Windows 10 Essentials Tutorial

Windows 10 Essentials Tutorial

Windows 10 Essentials Tutorial

This tutorial covers the main steps to get started with learning how to use Windows 10 (now an essential upgrade from Windows 7 & 8).  Also covered, are ways of personalising Windows 10, productivity tips to boost work performance, and ways to keep a computer secure. 

 Updated: 1st July 2018


1) Audience

2) Getting Started with Windows 10

3) Windows 10 Productivity Tips

4) Keeping your Computer Secure

5) Computer Support

6) Accessibility Features


Computer users can be divided into five categories:

  1. Home user
  2. Small office/Home office users
  3. Mobile users
  4. Large business users
  5. Power users.

This guide is aimed at the Home User – Families, school and college Students and Seniors.
A Home user spends time on the computer for personal and social/business communications, budgeting and personal financial management, entertainment, and general web browsing.

Getting Started with Windows 10

local account vs Microsoft account

When starting Windows 10 for the first time you now have to make a choice between using a Local Account or a Microsoft Account. With a Local Account, you only have access to the computer you are currently using. While with a Microsoft Account, you can set it up to give access to all your Windows 10 devices like Desktop, Laptops and Microsoft Tablets and Smartphones.

While a Local Account works much the same as in previous versions of Windows, a Microsoft Account also gives streamlined access to the Windows Store, Onedrive and also allows you sync your settings across all devices. When logging in just with a local Account, you will still need a Microsoft Account to access Windows Store and Onedrive.

If you have ever used Microsoft services like Xbox Live, Hotmail,, OneDrive or Windows Messenger, then you already have a Microsoft Account. Microsoft has simply combined all of their services together and allows you access them all with a single account.

Main Benefits of Microsoft Account

  • Access to the Windows Store - Signing in to Windows 8/8.1 or 10 gives you access to the new Windows Store where you can download modern apps to your Windows 8 computer. These modern apps are similar to the apps you see in the Google Play Store or the iTunes App Store. The difference is Windows Store apps can be used on your PC like regular desktop apps
  • Free Cloud Storage – you automatically get access to Onedrive where you will have 5GB of free storage available. Once signed-up, you will be able to access your stored files from all devices running Windows 10 including tablets and mobile phones.
  • Sync your Windows Settings – First of all, set-up your main computer with your preferred wallpaper, themes, update settings, Start screen tile layout and language preferences. So when you login to another Windows device with the same Microsoft Account, your settings will automatically be configured for you. Obviously, this could be a privacy concern for some users as the data could include browser history, favourites and passwords.

Main Drawbacks of Microsoft Account

  • Encouraging users to reveal usage information – Microsoft has come under criticism for opting users into some privacy options by default when the express setup is used during installation of Windows 10. In section below Setting windows 10 privacy when using Microsoft Account, these default settings can be set quickly for optimum privacy so you can use a Microsoft Account with more confidence.

Which Account Type should you use?

When you first start Windows 10, it is usually better to create a local account to get up and running as a Microsoft Account requires an active internet connection on first use. You then have to decide if it is worth switching to a Microsoft Account.

If you only have one computer, you have no interest in Windows Store Apps and you don’t need access to your files outside your home, then a local account will be fine. While if you are interested in new features of Windows 10 then you will need a Microsoft Account to take full advantage of them.

See more at:

Start Menu & Taskbar

The Windows 10 Start menu is a hybrid of the old Windows 7 Start menu and the Windows 8 Start screen. Anything you could do from the either of those menus can now be done in the Windows 10 Start menu.

Areas on the Start menu

The new Start menu is made up of several areas which have been numbered in the screenshot below.

Area 1 – Most used programs – This is where your most frequently run programs will be placed. If there is an arrow next to them, you can click on it and a ‘Jump List’ will open. This is usually a list of files that this program has recently opened.

Area 2 – Recently added Programs or Apps – which have been installed from the Windows Store or through the Desktop.

Area 3 – Common Tasks – these are shortcuts to commonly used tasks.

Area 4 – All Apps – This section allows you to browse all the Programs and Apps on your PC in alphabetical order.

Area 5 – Tiles – Each of the tiles on the right of the Start menu represents an App from the Windows store. The pictures/text on the tiles may constantly change depending on the App unlike traditional icons which are usually static. You can pin shortcuts to desktop programs and add more Apps to this area. If you have more tiles than will fit on the Start menu, a scroll bar will appear on the right so you can scroll down to see more tiles.

Area 6 – User Account – In this section you can logout or switch user.

Using File Explorer

Understanding how to work with files and folders is an important part of using your computer. Once you understand how files and folder work, you'll use them all the time.

Check out link below to learn the absolute basics of working with files, including how to open files, move your files into folders, and delete files.

Alternatively, if you prefer to watch a short training video, click on this link…!AgY_1LZU-Gy_g6Uaib__f8WrV4c9pQ

Note: The best all-round video player is VLC, which can be downloaded from this link…

Activities – Getting Started

Set-up User accounts for All Computer users

Activity 1a

Set-up User accounts on your home computer for all users and set appropriate permissions.

To learn how to Create a New User Account in Windows 10, check out this tutorial…

Check speed of internet connection and compare with advertised speed

Activity 1b

Check the speed of your internet connection and compare result with the advertised speed of the broadband deal that you have signed up for.

To find out the download and upload speed of your internet connection, check out this website…

Create copy of your Music collection on portable drive

Activity 1c

Create a synchronised copy of your MP3 music collection on a backup drive using Allway sync, which can be downloaded from this website…

Windows 10 Productivity Tips

Windows 10 is designed to facilitate both leisure and work pursuits. In this section of lesson, I demonstrate some of the more useful productivity features to facilitate getting their work done, be it for study, home admin or for a business.

