Taking Care of Your Laptop

Taking Care of Your LaptopIt is certain that every laptop owners want to keep their machine in the best possible condition. Aside from cleaning your screen and dusting the keyboard, however, you’ll need to take a few extra steps to maintain your laptop’s health:

Cooling

A laptop computer generates a lot of heat, especially when running the latest high-powered software. Too much heat and you risk damaging the internal circuitry. Always try to keep your laptop in a well-ventilated, cool environment. And ensure you don’t block the fan grills on the sides, back, or bottom of the machine at any time.

Handle the screen carefully

Avoid touching or playing with your LCD screen. Yes, it might be fun to watch the waves generated by your finger against the screen, but LCD displays are fragile devices that must be cared for.

Take care when cleaning the screen too, and use only approved cleaning materials. You won’t want to pay the money for screen repairs or, even worse – a new machine entirely.

Don’t drop it

Whatever you do, don’t drop your laptop computer! Keep it safe inside of a carrying case when moving around or traveling. Don’t leave it on the edge of a table or on an unstable support of some kind. One ill-fated drop to the floor could spell death for your mobile office.

Try to make sure the rubber feet underneath are in good condition and are still attached. This will prevent the device from sliding around accidentally.

Be careful with your drinks

If you need to have a drink while working or playing, be careful not to spill it. Your laptop computer could suffer the consequences from just a few drops of liquid poured in the right places.

While you probably do eat and drink around it regardless, you will want to occasionally wipe down the edges, the keyboard, the touchpad, and maybe even wipe down the screen to keep any dirt from accumulating.

Virus protection

Security wise, make sure you obtain an anti-virus program, and always keep it updated! Buying an anti-virus one month and not updating it for the next six really negates it purpose. Your laptop computer could be exposed to hundreds and thousands of new viruses every month if you don’t update your virus definitions.

Most anti-virus programs have automatic update methods, eliminating the need for you to have to remember to do it manually.

Avoid Popups

Pop-ups are particularly annoying on a laptop computer. Trying to close a bunch of windows without a regular mouse can be a nuisance. Many intrusive forms of advertising, and even some viruses, can install software on your machine by using various forms of pop-ups. It’s best to get yourself a blocker and avoid the situation entirely.

Use a firewall

Always utilize a firewall on your Internet or network- enabled laptop computer. Even if you use Windows built- in firewall (or purchase one from such companies as Norton), your security will greatly benefit from it.

Blocking out all the unnecessary ports and closing all the loopholes will prevent a hacker or virus from freely entering your hard drive.

 

So there you go. Combine all of the above tactics and help your laptop enjoy a happier and healthier lifestyle!

PC Crash

PC CrashIt’s very frustrating when your PC is freeze or also known as crash or hang.  The computer locks up and the mouse and keyboard do not respond. You may lose data and you certainly lose time and patience.

Typically, you need to press Ctrl+Alt+Del to see the programs that are running and to try to close the program that is not responding, or you need to force a restart.

So why does your computer freeze up? Here are some common things that can causes your PC crashed;

Low memory

Low disk space

Fragmented disk

Too many programs open simultaneously

Low CPU speed

Corrupt files

Software bugs

Overheating - random lockups that start several minutes after you start up the PC are often the result of the processor cooling fan not working properly

Some non-standard applications are suspect with freezing problems

Memory chip problems

Virus infection

 

There are many things that you can do to help your computer do what you want without testing your patience. Here are few tips that you can take to minimize the risk of your PC getting crash or freezing:

Do a disk cleanup (cache, temp files, old or unused files, recycle bin) .. click here for instructions.

Do not run any more applications at one time than you need to.

If the freezing happens consistently with one application, uninstall and reinstall it – files associated with the application may have become corrupted. Always use Control Panel/ Add Remove programs, or the uninstall program belonging to the program to uninstall a program.

If the freezing has been occurring since you installed a new program, uninstall it.

Uninstall any programs that you may have downloaded and installed in the past, but no longer use.

Free up resources – click on Run and type “msconfig” in the dialog box. Next, click on the “Startup” tab. All the programs listed here with check marks are running in the system memory. To free resources

Run ScanDisk or Check Disk

Defragment your disk.

Upgrade – If you have an older computer and are trying to run multiple applications, you may need to upgrade your computer… check the system specifications recommended for the applications you are running to see if your system is capable of doing what you are asking.

Obtain the latest drivers for your hardware – go to the web sites of the hardware manufacturers and get the latest drivers for your video card, sound card etc

Redetect your devices – remove the components from the Control Panel, System, Device Management screen. Reboot the system and let Windows redetect and add only those devices which are actually on your system.

Make sure that you have anti-virus software installed. Set it to automatically update virus definitions, to scan all incoming files, and to do a full system check at regular intervals.

