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Dec 4
Computer Software Spring Clean and Upgrades

windows 7In a few cases it’s perfectly obvious what part of a PC system needs upgrading. If, for example, you’ve run out of hard drive space, the solution is either to add a second hard drive or replace the original with a larger-capacity hard drive or even a solid state drive (SSD).

Similarly, if you fancy a larger screen, a better keyboard or a cordless mouse, your decision is already made. Unfortunately, things are rarely that simple.

Probably the most common reason for considering an upgrade is that your Computers performance has become rather lacklustre. It might have been blisteringly fast when you first bought it but, over the years, it has become gradually slower and slower. If you’re using exactly the same software but your computer has slowed down it probably indicates that your system just needs a good spring clean.

There are plenty of tools that can clean up the clutter, from Windows’ built-in utilities such as Disk Defragmenter to third-party offerings such as Ccleaner and others.

More drastically, you could reinstall Windows. In this case, you can probably restore your system to factory settings (however, all your files and programs will be removed) and you might not need to upgrade after all.

However, the slow-down might be because you’re trying to run more demanding programs which have a greater appetite for your PC’s resources. If this is the situation you find yourself in, you will need to decide which component is the weakest link in the chain and therfore the most likely candidate for an upgrade. In the case of a general dissatisfaction with performance, the culprit could be the main processor, the graphics processor, the amount of memory, or even the hard disk. Working out which of these components is the bottleneck isn’t always easy, but I can give you some pointers.

First, your the applications you are using might give you a clue. Video or audio editing and encoding, mathematical or scientific computing using Excel, and 3D rendering using Photoshop are all pretty demanding of your PC’s processor. If it’s only gaming where your PC really starts to show its age (and it can’t even run the latest games smoothly), a likely upgrade is the graphics card. If your PC doesn’t have a plug-in graphics card (which means it’s using the built-in graphics chip) then the obvious answer is to buy one that will fit your computer(check whether you have an AGP or PCI Express slot).

If you do a lot of multi-tasking, switching between applications, or if you run virtual machines in VMware or VirtualBox, or are serious about video or photo editing, it could be the amount of PC memory (RAM) onboard that’s letting you down.

Finally, if the pedestrian performance is more general, perhaps related to the time it takes your PC to boot and applications to load, a faster hard disk, perhaps a solid state drive (SSD), might do the trick. In fact, an SSD is usually the best-value upgrade for both PCs and laptops as it makes them much more responsive.

However, when it comes to gaming, it will be better to install the very best graphics card you can afford, which will make your PC perform just as well as new models. Unfortunately, the same isn’t true for laptops. On the whole, you can upgrade only the hard drive and memory in a laptop.

If you’re being drawn in the direction of a new processor, you need to consider one important fact – your motherboard might not be compatible with the latest models. It’s vitally important, therefore, that you check the motherboard manual that came with your PC and the specification of the new processor, to ensure that the two are compatible. See my related article ‘Speed up a PC with hardware upgrades‘.

Nov 18
Speed up a PC with hardware upgrades

meshpcAfter software the most important factors in the speed of a PC are RAM Memory, the Processor, Hard Drive Storage options and the speed of the installed Graphics Card.

For example older PC’s may have only shipped with 1GB or 2GB of RAM so the option to upgrade is compelling. And you can never really have too much PC memory, because adding more can make your computer more responsive. However, 32-bit desk top computers and laptops can only effectively use 4GB RAM. To take advantage of more than 4GB of memory your PC needs to run a 64-bit operating system as 64-bit systems offer direct access to more virtual and physical memory than 32-bit systems and therefore process a lot more data per clock cycle. This makes your PC run faster and perform everyday tasks much quicker. To check what memory upgrades you may be able to do visit Crucial’s website and download the memory advisor tool or just ask Crucial to scan your computer.

Installing a new processor is difficult, but not impossible. It’s also likely to be quite expensive (and you may reach the point where a new PC or laptop may be a better idea). But it is possible, and my article ‘How to upgrade your processor (CPU)‘ shows you how to do this.

Another possible upgrade is to install a Solid State Drive (SSD) into your PC or laptop – if you don’t have one installed. Solid-state storage is much quicker than a traditional spinning hard drive. And if your Windows operating system is installed on an SSD you’ll find that your whole PC works faster. Of course you will need to reinstall all your programs as well. It’s best to keep all your documents folders on your old hard drive and only install programs on the SSD that will benefit from the increased speed. To learn how to fit a solid state drive (SSD) to your PC read my article ‘How to install a Solid State Drive‘ .

