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Sat, Jan. 18

How to capture a screenshot on your PC

Q: I've been having trouble with error messages from one of my programs. A friend told me to send him a screenshot. How do I do that?

A: A screenshot is simply a picture of your computer screen that someone else can look at to help you with your problem. You don't even have to dig out your digital camera! You already have software on your computer which will enable you to save what's on your screen.

To capture the entire screen, simply hit the Print Screen key, occasionally labeled "Prt Scr" or something similar. To capture just the active window (in this case, your error message), hold down the Alt key and then hit the Print Screen key. Nothing will appear to happen, but don't worry. The contents of your screen (or window) will have been copied for use by other programs.

The easiest way to save your screenshot is to open up Wordpad or almost any word processing program. Everyone already has Wordpad, which may usually be found under All Programs - Accessories. (Notepad will not work because it's a text-only program.)

Then just paste your image into your document, save as an RTF (Rich Text Format) file and there you go! You now have a file containing a picture of your error message that you may send off to your friend.

There are many other ways of doing the same basic procedure. But give the easy way a try first.

Q: I see the terms "Internet" and "web" used as if they are the same thing. Are they? If not, what's the difference?

A: The Internet and the web (World Wide Web) are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same. The Internet is a huge network of networks, referred to as a networking infrastructure. It connects millions of computers all over the world, allowing any computer that is connected to it to communicate with any other computer on the network. E-mail, ftp (file transfers), instant messaging, Usenet news groups, as well as World Wide Web data all travel over the Internet.

The web is one just way of accessing data over the Internet. It's an information-sharing model that rides on the Internet network, along with email, etc. The web uses HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) whereas e-mail, for instance, uses SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol). A protocol is rules determining how data is formatted and sent.

Think of the Internet as a highway system on which travel the web, as well as mail (e-mail) and parcels (file transfers), etc. The web requires that you connect to the Internet using a browser (Firefox, Internet Explorer, etc.) to be able to view the web pages containing text, sounds, graphics and videos that are stored on servers attached to the web. It's estimated that that approximately one trillion web pages are now accessible through the Internet.

So while the Web is a big portion of the Internet, the two terms are not the same and shouldn't be confused with one another.

The Prescott Computer Society (PCS) is a PC-based users group located in Prescott. We hold several entertaining and educational meetings each month to show you how to get the most out of your computer  For further information, please visit us at www.PCS4me.com. E-mail questions for future columns to PCSquestions@gmail.com.

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