There are two ways to enter the forum. First, open a web browser window and type 'www.computeractive.co.uk/forums' (without the quote marks) into the address bar, as shown in our screenshot. Then press enter. Alternatively, you can go to our home page at www.computeractive.co.uk and click the Forums link in the main navigation menu, which is the red strip along the top of the page.
You'll now find yourself on the Forum home page. From here you can click on the names of any of the individual forums, such as Windows, to view questions and answers that have been posted by other forum users. The questions are organised in 'threads' – once inside an individual forum, threads represent topics of conversations and are listed vertically. Click the thread title to open it. However, if you would like to post your own question, you first need to register – it's free to do so. Click the link at the top-left of the page labelled 'Register'.
Before you can register, you will first have to agree to abide by our rules for using the forum. These simply state that users agree not to post any messages vulgar or unpleasant. Read through the rules and then tick the box labelled 'I have read, and agree to abide by the Forums rules'.
Registration involves choosing a name and password to access the forum. First type a username into the first field – if the name you select has already been chosen by another member, a pink box appears to suggest you try another. If the name hasn't been chosen before, a green box is displayed. You can now enter and verify a password. Select a password that isn't easy for others to guess. You also need to provide an email address – this will not be displayed in the forum or shared with other members or other companies. It is required so that we can send you a confirmation email to activate your free forum membership.
The final step is helps us to make sure that you are not a malicious computer program that tries to spread unwanted emails, known as spam. Internet forums can be ruined by these programs, which register an account purely to post links to services and websites no-one wants to see. To get around this, we ask you look at a picture of some letters or numbers and type them into a box. The malicious programs struggle with this, so it's a good way to ensure the person who is registering is a genuine user. You'll need to do this only once. The characters are slightly distorted to make it difficult for software to 'read' the characters. If you find the image difficult to read, click the button marked 'Refresh Image' to see a different set of letters.
Now type the letters or numbers you saw into the box labelled 'Image Verification'. Note that letters are not case sensitive so you use capitals or lower case. Once complete, click the button marked 'Complete Registration' at the bottom of the page. If you have mistyped the verification code, or entered your password or email address incorrectly in the 'Confirm Password' or 'Confirm Email Address' fields, the site will prompt you to remedy this. If not, a notice is displayed telling you that an email is whizzing its way to the address you supplied. Follow the information in this email to complete your registration. Welcome to the forum!