Finally, another hardware upgrade is to improve your graphics card. This can be expensive, but is effective if you want to enjoy faster gaming or better quality HD video. The installation is not difficult but you must make sure the card you buy is suitable for your PC. If your PC is a few years old you might need to find an older AGP based graphic card. A more modern PC will no doubt have a slot for a PCI Express based card. To find out more read my article ‘How to upgrade a Graphics Card‘.

Any one or more of these hardware upgrades will certainly give your computer a useful speed increase!

Oct 15
Sponsored Video: Xperia™ Z1

Introducing the new Xperia™Z1 featuring the award-winning G Lens from Sony, Exmor RS™ for mobile image sensor and intelligent BIONZ™ for mobile image processing engine – the same quality and performance as our compact digital cameras is now in one revolutionary smartphone.

With exclusive Xperia™ camera apps, such as Social live and Info-Eye you can bring your friends closer and discover more about your surroundings; and capturing photos underwater is no problem with this waterproof smartphone crafted from premium, solid aluminium.

Re-live your memories as you view your photos in the best colour and sharpness on the 5″ Full HD screen built with the latest Sony BRAVIA technologies optimised for mobile.

Oct 10
The looming Windows XP deadline

windows xp proOn the 8th April 2014 Microsoft will release its last security updates for Windows XP, whose extended support period will come to a hard stop. That end date is now less than six months away!

Exactly how many PCs will still be out there running Windows XP next April? Several sources suggest that more than 100 million PCs will still be running Windows XP when security updates stop next April.

If your budget is so tight that the cost of an OS upgrade is too much to bear, now might be the time to consider switching to a free alternative like Linux, along with open-source apps and free or low-cost services to complement them.

However, for most older desktops a replacement PC is usually a smarter investment. New hardware is also generally easier and cheaper to manage, maintain, and secure than older PCs, which are more likely to fail and where replacement parts can be hard to find and expensive to buy.

But what if you don’t have the luxury of switching? Here are two strategies to adopt if you can’t cut your XP ties right away.

Disconnect it from the Internet

Disconnect its Internet connection so you (and others) cannot use it for email or web browsing and thus cannot expose yourself to potentially malicious software or network intrusion attempts. You can use removable media (carefully) to copy files between this isolated XP PC and any other Windows machines (Windows 7 and 8) you might own, that have full Internet access. So if you really want to keep that XP PC around just for one purpose, let it be dedicated to that purpose alone.

Use Virtualization

If the OS version is the only roadblock, you should be able to solve the compatibility conundrum by running the problem application(s) in a well-sandboxed virtual machine (VM).

Windows 8.x Pro and Enterprise have Hyper-V virtualization built in. Windows 7 Pro includes Windows XP Mode and Virtual PC, which has the advantage of eliminating the cost of an XP license for your VM. You can also use VMware or Virtual Box on Windows 7 or, for that matter, on a PC running Linux.

If you decide to set up a VM running Windows XP, lock it down firmly so it can’t be used for web browsing or email, and then install your XP-only application. You can then use the physical machine, running Windows 7 or Windows 8, with its modern, fully patched operating system, for everyday tasks and then use the Virtual Machine for your XP-only application.

Source: ZDNet

Sep 23
Tesco takes on Kindle and iPad with Hudl

tescos hudl tabletRetailing giant Tesco has unveiled its own cheap Android tablet, intended to showcase its own TV and online shopping services, a strategy reminiscent of Amazon’s strategy with its Kindle Fire tablet range.

Tesco’s Hudl tablet has a seven-inch 1440×900 HD screen, with 16GB of storage (expandable to 64GB) and runs Android Jellybean 4.2.2.

It packs a quad-core 1.5GHZ processor, micro-HDMI port, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS and claims a nine-hour battery life when watching video.

It will go on sale for £119 in around 1,000 Tesco stores and online from 30 September.

One element that sets it apart from most low-end Android tablets is that is features a ‘launcher’ button (bottom left of the picture) which takes users directly to Tesco’s digital services, including blinkbox movies and TV, music and Clubcard TV, banking and shopping for groceries.

What is immediately clear is that Tesco is taking its tablet very seriously. Unlike some cheap Android tablets launched by other unlikely firms this looks like a competitive and reasonably high-spec offering.

