Many times, whenever our computers break down, software is considered the culprit. Have you ever stopped to think that your neglect of your computer's hardware and internal file organization could also be the cause of the headaches, though? It is true. Most of the time, our computers work perfectly. You zip through checking your email or slap together that spreadsheet your boss has been hounding you about, but you do not give the computer a second thought.
There are times, though, when your computer is moving at a snail's pace and you want to bang your keyboard on the desk or throw your monitor out the window... anything to make the thing work faster! Many of these issues with your computer slowing down can be eased or solved with simple "house cleaning" that should be performed every couple of months or so. Give the below tips a try and let us know if you have any luck! If these do not help, your computer might be infected with spyware, malware or even a computer virus. See the bottom of this article for a few tips to try against these more serious issues.
Protecting your computer against dust
Dust is a major culprit in bogging down your computer. From a technician's standpoint, I cannot recall how many times I have opened a customer's computer and BAM! Dust bunny Central! Try to imagine a computer as you would your lungs. If your lungs are clogged, you cannot breathe. The same can be said for a PC. The inside of a computer is designed specifically to channel air through the case; to replace the hot air generated by all the components with cool air from outside. Try running a marathon with dust and cobwebs stuffed deep within your throat or lungs. You would rapidly expire from fatigue, head exhaustion, or a heart attack. Without fresh air to compensate for the heat generated by the computer's components, the computer will slow down, more and more, as time goes on. Eventually, things will go very wrong and operation will grind to a halt.
I suggest doing the following, once a month.
* Remove all cables from the computer
* Take a synthetic fiber brush and gently brush away the dust from the outside ports of the computer; the USB ports, back vent ports, power supply vents, etc. Anywhere that you see fleeing dust bunnies, brush these vermin elsewhere.
* Remove the side panel from the PC by unscrewing any screws and sliding it off.
* Use a vacuum hose to GENTLY vacuum up all the dust inside of the computer. As a note of caution, jamming the vacuum hose into all the tight and hard to reach corners of the case might get more dust out, but you might also damage the internal components. Be careful when doing so.
* If you like, you can use compressed air to clean out the corners and internal components of the case a bit more.
* After vacuuming all the loose, rampant dust bunnies up, replace the computer's cover and plug all your cables back in.
With the of the age of Windows 95 came a new and extremely useful tool - the Disk Defragmenter. What this tool does is take all of the files and pieces of files, that Windows has haphazardly strewn all over your hard drive, and organizes them. Just as you would tell your son or daughter to clean their room, you are telling Windows to clean its file system. This can free up space and bring back some of the old speedy days you saw before your computer became sluggish.
In Windows XP, you can access the disk defragmenter by clicking on Start->All Programs->Accessories->System Tools->Disk Defragmenter
Windows 95 also brought us another useful tool - Disk Cleanup. This is a simple utility that scans your computer's hard drive for redundant and duplicate files, useless files, items in your recycling bin, etc. Once these files are located, Disk Cleanup gives you the option to delete or remove said files. It can also compress old or unused files, saving even more space. Disk Cleanup is another tool you should use once every month or so that can help speed up your computer and get rid of useless garbage.
In Windows XP, you can access the disk defragmenter by clicking on Start->All Programs->Accessories->System Tools->Disk Cleanup
Free Resources for spyware, malware, and virus infections.
If you are experiencing weird popups, spam, or other malicious activities, I suggest trying the following three utilities along with the above procedures.
- AVG - Free Anti-Virus Software (http://free.avg.com/us-en/homepage)
AVG is a free virus scanner & protection program that can help detect and prevent a lot of the malicious software out there. It does have a better, paid version, too... and I would not count on it as a be all and end all solution to your problems. It is definitely worth grabbing and checking out, though.
- Spybot Search and Destroy (http://www.safer-networking.org/en/index.html)
This piece of software is very powerful and is used quite a bit to detect and eliminate Spyware and other malicious software. There is an option to scan your registry before Windows load, which catches any software that may block other scanners, etc. Highly recommended.
- Ad-Aware (http://www.lavasoft.com/)
Free and paid versions are available, with the free version claiming "comprehensive malware protection." This is another highly recommended piece of freeware that is used across the tech world to battle malware and malicious software.
These are only general suggestions and should be taken as such. We do not guarantee that these actions or programs will fix your computer, nor do we directly endorse any of the programs mentioned in this article. We have, however, found every suggestion here useful in the past, and want to pass them on to you as just that, suggestions. Best of luck, everyone!
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Many times, whenever our computers break down, software is considered the culprit. Have you ever stopped to think that your neglect of your computer's hardware and internal file organization could also be the cause of the headaches, though? It is true. Most of the time, our computers work perfectly. You zip through checking your email or slap together that spreadsheet your boss has been hounding you about, but you do not give the computer a second thought.
To accelerate your Windows, you don't have to buy and set up some other computer hardware. Really - if you had your computer for some time, you can do a lot by merely installing software and using it on your computer. In this article I tell you, how I speeded up my computer this way. After I used my own advice, my computer speed enhanced by 43.2%.
I don’t know about you people, but one day I observed, that my computer is becoming slower and slower with each day. At first I reinstalled Windows and erased my hard drive every time I felt it was too sluggish. But with time I did a research to pick up, that there are more effective ways. There indeed are a couple of effortless things that I could perform to sped up my computer.
Here they are:
-Clean up Windows Registry. Making clean Windows registry can take your computer up to 50% faster!
-Get ridded of what computer software you don’t want. Your computer arrives to you with flocks of pre-installed trial run computer software, most of which you don’t need. Make it go away.
-Get rid of fancy visual effects.
Cleaning up Windows registry
When I was screening registry cleaners, I marked a problem – some of them just broke my Windows, or made it function improperly. Afterwards – when I was making my web site, devoted to raising Windows speed, I formulated great test, to which I submitted 41 different registry cleaners. I utilized the registry cleaners at their upper limit, and than observed the resulting impact on my computer. After the testing i realized, that solely 7 of those registry cleaners are of any use, and by that, I mean, that they do not harm your operating system, and that they give you sizeable (surpassing several %) performance hike.
Supported by my tests, I gave voice to few recommendations for you to deliberate, when seeking a respectable registry cleaners:
-Use exclusively best-selling registry cleaners. As I've seen, there are rational reasons, why nearly all registry cleaners aren’t popular
-Always back up your operating system before trying a novel registry cleaner. It turns out, that for each PC, Windows registry is unique. What works on one PC, may not work decent on some other. This means – what worked for your friend, may not work for you! You have to always test registry cleaner on different mashines to discover , if it is any good.
Uninstalling computer software
Sometimes computer software package simply refuses to get uninstalled, or there are uninstallation computer errors etc. This problem can be actually fixed. There are several software packages, which can help you completely deinstalle software from your Windows.
So far, each Windows operating system – taking out, may be, Windows 7, came with fancier and fancier visual effects, which induce your Windows to get slower. You should know, that those effects can be disabled. And – if you choose to do so, your PC may start operating significantly quicker. Of course, it depends on your preferences. I understand, that working on a fine looking PC experiences better than working on a Windows with every visual effect stripped down. Some of my co-workers opt to work with Windows 2000-like user interface, in Windows XP though, but by and large that’s too radical. Great news is, that you can gain a lot of speed advantage by disabling some very fancy but barely visible visual effects in Windows.
Of course, it's one thing to know the theory behind how new technologies can be connected together on a motherboard, but it's another to know where you're going to physically pop your processor, memory and expansion cards. That's handled by the ATX specification, now up to version 2.2. Despite being incredibly dull, it's vitally important and specifies crucial things such as: what size the motherboard can be, where mounting holes are located, power connections, power levels, physical positioning of components, color of connections and so on. Boring maybe, but if vendors decided they'd put these things wherever they liked, it'd be chaos.
Despite being around since 1996, ATX has staved off multiple attempted coups, including BTX, introduced by Intel in 2003 mostly as a result of the soaring power output of the old P4. It offered optimized airflow, a larger heatsink and motherboard area with dedicated low-profile designs. But as the P4 faded, any justification for the increased costs of BTX became extinct as well.
