Monthly Archives: January 2017

The Most Common Computer Myths

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.

Easy Ways to Manage Duplicate Files

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.

Safely Clean Your Laptop

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.