Computer viruses are a headache nowadays. Although there are free antivirus programs available for downloads, these are not always efficient in removing stubborn viruses that go deep inside the recesses of the windows operating systems. A computer user is usually faced with the necessity to act outside of the computer system to get rid of the pesky viruses.
Reformat the Hard Drive
Among the best options to get rid of the stubborn viruses is to reformat the hard drive, that is if the computer user can boot up the operating system. This approach can effectively remove all of the possible viruses infecting the computer because all of the data in the hard drive are erased. This is a ‘shotgun approach’ where the computer user is not aiming to clean only certain files in the computer but all of the hard drive. Of course, it will take considerable time to reformat the hard drive. The computer user will need to reinstall once again the operating system and the different applications to be able to use the computer. Also, this prevents the computer user from saving his important files. So what would be the best option when faced with this situation? The best approach is to use a rescue disk.
Rescue disks are bootable disks, meaning these disks are capable of running the computer system by itself as a CD software package. Rescue disks take over the management of the windows computer system such as those provided by the windows operating systems like Windows XP, Windows Vista, and recently, Windows 7. The CD software package in rescue disks contain utilities. Utilities are applications that allow the computer user to manage the computer files in such a manner he deems fit such as copying, deleting, or moving files in the computer. If the computer user could not access his files due to the failure of the windows operating system to boot up because of a virus infection, using these utilities will allow him to do so. Utilities also include virus scanners which runs deeply than the conventional antivirus programs. The virus scanners can isolate the virus files which the computer user can opt to erase manually.
Kaspersky Rescue Disk
One of the best bootable rescue disks is the Kaspersky Rescue Disk. The Kaspersky Rescue Disk is based on a Linux kernel thus will operate under a Linux operating system environment. Linux operating systems are virtually immune to windows operating system viruses. The Kaspersky Rescue Disk can be created using the Kaspersky Antivirus program or downloaded from free sites like Softpedia. To create the Kaspersky Rescue Disk, the computer needs to burn the saved iso file using a CD burning tool like Nero. An iso file is unlike the conventional applications file because you cannot run it on a computer while operating under a windows operating system. A computer user needs to reboot the computer before using the Kaspersky Rescue Disk.
Changing the Boot Sequence of the Computer
In order to use the Kaspersky rescue disk or any of your favorite bootable rescue disk created from an antivirus program, this will require changing the boot sequence of the computer. This is by activating the BIOS (basic input/output system) CMOS Setup Utility of the computer. BIOS is the first code run by the computer when powered on. To access it, the computer user needs to reboot the computer system while pressing either the F2 or delete button. Usually, a largely bright blue interface will then appear (see below).
Scroll down using the arrow key until the Advanced BIOS Features (this may vary between computers) is highlighted, hit Enter, and find the First Boot Device menu. Hit Enter and change the first booting device to CD-ROM instead of HDD-0 or the hard drive. Set the hard drive or HDD-0 as the 2nd Boot Device. Hit the Esc key and find the Save and Exit Setup menu, Enter and type Y to confirm the changes that you have made. Allow the computer to reboot with the Kaspersky rescue CD in the CD/DVD drive. Your computer should now reboot using the rescue CD. Watch your screen as you may need to hit any key to reboot using the CD-ROM.
The computer will now reboot with the Linux kernel loading, quite unlike the way you boot using a windows operating system. You need to hit Enter to load the Linux kernel of Kaspersky Rescue Disk. Just watch the Linux kernel load line by line (usually white text against a black background). After a few minutes, again a largely blue green background displays where you will get to see a large arrow asking you to scan the computer or update the virus database. If you have downloaded the latest Kaspersky Rescue Disk release, you may proceed directly to scanning. If not, then you have to update the virus database which will take time. If you decide to scan, you may scan any or all your computer’s files like the boot sector, the C or root hard drive or possibly a D virtual hard drive. Select all of the radio buttons and scan the computer by clicking the scan folder. The computer scans and identifies the pesky virus in your computer and will ask you to confirm deletion of the virus file. You may also hit the Fix It Now button after scanning so the computer will automatically remove the difficult to delete viruses. When all these procedures are done, you may reboot your computer using the saved operating system in the hard disk. Just remove the Kaspersky Rescue Disk from the CD/DVD drive so that the computer system will use the hard drive as the second boot device to boot the windows operating system.
