As with so many things … it depends.
I’ll review what’s necessary to run Windows 10, and then we’ll examine a couple of alternatives.
As with so many things … it depends.
I’ll review what’s necessary to run Windows 10, and then we’ll examine a couple of alternatives.
I’m assuming by “built-in tracking device” you mean that someone has actually added a hardware device of some sort to your laptop.
Such a device would share all the capabilities of malware — or perhaps even more.
My new laptop was capable of holding 32GB (gigabytes) of RAM, but for reasons I didn’t bother to pursue, I could find it only available with 16GB pre-installed.
I didn’t worry about it too much, knowing I could easily upgrade the RAM myself should I find it necessary.
I found it necessary.
16GB worked fine, but it was clear that running virtual machines put a little too much stress on the machine, and RAM was the limiting factor.
It’s here, I backed up, and I updated, updated, and updated some more.
Well, now it’s time to put my new machine into service. Let’s review some of the software I’ve installed and use every day, as well as what’s been working well. There’s also one thing that falls into the “not so well” category.
As I described in a previous article of this little series, the first thing I do with any brand-new machine is make an image backup. Whether I go to the extreme to back it up prior to Windows Setup running or take an image immediately after Windows setup completes, I want an image as early in the process as I can get it.
Then it’s time to play, knowing that in the worst case, I can restore to that image.
Though I suppose not everyone will call the next steps “play”.
My new laptop is here, and I’m ready to start playing with it.
The first thing I’ll do probably won’t surprise you, but how I do it almost certainly will.
So far, I’ve discussed the equipment I have and what I do with it.
That sets us up for today’s article: distilling that information into requirements, and making decisions of exactly what I should buy. And then, of course, placing the order for my new machine.
As before, my specific situation — what I consider important and what I decide on — will only apply to me, but hopefully, seeing the process I use will be helpful when it’s time to replace your own computer.
It’s one of the most important questions to ask yourself when considering a new computer: what are you going to use it for?
In the previous article, “The Journey to My New Computer: Taking Stock”, I reviewed the computers I use each day and talked about why I’m about to replace three of them. Today, we’ll cover a more important topic: just how I use, and what I do on, those computers.
As I said before, while the specifics will likely not apply to you, the process of evaluating how I use my technology is something you might want to go through yourself someday.
I’ve decided it’s time for a new computer.
My laptop has become unreliable and needs replacing. On top of that, I find myself juggling computers — a desktop, a laptop, and another laptop — more than I suspect I should.
While my decisions are not likely to apply to your situation, I think that my replacement process may be interesting and informative enough to share in a series of articles. Specifically, I’ll take stock of where I am (this article), what I use my technology for, and the questions I ask myself as I decide what to get.
Let’s start with what I have.
It’s an interesting question. Even more interesting is that the answer may be changing.
We stress how important it is to keep your system software up to date with the latest updates and patches and the like. Even applications frequently self-check and notify you automatically when updates are available.
But what about your BIOS?
Congratulations! You got a new computer!
Of course you want to jump right in and start using it right now, but if you can hold on a bit, there are a few tasks you might want to do first. When all heck breaks loose later and the machine dies, the software crashes, or you get a massive malware infection, the steps you take now can save you lots of time and grief later.
Every day, people lose data, precious memories, and valuable time because they didn’t take a few simple steps to prepare.
And by far the best time to prepare is at the very beginning.
The issue isn’t as simple as you might think; there’s no single answer to this perennial question.
My answer, naturally, is “It depends.”
There are two issues at play here: the power used by a computer left running 24 hours a day, and the stress on hardware components being repeatedly turned off and on.
The “Over Temperature” is definitely a clue, and the fan is a definite possibility.
But first we should talk about … dust bunnies.
You may damage your computer.
By pulling the plug or forcing a power-off by holding down the power button, you risk corrupting data on your hard drive and damaging hardware.
I’m not sure what kinds of problems you’re having with the power button, but even that needs to be used correctly, or you could end up with the very problems you’re seeing.
The short answer is: yes, it’ll handle it. Mine are typically on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The longer answer, however, is more complex. There are trade-offs to be made when deciding to leave your laptop running all the time.
I’m writing this on a $200 ASUS Chromebook. If that’s not something you’ve heard of, I’ll explain what it is in a moment. If you know what a Chromebook is, then you also understand why what I’m trying is significant.
I’m returning from a five-day business trip during which I decided to see whether I could accomplish everything I need to do using a Chromebook.
Why? Because Chromebooks can be less expensive – and, more importantly, safer – than the traditional Mac or Windows alternatives.
And because if I can, chances are you can, too.
As I sit in the Dallas / Fort Worth airport on the way home, it certainly looks like I can.
I’m going to assume that by “main password” you mean the Windows log-in password.
I’ll show you how you can bypass that on most computers and set your own – it’s really not that hard.
Then I’ll tell you why you really don’t want to do what I suspect you’re planning to do.