Hotspots and Free Wi-Fi

Free Wi-FiWhenever you hear the word ‘Free’ in association with a product or service it’s a good idea to keep it in mind because, in truth, nothing is free. Someone, somewhere, somehow, is bearing an economic cost; and so it is with free Wi-Fi hotspots. For the most part any of the free Wi-Fi hotspots you’ll come across will have some sort of quid pro quo associated with them.

If you go to a McDonalds, for example, you can get a bit of free Wi-Fi with the purchase of a meal. In many other eating places, although not explicitly stated, it’s implied that you’re expected, as you should be, to buy something for the privilege of taking up table space while surfing the ‘net’.

Along with businesses several Municipal and International Airport Authorities, as well as a growing number of airline club lounges, are providing free Wi-Fi in an effort to sway travelers, who may have a choice between several carriers or nearby airports, to choose them. Similarly, more and more hotels are offering free Wi-Fi for their guests so, while the Wi-Fi hotspot may be advertised as free, its cost is rolled into the room rate or expensed to advertising.

There are a few venues in which, although funding may come through taxation of some sort, no direct user cost is associated. An increasing number of public libraries, for example, are offering free Wi-Fi and, amid increasing controversy, several towns and cities have either set up free Wi-Fi Hotzones or they’re exploring the possibilities.

Finding these free Wi-Fi hotspots is not that difficult. These days many public areas such as café, restaurants, hotel, library or airports will provide free Wi-Fi hotspots. But, when you’re accessing a free Wi-Fi hotspot there are a few things you should keep in mind:

Don’t expect much tech help. The waiters, waitresses or baristas may have some working knowledge but, don’t count on it, that’s not why they’re there.

Don’t overstay your welcome. If there’s a line of people trying to find a seat and you’ve been nursing a latte for two hours you, and others like you, may be contributing to the venue owner’s growing desire to start charging a hefty fee for the Wi-Fi access they provide.

Make sure you follow good Wi-Fi Hotspot Security practices.

 

So, while free may not be entirely free, it’s definitely reasonable. With a bit of planning you should be able to save yourself a few dollars a month while enjoying the ambiance of your favorite free Wi-Fi hotspot.

What Is A CMOS Battery?

CMOS BatteryA computer needs a certain amount of information to operate; for example, the date and time, the amount of memory installed, the number of drives and their configuration, and so on. In the early days of computers, either the user typed in this information each time the computer started, or it was set using DIP switches and jumpers. Today, computers store this information in a CMOS chip that uses a small battery to retain the information when the computer is shut off.

CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) is type of chip that consumes very little power; therefore, while the computer is turned off, the battery discharges very slowly. But the battery will totally discharge if you leave your computer turned off for a year or so. Even if you turn your PC on every day, the battery is designed to last only a couple of years. Occasionally a battery will fail prematurely.

Today’s plug-and-play computers can detect most of the necessary settings, but if your CMOS battery is dead, your computer will not be able to retain the date and time. The computer will also lose any custom settings, for example, the boot sequence. If you set a password in CMOS, you may be locked out of the computer. If the CMOS battery does fail, you might receive the message “System Configuration Lost” when you start the computer. It would be wise to record all the CMOS settings as a precaution.

To record the CMOS settings, watch for an on-screen prompt when you first start your PC. The prompt tells you to press a key, usually the Del or F2, to enter CMOS. To enter the CMOS configuration utility, you have to press the indicated key while the message is on the screen. After the CMOS configuration screen appears, follow the instructions provided to page through all the screens and record all the settings.

If your computer loses its time setting overnight, the CMOS battery may not be holding a charge. The CMOS battery is located inside the case on the motherboard. Changing the battery is usually a job for a computer technician. In fact, a layman might not even be able to find the battery.

If you want to locate the CMOS battery in your computer, be aware that a static discharge from your hands can damage components inside the case. After taking proper precautions open the case and look on the motherboard for a battery. If you have a diagram of your motherboard, locate the battery on the diagram first.

Different motherboards use different types of batteries. The battery may be shaped like a barrel or a coin. Some motherboards use a component that resembles a chip which contains the CMOS and the battery. Batteries come in different voltages, so make sure you get an exact replacement.

Sometimes the battery is mounted in a holder. Sometimes it is soldered to the motherboard. De-soldering and re-soldering a battery is usually a job for a computer technician. An inexperienced solderer can cause a lot of damage. If you want to try to do it yourself, first practice on an obsolete circuit board. You may change your mind.

If the CMOS battery has failed because it’s too old, this might be an opportunity to upgrade your motherboard. When upgrading a motherboard, the most important considerations are to make sure the new motherboard is the correct form factor for your case, and that the new motherboard has the correct bus connector slots for your expansion boards.