Articles in Category: Hardware

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

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.

Why Doesn’t My Internet Speed Match What I’m Paying For?

In general, faster is better, but make sure you’re testing properly so that you get an accurate report.

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.

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 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.

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.

How to Diagnose Wi-Fi Signal Strength Issues

Diagnosing an unexpected drop in Wi-Fi signal strength can be challenging. I’ll review some things to consider, as well as some steps to take to perhaps sidestep the problem.

Why Doesn’t My New, Empty Hard Drive Show All the Advertised Space?

Terms used to measure disk space can be ambiguous. As a result, a megabyte to you might not be the same as a megabyte to your computer.

Can I Recover Old Files from an External Hard Drive?

It is possible to recover deleted data from an old external hard drive, but success depends on how that drive has been used since the data was deleted.

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.

Should I Partition My Hard Disk?

Partitioning, or splitting a single physical hard drive into multiple drives, has pros and cons. I’ll look at those and make a recommendation.

Can I Delete a Partition Without Losing Data?

Deleting a partition is a destructive operation, but that doesn’t mean you have to lose the data it contains.

Is It Safe to Leave a Flash Drive Plugged In 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 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.

How Do I Boot from CD/DVD/USB in Windows 8 & 10?

UEFI has made booting from CDs, DVDs, and USB drives more complex. I’ll review why, and what steps to take.

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.

Is My Hard Disk About to Die?

There are signs we can use to determine if a hard drive is about to fail, but it’s also common for a drive to fail without any indication at all.

How Do I Best Extend My Wireless Network for Laptop Access?

It can be difficult to get wireless network coverage throughout your home. I’ll look at a couple of ways to extend your wireless network.

My Computers Keep Crashing — 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.

How To Keep an External Hard Drive Useful and Healthy Longer

My best practices for external hard drives concern software, hardware, and — you guessed it — backing up.

How Do I Print An Email or Webpage and Have It Work?

Many websites don’t expect you to print their contents. As a result, many don’t print well. I’ll review why that is, and the things to try.

How Do I Password-protect a Flash Drive?

There are several approaches to password-protecting a flash drive, one of which might be designed for exactly the task at hand.

What is “Quick Removal” and How is it Changing in Windows 10?

Windows is changing the default setting for “Quick Removal” for external drives. I’ll look at why, and what it means.

Can I Use External Hard Drives as NAS Storage?

External drives can indeed be used as part of your own home-brew NAS. It’s probably easier than you think.

How Do I Get Data Off of the Hard Drive in a Dead Computer?

Extracting data from a hard drive in a dead computer isn’t typically difficult, unless it’s the drive itself that caused the problem.

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.

The Journey to My New Computer: RAM Upgrade

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

Should I Defrag My External Drive, and If So, How?

You can defrag your external drive using Windows File Explorer, from the command prompt, or using a third-party tool. But should you?

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.

Can I Reassign My Drive Letters?

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

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.

Why Doesn’t My External Drive Appear When Plugged In?

When attempting to back up a new Windows 10 laptop, I inserted one of my external USB drives and … nothing. Here’s what I did.

Can I Convert an External USB Hard Drive into an Internal One?

External hard drives are handy and portable, but occasionally, it might be nice to move all that storage into your PC. You probably can.

Should I Cover Up My Webcam When I’m Not Using It?

There’s nothing wrong with covering your camera, but it’s probably not worth the effort.

How Do I Create a Bootable USB Thumb Drive from an ISO?

If you don’t have a CD or DVD drive, you may be able to turn that ISO image into a bootable USB thumb drive.

How Do I Fix a Cyclic Redundancy Check 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.

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.

What Should I Do About the VPNFilter Router Exploit?

The VPNFilter malware that impacts routers is complex and difficult to know what to do about.

If Shutting Down Windows Cleanly Is So Important, What Happens When the Power Just Goes Out?

We’re all told to shut down Windows before turning power off, but what if the power just goes out? If you’re not protected, bad things can happen.