The computer virus or viruses should have been removed by the time the windows operating system boots up and displays the screen. If the virus is still there, then you have no option but to reformat the hard drive. Before formatting the hard drive, you can use the Kaspersky Rescue Disk to copy your files to a flash drive using the File Manager utility that goes with the Kaspersky Rescue Disk package.
There are many computer myths that a lot of people believe in. Most of the originate from various computer problems that are difficult to solve or from not knowing how computers work. Even though most common computer myths are harmless, it’s good to know all about them and be able to identify the actual cause of computer errors. That way you will be able to fix them yourself.
Everybody who has a computer knows that sometimes it’s hard to understand what’s going on and how to fix some problems. Sometimes computers start playing up for no apparent reason and nothing you do seems to help. However, in most cases this means that the user doesn’t know something and isn’t too knowledgeable about computers. And that’s how computer myths are created. Users with little computer knowledge try to find answers to something they don’t understand. When they can’t find an answer, they create their own, which is not necessarily true.
Luckily, most computer myths are harmless and even funny. Nevertheless, it’s important to debunk them so that users know which PC fixes work and which are useless.
Myth 1: hitting a computer will make it work better
This myth is very common. It started when most people used desktops with tower cases. Indeed, hitting a case like that sometimes helped to get rid of case vibration noise. This gave an illusion of the computer running smoother. Unfortunately, that was only an illusion. In fact, hitting a computer can do more harm than good, especially if you keep hitting your laptop. Your laptop won’t become faster, but you risk breaking it beyond repair.
Myth 2: putting a failed hard drive in a freezer will recover data
This might sound surprising, but this is not a myth. Although it will only work if your hard drive fails because of one particular problem – overheating. You see, freezing it (or shall I say cooling it) makes the physical properties of metal start working. When a hard drive overheats, the metal expands. This prevents the hard drive from mounting properly. So if you freeze the hard drive for a couple of hours, its metal parts will shrink back to their normal size and you should be able to mount the hard drive for long enough to recover your files.
Myth 3: having a lot of keys on your keyboard increases PC performance
True, keyboards with a lot of different keys look impressive. But that’s all. The keys on your keyboard don’t affect computer performance in any way. That’s because a keyboard is not an actual part of a computer – it’s connected to the PC so that you can operate it, but that’s the only purpose the keyboard serves. In fact, usually it’s better to use a more basic keyboard as things you need are easier to find.
Myth 4: hackers can access your PC even if it’s switched off
This myth developed because most people don’t really understand how hackers access other people’s computers. Basically, there is no way your computer can be switched on remotely if it’s switched off. In extreme cases, computers infected with certain types of malware can be controlled in such a way, but it’s highly unlikely for a home user to suffer from this. To cut a long story short, if your computer is turned off, you can relax.
Myth 5: cactuses protect you from screen radiation
This is one of the silliest computer myths ever. For a start, computers are not radioactive. And those of you who remember old monitors that had “Low radiation” written on them can relax – that’s not the kind of radiation that reactors or bombs produce. Computers produce electromagnetic waves. And even these are no more than the waves produced by the power sockets in your house. In any case, cactuses have nothing to do with radiation or any other kind of waves. So there really is no need to have a cactus near your PC.
Since laptops have become exceedingly light and portable, people tend to take it everywhere with them and it gets dirty fast by picking dust and liquid drops that splash from coffee, tea, and other soft drinks.
The Need To Clean: If you look at your screen from an angle you would be amazed at the droplets of tea and soft drinks that have dried on it. Even your dried saliva is there, deposited the last time when you sneezed without covering your mouth and nose. On top of that is the thick coating of dust that coats the screen uniformly.
None of these are noticeable when you look directly at the screen and they get overlooked for a long time which makes the deposits solidify, making cleaning difficult. Worse, these deposits reduce the light and contrast produced by the screen, forcing you to strain at it crating unnecessary eye strain and fatigue.
Clean The Laptop Regularly: The best approach would be to clean it regularly, so that no hard deposits are formed. Wiping the screen with a lint free and very soft cloth is the best method for regular cleaning. Done regularly, it removes not only dues, but also most of the liquid drops that get removed before they dry and adhere very strongly to the screen.
