Help a computer guy if a solution has helped you.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

how to show hidden devices under device manager in windows XP /Vista

To show hidden devices in device manager do the following;

First go to device manager (Control Panel ,System ,click on the Hardware tab then Device Manager) then click on the view tab and select the option show hidden devices ,

The hidden devices are shown ,this is great for removing older devices which one had or a stubborn device that cannot be removed the normal way.

This also works in Windows Vista

Monday, December 15, 2008

This weeks TOP PC games chart 15 December 2008

Here is this weeks top PC games chart from CUSTOMPC

01 Football Manager 2009 (No change)
02 Grand Theft Auto IV (New entry)
03 Call of Duty: World at War (Last week: 2)
04 Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3 (Last week: 5)
05 World of Warcraft: Wrath of Lich King (Last week: 3)
06 Fallout 3 (No change)
07 Spore (No change)
08 Left 4 Dead (Last week: 4)
09 Far Cry 2 (Last week: 8)
10 The Sims 2: Double Deluxe (Last week: 9)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

How to clear google search box history

To clear the search box history from the google main page eg you have to clear it from your computer as that is where it is stored ,here is how to do it.

For Internet Explorer 6 do the following:

Go to the Tools menu and select Internet Options then go to the Content tab click the AutoComplete button and then click the Clear Forms button ,click on Apply and then OK to close the Internet Explorer options menu.

For Internet Explorer 7 do the following :

Go to the Tools menu and select Delete Browsing History then click the Delete forms button ,click Yes in the confirmation window when finished click on Close.

For FireFox do the following:

Go to the Tools menu then select Clear Private Data now select Saved Form and Search History and click the Clear Private Data Now button.

That is it your history has been cleared.

Monday, November 17, 2008

This weeks TOP PC games chart 17 November 2008

Here is this weeks top PC games chart from CUSTOMPC

01 Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3 (Last week: 2)
02 Fallout 3 (Last week: 1)
03 Far Cry 2 (No change)
04 Spore (No change)
05 FIFA Manager 09 (No change)
06 The Sims 2: Apartment Life (No change)
07 The Sims 2: Double Deluxe (No change)
08 Dead Space (No change)
09 Sacred 2: Fallen Angel (New entry)
10 World of Warcraft: Battle Chest (Last week: 13)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

How to add the recycle bin Icon after it has been deleted in Windows Vista

If the recycle bin icon on the Windows Vista desktop has been mistakenly deleted here is how to get it back.
Right-click on an empty space on the desktop and choose personalize ,in the new window select the option on the top left hand corner that says Change desktop icons then go to the Desktop Icon Settings section and check the option Recycle bin ,click OK when done.

Friday, October 24, 2008

This weeks TOP PC games chart 24October 2008

Here is this weeks top PC games chart from CUSTOMPC

01 Pro Evolution Soccer 2009 (New entry)
02 Spore (No change)
03 Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway (Last week: 1)
04 X3: Terran Conflict (New entry)
05 The Sims 2: Apartment Life (Last week: 4)
06 Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning (Last week: 3)
07 Civilization IV: Colonization (Last week: 5)
08 Crysis Warhead (Last week: 6)
09 The Sims 2: Double Deluxe (Last week: 8)
10 World of Warcraft: Battle Chest (Last week: 9)

How to remove VirusResponse Alert / VirusResponse lab 2009 popup message in Windows Vista

A user got infected with a virus /spyware that installed this annoying program called VirusResponse Alert (which may also be installed as VirusResponse lab 2009)and it would load on startup to scan the system and showing fake results , in some cases a pop up can appear on the taskbar saying that the computer is infected and click here to protect yourself.

The following method worked for me to remove this program ;
I updated Windows Defender ,my Antivirus program and downloaded Combofix.
I then rebooted into Safe-Mode and ran my Antivirus program ,Windows Defender and then Combofix and followed the onscreen instructions when finished Combofix rebooted back into normal windows to finish the removal.
Behold no more VirusResponse Alert problem.

