Free Windows 7 training videos (and more)

You might learn enough by watching

by Daniel P. Dern - Moving to Windows 7 isn't just about migrating the OS and applications, or buying new machines. You also have to migrate your users -- and Windows 7 looks and behaves very differently from Windows XP or Vista -- there's changes, and there's new stuff.

Your IT help desk will, inevitably, have to field a fair number of calls. Plus, the less self-sufficient users will, equally inevitably, timesink whoever else is slightly more up to speed (or confident in their Googling and problem-solving skills) and not able to duck or dodge fast enough.

The new stuff to master (some of which may be familiar to Vista users) falls into two main categories:

  • Changes to the user interface -- what you see, how to use it. For example, "Aero Shake," Pin Lists, Jump Lists.
  • New features and tools like the Snipping Tool (for window/screen captures) and "Sticky Notes."

Video Syllabus

Windows basics for first-time users

Windows 7 Overview

The Start Menu

Touring the Desktop

Getting Around The Desktop

Handling tasks with the improved task bar

Aero Peek

And see InfiniteSkills' segments on Notification Area and on Gadgets.

Fortunately, there's a lot of information and training available on what's new in Windows 7, and how (and why) to use it. The videos are generally short -- mostly two to three minutes long, rarely more than five or six minutes -- and topic-focused.

Even better, a substantial amount of stuff is available at no cost.

Below some of what I turned up recently in the process of writing a comparative review of Windows 7 training videos.

There's no guarantee you can find free video training for everything in Windows 7. But there're more than enough to cover the basics, and once your users master those, they should be more able, and hopefully confident enough, to self-teach from built-in and online help text. (I've even put together a short starter syllabus, in the Sidebar.)

Note, the information these videos contain is pretty much the same... but as I discovered, there are differences in usability, organization, and, of course, price.

Freebies from Microsoft

Windows 7 includes built-in help, not surprisingly, under WINDOWS SUPPORT AND HELP/What's new in Windows 7.

Microsoft's web site also has several dozen video training segments, scattered across several locations.

"Getting Around The Desktop" is a good place to start. This page's videos provide good explanations and demonstrations for using the TaskBar, Peek, Shake, Pin Lists, and JumpLists.

Other good Microsoft sources of free Windows 7 videos include Windows 7: Videos & Tours and "Windows 7 How-to Videos".

There are aslo a few videos here: "Windows for Small Business".

For text and video help, see Windows 7 Help & How-to, and for a general introduction to Windows 7, see Get to know Windows 7.

Free samples from video training vendors

Many of the companies that sell video training (online and CD/DVD) make some of their segments available free, as samples. Here are the ones that I checked out (for that comparative review):

Other places for Windows 7 training videos include YouTube... and, of course, Googling "windows 7 training video" to see what else you may be able to find.

Daniel P. Dern is a freelance technology writer based in Newton Center, MA. His web site is www.dern.com and his technology blog is TryingTechnology.com.

For more Windows 7 tips, see:
Windows 7 upgrade: What you can, can't, and should do
Bend Windows 7 to your will
Windows 7 Migration: Don't rush the prep work
Migrate to a new Windows 7 PC

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