The same soft cloth should be used to clean the rest of the laptop, but only AFTER you clean the screen lest the dust from other parts of the computer scratch the screen.
Clean Between The Keys: Use a soft but long-bristled artist’s brush to clean between the keys where a good amount of dust can settle fast. Doing this once a week, or as per the need should be fine. Small vacuum cleaners are available in some speciality stores that can also be used to lift the dust from the keyboard. However, never use a regular vacuum clean because it can rip apart tiny components that might be there in some keyboards.
Cleaning The Laptop With Liquid Agents: As far as possible, you must avoid cleaning your laptop with any liquid agent. That is because even minute drops of liquid the creep through the joints and crevices of the laptop can play havoc with the miniature hardware and electronic circuitry. However, if cleaning becomes essential, remember to do it with a soft cloth soaked in the cleansing liquid so that nothing oozes into the machine through cracks.
Most laptop manuals suggest that only soft soap be used and that NO detergent or thinning liquid be used. Do adhere to that strictly. Many have ruined their laptops through experimentation. Most of them come, anyway, with exteriors that become clean when wiped by a clean cloth and when dust is lifted off using a small vacuum cleaner. The screen might need some liquid cleaner, but again try a soft cloth soaked in plain distilled water. Do wring it before you clean the screen. Some specialized shops might offer special cleaning fluids. Read the manual that accompanies them before you do anything.
A laptop or a notebook computer has too many parts crammed into a small space. Thus it is better to err on the side of caution than ruin it.
As PC hardware continues to improve in speed, so does software, and Windows 10 is no exception. This is especially true of startup time: If you upgrade from Windows 7 or earlier, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how fast your machine is ready for action. But there are other performance factors to consider after you’re up and running. We’ve compiled ten tips, many of which are perennial old standbys in the Windows performance game.
The problem with many Windows speedup stories is that they tell you to turn off some of the operating system’s more charming features such as visual animations. Most of the tips here show you ways you can speed up your Windows 10 system without compromising its appearance and functionality. Most are free, but some involve spending a little cash on software or hardware. For those with older, lower-power machines who want a speed boost but don’t care about extra goodies, a couple of the tips towards the end can boost system performance at the expense of some bells and whistles.
If you have your own tips for speeding up Windows 10, please don’t hesitate to post your suggestions in the comment section below.
1. Uninstall Crapware
That extra preinstalled software installed by PC makers continues to be an issue with new computers. I recently was working with a low-cost Lenovo PC that had nearly 20 so-called helper programs installed, and these would occasionally and unwantedly pop up and interrupt what I was doing on the computer.
Here’s how: Tap on the Start button (by default all the way in the lower-left corner of the display), then on All apps at the bottom, and then simply right-click on the offender and choose Uninstall. This will immediately uninstall. You can also right-click on the Windows logo Start button, and choose the top choice Programs and Features. You can also simply type Programs in the Cortana Ask me anything box next to the Start button.
You can usually find the culprits by sorting the list of installed apps on the name of your PC Maker. When you’ve found junk apps you don’t want, simply select them and click Uninstall. Unfortunately, you can only remove one at a time, so set aside a half hour or so for this project. Don’t forget to take the hatchet to apps you installed yourself but no longer want, and for software you don’t want that was installed alongside software you did want.
Keep in mind, with Windows 10 there are two kinds of applications, traditional desktop ones and modern Windows Store apps. To remove the latter, go to the Settings app’s Apps & Features page. There, you’ll see both kinds of apps, while the good ole Control Panel only includes good ole desktop programs. In either you can sort by size, date installed, or name, or search for a particular app.
The reason this helps performance is that many programs load processes at boot time and take up valuable RAM and CPU cycles. While you’re in the Programs and Features section of Control, you can also click Turn Windows Features On or Off and scan the list to see if there’s anything you don’t use. You might also try software like PCDecrapifier and Revo Uninstaller utilities. For more help on what to remove, read How to Clean Crapware From a New PC.
2. Limit Startup Processes
A lot of programs install side processes that run every time you start your PC, and some of them are not things you need running on your system all the time. Compared with Windows 7, in which you had to run the MSCONFIG utility, Windows 10 (and Windows 8.x before it) gives you a new, easier way to limit what runs at startup—from the updated Task Manager.
