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Getting ready

When you contact me, it would be very helpful if you have ready some information about the computer you are currently using.

  • Is it a laptop, a desktop computer or a tablet?
  • Do you know what operating system your computer uses?
  • Are you on the Internet?
  • Do you know who your Internet provider is?
  • Does your computer have any antivirus software installed?

Operating Systems

I will be able to identify your operating system when I first visit you, but it does help to know in advance so that I can prepare material for you if need be. By far the most commonly-used operating systems are versions of Windows.

The rival to Microsoft is AppleMac, who have a minority but significantly loyal following. The desktop iMac and the laptop MacBook have used operating systems named after big cats - Panther, Tiger etc. but the latest ones have been named after geological rock formations - Yosemite and El Capitan. The hand-held iPad and other ‘tablet’ computers are now very popular.

The Internet

The great majority of my clients want to use the computer for communication by email and finding information on the Web. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are numerous and very competitive: BT, Sky, TalkTalk (now including Tiscali and AOL), Orange or EE, VirginMedia...

Antivirus software

I strongly recommend that you install antivirus software on your computer if you intend to use the Internet. There are people 'out there' who seem to delight in wrecking computers by sending out programs that literally infect your information, making your computer go very slowly and eventually grind to a halt. Others will try to get into your computer and retrieve information from it - like your bank account details.


A desktop computer is a box or "tower", which contains the computer itself, with a separate screen and keyboard. It requires a desk to hold it.

A laptop is portable. The screen is in the folding lid.

A tablet computer is a thin hand-held device, about the size of an A5 hand-bill. They are easily portable and good for email and messaging, using the Web and as a camera! Apple's iPad and Samsung's Galaxy Tab are examples of tablets.

The Internet is the system of telephone lines and satellite links that connect computers around the world.

The Web is the network of server computers or hosts that hold pages of information - websites. These are open to access by other computers, like yours and mine. This network is the "World-Wide Web".

A broadband connection enables you to use the telephone while you are connected to the Internet. The connection is broad enough for both.