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   Why Does My
Computer Do That ?

updated August 19,2006

Booted Off The Internet

Question:
The lights on my modem are frequently not working. When they are off I can not access the internet. What can I do? I called my provider and they said that they did not know what it was and would send some one to have a look.

Answer:
To your internet provider, they know exactly why because their the ones doing it. If you tend to eat up a lot of band width or download a lot from the internet, this may happen. Especially during peak times like noon, after dinner, and major holidays when student are at home on line. Recently after our main provider got into the telephone business, their total service and internet speeds went down. But of coarse their price still increased. I think that internet providers should prorate their services, You do not pay on the hours of their down time. When I make a statement it is because those business around us have told me so.

Instructions
When your provider kicks you off the internet (all lights on your modem are doing unusual things) here is what you can try. If you have a router you will need to resent it as well..

1. If you have a single issued modem unplug it from the power and wait between one and five minutes to reset and than plug it in again. If your computer was bought in 2005 or newer it should be in sleeping mode while the modem is turned back on. If your computer is older you should turn it completely off. Complete the modem task and than turn your computer back on.

2. If a router (wired or not) is involved disconnect its' power, remove the cables from the WAN and any rear ports of the router. Complete instruction from number one. You can test to see if the internet is working by connecting the 5e cable from the back of the modem instead of the router to the computer. If it works go to number three. If not repeat number one until it does or your provider comes over.

3. Resetting and connecting the router
The modem is on and the router is off with nothing connecting to it.
Connect the power cord to the router. The lights on the router run threw a sequence basically this is when it resets itself. Plug in the 5e cable to the WAN port and the WAN light on the front of the router should blink. Here is the tricky part. Only connect one computer. Normally this one is wired based or the main computer you use. Reboot or wake up computer and start the browser program. After you see that the internet is up and running on your screen you can plug in or operate and other computers not yet hooked up.

If your not connected repeat number one to three again.

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Last updated July 17, 2006

Covered

 Apple started this extra warranty program and other manufactures are following their lead. Did you know that when you purchase an extended warranty it starts the day you purchased the computer and voids the warranty that comes free. Did you know that you are prepaying for parts that the manufacture knows will fail some time during ownership of the computer.

I bought a five hundred dollar extra (extended) warranty- on top of the money already spent just to buy the computer and extra ram.
I never had problem with my computers until I bought a G4 1.5 GHz Power Book. I think most customers were aware except me, about the latch which left a gap between screen and key board, when closed. So if the lap top is under your arm there is a chatter when the lid and base where the key board is. After I bought this computer, I immediately had issues with the key pad having sticky keys. While typing, some keys (the option and arrow key for me) stuck for a split second, and as they became free clicked during the return to the original position. I brought the computer in for service four times and gave up after that. There was no way to fix the problem. I called the manufacture and was told they had never heard of such matters gave me a work number that could be used to continue service on it. I was the first case at this authorized dealer but soon there would be many more.

I bought a five hundred dollar air cleaner with an extended warranty- It never worked according to the manual.

I bought the five hundred dollar extended warranty. Apple sales a consumers extended three year warranty, to fix any mistakes they have made-I think there is something wrong about this. If you break the keyboard it is not covered. On this model

  • Apple replaced four (4) key boards on warranty
  • Apple replaced 1 Logic Board
  • I replace through warranty twice 1GB RAM

 

More computer companies and non computer companies are starting to offer extended warranties of some sort too. Most consumer stores where the computer is bought have extended warranties worth getting as well..

How to save your hard drive from disaster.

I meet a lot of different people everyday while working on their office computers. Normally it is just the hard drive acting up or not working properly. Some of the most common problems today are virus, spyware, data recovery, pop-ups, and a slow down of their computer Begins the list. Hard drives cost less today than five years ago. A 250 GB more commonly used today will cost under three hundred Canadian dollars or less on sale. Five years ago the same hard drive cost close to seven hundred dollars. Why are hard drives cheaper today.

History

There was a time where the operating system "Dos" ( not Nos) ruled. used simple scripts to run, which help the user access programs like a spread sheet, word processor, real simple games like pac man. As operating systems (OS)developed more sophisticated ways to let the user rely less on having to no the language.Windows 95 used icons or images to help user move more easier around the computer. These icons took up more space on the hard drive. By demand hard drive needed to be much larger than those used before them.