Sep 9
Patch Tuesday to fix four critical flaws in Windows, Internet Explorer and Office

microsoft office entranceMicrosoft released 14 patches on Patch Tuesday — with four of them rated as critical.

The software giant said in its latest advanced security bulletin that the most severe security flaws have been found in Microsoft Office, Windows, Internet Explorer and Windows Server.

In all, there are eight remote code execution flaws, which can allow hackers to gain access to, or take control of an affected system without user prompts or permission.

With half of all the patches applying to the company’s productivity suite — Office 2007 (Service Pack 3) and Office 2010 (Service Pack 1) are affected — users are advised to patch their systems as soon as possible. The latest Office 2013 release is not affected, however.

Another round of patches will fix flaws in Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, both of which are to be phased out of the company’s support cycles in April 2014.

Internet Explorer 6 on Windows XP through to Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 8 and RT-based devices face another round of patches. Server-based versions of Internet Explorer are rated “moderate,” but should still be patched sooner rather than later.

Source: ZDnet

Sep 5
Using System File Checker to repair damaged system files

system file checkerThe Windows System File Checker utility can be used to scan and then automatically replace any corrupt or missing system files. In fact, this tool should be part of the essential tool kit for every computer user.

When Windows programs are not running or operating as they should do e.g. perhaps double clicking a file does not open the program that should open it, or perhaps you can’t even boot your PC, then System File Checker may be able to help you to get things working well again.

If you can boot to the Windows Desktop and want to repair a damaged Windows file (i.e. miscellaneous operational problems) the time has come to use the System File Checker tool (SFC.exe). This will determine which file is causing the issue, and then try to replace that particular file.

To run this tool open an elevated command prompt. To do this, click Start, click All Programs, click Accessories, right-click Command Prompt, and then click Run as administrator.

At the command prompt, type sfc /scannow (leave a space between sfc and /scannow) and then press Enter.

NOTE: The /scannow option is the most commonly used switch for the sfc command that can fix multiple problems with Windows system Files.

System File Checker may prompt you for a Windows Installation disc, which is either the disc you used to install or upgrade Windows or the system recovery disc provided by your computer manufacturer. So have your disc handy, just in case it’s needed. System File Checker will only ask for this disc if corrupt system files have to be replaced by fresh ones from the Installation DVD.

System File Checker fixes what it can. Mostly, it moves through its processes and displays the percentage completed like 10%, 30% and 50% as it goes. When it completes it shows ‘Verification 100% complete’.

What you see after this line depends on the results of the scanning operation.

When nothing is wrong, you see this text:

Windows Resource Protection didn’t find any integrity violations.

If problems have been found and also repaired, you see this:

Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files and successfully repaired them. Details are included in the CBS.Log windir\Logs\CBS\CBS.log. For example C:\Windows\Logs\CBS \CBS.log.

If problems have been found but cannot be repaired for some reason, you see this text message:

Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files but was unable to fix some of them. Details are included in the CBS.Log windir\Logs\CBS\CBS.log. For example C:\Windows \Logs\CBS\CBS.log.

To find out which files could not be repaired by System File Checker open an elevated command prompt as described earlier.

At the resulting command prompt, type the following command: findstr /c:”[SR]” %windir%\Logs\CBS\CBS.log >”%userprofile%\Desktop\sfcdetails.txt”

The Sfcdetails.txt file contains details of every time that the System File Checker tool has been run on your PC. It includes information about files that were not repaired by the SFC tool. So by verifying the date and time of entries you may be able to determine the problem files and may be able to fix the problem another way.

The following sample log file contains an entry for a file that could not be repaired:

2007-01-12 12:10:42, Info CSI 00000008 [SR] Cannot repair member file [l:34{17}]”Accessibility.dll” of Accessibility, Version = 6.0.6000.16386, pA = PROCESSOR_ARCHITECTURE_MSIL (8), Culture neutral, VersionScope neutral, PublicKeyToken = {l:8 b:b03f5f7f11d50a3a}, Type neutral, TypeName neutral, PublicKey neutral in the store, file is missing

In the above snippet the file Accessibility.dll is damaged and SFC cannot repair it.

To fix a damaged file you need to extract the file from a windows DVD or download a file from a suitable online site.