Note: if you don't have Windows Defender you can use a program like Spybot search and destroy.
Try to stay away from the ones that ask you to purchase the product in order to remove the infections ,why pay when there are good ones for free :)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

how to remove the startup sound in windows 98

If you want to remove the startup sound when windows 98 loads ,here is how to do it.
Click Start ,Settings ,Control Panel and then go to the Sounds Applet.
Now scroll down and select the Start Windows option in the Program Events box ,and change its sound to None.
Click Apply and then OK.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

How to remove the Internet Explorer content advisor password

If the Internet Explorer Content Advisor has been enabled and you want to disable it but you have forgotten the password here is how to reset it.

Click on Start ,Run then type regedit.
Once in regedit navigate to the following key;
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\Curr entVersion\policies\Ratings
With Ratings selected look in the right pane for the value called Key ,select and delete it ,close regedit.
To disable the Content Advisor go to Internet Options and click on the Content tab then click on the option to disable ,enter a new password when prompted.

Friday, October 10, 2008

This weeks TOP PC games chart 10 October 2008

Here is this weeks top PC games chart from CUSTOMPC

01 Spore (Last week: 2)
02 Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning (Last week: 1)
03 Civilization IV: Colonization (Last week: 4)
04 Crysis Warhead (Last week: 3)
05 The Sims 2: Apartment Life (No change)
06 FIFA 09 (New entry)
07 The Sims 2: Double Deluxe (Last week: 6)
08 Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (No change)
09 World of Warcraft: Battle Chest (Last week: 7)
10 S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Clear Sky (Last week: 9)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

How to install the Fax Service for Windows XP

Windows XP comes with a Fax Service but it is not installed by default.
You can use the Fax Service to send, receive, track, and monitor faxes.
Here is how to install it.
Click Start, then Control Panel, and then open Add or Remove Programs ,once open click on the option Add/Remove Windows Components .
In the Add/Remove Windows Components window scroll down and check the Fax Services option ,click next and windows will install it.(you might need your Windows XP CD)

To access the Fax Service go to Start, All Programs, Accessories, Communications, Fax, and then click Fax Console ,configure it as you wish and you are done.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Display the Quick Launch toolbar on the Taskbar in windows XP

To display the Quick launch toolbar on the taskbar do the following:

Right Click on an open area of the taskbar and on the context menu select Toolbars and then
select Quick Launch .

Now you can add buttons to start your favorite programs quicker.

Monday, September 29, 2008

how to take a screenshot of Windows

If you want to take a screenshot of what is on your screen when working with windows here is how to do it.
On your keyboard press the PrintScreen key on your keyboard to take the screenshot then go to your text program like word or even wordpad and then right-click with your mouse (or ctrl+v on keyboard) anywhere on your new document to paste the screenshot.
That's it your done.

Friday, September 26, 2008

This weeks TOP PC games chart 26 September 2008

Here is this weeks top PC games chart from CUSTOMPC

01 Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning (New entry)
02 Spore (Last week: 1)
03 Crysis Warhead (New entry)
04 The Sims 2: Apartment Life (Last week: 2)
05 S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Clear Sky (Last week: 3)
06 The Sims 2: Double Deluxe (Last week: 4)
07 Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Last week: 5)
08 World of Warcraft: Battle Chest (Last week: 6)
09 The Witcher: Enhanced Edition (New entry)
10 The Sims 2: Freetime (Last week: 7)

How to disable System Restore on Windows XP

To disable system restore feature in Windows XP do this.
Right-Click My Computer icon on the desktop and choose properties ,the system properties dialogue box opens ,choose system restore tab and then check the option to turn off system restore ,Click apply then OK when done.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Add Network Icon to Taskbar in Windows XP

Usually when a network cable isn't plugged in a network icon with a red cross is shown on the taskbar as to say that no cable is plugged in but when you do plug in a cable that icon disappears.
Here is how to make that icon appear even when the cable is plugged in to make sure that it's working correctly.
Go to Control Panel ,Network connections ,Right-Click the connection that you want the icon for and choose properties.
Now check the option at the bottom that says Show icon in notification area when connected then Click on OK.
Now the icon will appear and you can be sure that you are connected.

Remove Windows Messenger from Windows XP

Windows XP came with a default Windows Messenger program which had basic features.
The new versions are much better and even after instaling them this old version still stays behind.
Here´s how to remove it.
Go to Control Panel then ADD/Remove Programs ,in the new window click on Add/Remove Windows Components then scroll down to the last item and uncheck Windows Messenger ,click Next and then Finish when done.
It will now be gone from the system.