We're seeing ever-increasing drives to lower power consumption and increase efficiency: laptop motherboards use technology that can reduce idle Northbridge power to below 1W, though an entire running desktop system board will suck at least 40W idle, compared to the 10-20W for an entire laptop. The VIA mini-desktop ITX motherboards strike a balance on this front, usually consuming 10-15W in idle and usually less than 20W under full load, but that's hardly ever going to be a realistic choice for the gamer or anyone else that wants to perform other intensive tasks.
Part of the problem is just power regulation, that's pulling the 12v line down to around 1.5v for the processor. Much like PSU efficiency, motherboards have the same problem. Much noise is made about multi-phase voltage regulators: while we're sure they do smooth the voltage in technical terms, they seem to have little real effect. Similarly, new energy regulation modules such as the Gigabyte DES or Asus EPU claim to regulate voltages and perhaps clock speeds more efficiently. These do affect power consumption, perhaps as much as 10w or more at full load.
Despite some shrinkage in the market over the last few years - VIA being sidelined, ULi being bought by NVIDIA and names like ALi and SiS slipping into the background - there's still a lot of choice if you're after a new motherboard. Higher levels of integration mean you get more for your money; budget boards come packed with features while today's high-end boards come bristling with exotic extras, to the point of confusion and pointlessness.
Intel remains the leading chipset supplier: about half the world's motherboards have ‘Intel Inside’. It's also a technology leader, bringing new developments such as PCIe v2, SATA 2 first to boards in new chipsets. It has used the Memory Controller Hub (MCH) as the Northbridge and the I/O Controller Hub (ICH) for the Southbridge ideology since the debut of the P4. ICH9 is the current mainstream Intel Southbridge and supports up to 12 USB 2.0, six SATA, two eSATA and twin Gigabit network ports, plus high-definition audio and six single PCIe lanes. Extra options can supply hardware RAID and Turbo Memory. ICH10 is just becoming available but adds little to the party: you should note there are no PATA channels at all.
Robson technology, now branded Turbo Memory, was supposed to increase drive performance, but real-world results are disappointing. ICHl0 introduced User Pinning so it's possible to permanently store an application in the flash memory. This could have been an interesting development, but it has been somewhat overshadowed by the likes of Asus Express Gate that enable you to boot into a ‘Virtual Appliance Environment’ (VAE) featuring a basic GUI, a browser based on Firefox 2.0 and a Skype VolP client in less than six seconds, courtesy of a compact Linux distribution. This 'instant-on' OS offers many advantages: it's able to run on PCs where the hard disk is absent or malfunctioning, and is less vulnerable to malware as the system is mostly read-only. Already a feature of the Eee Box and nine others, Asus will be extending Express Gate to its whole range in 2009. Intel's high-end option remains the X range; the X48 is the only motherboard to officially support the 1600FSB for both DDR3 and Core 2 Extreme Edition. In reality though, most available X38 motherboards can actually offer this support anyway, as well as the XMP for enhanced memory performance profiles. It also offers two l6-lane PCIe v2 slots for CrossFire support.
A similar situation can be applied to the new P45 that replaces the P35. At least it does introduce PCIe v2 and optionally supports three graphics slots, but as it's positioned as a mainstream chipset, it's hardly required at this point. If your modules support it, Intel XMP memory technology will mean you get the best performance out of them.
NVIDIA has always made a point of offering both Intel and AMD options. Currently, its 790i Ultra SLI with its top-end Intel chipset, boasts: PCIe v2, support on two full 16-lane graphics slots and a third PCIe vl 16-lane slot, DDR3 up to 2000MHz and 1600FSB support. The accompanying MCP Southbridge offers an additional 12 lanes of PCIe, twin Gigabit ports, ten USB ports, high-definition audio, six SATA and two PATA ports and even a PCI bus.
Unlike the Intel chipsets, NVIDIA has opted for DDR3 only, firmly encamping at the high-end. It of course offers the NVIDIA ‘SLI-Ready Memory’ technology for EPP memory support. For people requiring DDR2 support, the 780i still offers triple SLi in a largely similar configuration to the 790i and the 750i with its ‘Vanilla’ PCIe v2 SLi support.
With its AMD range of chipsets NVIDIA's entire range sports integrated graphics - DirectX 10, HDMI and HDCP-compatibility. We guess the lack of a memory controller on the Northbridge helps when things get busy, almost like having a spare room in the house. The 780a is its high-end option and supports three-way SLi - again, via two PCIe v2 and a single v1 16-lane slots. Oddly, the SLi support hangs off the Southbridge, that being its sole job. The usual Southbridge connections are on the Northbridge, offering 12 USB 2, six SATA, two PATA and Gigabit port, plus high-definition audio and three more PCIe v1 lanes.
For mid- and entry-level buyers, the NVIDIA 8300/8200 chipsets are the perfect choice. Identical in everything but graphics speed, these are single chipset solutions, offering the same abilities as the 780a but with only a single 16-lane PCIe v2 slot. This is somewhat balanced via the Hybrid SLi feature that uses the onboard graphics to accelerate graphics or save power. The Hybrid mode only works with the 8400GS and 8500GT cards, which makes sense for low-end options.
Finally, what about AMD? It's still pushing its high-end 700 chipset, and has rebranded the ageing Xpress 3200 and Xpress 1600 ranges to the 580X and 480X to eliminate any confusion from their Intel-compatible counterparts. The high-end 790FX (launched at the end of 2007) is still something of a power-house. It supports two physical CPU sockets -rare in real-life - along with 42 PCIe v2 lanes enabling four-way CrossFire fun via two full 16-lane and two 8-lane slots. Oh, and twin Gigabit ports - yes, it's a fairly feature-heavy Northbridge, alright. Odd, then, that it was typically paired with the comparatively weak SB600 Southbridge, offering only four SATA ports, an extra four PCIe v1 lanes, RAID, two PATA channels and 10 USB 2.0 ports. Happily, this is being superseded by the SB700/750, with six SATA ports, eSATA support, 14 USB ports and support for hybrid flash drives.
For more mid-range systems, AMD's 790X supports two physical CrossFire slots and the new 780G. This last chipset is of interest as it comes with integrated graphics and offers similar features to the NVIDIA 8300/8200 chipsets. The Hybrid CrossFire works alongside a HD2400 or HD3450 graphics card for about 50 per cent increases in 3D speed. Those will remain on the market for a good while. New high-end options such as the Intel X58 and the AMD 800 series are on the way with new sockets and better memory support, but not until the beginning of 2009.
When you are considering changing or upgrading your broadband internet service, everyone seems to have an opinion. If you ask out loud for some helpful advice you are likely to get an avalanche of experiences and opinions - both good and bad. Here are 3 tips to help you sort it all out and decide which way to go.
1. Family and Friends
The great thing about listening to family and friends is that you know their personalities and you can put their opinions in perspective. Some people will always defend the product or service they chose to buy. You need to be wary of this type of recommendation unless you can get a balanced point of view from them.
Some people are negative by nature. If they tell you a particular broadband, cable, or Naked DSL provider is terrible then ask for some examples. Try and interpret if their evaluation of events is fair or if they are over-reacting.
Friends and family are a great source of recommendations - just make sure you take into account what you know about their personalities!
2. Online Forums and Chats
Going online for opinions is a great way to get a feel for the broadband market in your area. You'll be able to get a wider range of opinions on providers and plans than what you can find out from your family.
Just keep in mind that those who have negative experiences usually make the most noise. If there are some consistent complaints from a number of people it is a warning sign. If it is one loud, complaining customer, that it might not be worth worrying about. See the nature of the issue and make a judgment. Even the best companies can't avoid things sometimes going wrong.
Forums and chats give you a chance to ask questions to a large number of people - most of whom will have no vested interest in any particular internet provider except to give you their honest opinion.
3. Comparison or Review Websites
Websites that let you search, compare and evaluate broadband plans can be really useful. These sites can save you a lot of time and effort. But just keep in mind that their reviews may be influenced by payment from the providers. Many review sites hold their opinions independent - if it seems like you are being sold to then be suspicious. If the reviews seem balanced, then they are a useful source of information.
Regardless of the reviews, use any internet plan search and comparison tools to help you decide which plans and provider will suit your budget and your needs.
When looking for a new broadband or internet plan do some research on your own. Get an idea of the types of plans and providers that you think will work well for you. Then speak to your friends and family and check out some reviews online.