The following Windows 10 productivity features are demonstrated:

  • Windows Task View – Win + Tab Key
  • Virtual Desktops
  • Managing multiple running Programs/Apps inc Hiding/Restoring all Windows, Snapping, Pinning to Taskbar, Jump Lists
  • Onedrive - Saving, Syncing and Sharing Files
  • Taking Screenshots to include when reporting a program error, recording screen from online course or for including in a report

Saving, syncing and sharing files in Onedrive

Onedrive is a service which stores your files in the cloud, or in other words, on a server on the internet. It can be handy for backup of your important files and also for accessing your files on other computers or mobile devices.

Onedrive is integrated into Windows 10 so that there is a seamless use of the service, once it is up and running. So, as files are added or updated in Onedrive locally on your PC, those files are then synchronised with your Onedrive account in the cloud. Also, if you have another PC or mobile device running Windows 10, then these updated files are synchronised with it shortly after being changed on your main PC.

To learn how to use the main features of Onedrive, check out this tutorial…

Sharing of files and folders can only be done from the Onedrive website, check out this tutorial for further details…

Task Scheduler

Windows' built in Task Scheduler can enable you to run regularly occurring tasks on a schedule (as the name implies). You can create both simple and complex tasks, ranging from starting a program and sending an email to running complex scripts under specific conditions, all with just a few clicks.

See more at:

Taking Screenshots

Windows 10 has built-in print screen option that works great for basic tasks, but many third-party programs offer more ease of use and features.

Take Quick Screenshots with Print Screen (PrtScn)

The Print Screen button on your keyboard can take a screenshot and save it as a file, take a screenshot of only one window (instead of the whole screen) or take a screenshot and save it as an image file.

To Take a regular Screenshot

Press “PrtScn” button, a screenshot of your currently active window will be copied to the clipboard. You can now paste it into your favourite image editor or document editor.

To take a screenshot of only one window, click on the title bar of the window that you want to capture. Press “Alt + PrtScn”, and a screenshot of your currently active window will be copied to the clipboard.

To Save Your Screenshot as an Image File

Press the “Windows logo key + PrtScn.” The screen will dim for a moment, and then you will see the screenshot appear as a file in a folder entitled “Screenshots”, inside your default “Pictures” folder. The screenshot is automatically labelled with a number, e.g Screenshot (1).png.

See more at:

Activities - Productivity tips

Virtual desktops

Activity 2a

Set-up two work sessions using Virtual Desktops and carry out sample tasks e.g producing your home budget and checking bank balance in session 1, while browsing recent photos with Xnview desktop app in session 2.

Activity 2b

Share Photos with Onedrive

Import a selection of photos from your digital camera into My Pictures folder. Once that’s done, you should then copy the folder into Onedrive and share the link by email with a friend or family member.

Keeping your Computer Secure

Windows 10 includes some built-in features to keep your computer safe from viruses, malware, and intruders. You can learn more about some of the most important features below.

User Account Control

The User Account Control (UAC) is a security feature that helps prevent unauthorised changes to your Windows 10 computer or device. These unauthorised changes can be initiated by users, apps, viruses, or other types of malware. UAC ensures that these changes are made only with the administrator’s approval. If these changes are not approved by the administrator, they will never be executed, and the system will remain unchanged.

To access User Account Control, follow the steps below:

  1. Click in the search box on the taskbar.
  2. Type ‘uac’

A list of search results appears.

  1. Click “Change User Account Control settings”.

The User Account Control Settings window appears.

  1. Set the UAC switch to the position you want.

Figure: User Account Control Settings with default set, which is shown in green in the full list below.

    • Always notify.

The UAC prompt is shown when apps try to install software or make changes to your computer and when you try to change Windows settings. The Desktop is dimmed when a UAC prompt is shown.

    • Notify me only when apps try to make changes to my computer (default)

This is the default setting for UAC. UAC prompts aren’t shown when you try to make changes to Windows settings. The Desktop is dimmed when a UAC prompt is shown.

    • Notify me only when apps try to make changes to my computer (do not dim my desktop).

UAC prompts are not shown when you try to make changes to Windows settings, but the Desktop isn’t dimmed when a UAC prompt is shown.

    • Never notify.

This is the equivalent of turning off UAC. It is not recommended that you use this setting.

See more at:

Windows Firewall

A firewall, at its most basic level, permits or denies communications between computers, between networks, or between computers and networks (for example, your home computer and the Internet) based on the firewall’s configuration rules. You can access the settings for Windows Firewall through the Network and Security section in the Control Panel.

Only connections that are explicitly allowed, using firewall rules, are permitted. Windows Firewall, by default, allows all outbound connections, and permits only established inbound connections (that is, an inbound connection that is in direct response to an outbound connection initiated from your computer or network).

To find out how to configure Windows Firewall, check out this tutorial…

Windows Defender

Windows provides support for both antivirus and antispyware security, in a single program called Windows Defender. It offers both active and passive protection, and it’s regularly updated with new virus definitions, thanks to the Windows Update process.

Antivirus utilities such as Windows Defender feature two modes of operation:

Passive: In this mode, the program lurks in the background and monitors the computer’s activity, looking for malware.

Active: In this mode, the antivirus program probes all parts of the computer’s memory and storage system, looking for signs of infection. Active scans can be done manually, or they take place on a schedule.

Like other antivirus apps, Windows Defender automatically runs in the background, scanning files when they’re downloaded, transferred from external drives, and before you open them.

You don’t really have to think about Windows Defender at all. It will only pop up to inform you when it finds malware. It won’t even ask you what you want to do with the malicious software it finds—it just cleans things up and quarantines the files automatically.