In the last few years electronics have come down in price. Monitors once costing over a thousand dollars five years ago now sell for three hundred dollars. Automation in the factories that make the produces. Effectively now have less over head and can pass this reduction to the consumer. Robots have taken the place of humans. So quality control goes down also. Products on the market are at a high risk of failure than five years ago. More assembly line made goods reduces cost and increases failure of the product.

I noticed today that some manufactures are reducing warranties from one year to three months. More stories are offering their version of an extended warranty for additional cost.

I went to one well known electronics store, the computer teck told me and a friend that he tries to fix all computer problem first before sending them out for warranty service. I asked him where he had taken his training from. He told me that he has a lot of home experience working on computers but no formal training. I never liked warranties offered from stores, that sold the product to you in the first place. Your not suppose to repack them in the box it came in, because they will pack it for you.. Likely after they drop it a few times

Okay back to the Hard Drive and how to keep it from quiting on you. Hey where is the rest of it?

I noticed that what one manufacture does the other are soon to follow. I read that Apples G4 hard drives can predict their own failure. What this is referring to is what Apple calls a smart drive. Software that monitors the condition of the macanics inside. When a drive is nearing the end of its life cycle this smart drive will let you know. Apple recommend that you do not optimize (same as defraging) their hard drives. If you do need to for some reason, the computer must stay on from beginning to completion or you will lose the hardrive altogether.

So far I have only own three computers. The oldest is ten years, than 5 years and 2 years for the newest.

All have some kind of software to monitor the internal workings.

 

ideas

How to keep your LapTop computer cool

Do not turn it on

Keep it in sleep mode

Raise it off the table

Use an external fan

Diagnostic Tools (Software For Home Use)

 WINDOWS

Microsoft Online Crash Analysis http://oca.microsoft.com/en/windiag.asp

Windows - Disk Diagnostic Tools : http://helpdesk.doit.wisc.edu/page.php?id=229

Symantec Security Check http://security.symantec.com/

Scandisk -

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March 5, 2005

My Introduction-Apple computer

Toshiba and other computer name brands

This article was orginally writing for
Steven's Page - Hot Cookie

Hot Cookie- Heated CPU

My Introduction
I bought an Apple PowerBook a few years ago. I wanted a computer a little faster with a lot less problems. The the operating system which was installed when I had purchased it was Apples latest OS X 10.3.9. The cpu worked like a charm and it was fast. I would say at least sixteen times faster than my last computer. It came with an ATI 9700 with a 64 Megs Video card. Far more than the 8 Megs of video found in the last computer. A large 80 gig hard drive would take me at least a year to fill with just applications. A super CD and DVD burner and player. I had a mobile editing multi media studio right in my hands.

A couple of weeks ago Apple had released a software update to iTunes. So I upgraded to what ever Apple was offering since it was free. Oops Apple forgot to tell computers users who are using an older operating system not to upload this software. Apple had released OSx 10.4 Tiger. I find if your computer and software are working on your present OS why upgrade. In Apples OSX operating system the user is recommended to go into the disk utility and occasionally repair disk permissions. After upgrading to iTune disk permissions in OSX 10.3.9 was next to impossible with out fudging around with iTunes and I did not want to do this.

I bought Apples latest operating software developed in part for their latest step towards Intel. Their mistake cost me money to upgrade, new anti virus software and countless other programs that used this level of operating system.

Hot Cookie
I did find a benefit by upgrading to the new operating system. Apple had created something called a widget and ran in a program called Dash board. These are small applications which serve usually one purpose and float on your desktop. For example one that came with the operating system is a calender. In the calender is the month (3 ) Date ( 5 ) and the Day ( Sunday ). You can find many more of these widgets on Apples Web site.

