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Archive for the ‘Hardware & Peripherals’ Category



Laptop Overheating

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

My laptop is overheating. Can you recommend any methods or products that would help?

Does your laptop tend to overheat? Is your laptop suddenly shutting down? That could be caused by overheating. You might not immediately notice that your laptop has an overheating problem. Actually, it may take over a year of usage

Upgrading a Dell Computer

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

Andrew from South Africa asks:

I need to update my PC processor. I have an old Dell Dimension 4600 Pentium 4 2.66GHz-1.5GB RAM-AGP card slot. Can I just buy a better/faster processor like a Duo or quad core or something for my PC?

First, you’ll need to find out how many pins

Disabling a Laptop Touchpad

Monday, January 24th, 2011

Most laptops or notebooks come with a built-in touchpad (or mouse pad). Touchpads are great for portability; you can use it to operate the laptop from anywhere – without having to use an external USB mouse.

However, most computer users prefer using an external mouse over the default touchpad. This is because an external mouse is easy to grip, can be used faster and it’s much more… Continue reading

Reversing the Printing Order

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Bob asks:

I have an HP printer installed on my XP computer and it prints the last page first, the next to last page next, and so on. How can I change it so the pages will print in the reverse order, beginning with the first page? Thank you in advance for your help

Suggestions for Seized Up Computers

Monday, December 27th, 2010

Royal V. from CT asks:

My computer seized up, and now it just shows a black page with white lettering. My problem: I had some very important papers (material for a future e-book) written in WordPad. Is there some way I can retrieve them?

Well, Royal, if you brought your computer to me for repair and asked this question, the first thing that I would… Continue reading

Fixing a Thumping Laptop

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Susan from Texas asks:

My Dell Inspiron 6400 laptop started a very loud “thumping” noise. I shut it down and restarted it, again thumping noise, so I shut it down again, asked a few questions made a few calls, no one knows… I was afraid of the battery exploding so my son said to take it out. I keep it plugged in all the time and run

Blocking Unauthorized USB Devices

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

Note: This tip may not apply to all versions of Windows.

In terms of computer security and privacy, USB devices are usually the weakest point. Even the strongest firewall or security software can be bypassed just by plugging in a USB drive.

With the growing amount of data a single USB flash drive can hold (up to 128 GB) and the increase to data… Continue reading

Epson Printer Tricks

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Robert from Pittsburgh asks:

I have an Epson printer which is primarily used to print documents, so I only use the black ink. The darn thing will not work if any of the cartridges are empty. I was wondering if there was a way to trick it into printing, since I only want black and have no need for cyan, magenta, and yellow. Any ideas?

Epson… Continue reading

Setting Language Options in XP

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

Stanley J. from Lewisville, TX asks:

I just returned from South Korea and I got a keyboard with the Korean characters on it and would like to use it to write my friend in Korea. I know Microsoft has a language pack for this, but I’m not sure which one and how to use it when I download it. I am using Windows XP. Thanks!

Darik’s Boot and Nuke

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Serena, from North Carolina, asks:

I am looking to get rid of my computer, but I want to make sure that everything is off of my hard drive (banking info, etc.). How can I do this and be sure?

Serena, you are right to be cautious. Many people think that formatting a hard drive is the best thing to do in this situation. However, this still leaves behind… Continue reading

Memory Sticks and Flash Drives

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Patrick from Olean, New York asks:

The USB MEMORY STICK is an amazing little thing, and so handy! My question? I have copied and pasted documents from My Documents without any problems. But from everything I read, you should download software in order to move this information from the computer to the USB Drive. So how am I

Restoring the Windows Boot Loader

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

Tom, from Oklahoma asks:
I installed Ubuntu to try it out, but I had some problems, so I uninstalled it. However, when I boot my machine it still gives Ubuntu as an option. How do I clean this up? I am using XP SP3.

Note: Any procedure involving the MBR (Master Boot Record) is dangerous and can cause your computer to become inaccessible. While the steps

Comparing Computer Brands

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

Rob from Knoxville, TN asks:

How do Acer / Gateway / E-Machine, stand in the rankings of Good Better and Best computers by support and durability?

Gateway Computers purchased eMachines at the start of 2004 and then was purchased by Acer in the fall of 2007. Even though these computers essentially belong to the same owner… Continue reading

SD Memory Cards Explained

Monday, October 25th, 2010

The quick and simple answer: Secure Digital. Utilizing what’s known as nonvolatile memory, a Secure Digital memory card is very much like a small size USB flash drive, in that, just like a flash drive, a SD card will retain its data even without being plugged into a computer, camera, or other device to power it. The “Secure” in Secure Digital comes from the SD cards’ original goal of providing… Continue reading

Fix A CD Reading Glitch

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Pamela from Illinois asks:

My Dell computer, running Windows XP, cannot read CDs. When I put one in, I get the hourglass and nothing else. What could be wrong?