To find out about other features of Windows Defender, check out this tutorial…

How does Windows Defender Compare with Commercial Anti-Virus Products

Security experts at AV-Test Institute rate antivirus programs on three criteria, Protection, Performance, and Usability. The antivirus can earn up to six points for each of these. For certification, a product needs a total of 10 points and no zeroes. Windows Defender got 5.0 points for Protection, 4.5 points for Performance, and 4.0 points for Usability, a total of 13.5 points. That's a passing grade, but not a high one. Kaspersky rated a perfect 18 points. Among free products, Avast, AVG AntiVirus Free, and Avira earned 16.0, 16.5, and 17.0 points respectively.

Above excerpt taken from the following article dated 17th Oct 2017…

Windows Updates

In order to keep your computer secure, Microsoft automatically provides regular updates to your computer. These include important security updates, as well as new features.

To learn more about Windows Updates, check out this tutorial,

Activities - keeping your computer secure -

Check if windows Firewall is in use

Activity 3a

Check the Windows Firewall settings on your home computer and see if it is active or is there a third-party firewall active instead.

Setting windows 10 privacy when using Microsoft Account

With the rise of Cloud-based services, more and more computer users are putting the trust of their private data with remote servers. This is at a time when the security of online data has come into question following many high-profile breaches.

This should especially be a concern for Windows 10 users as it might surprise you to learn that Microsoft's makes it clear in its Privacy Statement of its intention to collect your data: when you create a Microsoft account, submit a search query to Bing, speak a voice command to Cortana, upload a document to OneDrive, or contact Microsoft for support.

You may be relieved to know that Windows 10 provides settings that allow you to choose what to share and what to keep private. The problem is, those settings are scattered all over Windows 10, so finding them all is time-consuming and not always that easy.

Don't panic, as there is a free tool called O&O ShutUp 10 which runs directly from your desktop and provides convenient access to the privacy settings you may want to examine and tweak.

Check this link below to discover how to use this tool so you choose what content you want to share with Microsoft…

Check this link, if you would like to know more about Windows 10 Privacy Settings…

Computer Support

Task Manager

One of the main uses of the Task Manager is to force close a program which has stopped responding to the mouse or keyboard. The Task Manager in Windows 10 is the same as Windows 8 and it shows much more information than the version in Windows 7.

The most popular way of starting Task Manager is to type CTRL-ALT-DEL keys and selecting the Task Manager option. You can also run it by pressing CTRL-SHIFT-ESC keys.

A program/app which has stopped responding will be marked as “Not responding”. So, if you cannot use a program and it is in a “frozen” state, select it from the list of apps in Task Manager and then click “End Task” button. Windows will then attempt to force the program to close. Any information that you were working with in your program that was not saved will probably be lost, but if the Program is no longer responding then this may be the only course of action to take.

Also in the screen above, you can see more details about the CPU, Disk and Network usage of all running processes. A process might be an application (either one on you Taskbar or hidden in the Notification area) a sub-system or a service managed by Windows 10.

The other tabs available in Task Manager are less frequently used but here are links to tutorials for further information:

See more at:

Power Options

A power plan is a collection of hardware and system settings that manages how your computer uses power. Power plans can help you save energy, maximize system performance, or achieve a balance between the two.

Note: Changes made to a power plan will affect all users that have chosen the same power plan as their default active power scheme.

Windows 10 provides the following default plans:

  • Balanced - Offers full performance when you need it and saves power when you don't. This is the best power plan for most people.
  • Power saver - Saves power by reducing PC performance and screen brightness. If you're using a laptop, this plan can help you get the most from a single battery charge.
  • High performance - Maximizes screen brightness and might increase PC performance. This plan uses a lot more energy, so your laptop battery won't last as long between charges.
  • Custom power plan - These are only available if either your PC manufacturer (OEM) provided additional power plans, and/or you create a custom power plan. These are available to all users.

See more at:

Disk Cleanup

You can use Disk Cleanup to reduce the number of unnecessary files on your drives, which can help your PC run faster. It can delete temporary files and system files, empty the Recycle Bin, and remove a variety of other items that you might no longer need.

To find out how to use Disk Cleanup, check this link…

System Restore

System Restore is a way to undo system changes by using restore points to return your system files and settings to an earlier point in time without affecting your personal files.

System Restore uses a feature called system protection that regularly creates and saves information about your PC's drivers, programs, registry, system files, and settings as restore points. By default, it automatically creates a restore point every time you install new software or drivers, so you don't even have to set it up to take advantage.

See more at:[1]=Backup%20Restore

Recovery Options

If you wish to learn about recovery options available in Windows 10 to help you overcome problems that occur while running your PC, check out this article…

If you're having problems with your PC, the following table can help you decide which recovery option to use.

Problem See this section below
Your PC isn't working well because of a recently installed app, driver, or update. Restore from a system restore point
Your PC isn’t working well and you're not sure why. Reset your PC
You want to clear all your personal data off of your PC before you donate or recycle it. Reset this PC > Remove everything > Remove files and clean this drive
Your PC won't start.


You tried to reset the PC, but encountered the error: There was a problem resetting your PC.

If you’ve previously created a USB recovery drive

Use a recovery drive to restore or recover your PCIf you haven't created a USB recovery drive

Use installation media to restore your PC
Use installation media to reinstall Windows 10
You recently updated to the latest version of Windows 10, and you want to go back to your previous version of Windows. Go back to an earlier build

Note: You only have 10 days to use this option in the latest Windows 10 Anniversary Update.

See more at:

Accessibility Features

Check this link, to find out about Accessibility Features in Windows 10.