Evaluate all the information you have, trust your own instincts and make a decision. If you are really nervous about committing to a broadband provider you are unsure about, then choose a shorter contract. Many ADSL2+ and Naked DSL providers offer no contract options.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Many hi-tech devices now come with many accessories, components, and specific parts. For instance, there are many computer related devices that over time will require new parts. One such part is a toner cartridge for a computer printer. New toner cartridges can be quite expensive, especially if one goes through them often. When looking to save some money, many people will sell their used toner cartridges. Below are a number of ways you can sell used toner cartridges:
1.) You can sell your used toner cartridges by taking them to an office supply store and switch them for a discount on a new toner cartridge. For instance, Staples will provide a discount for each toner cartridge that is exchanged. One also has the option to mail the used cartridge back to the company and you will be sent a credit discount for a new toner cartridge. There are many office supply chains and manufacturers of the cartridges that provide this service. You can also exchange your toner cartridge for store credit. Some stores will allow twenty five used toner cartridges each day and in return they will give store credit on any item. Staples gives credit for HP, Lexmark, Dell, or Kodak cartridges FedEx Kinkos, Walgreen’s, and Best Buy also have recycling toner cartridge programs. Many toner manufacturers have an agreement with stores which permits the store to buy used toner cartridges.
2.) Another way of selling used toner cartridges is selling the cartridges from an online purchaser. There are a number of online companies that buy used printer toner cartridges. You can get approximately $20.00 for a high end cartridge and around $3 for a low-end cartridge. To locate one of these online toner cartridge buyers, you can just do a search engine search to find one. It is important to sell to a reputable online buyer so you do not get paid less than what the cartridge is worth.
3.) You can also use your toner cartridge for raising funds for community organizations, school groups, and charity. These groups will hold recycling events to collect and sell used cartridges. There are a number of office supply stores that participate in these programs such as Office Depot, Staples, and OfficeMax...etc.
4.) The United States Postal Service now has a program where one can take in their used toner cartridge for recycling. You can get a prepaid envelope where you put in the old cartridge and mail it back to an electronics recycling company.
There is a big and lucrative industry created around purchasing old toner cartridges and reselling them. Old cartridges are simply refurbished, and then refilled with the right toner, and resold. Cartridges with a built-in print head will usually be worth more than other toner cartridges. For other brands you should look on the box or instructions that come with the cartridge. The best thing about selling your printer toner cartridge is not only the extra bit of money you will receive, but you will be doing something good for the environment.
With the rapidly improving and expanding technology of today, people tend to replace their personal computers on a regular basis in order to keep up with the latest advancements. It's extremely important to dispose of old IT equipment securely and properly not only to protect your sensitive information, but to protect the precious environment as well.
In early 2007 the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) regulations came into effect in an attempt to minimise the millions of tonnes of electronic waste, or e-waste as it's often called, that is disposed of each year in just the UK alone. You can read about those laws at the Environment Agency's website.
All computer equipment contains hazardous materials and keeping e-waste out of landfills should be high on the list of priorities of government officials and private citizens everywhere.
Mercury, lead, cadmium and hexavalent chromium, not to mention glass and plastic, all of which have a negative impact on the environment, are just some of what's found lurking inside our computers, monitors, hard drives, circuit boards, printers, scanners, fax machines, and telephones.
Many areas now have recyclers who will take old IT equipment as well as organisations who specialise in disposing of computers and other hardware in an environmentally responsible way. Other places like not-for-profit organisations will dismantle the computers and salvage whatever parts possible or perhaps make repairs and then resell the equipment. Before donating a computer, make it a point to call in advance, especially if the equipment is obsolete or in disrepair, to see if there's a need first.
You can find a list of computer recyclers and refurbishers in the UK through a website called ‘Waste Online’
Before using an e-waste disposal service check to see that the company complies with the WEEE regulations and file your written proof that your IT equipment was indeed disposed of securely and properly. And, if you're donating to a charitable organisation, see that the appropriate security measures will be taken with your equipment to prevent unauthorised access, now a legal requirement thanks to the Data Protection Act of 1998.
Also, some computer manufacturers now offer recycling programs at low or no cost and information about these services, if available, can be found on their respective websites. Some computer makers offer credits toward the purchase of new equipment while others provide the service free of charge.
Erasing the Hard Drive Before Getting Rid of Your Computer
Most of us have done banking or ordered something online using our bank accounts or credit cards and many of us keep track of our finances with files saved on our home computers. Be aware that reformatting the computer's hard drive is not enough to ensure that all of your data will really be removed from the machine.
There are software programs available designed specifically for this purpose and there's always the alternative of physically destroying the computer's hard drive making it unreadable, which of course, won't be an option if you're donating the computer to an organisation for some purpose.
However you ultimately decide to dispose of your useless IT equipment it is imperative to be absolutely certain that none of your information will wind up in the hands of a criminal.
As with most electrical equipment, your printer is full of plastics, components and potentially hazardous materials. Therefore, when it comes to disposing of your old multifunction printer it would be irresponsible to simply throw it in the bin and consign it to landfill purgatory.
What you really need to do is recycle it. Okay, recycling might take a little more effort, it may even cost you a few pounds, but ultimately it is both a legal and moral obligation that we all share to ensure that we dispose of consumables in a way that is protective of our environment.
The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment directive (WEEE) came into effect back in January 2007. It governs the safe disposal of electrical items and is managed by the Environment Agency in the UK. The WEEE directive ensures that manufacturers conform with basic disposal and recycling codes, but they also extend to businesses and even homeowners.
Essentially it’s just about common sense. If you have something that isn’t biodegradable and could be harmful, then you have to find a responsible way of disposing of it. To conform with the WEEE directive, your business or household multifunction laser printer needs to be properly recycled by a certified agency. Again, this might sound like a hassle, but it really shouldn’t be.
In fact most printer manufacturers will provide recycling advice and information when you purchase a new model or contact them regarding your current device. This may even include a low-price or even complementary disposal service; although of course this will vary across the various manufacturers and models.
To properly dispose of a printer you also need to ensure that it is free from any additional consumables, which includes ink cartridges. If your ink cartridge or toner is empty you should also recycle this separately. Most cartridges come with recycling instructions, which often include an address or envelope, so you shouldn’t have too many issues when it comes to getting rid of your superfluous ink.
Of course if your ink cartridge is still partially full, you may also need to look into either finding a company that disposes of ink safely or transferring the cartridge to your new/remaining printer.
The cost of disposing with your old multi-function printer is being driven down all the time. In fact you may even find that some services, including specialist electrical recycling sites, will take your it for free. There are companies who will collect the redundant printers, along with most other electronic devices; these will obviously charge a premium rate for their services, but it will certainly remove much of the inconvenience associated with recycling.
The recycling process can take many forms. Some components can often be salvaged and reused in models here or elsewhere in the world, helping to ensure wastage is kept to a minimum. Others elements though, such as your plastic casing, will be melted down and used to remould other devices in the future. It is by no means a simple process, but it is an essential one if we are to safeguard natural resources and ensure our landfills aren’t overloaded with hazardous materials that will never be broken down.
So when you buy a new multi-function printer for your home or business, always keep in mind how you will dispose of your old equipment. The days of simply throwing them in a skip or including it within your daily rubbish collection are long gone. The WEEE directive has ensured that we are all accountable for the disposal of all the electronics that we purchase, helping to ensure a planet that is free from huge piles of unwanted consumables.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Once your computer knowledge and confidence grows, you will be eager to expand your personal computer's capabilities. A wide range of devices is available that will make working with your computer even more interesting and enjoyable. Here are some extras that can be collected over time:
- Modems. One very important aspect of modems is never try to buy a used one. Because, how are you going to know if its actually going to work, and it could be also missing alot of instructions for installation and might not have the driver software CD that comes with it. A new modem will be more money, but the money you save getting a used modem is not worth the trouble when trying to install right or may wear out much sooner than a new one. Basically, there are two main types of modems. Internal modems are installed inside the system unit in one of the spare slots at the back. External modems sit outside your computer, on your desk, and plug into one of the serial ports at the back of the system unit. Once you have a model, you can connect to the internet, send emails, and send and receive faxes, using your computer as a fax machine.
- Scanners. The basic operation of the scanner is to read the image of the object placed on the scanner pane of optical reading feature which converts the analog code into digitized code. A scanner will transform your paper images and photo prints into graphic files that you can then edit and use on your PC. Flatbed scanners, in which you lay your images face down and a light-sensitive device passes undernealth, are the most versatile and affordable type of scanner. Buy a scanner with a resolution capability of atleast 300dpi.
