Articles in Category: Hardware

Computers, computer systems and the physical components and accessories that make them what they are.

What’s the Difference Between Memory and Disk Space?

The difference between the various things we could call “memory” is a fundamental computing concept. I’ll review the basics.

How to Read Phone Charger Voltage Specs

Power supply labels can be difficult to read and interpret. I’ll review what matters.

Dealing with PC Clutter

Files accumulating on your machine can result in increased PC clutter, decreased performance, and less stability.

How Do I Recover Flash Drive Files?

Flash drives are popular, convenient, and extremely useful. But they can fail. Take preventative measures right away.

My Computer Doesn’t Work — What Do I Do?

People often ask what might be broken if their computer does nothing. It’s a long list, and I’ll look at some possibilities.

Why Does My Phone Charge Slowly on Some Chargers?

Why do some chargers work faster or slower than others? We’ll take a look at some basic electrical concepts to understand what to look for in a charger.

How Can I Keep My Laptop Running With the Lid Closed?

The default configuration for most Windows laptops is to go into standby when the lid is closed. We’ll look at how to change that.

Boost Your Battery! Top Tips for Maximum Life

How to get the most out of your laptop battery.

What Should I Do If My Computer Freezes Completely?

Steps you can take when your computer locks up.

Should I Turn My Computer Off at Night?

Turning your computer off at night might be appropriate. But is it saving energy? It’s hard to say.

Why Is My External Hard Drive Not Showing in Windows?

Occasionally, attaching a drive to a computer will appear to work, but the drive’s nowhere to be found. I’ll walk through one common solution.

Why Is My Computer Hot and Loud?

Several components in your computer use power and generate heat in proportion to how they’re used. I’ll review the two biggies.

Why Don’t I Get Sound from My Computer?

No sound can happen for a variety of reasons. Here’s how to troubleshoot if your computer is inexplicably silent.

How Do I Disable the Touchpad on My Laptop?

If the touchpad is annoying, you can adjust it or turn it off completely.

Why Is 800X600 My Only Resolution Option?

Sometimes 800×600 is your only option. We’ll look at ways to work with this.

Why Does Copying Files Slow Down?

Issues with copying files are most often traceable to hard disk issues, but there are other potential causes as well.

How to Fix Windows Not Recognizing USB Device

A checklist to resolve Windows not recognizing USB devices.

No, Not Stone Tablets

Some stone tablets may have survived, but that doesn’t mean they’re something to rely on. What it does mean is perhaps you haven’t thought through all the issues.

How Do I Boot From a USB Thumb Drive?

UEFI has made booting from something other than the hard drive more complex. I’ll review why, and what steps to take.

Can I Use a Charger With the Same Voltage but Different Amperage Rating?

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.

How Long Should CHKDSK Take?

Several factors affect how long CHKDSK takes to run, but a scan requiring an unusual amount of time may signal additional problems.

What Computer Should I Give?

Choosing a computer for a loved one can be very difficult. I’ll review a few areas to consider when purchasing a computer as a gift.

My Mouse is Moving On Its Own. What Can I Do?

Bizarre actions from your mouse may mean its imminent death. However there are a few less extreme causes of sensitivity and other odd actions to check.

Is It OK to Leave a Thumb Drive Inserted All the Time?

Leaving a flash drive or USB thumb drive plugged in all the time runs a small risk of prematurely wearing it out. We’ll look at why, and what to do.

What’s a NAS? How Do I Set One Up?

NAS, for Network Attached Storage, is a device that provides shared disk space on your network. You may already have one.

What is Virtual Memory?

Virtual memory is conceptually somewhere between RAM and hard disk space. It’s disk space used to maximize the amount of RAM available to programs.

How Do I Fix a CRC Error When I Try to Copy a File?

CRC errors happen when there’s a bad spot on the media of your hard disk. Data recovery and disk repair are often possible with the right tools — but you won’t need them if you have a backup.

Can an External Drive Fail?

Hard drives fail, and external drives are no different. What to do?

Will Using an On-Screen Keyboard Stop Keyloggers?

Using an on-screen keyboard instead of a real keyboard might stop some keyloggers, but there’s no guarantee that other techniques aren’t also being used.

Can I Use My TV as a Second Display?

Most modern TVs and computers can be connected easily, but there are a few issues to be aware of.

How Do I Tell If My Hard Drive Is Too Old?

Age isn’t the most important factor when evaluating hard disk risk of failure. I’ll discuss what is, and what you should be doing to protect yourself.

Does My Computer Need a Memory Upgrade?

A memory upgrade can be an easy, inexpensive way to improve system performance, but how do you know if an upgrade is called for?

The First Things to Do with a New Windows Computer

The steps you should take right after unboxing your new computer will save time, frustration, effort, and data loss later.

How Do I Make My C: Drive Not ‘Dirty’?

A dirty machine is the result of improper shut downs. There are ways to clean it up, but getting control of your shut-down process is important.

Make the Mouse Easier to Use

We use the mouse so heavily with Windows. Take a moment to customize it to your needs.

How Do I Get Files From a Machine That Won’t Boot?

If your machine won’t boot for some reason, there are a couple of approaches to try to get data off its hard drive.

Use HDMI When Possible

HDMI is better than VGA. I’ll explain why, and what you need to look for.

Does CPU Speed Matter Any More?

CPU speed doesn’t matter quite as much as it once did. I’ll discuss why, and what you should also be looking at.

How Do I Fix a Broken Keyboard?

I get a steady stream of questions about keyboards acting up. Most commonly, it’s a hardware issue.

My Print Queue is Stuck. How Do I Print Anything?

Every so often, the Windows print queue gets stuck. Everything looks like it should print, but it won’t. We’ll fix it.

Why is My Disk Busy Even Though I’m Doing Nothing?

Unexpected hard disk activity isn’t unusual. I’ll show you how to use a free monitoring tool to determine what program is causing it.

Can CHKDSK Corrupt Files?

If CHKDSK freezes when you run it, you may have a problem with your files or hard disk, but CHKDSK didn’t cause them.

How Does Screen Resolution Work?

Screen resolution is a simple concept, but when combined with the myriad ways that Windows can be configured, it can become confusing.

I Found a Thumb Drive. Should I Plug It In?

USB thumb drives or flash drives are a non-obvious but easy way to spread malware. Be careful when dealing with any unknown device.

What’s the Difference Between a Hub, a Switch, and a Router?

Hubs, switches, and routers are all computer networking devices with varying capabilities. Unfortunately, the terms are often misused.

What Is a Server?

The term “server” is used a lot in many contexts, but it’s really just a computer.

How to Reassign Drive Letters in Windows

Drive letters like C:, D: and so on are assigned by Windows to reference your hard disks. They are not all cast in stone; most drive letters can be changed.

“Default Boot Device Missing or Boot Failed” – What Now?

My laptop died. Here’s the process I went through to resurrect it.

What’s the Difference Between a Router, a Wireless Router, and a Wireless Access Point?

Terminology around routers and access points can be quite confusing. I’ll describe each, how they relate, and why the differences matter.

Can a USB Flash Drive Wear Out?

While the technology continues to improve, flash memory has a limited number of times it can be written to and can, in fact, wear out.