Monthly Archives: December 2016

Adding RAM to Increase Your Computer Speed

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.

Removing RAM

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.

Problems

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.

Errors include:

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.

How to Make a Computer Last Longer

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

Best Green Computing Tips

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.