The easiest way to invoke the Task Manager is by pressing Ctrl-Shift-Esc. Switch to the Startup tab, and you’ll see all the programs that load at Windows startup. The dialog box even has a column that shows you the Startup impact for each. The Status column shows whether the program is enabled to run at startup or not. You can right-click on any entry to change this status. It’s usually fairly easy to see things you don’t want to run. For example, if you never use iTunes, you probably don’t need iTunesHelper to be running all the time.
3. Clean Up Your Disk
From the Start menu, type Disk Cleanup. This opens the trusty Disk Cleanup utility that’s been part of Windows for several generations of the OS. Disk Cleanup finds unwanted junk and files such as temporary files, offline Web pages, and installer files on your PC and offers to delete them all at once. You may even find that your Recycle Bin is bulging at the seams: Mine had 1.47GB I didn’t know was there! This will generally only have a noticeable effect on speed if your drive is getting close to full, however. If you don’t have disk defragmentation scheduled regularly, set that up in the Optimize Drives tool, which you can find by typing its name in the Cortana search box next to the Start button. Another great tool for PC cleanup is Iolo System Mechanic 14, our Editors’ Choice for PC tune-up utilities.
4. Add More RAM
Windows 10 isn’t as much of a hog as earlier versions of the OS, but more memory is always a way to speed up PC operations. For a lot of today’s Windows devices, such as the Surface convertible tablets, however, adding RAM isn’t an option. Gaming and business laptops often still allow RAM upgrades, but that’s becoming rarer by the year. The new, slimmer ultrabooks and convertibles are usually fixed. If you still use a desktop tower, this article can show you how to add RAM. The bigger RAM makers’ (Crucial, Kingston, Corsair) websites all offer product finders that show you which type of RAM your PC takes, and prices are pretty reasonable. I found 8GB high-performance DDR3 RAM for under $40 on Newegg.com.
5. Install an SSD Startup Drive
This past year, I installed a solid-state (SSD) startup drive on my home desktop PC, and the result was a remarkable speedup. And not just for Windows startup, but for loading and using demanding applications such as Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. If you use a laptop, this may also be an option. For system speedup, it makes sense to replace your internal startup hard drive, but an external SSD with a USB 3.0 connection can also give you a speed boost in applications that use a lot of storage. For more info, you can check out PCMag’s article, The Best SSDs and How to Buy an SSD, or look through our recent storage reviews.
6. Check for Viruses and Spyware
You can run the built-in Windows Defender or a third-party app to do this, but you’re best served by PCMag security guru Neil Rubenking’s top pick among malware-cleanup programs, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware—it’s free! But don’t forget to use ongoing anti-malware protection, too. Some of the AV products have a lighter footprint on system performance than others, and the lightest of all, according to Rubenking, is Webroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus.
7. Change Power Settings to Maximum Performance
Of course, this isn’t a good choice if you want to save electricity, but it could boost your computing. Head to Control Panel / System and Security / Power Options. From here, click on the dropdown arrow on the right side and choose High Performance.
8. Use the Performance Troubleshooter
In Cortana’s search box next to the Start button, type troubleshooting and under System and Security, you’ll see the choice Check for performance issues. Run the troubleshooter and it may find the root cause of your slowdown. For good measure, run through the other troubleshooters, including System Maintenance, Search and Indexing, Hardware and Sounds, and Programs.
9. Change Appearance in Performance Options Dialog
You can easily get to this by typing adjust appearance in Cortana. In the dialog, you can use the radio button at the top labeled Adjust for best performance or select which eye-candy features you can live without from the long list of check boxes below these choices. If you do choose the overall best-performance button, you’ll lose all of the visual effects. For example, you won’t see the contents of a window you’re dragging move, but rather just a rectangle representing the window’s edges. Keeping the effects that you enjoy checked in the dialog is probably a better way to go.
10. Turn off Search Indexing
Especially for lower-powered PCs, search indexing can eat up system resources, if only temporarily. If you do a lot of searching, this won’t appeal to you, as some searches will be slower. To turn off indexing, open the Indexing Options Control Panel window (you can also just type index in the Start button search box, and you should see Indexing Options at the top of the result list), click Modify and remove locations being indexed and file types, too.
