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Archive for the ‘System Tune-Up Help’ Category



Prefetch Clutter

Thursday, November 11th, 2004

Prefetch Clutter

Do you find that it takes longer and longer for applications to open when you boot Windows XP? One common cause is the Win XP prefetch system.

“What’s Prefetch?” you ask. It’s a way for Windows to pre-load the data needed for running applications before you launch them. It’s supposed to make them launch quicker. What actually happens is that programs you hardly ever use take… Continue reading

Get Your Money’s Worth

Wednesday, November 10th, 2004

Get Your Money’s Worth

We often mention various Windows tools only get emails from readers who say those tools are missing. Many times this happens because the feature is not installed (for instance Task Manager in XP—see 8/4/04 ). Especially if your system came with the OS already on it, you might not have all the tools and toys available.

What to do?

Go to Control Panel… Continue reading

Nslookup – what those numbers mean

Wednesday, November 10th, 2004


Q:
My firewall keeps telling me that someone is trying to get into my computer, but all it shows are a bunch of numbers. Is there a way to find out who this is?

A:
This digital trick is actually pretty easy to pull off:

For Windows Xp users:

1. Hit the Start Button / Run . Type… Continue reading

Win XP Time Travel

Wednesday, November 10th, 2004

Win XP Time Travel

Have you ever made a change to your computer that messed everything up? A great feature of Windows XP is System Restore. You can go back to a previous setup without losing your documents, jpegs, emails, or other files. It keeps track of changes in your system and automatically creates what are called “restore points”. These points allow you to travel back in time to when… Continue reading


Q:
What does it mean to Partition your hard drive?

A:
When you partition something in a computer, you divide it into isolated sections. For the most part, when you’re talking about partitions, you’re talking about hard drive partitions, so we’ll take a closer look at those.

First off, when you partition a drive, each partition will act as an… Continue reading

Control Your Updates

Wednesday, November 10th, 2004

Windows XP can automatically update itself. That means any time you go online it will look for any new Hotfixes that you might need. But, what if you don’t want more control over the updating? Maybe you want to see what the hotfix does before you install it. Guess what? You can.

Right-click “My Computer” and choose “Properties“. Click on the “Automatic Updates” tab. There you’ll find… Continue reading

Windows XP Service Pack 2 and blocked pictures

Wednesday, November 10th, 2004

Q:
Help! I just installed Windows XP Service Pack 2 and now I don’t see any pictures in your newsletters—only a red X. Is there a way to fix this?

A:
This security feature only affects Outlook Express users. All you need to do is click the bar under the subject line in the preview pane that says, “Some pictures have been blocked…Click here to download pictures.”

Updating Drivers

Wednesday, November 10th, 2004

Updating Drivers

Keeping drivers up to date can help your computer run better, add features to your existing equipment, and/or make the device run faster. Of course, it can also make a piece of hardware compatible with a new operating system (like if you’ve gone from Win 98 to XP) or if you add a critical update to your OS like Service Pack 2 for… Continue reading

How to find out if you have Service Pack 3?

Wednesday, November 10th, 2004

Burt from Montana asks:
How do I know if I have Service Pack 3 on my Windows XP computer?

A:
It’s easy, burt. Just right-click “My Computer” and choose “Properties“. In the System Properties box look under “System“.

If you see “Service Pack 3″ listed there, then it is installed

~David… Continue reading

SP2 Hardware & Software Conflicts

Wednesday, November 10th, 2004

SP2 Hardware & Software Conflicts

So, you’re about to install Win XP Service Pack 2 . I suggest you find out if there are any measures you should take before installing. Head over to the web site for your computer’s manufacturer first.

Dell: Dude, if you got a Dell there are some hoops you need to jump through before installing SP2. Check out their page or get whacked…… Continue reading

Get rid of Windows XP MSN Messenger

Wednesday, November 10th, 2004

Q:
How do I get rid of MSN Messenger in Windows XP?

A:
Microsoft decided to make MSN Messenger a built-in default feature in XP. A nice gesture, but for some, yet another useless feature that gets in your face.

Well, if you just remove it from your system you might run into trouble. This is part of Microsoft’s “make it an ‘integrated’… Continue reading

Deleting Unwanted Programs

Wednesday, November 10th, 2004

Do you have programs you no longer use taking up space on your hard drive? Maybe you didn’t like a particular program and want it off your computer, or worse, it messed up your system. Well, here are some ways to get ‘em out…

1. The first thing to do is click Start /Programs then hunt for the program you want to delete. Oftentimes, you’ll find an Uninstall program under… Continue reading

Script Debugging

Wednesday, November 10th, 2004


Q:
What is script debugging? I have been told to select “no” when a screen pops up at work. Is there a risk to it, or is it just a waste of time?

