Aug 11

Vaio computerSure a reputable desktop computer will have the most cutting edge features as well as the most technologically advanced functionalities on board. However, what makes a truly excellent system is that it should simply be more than just a sum of its parts. Below are three of the best desktop computers of this year that will surely suit every individual’s need – may it be for superior computing capabilities, an excellent multimedia experience, or just to show off one’s style.

The Ephex (Maingear)

With an i7 Intel Core 965 processor, Maingear’s newest desktop computer is definitely one of the fastest PC’s around. However, with this accolade it would only be right that it is also one of the most expensive. At a whopping $4,000, the Ephex is definitely a system fit for those who are looking for the best in the business with price being a non-factor. This extremely overclocked system allows for record-setting performance when it comes to running games and applications. Its tri-SLI 3D graphics cards are also an excellent addition to further boost the Ephex’s performance prowess.

Aside from being extremely expensive, customer support and service might be an issue given that Maingear is not entirely a mainstream brand. Continue reading »

Jun 11

back up your dataDo you need backup software or do you need an online backup service?

Are you concerned about the safekeeping of your photos, e-mails, address book, Favorites, etc. that you have on your computer? Yes? Well, that’s a good thing because sooner or later your hard drive will fail or get so corrupted you will have to format it…losing everything.

Hi! Al Stewart here. I was a computer technician for 30 years and I have seen thousands of hard drives fail. They fail on laptop computers and million dollar main frame computers too. The life expectancy of consumer hard drives is approximately 4 years.

There is nothing you can do to prevent hard drive failure, but there is a lot you can do to prevent the loss of your valuable files, but you must do it before your drive fails. And now, to the subject of this article: The various ways to automatically make backup copies of your data.

When you get right down to it, a “backup” is made any time you copy something to a new location. If you download a photo from the Internet and then save it to a CD you have made a backup because you now have two copies, each on different media. One is on your hard drive and one is on the CD. This is an example of a manual backup. Continue reading »

May 25

broadband connectionsIn the event that you use your computer to shop online, play video games, make phone calls, watch movies, listen to music, or use other “hot” applications, broadband lets you do it faster.Broadband refers to the high-speed Internet access you can get through a variety of services, including digital subscriber line (DSL), cable, fiber optic, wireless, or satellite. With broadband, you access the Internet simply by turning on your computer and there is no need to dial a phone number to reach your Internet Service Provider (ISP).

One of the first things you should do when signing up for broadband is to know whether you also want to get Internet, telephone, and TV service from the same provider. If there is a discount by getting more than one service from a particular company, check out what conditions apply. Buying a bundle of services from one provider can be a good deal, but it might make it more difficult to change providers for any one service if you’re tied into a long-term contract. In addition, promotional prices may have time limits. You should ask what happens when they end, and what the post-promotion cost will be.

Certain special promotions like introductory pricing may be enticing, but be sure to read the fine print. The promotion price probably does not include taxes or the cost of extra equipment, like a digital cable modem, or additional fees, like an activation fee or an early termination fee. Ask the provider to explain all the one-time, recurring, and special charges, including taxes and fees. Make sure you get all promises in writing. Continue reading »

Apr 13

Windows XP logoYou can do quite a bit to clean the average Windows XP system. Files proliferate, programs fall out of favor, viruses reproduce, e-mail clusters, and pop-ups populate. Throw in a little system neglect and before you know it, you have a messed-up system that badly needs cleaning.

Cleaning a Windows system is more about behavior than it is about one or two tasks. Granted, you need to do some remedial work to get your system back in peak condition, but once you do, keeping your system clean on an ongoing basis is much easier than doing the remedial work in the first place.
Essential tasks

In general, you should work on the most accessible parts of the system first and then move on to the rest. Following is a list of essential tasks to do even if you’re really pressed for time. Continue reading »

Mar 19

By: JakeRuston

computer desktopIt never fails - awhile back, perhaps it was a few years, perhaps it was only a few months, you bought a new super-fast, top-of-the-line desktop or laptop computer. At first it ran fantastic - there were few software crashes, browser pages visually popped onscreen, and games ran smoothly at high frame rates.

Unfortunately as the computer got older, problems started occurring. Crashes became more frequent, web pages took longer to load, games appeared slightly jerky, and the overall computing experience lost its luster. Why did this happen? Is there a conspiracy among computer and software manufacturers to make computers run slower so you’ll give up and buy a new machine? While conspiracy theories are questionable, here are seven valid reasons why your computer may start to run slower as time passes:

1. Slower boot due to installed software

If you install software, device drivers, or other applications that request to be loaded upon a computer’s boot, naturally your computer will start up slower. Security software such as firewalls and antivirus applications must start up immediately to help increase your security. Some software partially loads at boot so when you launch applications they seem to start faster. Plus, device drivers and helper software for printers, multimedia devices, and other peripherals may require being loaded at boot to make using such devices in a plug-and-play environment as seamless as possible. All of this increases your overall boot time. Continue reading »

Mar 06

adware  A firewall is one of the most common means to protect your PC against dangerous malware and other risks to your system.  It is essentially a barrier between your PC and the Internet, a guardian or gatekeeper against invasive or malicious programs.  A firewall is a system (or a network of systems) that can be thought of like a doorman operating a swinging door.  The door swings one way and information is allowed in.  It swings the other way and information is allowed out.  A firewall is set by its owner or system administrator to obey certain rules regarding what is allowed to transmit in either direction.  It is the doorman, both operating and guarding the system.