- Digital Cameras. Digital cameras look similar to ordinary cameras, but take photographs without using any film. The picture is stored as a graphic file that you can transfer directly to your computer through a connection cord. Good quality cameras are quite expensive, but it's worth remembering that you won't need to buy film and get it developed, and you don't need a scanner. Care should be taken while transferring the files from your camera to your computers. Improper transferring may lead to short circuiting of your digital camera. Never try to disconnect your device while transferring files from your digital cameras to the computers.
- Joysticks. If you're a fan of computer games, a joystick is essential. Many home PCs come with their own joystick, but you can also buy joystick with extra feature buttons and better grips. They plug into a port in your system unit. The best joysticks are those that also provide feedback. It's also possible to buy steering wheels and pedals for driving games. If you have the opportunity, you should try to use the joystick in-store before purchasing it. If the joystick is uncomfortable or you are having to use too much force when maneuvering it in different directions, you should probably pass on that model of joystick because it may cause unnecessary wrist strain and leave you unable to have the fast reaction time that new computer age games require.
- Video Cameras. If you mount a small video camera on the top of your computer, you can conduct video conferences. These small cameras are also used for the WebCam sites on the internet. Bear in mind that video conferencing require a powerful PC, and without special high-speed phone lines, the picture can be jerky and the sound can stutter. Looking for the best video cameras often is successfully done with a few simple steps. Know your options in the marketplace and know what features will be important to you. Make sure you have a set price range. Take a look at the reviews as well as talking to people who have purchased and understand how to use a video camera.
- Microphones. They are available for common computer usage like recording a narration. Many computers come with a microphone in the accessories that come with it. Your accessory microphone may be alright to begin with but it probably will not be professional quality but should be ok because it all depends on what your needs are. But it is now possible to use a microphone in conjunction with speech-recognition software. This means that you don't have to type in anything you just have to say it. Unless you spend a long time teaching it to recognize your voice, it may give poor results.
Your added devices can also be bought to make the most of existing on-screen entertainments. The new generation of joysticks for instance, really take game playing to a new dimension. Like I mentioned earlier, you can have all these over time but you don't need to buy everything on the same shopping trip.
Windows 7 review is a must read subject to understand the best of it as Microsoft has always come with something astonishing as well as beneficial. There are various aspects to be considered as reviews such as:
Installation - Windows 7 is identical to the Windows Vistas and navigates through few questions about the place the user wants it installed and lets the grind out. It takes nearly 17 minutes to finish the question period to this impressive feat.
Desktop - The operating system retains glassy window style, and other holdovers that the users can notice immediately such that there is a change in the taskbar, as it is slightly taller now accommodating squared off icons. Every program that is open gets an icon, yet the user can pick favorites to suspend to the bottom, even if it is not in use such that it looks identical to the earlier Windows. However, this assists in reducing the visual untidiness coming from the program titles of the taskbar, and it also allows turning to the icon-based system by shrinking the taskbar to its original size.
New and improved taskbar - Microsoft has introduced new Aero Peek features for any necessary details to be filled, and hovering over an icon will result in showing separate thumbnails for every window within the program with labels above them. This takes the user one step ahead as it conceals other windows and shows only one question that the user is dealing with. Right-clicking on the taskbar icons facilitates in getting Jump Lists and these are shortcut lists relating to these programs.
Snap feature - The snap feature turned to be an unexpectedly smart addition to the Windows 7 as it facilitates grabbing any window and dragging it to the left or right edge such that it automatically resizes to half the screen. This makes browsing easy on two screens such that they can be compared at a stretch and typed in word next using a browser window, and so on. On completion of work, merely dragging the window to a position brings it to the old size, and these snapping options is akin to the freeware AllSnap offers.
Windows 7 new feature - The feature of Windows desktop allows working easier as the new personalization menu brings an array of built-in themes, besides switching them by screensavers, swapping backgrounds and determining its opacity using a slider. Hard drives, webcams and thumb drives will be detected automatically and the pane alongside will show connected items such as keyboards, mouse and Wi-Fi adapters.
Game Time - The real Microsoft test is when it wins over gamers, and is not disappointing as it has come with improved gaming performances. Running games such as MotoGP and Crysis on Windows 7 encounters no issues, and even with maxed settings everything goes smoothly without any hiccup.
Some Hiccups - The dazzling experience of Windows 7 is amazing, yet few zingers are that on changing themes, the taskbar icons stopped working until the windows were reopened. The pro includes painless installation, fast boot times, excellent gaming performance and clutter free taskbar, while the cons are that some users crave for more customization. Such minor inconveniences are felt, but nothing significant is observed to diminish the experience of installing Windows 7.
When you bought your personal computer, it came loaded with a selection of software. Each of these contains a number of programs that allow you to perform a range of functions, such as word processing and spreadsheet work. The software that comes with your computer is known as bundled software. Although this bundled software allows you to perform many different tasks on your personal computer, chances are you will eventually want to use more specialized or advanced software.
Let's say you buy software online, it is imperative that you make sure what kind of merchandise you'll actually be getting. You need to find out if you are dealing with some shady computer organization that's trying to unload copied programs on you? Then, when you shop, check the software package to determine how much RAM and hard disk space the program requires as well as whether it will run on your computer. You will also want to use virus checking software to keep your computer free from viruses.
When checking your requirements, you'll want to make sure the software you buy is completely compatible. I mean check to see how much RAM (random access memory) your computer has and how much storage space is available on the hard drive. By ensuring you have the correct amount of memory for your installed operating system then you can have a speedy computer. Even adding 256MB over the stated minimum requirements will reap instant dividends.
To check the available disk space, double click on My Computer, then click once on C drive to highlight it. Go to the File menu and click on Properties. To see how much RAM is built into your personal computer, go to the Start menu, select Settings, then Control Panel, then double click on System.
You can also ensure that your computer RAM is working at its full potential by taking care to perform maintenance tasks. A great task is to regularly empty the recycle bin. Make sure you delete programs that you dont use because it does help slow your computer down.
Most importantly, whenever you are removing software from your computer, you should not just start deleting things that you think do not belong on your computer. Doing this will put your other working programs at risk. So, if you want to properly remove programs from your computer, you should use the Remove programs applet that is built into windows. This will allow you to easily see what programs you currently have installed and then you will be able to automatically remove these.
Computer stores are good places to start looking for software but there are other sources that will save you money. You can look on the internet for downloadable software, then follow the on screen instructions. You can look at personal computer magazines because some will offer demonstration or shareware version. Lastly, you have mail order because some vendors offer prices that are often lower than retail stores.
Just remember, going online does not have to be expensive. Many of the things you want to do with your computer should not cost you a lot of extra money or extra hassle. The money you spend on basic extra programs will allow your computer to be a very valuable tool for you and your family.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
If your PC is getting a bit long in the tooth, the temptation to replace it with a newer model is always there. The very latest in top-spec laptops, Notebooks, PCs and computers are constantly advertised and the pressure to buy the latest model is intense. The price of new technology is far lower proportionally than when computers first became a common household addition, but do you actually need to replace your entire system or can you save yourself time and money by upgrading what you already have?
The question you have to ask yourself is: does my current computer do everything I want it to do? If the answer to that is yes, then your current system will probably be sufficient for some time to come. But if you are determined to upgrade, then you don't have to replace the entire system to enhance its capabilities - you can upgrade areas of your existing hardware for a fraction of the cost.
Old computer monitors are cumbersome, energy-greedy and have a limited lifespan. The easiest way to upgrade your set-up is to start with the monitor. Flat screens take up far less desk space, are higher resolution (meaning far better picture quality) and modern LED screens are also much more energy efficient. The old monitor can be consigned to the recycling centre and a sleeker, more efficient flat screen is the quickest way to upgrade your set-up for a fraction of the cost of a new computer system.
The more RAM you have, the faster your PC will run. Applications use the RAM memory to run and the operating system uses it to ensure that applications work correctly. RAM is an add-on that is simple to install and relatively cheap. However, different machines take different types of RAM so contact a manufacturer and they will be able to tell you which RAM you need simply from the make and model number of your PC.
