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USB Storage Devices 

by on May 31, 2007

Q: What is the technology behind a USB storage device?

A: USB Flash Drives are ultra-portable memory devices. The memory used in these drives are non-volatile, meaning that it does not need constant power to maintain information in memory. It is also solid-state media, which means that it does not have any moving parts like a hard drive, which has spinning platters. Since Flash drives do not have moving parts they are much more shock resistant than drives.

USB Flash drives also have much faster read times than standard hard drives. The memory within the casing of a USB Flash Drive is the same type of memory used in the memory cards we use with digital cameras, mobile phones, and PDAs. USB Flash Drives currently have a capacity of up to 8GB.

USB Hard Drives are standard 2.5″ or 3.5″ hard drives (SATA or IDE) in an external enclosure with a USB interface. The hard drives are the same types of hard drives found in desktops and laptops.


Migrating From Windows XP To Windows Vista 

by on May 30, 2007

Q: I am in the process of buying a new laptop. My new laptop uses Vista and my old laptop uses XP. I want to transfer my favorites in IE6 and my documents to my new computer. How do I do this?

A: When you are transferring your personal information and documents from one PC to another, the first thing you need to do is make sure you know where all of your data is saved. In Windows XP, most applications prompt you to save information into your My Documents folder, but not all applications default to that folder when you are saving files. It is a good idea to browse through your hard drive and make sure that all of your personal files have been moved to the My Documents folder.

In order to back up your bookmarks from Internet Explorer 6:

  1. Click “File” > “Import and Export” > “Next”
  2. Click “Export Favorites” and click “Next
  3. Name the bookmarks file or accept the default of bookmarks.htm and save the file to your “My Documents” folder.

Once you have located all of your documents, you need to determine how much data you have. If you right-click on the My Documents folder and click on the General tab you will see the size of the folder. The amount of data you have will determine the best way for you to copy your data from one machine to the other. The quickest way to transfer your data would be to copy it to a USB Flash Drive or an External Hard Drive, then attach it to the new PC and copy the data over. If you do not have an external drive, you can burn a CD or DVD with all of your data on it and copy the data from it when you place it in the new PC. The added bonus of burning a CD is that you have an instant backup of your data from your old PC that you can save as an archive.

Once you have copied all of your information to the new PC, to import your bookmarks into Internet Explorer 7:

  1. Click “Add to Favorites” > “Import and Export
  2. Click “Next”
  3. Choose “Import Favorites” and click “Next
  4. Navigate to the bookmarks file you copied over from your old PC (which should have been in your My Documents folder), and click “Next
  5. Click “Finish”

Now you should have your data from your old PC copied over to your new PC and your bookmarks have been imported into Internet Explorer


Powering Down External Hard Drives 

by on May 29, 2007

Q: I was just wondering it is better for an external HD to always keep it running or to power it on transfer necessary files and then power if off?

A: Whether or not you keep your external hard drive on all the time is a matter of preference and is usually determined by how you use it and what type of external drive it is. Some people treat their external USB (or Firewire) hard drive just like an internal hard drive, and they constantly access files from it so it needs to stay on constantly while they work. Some people use external hard drives to back up data, and would only transfer or sync data at specific times so they can afford to turn it off until they are ready to perform a backup. It is best to shut down your PC and all of its peripherals when you are done using them for a while to save energy.

If your external hard drive is Network Attached Storage (NAS), meaning that it plugs into your home router and is shared among the computers on your network, it may be best to leave it on. In a situation where the device is shared over a network, you need to verify that all of the network users have disconnected from it and are done using it before shutting it down. Ultimately, whether or not you keep your external hard drive on is determined by how you use it, and whether or not shutting it down will impact other networked users.


Registry Modifications With Uniblue RegistryBooster 

by on May 23, 2007

An Into Tomorrow listener submitted the following question!

Q: A friend of my recently downloaded Uniblue RegistryBooster. After running the scan it told him he had over 400 problems with his registry. My question is how good of a program is Uniblue RegistryBooster? In order to fix the problems in his registry he has to purchase the program so is it a good idea or should we look for a free program that does the same thing?

A: Anyone who is considering using a program to modify their registry should know that the Windows registry is an important part of their computer. If something were to go wrong with the registry is very possible that the computer could stop working. So you should back up your registry before doing any kind of modifications to it and you should think very carefully before using a free registry tool to automatically modify your registry.

Uniblue is a Microsoft Certified Partner, which more or less means they meet certain requirements set forth by Microsoft and pay a fee to Microsoft and in return they get access to Microsoft direct tech support and some other things. Why is this good? This is good because it lets us know they went the extra mile to make sure their product is a good product that works so you can trust it to do what it says it does.

Our friends over at InfoPackets.com have a review of Uniblue RegistryBooster, which also quotes a few other reviews. If you are interested in hearing more about Uniblue RegistryBooster you should head over and read the review.


Optical Drive Install: Master vs Slave 

by on May 22, 2007

Q: I am installing a CD/DVD-R drive and a CD/DVD-ROM drive on my Windows XP system. Does it matter which drive is the master and which drive is the slave?

A: For many people who build and upgrade their own PCs, the answer to this question would be simply that it is a matter of preference. The key to your upgrade is to install the devices so that they run efficiently in your system. The most efficient setup for your system depends on its age, how many hard drives you have installed, and the quality of the optical drives you are installing. You have to find a setup that enables your hard drive(s) and your optical drives to work in harmony within your system.

