What are some cool tricks/hacks to perform on a school computer?

Typing Tricks

Paste the plain text of what was copied When you copy text from any source, programs will usually include any formatting that comes with it. To paste this as plain text, press Ctrl + Shift + V instead of the standard Ctrl + V, and the system will paste unformatted text. This also works on Mac: Cmd + Shift + V.

Note that many but not all programs follow this parameter, particularly Microsoft programs like Word or Outlook don’t, which is annoying. There are a few alternatives that go beyond copying and pasting in Notepad: 1) Ctrl + Alt + V will show a ‘paste special’ dialog box. 2) Ctrl + Spacebar will remove formatting in already pasted text. 3) Download Puretext and choose a hotkey to always paste plain text with it.

Delete an entire word Instead of deleting a single letter, pressing Ctrl + Backspace will delete the entire word behind the cursor. This makes deleting text quicker if you screw up a whole word.

Move cursor to beginning of the next or previous word Moving the cursor around manually while typing is a great way to make your work take longer than it needs to. To speed up the process, move the cursor around with keyboard shortcuts. To move it to the beginning of the previous word, use Ctrl + Left Arrow. To move it to the beginning of the next word, use Ctrl + Right Arrow. In macOS you can accomplish the same using the Option key. To select words/paragraphs as you’re going, hold Shift + Ctrl + Arrow (up or down will select entire bodies of text).

Emoji keyboard If you’re addicted to using emoji, know desktop OS support them natively just like mobiles do. On Windows press the Windows Key + . (period) and on macOS Cmd + Control + Spacebar. An Emoji panel will appear so you can carry on as usual using all the expressions you want.

Making sub and superscript text If you need to make sub or superscript text (think exponents for superscript), press Ctrl + = for subscript and Ctrl + Shift + = for superscript.

Use Windows’ character map to identify and create foreign symbols Search the Start menu for “character map” and you should find a utility that lets you copy every character imaginable and even provides an Alt + Numpad code for later use. For example, the euro sign (€) can be made with Alt + 0128.

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10. Quick Assist

This will come in handy when you need to help a friend or relative that is not tech-smart. It is hard to help someone if they are far away and you can’t see their screen.

Quick assist allows you to connect to someone else’s computer, see their screen and even control it if you need to make some changes.

To launch it, search for quick assist on Cortana and click on it. You could get assistance from someone else or assist.

If you are to assist, then you will have to type in their email address. It will produce a code; the other person will receive the code and input it in the quick assist window. This is what will give you access to their screen.

Managing the set up of a computer classroom

As an Instructional Technology Coach, I had the privilege of helping a school in the Bronx set up a computer lab for the first time. Check out the slideshow below for ideas on computer class design, arranging computer tables for the classroom, and establishing school computer lab rules:

8. Other Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts are an awesome way to save time when you are working. There are some essential key combinations you need to enjoy Windows more.

  • CTRL + S used to save a word document
  • CTRL + V used to paste text
  • CTRL + P used to print word documents
  • CTRL +C used to copy text
  • Windows Logo Key + V allows you to copy and paste multiple text items at a time. It will open the clipboard for you to select the text to paste.
  • CTRL +ALT +Delete to access a list of some important functions. This would be particularly helpful in case of a deadlock. You could use it to restart the computer or run task manager.
  • CTRL +Shift +ESC to access task manager.

Web Browsing Tricks

Jump to address bar There are a number of ways to jump right to the address bar from anywhere in browser. Pressing Ctrl + L, F6, and Alt + D all accomplish this goal.

Automatically add www. and .com to a URL You can shave off a couple of seconds typing in a URL by simply click Ctrl + Enter after you type the name of the site. Need .net instead of .com? Press Ctrl + Shift + Enter instead.

Cycle through open tabs Pressing Ctrl + Tab while in a browser will flip between each one (Ctrl + Shift + Tab to go backwards). This can be much faster than moving the mouse and clicking on a tab. Ctrl + Num (1, 2, 3, 4, n..) will also take you to certain tab in that numeric order. Ctrl + 9 always brings you to the very last tab, even if it’s beyond the ninth one.