If you want to leave search indexing on, but find that it occasionally slows you down, you can stop its process when you need extra speed. Right-click on Computer either in the Start menu or on the desktop, choose Manage. Then double-click Services and Applications, then Services. Find Windows Search, and double click on that. From this Properties dialog, you can choose a Startup type of Manual or Disabled to have the process silent by default. The new Automatic (Delayed Start) startup type according to Microsoft help, “is preferred over the Automatic startup type because it helps reduce the effect on the system’s overall boot performance.” That was the default on my upgraded Windows 10 PC.
Have you ever been stuck with a slow computer that made simple things like browsing the Web next to impossible? If yes, then you know how frustrating it is. Fortunately, you can speed up a slow computer without having to spend a single dollar. Here are 5 free programs that will help you speed up your PC.
1. Auslogics Disk Defrag
Disk fragmentation can make your computer really slow, as it scatters file fragments all over the hard drive. That’s why it’s important to defrag your PC at least once a month. Auslogics Disk Defrag is a free defragmenter that has a lot of advanced features even the paid defrag utilities lack. It can defrag files, consolidate free space and move system files to the faster parts of your hard drive, so that your computer works faster in general.
Piriform’s CCleaner is a great little computer cleanup package that can cleanup all types of computer junk. It can delete temporary system and Internet files, fix registry errors, help you uninstall software without leaving a single trace, manage your startup items for faster PC boot, and protect your privacy by shredding files and wiping free disk space.
Even though CCleaner has a startup management utility, it’s best to get Autoruns to manage your startup list properly. This application will help you analyze our startup configuration and help you optimize it for best performance.
4. Revo Uninstaller
Too often people install software just to try it out and never use it after playing with it for a couple of days. Having too many programs installed on your computer can slow it down by stealing hard drive space. Revo Uninstaller is an advanced utility that can completely remove software without leaving a single trace. This means that everything is removed – even the registry entries.
5. Auslogics Duplicate File Finder
Duplicate File Finder is another handy free program from Auslogics. With its help you will be able to detect unnecessary duplicate copies and free up disk space. The program is very intuitive and can match detected duplicates by content, so that you can be sure you are deleting a true duplicate and not a file with the same name.
These 5 free programs are essential for everyone wanting to keep their computer running fast, stable, and error-free. Remember to cleanup junk on a weekly basis and defrag at least once a month, and your computer will be running as good as new.
Are you sure you don’t have any duplicate files on your computer? Practically every system has at least some duplicate files stored in different folders on the hard drive. Duplicate files waste space and are useless at best. So, here are three best ways how you can manage duplicate files.
Most of the time, duplicate files accumulate if you like to store photos and music on your computer. Photographers and music lovers may have thousands of them scattered in different folders, plus additional duplicates on USB thumb drives and other external media. In the worst case scenario, nearly half of all your photos can be duplicates. So, how does this happen?
If you like to take photos, then you know that sometimes you need to make several photos of the same thing for quality reasons. Sometimes the first shot is out of focus, the exposure is not correct or you simply forget to switch off flash. As a result, you get several photos of the same subject – one good quality and a couple faulty images. Often people don’t delete the faulty ones straight away. So when the photos are uploaded to a computer, the bad images are uploaded as well. These images are nothing but useless duplicate files that waste disk space. You need to manage duplicate files to free up disk space and organize your gallery. Same goes for music compressed with different bit rate, duplicate Word documents and so on.
There are many ways to resolve duplicate files. The first one is the simplest if all we are dealing with are duplicate images and songs. You need to avoid creating duplicates in the first place. So make sure you go through the photos on your camera right after shooting (for example, when you get back to your hotel if you are on holiday) and delete low quality and faulty images. The same strategy will work for songs. Simply check the songs as soon as you download them and delete the copies that are of lower quality. But what to do if you already have duplicates on your system?
The first thing you should do is use your computer’s search feature if you suspect that a file has a copy in a different folder. If the two files share the same name, both will show up in the search and you will be able to delete one of them. This method is not perfect because it can take a really long time and you are bound to miss some duplicate files. Same goes for checking your folders manually and comparing things like file size and modification date. Not to mention that this method is not 100% safe because you risk deleting an important document revision or a treasured photo. That’s why you should use the safest method to manage duplicate files – duplicate file finding software.