Friday, August 22, 2008


If you get this blue screen of death (BSOD) error when booting windows XP there is a fix.
Boot off your windows XP setup disk by making your CD/DVD drive the first boot device in the system Bios.
Then press any key when prompted to ,at the blue Welcome to Setup screen , press R to start the Recovery Console.
Now select the installation that you want to access by pressing the correct number(dont just press the ENTER key), type the Administrator password if you have one or just press ENTER if you dont.
At the command prompt, type CHKDSK/R , and then press ENTER.
When finished with the scan type FIXBOOT and say Yes to write a new Bootsector ,type EXIT to leave the Recovery console and reboot the machine.
Windows should now load correctly.

This weeks TOP PC games chart 22 August 2008

Here is this weeks top PC games chart from CUSTOMPC

01 The Sims 2: Double Deluxe (No change)
02 The Sims 2: Freetime (No change)
03 Civilization IV Complete (No change)
04 World of Warcraft: Battle Chest (No change)
05 Sins of a Solar Empire (Last week: 6)
06 Beijing 2008 (New entry)
07 Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Last week: 5)
08 The Sims 2: Bon Voyage (Last week: 7)
09 Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars (Last week: 8)
10 Crysis (Last week: 12)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

HP director not working after installing Internet Explorer 7

After installing Internet Explorer 7 the printer software program HP director does not open anymore when Clicking it.
The fix is to go to the HP support site and download a patch for your program.

Then it will work fine.

how to change the Windows XP product key

If you would like to change the windows XP product key for some reason or other here is how to do it.
Before starting you should create a System Restore point in case something goes wrong.

Open the registry editor regedit by Clicking Start, Run and then typing regedit, and then click OK.
When in regedit look in the left pane then locate and then click the following registry key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\WindowsNT\Current Version\WPAEvents
In the right pane, right-click OOBETimer, and then click Modify.
Change at least one digit of this value by deleting or adding to it to deactivate Windows Click on OK and then exit the registry editor.
Now Click Start, Run and type the following command, and then click OK.
%systemroot%\system32\oobe\msoobe.exe /a
The activation window will open, Click on Yes, I want to telephone a customer service representative to activate Windows, and then click Next.
Click Change Product key at the bottom of the screen ,type the new product key in the New key boxes, and then click Update.
If you are taken to the previous window, click Remind me later, and then restart the computer.

The new key will now be in effect

Monday, August 11, 2008

search option missing from folders context menu in Vista after installing SP1

After installing SP1 for windows Vista the Search option in the Right -Click folders context menu has been removed.
To fix this go to the registry editor by typing Regedit into the search box of the start menu and then opening it.
Navigate to the following key: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\shell\find
In the right pane, Right-Click on LegacyDisable and Click Delete , Click Yes to confirm deletion.
Restart the computer and the Search option will be back.

Friday, August 8, 2008

how to open an Office 2007 document with an earlier version

If you try to open a document that was made with a Microsoft Office 2007 program with an earlier version of Office it wont let you.
The solution is to download and install the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 File Formats.
The document should now work.

Friday, August 1, 2008

This weeks TOP PC games chart 01 August 2008

Here is the weeks Top 10 PC games chart from CUSTOMPC

01 The Sims 2: Double Deluxe (No change)
02 The Sims 2: Freetime (No change)
03 World of Warcraft: Battle Chest (No change)
04 Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Last week: 6)
05 The Sims 2: Bon Voyage (Last week: 7)
06 Sins of a Solar Empire (Last week: 15)
07 Civilization IV Complete (Last week: 4)
08 Mass Effect (Last week: 5)
09 Assassin's Creed (Last week: 8)
10 Race Driver: GRID (Last week: 18)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

how to change display language in windows Vista Home Premium

If you want to change the display language of Windows Vista you will have to get a MUI language pack from Microsoft but that only works with Vista Ultimate and Enterprise editions.
But there is another way that you can get Home Premium and Basic to work too.
Vistalizator is a program that allows you to use the MUI language packs on these other versions and it works great.

Friday, July 18, 2008

0x800106ba Windows Defender error Windows Vista

When starting a Windows Vista computer you get a message saying that Windows Defender cannot be started and error code 0x800106ba is shown.

