Articles tagged: bestof

Where Do Downloads Go?

Downloading a file from the internet is easy – typically just a click or two. But knowing and controlling where downloads go takes a little more effort.

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.

How Do I Create a New Machine Image?

When you get a new machine, creating a new machine image backup as soon as you can is a convenient way to reinstall should you ever need to.

My Machine’s Full of Malware; Should I Get a New Computer?

For some reason many people’s gut reaction to a malware infestation is to consider getting a new computer. That’s just … wrong.

How can I keep someone from contacting me in email?

Sometimes you may want to explicitly keep someone from contacting you. Ignoring them is often simplest, but there are tools to help as well.

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.

Internet Explorer crashes, how do I fix it?

IExplore.exe, aka Internet Explorer or ‘IE’, can crash, but it’s not always its fault. We’ll look at some of the things that can cause IExplore.exe to crash, and steps you can take.

What Do I Do When Windows Explorer Crashes?

Windows Explorer is the workhorse behind the Windows user interface. In many ways it *is* Windows. I’ll cover what to look for when it crashes.

How do I make an Outlook PST file smaller?

The the Outlook PST file or Personal STorage file can easily grow to an extreme size. Here’s a 4-step plan to managing that size and getting it back under control.

Three Reasons Programs Use All Available Memory in Your Computer

Programs typically don’t use all available memory unless they either need it, or they have a problem.

5 Reasons Your Closed Account Still Sends Spam and What to Do About It

Closing an email account is many people’s first reaction to getting hacked and seeing spam sent from the account. It rarely helps, if even possible. I’ll explain.

What Are Tracking Cookies, and Should They Concern Me?

Cookies are placed on your machine by websites — often more websites than you realize. We’ll review cookies and how third parties can use them.

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.

Finding the Owner of an IP Address

While you cannot find the specific owner of an IP address, I’ll look at a few tools to see what IP-related information you can get.

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.

Do I Need a Computer Memory Upgrade?

A computer memory upgrade can be an easy and inexpensive way to improve system performance, but how do you know if an upgrade is called for?

Why Is My Computer Crashing Randomly? The Most Common Cause and a Plan of Attack

Random crashes are annoying and difficult to diagnose. I’ll review common causes and steps you can take to determine what’s happening on your computer.

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.

What for-pay email providers do you recommend?

People often use free email providers for critical data only to lose everything when a problem occurs. So what do you look for in an email provider?

Can a USB Thumb Drive “Wear Out”?

While the technology continues to improve, the fact is that flash memory has a limited number of times it can be written to. It can, in fact, wear out.

How can I find out what program keeps popping up in my taskbar and disappearing before I can click on it?

It’s not uncommon to see programs quickly come and go. There are a few ways to try and capture what they are; some technical, and some innovative.

How can I make my computer run faster?

The most effective way to speed up a system is to clean it up, have it run fewer programs, and give it more resources like RAM.

Why Would a Website’s Automatic Sign-in Suddenly Stop Working?

A website’s automatic sign-in may suddenly stop working when cookies are deleted from your machine.

I’ve Lost the Password to My Windows Administrator Account. How Do I Get it Back?

It turns out that resetting your Windows account password is frighteningly easy as long as you have physical access to the machine.

What Are ISO files, and How Do I Open Them?

ISO files are a common disk image distribution format. We’ll look at the best ways to open ISO files, as well as a couple of ways to create them.

I’m Drowning in Spam. What Can I Do?

Sometimes, it seems like spam is a tidal wave of junk that threatens to make email completely unusable. While you can’t stop spam, you can manage it very well with a good spam filter.

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.

I Don’t Have Installation Media for Windows. What If I Need It?

At some point, you’re going to need your Windows installation CD/DVD. If you don’t have it, you could be severely out of luck. I’ll review alternatives.

How Do I Deal with One Email Account on Two Machines?

There are various options to access one email account from multiple computers, and there are pros and cons to each.

How can I track what programs come and go on my machine?

Windows is constantly starting and stopping programs as part of its normal operations. You can see exactly what programs are being run using a Windows technique called process auditing.

My webmaster left. What do I do?

If your webmaster leaves unexpectedly, you can have a lot of trouble getting access to your own website. I’ll review some of the things that you need to do to prepare – just in case.

Why do some people get 60 copies of messages I forward?

We’ll try to isolate the reason your forwards are getting multiplied, and then look at the only way to really stop the problem once and for all!

How can newsletter senders tell that I haven’t opened a newsletter?

It is not reliably possible to determine if an email has been read or opened. They keyword there is reliably. There are techniques that get some information, but it’s impossible to be 100% accurate.

How Do I Send Someone a Large File?

Emailing large attachments is typically a bad idea as your mail is likely to not be delivered. We’ll look into alternatives.

Where is my Outlook “PST” file located?

Outlook’s PST or Personal STore is a single file that holds your email, contacts, and more. You can use Outlook itself to find the location of the file.

If it’s All Digital, Won’t You Lose it Anyway?

Backing up is actually easier with digital information. One copy of an old photograph is not backed up!

Is There Software that Will Transform Poor Quality Images and Videos?

You can’t add data to an image to make it better, but there are some tricks that can make it visually more appealing.

Monitoring Your System with Resource Monitor

Resource Monitor is a helpful little system resource examination tool that doesn’t get nearly the press it deserves. I’ll review what it can do.

Are Silent Background Updates a Good Thing?

In my opinion, background updates are awesome. I love that Chrome is always up to date without my ever even having to think about it. Let’s look at why.

What’s the difference between an ad and your recommendation?

Advertisements, just like in newspapers or magazines, are nothing more than rented space on a page and should never be confused with recommendations.

I Have Constant Disk Activity and I Don’t Know Why. How Can I Tell What Program Is Doing It?

Unexplained disk activity turns out to be fairly easy to identify with the right tools. We’ll use Process Monitor to track disk activity.

Checking and Repairing a Disk with CHKDSK

The Windows system utility CHKDSK is a powerful and useful tool in diagnosing and repairing certain types of disk problems. I’ll review several ways to run it, and try and describe what it does.

My Taskbar is Missing and I Have No Start button. What Do I Do?

The Taskbar and Start button disappeared.¬†We’ll look at solutions for several reasons why this might have happened.

How Do Those Ads Know Where I Live?

There are several ways websites can reasonably approximate your location and serve up ads specific to locale. We’ll look at each.

Uninstalling Software You Don’t Need

One way to reclaim space (and occasionally even performance) is to uninstall software you don’t need. I’ll review two important places to help you do just that.

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.

What is DHCP?

DHCP stands for Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol, and is how computers request and receive “dynamic” IP addresses as well as additional configuration information.

Should I Use Windows File Compression?

Windows File Compression automatically compresses files so they take up less space. In the best of circumstances, it can free up a lot of space, but all too frequently it’s not as much as you might expect, and there is a cost.

If I Let My Neighbor Share My WiFi, Can They See My Network Traffic?

Sharing your wireless internet access with a neighbor might seem like a friendly thing to do, but be aware that you are potentially putting your own computers at risk.

Why Shouldn’t I Forward this Email Asking Me to “Forward to Everyone I Know”?

Every few days, we get forwarded email warning us about everything from lost children to free money. They’re mostly bogus, and known as urban legends.