Once you are ready follow these steps:

At an elevated command prompt, copy and then paste (or type) the following command, and then press ENTER:

takeown /f Path_And_File_Name

For example, type takeown /f E:\windows\system32\jscript.dll.

Copy and paste (or type) the following command, and then press ENTER to grant administrators full access to the file:

icacls Path_And_File_Name /GRANT ADMINISTRATORS:F

For example, type icacls E:\windows\system32\jscript.dll /grant administrators:F.

Type the following command to replace the file with a known good copy of the file:

Copy Path_And_File_Name_Of_Source_File Path_And_File_Name_Of_Destination

For example, type copy E:\temp\jscript.dll E:\windows\system32\jscript.dll.

Note: You will need to adjust the drive letters in these examples depending on where your system is installed.

Other Useful SFC Switches

sfc /verifyonly

This sfc command option is the same as /scannow but without repairing anything.

sfc /scanfile=file

This sfc option is the same as /scannow but the scan and repair is only for a particular file.

For example sfc /scanfile=c:\windows\system32\ieframe.dll

Here, the sfc command is used to scan ieframe.dll and then repair it if an issue is found.

Help Switch

Use the help switch /? with the sfc command to show detailed help about the command’s several options.

Aug 27
Mobile banking security reviewed

Mobile bankingBritain’s booming mobile banking sector is to be reviewed by regulators to check that banks have the right IT systems in place and that enough is being done to protect customers from potential fraudsters.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) also wants banks to spell out their policies if a customer makes a mistake, such as paying the wrong recipient or typing in the wrong amount in a transfer via his or her smartphone app.

The so called “thematic review” comes amid growing fears that the market is developing at such a speed it will become increasingly difficult for Britain’s biggest high street banks to keep up.

Research earlier this year showed that one in five adults across the UK have made a payment over their mobile phone or iPad. And a quarter of us use our smartphones to check our bank balances.

Just last week the Payments Council said it believed mobile phones would be used for 1.5 billion transactions a year by 2020, up from the current 356 million. Mobile phones are already used almost as much as the chequebook to settle debts.

Clive Adamson, the FCA’s supervision director, said: “The technology that is now contained in a smartphone is greater than most computers had only a few years ago and mobile banking has the potential to rapidly increase in popularity”.

“We approach this review with clear outcomes in mind. We want to support innovation that provides consumers with products that meet their needs and expectations while also ensuring their interests are protected.”

Source: Telegraph

Aug 1
Creating a new Table Style in SharePoint 2010

When you decide to create a table in Sharepoint 2010 you will already be in Page Edit Mode where you can click on the page and select Insert from the Editing Tools Tab.

Populate your new table with at least 4 to 5 columns and around 7 or 8 rows as this will let you to test all of the allowable styles when you create your new Custom SharePoint Table.

Now place your cursor inside the table so the Table Tab appears and then choose Design which gives you choice of options.

In the Design Tab it would be a good idea to check all 4 checkboxes for the style (header row, footer row, first column, and last column).

Now click on Styles and you will see three styles that you can apply to your table:

Table Stye 1 – Clear

Table Style 2 – Light Banded

Table Style 3 – Medium Two Tone

So lets set up a new Table Style using CSS.

To create a new table style, you have to declare a CSS class in your CSS page that starts with ‘‘ and ends with the name of your new table. Within the class you must set a CSS property that SharePoint will see called ‘-ms-name’. This will set the human-readable name of the table style. See the following example: {-ms-name: “Custom SharePoint Table”;}

Once you have put this in your CSS Style Sheet, refresh your page and click Edit and go to the ‘Design tab’ for your table. Now you should now see your custom table style at the bottom of the list, but it has no styling attached to it as yet. So lets style this new ‘Custom SharePoint Table’.

SharePoint Table StyleThe following CSS snippet produces a table that has no border, has an orange header and a dark grey footer; a light grey border on the bottom of each row; and when you hover over the ‘even rows’ they turn light grey and the ‘odd rows’ turn pale yellow. {-ms-name: “Custom SharePoint Table”;}

.ms-rteTable-newtable td,, {padding:10px; text-align:center; border-bottom:1px solid #ccc;}

.ms-rteTableHeaderRow-newtable th {background: #f16d2d; color: #fff; padding: 10px; text-align: center; font-size: 20px;}

.ms-rteTableEvenRow-newtable:hover {background: #EFEFEF;}

.ms-rteTableOddRow-newtable:hover {background: #FFFFCC; }

.ms-rteTableFooterRow-newtable td, {padding: 10px; border-top: 1px solid #ccc; background: #555555; font-size: 18px; color: #fff;}

So that’s your completed Table Style. Just amend the CSS to choose your own particular colour scheme.