A:
Before I learned how to shut off this “feature”, I too would be surfing along when suddenly an error message would pop up on a website asking me if… Continue reading

Illegal Operations

Wednesday, November 10th, 2004

Illegal Operations

Don’t you hate it when you see this error:
“This program has preformed an illegal operation and will be shut down”.

It can happen for a variety of reasons. In my experience, most of the time it’s due to a software conflict of some sort, usually with a program that’s running in the background.

If you find you have a bunch of stuff sitting in your system… Continue reading

Tips for Running Scan Disk

Wednesday, November 10th, 2004

Q:
When I try to run Scan Disk it keeps resetting. How can I get it to run?

A:
For anyone out there unfamiliar with Scan Disk, I will begin by explaining how to run it first.

Scan Disk will keep resetting if Windows is performing background tasks. Many times you are not even aware that these are happening, nevertheless they are… Continue reading

Command Prompt

Wednesday, November 10th, 2004

I know that a command prompt has something to do with MS-DOS, but what is it?



A Command Prompt is where you enter text commands to the computer. This type of entry was used prior to graphical user interfaces (GUI). Although it isn’t often used in Windows, it is still the preferred method of input for certain operating systems like Linux and Unix.… Continue reading

Close programs when installing new ones.

Wednesday, November 10th, 2004

Q:
When installing a new program in Windows it is recommended that you close all running programs. I have never done it, because I do not know how to do it. My question is: How do I close all running programs?

A:
Actually, you probably don’t need to close each and every program on your system. I do installs all the time with… Continue reading

Conscientious Software Installation

Wednesday, November 10th, 2004

We get calls and email all the time from readers who have trouble running software. Many times, these problems are caused by PBDC errors (Problem Between Desk and Chair) during install. I’m guilty of this too. Many times we try to install software without checking the memory and system requirements. So often we click “I Agree” to things we have not read or “Next” without reading the screen. Here are… Continue reading

Monitor Your CPU Activity

Wednesday, November 10th, 2004

Monitor Your CPU Activity

I don’t know about you, but I’m a hardcore multi-tasker . Sometimes I’ll have four programs up, two web browser windows, and some music playing all at the same time. For a while I had a real problem with my computer freezing up since I didn’t know how many running programs were too many. Then I learned to monitor my CPU usage.

Windows… Continue reading

CPU Percentage

Wednesday, November 10th, 2004


I hit Ctrl+Alt+Del and looked at my running processes and it showed “System Idle Processes” at 90%. What does that mean?



When you click on the Processes tab in Windows Task Manager you’ll see a column marked CPU. This tells what percentage of your RAM is being used. The value of this column must always add up to 100%.

Don’t worry though; System Idle

Adjust Virtual Memory

Wednesday, November 10th, 2004

Adjust Virtual Memory

If you have two hard drives in your computer and your C: drive is about full, you can tell Windows to use your other drive for virtual memory .
OR—if you have one hard drive that is faster than the other, it’s probably better to use that one for virtual memory, since your data is retrieved faster.

In any event, if you want… Continue reading

Virtual Memory

Wednesday, November 10th, 2004

Q:
What is Virtual Memory?

A:
Virtual memory is non-physical memory (yeah, like that helps).

Windows uses virtual memory when it doesn’t have enough “regular” physical memory to perform a task. When it does this, Windows uses your hard drive to store information that normally would be put into your RAM memory. Here’s an overly simplified example:

Let’s say… Continue reading

Clear Your Temporary Internet Files

Tuesday, November 9th, 2004

Clear Your Temporary Internet Files

As you surf the web, every page, every graphic, cookie, etc. is saved in your temporary internet files. Why is this? Well, for one, if you visit a page often it brings up the files from the cache rather than getting them online, thus making the page appear quicker. The down side is that this can cause an old page to come up when content… 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

Quiet your modem

Tuesday, November 9th, 2004

Shut Up and Dial!

The “regular” way to get rid of excess modem noise is to go to the Control Panel , open the Modems icon, click your modem, then the Properties button, and turn the volume down from there.

Well, I ran that tip in the past and it always seems that there are people out there who it doesn’t work for. So, I did some digging and came… Continue reading

See your Operating System

Tuesday, November 9th, 2004

Q:
I have a 220 GB hard drive but my Operating System can’t see it all. Do I need some other software or something?

A:
If you have an older computer or Windows XP using the FAT32 filing system, and your hard drive is over 32GB, you’ll need to split it into partitions . Even with the newer NTFS (Win… Continue reading

Find out what your Windows Hotfixes do

Tuesday, November 9th, 2004

Find out what your Windows Hotfixes do

Every now and then my Windows XP automatically updates. Usually these are to plug holes in the system (as you know, Windows XP is a work in progress). But what exactly do all those hotfixes do? Well, I discovered a way to find out.

First, you need to go to your Control Panel, Add/Remove Programs. Next, scroll down toward the… Continue reading

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