Learning to use a computer for the first time can be a daunting process, but it doesn't have to be. Understanding the basics of a computer will help to take the fear out of it. The best way to learn how to operate a computer is simply to get in front of the monitor and use the mouse and keyboard. The more you use the computer, the easier it will become. Before you know it, you will be opening, saving and closing files without thinking about what you are doing.
Familiarize yourself with the hardware. Every computer is going to have a display. If it's separate from the computer it is called a monitor; if it is attached it is a screen. All computers have a keyboard for inputting information as well as a mouse or touch pad for navigation. Computers will also have a shell that connects everything together. Most computers today also have an optical drive that can read DVDs or CDs and allows you to install programs onto your computer.
Power up the computer. The computer will boot into Microsoft Windows, if that is your operating system, automatically. Use the mouse to move the cursor around on the screen and familiarize yourself with what each of the computer icons do when you do a quick double-click on one of them. Click the "Start" button on the lower left corner of the computer screen.
Navigate through the different areas of the computer. Look mainly at "Programs," this is the bulk of where everything you can run on your computer rests. Opening programs and clicking on "Help" from inside the program will give you more information about what it is capable of doing. Open "Internet Explorer" to begin looking around the Internet. This is your gateway to the rest of the world and its information.