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Help for a Beginner

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TBsteve

Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2012
Forgive me if this is the incorrect place, but I have a very broad question. I enjoy building computers and am getting pretty good at it, but I am an absolute imbecile upon turning the PC on. I use Windows 10 and really enjoy the OS, but short of doing basic mods on games (Witcher 3, GTA V, Skyrim, Fallout, etc) I don't know what I'm doing! Is there a book of some kind for me to learn about system management and programming? I'm just looking for a legitimate starting point for using my PC properly. Should I literally just get "how to" for dummies books?
 

Janus67

Benching Team Leader
Joined
May 29, 2005
Theres a ton of options out there, although I will say outside of the IT world/developer world I'm not sure what you would be looking to learn for programming (to use your PC properly). Can you give some examples of what you are looking for?
 
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TBsteve

Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2012
Basically I want to be able to diagnose and fix problems on my own with my computer, my girlfriend's computer, etc. I want to be able to get my PC faster, diagnose and protect from viruses, etc. IDK I just want to be independent with my PC use. I find myself always asking for help, for example I had a problem where if my PC went to sleep it would crash. I did nothing aside from not letting it go to sleep from then on until miraculously it stopped crashing recently.
 

Janus67

Benching Team Leader
Joined
May 29, 2005
As helpful/interesting as programming can be, I really don't think that would remotely benefit you in what your goals are (trying to diagnose/fix basic issues).

For the most part those of us that have been around here for quite some time:

- Asked a ton of questions at first regarding "stupid" problems that were quickly answered by those that were here before us/were more knowledgeable. We took that knowledge and tried to remember it, as just like in class, if you have a question, it's very likely someone else has it as well. And passed it along to others when they would ask the same 'stupid' question.

- Googled the problem that we were having, found numerous hits/forum threads/microsoft (or otherwise) articles/posts/kbs/etc and tried to fix it following the steps listed. And again, either remembering the solution or bookmarking or at least knowing how to get the answer again if I ever had it again or needed to pass it along to someone else.

- Or just broke/screwed something up and screwed with/tinkered with settings/things until it worked again (generally after some experience of knowing what to look for).

- Then a lot of us work in the IT-world where we see problems day to day and such

As generally unnecessary, but still is an industry certification, getting a free (updated!) book or two and reading through it with A+ certification can give you some basic knowledge of troubleshooting, the hardware involved, etc. From there there are numerous other pathways by microsoft for windows OSes, cisco (etc) for networking, etc that can lead you down the various paths.
 
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TBsteve

Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2012
Alright, I wasn't sure how much programming would help me in my situation. I might pick a programming book up just to check it out and see if it happens to be something I'd like to try. I do like me some books for dummies so I will head to Amazon and purchase a couple. Thanks folks! Just wanted to make sure the books are a good direction to go in for me!
 

rainless

Old Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2006
Forgive me if this is the incorrect place, but I have a very broad question. I enjoy building computers and am getting pretty good at it, but I am an absolute imbecile upon turning the PC on. I use Windows 10 and really enjoy the OS, but short of doing basic mods on games (Witcher 3, GTA V, Skyrim, Fallout, etc) I don't know what I'm doing! Is there a book of some kind for me to learn about system management and programming? I'm just looking for a legitimate starting point for using my PC properly. Should I literally just get "how to" for dummies books?

It sounds like you need like ALL the for dummies books. :)

Seriously though... There isn't any "shortcut" to being "good with computers." I've been using computers since I was 6 (that was a LONG time ago) and building them since I was 11. And I was an absolute natural. Like somebody who sat down at the piano one day and could just PLAY. But I further refined that with decades worth of experience. You can't really "teach" what I do... There's no book that would get you anything close to my finer points. My advice would be... instead of calling for help when you have a particular problem... Google it and see if there's a link on Youtube explaining how to solve your problem, and try to do it yourself.

It might take a little longer... but you'll learn more.

(A book... in my opinion... would just be a distraction.)
 

demien88

Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2016
There is no book in this world that can teach you how to use your own pc xD. I learned from my own mistakes, google, other people, gained knowledge everywhere, even learned English on my own. I suggest to avoid programing since it knows to be overwhelming for many people, I mean try out but don't expect too much.
Getting experience on your own is the best way, at least it was for me. Try building some junk 100$ pc fiddle with hardware look what where goes, what it says on parts.
You just have to be patient and thats it, there is always solution to problem
 
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Suppressor1137

Member
Joined
May 4, 2011
Definitely steer clear of programming for now. The A+ certification is a great thing to go for, as it will not only teach you troubleshooting practices, but it will also look great on your resume.