You probably have a very useful machine, even if you can’t log in to it right away.
Normally, I stay away from specific processor recommendations because things change so much, and so often, and I’m just not one of those people that wants to do a detailed comparison between processor A and processor B. There are plenty of other passionate people who’ll happily do that all day long.
In this, however, I do have an opinion: more cores may be better, but too many may not be worth it.
I always thought an i7 was better than an i5, which was better than an i3. Based on the above, is the Acer CPU better (as in more powerful, efficient, and faster) than either of the i7s? And why would one i7 (the SYX) be about 75% faster and more powerful than the Sony i7?
To call it confusing only scratches the surface of the processor nomenclature and configuration. In my opinion, it’s more complex than mere mortals can comprehend.
Sadly, I am but a mere mortal.
However, I will share my priorities, which the average consumer may share when selecting a computer. In so doing, I’m sure I’ll annoy some of the geekier members of my audience.
I’ll also look at a few more things about the processor configuration mix, and compare the three processors you list.
I am running a VERY LONG Excel’03 Spreadsheet (can be configured to loop calculating alternatives for hours using an embedded Basic Program/Macro). I am running this on a Quad Core Intel Q6600 with 4 GB.
When I check in Task Manager, the System Idle Process will not drop LOWER than 75% and the Excel Process will max out at 25%. I’ve tried upping the priority of the process and have checked the “affinity” to ensure it’s using all 4 processor cores. The Performance tab does show activity / load on all 4 processor windows.
What’s up? Why can’t I utilize more than 25% of my system when I want to use it for a high priority and very lengthy task?
It’s one of the most frustrating things to experience. Here you go and spend extra money to get that super fast quad- (or more) core processor, throw a huge task at it expecting it to go two or four times faster…
And it just pokes along.
The good news, if you want to call it that, is that there’s nothing wrong. The bad news is that … there’s nothing to be fixed. This is completely expected, and depends entirely on the software you’re running.
So far in this series I’ve discussed what kind of computer you should consider, who to get it from, and talked a little about screen size and weight for laptop/portable computers.
Next I want to look at some of the many options around what goes in just about any computer you might get.
Next to understanding the type of computer you need, which I discussed in a previous article, perhaps the next most important decision (and common question) is what manufacturer or brand with which to invest your money, and within that, the which specific model to purchase.
This is one of those questions that also keeps changing over time. I’ll review some of the alternatives, starting with one of the most fundamental questions of all.
This is an extremely common question. In fact, I’ll bet anyone who’s the tech in the family or neighborhood gets asked this same question more often than they would perhaps want.
The problem, of course, is that there’s no single answer.
It depends on your needs and your budget. And as technology is ever-changing, it even matters when you ask the question.
I typically ask myself this question about every few years as one computer or another needs replacing or simply comes to the end of its usable lifespan.
So rather than give you a definitive answer that doesn’t exist, let me instead walk you through some of the things you should consider when it’s time to get a new computer.
In this multi-post series, we’ll start with the most basic of questions…
There are a few things you can try. I’ll list those, as well as one technique that will let you avoid this problem completely in the future.
Everything you’ve described can be done on a tablet.
While the demise of the desktop computer has been grossly overstated in my opinion, scenarios like yours are certainly candidates for just using a tablet. I know several people who do.
However, it’s my opinion that you may replace the seemingly never ending hassles with Windows with a completely new set of hassles based on whatever tablet technology you pick up.
Memory, hard disk, and RAM: I get a surprising number of questions that show a misunderstanding between these most basic of computer terms.
The most common mix-up is that people believe they are the same. While they’re not, I can see how it could be easy to confuse them at a conceptual level. So, let me explain these three terms.
Blue screens can happen for a variety of reasons. These days, driver issues are probably number one on that list, tied with problems at shut down.
Machines are definitely coming with more RAM these days. Prices dropped, so increasing RAM became very feasible for manufacturers to do.
So, let’s talk about RAM.
No one likes pop-up notices and advertisements. In your case, it’s difficult to be specific about a solution because fixing this depends on exactly what ads and pop-ups you see, what they look like, and how they appear.
Because there are so many potential sources for pop-ups and advertisements, I’m going to review some of the most common and hope that one of them will apply in your situation.
Well, the answer here is, as it is so often … it really all depends.
In my opinion, the death of the PC has been grossly exaggerated. They are not doomed. They are not going away anytime soon. I have several different reasons I say that.
To be perfectly honest, it’s rare to replace a CPU simply, much less replace it with one of a higher speed.
Speed is typically tied to the motherboard. Even when you can replace the CPU (and we’ll talk about a couple of scenarios where that can happen), the motherboard determines the speed. It’s the motherboard that is most often the limiting factor.
As for speed, let’s look at what you can do about that.
Unfortunately, there’s no blanket answer I can give to you. It depends on what you’re trying to do with this machine, and how it isn’t meeting your needs today.