There are a lot of good duplicate finders that you can download for free. Just make sure you download from a reputable website and that the program has the following feature:
– the ability to match files by name, size and date
– the ability to match files by content (byte-by-byte)
– have preview options for all types of files
Using software to manage duplicate files will help you remove useless copies without the risk of deleting something important. It will also save you a lot of time and disk space.
The two reasons for installing Random Access Memory, or RAM, in your personal computer is either to increase the RAM installed to run more complex programs, or your current module has failed. Replacing RAM is fairly straightforward as long as you purchase a compatible memory module, almost all of which is in DIMM (Dual Inline Memory Module) for. The first task if to remove your old RAM and check the labeling, which is the best way of making sure the replacement RAM will work.
Each motherboard supports only a certain range of memory types in certain combinations so always check with your motherboard manufacturer before making a purchase. In older computers the RAM modules had to be matched, but most PCs today will allow odd numbers of modules to be installed. Additional RAM allows a computer to work with more information at the same time which can have a dramatic effect on total system performance.
Removal and Replacement
Use both thumbs to simultaneously depress the while locking levers on the memory slot slowly to prevent the DIMM from popping out and falling onto the motherboard.
Hold the replacement memory module over the slot to align the notches before installing the RAM. The two notches align the module in the proper direction and prevent you from installing the wrong type of RAM in the motherboard. The notches on DDR-2 and DDR modules are located differently, and the notches also prevent the installation of older RAM modules that require a higher voltage in the slot. You should always handle DIMMs by the edges, and never touch the gold contacts, because the oil from your fingers can degrade the connection. Make sure that the white locking ears of all three slots are wide open. (Note: The locking ears can also be black)
Note: Remember to work on a low-static surface like a wood table on a concrete or tiled floor. You may want to purchase anti-static wristbands as well.
After aligning the memory, seat the RAM module by pressing down firmly with our thumbs on both ends of the module. The white locking ears will swing up and lock into place when the RAM is installed properly. There are usually 3 or 4 slots on a motherboard to install DIMMs, and it is not considered good practice to mix brands and speeds so always try to replace the entire RAM in a system when you upgrade the capacity.
Push RAM module into place with thumb and locking tabs will swing into place.
If you have ever noticed a series of beeps when booting up your computer, these indicate the status of the computer BIOS through a POST.
The computer power-on self-test (POST) tests the computer to make sure it meets the necessary system requirements and that all hardware is working properly before starting the remainder of the boot process. If the computer passes the POST the computer will have a single beep, although in some computer BIOS it may beep twice, as the computer starts and the computer will continue to start normally. However, if the computer fails the POST, the computer will either not beep at all or will generate a beep code, which tells the user the source of the problem.
Each time the computer boots up the computer must past the POST. Below are the common steps a POST performs each time your computer starts.
1. Test the power supply to ensure that it is turned on and that it releases its reset signal.
2. CPU must exit the reset status mode and thereafter be able to execute instructions.
3. BIOS checksum must be valid, meaning that it must be readable.
4. CMOS checksum must be valid, meaning that it must be readable.
5. CPU must be able to read all forms of memory such as the memory controller, memory bus, and memory module.
6. The first 64KB of memory must be operational and have the capability to be read and written to and from, and capable of containing the POST code.
7. I/O bus / controller must be accessible.
8. I/O bus must be able to write / read from the video subsystem and be able to read all video RAM.
If you get a beep code after replacing your RAM, the computer may need to be rebooted after it discovers that the RAM has changed, or the RAM modules may not be securely in their slots. Also if you have moved your computer recently the RAM may have become dislodged or some other hardware component that is preventing a normal boot sequence.
There are a wide variety of different computer manufacturers of BIOS so the beep codes may vary.
1 short – DRAM refresh failure
2 short – Parity circuit failure
3 short – Base 64K RAM failure
4 short – System timer failure
5 short – Process failure
6 short – Keyboard controller Gate A20 error
7 short – Virtual mode exception error
8 short – Display memory Read/Write test failure
9 short – ROM BIOS checksum failure
10 short – CMOS shutdown Read/Write error
11 short – Cache Memory error
1 long, 3 short – Conventional/Extended memory failure
1 long, 8 short – Display/Retrace test failed
Hopefully you will be able to replace or add RAM to your computer to increase its performance and save money on an upgrade of your PC.
the recession comes in, many people have become conscious of their spending and they tend to keep their possessions longer than usual. Among those possessions are computers, which have already become a major part of people’s lives. Whenever possible, owners find ways and means on how to make their gadgets and appliances like computers last longer as much as possible.