Below is a list of all the available table styles

/* .ms-rteTable-XXXXX
.ms-rteTableFooterEvenCol-XXXXX */

Jul 23
How to Customise the Windows Security Window

fully customised login screenWhen you press Ctrl+Alt+Delete while logged on to Windows 7, you see the Windows Security window, which contains the following buttons: Lock This Computer, Switch User, Log Off, Change A Password, and Start Task Manager.

Of these five commands, all but Switch User are customizable using Windows 7‘s group policies.

So if you find that you never use one or more of those commands, or (more likely) if you want to prevent a user from accessing one or more of the commands, you can use group policies to remove them from the Windows Security window.

Here are the steps to follow:

group policy editorFirst open Windows Group Policy Editor by opening the ‘search programs and files box’ and then typing gpedit.msc.

When the Group Policy Editor pops up open the User Configuration | Administrative Templates | System | Ctrl+Alt+Del Options branch.

Now double-click one of the following policies:

1. Remove Change Password — You can use this policy to disable the Change A Password button in the Windows Security window.

2. Remove Lock This Computer — You can use this policy to disable the Lock Computer button in the Windows Security window.

3. Remove Task Manager — You can use this policy to disable the Start Task Manager button in the Windows Security window.

4. Remove Logoff — You can use this policy to disable the Log Off button in the Windows Security window.

When you click on one of the above policies a policy dialog box appears. So now click Enabled and then click OK.

Repeat this simple procedure to disable all the buttons you don’t want to display.

Jul 2
My Easy PC Repair Guide is now only £1.78!

Easy PC Repair GuideMy Easy PC Repair Guide is now only £1.78, far less than the cost of your weekly shopping. In fact at this price point nearly everyone who reads this post will be able to buy this amazing repair guide!

So what value does my eBook provide to everyone who purchases it?

Firstly, with my Easy PC Repair Guide you can keep your PC in tip top condition so you can keep working or playing your pc games. And to help you track down any problems that might occur this repair guide is clear, concise and very easy to use. It covers everything you need to know about your computer from the day to day running, through to the fixing of crashes and hardware problems.

Secondly, this unique guide also covers the installation of computer memory modules, graphic cards, hard drives, power units, CD/DVD drives, processors (CPU) and motherboards. And it is well illustrated to help guide you through the many complexities of the computer world.

Unfortunately not every problem can be solved with this guide because sometimes problems involve hardware issues, like hard drive failure, or there may be a virus which cripples your computer to the point that it must be completely wiped clean. Even so, I believe this wonderful Repair Guide will solve more than 98% of any computer problems you might experience during the ‘lifetime’ of your Windows PC.

Even if you only fix one or two problems with your Windows PC or manage to tune up your computer to run and perform tasks more quickly, my Easy PC Repair Guide will pay for itself in no time at all. It’s therefore the best £1.78 you’ll ever spend!

And at no extra cost to you, I regularly update this best seller whenever a new section or tip is needed. Recently I added a whole new section on Windows 8. My eBook is now at version 5 and I’m currently working on version 6.

The very first version of my Easy PC Repair Guide had only 130 pages but version 5 now has a colossal 191 pages of expert PC help and advice. And the big advantage of my PDF eBook is that it’s fully search-able and very well indexed so you can track down PC problems as they crop up – and they will certainly crop up at some point.

Why not check out the full details of this essential PC toolkit and see what you can get for only £1.78 –

P.S. If you are not 100% satisfied with my Easy PC Repair Guide just send me a quick email and I’ll be happy to refund your money in full. So what have you got to loose, download my Easy PC Repair Guide right now!

Jun 10
What Type of PC Memory Should I Install?

Computer RAM modulesI often get calls about what memory to install in a PC as part of an upgrade e.g. someone wanting to increase their PC’s memory from 1GB to 2GB etc.

The advice I give to everyone is to visit the website of Crucial Technology and use their excellent memory advisor tool. This will examine your PC and tell you exactly what memory you need and even how many slots are free on your motherboard.

