Articles in Category: Hardware
Computers, computer systems and the physical components and accessories that make them what they are.
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 Does My Phone Charge More Quickly 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.
NAS Drive Failure: How I Dodged a Bullet
I had an impending NAS drive failure. I’ll share how I got there, the mistakes I made, the things I did right, and the lessons I learned.
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.
How to Monitor Network Activity and Speed up Your Machine’s Connection
Process Monitor is a powerful tool and it can be used to track down exactly what program on your machine is responsible for internet activity.
Why won’t some files defrag?
When you defrag files the pieces of the file are physically arranged for quicker access. But you can’t defrag some files. At least, not easily.
How should I store scans of old photographs?
Long term storage of something as precious as photographs warrants some thought. It’s something I care about, and have thought about a lot.
Is USB Safe?
Recently a flaw given the name “BadUSB” has been found to potentially make many USB devices fundamentally not secure. I’ll look at what the flaw is, and what we know today about its implications.
How Do I Boot from CD/DVD?
Most computers with a CD or DVD drive can boot from that drive, but it frequently takes a small configuration change in the computer’s BIOS.
How do I replace my system hard drive without installation media?
It sounds like your hard drive is dead. You are going to have to dig deep to get the computer going again.
My machine has no optical drive. What if I need one?
It’s probably safe to say that the days of the optical drive are coming to a close. Not this week, not this year, perhaps not even this decade but I think the writing is on the wall. But not to worry.
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.
Will My Old CRT Work with a New Computer?
Of course it depends, but you may be able to get that old monitor working with a new computer.
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 a Dynamic Disk?
Chances are that you have a basic disk, and don’t need the functionality offered by dynamic disk support. Even if that functionality actually is kind of cool.
Can I Make My C: Partition Bigger by Taking Space from D:?
Changing the layout of the hard disk make the C: partition bigger requires a few steps, and occasionally special tools.
Should I backup to an SD Card?
I see the appeal of slipping a little SD card into the slot of your computer for backups, but the safety of your precious data on that card has me worried!
Is Moore’s Law over?
CPUs may not be getting faster as quickly as they once did, but Moore’s law isn’t really about speed; it’s about circuitry. We’re still improving in many other ways.
Why Are Touch Screen Monitors so Much More Vivid?
Touch screens are normal screens with touch detection built in. There’s no obvious reason it would be brighter, but I have a few thoughts.
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.
How Should I Use My SSD and HD Together?
The thing to consider is: what do we love most about solid state drives, and conversely, what would we worry about?
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.
Did My Boot Defragmenter Tool Actually Fix My Boot Problems?
A bad sector on your hard drive could be causing strange intermittent problems. I’ll show you an easy way to find out.
What Do I Do If I Can’t Boot from a CD or DVD Drive?
Many computers are now built without DVD drives. This can cause big problems when you need to restore your computer.
How Do I Use My Television Screen with My Laptop?
It is common to use an external screen, or even a projector with a laptop. More than likely you can set up your TV using the same connectors.
Can You Recommend a Good External Hard Drive?
Quality and features in hard drives can change over time. So first, look at your needs.
If I buy the same model replacement machine, can I just move the hard disk?
Replacing a hard drive on an identical model laptop might just work, but let’s make sure there are no misunderstandings here.
Why does my computer make a grinding noise when starting up?
A grinding noise and slow computer probably indicate the worse. Stop everything right now and back up!
Why Don’t My Speakers Work?
Suddenly losing your computer’s sound can be due to many different things. I’ll point out a common problem that many people aren’t aware of that is very easy to fix.
My External Drive Is No Longer Visible. How Can I Get Its Contents?
If you’re backed up, this isn’t going to be a problem. Otherwise, there are only a few steps we can take to help us retrieve your data.
Will an external drive left plugged in be damaged if there’s a power surge?
It’s not just power you need to worry about; connected drives can also get malware. But that doesn’t mean you can’t keep yourself safe.
Why Don’t All USB Chargers Work on All USB Devices?
Charging requires both voltage and current. You may need to check the small print on your phones and devices to sort it all out.
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.”
Can I stop an “idle” computer from hitting the hard disk at all?
I’ll show you how to reduce the last little bit of disk activity happening on your computer, but is that really going to help?
Why Does My Monitor Go Dark for a Few Seconds?
A monitor going dark could indicate a couple of different problems, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you have a hardware issue with the computer itself. I’ll show you a couple of ways to diagnose the problem.
Why Am I Getting “Open Block” Errors from My Photo Program?
This feels like a hard-drive failure to me. There are several things you can check, but the most urgent thing to do is back up!
Can I use both a wireless mouse and keyboard without plugging in another USB receiver?
Several technologies run wireless mice and keyboards, so you should be able to find the features that you want.
Will I Lose All Data When My Computer Crashes?
It’s incredibly rare for a software crash to damage any drive connected to a computer. Other things, like a lightning strike, can do serious damage.
Why Do I Need to Unplug and Plug in my USB Device to Keep It Working?
USB ports (or the cables that connect to them) can go bad for many reasons. These steps can get your connected devices running again.
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 Add More than One External Monitor to My Machine?
Depending on the hardware ports that you have on that laptop, you should be able to simply plug in a monitor. I’ll show you your options.
Can I Use an External Keyboard with My Laptop?
Go ahead. Plug it in… unless your keyboard is not USB. In that case, you may have a problem.
Will a power loss cause data loss on SSDs?
When the power goes out, data loss can happen. Fortunately, it’s not more prevalent for Solid State Drives. No matter what kind of a drive you get, you should always protect yourself.
Why Does My Monitor Stretch and Distort My Display?
To get the clearest image possible it’s important to have a graphics card that can produce the native or prefered resolution of your monitor.
Will a failing hard drive have warning symptoms?
Hard drive failures happen. Everyone needs to realize that. You can probably guess my recommendation for staying safe.