Hard disks have a finite amount of storage space available, so updating your storage system can free up your computer's hard drive. A remote hard drive is also an excellent way of keeping all your data and information safe, enabling you to restore your computer to full working capacity in the event of a catastrophic hard drive failure such as a virus attack or mother-board problem. Files such as films, music and other downloads take up a great deal of storage space so downloading these onto a remote hard drive is a great way of freeing up your computer's disk space and helping it to run more quickly.
Graphics cards are easily replaced. These plug-ins power the display and the faster and more capable your graphics card, the sharper and clearer your images will be. This is particularly useful if you are into computer games, as the graphics in modern games are exceptionally sophisticated and require high-resolution graphics.
Your processor is the heart of the computer. This determines the speed that your computer operates at and replacing it can be a complex task, so only attempt it if you are absolutely sure you know what you are doing. You may also need some specialist equipment and to be sure that the processor you wish to insert is compatible with your system so if you do decide to upgrade your processing power, it is best to talk to an IT expert first.
You can also upgrade your current PC by adding USB ports, network cards or modems is all relatively easy to do by simply opening the casing of the unit and inserting the cards into the PCI slots. Upgrading your computer is one of the simplest and cheapest ways of increasing the speed and capability of your computer without having to throw the entire system away and buy a new one.
There is also the problem that your new computer may have trouble recognising all of your old data from your previous machine, making data transference difficult and frustrating. So is it better to stick with the devil you know? Modern computers are adaptable and easily upgraded. Whilst you don't always need to be at the cutting edge of technology, it's wise to consider at least one upgrade in every computer's life. If you've reached the limits of your current computer's capacity, then perhaps that is the time to think about finally replacing it for a newer model.
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As the number of cable modems and Wi-Fi networks increases, Internet security is becoming more of an issue. You may think that your Internet connection is safe from unwelcome and unwanted intrusion by hackers, but there are some things you can do to improve your security levels to stop hackers gaining access to your personal details, bank account numbers and passwords.
The reason that Internet security is becoming more of an issue now is that people are spending longer connected to the Internet. And unless that pathway is protected by high level security, the hackers will have more opportunities to find a way in. Hijacked machines (often known as zombies and forming part of botnets) are valuable to fraudsters and spammers. The trick is to beat the hackers at their own game.
There are three aspects of home Internet protection, sometimes referred to as the 'holy trinity'.
Personal firewall/intrusion detection
These are the firewalls that often come with your operating system. In older operating systems such as Windows 95 and 98, these systems have virtually no inbuilt security. Because these systems have now been superseded by more up to date software, it is advisable that if you are still operating Win95 or 98 to upgrade to a system that is supported by a Microsoft inbuilt firewall.
All versions of Vista, XP and 2000 are still supported by Microsoft and have inclusive firewall protection. For an additional layer of security, external firewall programs can be incorporated into your operating system as simply as downloading any other piece of software. It is advisable to talk to an expert, however, as some firewalls may not be compatible with your operating system and you may encounter run conflicts that could affect other aspects of your system.
The most popular free downloadable firewall is Zone Alarm, although for comprehensive coverage, Zone Alarm Pro is probably a better option. You can also set your Internet security levels to 'high' on your operating system if you are going to be on the Internet for prolonged periods.
Spyware is software that covertly gathers user information through the user's Internet connection without his or her knowledge. That information is then passed to a third party (the hacker or fraudster) and suddenly your secure system isn't quite as secure as you thought it was. There are countless pieces of embedded software (often also known as 'malware') that piggyback onto downloads and install themselves into your operating system. These include BHOs (Browser Helper Objects) which hijack your browser and take it to their 'chosen' site whether you want to go there or not. Although annoying, these don't do any real damage. However, other spyware can count keystrokes and relay these back to hackers who, from this data, can uncover passwords and other information such as account numbers. Anti-spyware software stops this malware from infiltrating your computer and leaving your important information exposed.
A virus can devastate a computer. Designed to cause maximum damage to your data, viruses are created to cause mayhem and have no other purpose other than that. Anti-virus software is essential, particularly if you are using the Internet for long periods of time, and the best option is to include a package such as McAfee VirusScan in your operating system. Ensure that you update this program regularly (you will receive prompts from your computer on start-up).
No piece of anti-virus or spyware software can cover all threats, so it's a good idea to keep an eye out for updates and to combine several systems to cover your bases. There are also some things you can do for yourself when online to keep your PC and your personal details safe:
* Never open email attachments if you do not know who the email has come from, or even from friends. This is the easiest way to allow a virus to access your system.
* Avoid downloading files from sites you are not familiar with.
* Ensure that your security protocol is set to 'high' if you are going to be online for any length of time
* No bank will ever ask for your details via email. Any that do are scams and should be immediately deleted without responding and your bank notified of the scam attempt.
* If something looks suspicious (poor spelling, bad graphics), then trust your instincts - it probably is a bogus email or phishing attempt to get access to your personal details
* If you have a wireless network in your home, ensure that it is password protected.
* Never have the same password for all your sites.
With a little thought and preparation, you can keep your home PC safe from outside attacks and your details out of the hands of fraudsters.
Netbook is the novel and hottest craze in portable computing, as lugging a 17`` laptop everywhere can be neatly replaced by buying an ultra portable netbook. Conversely, shopping for a netbook is best by following some buying tips.
Identifying computing needs: This is an immense factor worth considering and needs proper thinking and planning about using the netbook and the related software that you need. This depends on the fact about using it for web surfing or checking email or doing some serious jobs such as video editing or graphic designing. Netbook is appropriate for lower intensive tasks that comprises of web browsing, email checking and replying, besides office applications. A netbook with full size is recommended for jobs that are processor intensive.
Portability features: Carrying a netbook around involves comprehending the size and weight as the main factor. Netbook is available in plenty of sizes, but definitely is tiny and weights less in comparison to the bulky laptops. The portability features certainly is favorable only when the netbook is light in weight and small in size. The battery size and weight also requires to be considered as some power adaptors come heavy and large in size.
Comprehending the storage types: Types of netbook available in the market should be comprehended as it helps in selecting the desired to suit the needs and wants of the buyer. Netbook comes in SSD and HDD storage types such that SSD, the Solid State Drives boot faster, possess withstanding impact and is a bit faster in performance, but is notorious for low storage. Contrarily, HDD, the Hard Disk Drives netbook stores up to 160GB data, but are weaker withstanding impacts in comparison to their counterparts, SSD. Buying a fast netbook with less storage capacity or a netbook offering high capacity, but is slow in booting depends completely on the desire and need of the buyer.
Considering the netbook`s brand: Considering the brand before purchasing is essential as the market today is filled with numerous brands of netbooks. However, good brands such as ASUS certainly carry high repute, and are followed by many more manufacturers of netbook such as Acer, Dell, HP, Lenovo and MSI. These manufacturers vary in their signatures and a buyer should know these details prior to purchase, such as ASUS have small keyboards. It is necessary to know the different brand netbooks as well as their differences, and this can be understood by researching in the internet with patience.
Operating system: Similar to the desktop computers having Mac and Windows as operating system competitors, the netbook has Windows XP and Linux for competition. The netbook models are shipped by different manufacturers with an operating system, and hence every netbook is either featured with a Windows XP or Linux version. However, Linux version netbooks are well-known for their security and stability, while the Windows XP netbooks have gained the topmost popularity. Compatibility of versions is a must and hence a buyer usually opts for Windows XP netbook, as it is tough to switch paradigms facilitating Linux.
Reading reviews: User reviews play a vital role in determining the performance of some netbooks. Manufacturers do not leave any opportunity in hyping their product so that their sales are boosted. But, reading the reviews will assist in knowing the value or the rundown of a netbook model. Reading independent reviews of products offered in online computer magazines and searching the internet for more reviews will give valuable information about a product to be purchased.
Comparison: Settling for a shopping website at the first attempt is not recommended. Comparing prices from minimum three or five netbook sellers is the best before placing the order. Comparison is required as some websites offer the netbooks cheaper as they deal on wholesale orders, while others do the same and sell second hand netbooks. If buying online, make sure the you are dealing with a trusted website.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Eagerly awaited and anticipated by Windows fans around the world, Windows 7 is about to be launched and is full of new features. The Windows operating system is the most widely used computer software in the world, with almost every business, personal computer, laptop and even mobile phone incorporating it into its operations. Notorious for bugs, early systems often caused considerable consternation and much tearing of hair, so the top people at Windows have been working away to smooth out the wrinkles, include new and more user-friendly features and generally bring Windows into the 21st Century.
