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Battery Does Not Work After Dropping Laptop 

by on September 24, 2008

Q: I have a Compaq Presario 2236CL laptop. My friend dropped it and now it will no longer run from the battery. It will not boot up unless plugged in and will turn off IMMEDIATELY when unplugged. Do you think this is more likely a dead battery or something internal in the laptop?

A: Since your laptop was able to run via battery power prior to the accident, the battery may simply have been knocked out of alignment by impact. Use the following procedure to realign the battery with the connector inside your laptop: Read the rest of this entry »


AOL Deleted My Account! 

by on September 17, 2008

Q: I allowed my friend to use my AOL account to chat in an AOL chat room. He used some bad language in the chat room and then AOL deleted my account. Is there any way I can get my mail from that account? How can I prevent all of this from happening to me again?

A: I advise that you call AOL as soon as possible by dialing 1-800-827-6364 (or 1-800-759-3323 if you require TTY). You may encounter an AOL representative who is willing & able to help you. But please keep in mind that AOL may have already deleted the emails from your terminated account.

It is also important for me to mention that AOL may choose not to help you, even if it can. AOL proclaims in the AIM Terms of Service and the AOL Network Registered User Terms of Service that it has the right to terminate any screen name without warning, for any reason. The company also states that a user is ultimately responsible for making backups of his/her emails.

There is one major guideline that I can suggest which will help you to prevent this kind of catastrophe from happening to you again. You should find an email provider, such as Google’s Gmail, that will allow you to use the technology known as POP to download all of your emails to your computer’s built-in email program. Examples of built-in email programs include Outlook Express (Windows XP), Windows Mail (Windows Vista), and Apple Mail (Mac OS X).

Good Luck!


Should I keep Norton AntiVirus or Webroot Spy Sweeper? 

by on September 15, 2008

Q: I have an HP PC and am using Norton AntiVirus. When I had some work done they installed Webroot Spy Sweeper, so now I have both. Don’t they do the same thing? If I only need one which one should I get rid of?

A: Norton AntiVirus (2006 and newer) has built-in antispyware tools. But according to my research, Spy Sweeper does not include antivirus tools by default. Also, it seems like Spy Sweeper was installed on your computer without your permission. So I recommend that you uninstall Spy Sweeper from your computer while keeping Norton AntiVirus.

TIP: You may wish to replace Norton AntiVirus with a program like Kaspersky Internet Security 2009, which combines antivirus, antispyware, firewall, and other advanced capabilities into a single program.


Terms to Understand when Purchasing a New Computer 

by on September 15, 2008

Q: I am looking at purchasing a laptop for personal and work use. I only need basic MS office functions and internet. I am confused with all the terms thrown around at me. What features do I need? What does Intel Centrino 2 Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz, 4GB RAM, 640GB HDD, DVD Burner, 512MB Graphics, TV Tuner, 17″ Screen, Windows Vista Home Premium mean?

A: I find that the best way to prevent confusion when shopping for a new computer is to divide the computers into categories:

  • Both Intel and AMD make good processors. So it really doesn’t matter which brand you choose. I recommend that you purchase a laptop that has a 64-bit processor. Most processors today are 64-bit. Also, many of today’s processors feature multiple “cores”. A core is sort of like a brain within a processor. So dual-core means two brains, quad-core means four brains, etc. I feel that dual-core technology is probably the best option for you.
  • You need to purchase a laptop that has at least 2 GB (gigabytes) of RAM. Furthermore, be sure that any laptop with 4 GB of RAM or more includes a 64-bit operating system. Microsoft clearly labels the 64-bit versions of Windows.
  • HDD is an abbreviation for hard drive. The two main considerations with hard drives are size and speed. I advise that you purchase a laptop that has a 160 GB or larger hard drive. You might run out of space for your computer files with a smaller hard drive. I also recommend a hard drive speed of at least 5400 RPM, as slower speeds will impede your laptop’s performance. I recommend that you avoid so-called “solid state drives” at this time, because they are very expensive yet they hold less data than normal hard drives.
  • DVD burners are standard equipment on most laptops today. Stay away from laptops that only include CD burners. If you have lots of money you may want to get a BD burner in you laptop, which will allow you to burn Blu-ray disks in addition to DVDs.
  • There are two kinds of graphics solutions in today’s computers. Shared/Integrated graphics are inexpensive. But they don’t work with some games and will decrease the available amount of RAM in your computer. Discrete graphics are more expensive. But the work with most games and don’t decrease the amount of RAM that your computer can use.  Discrete graphics come in sizes. I recommend a minimum size of 256 MB. Whichever kind of graphics you choose, you will need to make sure that your new laptop is fully compatible with Microsoft’s DirectX 10 technology. The laptop’s manufacture can give you more information on that. NOTE: Unlike a desktop computer, it is not possible to upgrade a laptops graphics after you buy. So when in doubt, purchase the best graphics you can afford.
  • Unless you want to watch and/or record television on your laptop, you do not need a TV Tuner. If you decide to include a TV as part of your laptop, be sure that the tuner supports high definition.
  • Screen size is a personal decision. I personally feel that laptops with screens in the 15″ to 16″ inch range offer the best combination of viewing and portability. Smaller screens are often difficult to read. Laptops with screens 17″ and larger don’t fit well on laps, and require special computer bags.
  • Windows Vista is the successor to Windows XP. There are many more versions of Vista than there were of XP. Vista Home Premium is probably the correct choice for you. You may wish to click here for Microsoft’s official comparison of Vista editions.

TIP: Much of the above information is also applicable to Apple Mac computers.


Delete a Windows Partition from a Mac 

by on September 9, 2008

Q: I am wondering how I can reformat my Windows XP partition on a dual system iMac without loosing the Mac side.

A: Apple has made it extremely easy to delete Windows partitions from your iMac’s hard drive in Mac OS X Leopard.

Open a new Finder window and go Applications => Utilities => Boot Camp Assistant. This will start an interactive wizard. In the wizard, choose the option called Create or remove a Windows partition. Follow the resulting instructions to delete the Windows partition from your iMac, and then restart your computer.



Transfer Firefox 3 Bookmarks to Another Computer 

by on September 6, 2008

Q: How can I transfer favorites in Firefox 3 on an XP computer to Firefox 3 on a laptop with Vista? It was easy with IE doing the transfer.

A: In XP’s Firefox 3 go Bookmarks => Organize Bookmarks => Import and Backup => Export HTML. This will copy all of your bookmarks to a file. Copy that file to the hard drive of your Vista laptop using a CD-R, USB flash drive, or email. Then in Vista’s Firefox 3 go Bookmarks => Organize Bookmarks => Import and Backup => Import HTML => From an HTML File. Your imported bookmarks will be added to the Bookmarks Menu folder. Congratulations!

TIP: Internet Explorer can import files that have been created by Firefox’s Export HTML option.


Upgrading The Graphics Card On A Toshiba Laptop 

by on September 4, 2008

Q: Is it possible for me to upgrade the Radeon hd3470 graphics card in my Toshiba a305-s6841 laptop?

A: Unfortunately the answer is no. Most laptops do not allow you to upgrade anything besides the hard drive and the memory (RAM). This is the case for your Toshiba laptop as well.


Requirements For Microsoft Office 2007 

by on September 3, 2008

Q: Can I run Microsoft Office 2007 Student Edition on Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition?

A: You can as long as you have Service Pack 2 (SP2) installed. You can find more requirements over at the Microsoft Office 2007 Requirements site.