I did the easy part now you do the hard part; follow dot points.
* * * 80 Thank you comments * * *

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Back Up Ext. Hard Drive

I've been having problems with my external hard drive used for back up. Well to be more exact it is the software. As the hard drive is external it is only plugged in when back up is needed and my problem is that the software recognises the hard drive as "I" drive which isn't always allocated to my hard drive and is usually allocated to any USB device that i plug in first for example a mp3 player.

To over come this I had to allocate the end letters in the alphabet as Windows uses the next unused letter when mounting devices so now my drive is "Z" and the back up software is syncing "Z" drive so it doesn't matter what i plug in my computer first.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

NovaBench Update

I have been having slow downs where i have to wait for my computers hard drive instead of my computer wait for me to command.

I wanted to upgrade my RAM and i had a look at a program called FreeRAM XP for free RAM available. It seems that when i have a slow down i still have 100s of MB of RAM (by 100s i mean 100-200).
I asked some experts and they said that software like this is useless and actually flushes RAM to the hard drive kind of like Swapfiles. I then read reviews on FreeRAM XP and many people have said that they have had crashes (not really me), slow progress in swapping windows (yep, that's me) and someone also had jittery performance in a graphics intensive game (yep also happened, with MS flight Sim)

So yeah now I am trying to close it and not use it and see if there is any performance boost. I tried to NovaBench, yep got an extra point but then i tried with other pgorams and it seems that if you close a heavy program you seem to get one point anyway. So i guess the only way to test it is for me to notice the performance in the real world.

A note for those readers who are using NovaBench, as you can read from above you might want to compare your bench points when running basic programs or nothing besides Windows to give a fair test.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

BIOS update problem

for google purposes:

  • My uguru clock shows wrong temp after BIOS upgrade flash
  • A-bit CPU temp is wrong after BIOS upgrade flash
  • CPU temp is below room temp
Anyway, remember when i said i updated my BIOS and didn't see any problems? well now i did. The CPU monitoring system was screwed up and showed me anywhere from 6c to 22c when the room temp was 29c I thought wow i have cooling that is better than water cooling as water can only bring the CPU back down around room temp mine is almost freezing point so i thought something must be wrong it isn't physically possible.

A good thing about this BIOS fix was that my Cool and Quiet technology is actually working, this is basically CPU throttling which means less electricity is pumped through the CPU and the CPU is ran at a slower pace when your not using much processing, this means less resistance which means cooler temp which means fans need to spin less per minute which means quieter fans.

Anyway so i went into control panel and had a look at system and had a look at the freq. of my CPU and indeed it was working and was automated which really rocked and i was sometimes using less than half of my processors capacity so i though this would and is very cool (literally) but not 6c cool.

I sent an e-mail to A-bit, my motherboard maker and they replied that sometimes BIOS updates can miss some CPUs and this can happen and that i should remove and return the CMOS battery and jumper and CPU, never having removing my CPU i did not want to do that in case i need more thermal paste which i don't have ATM. So i decided maybe just clearing the CMOS will do and then when i took my jumper out i thought to myself i wonder if there is a top and bottom to the jumper but then i doubted it as i shouldn't have been able to plug in the jumper if it was upside down and i had a look and i realised that yes it is different.

|_|_| this was what i had my jumper in originally. (by the way when i say jumper I am actually referring to the plastic coated removable tab)

I then turned it upside down and re-plugged it in |-|-| (the lines in the middle are meant to be at top but no buttons on the keyboard seems to give me that)

I didn't actually move the jumper into the clear CMOS position i simply just unplugged and re-plugged it in and when i turned on my computer the CMOS clock was reset and i had a look at the CPU temp and it was FIXED, yay!

My theory is that according to my Physics knowledge it shouldn't of mattered which way i had the jumpers cause the electricity still goes through the metal bits and joins the connection. My view is that clearing the CMOS twice should solve the problem but i am not too sure. I tried to google this problem many times but with no one having this problem. Maybe i simply didn't clear the CMOS right anyway i just decided to post this in case if anyone tries to google the same problem that way they can solve this little hiccup faster than i did, hopefully.

My CPU now reads ~31c when Cool and Quiet is working, I am going to do some video processing to see how efficient my cooling is when a full load is placed on the CPU.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Everything is Firmware

After updating my BIOS i realised how many new electronic gadgets nower days need fireware and how many can be updated, this is great cause you don't need a recall for software problems just go online and update latest firmware for a fix.

A main problem is that many things that use to work can be screwed up by a firmware update. So really you only update when there is a problem.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Better Video on digital cams

If you plan to use your digital camera for video recording and want the best quality (In the case of the Cybershot anyway) you may have to read some reviews to find out if you can use high quality video capture with normal memory sticks. In the cybershot you can do average fps recording with normal memory sticks but if you want to capture faster things you may have to use faster fps recording which can only be done if you are using a memory stick pro for recording.