Internet and Email Tutorial for Students in Ireland

Internet and Email Tutorial for Students in Ireland

Updated: 29th June 2018

Table of Contents

1) Introduction

2) Audience

3) Internet browser Selection

4) General Internet Browsing

5) Gmail beginners Tutorial

6) ‘surf’ Internet Safely

7) Choosing anti-virus/anti-spyware Software

8) References


Computer users can be divided into five categories:
1. Home user
2. Small office/Home office users
3. Mobile users
4. Large business users
5. Power users.
This guide is aimed at the Home User – Families, school and college Students and Seniors. A Home user spends time on the computer for personal and social/business communications, budgeting and personal financial management, entertainment, and general web browsing.

Internet browser Selection

Picking a web browser isn’t like picking a computer operating system or smartphone. Unlike choosing MacOS, Windows, or Android where your choices are mutually exclusive, switching between browsers isn’t quite as perplexing.

Most people tend to choose a web browser and stick with it for years. It can be hard to break away from your favourite browser – especially when you've become used to its special features. But trying a different browser can greatly improve your experience on the web.

Whatever you are looking for in a browser, which might include: enhanced security, improved speed, or greater flexibility (through customizable options and plugins) -the right browser can have a huge effect on your home and working life.

Reasons to Select a particular Browser

When it comes to browsers comparison articles, you can’t always believe statistics, and not all surveys agree. But it’s probably fair to say that just because more people use a certain browser, that doesn't make it the ‘best'. It's just one measure, and there are others of course.

Even if a browser is better than its rivals due to better performance, security or extra features, they are all free so there’s no limit to how many you can use at the same time. So, while many would agree when we say that Google Chrome is the ‘best’ web browser, there’s nothing stopping you from using three or four different browsers for your own particular reasons.

If a specific extension or feature isn't available on your favourite browser, simply check and see if it is available in another browser. Similarly, if a website isn't displaying properly or working in one browser, try another. These are the most common reasons why we use more than one browser.

Most popular Internet browsers

Google Chrome is by far the most used browser, accounting for well over half of web traffic, followed by Safari (on Apple only) in a distant second place. IE (plus Edge) comes in third, with Firefox fourth. Opera is fifth with 5% of global web traffic.

Figure: W3Counter’s browser stats for August 2017

See more at:

Searching the Internet

Google is currently the most popular search engine, so popular that it has given rise to the verb ‘to google’. There are other search engines competing with Google as it can be very lucrative in terms of advertising revenue if they build their brand name.

From the, here are market share for Google and other popular search engines…

Desktop Search Engine Market Share – May 2015

Improving your Searches

In today's world, more and more things are done online. Even if you don't consider yourself a computer person, you now need computer skills in order to conduct research, shop online, keep in touch with family, and more.

The ability to search for information online is one of the most important information literacy skills you can possess. By improving your search skills, you can find what you're looking for more quickly, without having to sift through tons of irrelevant results.

As you gain experience with search engines, you'll be able to conduct better and better searches, which means it will become quicker and easier to find what you are looking for. Here are a few tips for improving your searches:

As you're typing your search terms, the search engine will try to guess what you're searching for and it will show a list of search suggestions. These can give you ideas for search terms that you may not have thought of.

  • Search phrases. Put quotes around a phrase so each word in the phrase isn't searched for separately. For example, if you put quotes around "diabetic biscuits", the search engine searches for that entire phrase in a webpage. But if you simply type diabetic biscuits, the search engine searches for each of the words individually where both words appear anywhere in article.
  • Exclude words. Use a hyphen (-) at the beginning of a word to exclude search results containing it. For example, macaroni -cheese. Note that there is a space before the hyphen, but not after it. In many search engines the word NOT (in all caps) is used, as in macaroni NOT cheese.
  • Use OR. You can use OR (all caps) to include either of two search words. For example, soup recipe tofu OR fish should return recipes for soup that contain tofu or fish (or both). You could also search for soup recipe tofu OR fish OR chicken OR beef.

See more at:

Popular Add-ons for Chrome and Firefox

Browser add-ons (Firefox) or extensions (Chrome) can make your browser do just about anything. But which add-ons are the most useful? Here is a selection of the best ones for improving your browsing experience.

LastPass (Firefox & Chrome) - With LastPass you can sync your passwords to your phone and all of your other devices. LastPass also makes logging into sites faster on your desktop, so it’s the ideal password management system.

PC Tutor Tip: If you use Chrome Browser, there is a Password Manager included within Google Sync which is also worth checking out.

AddBlock Plus (Firefox & Chrome) - If you’re tired of ads getting in your way this add-on blocks ads on just about any page you come across. It’ll also protect your privacy across the web, block other sections you want to hide (like YouTube comments), and even block malware.

Gmail Offline (Chrome) This add-on caches Gmail messages locally, like a traditional email desktop app, allowing you to read and reply to messages without an active connection. Saved replies are then sent the next time a connection is available.

Research and Bookmarking Add-ons

If you’re using the web for research, you may need to compile your results as easily as possible and note a few sites for future reference. Here are tools for saving those relevant bits of information, and for compiling and managing your bookmarks.

Evernote Web Clipper (Firefox & Chrome) – Evernote is a fantastic note and article organiser and the best way to send internet articles to Evernote is by using the Web Clipper. A user simply clicks on the Evernote Web Clipper Icon on the toolbar and it shows a dropdown list of options which allows you to select which Evernote Folder you want to save the article in.

Bookmark Manager (Chrome) - This is the easiest way to organize your bookmarks and folders without skipping around multiple menus or bars. The Bookmarks Manager lets you order your bookmarks, make and organize folders, rename or edit bookmarks, and search all of your links.

FreshStart – Cross Browser Session Manager (Chrome) – This add-on saves your favourite tab sessions for easy loading and keeps note of what tabs you had open on another computer.

Search Plus (Chrome) This add-on helps to find the tabs you're looking for from all opened tabs regardless of window. You can also manage the found tabs easily and quickly.