Scroll through pages with the spacebar Tapping the spacebar on a website will scroll down in full page chunks and hitting shift + space will take you back up.

Instant image search (Chrome only) If you hold down the “S” key and right click on an image, it will open an image search on a new tab.

Use private browsing The uses for not having cookies and history saved are obvious for certain activities, you know, like shopping for gifts on a shared computer (of course!). Pressing Ctrl + Shift + N will launch a new private in Chrome, Ctrl + Shift + P will do it in Firefox and Internet Explorer.

Convert your browser into a notepad Type this into the address bar and you can write notes. Alternatively, while not as fast. Use Google Keep or Gmail’s compose mail to write notes and have those saved on the cloud as you type and go.

Icon-only bookmarks on your toolbar You can delete the name of your bookmarks leaving only the icon so they take up less space on the toolbar. In Chrome: right click the bookmark > edit > delete the name and save.

Use the scroll wheel Put your middle mouse button to use by clicking on links to automatically open them in a new tab/window. Also if you use the scroll wheel button on a tab, it will close it.

Copy links quicker Right click the link like usual but tap E on your keyboard to copy the link.

Make content editable Bring up the console on Chrome or Firefox (right click, Inspect). On the console enter the command signMode = “on” that will let you edit any text on the screen.

Zoom In, Reset Zoom Use the browser magnifier to adjust a website for more comfortable reading. Ctrl/Cmd + (plus/minus sign) does the trick. To reset to the default zoom level use Ctrl + 0.

7. Use the Keyboard More

A true computer geek knows all the basic keyboard shortcuts, such as “ctrl-C or ctrl-V”. Learn the most common shortcuts for Word, Gmail, Photoshop and other programs you use on a regular basis. After only a few months, you will be able to blow through text boxes and menus at unbelievable speeds with precision.

Make Each Student a Login Card

One tricky area of computer lab management, especially for younger students, can be logging in to their device. Use a student login card for managing passwords and helping students get logged in quickly. Most schools require students to first login to their personal account on school computers. Students then need to know additional passwords for the various sites they use in class as well as testing and assessment sites. This can add up to a lot for students to remember.

Make the most of their time by using editable login cards with all of the passwords students use on a regular basis.  Using login cards saves a lot of time and makes it quick and easy for students to get in to the site they need to use.

3. Understand When Too Much is Too Much

When your computer starts to work a little too slow, you need to find out the real cause behind this problem. Usually, one app will slow your system down, so you need to find it and close it as fast as possible.

The following tools should help you find the real cause and terminate it: Rainmeter (for Windows) and MenuMeter (for Mac).

Set Up A System For Device Check Outs

Many schools check out laptops, iPads, and Chromebooks to students to use during the year. Keeping track of devices is key with any computer lab management system you use. Create a log of students and the devices they’ve checked out and when they are returned.

I also like to have a teacher binder for not only checkouts, but grades and lesson plans.

Personalize your binders with editable covers to keep everything handy, organized, and easily accessible.

Rename Subtitle File same as movie name and VLC will load subtitle automatically every time you open Movie

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Rename the subtitle file same as movie name (Kept in same folder) and you do not need to load subtitle everytime you play the movie.

Efficiency and Space Saving Tricks

Have better luck with your PC running smoother with these tips:

  • When your PC takes a long time to boot up, you may have too many programs running when you get started. To eliminate unnecessary programs, press Windows key + R, then type “misconfig”. Select the Startup tab from the window that pops up, and you will be able to turn off any programs you want that are slowing your boot time.
  • Delete large space wasting files with WinDirStat, which is short for “Windows Directory Statistics”. It shows you which files are taking up the most space, and you can then delete them accordingly.

General PC Tips

  • Adjust any setting on your PC with the Windows “God Mode” folder, which is a centralized Control Panel for all the OS settings. Access this by creating a new folder named: God Mode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}.
  • Backup beyond a local file with services like Google Drive, Drop Box or other reputable cloud storage solutions, as extra security.
  • Problem Step Recorder will record all mouse clicks and take screenshots. This tool is helpful to a tech when an issue with your PC needs to be diagnosed. Use this by pressing Windows + R then type the letters “psr”.

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