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Driver Related Sound Card Issues

For Windows to be able to recognise the sound-card in your PC it must have driver software installed for it to work.

Sound-cards, like most other devices, require driver software to work properly. So if you are having sound problems and you have determined that its a software issue you may be able to get a suitable driver from Windows Update or from the sound-card manufacturer’s website. This will also make sure that you have the latest driver for your sound-card. Make sure you know the name, make and model of your sound-card to make it easy to find the right driver.

As a general rule, it’s important to keep all your PC’s drivers fully up to date so you might want to invest in some software to help you do this.

SlimDrivers is a utility that will check your PC for outdated drivers. Why not give it a try. In the trial version you can download and install your updates, but only individually. You can download SlimDrivers from PC Advisor’s website.

To read the full article about sound card problems please click on this link – http://www.qbs-pchelp.co.uk/pchelparticles/soundproblems.html

Why Should You Back-Up Your Computer?

Backing up your computer files is a very important part of maintaining your PC and can save you a lot of problems if your PC ever experiences a hard drive failure.

How frequently you back up your music, images and files will depend on how often you use your PC and what you use it for.

The average home user will probably just have to do a full back-up (or a full drive image) once a week or once per month. However, when PC’s are used in a home office environment backing up should be done much more frequently. One rule of thumb would be if your important files change daily, back-up daily, if they change weekly, back-up weekly, and so on.

Read more about the importance of regular backups.

Solving Graphic Card Problems

If your computer keeps crashing when you play games or when you are viewing/amending your digital pictures the cause of the crashes is likely to be a problem with your graphics card or its software device driver or even the DirectX version running on your PC.

Downloading and installing the latest graphic driver file for Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 might be all that’s required to solve your pesky problem. The best place to get a compatible download is from the graphic cards manufacturer’s website.

If downloading and installing the updated drivers does not solve the repeated crashes the processor on your graphics card might be overheating. Your graphic card should have a large cooling unit which keeps the card at the correct temperature (most current high-end graphic cards are equipped with a large, cooling unit). Sometimes this cooling unit can come loose from the graphics processing unit (GPU), or its fan can seize up. This can even happen if a new graphics card is being installed. If the cooling unit on the graphic card is properly installed, apart from taking the computer’s base unit into a repair shop, you’ll have to try swapping the components one by one with ones known to work.

To eliminate the graphic card as the cause of the problem, start by replacing it with one of a different make and model. When the graphic card is eliminated as the cause, try a different power supply unit, followed by different RAM modules. If there is more than one RAM module installed, you could try using only one, because a PC can operate with only one DDR RAM module. Try using each module on its own.

If the PSU and the RAM aren’t faulty, that leaves only the motherboard to replace.

But before you try using another motherboard try experimenting with different BIOS settings. It could be that your graphic card doesn’t agree with one or more of these settings.

If you want to swap components yourself one way of doing this is to use ebay to buy the components you need (e.g. motherboard, processor, RAM, Power Unit) and when your tests are complete resell them. You might even make a profit!

Backup and storage in Windows 8

windows 8.1Fewer than 5% of Windows users use the Windows Backup feature, so for Windows 8 Microsoft has replaced it with File History.

If you upgrade from Windows 7, you will still have Windows Backup installed and if you have it configured it will still carry on running. If not, you can find it under Windows 7 File Recovery in Control Panel but it’s probably better just to turn on File History.

File History insists on using an external or network drive and it doesn’t do full system backups. Instead it takes hourly copies of files in libraries or on the desktop, as well as contacts and favourites.

You can still use System Restore, or create an image that adds your installed applications to the built-in recovery tools so you get them back when you refresh Windows with the new troubleshooting tools. You can also choose to exclude files, change how often File History takes a snapshot or how long it keeps copies for, or you can just turn it on and leave it running.

Restoring an old file is nice and simple; go to the folder where it ought to be, select the file if it’s still there, or the folder if it’s gone completely, click the History button on the ribbon and browse back through files day by day, hour by hour or pick a file and see the different versions of it in Explorer.

Microsofts Skydrive

windows8lockscreen140105Microsoft’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 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.

Upgrading to a More Powerful Graphics Card

If you want games, graphics, and other multimedia programs to run faster, upgrading to a more powerful graphics card should be one of your first priorities. And the demands of Microsoft’s Windows Vista and Windows 7 with their 3D-accelerated Aero interface, gives you another reason to upgrade. To run Aero you’ll need at least a DirectX 9 capable graphics chip with 128MB of dedicated memory on-board. With a DirectX 10 or 11 capable graphics chip you will need at least 512MB of dedicated graphics memory to make your computer perform really well.