Weava Highlighter (Chrome) This add-on makes it possible to highlight, annotate, and bookmark online research with multiple colours and organize the results into collections.

NoSquint Plus (Firefox & Chrome) - if the combination of the colour and font size on a website is wrong, reading a page might strain your eyes or it may turn out to be unreadable. NoSquint Plus can fix this by letting you set global or site-specific zoom levels, and change foreground and background colours.

Mercury Reader (Chrome) This tool does a great job of stripping a webpage down to basic text and images, so you can focus more easily on the content. To customise the page, tap on the extension’s settings button where you can adjust text size, typography and theme.

See more at:

Activities - Internet Browser Selection

Clip a Job Advert for your ideal job from recruitment website

Activity 1a

  1. Download and install Evernote using the following link :-

  1. Signup for a free Evernote account.
  2. Create the following Notebook structure within Evernote for storing clipped job adverts and other job-related items.

Job Search

01 – Jobs to Consider

05 – Jobs to Aim For in the Future

10 – Jobs to Apply For Now

15 – Job Apps Submitted

Job Advice

Job Cover Letters

Job News

  1. Start the Firefox or Chrome browser and install the Evernote Web Clipper Add-on.
  2. Open the website and search for a job which interests you.
  3. Clip a job that meets your requirements into the appropriate notebook above depending on how you would classify it.

--- End of Activity ---

Set-up a Browsing Session for Buying a Laptop

Activity 1b

  1. Install the Tab Manager add-on within the Firefox browser or Freshstart extension within Chrome browser.
  2. Set-up browsing tabs to the following computer websites…

Regular Stores

Online Stores

  1. Browse the above websites and select a computer with the following typical home user specifications:

Brand: Lenovo, HP or Dell

Screen: 15.6" Matte

Processor: Intel Core i3 or i5

OS: Windows 10 Home Edition


Hard Disk: 1-3 TB

Price: within your budget – expect to pay about €500-€700

  1. Clip the laptop product details for matching laptops into Evernote Notebook - ‘Laptop Buying Research - 2016’.
  2. Shortlist your selected Laptops into your top three.
  3. Make final decision on which one to buy.
  4. Save browsing session for future use.

--- End of Activity ---

General Internet Browsing

One of the main benefits of the internet is that over the past 20 years there has been a big build up of a vast amount of information from many sources. These sources include academic institutions, governments, political parties, medical institutions, support groups, private companies, interest groups, individuals and hobbyists etc

So, for someone doing research for an assignment for college or for a report in a company, they are able to access a significant amount of information which is freely available to them. Unlike in the past before the internet, when someone doing research would have had to go to a library and take notes from books.

Usually the first port of call for many people is to use a search engine like Google, Yahoo, Bing or Ask. These search engines are very well known and enable someone to easily find articles related to their chosen topic. It might also be worth noting, that these search engines are not comprehensive, so it might also be necessary to explore the search facility of each selected website. Additionally, it may be necessary to purchase online books or course to achieve a more in-depth understanding.

General websites to browse

Watch RTE TV Player
Browse a news website to get the latest news.
Book a Coach/Rail Trip
Play online Radio Stations from Ireland or abroad.
Check Youtube for Interesting videos
Use government websites to answer a query or download a form.
Renew a book in library or check catalogue in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Area. Search internet for other areas.
Check music or theatre events and book a ticket online.
Check out know-how websites to find out how to convert CD to MP3.
Book an online course to develop a leisure area of interest.

Evaluate Websites

The most important factor when evaluating web sites is your search requirements. What kind of information are you looking for? Are you using the web for entertainment, academic, career or medical information? Look carefully at the content, tone & style of the website.

Evaluate the page/content for:

1. Authority

    • Check for the source of the information: Who is the author?
    • What are his/her credentials? Does he/she provide an email or contact address/phone number?
    • Look at the domain name. Is it a preferred .ie, .com or .gov?

2. Objectivity

    • Make sure that the website is not just advertisement disguised as information.
    • Is the information unbiased and detailed with limited advertisement?

3. Currency

    • Check the date when the webpage was last updated.
    • Are there any dead links on the website?

4. Coverage

    • Is the information presented detailed, comprehensive and free?
    • Note any supplemental information, print or electronic, that is provided.

Types of Websites

When you're looking for information online, it's a good idea to be aware of what types of websites are available and what kind of information they contain. Depending on what you're looking for, you may find that certain types are more relevant to your search than others.

Type of Website Description Example
Commercial Site Most companies have websites to promote or give information about their product or services. Although these sites often have relevant information they are sometimes biased. If the site makes claim that seem to be too good to be true, see whether other sites support or refute the claims.

Organisations Organisations, like other companies, usually have websites to promote their operations and provide information to public. They are also likely to be biased in favour of their own products or services.

News Sites Many people these days pick up the main news stories online. It is also possible to subscribe to news sites to get premium content in an online version of the printed paper.

Blog Blogs are usually written by individuals who have views to express or are experts in a particular value. There are many different types of blogs such as news, hobbies, humour, photography and more. Photography Blog -

Blog Award Winners 2014

Wiki A Wiki is a site which lets users add or modify content. The quality of articles in a Wiki can vary widely, but well- written ones always provide links to sources for further reading.
Colleges and Universities These websites usually provide general information for current and prospective students about courses provided, facilities on campus and guidelines for students to follow.

Databases Databases are collections of information often from a variety of sources, which have been compiled and presented in a structured and easy-to-navigate format.
Portal Site Website that serves as a gateway or a main entry point on the internet to a specific topic-of-interest or an industry.
Forum A forum is a website where people can have discussions, known as a thread. The threads will usually stay on the site when the discussion is over and will come up in Google searches.
Question and Answer Site Similar to a forum but there is more emphasis on answering an original question maybe put forward by someone who is new to a particular topic like say photography or maybe a more technical question by someone trying to find some specific help.