For the sake of the environment, keeping things for as long as you can is positive. It is just desirable to maximize your desktop computer’s performance and longevity as much as possible. Poorly maintained desktop computers will break down within a short period of time, adding to the problem of waste disposal.
Whatever desktop computer type or model you have, the following things are worth doing to keep your computer in top shape and make it last longer. These tips do not include software-related tweaks (for software-related concerns, see 10 Simple But Effective Tips on How to Regain the Speed of Your New Computer), rather these tips focus on usage and hardware maintenance concerns.
1. Do not use or place a cellphone near your desktop computer.
Placing a cellphone near your desktop computer can cause interference to it. Your cursor will be running wildly. When the cellphone rings, bands in your computer monitor may appear. Since the desktop computer has sensitive electrical components, better keep your cellphone away for say, two meters or more. The hard drive may be damaged because of this interference.
2. Use or keep desktop computers away from the window.
If your desktop computer is operated or kept near a window, chances are, it will slow down your desktop computer after a time. Dust tends to collect in the fans which get moistened by air laden with water vapor. Eventually, the fan will accumulate thick dust and cause it to create an eerie sound. This means that the edge of the fan (especially in laptop computers) have too much dust on it such that its edges contact with the box that contains it and cause friction. Always ensure that your computer’s fan turns smoothly.
3. Do not overuse your desktop computer.
Let your desktop computer rest once in a while. Keeping it on most of the time will generate heat that will hasten aging of the sensitive computer components especially the computer monitor. Imagine cooking a fish in slow fire. The fish will dry up and burn if kept that way for a long time.
4. Detach, clean and reattach the removable components periodically (say once every two months or whenever needed).
Keeping the insides of your desktop computer clean can prevent disastrous consequences. Use a soft paint brush to remove dust and other unwelcome materials especially in the main board. Remove carefully the removable computer components like the video card, sound card, and random access memory modules, among others. Clean them, especially the interfacing copper bus with a pencil eraser (see detailed instruction in “10 Simple But Effective Tips on How To Regain the Speed of Your New Computer”).
The computer monitor can also be cleaned with moistened cloth made cotton, soaked in warm (not hot) water. Synthetic chamois made by companies like 3M are excellent wipes that leave no streaks. The frequency of cleaning depends on the kind of working environment you are in. If you work in a dusty environment, more frequent cleaning is required.
It pays to inspect the insides of the desktop computer once in a while. The first bug that caused a computer to malfunction is a real bug. Spiders and ants tend to find the insides of the computer a good environment to lay their eggs. Even lizards make their way inside. This author’s desktop computer was damaged because of a small lizard that got fried inside. For laptop computer owners, asking a qualified technician to clean the internal sections once in a while can help keep the laptop computer in top shape.
5. Always use an uninterrupted power supply (UPS).
Using an uninterrupted power supply (UPS) is a must for desktop computers. Electronic spikes caused by frequent power outages can damage the sensitive computer components especially the hard drive.
6. Avoid placing your desktop computer on a movable platform.
If the platform you place your central processing unit (for desktops) or laptops keep on moving, the moving read/write assembly of the hard disk can damage the hard drive. Placing a high speed printer on top of a computer table can cause vibration strong enough to make the head of the hard drive move erratically that may cause damage to hard disk drive surface. Keep the platform stable.
7. Avoid dusty areas.
Dusty areas can easily clog the fan as pointed out above and cause build-up of dust in the computer’s main board and mess out the computer components. Accumulated dust may build-up in such quantities as to interfere with the flow of electricity among the desktop computer’s components
Green computing is becoming an important part of today’s power-saving policies. These 5 green computing tips will help you reduce your power consumption.
Going green is not only about reducing your monthly utility bill. It is also about helping the planet to stay the way it is – a comfortable home for all of us.