A firewall cannot make its own judgments about what should or should not be allowed to pass through it.  That is up to the user.  You need to do some research to find out what is going to work best for you but most commercially available firewalls come pre-configured in a way that works for most typical users.  It can be installed either as hardware or software and can be customized based on your usage and your security needs.

A hardware firewall is a device that is installed between your computer and your internet connection point.  For instance, if you have a cable modem, the firewall would plug into the cable modem and your computer would be plugged into the firewall.  A software firewall is installed like any other program on your hard drive, either by CD or download.  Software firewalls may also be built into your operating system, like Windows XP.  You customize either one by using filters.  Filters are the rules that the doorman in the earlier analogy uses to decide what is allowed in or out. Continue reading »

Feb 09

computer desktopIsn’t it great to be working on a brand new computer?  Everything is super fast and super responsive.  You feel like the efficiency of your work is ten fold.  Well the exact opposite can be true after computing on it for even a few months.  The registry can get corrupted, unused programs and files clutter the hard drive, temporary internet files start adding up, spyware gets installed under the radar, the list goes on.  So many things can add up and before you know it your brand new machine is locking up. A few simple tips can keep that computer flying like new.

A quick an easy one is to delete those temporary internet files, IE users need only click on tools>internet options – and then “delete files” under temporary internet files.

Also uninstall any software that you do not use any more.  The best way is through start>settings>control panel and then “add or remove programs”

Another easy one is to keep your hard drive “defragged” A hard drive’s data can get fragmented or separated along the drive.  “Defragging” will bring your data back in a more orderly fashion allowing the drive to call it up quicker.  Click on start>programs>accessories>system tools>disk defragmenter Continue reading »

Dec 30

computer desktopYou should leave your computer on all the time.  There’s a popular misconception out there that it causes more stress to  your computer’s components to turn the machine off and on regularly than it does to leave it on over long periods of time.  In older PC’s, the hard drive might develop a problem called “stiction,” where it has a hard time spinning into activation; however, that’s pretty rare in today’s computers.

Screen savers actually save your screen.  It’s been a long time since screen savers actually did anything except show you pretty pictures.  Older computers used to encounter a problem called “phosphor burn,” in which an image shown on your screen for a long time would be burned permanently onto your screen.  This can still happen in some of today’s computers, but only if the image has been on the screen for a very long time—and the chances are extremely remote that you’d have an image appear on your screen for that long.   Today’s PC’s have standby features that can be set to kick in automatically, blanking out the screen—which is just as effective at protecting your monitor.

Deleting your files erases them forever.  Not true—simply deleting your files doesn’t make them disappear completely, and you should never consider your computer completely “clean” after dropping your files in the trash can.  It’s possible to find old social security numbers, personal files, and other information on donated hard drives that owners believed had been permanently deleted.  To get rid of information for good, zap it with a free eraser utility like Eraser. Continue reading »

Dec 16

custom pcThe phrase “custom built pc” is usually assumed to mean “expensive pc.” While for other products the term “custom built” may mean expensive for personal computers the opposite is usually the truth.

When purchasing a brand name computer you typically only have a few options, which means you have to pay for the features and components some corporate executive thinks you need. That can add up, especially since those corporate executives have a vested interest in selling you the more expensive of their features and components.

On top of that, you also pay for the brand. A computer emblazoned with “Sony” or “Dell” is going to cost more than the same exact computer that carries no brand label. It used to be that buying a brand name was worth the extra cost for the guaranteed quality. But nowadays there are a lot of totally competent and even outstanding computer makers that operate under their own label or no label at all. Continue reading »

Nov 28

clean your pcI was worried when my PC began to slow down, and I thought this was it, another attack by some unknown foreign species! But then I did not lose heart as I would have normally, I checked the net and found some really good sites that told me that it’s time that I freshen up my PC.  So here are some of the expert tips that I gathered and things that I learnt through trial and error that can help in cleaning and speeding up your PC.

* Install a proper anti-virus software agent and run an out and out check up.

* If you survived that, then organize My Documents, make sure you have the files folded into folders. If you can, place the My Documents Folder in another drive. There are softwares that ease desktop access and use.
Continue reading »