The taskbar at the bottom of your screen is used to launch programs and move between them without having to continually open them during your operation. Before, icons were limited to your usual running programs such as Internet Explorer, email and other primary programs. With Windows 7, you will now be able to 'pin' any program to the taskbar so that it is always just one click away, rather than having to search through your C drive to find it. You will also be able to rearrange the icons just by clicking and dragging. The icons themselves have been made larger, making them much easier to use. By moving your cursor over the icon you will be able to see a thumbnail of every file or window open in that particular program, including a full-screen preview of that window.
Windows 7 has been specifically designed to make it easier to do repetitive tasks and cut down on the amount of effort it takes. One of the most common problems is having two windows open at once and switching between them. Previously, when you wanted to compare two open windows you had to manually resize your open windows to show them side by side. Windows 7 has a new system called Snaps, which allows you to grab a window and pull it to one side of the screen. It will then automatically take up only half the screen, allowing you to see the other window and compare the two at a glance.
Windows 7 is much more interactive. Another thing you may want to do is quickly see your gadgets or grab a file from your desktop. To see your desktop just move your mouse to the lower right corner of your desktop. That'll make all the open Windows transparent-so your desktop is immediately visible. If you want to get all but one window out of your way, you simply grab the top of that window, shake it and all the other open windows will minimise to the taskbar. Shake the window again, and they'll all come back.
If you use the web a lot, you probably start by looking around for a search box. Now you can use the same system to find files on your computer. Originally introduced with Windows Vista, Windows Search helps you find virtually anything on your PC quickly and easily. Windows 7 also makes search results more relevant and easier to understand. If you're looking for a file, email or application, a simple click on the start button will reveal a search box at the bottom of the start menu. By entering a word or file name, you will then get an organised list of results.
Better device management
Windows 7 incorporates a new package called Device Stage, which takes device management a step further. Device Stage helps you interact with any compatible device connected to your computer. From Device Stage you can see device status and run common tasks from a single window. There are even pictures of the devices which makes it really easy to see what's there, so you can see exactly what photos are on your camera, what music you have on your MP3 player and if your printer is active.
This package makes connecting more than one computer to your home network easy. HomeGroup is set up automatically when you add the first PC running Windows 7 to your home network. Adding more PCs running Windows 7 to the HomeGroup is then an easy process. You can specify exactly what you want to share from each PC with all the PCs in the HomeGroup. This makes sharing files across the various PCs in your home as easy as if all your data were on a single hard drive.
View Available Network (VAN)
Windows 7 makes viewing and connecting to all of your networks simple and consistent. You'll always have one-click access to available networks, regardless of whether those networks are based on Wi-Fi, mobile broadband, dial-up, or your corporate VPN. It's particularly useful for those using laptops away from their usual network source.
So Windows 7 aims to make life much simpler and your programs easier to navigate. The advancements in technology have meant that the advent of a far more user-friendly system is finally here - bug-free and very 21st Century.
Gone are the days when you would go to a PC store to pay out $1000 to purchase laptop PC. There are many ways or alternates by which you can acquire low-cost laptop computers for fewer than $500
Cheap New Laptop Computers - It is obvious that a lot of the time the best solution is to buy new computer however when you are working towards a budget a cheap new computer can be hard to find, and if your budget is limited then often you end up compromising PC quality or the specification of your new computer. There are many computers that are imported from China and looks like a perfect clone of major brands i. Dell, HP, Toshiba, Lenovo and that are sold low-cost for almost half the price mainly because of the mass amount they are produced in. It is crucial however to understand that in the future if a problem does occur there may not be much you can do to repair as these parallel imported cheap notebooks are not being sold with support or warranty.
There are stacks of options to purchase low-cost laptop computers, there are many retail outlets with laptop deal offering great discounts or freebies. Computer hardware industry is very competitive and retailers are working with light margin, as light as $50-$75, therefore they have very narrow scope of coming down on cost however how they try to beat competition is by offering free ad-on i.e. Memory upgrade, carry case, web cams, and sometime things like free mp3 player etc., so that you make a nice multimedia and other entertainment products along with your laptop without paying anything further. Also, in selected shops you possibly will locate Open Box, Graded Returns, and Refurbished laptops. So the question comes in your mind which ones to go for? Well here I have compile a study looking at several aspects and pros and cons of buying these laptops
Open Box Computers - These laptops are normally the ones returned from customers for any reason. The PC box has been opened but not at all tested. These are by and large sold at at-least 20-30% less than its original value. In my observation buying these kind of laptops should be avoided unless it’s a serious deal and you are confident by seeing it that there is nothing wrong with it and retailer is providing some kind of warranty on it.
Graded Returns - comparable to Open Box, graded returns are new laptops returned by customer for various kind of fault or snag that was found in it. The product is returned to the manufacturer and instead of scrapping the product new parts are used to fix it and the manufacturer then sells it as graded item. They are sold as "factory refurbished". They can be a fine buy, especially for students or home use.
Refurbished Computers- Refurbished computers are the ones which is previously used by folks or corporate and then returned back to dealers. These returned computers are checked for wear & tear, aesthetic condition, memory, hard disk and all of these are fixed based on its condition. Sometimes, its screens are changed, memory rams are replaced, hard disks are upgraded, and keyboards are polished. An "A grade" refurbished PC can look and perform like a brand new laptop and mostly sold with 30-90 days warranty. These computers are sold at fraction of cost as compared to the new ones. There are few things you should look into before buying a refurbished computer:
• How much warranty is with this laptop?
• If the specification of this notebook is proper for your need?
• If you are buying from retail shop - is the shop reputed?
• If you are buying online, does the online company has contact number or customer service number?
If you are an online shopper, there are couple of great places you can buy refurbished notebook and with complete peace of mind. Company's like Dell, HP & Lenovo sells their refurbished notebook at their web site(s). You can visit these web site(s) and look for refurbished section. Dell has a separate web site for its refurbished notebook called Dell Financial Service
Well, that’s all about how to buy cheap laptop computers or discount laptops, hopefully it helps to make a wise purchase.
The desktop computers when they first arrived on the scene revolutionized the way we worked and then laptops made their appearance making the desktop computers almost obsolete. Now, another revolution is on its way with ultra sleek netbook computers which have made the hitherto conveniently portable laptops seem cumbersome. However, it`s not enough to jump onto the bandwagon and purchase any netbook but certain points must be considered while making the purchase.
The first and foremost point to consider is your computing needs. You have to be sure of what use you are going to be putting your netbook to and then decide whether the work required is suitable for a netbook or not. Checking your email, browsing the internet or composing word or office documents can all easily be handled by a netbook. But, stuff like some heavy video editing or application of graphics which require quite a few resources may not be possible with a netbook.
Ideally, a netbook should be purchased by someone who is heavily into web browsing and not much more as it is specifically designed to handle intensive emailing and web browsing. It runs on Windows XP or Linux operating system and is not meant to handle extensive data storage or 3D games or Photoshop.
Although net books are ultra light and very easily portable, its size and weight still merits some consideration. They come in different sizes and though they themselves are tiny, the power adapters of some may be very large and heavy. The battery weight and size should also be checked.
Some of the important features to look out for while purchasing a netbook for your convenience are the optical drive, potential upgradation, layout of mouse etc. Many netbooks still don`t come equipped with an optical drive and an external drive may have to be purchased. You also have to consider whether the hard drive and the RAM of that particular netbook can be upgraded without a fuss. At times, upgrades make your warranty void. So, be very sure on this angle while buying a netbook.
Another important feature is the size of the keyboard. It is but natural that a small device like a netbook cannot have a big keyboard and you have to be sure that you`ll have no problems typing on a small keyboard. The position and the layout of the mouse and the touchpad should also be looked into as these two factors alone can make or mar your experience of using the netbook.
Although netbooks are highly affordable and have been a big hit in the market with manufacturers cashing onto lucrative deals, its limited usage should give pause for some thought. It is alright for some portable browsing but for long term use or heavy data storage, a laptop is still the better option. A netbook while offering more intensive web browsing than a smart phone is still shorter than a normal laptop which has a larger battery capacity. This limitation permits only about 30-45 minutes of netbook usage which is less than most plane rides.