This was the case for me but my camera is 2 years old so not sure if it still applies today.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Checked the plugs?

Sounds like a familiar quote from a technical support centre?
Yeah I have sent a few minutes trying to fix my computer, for some reason only the stereo speakers worked and it sounded crap. Then i remembered that i cleaned the computer desk yesterday and yep, unplugged every sound plug except for the stereo speakers (amazing if you ask me)

In the past i have had problems with Windows settings being Desktop speakers instead of 5.1 speakers but this time yeah, stupid human error, lucky i didn't spend 30 minutes on it or i would feel so stupid right now. Anyway this is probably not a tip you would need to remember unless if your silly like me ;)

BIOS update

Horay, I did my first BIOS flash update, now just hoping that nothing goes wrong.

It was a bit scary at first as BIOS chips don't accept the CTRL + Z undo function if you update and flash it wrong the only way to fix it is to buy a new clip or re-program the corrupt one.

If it is so dodgy why update then? good question it was cause i had a cold boot problem (which the BIOS update might fix, some say it has, but for me there is only time to tell)
At first what i did notice was the cool new intro screen and the nice new logos that say that dual cores are now supported, not that my motherboard will accept dual cores, i think.
I also wanted to correct the temperature monitor that came with my motherboard, it was too highly calibrated, i think but now it is always under the room temperature so now i think it is even more wrong but i like the look of 13 degrees especially if i haven't got water cooling but i am almost certain the thermo. mon. is whacked but it is too scary to return to the old version.

I would only update the BIOS if you:

  • Want something to be compatible
  • Fix an error
What i would make sure you do is:
  • Make a back up of your existing BIOS on a bootable floppy disk so you can try to recover a bad update without running Windows which will probably not run and also to recover when an error is detected down the track.
  • Clear CMOS and unplug PSU after update for 2 minutes
  • Fix CMOS settings or just date and time and save new changes
  • Fix clock and date settings after update

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Novabench Benchmark

This is a great software to easily compare computers to others as it measures the computers performance and gives you a score for it, the higher the score the more efficient processing the computer has. This allows you to compare computers without having to compare RAM and CPU clock speeds etc. etc. which is sometimes hard as Intel and AMD have different clock speeds and some Intel processors have slower clocks speeds but faster (I am yet still to understand what they are, maybe its a marketing technique, who knows)

I installed but couldn't successfully run on Windows 98se but Win Xp is fine.

On a different note, after running Novabench once and recording the score i did a defrag with Auslogic defrag, in Auslogic it says after the defrag there was an increase of 3% to system performance, according to Novabench I got an extra 4 points so defrag does make a good difference in performance, you can check the creditability of other software this way "Make your computer run like if it was brand new" kind of marking tactic tests.

Faster Windows Defrag

I have talked about alternative defag software before that act faster than Windows defrag but if your determined or have to due to your own reasons, use Windows defrag, you can try a restart and then defrag, this way useless junk in your system is cleaned out and a fresh boot will perform faster defrag motions.

Problem with rats (mouse to be more specific)

I was having some work done around that house that required the power to be turned off for safety reasons and for that reason i turned off my computer with a proper shut down.

Despite doing things correctly I had a cold boot, due to the fact that the power was completely turned off to my computer (ie no stand-by power) for some reason Windows would not boot, I gave it some time to warm up and then tried again and still same problem so I went into the BIOS and changed to fail-safe options and last good Windows settings and set things straight but when trying to use Windows after a successful engine start I hit a problem and that was the mouse didn't work at least i thought that at first, I tried the mouse on a different PC and it was detected so it wasn't a hardware problem and I tried a different USB port on my computer and nothing happened so it wasn't that specific ports problem.

My sister then asked me to print her assignment on my computer (as I am the only one with a printer in the network) she handed over her USB thumb drive and I turned on the printer and nothing, nothing was being mounted by Windows and then i realised it wasn't a mouse problem but a USB problem for some reason all my ports had been disabled.

Then it hit me, the fail-safe settings must have disabled the mouse for troubleshooting reasons and all USB were disabled to reduce the number of peripherals connected to cancel out troubleshooting tasks. I went back into the BIOS to load optimised settings defaults instead but this did not fix the problem mainly cause i was careless, by default it says are you sure you want to load optimised defaults (Y/N)? and N is selected as the default answer but i did not read it first and pressed enter and saved the changes and that is why it didn't work but then after a while of stress i thought maybe i could have done that and yep that's the stupid mistake i made. So keep that in mind if you ever need to load fail-safe defaults in any scenarios.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Firefox and Open Source problem

I have found the impossible, a con of open source, yep, no one thought it was possible.
Open source seems to have more updates than corporate software, which is very very good as you get more updates and new features and for free, more service for less money, great.

