Saving Stuff

Save time at the computer

Published: 15 October 2008

If you're reading this sat at a computer chances are you probably spend a fair amount of time using one.  Did you know that you can save some time just by making a few small changes to the way that you do things?  After all, who wants to sit at a computer staring nonchalantly at the hour glass whilst listening to the hard disk grind away?  You've got much better ways to spend your time.  Perhaps you've experienced the feeling of turning blue waiting for a web page to load, or you've just spent the last two hours raking around in My Documents for an important document only to draw a blank.

Here are some tips and ideas to help you along the way to saving time at the computer.

Start with the PC

Good housekeeping is an absolute must with any PC.  Make sure you've got plenty of disk space and that you defragment your hard drive regularly.  Anti-virus software should be kept up to date and you should have a firewall, either on your router or on your PC.  Memory too is an important time saver.  I'm currently running a lap top with only 256MB and it quite visibly hammers the hard drive as it swaps applications in and out of memory.  Memory is relatively cheap so if you can afford to, put lots of it in your PC.  I know exactly what I'll be spending my birthday cash on!

Windows keyboard shortcuts

Did you know that there's a keyboard shortcut for practically everything you can do with a mouse?  Instead of negotiating menus and clicking on commands you can fire off a couple of key strokes and achieve the same result.  Here are a few of my favourites:

Saving time at the computer with shortcut keys These shortcuts use the Microsoft Windows key on your keyboard held down and in combination with other keys.  This special key is usually located on the left hand bottom corner of the keyboard between CTRL (or Control) and ALT.  For example holding the 'Windows' key whilst pressing 'E' will open a copy of Windows Explorer.

E - Open Windows Explorer
M - Minimise all applications
SHIFT and M - Restore all applications
F - Search for files
L - Log the current user off

These are general shortcut keys:

CONTROL and C - Copy something to clipboard
CONTROL and V - Paste something from clipboard
CONTROL and Z - Undo something
CONTROL and A - Select all

To see a complete list visit the Microsoft keyboard shortcuts page.