While looking around I found a widget that reads the CPU Temperature sensors. It was free so I installed it to my application folder. Was I surprised when I read a temperature of 104 degrees F degrees or 40 C (which it reads both) and climbing. I was in the basement of a house and the room was cold enough to make my hands cold. I started researching the internet to find out what my computers operating temperature normally is. I read many message boards where other users were asking the same questions. The general answer is that CPUs run hot. To this day manufactures have been looking for newer materials to include when designing CPU chip sets. The new Intel Core Duo maybe that answer we the consumer have been waiting for. In the mean time what do we do to keep our laptops and towers cooler. I saw a Toshiba lap top computer with two fans mounted on the base. Compared to the PowerBook G4 with no visual fans, the Toshiba looks big, balky and heavy. There was a fan over the video card, and the CPU- a good idea. The Apple G4 mounts a fan under each speaker grill, both are designed to turn on when temperatures reach 50 degrees celcies.

Toshiba and other computer name brands
Toshiba and other computer name brands, also suffer from mega heated CPU. Many manufactures try to deal with this issue by using fans. Towers and other desk tops suffer from this problem as well. Towers have more space and can use more fans to reduce heat. A friend once told me that he had a faulty fan on a CPU 486. The CPU completely melted itself in a very short time

Some Suggestions
1.
If your computer is acting stranger than normal, and the computer is hot. Place the computer in sleep mode, in some laptop fans will continue to run until a set temperature is reached. If there were no fans operating during the situation, turn off the computer and bring it in for service.

2. In most computer stores you can buy fan plates which sit under the laptop computer. Some come with two fixed fans which receive their power by connecting to a USB port.

3. Reduce the amount of time the computer is on. Set sleep time to come on sooner. For example turn sleep time on after ten minutes of inactivity. When the computer is in sleep mode there is little or no CPU activity. Temperature go down considerably.

4. Some laptops allow for users to select a manual processing power. You can set the CPU to full processing power all the time or a reduced processing level of power. For example a CPU running normally at 1.5 GHz can be set to a reduced processing level of 1.3 GHz. Which reduces out putted heat. Normally by default most computer are set to automatic, where the application being used or how many applications are on at the same time determines the maximum processing power.

5. Work in a cooler location.

6. Go camping and use your laptop as an expensive heater.

7. Do nothing and you might be lucky enough to have your computer last between three to five years. Maybe less?

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September 2005

Phone or Cable/DSL

How Fast is Fast Enough

To start off dial up modems work by using a single copper line same one that you use when phoning someone else who has a land or non wireless phone. the difficulty is that while using a dial up connections your phone line is shut down. You can either have access to making a phone call out or in or using the internet, but not both together.

When CABLE and DSL or ADSL came down in price and more people used it. It soon in no time became the standard form of connecting to the internet. First of all it will not interfer with regular phone in calls or out calls. Cable has nothing to do with the phone and uses a cable which brings television signal.

ADSL or DSL do rely on the phone lines and use a filter(s). to split the phone signal from the ADSL signal. Don't be fooled cable uses a filter too. So now your up there with the big shots who have gave up the 56k years ago. What is the big deal, besides a bigger price to pay. If you like to surface for email you will like the upgrade. However you will see the real difference with streaming video or audio, downloading large files and you'll find a bunch of other things to use extra speed for. On average the rate of increase will be at least twenty times faster than dial up.

When you used dial up you are on a dedicated phone line. You do not share it with anyone but yourself. A dial up connection does run fast or slow depending on the time of day that your on. During any given business day, before your last meal or just after. Is the most likely time to see a slow down in internet service.

Cable and ADSL/DSL suffer from slow down even more because when your online as is said for being interactive with the world you are sharing your connection with several other users in your own neighborhood. That is how your cost stays down, You can notice these slow down around the meals and holidays. However your already twenty times faster than dial-up. The Internet provider or ISP normally has a certain number of customers sharing any one cable or phone line. When the signal strength goes down a booster is added to bring levels back to where the provider wants them to be.

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FIREWALL PROTECTION

While on the topic of connection there is a difference when using a phone line over a Cable/DSL line. The phone line is shared to know one except yourself. When you log out from the ISP server or simple turn your computer off your connection is disconnected. Cable/DSL does not switch off after you leave. If it did you or the others sharing your line would be not able to surf the internet. Computers are left on more often for different reasons. When your computer is on and the hard drive active, anything can invade your computer even when your not there. For this and other cautions it is very important to use a firewall with Cable or ADSL/DSL. It is not very expensive compared to a lose of all data on your hard drive from being hacked into. Without a firewall your open to the outside attacks from anything or anyone. There is nothing like having to reformat your hard drive, losing all valuable data, operating system and than reinstalling your operating system and than the rest of those applications, you know the rest. A firewall makes you virtually invisible to hackers, that like to make their entrance through ports.