A problem i found with firefox is that you sometimes get incompatible extensions as authors don't update at the same rate as the firefox developers. This may actually be why corporate companies don't update as often, if a bug is present due to a update they have just screwed up all their customers with fast Internet access and update option set to automatic.

Soooo keep that in mind, I know that happened to me when i changed from FF1 to FF2 but if it does bother you, you can always find extensions, ironically, that overrides the version incompatibility issue, that is if the extension for overriding other extensions is updated... yeah.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Ubuntu to Mac OS

Most people, I am for one feel uncomfortable about Linux cause it seems foreign and hard to use at the first glance. With Ubuntu what i liked was the ability to re-design the desktop to be Mac like which I am familiar with due to my school using them.

What i wasn't impressed with Ubuntu or maybe Linux is that compared to Macs there is a lot of scripting and such, I tried to install on application and couldn't do it user friendly, you have to enter a few paragraphs of code into the terminal and then it still did not work and i still haven't got it installed yet.

So if you a beginner and you don't mind spending money Mac OS may be easier, if not some patience may pull you through and get you using the Mac like interface free alternative but for me at the moment Vista may be a smaller learning curve (yet to get Vista)

Saving Data off Win98

The family computer that runs Win98se is outside of my room and that means none of its noise will wake me during my sleep so I usually use the Win98se computer to download at night (it also runs less heat and electricity as it is a low powered machine)

My only problem was that the file i downloaded was large and i couldn't use a CD or floppy disc. It didn't have a DVD drive so DVD was ruled out, my external hard drive was NTFS and not FAT32 so that made it impossible to use a hard drive.

Then my last thought which should have been my first was to use the Ethernet cable that got the data from the Internet in the first place, just unplug from modem and re-plug to my computer, took a while to set up network again and then just drag and drop.

After a while i figured a better solution and that was to simple use a USB drive of 1Gb which was more than enough (just).

So there we go, a long list of ways to transfer data stranded on an old computer.

Win98 Use By Date

I hope it isn't new news to you when reading this but MS has stopped supporting Win98 which means it is past its use by date not that this will affect a lot of people as most have already WinXP.
What this means though is

  • MS does not give out support for this OS it is now open to hacking as it no longer has updates from MS to patch up any flaws.
  • As MS doesn't support it no longer, manufacturers will not produce software or hardware that have been tested on Win98, some might still work or say that it is compatible as it uses standards e.g. usb sticks but may work but not mentioned as they can't give you technical support if you call them.
  • Some services such as broadband will also say such things but computer wizards know how to manually tweak their computers to be compatible, not that you would would want to go online with an out dated computer.
There are still some good uses for win98 though but it depends on what kind of a user you are. Vista for example will consume 500 billion more computer processing power (statistics backed up by my made-on-the spot-statistics company limited) to run so many things like file servers or basic things like that could be done with Win98.

If you have a computer only fast enough for Win98, you could look into a Linux solution, I might be soon but as it is the family computer you have to consider the inertia of using a graphical user-friendly OS. Dam Small Linux etc. is for light weight computer, Ubuntu is too heavy for old processors (at least for mine).

Edit System Restore

Start > Control Panel > System > System Restore > {Settings} > "Edit as needed, off, limited etc."

Paging File Location Change

Start > Control Panel > System > Advanced > {Performance} Settings > Advanced > {Virtual Memory} Change > "Set to user pref."

Printer Spool Folder Move

Start > Printers and Fax > File > Server Properties > Advanced > [New Spool Folder Location]

Hide it to System Tray

Have you ever had windows minimised that you wished you could make disappear and only reappear when you need it? Things like Ad-aware checks, Defrags, and Anti-Virus scans?
Some software that allows you to do that puts an extra minimise to sys tray button on all windows which is annoying as it is not every second window that you need to minimise to tray.

Hide It is different it places a system tray icon that allows you to choose what things to hide and what to show so you don't end up cluttering you sys tray, all hidden windows are inside the Hide It icon. I especially like this because i don't have to launch Hide It everything at start up, I can simple place a quick launch short cut and click it when i decide I want to hide something.

A problem with this application though is that if the program crashes or you force close it, it will make your hidden windows impossible to maximise again until you restart the program which sometimes requires you to kill the process and then open it again which is a contradiction if your using it for a Spyware scan and need to click a Fix Problems button before scan results will be fixed.

Author Home page: http://www.expocenter.com/hideit/