Are you planning to do something significant for the Earth Day this year? A lot of people and most governments celebrate the Earth Day by switching off the lights for an hour to lower carbon footprint. And it’s a great idea. But did you know that you can do a lot more for the Earth by maintaining your computer and optimizing the way you use it? Here are top 5 green computing tips to help you.
1. Don’t leave your computer running all the time
If you really want to make a difference, make a habit of switching off your computer overnight and every time you leave the house. Switching off your computer and turning it on again won’t damage it. In fact, it’s even good for your PC, as computers slow down if they are not rebooted every now and again.
If you don’t feel like switching your computer off completely, use one of the Windows power-saving modes – Standby or Hibernate.
2. Use Energy Star-certified devices
When you are buying a printer, a scanner, or any other device, make sure that it has the Energy Star logo on it. Only the most energy-efficient devices are approved by Energy Star. Using these devices will help you significantly reduce power consumption.
3. Free up RAM
If your computer RAM is struggling, your PC requires more power. The best way to fight this problem is to add more RAM if your computer has the capability. If you are using a 32-bit operating system, then your computer could support up to 3GB of RAM. 64-bit operating systems can support a lot more memory.
In addition to adding RAM, disable unnecessary programs launching on startup, as programs running in the background can consume a lot of memory.
4. Optimize Windows services
Another way to free up RAM is to optimize Windows services that run in the background. A lot of the default Windows services are never required for home use. Disabling them will make your computer faster and more energy efficient.
5. Perform regular PC maintenance
Energy efficiency depends on the performance of your computer. If your PC is slow, has lots of errors, and is generally resource-hungry, it consumes a lot of extra energy that could be saved. Keeping your computer well-maintained and optimized will make it more energy efficient and ultimately help the planet.
Following these simple tips will help you reduce your monthly electricity bill and do something useful for the planet.
Computers have hard disks that tend to develop bad sectors over time with constant use. The presence of bad sectors can prevent one from using the computer thus access files that have been saved in the hard disk. But what is a bad sector and what are the probable causes of its occurrence? This article explains this commonly used computer jargon to aid computer users in understanding how their hard disk works thus effectively address problems associated with it.
If you are a regular computer user, chances are, you have encountered a message that says there are bad sectors in your hard disk. Your computer may allow you to boot and reach the desktop display and access your files but in some cases, you may not be able to boot your computer at all.
What are hard disk bad sectors and why are these causing problems in your computer? An understanding of hard disk sector is required to clarify these issues.
Hard Disk Sector Defined
A sector is the basic unit of data storage on a magnetic platter, a metallic disk much like your compact disc, inside the hard drive (Figure 1). These sectors are arranged in a concentric manner relative to the center of the revolving disk. Taken together, the group of sectors make up a track. Of course you cannot see these things with your naked eye.
hard disk magnetic platter
Fig. 1. An opened hard disk showing the magnetic hard disk platter and the read/write head.
Each sector can hold a standard size of 512 bytes of data written by the disk head by transforming electrical signals into magnetic fields or do the opposite when reading. So the files you entered in your computer are stored in the many sectors of the hard disk drive along a track. These files, however, could not be accessed without an ID information. The ID information is a small space allocated to identify the sector’s number and location. This is used to locate the sector on the hard disk as well as provide for status information (if it’s good or bad) about the sector itself.
So what happens during those times you are alerted that your computer has bad sectors?
This simply means that the sectors where you record data are no longer accessible, hence are flagged by the hard disk as bad sectors and will no longer be read by the disk head. As data are written as a series of 1s and 0s, good sectors can be illustrated as 0011001010, while bad sectors are represented by 011?0?011?01. This means that data can no longer be read or written on that part of the hard disk with the question mark. The series of ones and zeroes are binary codes that represent symbols, letters or instructions.
Causes of Hard Disk Bad Sectors
Hard disk bad sectors normally occur in hard disk drives due to many reasons. Among the common ones are associated with the age of the hard disk drive, harsh operating conditions like high temperatures and vibration, overuse, among others.
Once your hard drive develops bad sectors, it is wise to save your data right away as long as you can still access some of your files. Your hard disk may be already old as hard drives normally last two years. If your files are no longer accessible or you can only access a part of it, you may try using softwares that can repair hard disk bad sectors. After disk repair, however, it is best to change your hard drive to avoid losing your precious data.