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Where’s My User’s Manual?

If you have bought a new computer device lately, you have no doubt noticed that something is missing: the User Manual.

What you’d probably like is a book that thanks you for purchasing your device, tells you that it is easy to use, assures you that you will love it, and finally illustrates everything you need to know in clear detail.

Stop looking. You won’t find it. But a manual is not completely missing either. User Manuals (also called User Guides) are now in electronic form. How ironic! If you can find it and use it, you probably don’t need it. Ugh.

Irony or not, you may as well understand where your User Manual is. Here are some possibilities:

In the Device Itself

  • On some Windows computers, the User Manual is in the “Help and Support” area that is accessible from the Start Button. The whole manual, just as you would expect to see it in book form, is a searchable, scrollable, and printable document in your computer.
  • In the iPhone and iPad devices, the User Guide is already installed: Click the “Home” button, then “Safari,” then the bookmark icon, then “iPhone/iPad User Guide.” This a not a document, but a tappable and visual listing of all of the features and how to use them. It is quite informative.
  • In the newer Mac computers, there are some settings in the “System Preferences” area that will visually demonstrate what the different settings mean. Check out the “trackpad” settings for a good example.

On a Disc that came with your Device

  • Some devices with a cd-rom drive come with a disc that contains the User Manual. The advantage of this separate disc is that a lengthy manual does not take space on your hard drive. The disadvantage is that you do not have the information with you unless you have the disc. If you find that you refer to the Manual often, you can choose to copy the file from the cd onto your hard drive.

On the Internet

  • The internet is where you look up most information these days; why not look up information about your computer as well?
  • Contained in the brief documentation that might come with your device is a website address where you can find the rest of the useful information about your purchase.
  • If there is no such reference, or you no longer have the documentation, you can do a Google search for it. Be sure to enter the make and model of the device and include the words “User Manual” (or “Guide”) in the search field. To search for the answer to a specific question, rather than access an entire User Manual, just narrow your search to include only the topic that interests you.

For those of you who would still prefer to have a tangible book, you are not completely out of luck. Books do exist for some machines (smart phones, tablets, some computers); you can find them in the Computer section of a local book store or on the internet. One company understands your frustration; its series of computer books is called the “Missing Manual.”