There are two kinds of FIREWALL PROTECTION, The first is to install software, and the second is to install a piece of hardware between the internet and your computers access ports. On some wireless routers the manufacture recommends that software should be used to enforce a solid wall of protection. Some ISP tell you that they are running this type of protection as well. If you what to be safe have it running on your own computer. Software still allows for manual control and gives the user a better visual on what is going on, especially if you are interested in such matters.

If you have any questions or need more answers contact us at info@waymorewebs.com

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Streaming Video

 To put video on the web you will need three things to get started

Content - a video files which needs to be converted to a smaller file by way of compression converted to a smaller file size/filetype)

Place - the web host that will store these files (can be your server or an Internet Service Provider, an ISP)

Method for Transfer - getting your videos to the web host (usually done with FTP, but there are other tools)

Putting video on the web can be very simple if you know of a company that will accept your film, digitize it, and then convert it to a suitable format for putting it on the web.  There are plenty of companies out there right now doing this including Atom Films and Single Reel. Or you can set up your own web site, probably hosted by a company that will sell you a domain name at the same time.  There are free websites available through communities like Tripod and Geocities, but you may need more space than the free host can provide.

You probably fall into several categories that I am going to use for this article:
Category 1. Person with Analog Video Camera and No Digital Editing Setup (Computer and Software)
Category 2. Person with Digital Video Camera and No Digital Editing Setup
Category 3. Person with Digital Video Camera and Digital Editing Setup  
 
Category 1
You are in the most difficult position of all.  Unless you can get a friend to put your video into the computer, you will have to search to find a web host that will accept analog formatted video tapes.  One option is iFILM. iFILM is a site that will host your videos for free; however your video has to be "good enough" to get exhibited...  Make sure you check what formats can be submitted - IFILM will accept Beta SP, DV tape, S-VHS, VHS and 3/4 inch. There may be other companies out there that will convert your analog video for you, like iFILM.
 
Category 2
Sorry to say, but unless you have one of the newer cameras with built-in networking capabilities (see Bluetooth) than your digital video camera isn't buying you too much.  Many beginners will go out and spend most of their video "allowance" on a gorgeous new XL-1s 3-CCD camera made by Canon, to realize they don't have enough money leftover to get other pieces of the digital video/desktop video puzzle. The good news is that some web hosting companies (like iFILM) will accept your DV tape and convert it for you.
 
Category 3
Now we are getting somewhere.  You have a bunch of options now - you can capture a video with your camera, and then transfer the video to your camera via a firewire card.  Now edit the video and convert it down to a smaller size using compression technologies available within editing software or download a free compressor from the web. Make sure you get it small enough to put onto your web host (More info at Saving Files for the Web). 
 
Congratulations! You have taken care of the Content part of the web video process.
 
The next topic is Places to show your film, and now you have a lot of options.  I recommend getting your own URL and web host with a company like ICDSoft ($5/month 300MB of space). It is actually very cheap and you can upload a website built within Microsoft's FrontPage with no problems!  (I am not related to anyone there nor am I being paid to say this, but my site has been on ICDsoft for over a year with no problems at all).
 
If you don't want to do this, there are hundreds of sites which allow you to show your film for a fee, or for free.

The last piece of the puzzle is the Method for Transfer - actually getting your videos to the web host.  You can do this electronically through the Internet, or by using a slower "snail mail" approach.  If you are going to send videos electronically, it makes a lot of sense to get a high-speed internet connection (DSL, Cable Modem) if you do not have one. Upload times will be very, very slow over a telephone wire used for modem connections.   If you are in this position, go to the websites I mentioned and make sure they will accept submissions in a format you would like to send (CD, DVD, VHS, DV tape) and get a Bubble Wrap package to send your prized film to the site.  Keep your fingers crossed and you just might see it in a week or two.