By the way, if you wish to find a manual for your PC’s motherboard try They offer a good range of manuals, for most makes of board, and the manuals can be downloaded in PDF format. If you do not know the make of your motherboard a clue to its manufacturer may be available as your PC begins to boot up, but you will need to be very quick off the mark to hit the Pause/Break key before the info begins to scroll off screen. The other way to determine the make and model of your PC’s motherboard is to open your PC’s case to try to spot the make and model panel on your motherboard.

Jun 3
Sponsored Video: GALAXY Note II – Photo Editing with PicsArt

Graphic designer and blogger Shini introduces the PicsArt photo editing app for the GALAXY Note II. PicsArt has been optimised for the GALAXY Note II, to include functions such as Air View allowing a preview of gallery images and the effects on images.

Shini is always on the go, and the GALAXY Note II helps her create and share wherever she may be. With PicsArt, she can use the S Pen to add colour, tone down colour, and use the erase mode to remove parts of a filter. She can also use the S Pen button to switch between the applied effect and the original image.

PicsArt for GALAXY Note II is available on the Google Play Store and Samsung Apps.

Discover More

May 24
Microsofts Skydrive

sky drive for windows desktopMicrosoft’s SkyDrive now has 250 million users according to a recent news report. So what can SkyDrive offer you?

Microsoft’s offering gives you 7GB of free cloud storage but does charge a monthly fee if you wish to use even more online storage for all your files. This compares with the likes of Google who offer 5GB of free storage and Drop Box who offer only 2GB.

By storing all your files and photos in the cloud you will be able to sync your documents across all your computers in your home. You can even edit and collaborate on Microsoft Office documents in the cloud. You can even access the latest version of your Microsoft Office documents from any computer or Windows Smartphone and no cables or USB flash drives are necessary.

For greater control over SkyDrive and your files, download the SkyDrive for Windows program. The desktop program creates a special folder on your computer that mirrors what’s stored in the cloud. That makes SkyDrive particularly easy to use, because when you change the contents of that special folder on your computer, Windows automatically updates SkyDrive, as well. All you need to do is drag and drop files into your Desktop SkyDrive folder to automatically upload them to your cloud storage account. When the files are synced a green checkmark appears to show the upload is complete.

With the desktop app, you can sync individual folders or you can choose single file. If you want to later change which folders or files are synced, right-click the SkyDrive desktop icon in the notification area at the far right of the taskbar. Then click Settings, and then click the Choose folders tab.

Incidentally, once you have SkyDrive, Microsoft’s OneNote becomes even more powerful. You can save your notebook to your SkyDrive folder and then access it from anywhere. Check your study notes, review your shopping lists, or just stay organized right from your Windows 8 phone.

Note: The Windows 8 SkyDrive app makes it fairly easy to open files you’ve already uploaded to the cloud, but it offers little control. If the Windows 8 Start screen’s SkyDrive app is too simple for your needs, head for the Windows 8 desktop and visit SkyDrive to download the desktop program.

Apr 29
Kaspersky Rescue Disk 10

Kaspersky Rescue Disk 10Kaspersky Rescue Disk 10 is designed to scan, disinfect and restore an infected operating systems but it should only be used when it is impossible to boot the operating system from a cold start.

Kaspersky Lab products are always upgraded and renewed. So to its best to keep your rescue disk up to date. You can easily download the distributive of Kaspersky Rescue Disk 10 from Kaspersky Lab’s servers.

Once Kaspersky Rescue Disk 10 is downloaded, record it to a CD/DVD or any USB device and then start your computer from it.

In order to successfully record Kaspersky Rescue Disk 10 to a removable USB device, the amount of free space on the drive must not be not less than 256 MB. The connected USB device must also be formatted as a FAT16 or FAT32 file system. If the NTFS file system is already on the USB device, you are will have to format it as a FAT16 or FAT32 file system.

The Kaspersky Rescue Disk 10 is built on a Linux-based core so will start up in any PC that has a non boot problem. You’ll be pleased to know that Kaspersky Rescue Disk 10 is very easy to use and has a Windows-like interface to work with.

You get the equivalent of a taskbar which shows running applications and a start button that pops up a menu. Multiple windows can be opened on the desktop and there is the Rescue Disk software itself, a registry editor, web browser and file manager.

There are quite a few customisation options in Rescue Disk 10 and these are accessed through the gear icon in the top right corner. For example, you can choose what to scan and how deeply to scan.

As the registry editor is so like the Windows version you will immediately feel at home when using Kaspersky Rescue Disk 10.

