Articles in Category: Hardware
Computers, computer systems and the physical components and accessories that make them what they are.
Repair or replace can be a difficult decision. I’ll review a few factors to consider when deciding.
CHKDSK can’t check an empty drive, and Windows considers RAW to mean empty.
I’ll review the characteristics of external drives and include a couple of specific recommendations.
Hard disks can last a long time, but it’s important to realize that they could still fail at any moment.
A black screen is most commonly caused by a screen saver, but there are other possibilities.
When replacing a hard drive or an entire machine, it can be very convenient to have the old hard drive available in an external drive enclosure.
Using your computer’s power button improperly or pulling the plug can lead to serious data loss. I’ll look at the right way to turn your computer off.
If your keyboard won’t work after a Windows Update, there’s a lengthy list of things to try to get it back.
Replacing a power supply is a common solution to some problems. Make sure you have the right wattage power supply. Bigger doesn’t hurt.
Occasionally, your mouse cursor may seem to move on its own. There are benign and easily resolved causes of this as well as occasionally malicious reasons.
Formatting is the process of erasing a disk for use or reuse. There are a couple of different ways and options.
Chkdsk checks your disk for errors at a low level, requiring exclusive access to the disk to do so. “Chkdsk cannot run…” means it doesn’t have the exclusive access it needs.
Upgrading a computer can be a lot of work, is going to cost some money, and depends on your needs. I’ll show you where to start.
Chargers and power supplies come in a wide variety of configurations. Choosing the right one is important. I’ll look at a few of the parameters.
We keep hearing that SSDs and other flash-based drives wear out. Particularly when it comes to SSDs, there are ways you can see how close to wearing out your drive might be.
Drivers are critically important components of your computer, but knowing how and when to update drivers isn’t as easy or as obvious as we might like.
Occasionally, when moving a drive to another machine it’ll show up as unformatted. I’ll look at some possible causes and actions to take.
Zetabytes? Petaflops? Gigahertz? Confusing terms for our computers’ ever-increasing capacity and speed.
Photographic images have a number of characteristics that we often don’t consider or understand. I’ll review how digital pictures are constructed and stored, and what you need to keep in mind when sharing or publishing.
A fan running at high speed means one thing: heat! The question is how you determine the cause and cool down your machine. It might be easier than you think.
Malware can do anything, but malicious hardware can do even more.
Partitions allow a single physical disk drive to be treated as if it were multiple disks.
I recently updated my wife’s computer again. This was unexpected, but the process reinforced a couple of important lessons.
Rebooting your computer “every so often” is less necessary these days than it once was, but the point is often moot.
Random crashes are annoying and difficult to diagnose. I’ll review common causes and steps you can take to determine what’s happening on your computer.
Files accumulating on your machine can result in increased computer clutter, decreased performance, and even less stability.
Sometimes fixing a pesky problem with a hardware device is as simple as forcing Windows to reinstall a driver. I’ll show you how.
“Reformat and reinstall” just your printer, and you may find that things start working again. It’s a safe and easy first step to fixing printer issues.
Windows loves RAM. Not having enough can, over time, cause your computer to slow down.
The message “Do you want to scan and fix” means Windows found an error on a recently-attached drive. What you do next depends on how disastrous data loss might be.
CHKDSK is a powerful Windows utility used to diagnose and repair disks. /F and /R represent two types of repairs.
“No Signal” is a message coming from your display device (not from your computer), indicating it has nothing to display. I’ll review possible causes.
Windows has accessibility features that change the behavior of your keyboard. They’re easy to turn on by mistake.
File systems are commonly formatted as FAT32, NFTS, or exFAT. Which is best for your thumb drive?
My Computer Does Nothing When Turned On; How Do I Fix It? Something to Look at, and Something to Listen To
A computer that does nothing when you turn it on can be very difficult to diagnose. Spinning disks and blinking lights don’t mean as much as you might think.
Occasionally, attaching a drive to a computer will appear to work, except the drive’s nowhere to be found. I’ll walk through one common solution.
What is Defragging and Do I Need It In Windows 10? What It Is, Why It Is, and What, if Anything, You Need Do
Defragging rearranges the layout of files on your hard disk for faster access. Chances are you need do nothing at all.
While I don’t recommend third-party driver update tools, the tools provided by your computer’s manufacturer are a different story.
It does sound strange that a wireless connection could be faster than ethernet. We’ll start by looking at the obvious: the cable connection itself.
“This device is working properly” is a often a lie. I’ll review what it really means, and where you need to look instead since it’s not telling you what you really want to know.
This is a question I generally avoid answering, but I will anyway. The problem is I can’t really tell you what to purchase, since your needs are undoubtedly different than mine.
Laptop settings control power use when running on battery. Your choices affect performance and how quickly you’ll need to plug in again.
Device-driver updates can come from several places. I’ll review the best sources for driver updates and where else you might need to look.
When I’m given an old computer, there are a few things I do for the safety of the original owners, myself, and the planet.
You can take the internal hard disk of an old computer and install it as an additional drive in a new one; or, consider a more flexible alternative.
Chromebooks can be a viable alternative for those who do most of their computing online and are looking for a simpler, perhaps more stable, yet powerful device.
A BIOS password provides a surprising amount of security on a computer — so much that if the password is lost, chances for recovery are slim.
“No sound” can happen for a variety of reasons. Here’s how to troubleshoot if your computer is inexplicably silent.
In general, faster is better, but make sure you’re testing properly so that you get an accurate report.
The steps you should take right after unboxing your new computer to save time, frustration, effort, and data loss later.