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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Graphics Cards FAQs

Q: Does my graphics card support ATI CrossFireX/nVidia SLI?
A: In general, most standalone graphics cards support CrossFireX or SLI. Detailed information on whether or not the card supports it will be located on the packaging for the video card.

Q: Will a graphics card with GDDR3/4/5 work with a DDR2 or DDR3 system?
A: Yes, the graphics memory on the card is independent of the system RAM and they do not have to match in any way.

Q: What is the difference between PCI and PCI-Express?
A: PCI or Peripheral Component Interconnect was developed originally in 1993 and has since been revised; it provides sufficient bandwidth for basic devices however, graphics cards require more bandwidth to perform at full capacity, which is the primary purpose of PCI-Express. The peak performance of PCI would be 533MB/s, whereas the peak performance of PCI-Express would be 16GB/s or almost 32 times as fast.

Q: Should the drivers always be kept up to date?
A: To maximize performance and reliability the latest drivers should be regularly downloaded from the ATI or nVidia website, depending on the manufacturer.

Q: What is the difference between AGP and PCI-Express?
A: AGP, or Accelerated Graphics Port was developed originally in 1997 and underwent several revisions. It reached its maximum throughput and needed to be replaced with a higher-bandwidth expansion port to allow for faster graphics card. AGP has a peak performance of about 2GB/s, whereas the current peak performance of PCI-Express is 16GB/s, or around 8 times as fast.

Q: What is the difference between PCI-Expres x1, x4, x8 and x16?
A: PCI-Express x1 is for low-bandwidth expansion cards and allows for a bandwidth of about 1GB/s. The bandwidth increases with the number and allows for cards requiring more and more bandwidth.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

How to Buy the Right Graphics Card

If you have upgraded your display recently, you may have noticed that your graphics aren’t as clear as they should be. This may be due to the legacy video card in your computer. With a minor upgrade to your video card and a little time, you could improve your system’s video output dramatically. Before buying a new graphics card, here are some recommendations to follow when shopping for the right card:

System Specs
The first step is to evaluate the type of motherboard that you have in your current system.  You could either remove the case and physically look at what slots on your motherboard or check the system’s user manual or manufacturer’s website for specifications.  As outlined on our previous blog post on Graphics Cards, there are three basic types of video interfaces available: PCI, AGP or PCI-express. From this chart provided by Diamond Multimedia, you can see the difference in the configuration for each card type.

Illustration provided by Diamond Multimedia

Be sure to check what version of AGP or PCI-Express is compatible with your system.

Purpose
What will be the primary use of your display? Watching movies, gaming, photo editing? Depending on the function, you may need a higher-end graphics card to accommodate the demands on your computer’s video. If you are a gamer, you will need a performance video card that supports 3D rendering and HD. For photography or graphic arts, a video card with high resolution and better image quality is more important. The amount of video memory is also crucial to providing the best graphics output.

Connections
Video cards are built with a variety of ports to connect to your display. First, check the available ports on the back of your display. Does it have VGA, S-Video, DVI or HDMI? For high quality video, it is better to use DVI or HDMI, because they provide higher quality digital output. VGA and S-Video are older, analog interfaces that have lower resolution capabilities.  If you have an older PCI card with only DVI, but a display with an HDMI connection, there are adapters available to connect a HDMI cable to a DVI port.

Diamond Multimedia provides an excellent video on installing a graphics card.




Reference:
Diamond Multimedia. How to Buy a Video Card/Graphics Card.
http://bit.ly/gApxBE

Diamond Multimedia. Installing a Graphics Card, Part 1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1HH4_yn1Q_U

Monday, December 27, 2010

Graphics Cards: AGP, PCI and PCI-Express

There are three different interface standards for graphics cards: AGP, PCI or PCI-Express.  AGP or Accelerated Graphics Port is twice as fast as PCI and has direct access to the processor bypassing the PCI bus. It is also capable of utilizing system memory to read textures through a technology known as GART (Graphics Address Mapping Table). GART sets aside areas of the main system memory as needed for storing textures. The video card then has access to those textures directly from system memory.

