Archive for July, 2010
Always Check Hardware Compatibility
Don’t dismiss the notion that your computer is slow because you’ve got mismatched hardware or mismatched hardware and software. These incompatibilities exist and can cause serious performance deficits.
Before you upgrade your computer or replace a piece of hardware, check the processor, memory and operating system requirements carefully. Also check to make sure that you’ll have working drivers for your operating system. Manufacturers don’t always go back and write drivers for older operating systems, so you can’t assume that the new device will work on your old computer.
Before you upgrade, check the memory requirements for your operating system, applications and hardware devices. If you’re trying to skimp along on the minimum recommended RAM, you’re almost guaranteeing yourself poor computer performance. Rather than making your upgrade a multi-step process with a lot of troubleshooting thrown in, consider upping your complement of installed memory.
Before you upgrade, check the video requirements for your device. Some devices or software applications have specific video requirements in terms of video memory, version numbers and graphics processing power. In addition, you may need to upgrade your video driver to make your computer run more smoothly. This is especially true of gaming applications and other graphics-intensive programs like drawing, photo editing and design software.
Before you upgrade (especially an OS), check the hardware compatibility for all of your old equipment. If you plan to use the old peripheral equipment but it’s unsupported by your new OS, your chances of getting a happy result are minimal. You may either have to postpone your upgrade or replace older hardware sooner than you had planned to.
If you’re planning to purchase a USB device, check the port speed requirements. Newer devices require USB 2.0 ports to perform well. Older, slower USB ports may cause your applications to hang or prevent your device from being recognized or accessed properly. In this case, you may have to upgrade your USB ports or choose a less finicky device that will work on older, slower USB ports.
Photo Credit: , via Flickr
IT Buying Has Slowed In Recent Years
During this recession, consumers, rather than enterprise-level purchasers have largely driven the pace of computer chip sales. Enterprise purchasing has been put on hold as companies try to stretch their existing hardware inventory to save money. The end result of this kind of economy is noticeably slower computer performance and pent-up demand for faster computers.
Now, enterprise level purchasers are at the point where hardware replacement isn’t an option. At the same time, Microsoft has introduced a new version of their Windows OS that is much more palatable to the enterprise-level users, in large part because Microsoft has also upgraded its server platforms.
Intel and other chip makers are now the beneficiaries of past years’ corporate economy. What can corporate IT consumers expect to gain from the newest chip sets? First, corporate users gain the ability to dual-boot, which means experimentation with Linux, Macintosh and other non-Microsoft operating systems. IT departments may begin to offer the functions their users want without having to manage multiple desktop platforms.
Second, on the server side, corporate IT departments will have more flexibility to virtualize servers. Virtual servers can free the corporation from having to maintain separate servers for enterprise-level functions.
Third, corporate IT deployments may begin to take advantage of larger memory-addressing capacity – another side of the server virtualization coin. The latest chipsets will begin to break the traditional memory addressing barriers by offering workaround solutions that will both enable a larger cache of installed memory and faster processing for server-based computing.
In the mean time, computer users can recover some of the “speed potential” of their desktop installations by increasing the amount of installed memory on desktop units, and by performing regular maintenance on computers, such as defragmenting the hard drive and performing registry maintenance with a trusted registry cleaner like RegCure.
By performing regular maintenance on computer systems, users can expect to maintain or improve the performance of their existing systems and in some cases, can even delay the need to upgrade computer hardware.
Photo Credit: Uwe Hermann, via Flickr
A/V: A Diminishing Return
With anti-virus software, you can be over-protected. That’s a nice way of saying that you shouldn’t have more than one anti-virus program installed at any given time. To be sure, some AV programs have advantages over others. Some are updated more frequently; others are better at detecting obscure infections. Others provide a balance of good protection at a reasonable cost.
What you don’t want is competition on your system. Anti-virus programs, by their nature, examine the activities of other programs. More than that, they limit the activities of other programs, including other anti-virus programs you may have installed.
AV programs compete for access to the same resources and can throw up unnecessary warnings, cause conflicts and crash the system when confronted with another AV program that is scanning the computer. Some AV programs make nice with each other, so these dire results aren’t always a foregone conclusion. Some users rely on two or even three AV programs that run simultaneously to protect the system.