Make sure you know what kind of graphic card will work in your PC before you go shopping for a new one. Unfortunately there are two main types of graphics card currently on sale and if you choose the wrong one it will not plug into your PC’s motherboard. The two types currently available are those that fit into an AGP slot and those made for the newer PCI Express slot. Your motherboard will have a slot for one or the other, but PCI Express only appeared in 2004, so many people could still have an AGP based graphics system, especially if they are still using Windows XP.

To find out more about the steps you need to take to install a new graphics card please see the complete article – How to upgrade a Graphics Card.

Solve Adware and Spyware Problems

Adware is computer software that displays advertisements on your PC. These are the ads that pop up on your display screen, even if you’re not browsing the Internet. (Some companies provide “free” software in exchange for advertising on your display and this is how they make their money).

Spyware is software that sends your personal information to a third party without your permission or knowledge. This can include information about the website’s you visit or something more sensitive such as your user name and password. Unprincipled companies often use this personal information to send you unsolicited targeted advertisements.

Some forms of spyware are even worse and can act almost like viruses, hijacking your web browser, popping up ads, or just generally wreaking havoc with your PC by slowing things down or preventing Windows from reading your hard drive!

Adware and Spyware are a modern scourge and any web search will reveal how widespread this problem really is.

Check your Computer

At QBS PC Help we recommend several free software tools that can help to combat Adware and Spyware and these include; AdAware, SpyBot Search & Destroy, Malwarebytes and Microsoft Windows Defender (already installed in Windows Vista and Windows 7).

For checking spyware, adware and rootkits Prevx CSI is a fairly new security tool that we are currently using and it works well! And for clearing the Windows Registry, temporary files, browser or start menu run histories and cookies we love the highly rated CCleaner.

Download these, and many other free programs, from our Software Reviews Page.

Speed up Apple iTunes running on Windows 7

windows7professionalIf you use iTunes on a Windows 7 PC and only have 2GB of Ram you may find iTunes slows down or pauses unexpectedly. The problem is that Windows 7 loves to index all the files you have on your computer, including your music files. It is this process that can affect the smooth operation of iTunes.

Fortunately there is a fix for this. All you need to do is adjust Windows index options.

Click Start and in the Search programs and files box type – index options – and click on the option at the top of the resulting list. Now click the Advanced button (and then on Continue if you see a user account control warning) then select the File Types tab of the dialogue box that opens up.

Scroll down and remove the tick next to the XML Filter entry and click OK and OK again.

Now Windows 7 will not keep trying to re-index the iTunes library file, making the program run more smoothly.

How to find out what’s slowing down your Windows PC

The Windows Resource Monitor can help you to track down the resource hog’s that are slowing down your Windows computer.

If your using Windows XP click Start, and then Run and type ‘resmon’. Now hit Enter. For Vista and Windows 7 users click Start and in the ‘Search programs and Files’ box type ‘resmon’. Now click on resmon.exe in the resulting search list.

For monitoring slowdown issues take a look at the Memory tab. This tracks usage and shows you how much memory a program or service is consuming. Also check the CPU and Disk tabs and see what particular program or service is causing your PC to slow down the most. Look particularly at the programs you’ve recently installed or uninstalled and see if any of those are using the bulk of your PC’s available resources.

All the memory hogging and performance sapping programs, services and modules can make your Windows computer less stable so its also a very good idea to check the Windows Reliability monitor too.

You can launch the Reliability Monitor from Control Panel, System & Security, Action Centre. Then choose View Reliability History. For Vista and Windows 7 users just type ‘Reliability History’ into the ‘Search programs and Files’ box and select View Reliability History from the resulting list.

Take a look at the trend line which may be flat or downward sloping. A sudden sharp drop is certainly worth checking out. If multiple programs are shown to be unstable perhaps something you recently installed or uninstalled is the culprit.

Click on the columns representing dates to see a list of the ‘activity’ for that particular day. This will show you what was successfully installed or run and what was unsuccessful. You may be able to fix the instability problem if ‘Check for a solution’ appears under the Action column at the foot of the screen.

Use these two tools to keep your Windows PC in good shape and to nip problems in the bud before they start to get out of hand!

What causes that strange whirring noise inside your Computer?

artic-pro freezer 7A whirring noise inside your PC almost certainly comes from a loose or damaged fan. But you can never be too sure without opening up your PC’s case.

You may even have a hard drive problem developing. But a dying hard drive is more likely to make a loud clicking noise rather than a whirring one. To play safe make an extra image backup of your hard drive, just in case the hard drive is the culprit.

Once your hard drive is protected, start looking for a problem amongst the fans. You need to figure out which fan is causing the problem and see if it is loose or damaged in some way. How you do this depends on whether you have a laptop or a desktop computer.

Read the rest of this article – http://www.qbs-pchelp.co.uk/pchelparticles/whirringnoise-pcfans.html