A lot of jobs require basic computer skills, and having that a plus cert tells them that you have that in the bag.

However, i feel that the best practice for learning, is to explore what is in the machine, fiddle with it, and revert as necessary. Learn how to a backup first, just in case lol.
 

JrClocker

AKA: JrMiyagi
Joined
Sep 25, 2015
Agree - I would not start with programming...based on your stated goal.

If you want to delve into that area, the best place to start is with something like "I want my computer to do this." Then, based on that, we could recommend a programming language (and there are many out there...with varying opinions on which is "better").

As for me, I have been messing around with computers for over 35 years! My first computer was a Timex Sinclair 1000...which saved its programmed through a cassette tape player! I taught myself how to program and troubleshoot computers. I did my undergrad in Electrical Engineering, and took even more programming classes in addition to all the other normal EE stuff. This helped even more with troubleshooting and working with computers.

At the end of the day, the biggest thing to learn is the basic parts of a computer and what they do. Then, when the computer stops doing something you know at least where to start looking for troubleshooting. (i.e. you wouldn't be looking at the brakes on your car if the engine won't start.) The basic parts 35 years ago are still the basic parts now...except modern "basic parts" are much more advanced.

Good luck!
 

TechWizard

Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2004
As a lot of members have already stated - experience is really the only way to learn here. Doing is far more advantageous than reading it from a book.

Get stuff for free and hope it breaks. See if you can fix it. I started learning at 4? (I can't even remember) on a 486SX running Windows 3.1 - Google didn't exist and if I wanted my games to work I had to figure out what was broken and play around with it until it worked. We have a huge advantage with Google having essentially unlimited access to all the documentation and forum boards where others have tried and either succeeded or failed. Either way no matter what the problem is you are bound to find something on it.

In IT theoretical situations/simulations are almost never helpful in reality - so reading examples from a book will give you an "idea" of what is what, but won't actually give you the experience of that system/network running in actual practice. I find it extremely hard to learn from books when it comes to IT concepts and much easier to see the system and network running in practice. By the time you get that piece of equipment in your hands the firmware/GUIs/commands have all changed. IT operates in real-time and constantly gets updated - the pictures and references you'll see in books are outdated by the time they are printed.

If you can collect equipment from friends, neighbors, etc this is a good way to start building your own network of PC's and other devices so you can see how it all works. You'll find out quickly the limitations of certain devices and begin to form a foundation for recognizing problems.


If you want to learn programming in a digestible fashion I suggest starting here: https://www.codecademy.com/

I absolutely hate learning to program, but I've somehow made it through a few of the tutorials and I find that the process they make you work through commits vocabulary and programming skills to memory rather than making you do "X" once here and there and then expecting you remember it 100 tutorials down the road. It builds your ability from the ground up and they have a large variety of different languages you can learn.

What language you choose to learn first will be up to you - there isn't exactly any language you can learn that will "better" than the others. It all comes down to goals and what you want to be capable of.

My last piece of advice is that there is no shame in asking questions when you have truly exhausted all of your options and knowledge. Communities like Overclockers exists partially for this reason. We are here to help one another through issues we may or may not have seen yet and provide one another with the best direction we can.

Good Luck! I hope you find your path down this road :) I find solving everyday IT issues fulfilling - we are definitely a rare breed of people!
 

mokrunka

Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2009
Lots of good advice already in here, but I won't try to steer you from programming as others have done. To me, programming is fascinating, and it is a great way to continue learning, growing, and changing the way you think about problem solving. Just an introductory couse (I highly recommend any introdcutory course on Python, to be found on edx.org) can teach you so much about the underlying mechanics of what your computer is doing, and help you understand better how these things work.

It's not for everyone, but definitely worth a shot in my opinion. My area of expertise is mechanical engineering, but I enjoy learning about all things (especially computers), so I really enjoyed the additional knowledge I got from these courses.

Best of luck on your journey. And if I could give a piece of advice: Don't ever be afraid of breaking something. That's how we all learned.