How To Use Windows Explorer

Posted on June 29, 2010. Filed under: How To Use Windows Explorer, Uncategorized | Tags: |

Using Windows Explorer

Type Windows Explorer in the Run box or Right click on My Computer and choose Explore (Vista/XP). Here you can view files, open programs and files, create files, copy and/or move files to other locations, delete or rename files, search for a file, or type of file, change file attributes, and format new disks.

You can create new files by right clicking in the center of Windows Explorer and select New.

Changing the attributes of a file means that you are determining what users can do to that file; such as, Read Only, Hidden, System, Archive, Compression, Indexing, and Encryption.

To do this right click on any file and select properties. You can click Advanced for more options. If you check Read only then the document can not be modified, but only read. If you check Hidden the file will not be visible to users even though it is still there. Under Advanced-make sure Indexing is checked because this speeds up searches for your files. If Archiving is checked then you can back up that file. Compression works best on word processing documents and uncompressed images. GIF and JPEG are already compressed, exe and zip files will not compress much. Use this option to compress documents and images to create more space on your hard disk. Encryption lets you secure files against anyone else’s being able to view them by encoding the files with a key. Encryption and Compression can not be used on the same file.

Further permissions (read, write, execute, delete, ownership, full control, etc.) for files can be created by right clicking on any file. Choosing properties and then the Security tab (if this tab doesn’t appear you need to deselect Simple File Sharing under Folder Options> View> Advanced). You should see the users and groups to which permissions have been assigned. Select one and see the list of permissions. Here you can deny or grant permissions. You can give permissions to groups using standard permissions. You can add new users and groups by clicking Add.

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Optimize the Performance of Your Computer

Posted on June 29, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: |

Optimize the performance of your computer by doing the following:

Disk Defragmenter (If it doesn’t come up when you type it in the run box try looking in Programs> Accessories> Tools> Disk Defragmenter).

 This tool will analyze your computer and then consolidate fragmented files. This helps the computer retrieve files faster.

Disk Clean up – (can be found by typing in run box or in Programs> Accessories>Tools> Disk Clean up) This tool can help erase files you no longer need freeing up space on your computer.

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How To Troubleshoot Your Own Computer Problems

Posted on June 29, 2010. Filed under: How To Troubleshoot Your Own Computer Problems, Uncategorized | Tags: |

To start  troubleshooting your computer issues click on Control Panel >Administrative Tools.

Here you will find:  Event Viewer, Computer Management, Services, and Performance Monitor

Event Viewer tracks all events (including errors and problems) on your computer and gives explanations. These log files (system, application, security, administrative) can give a general indication of your computer’s health. You should clear the Event Viewer every so often after you have reviewed it so it doesn’t get too full and difficult to look through. You can save log files before erasing them. Choose Clear All Events to clear.

Computer Management has its own Device Manager and Event Viewer, but it also allows you to manage all of your computer’s Shared Folders, allows you to create and manage User and Group Accounts and shows you how your System Hardware is performing. It will actually alert you if your system performance goes below a threshold you set.

Services is an MMC snap-in that allows you to interact with the services running on your computer. Click on any service to see what it can do for you then right click on the service to stop it or start it.

To add more snap-ins type mmc into the Run box in the Start menu. This opens a console window. Choose File> Add/Remove Snap-In. Then choose from the list and click Add.

Performance Monitor – You can use the Performance Monitor as a general troubleshooting tool as well as a security troubleshooting tool. Try the following exercise to become familiar with this tool:

Start> Settings> Control Panel> Administrative Tools / Performance or Performance Information and Tools / Advanced Tools / Performance Monitor. Open the Performance Logs and Alerts. Click on the Add Counters button (a plus sign) and choose to add the Processor Performance Object. Then expand Processors and Add the% Processor Time counter, and then click Close. Now choose Start> Search For Files and Folders without specifying a specific folder and watch how the performance monitor is affected. Keep this going but click on the histogram (the button to the left of the plus sign) and see how it changes. Now click on report from that same menu and see how it changes again. Exit the Performance monitor.

Task Manager – You can access the task manager by pressing Ctrl + Alt + Delete or Ctrl + Shift + Esc (try both to see the difference). The Task Manager lets you shut down unresponsive applications. It also allows you to see which processes and applications are using the most system resources, view network usage, see connected users, etc.

In Task Manager your computer may have some or all of the following tabs:

Applications-this tab lets you see which tasks are open and running or not responding. If it is not responding-select the program and click End Task. You can now reopen the program, but if it stalls again you may need to restart the computer.
Processes-you can end processes here, but be careful not to stop critical processes. If you don’t know what a process does you can research it online.
Performance-Here you can keep track of your systems performance. Note how much physical memory you have and how much is available. Also note your CPU usage.
Networking-Shows you the state and performance of your network connection
Users-Shows you all of the users connected to your machine. Right click on any user to send a message, disconnect the user, log off the user and initeate a remote control to the user’s machine

If you are having trouble connecting to the Internet or a Network you can use the Command Prompt to troubleshoot. To access the Command Prompt type cmd or command  in the run box.  The Command prompt is useful because you can run diagnostic utilities from here. They include ping and ipconfig.

