The ETI Introduction to Computers Tutorial

Welcome note

The aim of this tutorial is to present an overview of the fundamental concepts and functionalities of personal computers which all ETI students should master. Its purpose is not only to help you with your computer studies at the ETI, but also to help you better handle aspects of information technology in your private and professional lives in the future.

Once you have completed the tutorial, you should have a good idea of where to find things on your computer, how to change basic settings and parameters to make your work environment more comfortable, and be familiar with the correct terminology to use when referring to the different parts and functionalities of your computer.



For new and occasional computer users
You should read through this tutorial carefully, do the suggested exercises and try to answer the reflection questions. Ideally, you should do the tutorial more than once. Knowing how to use a computer effectively and becoming familiar with it is something that is learned over time, and most of all with patience and practice. Don't expect to become a computer expert after one week, but also don't get discouraged if things aren't immediately clear to you. Taking the time to learn and ask questions now will be invaluable for you in the future.

For regular computer users
Even if you are a regular computer user, it's still a good idea for you to read through this tutorial to make sure that you are familiar with all of the points covered - consider it as a sort of checklist of computer skills that you should have.

How to get the most out of this tutorial

To get the most value out of using this tutorial you should

  • take the time to read the information slowly and carefully
  • read the information while sitting in front of a computer - being able to see and do what is being described will help you understand the information more easily
  • do the exercises
  • take the time to think about and answer the reflection questions
  • try to incorporate what you learn into your daily working habits
  • be patient


Which versions of Windows does the tutorial apply to?

This tutorial is written for use with the Windows XP operating system since this is the operating system that is currently installed at the ETI. However, most of the information and concepts found in the tutorial are general and therefore also apply to both earlier and later versions of Windows. If there are differences, in most cases they will be in how things look (for example icons and buttons) and where they are located, but what you can do with the system remains largely the same.

Can this tutorial be used for Macs (Apple computers)?

Many of the concepts found in this tutorial also apply to Macs, although the graphics, layout, names and locations of components can sometimes look quite different. We don't discuss Macs directly in this tutorial except in relation to media files, but Apple provides a good guide to some of the differences between Macs and Windows at the following website:


The section called 'On Windows, I used to...' is particularly useful.



© 2009 TIM/ETI, University of Geneva