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 Vendor Support
Adaptec 800-416-8066 http://www.adaptec.com/worldwide/support/supportindex.html
Adobe 800-883-6687 http://www.adobe.com
Apple 800-263-3394 http://www.info.apple.com/
Asanté 800-662-7464 http://www.asante.com/support/index.html
ATi Technologies 905-882-2600 http://www.atitech.com
Brother   877-276-8437   http://www.brother.com
Canon http://www.canon.ca/english/index-customersupport.html
Epson 800-463-7766 http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/support/SupportIndex.jsp
Formac http://www.formac.com 
Iomega 888-446-6342 http://www.iomega.com/support/index.html
Kensington http://www.kensington.com 
LaCie 416-530-2545 http://www.lacie.com
Macally 626-338-8787 http://www.macally.com/techsupport/drivers.html
Macromedia 415-252-9080 http://www.macromedia.com/support/
Microsoft 800-563-9048 http://www.microsoft.com/mac/support
Palm Inc. 800-881-7256; http://www.palm.com
Quark 303-894-8899 http://www.quark.com/support/support_email.jsp
Samsung 1-800-SAMSUNG http://www.samsung.ca/support/
Symantec 800-441-7234 http://www.symantec.com/techsupp/
Wacom 800-992-9348 http://www.wacom.com/productsupport/index.cfm

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updated April 1, 2003
How Fast is Fast?
Did you know that the dual 1.42GHz Power Mac G4 is 32 percent faster than the fastest PC on the market which is a 3GHz Pentium 4 processor. Fact is, even the dual processor 1.25GHz Power Mac G4 system outperform the Pentium 4 by 23 percent. How, you might ask, can even the Power Mac G4 outperform a PC with a Pentium 4 processor running at more than twice the megahertz? It's further proof that megahertz alone is a poor indicator of real-world system performance, particularly when comparing different overall system architectures. You do the math.
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Why is my computers download time slow?
September 9, 2002

 Question
I have a high speed internet connection yet when I download a large media file it is so slow.

Answer
Problems with a server can definitely result in poor download speeds, usually because whoever runs the server has throttled the bandwidth too tightly for the demand placed on it by people visiting it's web sites (some people may not have much of an option as bandwidth does cost money). However that is not the case with all servers. In some cases with the throttle set high enough you would only notice a slowness if it were hit with a hacker attack.

Likely what you are experiencing is the more common cause of slow web sites, a cause which has nothing to do with the actual servers that host web sites. The slowness you are experiencing is no doubt a 'router ' problem. Information on the web does not go directly from the web site server to your computer. The information travels through numerous other computers as it hops through different microwave, fiber optic and copper telephone line relays, usually somewhere between 12  to 20 different hops. If there is a problem with any one of those numerous other computers or  the relays they service,  you could experience a slowdown where it ' looks ' like the web site you are accessing is slow.

It's not the web site, it's the Web between you and that web site that's slow. There is not much that can be done about that - unfortunately. Fortunately such problems tend to be temporary.

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Prosperity
January 30 updated

I gave to a friend last year for his birthday a UPS also known as a battery back up. Last weekend I visited that same friend and guess what that UPS was not offering any protection to his new and expensive computer. Instead in the place where his battery back up unit should have been was a power bar. A power bar is better than nothing but if you can afford a simple UPS or battery back up device go for it. First of all let me tell you what a power bar will not protect your computer from and than I will explain why you should use a UPS.

First of all a power bar is designed to protect an electrical device from a spike that my occur in the electrical circuit. A spike is an increase in power flowing from the outlet to your computer. Most of the better power bars have a built in surge protector. The surge protector depending on its rating will allow only a certain amount of electric to pass through it. The rating is in joules and the higher the numbers the more expensive the protector will be. Some surge protectors use a two light system and will only protect one time. A green light will tell you that the power bar is on. A red light will tell you that the surge protector is working. When the red light is off that means that the surge protector has done its job and now you have a power bar only. You either need to replace your existing power bar with a new surge protector (red light on) or better yet a battery protector.