Providing that you have one internal hard drive with Windows XP on it, this is how I would personally set up the hardware:

  1. Make the hard drive the master on the primary IDE interface
  2. Attach the DVD-ROM to the primary IDE interface as a slave
  3. Place the DVD-R on the secondary IDE interface as the master

I am partial to placing the DVD-R on its own interface as the master because it has worked best for me. I have experienced problems burning DVDs and copying DVDs from my DVD-R if it was not either the master or the only device on an interface. Some DVD-R drives will come with warnings stating that the drive may not perform to its potential if it is a slave, and there is a lot of troubleshooting information and tips on the internet that reiterate the same sentiment. This does not mean that every DVD-R will react the same way, especially in newer systems. Essentially you will need to set the system up and test it to make sure that it works to your liking.


Monitor Went Blank And Computer Makes No Noise 

by on May 21, 2007

Q: When I was playing solitaire my monitor shut off and my computer stopped making any noise. If I turn the system off and then back on the monitor turns on and then off right away and the computer still makes no noise. What could the problem be?

A: We can figure out the problem is not your monitor. The fact that it turns on and then off is normal because most monitors will turn off or go into power saving mode if there is no signal being sent to them from the computer.

From the way you are describing things “the computer stopped making noise” we can narrow down the problem to your power supply. The reason for this is that it should at least turn on if the problem were with your motherboard or some other component in your system.

If you would like to fix the problem yourself then your best solution is to switch power supplies with a friend or go get one that will work with your system from a store that allows you to easily return in case that is not the problem. Other wise you can bring it to a professional and it should not cost too much but let them know you think it is probably the power supply. It will only take them a matter of minutes to test it.


Managing Word Documents Headers and Footers 

by on May 15, 2007

Q: The header on a word document moved itself to the footer, how do I moved it back up?

A: The easiest way to move information from the Header of a Microsoft Word document to the Footer of that document would be to copy the information in the Footer and paste it into the Header. Here are instructions on how to do this:

  1. To view the Footer of your current document, click the View menu then choose Header and Footer.
  2. While you are in the Footer area, click Control+A, which will highlight all of the text in the area, then click Control+C to copy it to the clipboard.
  3. Click the Header and Footer Switch Button icon in the Header and Footer toolbar to switch to the Header.
  4. Click Control+V to paste the information from the Clipboard into the Footer.
  5. Once you have verified that all of the information has been pasted into the Header, click the Header and Footer Switch icon again to switch back to the Footer.
  6. Delete all of the information from the footer that you no longer need.

PCI vs PCI Express 

by on May 9, 2007

Q: What is the difference between a PCI card and PCI Express?

A: Peripheral Component Interface (PCI) and PCI Express are both types of PC expansion slots. PCI was created by Intel in 1993, and became very popular on the PC platform. Many different types of cards were created in the PCI format including network, sound and video cards. PCI cards have a peak transfer rate of 133MB/s (on a 32MB bus).

As the data throughput rates of computer components continued to increase, the slower data transfer rates of PCI cards started to hinder the performance of newer computer systems. PCI Express was created in 2004 to replace PCI. There are different PCI Express specifications and the data transfer rates have been increased to 16GB/s with the newest specification released early this year.

PCI slots and PCI Express slots are not compatible; therefore you should not try to interchange cards between these two slot types. Since there are several different PCI Express card speeds, you should make sure that your motherboard can take advantage of the data transfer speed your card is capable of.

If you would like more specific information and photographs of the different card types, Directron.com has a great article explaining the differences among PCI, PCI Express, and AGP.


Delete Browser History 

by on May 7, 2007

Q: In Internet Explorer how can I change or remove the way the web addresses show up in the drop-down list or the drop down list in google?

A: In Internet Explorer 7, the URLs you have typed into the address bar are automatically stored in the browser’s history. When you click on the drop-down arrow to the right of the address bar, you will see a list of the addresses you have typed manually into the address bar, and those you have pasted into the address bar and loaded for viewing. There is no way to control how they are displayed, because they are simply a history of pages you have loaded, however you can control how long Internet Explorer keeps a history of these addresses. Read the rest of this entry »


Restart A Frozen iPod 

by on May 2, 2007

Q: My iPod is frozen, how do I restart it?

A: Even though your iPod may appear to be frozen, it may not be. There are other factors that will cause an iPod to fail to respond including:

  • The Hold switch may be on, or the iPod software believes that the Hold switch is on
  • A very weak or completely discharged battery

When the Hold switch is on, a small lock icon will appear at the top of the screen. Look at the top of your iPod and the screen (if it is on) and make sure that the Hold switch is off in both places. Sometimes when Hold is turned off, the lock icon fails to disappear and the iPod software may still believe that the iPod is locked. If the Hold switch is in the off position and the iPod still fails to respond to button clicks, slide the Hold button into the on position then back into the off position again. This should allow the iPod to resume normal function. If it does not, the iPod may need to be charged.

Weak iPod batteries will also cause the iPod to function abnormally or to respond slowly to input. If you are unsure of how well your iPod is charged, plug it into its charger (USB cable, iPod Dock, or car charger) and wait a minute or two. Press a button to turn it on. If the iPod still fails to respond, it may need to be reset.

In order to reset your iPod you must determine what model iPod you have. The following Apple Support site will help you determine what iPod model you own.
Once you have determined what iPod model you have, do the following:

  • If you have a click wheel iPod (all iPods with the exception of the scroll wheel iPods from the first two generations, the iPod with dock connector, or the touch wheel iPod), press and hold the Menu and Select (center) buttons simultaneously until the Apple logo appears. This may need to repeated to successfully reset the device.
  • If you have a scroll wheel iPod, and iPod with dock connector, or a touch wheel iPod, press and hold the Play/Pause button and Menu buttons simultaneously until the Apple logo appears. This may need to repeated to successfully reset the device.

If you have performed all of these troubleshooting steps and your iPod still fails to respond, it may need to be serviced by Apple, and that can be determined by contacting Apple’s technical support (the phone numbers are in your iPod documentation) or by bringing your device to your local Apple Store for further inspection.