Start by Typing IPCONFIG / ALL

This will show you all of your configuration information. If the network cable is disconnected, it will tell you. If your IP address is you’re not going to connect to anything. An address starting with 169.254 is an address Microsoft automatically assigns if a DHCP server cannot be found; while this can allow you to connect to a network, it will not allow Internet access.

If you can’t connect try the following:

1. Type IPCONFIG / RELEASE (to release the current IP address)

2. Type IPCONFIG / RENEW (Obtains a new IP address) It doesn’t matter if the number is the same-you effectively reset your IP address

3. Type PING  typeYourIPaddressHere or your computers host name

If you can not make a connection to the remote host you will get back the following: Request timed out. Some Internet sites block pings, so be sure to use a site that you know accepts them. To troubleshoot further do the following:

4. Type TRACERT  typeYourIPaddressHere or hostname

This will trace the route between your computer and the destination computer and can help determine where the breakdown is.

Next thing to do is disconnect your modem and router and turn off your computer. Wait a minute. Connect your modem and router and turn on your computer. Try connecting again.

Sometimes you will need to edit the registry to fix a problem.  To edit the Registry type REGEDIT or REGEDT32-These work similarly, but have slightly different options. REGEDT32 allows you to sign permissions (what users get to do what). Modifying the registry is potentially dangerous. There is no undue button.

If you already made the mistake of deleting something important or your computer crashes you might be able to rescue your computer by pressing F8 during startup and select Last Known Good Configuration.

Windows also has a backup program (Windows Backup) Which can be used to restore your registry; however, it requires that you actually have a backup schedule going before the problem happened. It is best to back up to an external hard drive. You can also create a backup repair disk (called Automated System Recovery or ASR) to backup your files. However ASR is a last resort. Just type backup in the run box and find your way to the Backup and Restore option where you can follow the instructions for back up.

Other useful tricks include typing the following in the Run box:

msconfig – You will see General and Startup tools, Services, and the ability to modify the Boot.ini tab (holds the information of which operating systems are installed on the computer). If a program that starts when you turn on your computer is causing problems or causing your computer to be too slow you can stop it from automatically starting up here.

msinfo32 – This gives indepth information about your computer system. You can not change any values here, but you can search, export, save and run a number of utilities.

directxdiag – This tool will check to see if all of your drivers have been digitally signed by Microsoft (ensuring they are safe and healthy for your system).

Another tool to try is System Restore. Type this into the run box and follow the prompts to restore your computer to an earlier date when it was working fine.

If you are trying to get rid of a virus– go into safe mode and scan your computer with your antivirus software.

If your computer has crashed, but recovered type chkdsk /r into the run box to check and fix errors on the hard drive.

Next,  type cmd in the run box and type sfc/scannow to check and repair any system files.

If you have a severe computer problem in which there is no normal recovery you will need to re-image your hard drive. This will erase everything on your computer and will start it fresh.

1. Back up all of your files to a CD, DVD or external hard drive.

2. Insert your operating system CD.

3. Restart PC and hit any key.

4. Wait until finished loading and then hit enter.

5. Press F8 key to accept licence.

6. Use arrow keys to highlight partition to re-image and press enter.

7. Follow onscreen directions.


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Safely Remove Hardware Tool Disappeared

Posted on June 29, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized |

If you need to remove hardware safely and the “safely remove hardware ” tool seems to have disappeared you can choose

Control Panel> Add Hardware> Hardware and Sound  (Vista) Use this tool to temporarily eject removable components.


Control Panel> Devices and Printers (Windows 7) Right click on Device and choose Eject

You can install, uninstall, repair, unplug, eject and configure hardware here.

You should never unplug a device while it is running.

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Windows Update, Microsoft Update, Driver Updates: Why They Are Important

Posted on June 28, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Keeping your system up to date is the best way to ensure you won’t have security problems.  It is easy for large software programs to have errors. Hackers look for these errors in order to exploit them. As mistakes are uncovered developers  issue a fix, releasesd as an update.

In the Control Panel you will find- Windows Updates.  You can specify if you want to automatically download updates (recommended), be notified when updates are available (but not automatically install them), or turn off the feature. You can also be reminded of updates you turned down initially. Make sure all scheduled maintenance is performed and operating system updates and service packs are installed.

All applications (software programs) should be kept to the most current level.  You are safer from hackers exploiting your email, word processing software, or other programs if you are proactive about downloading the latest update for that product.  

Also, apply all patches for your operating system and your applications to keep your system current and to close weaknesses. Network devices should also be updated.

Within Windows Update you will see the option to connect with Microsoft Update. Window’s Update and Microsoft Update are the same, except if you use Microsoft Update it will also include updates to other Microsoft products installed on your system, such as Microsoft Office.  So Microsoft Update includes Windows Update plus more.

Updating the drivers for your software is also important. To do this type Device Manager in the Run box. Double click on a device. Choose the driver tab and click Update Driver. Then search for it on the Internet. If there is one you can download it, but it might tell you that the driver is the most current one. If the new driver gives you trouble you can return here to roll back the driver to the older one.

