Should I Re-Train My Staff?


What’s the point of hiring employees who are well versed in all of the latest and most important programs if you’re just going to let those skills become obsolete? Once you’ve hired a competent staff, it’s not enough to just hope that everything falls into place. The business world is always changing, and your staff should evolve along with it. The most effective computer training in NYC keeps staff ahead of the curve and not racing to catch up.



What You Get Out Of Re-Training Your Staff

You are not required to re-train your staff very often, but the businesses that only do what they are required to are not the businesses that maintain a loyal following or see that desired increase in revenue.

Re-training your staff is an investment. There is a long-term payoff for making sure your staff is conversant in programming; you don’t want to fall into the trap of becoming a popular company only to fall out of favor because you were resting on your laurels when you should have been working just as hard as ever (not that you don’t deserve that pat on the back).

On-going training also keeps you prepared for the future. Regular re-training alerts you to what your staff most needs brushing up on, so that subsequent training sessions will be more efficient and focused on what is essential to your company in particular.

We live in a fast-paced city and it’s important to stay on top of what’s changing – computer training in NYC should match the lifestyle of the trainees. Just as no one in his right mind would let a surgeon who hasn’t kept up with the latest medical journals and trends operate on him, no one wants to hire a company that relies on outdated technology and methods.

Employees who are keeping up with updates are more productive. It is key to keep ahead of the curve when it comes to the technology and programs used by your company, so that it can then be better navigated, producing results quickly. Too many of us are still smarting from school presentations in PowerPoint where the slides wouldn’t work on any computer but our own, or the file wouldn’t open at all, to let it continue to haunt us in the work place, right?  If you got a chance to check out last week’s A/V blog on conference room set up, you know that it DOES happen, and being trained on both equipment and software could save a lot of headache.


Our Policy

SGU Consulting believes that staff should be re-trained every 6 months or so, whether this means further exploring QuickBooks or staying current with the updates that are constantly coming out. Training can be as detailed or brief as you like.  For those who rely heavily on Word, our quick tips and tricks Whitepaper can really save time by pointing out shortcuts.  Download it for free here!

We are constantly finding more efficient ways to handle programs so that we don’t waste your time or ours.  This is how SGU Consulting gives you the best support we can.   We’re not ones to dole out advice we ourselves don’t follow, so we speak from experience when we tell you that brushing up your staff’s skills is indispensable. If you don’t use it, you lose it!  We offer customizable training to target your specific business environment.  Let us help you come up with a curriculum to help your staff become more efficient and productive.  Contact us now for more information!

Computer Training: Pick up Tips on Word


If you’re like most of us, you probably spend about 50-75% of your computer time on Microsoft Word. It could even be that most of that time on Word is spent in frustration as you try to get the stupid computer to do what you want it to do.

Word tips

There’s good news: it doesn’t always have to be a fight with Word. Here are some easy tips and tricks that will make your Word experience less aggravating and more productive.  You’ll get some valuable computer training in under 7 minutes.


  1.      Spacing Shortcut

So you just finished an award-winning document: everything is perfect. You poured your sweat and soul into the words, stats, whatever it entails. And you’re pretty proud of yourself.

Now all you have to do is space everything. But you don’t just want to space it, you want to space it. Some single space here, some double space there, to make your perfect document even better.

But after clicking through a million menus and struggling to complete your spacing vision, you’re about ready to individually double-space each line yourself. 

If this happens to you, fear not.

The shortcut is the answer.  spacing

They may just look like funny symbols and pictures, but shortcuts can save you a lot of time and frustration. And once you understand what each shortcut does, you’ll be clicking them like a pro.


  2.       Aligning Text

    You’ve been using the tab button to uniformly indent your entire document. And now it’s time for a bulleted list, maybe some numbers. But, when you start a new paragraph now, the tab is different.

    Your paragraphs are no longer in line. Some are indented and then some are really indented.

    You play around with the tab button but no matter what you do, your text refuses to align the way you want.

    If you get to this point, you don’t have to indent each block of text, counting spaces in your head so each paragraph is even.

    Rulers can help.

    But what are rulers?

    On the top and left side of the document you’ll see rulers.   ruler 

    And, if you’ve noticed them before, you probably always wondered what they were for. Well you can use them to align your text without the anger caused by an unruly tab button.


      3.       Insert Pictures

      Inserting pictures into Word is one of those things that you might avoid at all costs.

      Your document is all ready to go, and you wince as you hit the “insert” button, hoping all that work you spent on the text isn’t instantly ruined.

      You know how you want the text and picture to look together. But once you place that picture in, everything gets wonky.

      The text moves everywhere, the picture covers the text, or some kind of combination of the two.  Or, even worse, some of your text disappears.

      wrap text in word

      All you can do is stare at the screen in shock, hit undo, and either try to insert pictures using Paint or completely abandon the idea of pictures.  You don’t really need them, right?


      You can fix your picture woes with text wrapping.  No extensive computer training necessary–just make this feature your friend. 



      Want the gritty details to these tips and more?

      Download the complete list.