If you’re considering an upgrade, it’s obvious there is something about this machine you don’t like. You either want to improve it or do something with it now that you can’t do currently.
Let me throw out a few ideas.
Sounds to me like you have a computer that’s running fairly hot.
Most computers have a temperature sensor and a variable-speed fan. As your machine runs, it keeps an eye on how warm it is and decides at what speed to run the fan.
It sounds like your machine is getting hot quickly and tries to cool itself off by running the fan at full speed. That cools it down somewhat so the fan can be slowed down, but then it heats up again and it’s full speed (fan) ahead!
The real question here isn’t why your fan runs so much, but why is your computer getting so hot? There are several reasons why this might be happening.
There are a couple of different things that could be going on, but as you’re just trying to grab the data off of that PC, you have a few options.
The solution for this depends on the version of Windows that you have and from your description, I can’t tell what you’re running, so I’ll look at some of the most common solutions.
This is actually an example question. I get a number of questions like this from time to time. The scenario is this: you have something like a laptop whose screen has failed. In other words, you can’t see what’s on your computer. One of the very common approaches to try and work around that until it gets fixed or replaced is to connect to an external monitor. The problem is that the external monitor doesn’t show anything.
There are a couple of additional steps that might be necessary, beyond just plugging in the monitor.
I was very intrigued when the Microsoft Surface Pro came out. The size and shape and the combination of it being both a PC and a tablet had me very interested in understanding whether or not this was something that was going to succeed.
Rather than being some kind of in-depth review (there are plenty of those elsewhere, I’m sure), these are simply my impressions after two months of having my Microsoft Surface Pro.
My emotions are mixed. I really want this device to succeed because it represents what to me is an incredibly interesting hybrid device – both tablet and PC. With that hybridization comes a tremendous amount of potential and power, and I’ll explain why I say that momentarily.
Unfortunately by trying to be both it’s possible that the Surface Pro fails to do either exceptionally well.
Good, perhaps, but not exceptional.
That may or may not be enough.
I’m having problem starting up my computer. When I press the Power button, it lights up and everything inside it runs, but nothing appears on my monitor. I don’t know what’s the problem. I already cleaned it and had reset the CMOS, but nothing works.
Well, I’ll put it this way: just because the lights are on, doesn’t mean anyone’s home.
I get this and similar questions often. You turn on your computer. It makes noise, you can see lights – perhaps even blinking lights – and assume that it must be running.
It might be.
Problem is – it might also not be running at all.
While I was asleep, my cat must have tipped over a part full cup of water on my new laptop computer. The computer lid was closed and the AC power cord was connected when my daughter tried to turn it on in the morning. It did not turn on (and it hasn’t ever since, even after leaving it to dry out for a couple of weeks). There was also a small pool of water under the computer (about 5cm in diameter) and drips of water come from the keyboard when tipped over. What should I do to maximize my chances of getting it working?
I’m going to recommend an obscure long shot as something to try.
I’m also going to ask for help.
In all desktop PCs there is a battery – what is the purpose of this battery and how long does it last before it has to be replaced? Does the replacement of this battery affect the BIOS of the computer? I’ve had a PC for 6 years now and never replaced the battery.
Actually all PCs, desktop and laptop alike, have a battery like this, typically referred to as the “CMOS” battery. It serves an important function, even though it’s actually possible on most machines to run without
one … which quickly becomes annoying.
The good news is that, as you’ve seen, they typically last for years.
When I close the lid of my Toshiba notebook, the internet stops, meaning that if I want to download stuff, the lid always has to be open, which is really annoying. Any way to change this without connecting another monitor and mouse?
It’s probably not the internet that’s stopping; it’s the entire computer.
The default configuration for most laptops these days is to go into Standby, or even Hibernation, when the laptop is closed.
Fortunately, it’s just a setting you can control in Windows.
I get so many variations on this question so often that I just have to address it.
In short: there’s nothing even close to enough information for me to hazard a guess as to what might be wrong. And it’s just not a simple yes or no question.
Let me run through a list of some of the things it might be.
A ‘headless’ machine is just a machine with no keyboard, mouse or monitor attached, which you access over the network only.
I’ve never heard of Windows refusing to boot because of no monitor being attached. But there’s at least one other ‘catch’ that could be the problem.
What is virtual memory?
There’s memory and then there’s disk space. There’s memory that’s on disk, not to be confused with memory that looks like a disk. Disk that looks like memory? Isn’t the disk a kind of memory? Or is it something else?
It’s very confusing, but we can clear a few things up. Disks and memory are fairly easy. Virtual memory is one way that they overlap; with a little explanation, we can make that a little less confusing, too.
So just what is a “server” anyway?
The word “server” gets thrown around a lot these days. We hear about web servers, print servers, mail servers, dedicated servers, shared servers, and more. Just what does the word “server” mean these days?
While it might have gotten confusing, it’s not really that mysterious. Servers are very common. In fact, you’re probably using one right now.