The advantages of using a UPS or battery back up instead of an ordinary surge protector power bar is many. First of all there inexpensive compared to the cost of a new computer and monitor. They will protect your total computer against high surges, a jolt of lightning, spikes, a brown out, and power loss. Many battery systems will also test your electrical connection for wiring faults using an audio and visual warning. It will warn you of an overload when too much equipment is attached to the battery back up outlets. Also it will protect modems and fax that either are using a telephone line or cable connector. Many today have replaceable batteries which can last between three to six years and a reset able circuit breaker which will trip due to very high surges when present.

A battery back up should also be used with your television, stereo, and any other electrical device that has a value to you. You do not need to invest in an expensive battery back up for home use only. A battery back up which will operate your computer and monitor for at least five to ten minutes is all you need. Some battery back ups come with software that will in a power outage turn off your computer when you are not there. The extra five minutes is to let you save the data that you are presently working on. Saving data when the power goes out is something that you can not do with a surge protector power bar.

Points to remember if all else fails. If your going to plug your computer into an electrical outlet use a surge protector power bar instead of nothing. If you can afford a battery back up that will keep your monitor and computer running for at least five minutes in a power outage than use this instead of a surge protector power bar. Following these simple guidelines should now let you enjoy your computer for many more prosperity years to come.

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How A Hard Drive Works
August 30 updated
A mechanical device which is capable of storing large amounts of information in a small space. This information can be erased and new information replacing it more than one thousand times. This device we know it as a Hard Drive, and how it works is relatively simple yet complex.

First there is a circuit board, this is the heart and brains of the drive. The electronics control the motor which spins a multi disk plate made of aluminum magnesium. The electronics are given their instruction from firmware or software permanently loaded into the circuitry  

  The disk platter is made up of an aluminum magnesium with a magnetic material on top and bottom. Each platter can hold about 20GB per side of binary information. So each platter holds 40GB. A hard drive which is larger than 40GB would have more platters added.

Each platter is able to retrieve or save information by having a read/write head ready near the platters surface. A reading/writing head moves horizontally across the platter. Most damage will occur when the power is shut of while the reading/writing head is moving across the platter. This is why a battery back up or UPS is a must with your computer. When you shut down your computer, a software program tells the hard drive reading/writing head to park. when the reading/writing head parks it is moving off the platter to a safe place ready for next time to be used.  
  Whether the hard drive is to be used inside the computer or out side (external) it needs to be connected to the computer. The computer needs to be able to have a way to access the information on the drive. This can be done by using a cable. Also a power cable is included to supply power to a motor which rotates the platter at so many (5400,7200, 10,000 , and 15,000 )rpm. The Head needs power for it to read/write and perform its functions

Hard drive come in many physical sizes and storage sizes and ways in which to connect them to your computer. For laptops hard drives have been created to fit in a shirt pocket. Some have a battery in them to supply power. Others will borrow their power from the laptop battery. Smaller hard drives will fit in the 3-1/2 dive bay inside your computer. These hard drives are also known as internal hard drives. These drive often have their circuit board visible to the surrounding air. The purpose in exposing the circuit board is to keep it from becoming hot while operating. Those hard drives out side the computer are called external. The external drive will come in a housing structure. Included under the one structure is a cooling fan, a power supply and a green or red light to indicate that the unit is working.

Often an external hard drive will cost on average about one hundred dollars different. The advantage of having an external hard drive is that it can moved easily to your next new computer. most external hard drives can be stacked up on top of the other. Drive have come down in price while increasing rpm. The larger the drive the more reliable the drive will be.

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Trouble Shooting for your Computer

Preventive medicine is the computer doctor regiment. So how should someone go about fixing a problem that has not even happened yet? The key here is not having it happened yet by preventative practices. By doing regular maintains schedule at least once a month . If you follow a few simple steps and procedures your chances of running into future freezes and errors are minimized.

Consider this, a hard drives purpose is to store (save) information and to be able to delete information as well. When a hard drive has erased information, gaps (spaces) remain. Let me explain how a hard drive saves data to itself. First of all information is stored as 0 and 1 or binary code that the computer can understand. ( that is as technical as it will get here) In a nut shell when information or data is saved to a hard drive it looks for the first empty gap (space) on the drive and fills it. When that gap (space) is filled it looks for the next empty gap (space) and fills that space. This processes continues until the information that you are saving is now on your hard drive. Next time when you recall or request this information you may find that your computer finds this information slowly. To find the information a reader in your hard drive must move from gap to gap in order to find all of the information. It is the time that it takes for the reading head to move from gap to gap that slows the computer down. A very good way to speed up your computer is to optimize the hard drive.

