Before we answer that question, we need to talk about what fragmentation is. Think of the files in your computer as boxes in an attic. You root through the boxes to find something you need, you move boxes around, you bring new boxes in and take old boxes out. Eventually, the boxes get out of order and your attic becomes a dreadful mess! Defragmentation is the process of rearranging all those boxes and freeing up as much floor space as possible.
Not all computers need to be defragmented, and some do it automatically. If your computer is older (more than five years) and it’s starting to slow down, you may want to think about defragmentation.
Before you click the Defragment button, check out this article on defragging and solid state hard drives and this article on defragging Macs. If you decide to defrag, you can find good instructions for Windows 7 here.
Does your mouse move too fast or slow to suit your taste? Does it seem jumpy or ultra-sensitive? You can change the speed at which your cursor flies across the screen by right-clicking on the desktop and choosing Personalize.
Choose Change mouse pointers from the menu at left.
Click the Pointer Options tab and adjust your pointer speed. Apply your changes and click OK once you’ve achieved the speed that’s right for you. Happy clicking!
Are you a spy? Up to shady dealings? Maybe you’re just planning a surprise party? Whatever your reason, you can send messages that require the recipient to answer a secret question to ensure that it reaches their eyes only.
To send encrypted messages, sign up for a free account at hushmail.com. Create a username and passphrase (it’s like a password but MUCH longer) and start sending messages. Make sure you check the Encrypt box to compose a secret question and answer. HINT: Make sure the recipient knows the answer to the question!
Have you ever tried to share a website link and it looked like this?
That looks terrible! Keep it short and sweet with free link shorteners. Here’s the same link shortened using bit.ly: http://bit.ly/11mcnUp
And here’s the same link shortened using goo.gl: http://goo.gl/eMRxg
You can even make custom links using tinyurl.com. Here’s the custom shortened link: tinyurl.com/WPLzombies
Shortened links are ideal for sharing long websites via printed material or in text messages.
Don’t allow emails to languish in your inbox, slowly building up and crushing you under their oppressive weight! Set a reminder to follow up with emails that require action or a reply by right-clicking the message and choosing a Follow Up flag or reminder.
Never be accused of flightiness by your co-workers again!
Did you know that the last 24 items you copied are saved on your Clipboard? Access the Clipboard by navigating to the Home tab, finding the Clipboard section, and clicking the down arrow in the lower right. Ta-da!
Copying text from websites and pasting it into a Word document can be a quick way to compile information (for instance, if you’re gathering contact information from multiple businesses). The text formatting on each site may be different, making your list difficult to read. To remove formatting on a block of text, just highlight it and click the Remove Formatting button, found on the Home ribbon in Word 2010.
If you’re always on the lookout for your next great read, there are some websites you should know about:
NoveList The library subscribes to NoveList, which gives you access to high-quality book reviews and recommendations. Just type in a book that you enjoyed and NoveList offers hand-picked recommendations for other books that are just like it. I am addicted to this site! Note that you need to log in with your library card number to access NoveList — it’s so worth it.
Have You Heard About…? This is the library’s own reading recommendation blog. The librarians you know and love give unbiased reviews of books we’ve recently read. The great thing about this blog is the range of genres covered – we read everything from romances to horror and engrossing true stories.
Fantastic Fiction This is the site I use to get information about a book series or to find upcoming book releases. Instead of providing a typical bibliography in chronological order, this site organizes books in series order. So useful! Popular authors also have their own reading recommendations at the bottom of their page.
Goodreads Goodreads uses lists of books you’ve read to make reading recommendations for you. Create an account and start entering titles you’ve enjoyed – the more books you put in, the better your recommendations will be. Goodreads uses crowd-sourced information so it’s not the same as getting a personalized reading recommendation, but it’s fun! You can also find your friends on Goodreads and share recommendations.
The library has a large collection of books, eBooks, audiobooks, DVDs, CDs, puzzles and language kits. How can you find exactly what you’re looking for? By mastering the Advanced Search feature and subject headings in the online catalog.
Let’s try to find a guidebook for visiting Washington, D.C. A novice catalog user might perform a keyword search for the word “Washington”. Let’s see what happens:
Over 1500 results, and the first page is full of results that don’t fit your needs. Yikes! Let’s target our search by using the Advanced search function.
Find the drop-down menu in the upper right and click the Advanced option.
Now we can tell the catalog exactly what we want. In addition to searching for multiple terms (in this case, Washington DC and travel) we can tell the catalog that we want to search the Adult Collection for books written in English.
Now the very first result is a travel guide for visitors to Washington, DC. Finding one book that fits your needs is the key to finding everything in the library’s collection on the same subject. To find more travel guides, click the book’s title to access the subject headings.
Click the book’s subject heading to open a new list of results, all of which share the same subject.
Congratulations! You just used the library catalog to get librarian-quality results. If you’re interested in learning more about searching the catalog like the pros, book a private consultation with a librarian here.
Have you ever tried to explain navigating a website, or telling the IT guy at work exactly what that elusive error message looked like? Screenshots are a useful way of sharing images you see on your computer monitor with another person.
To capture a screenshot on a Windows computer, look for the Print Screen key on your keyboard (usually above the number keypad on the right). On a Mac, use Command + Shift + 3. Once you capture your screenshot, open a graphic editor like Paint and paste it (Ctrl + V). Now you can treat the screenshot just like any image – crop it, save it, draw over it, or use it in a presentation.
You can see screenshots in action in this step-by-step guide to downloading free Kindle eBooks from the library. Enjoy!