The price tag of the netbook may make it hard to resist but its value can only be realized through it usage. If the netbook is sitting unused for most of the time because it cannot handle your work, the great price notwithstanding, the device is going to be rendered useless and not even worth the affordable price. That said if you are the type who has to have the latest gadget irrespective of its suitability to your requirements, then a netbook is right up your street!
The earlier notebook computers were heavy, expensive and accessible to only a few computer users. But, today`s notebook computers are lightweight and comprise of as many features as the desktop computers. And with the prices really coming crashing down it is feasible for most people to buy a notebook. However, some tips and advice always come in handy while purchasing one and especially so, if you are a first-time buyer.
The first thing to decide is the usage of the notebook as each segment, like that of business, games, graphics, research, movies, communication or basic usage all need slightly different features to be present in that particular device. Once you have zeroed onto your priority, it becomes simpler to look for those particular features and you can narrow down the choices of the notebook computer.
The screen size of the notebook computer varies from 10.4 inches to 17.1 inches but for most notebook users, a 13 inch screen is enough. Those who are mainly interested in gaming or watching movies will want larger screens and the needs of professional graphic designers also will be different from others. People using graphic programs will prefer as large a screen as possible and a graphic card may be added.
The processors and memory RAM also vary from usage to usage and while a 20 gigabyte drive will take care of the requirements of most of the users, gamers will require at least 526 megabytes of RAM. A full giga-byte of RAM or more may be a must for those who open large files or wish to open several files simultaneously.
Although the weight of the notebook computer has come down considerably from its earlier versions, there are still variations to be found in its weight. It is sensible to first ascertain whether you are constantly on the go and always need to carry your notebook with you. If yes, then an ultra light notebook may be the best solution for you.
Ultra light notebooks may be more expensive when compared to their counterparts and also have smaller screens and lesser options but they are infinitely more preferable to lugging around the standard notebook when you are in and out of vehicles or planes or simply walking. The standard notebooks are fine for those who do not have much traveling or commuting to do.
The keyboard of a notebook computer is smaller than those of the regular computers and can require some getting used to. The mouse is also integrated in the center and learning to operate the mouse with your finger can get cumbersome in the initial stages but the problem can be mitigated by buying an external mouse.
A notebook commuter having two ports like USB and Ethernet is preferred as portability and storage capabilities will much enhanced. A wi-fi enabled notebook has become very popular as it enables users to connect anywhere at wireless hotspots like restaurants, airports, hotels etc. The older notebook can be upgraded by buying a wi-fi card. Your notebook should have expansion bays if later on you want to install a CD-ROM or DVD writer. Technology is moving at a very fast pace and if you do not maximize the memory and processor speed now itself, your notebook may not be able to adapt to newer application and software.
Investing in a good although expensive lithium ion battery is worth it as it will last longer than the normal batteries and you do not want your notebook going dead on you in the middle of some important work. So, keeping your eyes open for these features should help you make a sensible purchase.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
By: Logan Albright
Have you ever been using the computer, just surfing the net or playing around with a Windows based software, and suddenly you get the message that ‘Windows Explorer has encountered an error’ - which follows the entire desktop crashing, a little hour glass appearing and then the entire desktop, flushed with all your icons; reappearing again. The problem is, whatever you were doing has been erased and if you were doing some work with any of the office tools and did not save them, then you can wave them goodbye. This article will tell you how you can avoid all that, by exploring the common causes and simple fixes you can do to prevent Windows Explorer error.
Windows Explorer errors and crashes are pretty common nowadays, especially with the newer incarnations of Windows, and there are some easy ways you can adopt to avoid them completely. One, is to maintain the health of your computer and its internal physical memory. Some of these problems have been traced to an overly fragmented drive, which means that data and important files have been scattered all over the disk - requiring Windows to constantly re fragment data. This also causes hiccups within the system and can cause Windows Explorer to crash at the same time. Avoid this by using the defragment tool that is present on your system.
Leave it on over night if you have a particularly large hard disk and soon in the morning, you will be presented with a faster and much more efficient machine. Also, take a look at the programs you have installed, especially those that are running in the background. More than 60% of computer uses have no idea about the damage they are doing to their system by having unnecessary programs running in the task bar, eating away at precious system memory. Delete those that you do not need and ensure that those that are running need to be running. If there are non essential, then quit the program at once and ensure that it does not load up at start up again.
One more common root of Windows Explorer crashes is the registry itself. This tiny file that sits within the core system of Windows is one of the most important files in the OS. Windows uses it as a digital log book as well as an instruction guide to run programs. Once malware, viruses and over use set in, orphan keys, bad command lines and even corrupted data become a familiar sight in registry files. These corrupted and messed up files are the cause of explorer errors and crashes. Get a decent registry cleaner online and start cleaning your registry regularly. The process is extremely fast and it ensures the overall health of your registry - which means the overall health of your entire system. Once you are able to ensure the health of your registry, then these niggling problems in Windows Explorer will surely disappear, along with the common causes. It is a simple fix, and together with the rest discussed, will ensure that your computer will run smoothly all the time.
By: Logan Albright
Do not panic, if you can believe it, a computer freezes up in the modern world every 40 seconds, which means you will have someone joining you soon. Keep calm and try to figure out what you last did. Tapping on the keyboard and wildly swinging your mouse around will not help the situation much. If your keyboard is still responsive, try to ALT-TAB and see whether you can end the problem program. Usually it would be earmarked with something like ‘not responding’ tagged to its status on the task bar. If your keyboard is locked up, see whether or not you can move your mouse around. If the answer is a yes, then try to move it to the restart button, or try to right click and shut down some programs.
Well, these are the options that you have if your keyboard and mouse are still functioning. If you are tapping your keyboard and you get a beeping sound, then the entire system has locked you out, meaning Windows has gone into a freeze state that is irreparable. You will have no choice but to find your manual reset button (usually next to the power button on your CPU’s tower) and flick your computer back to life. This article is more of a venture into the root of the problem and surveys around the world have revealed a single problem to this one woe of computer users all over the world - the registry of Windows.
What is the registry? The registry is the nexus of the Windows operating system, where all commands are written within its matrix. Windows uses it as a log book of all the activities that happen within the OS as well as an instruction book to execute programs and launch sensitive .DLL and system files. Normally, if all goes well and the registry is intact, bad program launches and system freezes will not happen. But of course, this is not a perfect world, and the computer as well as the end user is not perfect as well. In the end of the day, the registry can get bombarded from many different angles, which include viruses and worms, which infiltrate the registry and leave malicious command lines and false embedded keys inside.
They can also be attacked by malware which has the same effect. Bad program installs and uninstalls can leave negative zero values, orphan keys and bad command lines within its matrix; and these are just some of the problems that can arise. In summary, these bad hats within the registry can and will confuse the Windows operating system, which will lead to problems like crashes and of course systems hangs. The best way to prevent yourself from these problems is for you to get a reliable anti virus, anti malware/spyware program as well as a good registry cleaner. These three in combination will give you a speedy machine with minimal hiccups, leaving you without a situation of what to do when your computer freezes up.
By: Logan Albright
How to make your computer go faster? Know your computer. That is one of the most important things to take note of when you decide to ramp up the speed, or restore it to its former glory not so many months ago. Information is one of the most important aspects of upgrading or tweaking your CPU and OS. The central processing unit and the operating system are part of a much larger picture; a picture in which you need to know about. What kind of memory are you running? How much? What is the speed of the memory? What about your computer chip?
You should have all this information and more before you decide to do anything and people often slip up and spend gargantuan amounts of money because they did not realise what they had under the hood in the first place. Once you have all the information then you can start to increase the speed of the computer. One of the best ways to do so is to upgrade the memory, because more than likely, you have been installing recent programmes on a machine that was assembled before it was published.
Programmes are pretty scalable, but when too many are installed on a system or if you are working with huge files, you need to ramp up the memory and remove one of the bottlenecks of the system. Memory, especially RAM (or random access memory) is pretty affordable nowadays, even hard disks come pretty cheap. Buying one will solve plenty of problems for you. Another way is for you to defragment your disk. You may have heard this advice somewhere before, but there is a darn good reason why that advice is there in the first place. A fragmented hard drive means that data is strewn about.