To optimize a hard drive is to basically reorganize the information already on the hard drive. The way that this is done is with a software program designed to optimize a hard drive or storage unit. Most utility programs will have optimizing as part of their software. The software will check all the media on the drive, and place tags. These tags identify each piece of related information scattered in may gaps all over the drive.

Information that has been saved to many different gaps on a hard drive are also referred to as fragments. The optimizing program will than rewrite these fragments to a location on the hard drive where they can all be put together in one gap (space) When the drive is completely optimize all data on that drive has now been reorganized the reading head now only has to look at one line for the information. No longer does the reading head have to search the whole disc and the computer runs faster. However as you delete and save again after optimizing new gaps will appear.

To keep your computer running at an optimal speed you should optimize your hard drive at lease once per month. For some computers with large hard drive, optimization can be done at night or over the weekend. Most often it is wise to boot up from the utility cd which should have the same operating system that you are using. Normally optimizing will not take place on active files. By using the utility disc allows for the whole hard drive now including the operating system to be optimize. You may even see an increase in the time that your computer starts up from the off position.

The software that comes with your operating system often performs slower than a utility program designed to optimize your hard drive. Plus a utility program will often come with other diagnostic software to help keep your computer running at its best.

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What is a Virus
June 2001 (Article 2)

Q. What is a virus?
A. A computer virus may be loosely defined as a program code that replicates
itself on execution and creates undesirable effects. Some anti-virus software
vendors say that a computer virus is any program that replicates itself. Others
contend that a virus can be any ill-intentioned program. In the absence of a
precise definition, there is a consensus in one area: The likelihood that your
PC will be hit by a virus increases immeasurably if you access the Internet,
swap software with friends, exchange files via E-mail or are hooked up to a
network.

Q. What does a virus do?
A. Virtually every virus tries to do one thing. First: Spread to other programs
and data files on your hard disk. When you boot up from an infected disk,
open an infected file or run an infected program, the virus's code is copied
into your PC's memory. From there, the code usually attempts to attach itself
to other files. The rogue code may also alter data-file contents, cause program
crashes, display annoying screen messages, degrade system performance or
even destroy all of your disk files. There are even viruses that can detect your
E-mail program, and then compose and send messages with infected
attachments.

Q. Can a virus damage hardware?
A. The simple answer is no, not directly. Theoretically, your hardware could
be affected by a virus that exerts unusual stress on your system by doing
something like accessing the hard disk continuously or switching your video
card to unsupported settings. Realistically, however, the risk of hardware
damage from a virus is minimal.

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 May 2001 (Article 1)

We have all heard this before to back up your hard drive onto another drive or second soarce. It seems that even though we know this how many actually do it. The growing increase of larger hard drives on newer computers, makes you wonder what would you save to. On a twenty GB hard drive where would you store the contents of this drive. I suppose you could save it to a DVD disc, however the cost of a DVD burner is still steep in price and the disc are pricey as well. Or you could save your contents to a whole lot of CD-Rs which are still cheaper. The next thing to worry about where to store them all.

It is not as hopeless as it sounds above, there is always an answer to be found. First of all most utility disc like Norton have the latest operating system on them. Then if your computer goes down and regular starting your computer does not work you have another way of booting to get back up. Second to remember is that all your applications are already on a CD or two, so you can reboot from them as well. The third thing to remember is to back up everyday, not once a week or once a month. My solution to this is to save to an external back up. When working on a project of any kind I like to save to a 1 or 2 GB Jazz cartridge. But the safest source is still a CD-R or DVD because they can not be erased from magnets or accidental erasing unless your writing to a CD-RW or DVD-RW but you would know that. It is true that these dics are not infallible a strong heat source will melt the plastic of the disc. Scratching a disc is unlikely unless you take a nail and dig deeply into the disc. A second hard drive works very well but in time you will be looking to buy another hard drive, which by the way are cheaper and larger than those of yesterdays drives.

Just remember if you back up what is most important to you right now when your computer is working well. When the computer is not working well half the battle has already been won.

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