See more at:

Activities – General Internet browsing

Check out entertainment events occurring next month

Activity 2a

Search the Tickemaster or Eventbrite website and check out events that are occurring next month.

Activity 2b

Identify training needs and search for suitable courses

Identify training needs to progress with your career or hobby and search an online course provider like for suitable online courses to do.

Gmail beginners Tutorial

Email is an electronic equivalent of sending a letter over the internet. An email is composed on your computer and can be sent to another users email account at no cost besides your broadband connection fee.

The email would arrive in the receiver’s email account within seconds and it would then be up to them to check their account. As most computer users these days have an always on connection this makes it easier to check their account regularly.

There are two methods of checking an email account, either by using a Mail Client Application like Microsoft Outlook or using a webmail service like Google’s Gmail or Hotmail provided by Microsoft. Webmail is quite popular as it allows a person to check their Email in an Internet Café or while at work where there is a computer nearby.

If you are using an Email Client program other than Webmail then you will need to setup an account within it, before you can send and receive email. So, contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP), usually the same company as the one which provides your broadband connection, and request the following information :-

  1. the name of your POP (Post Office Protocol) server, which is your inbound mail server which receives your email. This is often the domain name preceded with the word "mail".
  2. the address of the SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) server. A SMTP server sends your outgoing e-mail. This is often the domain name preceded with the word "mail" or "smtp".
  3. your user name. "msmith" in the example above
  4. your password

Your e-mail address is usually made up of your user name, followed by an @ sign, followed by the domain name of the Internet Service Provider (ISP) through which you are connecting to the Internet.

Gmail Tutorial

Check out link below to learn the basics of using Gmail…

Alternatively, if you prefer to watch a short training video, click on this link…

Activities - Gmail

Using Gmail - Filter Emails from Shopping Websites

Activity 3a

  1. Subscribe to Shopping or Coupon Websites where you want to receive regular newsletter emails like Argos, Littlewoods, Livingsocial, Voucherpages or Groupon.
  2. When the newsletter email arrives, click on the checkbox beside the email to highlight it, options will then be displayed which can be applied to email.

  1. Select the More menu and click on the Filter option

When the screen below is displayed – cllick on the ‘Create filter with this search’ option

Set the ‘Apply the label’ option to ‘Shopping’ and then click on option ‘Apply filter to matching messages’, followed by ‘Create Filter’

--- End of Activity ---

‘surf’ Internet Safely

Online Security is a branch of computer security specifically related to Internet which includes browser security but also network security, while operating system security is included at a more general level.

Browser security is where internet browsers are protected from malware like spyware and phishing which can compromise user security while browsing the internet.

The Risks of using internet

The risks of visiting malicious, criminal or inappropriate websites include:

  • Viruses and spyware (collectively known as malware).
  • Phishing, designed to obtain your personal and/or financial information and possibly steal your identity.
  • Fraud, from fake shopping, banking, charity, dating, social networking, gaming, gambling and other websites.
  • Copyright infringement – copying or downloading copyright protected software, videos, music, photos or documents.
  • Exposure to unexpected inappropriate content.
  • When you use the internet, your internet service provider, search engine, law enforcement agencies and possibly (if browsing at work) your employer, will still be able to see which sites you have visited or keywords you have searched for.

Precautions to Take while using internet

Here are the main precautions to take before accessing Internet…

  • Always ensure that you are running the latest version of your chosen browser that your operating system will support. Also, be sure to download and install the latest updates.
  • Ensure you have effective and updated antivirus/antispyware software and firewall running before you go online. – see section Choosing anti-virus/anti-spyware Software

To prevent unauthorised access to your personal details or to avoid fraudulent websites…

  • Always remember to log out of a secure website when you have completed your transaction, and before you close the browser. Closing the browser does not necessarily log you out.
  • Check for presence of an address, phone number and/or email contact – often indications that the website is genuine. If in doubt, send an email or call to establish authenticity.
  • Check that the website’s address seems to be genuine by looking for subtle misspellings, extra words, characters or numbers or a completely different name from that you would expect the business to have.
  • If there is NO padlock in the browser window or ‘https://’ at the beginning of the web address to signify that it is using a secure link, do not enter personal information on the site.
  • Websites which request more personal information than you would normally expect to give, such as user name, password or other security details IN FULL, are probably malicious.
  • Avoid ‘pharming’ by checking the address in your browser's address bar after you arrive at a website to make sure it matches the address you typed. This will prevent you ending up at a fake site even though you entered the address for the authentic one. This can occur due to browser malware which redirects a user to a fraudulent website.
  • Always get professional advice before making investment decisions. Sites that hype investments for fast or high return – whether in shares or alleged rarities like old wine, whisky or property – are often fraudulent.

Above Risks and Precautions taken from:


Cookies are stored on your computer, smartphone or tablet, by websites to store information about your browsing habits during sessions. Most of the time they are innocuous – where they keep track of your username and usage preferences - (username is stored so that you don't have to log into a website every time you visit it). However, some are used to track sites you visit so that they can target advertising at you, or by criminals to build a profile of your interests and activities with a view to fraud.

As these cookies usually store relevant information to provide a seamless user experience on a website, some websites will not work if you block cookies completely. So, rather than setting your browser to block them, an alternative solution is to use an add-on like Privacy Badger (available for Chrome or Firefox) or Stealth Mode (available for Chrome), to block tracking cookies. See section Privacy and security Add-ons for more details.

Reviewing Your Google account

PC Tutor Note: I recorded the steps below when I reviewed my own Google Account Privacy Settings (June 2018). As I am an experienced computer user, I can hopefully demonstrate good practice when making these changes.

