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Archive for the ‘Hardware & Peripherals’ Category



Check Available Disk Space

Monday, November 15th, 2004

Check Available Disk Space

We get readers wanting to know how do do this all the time.

To see how much space you have left, open the My Computer icon on your desktop (or under the Start menu for XP users) and right-click the drive you are curious about (for most people, this would be their C: drive, but this trick works with any drive). Select Properties from the resulting… Continue reading

Slow Cable Modem

Friday, November 12th, 2004

Q:
My cable company bragged about how much faster a cable modem was compared to dial-up, so I went with them. It was faster, at first, but sometimes it seems as slow as my old phone line connection. What gives?

A:
Sure cable modems have the potential of reaching speeds of 3Mbps, but keep in mind that you share a wire buried underground with everyone in… Continue reading

The Inkjet Refill Debate

Friday, November 12th, 2004

Cheryl from MI asks:

Should I buy those inkjet refills or budget inks?

You want to save some money by buying ink refills? Well, in general, I recommend not using refills.

They are probably OK for printers with ink nozzles that are NOT built into the cartridge (like Canon

Power Management Setting

Friday, November 12th, 2004

Q:
Why does my monitor go black after about 15 minutes of not using the computer?

A:
Windows has a Power Management setting that will shut your monitor off after a specified amount of time. If you don’t like when it’s shutting the monitor off, you can change it by doing the following:

In Windows XP:

1. Hit the Start>Control Panel , then go to Performance and Maintenance

Stick a paper clip where?!

Friday, November 12th, 2004

Did you ever get a disk stuck in your drive? Nothing seems to work—you’ve pressed the button a million times, tried to open by right-clicking the drive and choosing “eject”, maybe even contemplated using a screw driver to pry the thing open.

Before you take out the drive and try to surgically remove the disk, or worse, buy a new drive, try this simple little trick to manually open your… Continue reading

USB Port Speed

Friday, November 12th, 2004

Q:
How do I know if my USB port is USB 1.0 or 2.0?

A:
USB is a way for your computer to connect to external devices. It’s fast, easy to use, and allows you to use tons of devices all strung together. Most newer computers have one or more USB ports. Older computers have USB 1.0 or 1.1, while newer PCs have the faster… Continue reading

Liven Up Your Mouse

Thursday, November 11th, 2004

I’ve read about the FDA testing the effect of caffeine on laboratory mice, but that won’t help us here. Adjusting the speed of your mouse pointer and buttons can help liven up your mouse.

If you’re using XP, open Mouse in the Control Panel (click Start>Control Panel>Printers and Other Hardware>Mouse) If you’re using Vista or Windows 7, just type mouse into

Left-handed Mouse

Thursday, November 11th, 2004

Q:
Is there a way for a left-hander like me to make my mouse easier to use?

A:
Since Windows 98, a feature was included for changing the buttons on your mouse, allowing you to replicate the feel of the right-handed mouse (like having the primary mouse click be your pointer finger).

To switch buttons on your mouse to a left-handed configuration… Continue reading

Keep It Clean

Thursday, November 11th, 2004

Keep It Clean

When it comes to our computers, all we tend to think about is the stuff we see on the screen — the software. Most of us tend to neglect the computer itself.

What can you do with your computer to make it run longer? As I just mentioned above, keep it clean.

I can’t tell you the number of computers I’ve opened that have… Continue reading

Surge protector information

Wednesday, November 10th, 2004

Q:
Why do I need a surge protector for my computers and what should I look for when buying one?

We need surge protectors to keep all the little circuits inside our computers safe from excess voltage peaks. When these power peaks (surges / spikes) occur, it causes the electrical circuit to heat up—kind of

10 digit dialing for modems

Wednesday, November 10th, 2004

Q:
My area requires ten digit dialing, so every time I try to make an internet connection I have to type in my area code for it to dial. Is there a way to fix this?

A:
As more numbers are needed for cell phones area codes are being broken up and ten-digit dialing is becoming the norm. So, how to get your modem to dial up correctly…… Continue reading

What is LCD?

Wednesday, November 10th, 2004

Q:
What is LCD?

A:
No, it’s not a mind altering substance from the sixties. LCD stands for “Liquid-Crystal display”. This technology is used in laptop screen, desktop monitors and HDTVs. They are lighter and consume less power than other displays.

Liquid crystals are rod-shaped molecules in the display that spiral when exposed to an electrical… Continue reading

What is a COM port?

Wednesday, November 10th, 2004

Q:
What is a COM port? How do I know if I have one?

A:
Known also as Serial ports or RS-232 ports, a COM port is an interface to connect serial devices. This is not as popular an interface in today’s technology because of the limitations in data transfer speed. However, the length of the cable can be up to 50 feet, beating out the length restriction… Continue reading

The Future of Floppies

Wednesday, November 10th, 2004

Q:
I heard that floppy drives are being phased out. Is there a way to copy my floppies to cd?

A:
Most new computers don’t even come with a floppy drive anymore. Many options for data storage are on the market that have larger capacity than our familiar little disk: CD-R/RW, DVD, Flash Memory, portable hard drives, and USB keys (aka “thumb drives”). While a lot of us… Continue reading

Maximize Dial-up Modem Settings

Tuesday, November 9th, 2004

Maximize Dial-up Modem Settings

Did you know that by changing a few settings you can make your dial-up modem run better? That’s right—you might have a fast modem and a good connection, but you’re not getting the best performance. With a few adjustments, you can get faster connection speeds.

NOTE: Since every PC configuration is different, these adjustments might not work for everyone.

With Windows 95, 98 & ME you’ll… Continue reading

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