After much web searching and trying many options one thing I found worked for me.
Go to Control Panel then select System and Maintenance and then clicking Administrative Tools then finally select Services.
I scrolled down to Windows Defender service and to my surprise it was deactivated and stopped.
To fix this I double clicked that service to open it, then chose the option to start automatic on start up, then I was able to click on the Start service button.
I then clicked on Apply and Restarted the computer ,windows Defender started up fine.

Change your current antivirus to Panda Antivirus Pro 2010 and forget these problems.
Free trial period too :)

Monday, July 14, 2008

How to repair Windows XP

First you must make sure your CD/DVD drive is the first boot device.
This can be done on system boot up by entering the CMOS setup by pressing the key shown( usually a message saying press xxx to enter setup) and changing the first boot device to CD/DVD drive then save and exit.

Make sure your Windows XP CD is in the drive ,when the Press any key to boot from CD message is displayed you must press a key on the keyboard to boot from the CD.
The CD will load system files and when done the main blue screen will appear with three options choose the one that says To setup Windows XP now by pressing the ENTER key.
Do not choose the option to Repair windows by pressing the R key as that will take you to the Recovery Console.
After pressing ENTER you will be shown the Windows XP Licensing Agreement press F8 to accept and continue.
On the next screen you will see your current installation and you will have the option to Repair Windows by pressing the R key ,press it and windows will start the repair process.
Follow the instructions and enter the required details when prompted.

You must keep your CD in the drive until the process is complete.
Some installations require you to input your 25 character Windows XP product key (this is usually stuck to your computer box or under your laptop).

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

how to connect laptop hard drive to desktop

If you want to connect your laptop drive to your desktop there are a few ways to do it.
Laptop drives are 2.5" as apposed to the desktops 3.5" so there a few ways to connect them.
The easiest way would be to buy an external USB enclosure case that supports your specific drive.There are two types these days SATA and IDE (also know as PATA)

Another way is to get an adapter that allows you to connect your laptop drive to a desktop computer internally by attaching it to the internal IDE or SATA cables.
A device like this would work for IDE:
Sabrent 2.5-Inch to 3.5-Inch IDE Adapter
Now you can attach your laptop hard drive to your desktop as extra storage.

Here is a nice SATA to USB enclosure:
Coolmax 2.5 SATA to USB 2.0 Hard Drive Enclosure

And an IDE to USB enclosure:
Sabrent 2.5 Enclosure

Friday, July 4, 2008

cannot install Adobe flash player as it always asks to install even after installation

Every time I went to a flash site using Internet Explorer Adobe flash player would ask to install the flash player ,I installed it then closed and restarted the browser.
Then went back to the site and same problem ,this time I installed it again and now completely restarted the whole computer only to find the same problem.
Of all the steps that Adobe offered to solve the problem from here:

The Adobe Flash Player uninstaller worked for me:

The other steps could work for someone else as every installation can be different.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

CMOS battery low voltage error on system startup

When starting a computer the following error is shown CMOS Battery Low Voltage. Press F1 to enter Setup ,pressing the key allows you to continue working but after shutting down the system it comes back.
The problem here is probably the CMOS battery that is going bad and it needs to be replaced by opening the computer case and physically removing the battery and installing a new one.

For more info look here:

Friday, June 27, 2008

This Weeks Top 10 PC games chart 27 June 2008

Here is the weeks Top 10 PC games chart from CUSTOMPC

01 Football Manager 2008 (No change)
02 Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures (Last week: 3)
03 Sins of a Solar Empire (New entry)
04 Mass Effect (Last week: 2)
05 Alone in the Dark (New entry)
06 Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Last week: 5)
07 Civilization IV Complete (No change)
08 The Sims 2: Freetime (Last week: 4)
09 Lego Indiana Jones: Original Adventures (Last week: 8)
10 World of Warcraft: Battle Chest (Last week: 9)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

No wireless networks detected by Windows

When trying to connect to a wireless network with a laptop the windows view available wireless networks section would always be blank and a message saying that no networks were found would appear.
My first thought was to make sure the built in wireless adapter was even turned on by pressing a button on the laptop itself ,after a few seconds available networks were available and I was able to connect to the preferred network.
It could have been a tougher and longer problem to fix if I hadn't had this problem once before.