Example of an AGP Graphics Card (172-pin)


PCI or Peripheral Component Interconnect is the original interface standard before AGP.  This method allows peripherals to be connected to the motherboard by using the computer bus. In addition to graphics cards, other connection cards can be added or removed using the PCI expansion slots.


Example of a PCI Card (120-pin)

Currently, PCI-Express or PCIe is the newest standard in graphics card technology and exceeds in performance beyond PCI or AGP.  PCI-Express cards are available in four types: x1, x4, x8 and x16. They provide superior bandwidth capabilities allowing increased graphics processing with higher resolution and better 3D graphics rendering. PCIe is being adopted as the default form factor for a number of other hardware types such as network cards, wireless cards, modems, and sound cards. AGP and PCIe are not interchangeable. The index notch is in a different location on each slot.

 Example of a PCI-Express Card (164-pin)


Reference:
Diamond Multimedia. Glossary.
http://bit.ly/bwoToz

MCTSOL.com. Tech Center. What is PCI Express?
http://bit.ly/g39AXG

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

How to Reset Internet Explorer

Is your Internet Explorer crashing all the time? The browser may have become unstable from too many add-ons causing the program to freeze. IE has a reset option available but should only be used as a last resort to fix major problems. By resetting the browser, IE removes any and all favorites and add-ons previously installed.



To reset IE:
1. Go to Tools » Internet Options.


2. Click on the Advanced Tab.

3. Under Reset Internet Explorer settings, click Reset.

From this point, you can start rebuilding your customized settings by adding Favorites and Add-ons.



To create a Favorite, select Favorites » Add to Favorites.


For IE Add-on options, go Microsoft’s Add-on Gallery to download. Be cautions of re-installing the same add-ons that were installed previously — it may result in your browser becoming unstable again.

Reference:
Microsoft Internet Explorer Add-ons Gallery.
http://ieaddons.com/en/

Microsoft Support. How to reinstall or repair Internet Explorer in Windows 7/Vista/XP.
http://bit.ly/HwT8e

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Virus ALERT: Security Shield

There is another rogue anti-virus program called "Security Shield" that infects computers by using bogus security warnings in lure users into downloading the malware. This virus is one of a suite of known malware programs by Virus Doctor. Security Shield or any other Virus Doctor freeware can cause a variety of issues including blocking the system’s ability to connect to the Internet and slow down other system processes.

Security Shield Program

Only use established anti-virus program manufacturers to scan and remove malware from any computer. ESET NOD32, Symantec Norton Anti-Virus, McAfee Anti-Virus and Webroot are all industry-approved programs that will monitor and remove viruses from your system.

If your system is infected with the Security Shield virus, there are solutions available from Symantec and Malwarebytes.

For Symantec:
1. Download the latest Rapid Release definitions.
2. Reboot the system in Safe Mode.
3. Run Disk-Cleanup to remove temporary files.
4. Perform full system scan. Follow the instructions to remove any detected threats.

Click here for more information on the Symantec solution »


For Malwarebytes:
1. Download Malwarebytes program here.
2. Install the program "mbam-setup.exe".
3. Use the default settings during the setup process. Check "Update Malwarebytes" and "Launch Malwarebytes".
4. Once installation is complete, begin scanning the system.
5. When scanning is complete, review the Scanner report. Check any files that are marked at malware and click "Remove Selected".

