Tools to meet special vision, hearing and ability needs

Here is how you find your Windows tools.

Click:Start > Programs > Accessories > Accessability

Let's start with a few vision, hearing and ability tools. The first one is:

  • The Magnifier

In all windows OS's

The Magnifier is a display utility that makes the computer screen more readable by people who have low vision by creating a separate window that displays a magnified portion of the screen. Magnifier provides a minimum level of functionality for people who have slight visual impairments.

Usually the Magnifier by default is set to show up at the top of the screen, but you can move it around by using your left mouse button: Click ad hold down the left button and move the magnifier window to where you want it, then let go of the button.

When you open the Magnifier a new window appears: The Magnifier Settings window. From that window you can change the level of magnification, change the tracking and the presentation.To get out of the magnifer mode simply click Exit

Here is another tool:

  • The Narrator

From Windows 2000 and newer

The Narrator is a text-to-speech utility for people who are blind or have low vision. Narrator reads what is displayed on the screen—the contents of the active window, menu options, or text that has been typed.

Note! The Narrator is designed to work with Notepad, WordPad, Control Panel programs, Internet Explorer, the Windows desktop, and some parts of Windows Setup. Narrator may not read words aloud correctly in other programs. Narrator has a number of options that allow you to customize the way screen elements are read.

The third tool I will mention is:

  • The On-screen Keyboard

On–Screen Keyboard is a utility that displays a virtual keyboard on the computer screen. This tool allows people with mobility impairments to type data by using a pointing device or joystick. Besides providing a minimum level of functionality for some people with mobility impairments, On–Screen Keyboard can also be helpful for people who do not know how to type.

Note! The program in which you want to type characters must be active while you are using On–Screen Keyboard. The accessibility tools in the Windows operating system are intended to provide a minimum level of functionality for users with special needs.

Windows tools
to help you optimize your computers performance

In the Windows Accessories you wil also find some very handy tools that will help you keep your system running smoothly. It's a good idea to get aquanted with these tools and how to use them.

You find the tools by clicking System Tools from the Accessories menu

The most important accessories to know are:

  • Back Up
  • Disk Cleanup
  • Disk Defragmenter

Where I come from, we have a saying "Real men do not back up!". The very same "real men" always come to me for help, when they run into trouble from NOT having backed up anything and their hard drive crashes. Unfortunately there is nothing I can do to help them - other than point out to them that in MY opinion "real men" are smart men, who DO back up important files on a weekly or monthly basis, - time frame depending on how much they use their computers and how important to them their work is.

So take my advice and learn how to Backup!

The Backup accessory in the Windows Accessories menu makes it easy to backup all your important files. If you click through the backup wizard presented to you when you click Backup from the System Tools menu you will find several choices for backing up your files. If you took my advice on how to manage your files and saved all your files in the Documents folder or on the D: drive (if you have one), backing up your personal files is easy.

The Backup wizard gives you the oportunity to create a "System recovery Disk", too. This is a handy tool if you're not TOO sure how well rotected you are from virus and other malware. The restore dsc will include all data on your computer and the iles neccesary to restore windows in the case of a major failure.

Note! Backing up means making a copy of files and store it on another media, such as a CD Rom disk, a Smart drive or another hard drive. Choose the one that suites you the best.For the CD Rom backup option - of course - you will need a "Burner" to make a copy.

An external hard drive attached to your USB port is a good choice for backup media.

The next of the important accessories is:

  • The Disk Defragmenter

When you click the Disk Defragmenter from the Windows accessories > System Tools menu

you will see this window.

The Disk Fragmenter sorts out the files on your drive(s) to optimize the space you are using. Defragmenting you drive(s) perodically is a good tool for optimizing your computers performance.

If you click the Analyze button first, the defragmenter will analyze the specific drive selected in the window and tell you, whether or not it is time to go through the defragmentation process.

If you want to know more about what defragmentation is and how it works click here

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