Other steps one could try is make sure the wireless card is installed correctly by looking in Device Manager and also trying to uninstall and reinstall the card.

How to check if AERO is enabled in Windows Vista

Windows Vista usually automatically enables the AERO graphics engine on Home Premium versions and higher.
But some systems might not have the video card or system to handle it ,to check if it´s enabled do the following:
Right-Click on any empty space on the desktop and choose the Personalise option.
In the Personalise window choose the Window Color and Appearance option ,in the new window make sure that Enable Transparency is checked ,if it is AERO is enabled and working.
If you would like to disable the whole AERO thing then you can also do it in this window just click on the option at the bottom that says Open classic appearance properties for more color options and choose Vista Basic theme.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Whats new in Windows Vista SP1

With Windows Vista now having service pack 1 (sp1) ,Microsoft have fixed some bugs and improved functions these are and not limited to:

Improvements in reliability
Improvements in performance
Improvements in security
Changes to search
Changes in memory (RAM) reporting

For complete details on these improvements go here:

To Learn how to install Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) visit the following site:

how to change Windows Vista desktop backround picture

New users to vista who don´t know how to change their desktops background picture need to do this.
Right-Click on an empty space on the desktop and choose Personalise from the menu.
In the personalise window click on Desktop Background to open a new window where you can now change the default picture or browse to your favourite one ,click OK and you´re done.

Monday, June 23, 2008

What program opens the following File Extension

If you want to open a particular file but realise that you don´t have the correct program to open it then you will have to know which file extension it is.
To view this go to the Properties (by Right-clicking the file) and see what extension or file type it is eg: .doc.
when you know this you can go to :
Find the file type extension and see which program can open it ,then all you need to do is to get that program.

Friday, June 20, 2008

how much should one charge for computer repair?

Usually jobs can be worked out by charging per hour ,per job or even with a contract.
sometimes a format can be charged just a format and then maybe add an hour or so if they want stuff to be copied or saved from a previous installation.
Per hour can get expensive as usually the computer does most of the work one wouldn't charge per hour for instance on an anti-virus scan as the scanner will take longer and the tech just has to look once in a while but if a tech is constantly working hourly then per hour might be just and fair.
A contract type of fee happens when a business pays a monthly fee for you to go there and do maintenance which can get tricky and sometimes you do more work then what the contract fee is ,and don´t forget about them calling you when they feel like it.

I would like other experienced Techs to leave their comments on what one should charge for repairs.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Find the generic driver for a USB Mass Storage device for Windows 98SE

Those of you who have the older and somewhat reliable Windows 98 operating system might need the driver for a USB Mass Storage device(pen drive ,external hard drive etc.)
If you didn't receive or have lost the install CD you can still get the driver from the manufacturers website.
Sometimes when you can't even find the driver from the manufacturer you can use a universal USB driver that will work.
You can get it here:

Friday, June 13, 2008

This weeks Top 10 PC games chart

Here is this weeks top 10 PC Games chart from Custompc

01 Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures (No change)
02 Mass Effect (New entry)
03 Football Manager 2008 (Last week: 2)
04 Race Driver: GRID (No change)
05 Lego Indiana Jones: Original Adventures (New entry)
06 The Sims 2: Freetime (Last week: 3)
07 Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Last week: 5)
08 Civilization IV Complete (No change)
09 Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War Soulstorm (Last week: 6)
10 World of Warcraft: Battle Chest (No change)

Monday, June 9, 2008

CD/DVD Writer doesnt write on certain empty CDs/DVDs

If you just bought some empty Cd's or DVDs and realise that you cannot record any data to them but you can record to the current stack of Cd's that you had before then the problem might lie in the Firmware of the writer itself.
Certain writers were made to record only with certain tested brands of Cd's or DVDs when they were first made.
As time went buy new media or brands were released into the market that the writer does not support.
The best way to fix this is to go to the manufacturers site of your writer and download the latest software firmware for it.
After doing the update the writer should be able to record to the new bought media.

Friday, June 6, 2008

When pressing letter keys on laptop keyboard numbers or symbols appear!

When pressing some letter keys on a laptop keyboard you might get numbers or other symbols instead of the correct letter.
To fix this make sure that the FN key or Num Lock key is not activated (light must be off)
This should fix the problem.