Malwarebytes Site

Click here for more information on the Malwarebytes solution »

Reference:
BleepingComputer.com. Remove Virus Doctor.
http://bit.ly/fCmYTG

Malwarebytes.
http://www.malwarebytes.org/

Symantec. Security Forum.
http://bit.ly/fQD3LU

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wireless Networking

For Day 3 of our Networking-focused week, we are going to discuss wireless networking. This article explains what is wireless networking and how wireless security works:

What is Wi-Fi?
Wi-Fi or Wireless Fidelity is a wireless network connection used both in the home and for business purposes. All laptops and some desktops come equipped with wireless adapters to connect to Wi-Fi networks.

There are two primary types of Wi-Fi on the market today, both of which function on the 2.4GHz wireless frequency.

Wireless G, which has a maximum speed of 54Mbps and a maximum range of up to 100 feet outdoors. Indoors, the signal range can be reduced to less than 30 feet depending on the number of walls between the computer and the wireless router.

Wireless N, which has a maximum speed of 300Mbps and a maximum range of up to 300 feet outdoors. Indoors, the signal range can be reduced to less than 50 feet depending on the number of walls between the computer and the wireless router.

Wireless Security
Wireless Security prevents unauthorized access to wireless networks. The wireless signal in a home is accessible outside the walls of the residence and if a malicious user uses the network for illegal activities, the owner and operator of the network can be held accountable.

There are two primary types of wireless security, WPA and WEP. Both security measures use security keys or encryption keys to protect the network.

WEP is compatible with almost all devices, but the security can be broken by an experienced hacker given time. WEP also uses a longer security key that is typically random letters and numbers.

WPA and WPA2 is slightly less compatible but is far more secure, also uses a shorter, easier to remember security key. Most wireless devices made in the last five years support WPA and WPA2.

Reference:
D-Link. Support Glossary.
http://bit.ly/e7WjlF

Linksys. Learning Center.
http://bit.ly/gJQpdO

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Networking Terms

For Day 2 of Networking 101, we are going to review some basic networking terminology. This information can be useful when configuring your home network and choosing the right hardware.

802.11
A networking standard established by the IEEE for LAN protocols. There are several levels of 802.11 standard: a, b, g, and n. Each represents a different bandwidth, frequency, data rate and network range.  802.11n is the current standard.


Protocol Bandwidth Frequency Data Rate (Mbit/sec) Indoor Range
802.11a 20 5 6-54 35
802.11b 20 2.4 6-54 38
802.11g 20 2.4 7.2-72 38
802.11n 20-40 2.4/5 15-150 70

Bandwidth
Refers to the transmission capacity of a network or network device.

Broadband
Wide band of frequencies for transmitting data. For Internet service, broadband describes the type of service available such as cable or DSL. Broadband cable supports data rates up to 30Mbsp, but DSL is normally limited to only 10Mbps.

DHCP
DHCP or Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol is an automatic configuration protocol used for configuration on Internet Protocol (or IP) Networks. This can be a local area network using a router with DHCP, or when connecting to the internet.  DHCP allows a computer to be configured automatically, eliminating the need for human intervention when connecting to a network. DHCP works by keeping a central database and assigning numbered addresses called IP Addresses to computers on the network in order to relay information to and from them, which prevents computers from ending up with the same IP Address, accidentally or otherwise. Without a DHCP server (behind a network switch, for example) each computer must have its IP address configured manually.

DSL
Digital Subscriber Line. Type of broadband connection that uses a phone-line to connect to the Internet. Typically, DSL provides only 10Mbps which is slower than cable broadband service.

Encryption
The process of securing data by converting it into cyphertext so it cannot be easily read while in transmission. This process is based on a key system in which the sender shares a translation key with the receiver to decrypt the data.

Ethernet
A network protocol developed by IEEE that describes how data is placed on and retrieved from a networking device. Ethernet is commonly used for LAN (local area networks).

Gateway
A device that connects two different networks to one another.  Example: the Internet.

Host
A computer that is connected to a network that provides information and resources.

IP Address
A 32-bit number that identifies a computer or device on a network.

LAN
Local Area Network.  Describes the computers and networking hardware within a single home or office.

