Articles in Category: Computers and Computer Systems

Computers themselves, from the motherboard to the CPU to the RAM and other components that comprise “the system”.

What Laptop Would You Buy for $1500? My Choice, and My Recommendation for You

I can’t really tell you, since your needs are probably different than mine, but I will anyway.

What to Do With an Old Computer You’ve Been Given – What I Did With Mine

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.

Why a Chromebook? (And Why I Purchased Two for the Important People in My Life)

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.

How Do I Remove a BIOS or UEFI Password?

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.

The First Eight Things to Do with Your New Computer

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

Picking Up and Setting Up My New Desktop

My new machine was ready! I’ll show you where it came from, and the laundry list of things I did first.

Dell Support Assist

A Recent Update Prevents Me from Booting. How Do I Fix It?

Recovery from an unbootable machine isn’t as daunting as it sounds… with a little preparation.

New system basics

Designing My New Desktop

Looking carefully at how I use my computer, and with help from my chosen manufacturer, I’ve configured my new desktop machine.

The Results of My Year-Long Laptop Experiment

A year ago, I replaced two laptops and a desktop with a single laptop. It’s time to evaluate the results.

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

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

Will My Old Computer Run Windows 10?

There are several options to extend the life of an older machine, depending on its capabilities.

Why I Bought My Wife a Mac (Updated)

My wife’s computer was struggling and it was time to replace it. After evaluating her usage, her willingness to make a change or two, and my own experience, I made a decision that might surprise some.

How to Speed Up Your Older Computer: Five Options

Here are five common options to speed up and extend the life of an older computer.

Are PCs Doomed?

While the ratio of PCs to mobile devices may change over time, I believe PCs will not be going away any time soon. They’re just too darned useful.

My Computers Keep Dying — Is It Me?

It’s easy to feel cursed if computer after computer you deal with has problems. It’s often not you at all.

Could a Built-in Tracking Device in My Laptop Detect My Tor Browsing History?

Malware can do anything, but malicious hardware can do even more.

The Journey to My New Computer: RAM Upgrade

I decided my new laptop needed more RAM. I’ll walk you through the replacement process.

The Journey to My New Computer: Success and Failure

My new machine is in service. Here’s what I installed, how it’s performing, and how at least one aspect failed.

The Journey to My New Computer: Update, Update, Update

My new machine is backed up, so the first thing after Windows setup is to update, update, and update again.

The Journey to My New Computer: The First Thing I Do

How I resolved a classic chicken-and-egg dilemma: I have to turn the machine on to back it up, but I want to back it up prior to turning it on.

The Journey to My New Computer: Choices

I’ve reviewed my needs, so now it’s time to translate those into specific decisions about what to purchase.

The Journey to My New Computer: Just What Do I Do All Day?

The most important information you need when selecting a new computer is understanding exactly what you plan to do with it. I’ll review my needs.

The Journey to My New Computer: Taking Stock

It’s time for me to buy a new computer, and I’m taking you along for the ride.

Do I Need to Update My BIOS Regularly?

Your system BIOS is software, but updating it regularly may not be appropriate. Updating it to fix a bug, of course, would be.

Should I Turn My Computer Off at Night?

Depending on your usage, turning your computer off at night might be appropriate. But is it actually saving energy? In the long run, it’s hard to say.

My Computer Has Started to Shut Down Randomly. Could it Be the Fan?

Airflow through your computer is an important part of keeping it cool and running well. Dust and dirt often block fans.

Can I Just Unplug My Computer to Shut It Down?

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.

Can I Leave a Laptop Running All the Time?

Leaving a laptop running all the time boils down to two things: your convenience and a decision.

My Chromebook-only Trip

I tested a Google Chromebook. On a business trip, can I do every task I need to do, where I need to do it, without major inconvenience?

How Do I Get the Password for a Computer I Purchased at a Garage Sale?

It’s not difficult to gain access to a used computer without knowing the password. You just don’t want to.

Should I Get a Dual-Core or a Quad-core Processor?

Processors are generally available with what are called “multiple cores”. We’ll look at what that means, and how you might select which is right for you.

What’s the difference between i3, i5, and i7 processors?

Intel’s Core i3, i5, and i7 processors present a headache-inducing combination of characteristics. I’ll look at what matters and then dig a little deeper.

Why Won’t My Program use More than 25% of the CPU?

Multi-core processors add an additional layer of complexity to software design. Occasionally that can manifest as only 25% of the CPU being used.

What Should I Get with a New Computer?

A new computer is a major purchase, and knowing what to get isn’t easy. I continue my review of some of the important qualities to think about when purchasing.

What Brand of Computer Should I Get?

After deciding on what kind of computer they want, many people ask for recommendations for specific computer brands. That, too, is a tough question to answer.

What Kind of Computer Should I Get?

A new computer is a major purchase and knowing what kind to get isn’t easy. I’ll review some of the important things to think about when deciding, starting with the type of device you’ll want.

What do I do if my system asks for a installation disk and I don’t have one?

Computers are being sold without recovery media fairly often. That can create difficulties if you run into major problems.

Do I even need a computer?

You may not need a computer… but don’t think that moving to a tablet is going to be the end to all hassles.

What’s the Difference Between Memory and Hard Disk Space?

The difference between the various types of things we might call “memory” is a fundamental concept that’s often confused. I’ll review the basics.

What Do I Do About a Blue Screen on Shutdown?

Blue screen on shutdown could be indicative of an issue with either hardware or software. We’ll walk through some steps you can take to deduce the problem.

Would it be worthwhile to upgrade my RAM?

When it comes to things like memory and RAM, more is always better. But you may not need additional RAM just yet.

Why Is My New Computer Flooded with Pop-ups and Ads?

Advertisements popping up on a new computer bring several things to mind, including what many call “crapware.”

Is a $1000 Enough for a New Laptop to Last Me for Many Years?

Setting a budget for a new computer is a fine idea, but it’s best to dive in a little deeper and determine your processing and memory needs before you go shopping.

Can I replace my processor with a faster one?

Replacing your computer’s CPU will depend on your motherboard. But there is actually another option to get more speed.

What’s the Easiest Way to Upgrade an Older Machine?

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.

Why Is My Fan Running at High Speed?

A fan running at high speed means one thing: heat! The question is, how do you determine the cause and cool down your machine. It might be easier than you think.

Why does my computer continually reboot?

There are many reasons a computer might get stuck continually rebooting. Fortunately there’s no need to lose data. You have several ways to get your data off there and with a little bit of luck you may get you a working system again as well.

Why Doesn’t My External Monitor Work?

You plug a new monitor into a laptop with a broken screen and still can’t see anything! You may need to tap a few magic keystrokes to turn it on.

Microsoft Surface Pro: the Good, the Bad and the Awkward

The Microsoft Surface Pro – a complete PC in tablet form – intrigued me. I’ve been using it now for two months. These are my thoughts.

Securable from GRC

64-bit and 32-bit: Which Do You Want? Which Do You Have?

With Window Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8, the operating system is available in two different “flavors:” 32-bit and 64-bit. I’ll look at why you’ll want one over the other and how to tell which one you already have.