Articles in Category: Hardware
Computers, computer systems and the physical components and accessories that make them what they are.
The difference between the various things we could call “memory” is a fundamental computing concept. I’ll review the basics.
Power supply labels can be difficult to read and interpret. I’ll review what matters.
Files accumulating on your machine can result in increased PC clutter, decreased performance, and less stability.
Flash drives are popular, convenient, and extremely useful. But they can fail. Take preventative measures right away.
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 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.
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.
How to get the most out of your laptop battery.
Steps you can take when your computer locks up.
Turning your computer off at night might be appropriate. But is it saving energy? It’s hard to say.
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.
Several components in your computer use power and generate heat in proportion to how they’re used. I’ll review the two biggies.
No sound can happen for a variety of reasons. Here’s how to troubleshoot if your computer is inexplicably silent.
If the touchpad is annoying, you can adjust it or turn it off completely.
Sometimes 800×600 is your only option. We’ll look at ways to work with this.
Issues with copying files are most often traceable to hard disk issues, but there are other potential causes as well.
A checklist to resolve Windows not recognizing USB devices.
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.
UEFI has made booting from something other than the hard drive more complex. I’ll review why, and what steps to take.
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.
Several factors affect how long CHKDSK takes to run, but a scan requiring an unusual amount of time may signal additional problems.
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.
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.
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.
NAS, for Network Attached Storage, is a device that provides shared disk space on your network. You may already have one.
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.
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.
Hard drives fail, and external drives are no different. What to do?
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.
Most modern TVs and computers can be connected easily, but there are a few issues to be aware of.
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.
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 steps you should take right after unboxing your new computer will save time, frustration, effort, and data loss later.
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.
We use the mouse so heavily with Windows. Take a moment to customize it to your needs.
If your machine won’t boot for some reason, there are a couple of approaches to try to get data off its hard drive.
HDMI is better than VGA. I’ll explain why, and what you need to look for.
CPU speed doesn’t matter quite as much as it once did. I’ll discuss why, and what you should also be looking at.
I get a steady stream of questions about keyboards acting up. Most commonly, it’s a hardware issue.
Every so often, the Windows print queue gets stuck. Everything looks like it should print, but it won’t. We’ll fix it.
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.
If CHKDSK freezes when you run it, you may have a problem with your files or hard disk, but CHKDSK didn’t cause them.
Screen resolution is a simple concept, but when combined with the myriad ways that Windows can be configured, it can become confusing.
USB thumb drives or flash drives are a non-obvious but easy way to spread malware. Be careful when dealing with any unknown device.
Hubs, switches, and routers are all computer networking devices with varying capabilities. Unfortunately, the terms are often misused.
The term “server” is used a lot in many contexts, but it’s really just a computer.
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.
My laptop died. Here’s the process I went through to resurrect it.
Terminology around routers and access points can be quite confusing. I’ll describe each, how they relate, and why the differences matter.
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.