The first question; was it a commercial CD or a copied disc? Sometimes copies of CDs are not finalized correctly, and they won’t play in

Archiving Your Valuable Files

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

Harvey asks:

Somewhere I remember reading about certain CDs that were recommended for archival information. My recollection is that they had some coating or thicker layers that would last longer. Do you know of such items? Also, are there special storage sleeves for CD discs that inhibit age related deterioration?

Well, Harvey, to begin with, the disc that most people recommend for archiving is… Continue reading

The Difference Between DVD rom and DVD RAM

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Larry from Sallisaw, OK asks:

Can you explain the difference between DVDs and DVD RAM?

DVD stands for Digital Versatile Disc. It’s a type of data storage technology. There are two categories of recording formats in DVDs.

The first category is called Digital Versatile Disc Read Only Memory (DVD ROM). In this type of DVD, you can… Continue reading

Playstation Move and Motion Controls

Friday, October 15th, 2010

In the current generation video game wars, it’s hard to question to dominance of the Wii. As of 2011, more than 74 million Wii units have been sold worldwide; compared to about 43 million Xbox 360 units and about 38 million PS3′s. Another way to look at it is dominance by the inferior unit. The Wii’s graphics are primitive compared to the other two units, the gameplay is

Changing Your Computers Boot Sequence

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Mona from San Diego, California asks:

A friend of mine called and said that she needs to reinstall Windows XP (she has the disk). She has done this before but she always used floppies; now she doesn’t have a floppy drive so she just uses her CD disk. She went to reinstall and her WinXP

Addressing External Hard Drive Problems

Friday, October 8th, 2010

Bob from Edgewater, Florida asks:

I have “Western Digital” My books, 500 Gig external hard drive. I can not access any of the information that is on the drive. Is there any way I can retrieve the information? Maybe software, freeware or anything that I can do. Thank you for any help you can give. I keep the

Burning CDs and DVDs

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

Marilyn from Canada asks:

I have a DVD player/burner and would like to know the proper way to burn CDs and DVDs. Also, what’s the procedure for creating a DVD you can add to later?

The process of burning CDs and DVDs used to be one that only professionals were able to do. Today, nearly every household has at least one CD burner, if not both… Continue reading

Replacing a Damaged Laptop Screen

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

Sandy from Ohio asks:

My granddaughter stepped on the screen on her laptop. Is it possible to replace a laptop screen? Is it a good financial decision to do so?

My first question would be whether you have a Mac or PC laptop? The reason I ask is that, while it is possible to replace the screen on both, the financial variables multiply very shortly thereafter… Continue reading

The Correct Way to Lay Down a CD

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Jenna asks:

When I have to lay a CD down, I lay it down shiny side up. Yesterday my husband Todd and I had a rather heated argument about it; he says that I am wrong and that the data side is the one you have to be careful of (which is the label side) so I need to lay it down shiny side down to protect

Windows 7 Autoplay Settings

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

On any given day I insert, plug-in and otherwise connect any number of different devices and media to my computer. Digital cameras, my iPhone, DVDs, CDs; you name it and chances are I’m quite familiar with each thing and with what the result of me connecting/inserting it is.

But I want more choice! For example, when I insert an audio CD, I don’t necessarily want… Continue reading

No More Mouse Wake Up

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

When I’m going to be away from my computer for a little while, I usually just put it to sleep rather than shut it down. This comes in pretty handy, but because my mouse is so sensitive, if I even so much as tap my desk the computer wakes right up again. This is because my mouse is set up to wake my computer if I move it.… Continue reading

USB Gadgets Effect on Laptop Batteries

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

Gail from Oklahoma asks:

Will USB gadgets like the Chill Pad or Flexible light you sell make my laptop battery wear out sooner?

In short Gail, the answer to that would be yes. Think of your laptop battery in terms of a car’s engine. The harder a car works, the more gasoline it uses

Find the Insert Key on Your Keyboard

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

Josephine from California asks:

Where is the “insert key” on my keyboard?

Thanks for the question, Josephine. The Insert key more often than not is located in the right half of the keyboard and is usually next to the Delete key. The Insert key is labeled “Ins”. The exact position of the Insert various from one keyboard model to another. In this tip, we’ll take… Continue reading

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