AV software may work pleasantly in conjunction with a firewall, but throw in an extra measure of protection and you could be in a very slow world of hurt. The rule of thumb is that you should choose one AV program and one firewall program to protect your computer from malware and possible intrusions. Test your protective software for compatibility and if you find a good match, stick with it.
If you find that your combination has produced an unacceptably slow computer, switch out the test components one at a time. You may find that certain firewall/AV combinations don’t work well together, while others produce a perfectly harmonious result. Ultimately, the combination you choose should be one that provides good detection of viruses, as well as good prevention.
Also, don’t assume that firewalls come configured for your system right out of the box. Simply installing a firewall does not always equal protection. Frequently, their default state is either “minimal” protection or “off,” so make sure your firewall is actually configured to do something useful once you have it installed.
Finding a combination of AV and firewall protection that works well together doesn’t mean you can never change your protective software suite. Just don’t expect exceptional results from combined software suites that are designed to interfere with other software on the same computer!
Photo Credit: Dmuth, via Flickr
How To Speed Up A Computer
Computers slow down for a number of reasons, some of which are avoidable or curable without spending a lot of cash. It helps if you know why the computer is slowing down, but there are some good maintenance practices that you can employ to help you keep your old computer working on the lively side.
First, check your computer for viruses and malware. These malicious programs are designed to wreak havoc on your computer. They chew up valuable memory and processor resources, and may even allow your computer to be used surreptitiously by a third-party. Getting rid of malware is important, so make sure your anti-virus definitions are up-to-date and check your computer for malware.
After getting rid of the malware, get rid of the stuff you no longer need. Old files and programs take up a lot of space. If you can’t bear to get rid of these things, try moving these files to an external storage device or write them off to CD. That way, you can keep these files close at hand, but they’re not taking up valuable real estate on the hard disk.
Once you have your old files removed, defragment the hard disk. Use the built-in defragmenting tool found in the System Tools folder. The defragmenter will allow the computer to write files in contiguous spaces on the hard disk and will save time when it comes to searching for, reading and writing files.
After defragmenting the hard disk, run CHKDSK to locate any bad disk sectors and lock them out. Like the defragmentation tool, this is a freebie that comes with Windows. Run this periodically to make sure none of your data gets written to a bad disk sector.
Run a registry cleaner like RegCure to remove any orphans or other leftovers from programs you no longer use or have installed. Cleaning the registry is a valuable exercise and will help keep your computer running smoothly.
After having done these things, your computer should show noticeably better performance. Set up a schedule to perform these tasks regularly – perhaps quarterly – and your computer should perform trouble-free!
Photo Credit: Ensio Aura, via Flickr
In today’s society, more & more people are storing their private and sensitive information and data online. Passwords, financial data, private photos, tax information, back accounts, personal data, etc… can all be found on almost any computer.
Unfortunately, most of this data, is free for all to see within just a few clicks. You have to ask yourself this question, if someone had access to your PC for just 5 minutes, what could they find out about your life using the simple search button?
There are lots of ways to protect your files. A popular piece of software is pc vaults and safes such as File Lock software. This little application enables you to store your private files and data into their ‘safe’ that encrypts and locks it down behind a secure password. This keeps it safe from unwanted guests on your PC as well as hackers or unwanted malware looking for holes on your computer.
A simple encryption software such as file lock will deter many hackers and online keyloggers from accessing your data and stealing your identity. We all know how painful and frustrating ordeal stolen identity can be? Just ask one of your close friends how long it took to gain back their ID and live a normal life with no one opening up new accounts in your name.
File Lock is perfect for those that want protection but also does not slow down your PC. Many of the softwares out there that locks down your data is bloated with unwanted & unnecessary features making the software slow and resource intensive. Not file lock, it performs one function to lock down your data. Making it fast & effective giving you peace of mind.
Apart from keeping your private files in a secure digital vault, we also recommend you keep them safely stored offline. The easiest way to do this is to buy a pasword-protected USB and have backup of your most important files and data on there. Then just simply store this in your home safe to protect from theft and fire damage … Whether you use file lock or not, we strongly suggest consider how safe & secure your data is.
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