This means that to launch a programme, Windows has to go through the motions of re assembling the fragmented data into a coherent code before the programme can launch. This causes massive slowdowns and system hangs even and you need to address this issue pretty quick. It is a good idea to defragment your drive once every 2 to 4 weeks, and this makes sure that you have a speedy hard drive that can launch programmes quick.
Also, the registry is one of the main chokes on a computer system; meaning that the tiny file that resides in your system core has the capability of slowing your system down to a crawl if it is not maintained. Zero values left by programme uninstalls, null values from bad code, corrupt data and command lines left behind by viruses and malware are just some of the examples of how your Windows registry can be left a debilitating mess.
All you need to do is to download a good registry cleaner, which will take care of 100% of these problems and then some. They are pretty advanced nowadays and can even settle clutter from your browsers, system files and trailing debris left behind by bad uninstalls. These are 3 simple solutions on how to make your computer go faster.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
By: Rafi Michael
Ninety percent of the homes and offices that have computers have printers. On average, home users use a minimum of two ink cartridges per year. Offices on the other hand use an average of six cartridges per year. This tremendously raises the demand of ink toner cartridges. Recycling the cartridges thus helps ease the demand on the new ink toner manufacturers. Remanufactured toner cartridges cost up to 10 percent the cost of new cartridges and are therefore an economical way of handling the enormous printing needs arising from the workplace. Unfortunately, not many take printer cartridge seriously. Today, only 15 percent of cartridges are being recycled. This in turn leads to huge landfills in the dumpsites. The material used to make the cartridge contains grade polymers that take long time before decomposing. It is therefore more environmental friendly for people to prefer printer cartridge recycling.
In realization of the advantages of remanufactured cartridges, most ink/toner manufacturing companies nowadays provide instructions written on the cartridge package, stating what one should do if they want to reuse the cartridge. Some even provide end users with free postage for any empty cartridge. Such also offer to refill the cartridges and redeliver them to the end users free. The only charges passed to the consumer in this case are therefore related to the ink or toner refill. The process of remanufacturing the cartridges involves checking the cartridges for any defaults, cleaning, replacing some parts and refilling them. This is done in order to make sure that the end users receive quality performance from the remanufactured cartridge supplies. The real motivation behind the recycling enthusiasm is the fact that a person can save nearly half of the money they would have spent on new inkjet or laser cartridges. The remanufactured cartridge refills. The companies also provide photocopy and fax supplies.
Consumers overtime have realized that recycled cartridges offer the same quality printing services like the new one. However, they are those who still believe that the new cartridges are of superior quality. To that, the manufacturers serve them diligently by providing reliable, quality cartridges. However, people who find that the printing budget is running out of hand, retailers suggest the recycled options.
Professionals who know the right inks and toners to use for the refills handle printer cartridge recycling. This ensures that the high print quality is maintained and that the end users develop confidence in the products. Consumer education is also part of the initiative that remanufacturing companies are taking up in order to enlighten the end user on the importance reshipping used cartridges for recycling. Some companies even offer to buy the cartridges at a small fee in events where the end user does not want the recycled cartridge for personal use. Overall, remanufacturing the cartridges saves resources as well as protecting the environment from degradation. In a word where technology has become part of our everyday life, it is apparent that the remanufactured cartridges will save money, energy, minimize waste and create jobs in the remanufacturing industry.
By: Asif Siddiqui
Are you looking for a laptop? Then, the Sony laptops are great options for you. Well, there are certain models from Sony that are more than good. However, the main drawback is that they tend to be very expensive. So, if you want to save some money in your deal, go through the following lines to get tips.
The Sony Store is the best place to look for the best Sony Vaio laptop deals. This is because you are interacting directly with the manufacturer and thus cutting out a number of middlemen who would have otherwise included their profits. Also, in the Sony Store, you are likely to get some great discounts on slightly old and refurbished laptops. They are always a good shopping unless you are looking for the state of the art technologies.
But then, you may not be lucky enough to have a Sony Store right around the corner. In that case, you should visit the local computer shops. There, you may receive good advice on the different types and models of Sony laptops. More importantly, these shops will not charge you as much as the big box or high street computer retailers. In these shops also, you may get a number of special discounts on the old or refurbished laptops.
Well, there is still another way to get the best deals and this has nothing to do with the location of your house. This is by searching through online. There are different auction sites like eBay where you can find great deals. The refurbished Sony Vaio laptops can come at a very cheap price.
Well, there is no need to hesitate whether you should buy a used computer or not. The Sony Laptops are extremely heard wearing. As a result, the old ones are almost as good as the new ones. However, you should be very careful about the eBay scams, especially when you are looking to buy an expensive laptop. For that, you should check the information in details, and read up the eBay works. Finally, you should never send the money through the Western Union or any other wire transfer. For, that means as soon as you do that, the money is gone forever.
Sony VAIO laptops are really one of the best laptops to buy for any level users. There are certain features that have made this laptop as one of the best models. It has LCD monitor, built in camera and plenty of other. It comes is a wide range so that you can always pick up the model that you like. These laptops are stylish, fast and give you the mobility that is so important in this time of multitasking.
There are some latest models like VGN – S56GP/S and VGN – FJ57GP that add some more features to this. With the help of this great device you can enjoy music, videos and games along with the serious work. They have microphone as well as imaging features that will make your life more colorful.
By: Philip Griffiths
When purchasing a new inkjet printer for the first time, most people are impressed by what they get for the comparative low cost of this fascinating technology.
All goes well until the need to replace the first ink cartridges for this gleaming printer. The time to this first event seems to go very quickly! Many people find out why this happens is because the printer manufacturer has only included small sample ink cartridges with the printer which are only filled with one third the capacity of normal ink cartridges. You may wonder why inkjet printer manufacturers do this? This is soon crystal clear once you look at the cost of buying replacement ink cartridges.
Having bought your printer new direct from the manufacturer, most people first look at purchasing replacement ink cartridges direct from the printer manufacturer such as HP, Dell, Lexmark, or Canon. Which is when it becomes clear that the printer manufacturer makes large amounts of repeat money from their ink cartridges and sales of consumables. Prices can be extremely high for what you get and if you use a large amounts of ink, you start to realise that the total cost of ownership of your printer is not going to be great as you first thought it was going to be, and yes, you're now tied yourself into the technology (Which was perhaps the initial aim of the printer manufacturer).
Of course, buying new original replacement inkjet cartridges from printer manufacturers should ensure fault free use but today you are paying a high premium for this choice and now with the drive for eco-friendly "green" replacements this may not be the best option available to you. So what are your choices ? Well you could stick with original inkjet cartridges from the printer manufacturer but you will need a big "money-bags" bank account for this or you could look at three other sources of cheap inkjet cartridges. Compatible inkjet cartridges are ink cartridges that are manufactured by a third party manufacturers and sold as compatible products to the original inkjet manufacturer's brand. Normally, compatibility is fine but on some occasions this may cause some issues. However, if the third party manufacturer is a reputable company this is sorted out very quickly.
Remanufactured Ink Cartridges
The other option is to go for remanufactured ink cartridges. These cartridges are made by the original printer manufacturer (OEM) and having been used, have been reclaimed and refilled by a third party company who replaces all worn parts and refills the cartridge with high premium grade toner and supplies them for resale. The third option is to buy a refill kit and refill your own inkjet cartridge for yourself. While it is possible to do this, Paragon Matrix does not recommend this as it can be very messy.
Discount Inkjet Cartridges
So are discount inkjet cartridges good value? Well over the cost of new original inkjet cartridges, yes they are. However, like everything else, we would not advise just buying at the cheapest price product you can get. There is a fine balance to make. But with the right choice major savings can be achieved. This is why schools and other educational establishments, National Health Service Departments, Doctors and other Government Departments buy remanufactured and sometimes compatible products rather than the original new products from printer manufacturers. It achieves two of their goals. One, purchasing green eco friendly products and two reducing their overall purchasing costs.
From our own experience, I carefully select the manufacturer of the inkjet cartridges to ensure that the quality of manufacturer or remanufacture give the highest standards and that the supplier guarantees the products that they developed. So at the end of the day it's a balance. I recommend you not go for the expensive option of new original inkjet cartridges but perhaps going for a high quality remanufactured or compatible product from a reputable manufacturer.