NAT
NAT or Network Address Translation is the name of a process for modifying network addresses information in an IP (Internet Protocol) packet. NAT is done by a router, and it translates incoming packets from the Internet in to local network packets so that they can be transferred to the correct location – one of the computers connected to the router. NAT is typically used by a router to allow multiple host computers to connect to the Internet using a single public IP address, acting as a gateway.

PPPoE
PPPoE is a connection protocol that is used mainly by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to give access to Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) High speed internet service. It increases the capability of the Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) by allowing a connection over Ethernet. PPPoE also uses the same standards of authentication, encryption, and compression as PPP. PPPoE encapsulates PPP frames inside Ethernet frames to transmit data from the Internet to a DSL modem, which is then translated into data that your computer understands, when using the provided software.

SMTP

Simple Mail Transfer Protocol.  This is a standard email protocol for transmitting and receiving email.

Subnet  Mask
Part of an IP Address that designates the size of the network. When computers are grouped together into a subnet, each system is identified with a common IP address to determine their location. The default value is normally 255.255.255.0.

TCP/IP
Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. This is basic communication method for the Internet. TCP/IP requires that the recipient acknowledge the data sent.

Reference:
Belkin. Support.
http://bit.ly/c8xBGm

D-Link. Help Glossary.
http://bit.ly/g1jXWQ

Linksys. Learning Center.
http://bit.ly/fEswve

Monday, December 13, 2010

Networking 101

This week, we are going to focus on networking - specifically setting up your own home network and troubleshooting hardware issues.

Today, we are going to provide some frequently asked questions and solutions for setting up your router:

Q: How can I protect my router from unauthorized wireless access?
A: Wireless routers can be secured from unauthorized access and hackers by adding a wireless security key or encryption key. For more information, see the manual included with the router either in paper form or on the setup disc.

Q: Which wireless security type is the most secure?
A: WPA2 is the most secure wireless network encryption type. For additional security, use a password of at least ten characters with mixed letters, numbers and special characters.

Q: What is WiFi Protected Setup (WPS)?
A: WiFi Protected Setup or WPS is a system that allows the wireless networking function of the router to be set up without physical connection using a PIN.

Q: What is the difference between a Router and a Switch?

A: First, a router can also provide wireless network access. The purpose of a router is to join the WAN (Wide Area Network, or The Internet) with your LAN (Local Area/Home Network) for the purpose of Internet connection sharing, as well as local file sharing. A switch allows one computer to access the Internet and other machines must connect to the Internet through that machine.

Q: How can my router be reset to its factory settings?
A: There is a reset button on the back of the router in pin-hole labeled Reset. While the router is on, press this reset button for 30 seconds, then reset the router by unplugging the power and it will be back at factory settings.

Q: Does my router have a built-in firewall?
A: Yes, by default a router will not allow incoming connections unless specified by a local program or port forward setup.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Creating Recovery Media for Gateway Computers

This article shows how to create the recovery media for a Gateway-brand computer.

Before you begin:
If your computer experiences problems that are not recoverable by other methods, you may need to reinstall the Windows operating system and factory-loaded software and drivers. To reinstall using discs, you must create the set of recovery discs before you have a problem. To ensure that you have recovery options available, you should create a set of recovery discs as soon as possible.

If you are creating recovery discs, ensure that you have several blank DVD±R discs. Note that you cannot use DVD±RW or DVD±R Double-Layer discs to create the recovery media.

Close all open applications on the PC. You will not be able to use the computer while it is creating the recovery media.

Create a set of operating system recovery discs by following these steps:

1. Click on Start » All Programs » Gateway, then click on Gateway Recovery Management. This will open Gateway Recovery Management.


2. Choose the recovery media you wish to create.

OPTIONS:
- Create factory default disc. This creates recovery discs for the hard drive's entire original contents, including Windows and all factory-loaded software and drivers.
- Create driver and application backup disc. This option creates recovery discs for only the factory-loaded software and drivers.