Getting Started

To get started with reviewing your Google Account, visit My Account, which takes you to a dashboard with sections for Sign-in & Security, Personal info & Privacy, and Account Preferences.

Your personal info

The first section to check is ‘Your personal info’ where you can manage this basic information – your name, email and phone number – to help others find you on Google products like Hangouts, Gmail and Maps, and make it easier for others to get in touch. The About me section is particularly important as it controls what people see about you across the Google products.

The next step is to perform a Privacy Checkup and Security Checkup.

Perform a Security Checkup

When you click Security Checkup, a pop-up will show the following info:

  • Your devices
  • Third-party access
  • Recent security activity
  • 2-Step Verification (whether it's on or not).

Google Security Checkup

Any items marked with a yellow warning exclamation circle should get a once over. For example, if you see devices you no longer use listed under ‘Your Devices’, remove them. Third-party access will list apps and services that have access to your Google data - some of which could be problematic.

See this article for more details…

Performing a Privacy Check-up

A Privacy Check-up lets you review important settings that determine what data is stored by Google and how they use data they hold.

Google Activity Control: Web & App Activity

If you turn this setting on, Google will save your searches and other Google activity to your Google Account. You can also choose to save which apps you use, your Chrome history and which sites you visit on the web.

Privacy Set-up > Web & App Activity > Activity Controls

What is effect of Pausing Web & App Activity?

  • Pausing Web & App Activity may limit or disable more personalised experiences across Google services.
  • Pausing this setting doesn't delete any of your past data. You can see or delete your data and more at

Click on above link to take you to My Activity page and select Delete activity by as shown in screenshot below…

PC Tutor Note: As the data stored can be somewhat personal e.g searching for a suspected health condition, I suggest that that this setting is turned off and all past activity deleted. Before you do, be aware that this setting also affects what adverts you see while browsing, as they are personalised using your Web activity – see section Make ads more relevant to you

For Delete by date value above, select All time

Main points from when link above is clicked

When you delete data, we follow a deletion policy to make sure that your data is safely and completely removed from our servers or retained only in an anonymous form.

When you delete data in your Google account, we immediately start the process of removing it from the product and our systems. First, we aim to immediately remove it from view and the data may no longer be used to personalise your Google experience.

We then begin a process designed to safely and completely delete the data from our storage systems. Safe deletion is important to protect our users and customers from accidental data loss. Complete deletion of data from our servers is equally important for users’ peace of mind. This process generally takes around two months from the time of deletion. This often includes up to a month-long recovery period in case the data was removed unintentionally.

Our services also use encrypted backup storage as another layer of protection to help recover from potential disasters. Data can remain on these systems for up to six months.

Google Activity Control: Location History

Google stores your location (if you have location tracking turned on) every time you turn on your phone. You can see a timeline of where you’ve been from the very first day you started using Google on your phone.

Click on this link to see your own data:

Here is a map of every place I have been to since starting using Google on my Android phone about two years ago. You can see the time of day that I was in each location and how long it took me to get to that location from my previous one.

Pausing Location History?

Turing off this setting may limit or disable personalised experiences across Google services. For example, you may not see recommendations based on places you've visited or helpful tips about your commute.

This setting does not affect other location services on your device, like Google Location Services and Find My Device.

Some location data may be saved as part of your activity on other Google services, like Search and Maps.

Pausing this setting doesn't delete any of your past data. You can see or delete your data and more at

PC Tutor Note: Although this setting can allow location data to be stored about a persons’ daily travels, I suggest that that this setting is left ON, as it can be convenient when travelling to get location specific search results.

Google Activity Control: Device Information

The Device Information setting saves a copy of some information from your phone or tablet, including:

  • Contacts
  • Calendars
  • Apps
  • Music
  • Information about the device, like battery level

This information is private. You can only see it when you're signed in to your Google Account.

PC Tutor Note: As the data stored is key user information, I suggest that this setting is left ON

Google Activity Control: Voice and Audio

When you use voice commands (such as 'Ok Google') or touch the microphone icon, Google saves your voice and accompanying audio.

PC Tutor Note: This setting is of low importance, so it’s probably best to leave ON

Google Activity Control: Youtube Search History

This can help make future searches faster and improve recommendations in YouTube and other Google services.

PC Tutor Note: This setting is of low importance, so it’s probably best to leave ON

Google Activity Control: Youtube Watch History

This can help make your recently watched videos easier to find and improve recommendations in YouTube and other Google services.

PC Tutor Note: This setting is of low importance, so it’s probably best to leave ON

Manage what you share on YouTube

Choose who can see your YouTube videos, likes and subscriptions, and decide where you share them.

Manage your Google Photos settings

Choose whether you want to remove geolocation from your photos when you share them by link.

Help people connect with you

Let people with your phone number find and connect with you on Google services, such as video chats.

You can make it easy for people who have your phone number to get in touch with you across Google services. For example, friends can send you a message or photo without having your email address or other contact information.

If this setting is off, people might not be able to use your phone number to find your name, photo, or other information you've made visible.

Choose what Google+ profile information you share with others


Make ads more relevant to you

You can change the types of ads you see from Google when you adjust your interests, age and gender or opt-out of ads based on your interests. Please note that you will still see ads after opting out – they’ll just be less relevant.

Remember, Google makes the majority of its money by showing you ads in search results and on Gmail, YouTube, and Google Maps (plus elsewhere across the internet). You're not going to turn them off here—for that, you need an ad-blocker program like Adblock Plus—all you can do here is limit how much you are targeted.