Apr 23
Sponsored Video: Microsoft 365

Take a look at Microsoft’s cloud based Office 365.

Apr 15
Microsoft updates its own Windows 8 apps

microsoft office entranceMicrosoft is pushing out updates to six of the Windows 8/Windows RT applications built by the Bing AppEx team, company officials announced on April 15.

Five of these app updates – Finance, News, Maps, Sports and Travel – are available today in the Windows Store. The Weather app updates will be “shipping over the course of the coming weeks,” according to company officials.

All six of these apps were built by the couple of hundred developers in the Bing AppEx (Application Experiences) team. AppEx primarily used HTML5 and JavaScipt to build these showcase apps. The AppEx deliverables are meant to visibly demonstrate to customers and other developers what what well-designed Windows 8 apps look like. (The AppEx team did not build the Windows Mail or SkyDrive apps – those were built by the Windows client team.)

Source: ZDNet

Mar 26
Acer Travelmate 2312LM-L power jack broken

acer travelmate 2312I recently had an Acer Travelmate 2312 laptop, running Windows XP, in for repair and it would not start up as no power was getting into this machine.

Using my electrical tester I checked out the AC Adapter (a Liteon PA 1650-02) to see if was still producing a charge, and it was – so there had to be a problem with the power jack that it plugs into.

So I took the laptop apart to check the power jack and it was badly damaged. It had been pulled away from its mounting point and part of it was broken off. I phoned my client to see how this could have happened and he told me that his laptop had been dropped with the power lead still attached. It must have landed really badly to cause such damage!

So I removed the damaged power jack and purchased a new one over the Internet ( This then had to be soldered into place.

Plugging into this new power jack started to charge the flat battery so the repair was complete.

So if you have a laptop that only operates when you hold the AC Adapter power plug in a certain direction or only runs on battery power (until the battery runs out of power and can’t be recharged) a broken or loose power jack may well be your problem. The only way to verify this is to open up the laptop so you can see the power jack itself to check if its damaged.

Mar 8
Installing Windows XP Home on a SATA Hard Drive

Recently I had a Mesh Windows XP Home PC to sort out as my friend wanted it wiped and the Operating System reinstalled. He kindly left me with a blue Mesh Recovery Disc to work with.
mesh pcThe PC was very sluggish and had pop ups on the desktop that could not be cancelled, so as the friend had asked I tried using the Mesh Recovery Disc to wipe the PC and install Windows XP Home but the Mesh disc was not recognised.

Not to be beaten, I wiped the drive using my Microscope Toolkit, and thoroughly formatted the drive, back to factory standards. I then tried the Recovery disc again and Windows XP started to install but halted complaining it couldn’t find any hard drives.

I opened the PC’s Case and discovered two SATA drives. I know from past experience that Windows XP does not recognise SATA drives unless you load the SATA drivers during Windows set up. As my friend did not have a SATA drivers disk, the fun really started!

Grabbing a torch I opened the PC’s Case yet again and checked the make and model of the motherboard so I could go to the manufacturers web site and download the right drivers for this Windows XP set up. It turned out to be an ASUS A7N8X Deluxe board so using Google I searched for the SATA drivers and found this page which lists all the necessary drivers for this particular motherboard –

I then downloaded a copy of nLite and using Nero 10 turned a copy of the Mesh CD into an ISO file. Using nLite I then compiled a new disc that contained Windows XP and all the necessary driver files. Using this compilation CD I was able to successfully install Windows XP Home onto the Mesh PC.

For a step by step example of how to use nLite take a look at my article – How to Install Windows XP on a SATA Hard Drive without access to a Floppy Disk Drive.

Feb 19
Microsoft’s Fix It Tool

Microsoft fixitA large proportion of PC software problems are fairly easy to fix but the other 10% or 20% often need specialist help.

Microsoft can also help with its Fix It Tool.

The Fix it website can be used to diagnose and solve many different software issues that can occur within a Windows computer.

The Microsoft Fix it site is very easy to use as it splits the various problem areas into Top Solutions, Windows, Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, Entertainment, Office and Other. By clicking on these top levels a detailed list of possible fixes is displayed, some of which may help to fix your ailing PC. There’s also an optional list of task based activities that you can select from.

So before you rush of to get your PC repaired by the ‘guy down the street’ try Microsofts Fix It tool it just might be the solution you need!

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