Note: It is recommended that you create each type of disk as soon as possible.

3. The Create Backup Disc dialog box opens. This dialog box tells you the number of blank, recordable discs you will need to complete the recovery. Be sure to have the required number of blank discs ready before going on.


4. Insert a blank disc into the drive indicated in the Burn to list, then click Next. The first disc begins recording, and you can watch its progress on the screen. When the disc finishes recording, the drive ejects it.


5. Remove the disc from the drive and mark it with a permanent marker.

Note: Be sure to label each disc. We recommend that you pick a unique name for each disc such as Recovery Disc 1 of 2 or Apps/Drivers Recovery disc.

If multiple discs are required, insert a new disc when prompted, then click OK. Continue recording discs until the process is complete.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Malware ALERT: "Security Tool" Virus

Another fake anti-virus program called "Security Tool" has been identified as malware for Windows 7 machines. This software claims to work as a virus scan, and floods the system with bogus messages that your computer is infected with a virus. Similar to the ThinkPoint virus, Security Tool prevents you from running any other programs to fix the issue.

There are several options to remove this program permanently from your system. Microsoft provides a free Safety Scanner Tool to identify and remove malware from your Windows system. To use Microsoft's solution to virus removal, go to the Windows Live Protection Center and follow the instructions.


Another option is to go with the DIY method by removing the registry keys in your system files to disable the Security Tool permanently. To begin, follow these steps »

1. First disable the Security Tools program using the Windows Task Manager. Click CTRL + ALT + DEL.

2. Select the Processes tab in the Windows Task Manager.


3. Locate the Security Tools program. This program uses a set of random numbers in the title of the .exe file. Be cautious not to disable other essential programs.

4. Open the Registry Editor. Go to Start and type in REGEDIT in the search box.


5. In the Registry Editor window, locate the Security Tool keys by using this folder path:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Security Tool
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINES\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\Security Tool

6. Select the registry key files. Click on Edit » Delete.

When purchasing a anti-virus program or any other software, check to make sure the manufacturer is legitimate before installing. Some examples of good anti-virus programs are: ESET NOD32, Symantec Norton Anti-Virus, McAfee Anti-Virus, and Webroot.

Reference.
Microsoft Forum. Security Tools Virus.
http://bit.ly/eauDbD

Microsoft Security. Malicious Software Removal Tool.
http://bit.ly/UurV3

Windows Live Protection Center.
http://bit.ly/3gyTe

Techjaws. How to Remove Security Tools Virus.
http://bit.ly/3x1BWO

Creating Recovery Media for Dell Computers

This article shows you how to create recovery media for Dell-brand computers.

Before you begin:

If your computer experiences problems that are not recoverable by other methods, you may need to reinstall the Windows operating system and factory-loaded software and drivers. To reinstall using discs, you must create the set of recovery discs before you have a problem. To ensure that you have recovery options available, you should create a set of recovery discs as soon as possible.

If you are creating recovery discs, ensure that you have several blank DVD±R discs. Note that you cannot use DVD±RW or DVD±R Double-Layer discs to create the recovery media.

Close all open applications on the PC. You will not be able to use the computer while it is creating the recovery media.

Create a set of operating system recovery discs by following these steps:

1. Click Start. In the Search Programs and Files box located just above the Start button, type "Dell Backup and Recovery Manager" (without the quotes) and press the Enter key.

2. On the left side of the window that opens, click Dell Recovery Tools.


3. Click Create a Recovery Disc or Device.


4. Select DVD and Factory Image and Recovery Tools and click Next.


5. Select your optical drive and insert a DVD±R and click Next.

The recovery files will then be written to disc. You may be asked to insert an additional disc after the first one. Follow the on-screen instructions until the recording is complete.

Note: Be sure to label each disc. We recommend that you pick a unique name for each disc such as Recovery Disc 1, 2, 3..etc.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Creating Recovery Media for Acer Computers

This guide shows how to create the recovery media for an Acer-brand computer.

