People Break Down Computer Skills They're Surprised More People Don't Know
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Let's get this out of the way: Turn it off and turn it back on.

Computer skills aren't always overly complicated. These devices are meant to withstand a lot of punishment, and so long as you keep your usage minimal then you'll never be lost with what you're doing. That being said, there are a large swath of people out there who don't understand how their mouse works.

So, there's that.

Reddit user, anushitech, wanted to know what computer skills we should all be using when they asked:

What is one computer skill that you are surprised many people don't know how to do?

Never underestimate the importance of really basic computer management.

Don't use the same password for everything. Make it a phrase. Include numbers and symbols. Also, this is important, the task manager can save your hide.

It's Not A Universal Password

"Considering the level of office work required in most corporate America, you'd be surprised by the number of people that don't even have the basic understanding of simple office software."


"As an IT manager and having dealt with a ton of people. This and their basic inability to operate a computer. Like knowing what your trying to log into. Asking for your Google password to be reset and wondering why it doesn't work for your windows login?!"


The What Manager?

"Open the task manager"


"Or how to use the task manager. Or what "CPU" "Disk" or any of the rest of it even means."


"We still have plenty of staff for whom the 'CPU' is the big black box under their desk."

"And more than 20 years after the introduction of the iMac, people are still confused by the computer part being in the screen."


Turns out a lot of computer issues arise in the office setting. While some people were hired to do a job, and you would hope they'd be able to do that job competently, that won't always be the case. Some people find themselves lost when you put a keyboard in front of them.


"Mute themselves on zoom calls."


"And unmute themselves on zoom calls."


...Disappeared Into The Aether...

"taking screenshot"


"Finding the folder where screenshot saved"


"Win+shift+s to mark an area to screenshot, I use it several times a day in my job and I've seen people instead press printscreen and then paste the entire image into paint and then select the area they wanted to screenshot into a new image and then save it etc etc"


Be More Precise

"Google effectively. Not just google, but to find any meaningful information from google."

"Let's say you have a computer issue, your monitor is simply came unplugged from your PC."

"Many people might just google "why wont my computer work" or "computer wont turn on". Sure, that may eventually lead you to checking your monitor is plugged in correctly."

"But I bet if you google "pc turns on but no picture" or "pc turns on but no screen/black screen" you're gonna get a helpful answer much, much faster."

"And this goes for any kind of problem that you're googling."

"dishwasher not working" -> "frigidaire model xxxx dishwasher stops after rinse cycle"

"You get the idea. Generally, the more granularity the better."


Even though computers are found in everyday life, there is still a surprisingly large swathe of the population who don't understand them or how they work. What comes as second nature for casual users can feel like foreign, and sometimes scary, skills.

Point. Click.

"I taught a computer course several years ago. I remember the biggest thing for most completely-new computer users was not looking at their hand while moving the mouse, and being terrified of breaking the computer by accidentally closing a window or something. Oh, and knowing whether they should single click or double click - this was a major preoccupation for some."


Two Buttons: Copy. Paste.

"A recent phone conversation I had with my mother:"

Me: You just need to copy and paste it. Let me talk you through it.
Her: There's no point, I can't do it.
Me: It's like two key presses.
Her: It's too complicated.
Me: It'll take 5 seconds. It's easy.
Her: It's easy for you, you're a computer programmer. I don't have qualifications.
Me: So what are you going to do next time you need to copy and paste something?
Her: I'll just put my laptop in the car and drive it over to your house and you can do it for me...


I Keep Them All On My Desktop So I Can See Them All

"Basic folder/file structure."


"there's more places than just the desktop wut?"


"Hello, IT. Have you tried turning it off and on again?"

"How to fix 99% of problems - by turning it off and on"


"I have a friend who gets mad that it is my go to for any problem I come across on my computer. Like bro I don't expect it to be fixed off of that, but at least I've checked it off my list."

"And also it works more often than even I expect"


Oh Auntie

"I remember my aunt wondering why her document wasn’t in the My Documents folder on our family computer. She had saved it in her own My Documents folder on her own computer the next town over and apparently assumed there was only one Windows 98 communal My Documents folder in existence."



"A couple years ago my mom wanted to know how to better use computers, so she went to a class. She realized she didn't belong there when the first lesson was teaching people to use a mouse and some of them just couldn't figure it out."


"Don't know about millennials but I have a feeling Zoomers won't have much in the way of desktop computer skills since phones are so ubiquitous and do most everything the average teenager (and young adult) might need on the daily."


Too many clicks...

"Pressing tab to get to the box below."


"And SHIFT+TAB to go to the one above."


"You don't know how many times I've missed something spamming tab to get to it and just went through every tab-able thing to get back to it."


‘site url’

"Working in phone customer support, the number of times I’ve had an old person do a Google search for a web address instead of going to the url has made me realize most middle aged and elderly have no idea what a browser or address bar are."

“Type ‘site url’ into the address bar.”

“I did! The page isn’t here!”

"9 times out of 10 they were just on a Google page and I lost a week of life expectancy."


The Box Below

"As a Geek Squad agent, my only answer is reading onscreen instructions. There are a ton of people that, for some reason, when they read very clear instructions on what to do (like during the setup of a device) they just go clueless. And we're talking people going 'It says to click this box, what does that mean though?' Actual quote btw."


Bad Engine

"Unfortunately googling has gotten a bit harder in recent years as the search engine starts to prioritize its own algorithm over user input. Ive had it outright ignore search terms in quotations, or even things like dates. I suppose in most cases it’s helpful but in some circumstances it can be incredibly frustrating."


Fast Track

"That while watching youtube on PC, you can use J to go back 10 seconds, K to pause the video, and L to fast forward 10 second."


"Also comma and period to go frame by frame."


+ V

"Windows key + V. Brings up a list of past copy and paste history."


"I use a program called 'Ditto' for extended clipboard functionality. It keeps a fully functional clipboard history among other things."

"Being able to quickly copy 2 things separately and then paste said things in whatever order I please is really useful. I have CTRL+ALT+V bound to paste the second to last thing in the clipboard. I sometimes even copy something just to save it in case it's something I might need soon."



"Win+ shift + s to mark an area to screenshot, I use it several times a day in my job and I've seen people instead press print screen and then paste the entire image into paint and then select the area they wanted to screenshot into a new image and then save it etc etc."


Full of Numbers

"The simplest functions in excel - sums, multiplication, division. It's just not that freaking hard. People see spreadsheets and their brains just turn to mush, I guess. I've seen people take a column full of numbers in excel and add them up manually and then type in the sum in the bottom cell."


Point. Click. Double click to open. Different passwords.

And, the most important of all, turn it off and on again if something seems iffy.

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