Note: If you are NOT using an AD Blocker as mentioned above, it is probably best to leave this setting ON. Because, if you must see adverts while browsing, it is better that they are personalised to some extent. But even with an Ad Blocker in use, it will have to be disabled for some websites to work properly. The bottom line is that viewing ads is unavoidable when browsing the internet.

Update this section with points from…

Internet Privacy Protection Levels

There are 5 levels of Internet Privacy and Security which should be set-up on your home computer to maximise your protection online:

  1. Set browser standard privacy features.
  2. Install most effective privacy and security add-ons to your browser.
  3. Configure your Anti-virus and check it includes a web and email shield.
  4. Make sure you have a Firewall active at all times.

If you use your laptop computer in public WIFI areas then…

  1. Install a VPN like CyberGhost

Browser Privacy Features

The most common internet browsers enable you to manage your privacy settings such as allowing and blocking selected websites, blocking pop ups and browsing in private. All popular browsers will allow you to do this in slightly different ways, so we recommend that you visit the security and privacy section of their websites, or the help area of the browsers themselves.

See the following link to maximise Firefox Browser privacy.

See the following link to maximise Chrome Browser privacy.

Privacy and security Add-ons

Privacy Badger (Firefox & Chrome)

Privacy Badger blocks spying ads and invisible trackers. It ensures that companies can't track your browsing without your consent.

Disconnect (Firefox & Chrome)

Disconnect is an add-on that blocks web trackers from gathering your personal information. Because it blocks tracking elements from over 2,000 sources, Disconnect claims to speed up page loading by upwards of 27%.

HTTPS Everywhere (Firefox & Chrome)

HTTPS is a more secure web-browsing protocol that encrypts all of the web data that’s transmitted between the server and your browser. So even if someone intercepts your connection, they won’t be able to read the data. Even if a particular web page doesn’t support encryption, the add-on can get around it by rewriting the requests behind the scenes.

Adguard AdBlocker (Firefox & Chrome)

This top-rated extension does a nice job of removing ads, even in YouTube and other videos, without hindering browser performance. The extension offers plenty of customizable settings, plus phishing and malware protection. The developer also claims that Adguard works even on sites that use anti-ad-blocking scripts.

Stealth Mode (Chrome)

From the developer of Adguard AdBlocker, Stealth Mode gets equally high marks from reviewers. The extension blocks third-party cookies and prevents online trackers from collecting information about you.

See more at:-

Check that Anti-virus Web and Mail Shield are Switched On

Within Avast Internet Security suite, make sure that the Web and Mail Shield option on the Active Protection screen are switched ON.

Switch on Firewall

Within Windows 10, there is a firewall built in which will provide standard protection against threats. For instructions on how to turn it on, check out the link below :-

While with Avast Internet Security, the Firewall can be turned on also on the Active Protection Screen as shown above.

Note: Only one firewall can be switched on at any time so it is preferable to use the firewall included within your anti-virus suite as it would offer a higher level of security.

Definition: Firewall - A firewall allows or blocks traffic into and out of a private network or the user's computer. Firewalls may also detect outbound traffic to guard against spyware, which could be sending your surfing habits to a website.

Choosing anti-virus/anti-spyware Software

It is important when choosing anti-virus/anti-spyware software to be vigilant in selecting a reputable company, as there are many fake anti-virus/anti-spyware which claim to clear viruses but are actually a threat in themselves.

Expensive and popular does not always mean the best. For example, two of the most popular – Norton and McAfee have in the past been outperformed by free alternatives like AVG and Avast.

In most cases, these so-called ‘free’ products are no-frills versions of commercial products which the manufacturer hopes you will upgrade to in the future. The protection factor is likely to be equivalent to the paid-for version, but there may be limited or no technical support and some reduced functionality, for example in scheduling full scans.

standalone or Security Suite anti-virus software.

Most anti-virus/anti-spyware software companies sell both a Standalone Program that only scans for viruses, as well as selling full security packages that provide other protection including firewall, spam filtering, anti-spyware and parental controls.

A Security Suite should include everything you need to protect your PC against online threats, is easy to use as everything is controlled from one screen, and is cheaper than buying each component separately.

How to choose an anti-virus software

Once you have assessed your needs and decided whether you want a stand-alone product or a security suite, you can begin the process of choosing an antivirus software. Follow these steps before buying your software:

  • A good antivirus software should offer real-time protection (meaning it's always on) and auto-update feature to guard against new viruses
  • Investigate how easy a product is to set up and use. Download a free trial version of the software you are interested in, and try it out. Do not install more than one trial version at a time because they may interfere with each other. Make sure also that it doesn’t slow down your PC significantly when the Real-time protection and Web Shield are switched on.
  • Make sure the product you are considering has multiple options for Technical Support, including email and a help line.

See more at:

Appendix 1 - Computer Software Types

There are so many new computer programs available for download from the internet that making an informed choice can be really difficult. Computer software is of four main types:

Commercial software

Computer programs that are designed, written and marketed by commercial software developers, which you pay for at the point of purchase and which are fully copyright protected - for example Microsoft Office.


You can download, use and copy freeware programs without restriction. Whilst they have the advantages of being free, a potential disadvantage is that there is no real way to get support for them, or to make improvements. Freeware usually, but not always, comprises small programs developed by enthusiasts.

Open source software

Similarly to freeware, open source software is generally free to download, use and copy without restriction. With open source, however, the source code is available to all potential users, who can use, modify, and re-distribute it. In practice open source software and support services are free to both users and developers, although ancillary services can sometimes be charged for.


You can download and try shareware for free, but if you use it, you have to pay for it. It is a 'try before you buy' software offer with full or limited program features. With shareware, the original creator keeps full control of the intellectual property. In effect shareware is little different from commercial software, its main benefit being that you can download and try it for free, without upfront investment.

See more at:


Ref No Section Used Internet Link

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