Before you begin:

If you are creating recovery discs, ensure that you have several blank DVD±R discs. Note that you cannot use DVD±RW or DVD±R Double-Layer discs to create the recovery media.

Close all open applications on the PC. You will not be able to use the computer while it is creating the recovery media.

To create recovery media:

1. Click on Start and then All Programs.

2. Click on the Acer folder and then on the Acer Recovery Management. This will launch the Acer Recovery Management application.



3. Click on Create Factory Default Disc. The Create Backup Disc dialog box will appear and provide information on the number of blank media that is needed for the recovery media.


4. Insert a blank disc into the drive indicated in the Burn To list and click Start. The Acer Recovery Management application will be in the process of creating the recovery media.


5. The disc will be ejected whenever it has completed burning, if multiple discs are required insert a new disc when prompted and click Ok.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Virus Alert: ThinkPoint Removal

A new malware tool called "ThinkPoint" has been affecting both Windows 7 and Windows XP systems. This "free" software poses as a virus scanner but actually disables your Windows taskbar and desktop icons. ThinkPoint is also known as "hotfix.exe".

To disable the ThinkPoint application:

1. Press CRL + ALT + DEL to launch the Windows Task Manager.

2. Click on the Processes tab.



3. Find the process called "hotfit.exe". Select the program and click End Process.

This will temporarily disable the ThinkPoint application, but you will need to permanently remove the program from your system. Follow these instructions from Microsoft Support to run a Full Service Scan »

Reference:
Microsoft Support. How to remove ThinkPoint from your computer.
http://bit.ly/fSVIby

PC Tools. Remove ThinkPoint.
http://bit.ly/fLPcYL

Creating Recovery Media for HP Computers

Before you begin:
If you are creating recovery discs, ensure that you have several blank DVD±R discs. Note that you cannot use DVD±RW or DVD±R DL discs to create the recovery media.

Close all open applications. You will not be able to use the computer while it is creating the recovery media.

You can use HP Recovery Manager to create a personal set of recovery discs. When you select the Recovery disc creation process, the HP Recovery Manager examines the PC and determines how many blank DVD discs will be required. Depending on the model, you will need up to three DVD-R or DVD+R discs. The creation process can take up to an hour or more. Do not interrupt the creation process.

Create a set of operating system recovery discs by following the steps below.

1. Click Start and type "recovery" without the quotes in the search field. Select Recovery Manager from the list to open the HP Recovery Manager window. Alternatively you can click Start , All Programs , Recovery Manager , and then Recovery Manager.

2. When the Recovery Manager application opens, click Recovery Disc Creation. The computer will restart and launch the Recovery Manager again.


3. Select Recovery Disc Creation again to start the process. The program will appear to pause for about ten minutes while it examines the computer and calculates how many DVD-R or DVD+R discs are needed. Do not interrupt this process. The discs must be either DVD-R, or DVD+R. Do not use DVD-R/W read/write type discs because the creation process will fail.

4. When prompted, put a blank disc in the DVD drive and follow the on-screen instructions to create the recovery discs.

5. After all of the recovery discs are created, label the discs and store them in a safe place.

Reference:
HP Support. Creating the Recovery Disc Set in Windows 7.
http://bit.ly/ftJRKW

HP Support. Creating the Recovery Disc Set in Windows XP.
http://bit.ly/evR90I

Monday, December 6, 2010

Creating Recovery Media for eMachine Computers

This week, we are going to focus on creating recovery media for different systems. For Day 1, this article shows you how to make backup discs for eMachine-brand desktops and notebooks.

Before you begin:
If you are creating recovery discs, ensure that you have several blank DVD±R discs. Note that you cannot use DVD±RW or DVD±R Double-Layer discs to create the recovery media.