Whenever you install a new device you should always go to the manufacturers website to see if a newer driver is available.  Then check periodically that your driver is the latest one. Your old driver may work ok, but the newer one will be bug-free and have all of the latest features for your device.

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How To Troubleshoot Using Windows Remote Assistance (Vista and 7)

Posted on June 26, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Windows Remote Assistance connects two computers so that one person can troubleshoot  or fix problems  on the other person’s computer.

First check your settings in the Control Panel>System Properties> Remote

Remote lets you enable or disable Remote Assistance. The default is to allow an outside person to connect to your computer (local workstation) through his or hers (remote computer). This is often used for technicians to troubleshoot your computer. However, to give that person full control you need to click Advanced, and then in the Remote Control section, click Allow This Computer To Be Controlled Remotely. Configure it as you like.

Now you can begin- Click the Start menu and type in Windows Remote Assistance. Then Enter.   Click Invite someone you trust to help you.

You can invite a guest to connect through email. In Windows 7 you can use Easy Connect if they also have that option. For now click Use email to send an invitation.

 Note whether Windows Firewall is blocking Windows Remote Assistance. In order to unblock Remote Assistance, click the Start button and type Firewall and choose Windows Firewall. Select- Allow a program through Windows Firewall.

Click the Exceptions tab. Scroll down to Remote Assistance and select the box to the left of Remote Assistance and click OK.

 Setup a password for your guest user. Please note that the password will not be included in the email invitation. You must manually send the password to the invitee. Enter a password twice and click Next.

 Windows will draft the following email:

 Hi, I need help with my computer. Would you please use Windows Remote Assistance to connect to my computer so you can help me? After you connect, you can view my screen and we can chat online. To accept this invitation, double-click the file attached to this message. (If you are running Windows Vista, you can also save the file to a location on your computer. Then you can open Remote Assistance, click Offer to help someone, and then open this file.) Thanks. Note: Do not accept this invitation unless you know and trust the person who sent it.

After your email has been sent, the Windows Remote Assistance dialog will wait for an incoming connection.

You must keep Windows Remote Assistance open or your invitee will be unable to connect.

 When your invitee double-clicks the file attached to the message and enters the password they will be able to remotely control your computer.

 Remember that the password is not included in the email so you must manually communicate the password to the invitee.

In Windows 7 the RemoteApp and Desktop Connections is a feature that you can use to access programs and desktops (remote computers and virtual computers) made available to you by your workplace’s network administrator. When you’re at home, you can access all the programs and computers that you would normally need to be at work to use. Before setting up a connection on your computer, make sure your workplace’s network administrator has already published resources for you to connect to. Your network administrator will tell you when resources are available and will give you a special file or a URL to use to set up the connection. To set up a connection, see Set up a connection with RemoteApp and Desktop Connections

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How To Find Your Computer’s Name

Posted on June 26, 2010. Filed under: Easy Tricks using Windows, Uncategorized |

You can try typing in Computer Name in the Start Menu’s run box.

If this doesn’t bring up the right application go to Control Panel> System> Advanced> Computer Name tab

This will tell you your Computer name and whether the machine is in a workgroup or a domain environment. A work group is loosely associated computers, each of which is its own security authority. A domain is a group of computers that is tightly connected. It has a single authority (domain controller) that manages security for all the computers.

It is especially important that you know your computer’s name in order to use the command prompt or other computer resources.

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What To Do In Case of System Failure

Posted on June 26, 2010. Filed under: Easy Tricks using Windows, Uncategorized |

Clicking on Control Panel> System> Advanced> Advanced> Startup and Recovery settings.

This section allows you to choose what to do in case of System Failure.

You should choose – Write an event to the system log, Send an administrative alert and decide if you want an automatic restart.

Startup and Recovery is mainly for people who want to have 2 operating systems on the same computer (ie Windows and Linux) – if you only want one don’t worry about this.

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Using Window’s User Profile Feature

Posted on June 26, 2010. Filed under: Easy Tricks using Windows, Uncategorized |

Type in User Profile in to the Start Menu’s Run box and select it.

Identify your User Profile.

You can select it and then either delete it (if its corrupt),

You can Change type (Can change to roaming if a user is on a network and wants their preferences to appear on any machine they work at on the network)

Copy To copies a profile from one user to another (an exceptionally well set up template for example) to provide a standard configuration for other users on the computer.

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Program Won’t Play… Out of Memory Error

Posted on June 26, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: |

To fix this error go to ..

Control Panel> System> Advanced> Performance-Settings> Advanced> Virtual Memory> Change.

Sometimes the amount of primary memory installed (RAM) is inadequate for a new application (software program). When this occurs the user receives an “out of memory” error, and the application fails to launch or play. One solution for this is to use the hard drive as additional RAM. This space on the hard drive is known as Virtual Memory. You can modify the Virtual Memory here. Bump your virtual memory up to its maximum allowed setting. It will tell you what the maximum and minimum settings should be. However relying too much on virtual memory (bumping it up too high) results in the entire system slowing down. Be careful-experiment.

For a more permanent solution – add more physical RAM inside your computer.

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