How to Learn to Use a Laptop Computer

There are many reasons to learn how to use a laptop computer, mainly to gain the mobility and flexibility of using a lightweight, portable computer. Software programs and operating systems that run on laptops work nearly identically to the way they work on desktop computers. Because laptops can run on a battery as well as through an electrical outlet, they also give users the opportunity to work (for a few hours) when no electricity is available.

Hands with laptop computer and printer
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Independent Laptop Learning Method

Step

Read the laptop user manual. If the laptop did not come with a manual (for example, you purchased a used laptop), you can usually go to the manufacturer's website to download a copy of the manual, or call the manufacturer's Customer Support number to have the manual sent to you.

Step

Orient yourself to the laptop components, switches, battery and peripheral devices, such as the power supply/charger, external mouse, keyboard and speakers. Most manufacturers ship laptops with the battery only partially charged, so you should connect the battery, connect the power supply/charger to the laptop and plug the cord into an electrical outlet.

Step

Power on the laptop and customize the settings. If your laptop is new, you will be prompted to register your operating system, create a user account and configure your system preferences and settings. If your laptop is used, log into an existing account and configure the settings.

Step

Open a text editing or word processing program to practice typing on the laptop keyboard. You might have initial difficulty adjusting to the smaller size of a laptop, and some keys (directional arrows, delete, escape, or NumLock, for example) might not be in the same location as on your desktop keyboard. The faster you learn where the keys are, the more comfortable you will be using your laptop.

Step

Practice opening and closing applications to get a feel for any differences in timing or target disk drive locations for those operations.

Other Laptop Learning Methods

Step

Enroll in a low-cost or free course that teaches basic laptop use. Such courses are often available at local community centers, junior colleges and libraries.

Step

Follow a video tutorial that teaches basic laptop use. Laptop tutorials on DVD are available from most computer stores and online retail outlets. You can also select a tutorial from online trainers such as Lynda.com, linked below.

Step

Hire an expert to teach you how to use your laptop. Many computer technicians are available for one-on-one training sessions. You can usually find qualified technicians to assist you through online services such as Crossloop, or computer sales and service organizations such as Best Buy's Geek Squad, linked below.