Close all open applications on the PC. You will not be able to use the computer while it is creating the recovery media.

To create recovery media:

1.  Click on Start and then All Programs.

2. Click on the eMachines folder and then on the eMachines Recovery Management. This will launch the eMachines Recovery Management application.


3.  Click on Create Factory Default Disc. The Create Backup Disc dialog box will appear and provide information on the number of blank media that is needed for the recovery media.


4. Insert a blank disc into the drive indicated in the Burn To list and click Start. The eMachines Recovery Management application will be in the process of creating the recovery media.


5. The disc will be ejected whenever it has completed burning, if multiple discs are required insert a new disc when prompted and click Ok.

Reference:
eMachines Support. FAQs.
http://bit.ly/evR90I

Friday, December 3, 2010

Windows 7 Software Compatibility

If you have decided to make the upgrade to Windows 7, you should take a moment or two to check your existing software compatibility before installing. With the launch of a new OS, you may find that some of your favorite programs no longer work. Here are a couple of tips to help make the process easier:

Processor Type
Before investing your money into new software, you need to verify what type of processor your computer is running. If you recall our previous post about “32-bit vs. 64-bit” , you can find what type of processor that your system has under the System menu in your Control Panel. An important tip to remember is that you may be able to operate a 32-bit program on a 64-bit machine but not the reverse. Microsoft provides a quick FAQ on processor compatibility here »

Approved Software
Microsoft has created a library of Windows 7 compatible programs for user reference. The Software Compatibility Center features categories from PC Gaming to Security to Utilities, plus it includes a list of 32-bit and 64-bit software versions and a hardware compatibility reference. Click here to review the Windows 7 Software list »


Program Compatibility Utility
As part of the Windows 7 OS, there is a built-in utility to determine software compatibility called Program Compatibility. You can find this utility under Control Panel » Troubleshooting » Programs. This will automatically fix any common problems with older software not Windows 7 ready. Microsoft also has a free Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor program to evaluate your system and reports any issues with software and hardware on your system. To download the Upgrade Advisor, go to Microsoft Support »



Get Windows 7 Upgrade @ Micro Center:
http://www.microcenter.com/storefronts/microsoft/windows7/windows7_store.html

Reference:
Windows 7 System Requirements.
http://bit.ly/ehiwei

Microsoft. Windows 7 Compatibility Center.
http://bit.ly/1gW6Ns

Microsoft Support. Help with Windows 7 compatibility problems.
http://bit.ly/gVgFWR

Microsoft Support. Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor.
http://bit.ly/2wmBJy

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Optimizing your System with Disk Defragmenter

In Part 2 of optimizing your system, we are going to take a quick look at the Disk Defragmenter utility. This program helps to streamline your hard drive by moving stored data into sequential segments. When data is saved to a hard drive, the data is placed into sectors. As old information is deleted, these blank sectors can become scattered throughout the drive, and it takes longer for the hard drive to read and index the data. Disk Defragment moves the data sectors in order for optimal drive performance.

To start Disk Defragmenter, follow these steps:

1. Go to Start » Accessories » System Tools » Disk Defragmenter. Or type in Disk Defragmenter into the search box.

2. Select the disk that needs to be defragged (usually disk C unless a secondary hard drive is installed).

3. Click on Analyze Disk button. This function will generate a report showing whether the disk needs to be defragged or not.

4. If the Analysis report recommends defragmenting the disk, click on Defragment Disk. This process may take several minutes depending on the amount of data and size of your hard drive.


Disk Defragmenter can also be scheduled to run on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. At minimum, you should run Disk Defragmenter at least once a month to keep your computer operating smoothly. For more on info on defragmenting, go to Microsoft Support »


Reference:
Microsoft Support. How to Defragment your Disk Drive Volumes in Windows XP.
http://bit.ly/YerTy

Microsoft Support. Improve performance by defragmenting your hard disk.
http://bit.ly/h1AJrg