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Tips Of The Day For August 1999
Tip Of The Day For August 30, 1999: Does your PC report a different size for your hard drive in Windows Explorer than it does in the FDISK program or your system BIOS? This is usually normal, and is caused by the use of both binary and decimal measurements for capacity. See here for more.
Tip Of The Day For August 28, 1999: Calling a manufacturer for technical support can be a harrowing experience at times. The information in this section can help you make the most of your time spent sitting on the phone. :^)
Tip Of The Day For August 26, 1999: Do you know what the right key combination is to get into your PC's BIOS setup program? If you don't, it's a good idea to figure out what it is in advance of when you might need it. Your system manual or system manufacturer's web site are most likely to be of assistance to you.
Tip Of The Day For August 24, 1999: Most people don't know that much about how system processors are manufactured. If you are curious, you may find this section interesting.
Tip Of The Day For August 23, 1999: Avoid leaving CDs, tapes, disks or other media in direct sunlight. This is especially dangerous in a hot environment such as a car or truck on a hot day.
Tip Of The Day For August 22, 1999: Do you know where your operating system's boot disks and/or install CD-ROMs are? Most people, after installing the O.S. on their new PC, put the media somewhere "safe" and think they will never need them again. Others assume that because their PC came with the operating system preinstalled, that they don't need the disks. Unfortunately, you often will need them, for changing drivers, installing components you may have skipped on the initial install, or even for a full or partial reinstall to deal with a virus infection or whatnot. If your PC came without original media, contact the manufacturer to see if it is available, or what your options are in the event that you need the operating system media.
Tip Of The Day For August 20, 1999: After you build a new PC or upgrade your system with a new case, be sure to save the box the case came in and all the leftover bits and pieces. The day that you need one of them will come within a week of when you throw such items out or forget where they are, believe me. :^)
Tip Of The Day For August 19, 1999: Prices on computers and components change rapidly. In some cases, the prices fluctuate daily (true especially of system memory.) If you see a price in an advertisement in a magazine, realize that the page you are reading had to be made ready for publication many weeks before the current issue was printed. Always call to confirm prices (and availability). Company web pages are usually much more up-to-date, but even there prices sometimes change faster than they can be updated on the web site, and some companies are much better about updating their web pages than others.
Tip Of The Day For August 18, 1999: Many computer viruses are spread through the boot sectors of floppy disks. One good way to avoid getting such viruses is to avoid using floppy disks. Alternatively, change the boot sequence of your machine to try booting from the hard disk before booting from the floppy disk.
Tip Of The Day For August 17, 1999: Computer shows can be an excellent resource for picking up good hardware at excellent prices, if you know what you are doing.
Tip Of The Day For August 15, 1999: Do you take proper care of your magnetic and optical media? To help them last, special treatment should be given to floppy disks, compact disks and other media. This section of the site will probably help you.
Tip Of The Day For August 14, 1999: If you purchase items with mail-in rebates, make sure you promptly send the rebate form in, with the appropriate supporting materials. Companies offer mail-in rebates instead of just taking the price off at the register, because they know a good percentage of people will buy the product with the rebate in mind, and then never send in the form. Make sure you have a photocopy of all papers you send in, just in case there is a problem, and make a note of when the papers were sent and when the rebate check is supposed to be received.
Tip Of The Day For August 13, 1999: Don't buy any hardware item whose quality is based least in part on subjective evaluation, without seeing or using the item in person at least once. This includes any items where personal taste and perception have an impact on the desirability of the product. Specifically, this most often includes I/O hardware such as monitors, printers, keyboards and mice.
Tip Of The Day For August 12, 1999: Defragment your hard disk at least once a month to improve performance.
Tip Of The Day For August 11, 1999: When cleaning drive heads with alcohol and cotton swabs, it is safest to use special swabs designed for this purpose. The ones you buy at the drug store may be clean, but they can also leave residues on the heads of your drive that may affect performance.
Tip Of The Day For August 10, 1999: Special "Y-splitters" can be used to give you additional internal power plugs within your system case. They are available at most computer and electronics stores. Be careful, however, because there have been some reports of splitters that have been wired incorrectly, which could potentiall lead to hardware damage. Inspect carefully any splitter that you purchase before using it.
Tip Of The Day For August 9, 1999: While laptop PCs are specially designed to reduce the chances that they will be damaged while being transported, they are still far more likely, overall, to experience hardware failures than desktop PCs. This is due to their extreme miniaturization, and the simple reality that they get moved around a lot more than desktop PCs. If you have a laptop, take special care to protect it from damage. A good first step in this regard: leave it in a protective, padded case whenever it is not in use. A good second step: whenever possible, keep the case containing the laptop off the floor.
Tip Of The Day For August 7, 1999: Some applications don't easily deal with changing the screen resolution or color depth on the fly. If you find strange colors on the screen after making a display change, try exiting and restarting the application that is behaving strangely.
Tip Of The Day For August 6, 1999: UPS units rely on batteries, and batteries eventually wear out. When purchasing a UPS, it is better to get a unit with a user-replaceable battery. If your battery is not user replaceable, when it fails you will have to send it to a service center to have the battery replaced.
Tip Of The Day For August 5, 1999: Adding a second hard disk to your system can lead to problems with partition letters changing unless you are careful about how you do it. See here for more details.
Tip Of The Day For August 4, 1999: If you are searching for an online vendor, do your homework. Whatever you do, don't buy solely on the basis of price, or you are begging for trouble. Personal recommendations are best; if your friend has had good success with a company, it's likely you will too. If you can't find a vendor this way, you may find http://www.resellerratings.com helpful.
Tip Of The Day For August 3, 1999: Do you have current boot disks for your system? Dealing with a hard disk crash or viruses infestation are just two situations where boot disks may be needed. Read more about boot disks here.
Tip Of The Day For August 2, 1999: Before purchasing that new hard disk drive for your system that you selected, try to find one running in a system and listen to it in operation. Some drives can be noisy, and some people are very sensitive to the noise. It's always better to try before you buy, in general.
Tip Of The Day For August 1, 1999: Troubleshooting PCs can be a nerve-wracking experience for anyone. Trying to do it without the right mental frameset, however, can be especially exasperating. Read this section for some useful ideas.