How to physically tell if motherboard is bad or going bad

One of the best ways to see this is to look for bad capacitors on the board.
Here are images on bad capacitors;
If you have any of these symptoms then it is likely that you could be getting a blue screen of death or even the computer doesn't even boot to the Post screen.
the best solution is of coarse to get a motherboard with the same specifications that the current one had.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Can I run two webcams on Windows XP

The answer is yes as long as you use two different brands.
If you use the same brand then the drivers will conflict ,now you can have Skype with one cam and Messenger on another.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Remove Windows Genuine Advantage Notification

To remove the annoying “Windows Genuine Advantage Notification” from your system you will have to remove it from Control Panel but by default it wont let you remove it that way so we have to make it available to be removed.
You will have to reboot the computer into Safe Mode (by pressing the F8 key repeatedly after the computer boots up and before windows loads)first in order for this to work.
Follow the below steps to make it available:
Open the Search companion then search and delete WgaTray.exe file on your system drive (also check the “Search system folders”, “Search hidden files and folders” and “Search subfolders” checkboxes ), delete the registry key WgaLogon in the following tree: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\ Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\Notify\WgaLogon, and to remove the entry from Add/Remove Programs list, modify the registry key in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\ CurrentVersion\Uninstall\WgaNotify. Click on Start.
Click on Run.
Type in regedit in the Run text box.
Click OK or press Enter.
In Registry Editor, browse the the following registry key branch:HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\WgaNotify
On the right panel, modify the value of NoRemove (by right clicking on the key and choose Modify) to 0.
Exit the Registry Editor.
Re-launch the Add/Remove Program, and Windows Genuine Advantage Notifications (KB905474) is now removable.

How to enable or disable Task manager in windows XP

If you want to enable or disable the Windows XP Task Manager then there is a quick way.
Click Start, Run and type Regedit.exe ,now navigate to the following key;
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System ,on the right pane select DisableTaskMgr and open it.
now adjust the values accordingly:
Value: 1=Enablethis key, that is DISABLE TaskManagerValue
0=Disablethis key, that is Don't Disable, Enable TaskManager

when you have changed the value click on OK ,Exit Regedit and restart your computer.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

How to add My Computer ,My Documents ,Internet Explorer icons to desktop

To add the actual icons and not shortcuts to the Windows XP desktop do the following.
Right-click on any open space on the desktop and choose properties to open the display properties window.
Now choose the Desktop tab and then the Customize tab on that page ,select the icons you want displayed and click on OK.

Monday, May 26, 2008

how much memory do I have on my computer

If you want to know how much memory you have on your system there are a few ways to tell.
First we have to know which memory we want to check there are two main types Hard Drive memory and Random Access Memory or RAM.
Hard drive memory is the memory where you physically store your information and install your programs to.
RAM memory is used to temporary store information when you open or load a program ,as soon as you switch off your computer the RAM is cleared of all info ,usually adding more RAM will make your system and programs load faster.
To view the amount of Hard Drive memory one has in Windows you have to go to My Computer and view the properties of the selected Hard Drive ,here you will see what the capacity is and how much space has been used and how much is available to use.
To view the amount of RAM memory go to Control Panel click on System and on the window that opens you will see your processor speed and amount of memory you have.
Another way to view these items is to use the System Information utility.
Click Start ,programs ,accessories ,system tools and then System Information

Media Player movie has sound but no picture

When trying to play a movie with media player or another player I could hear the sound but no picture was displayed.
After some research I realised that I needed Codecs in order to watch the film.
I downloaded K-Lite Codec Pack ,installed it and my problem was fixed.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Windows Vista system requirements.

Anyone looking to upgrade to Vista ,here are the system requirements needed.

Home Basic

1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor

512 MB of system memory ( 1gb for premium, business and ultimate)

20 GB hard drive with at least 15 GB of available space ( 40gb for premium, business and ultimate)

Support for DirectX 9 graphics and 32 MB of graphics memory ( 128mb with pixel shader 2.0 for premium, business and ultimate)

DVD-ROM drive

Audio Output

Internet access (fees may apply)

For more info ;

New Hard Drive detected by system but Windows XP does not recognise it.

After installing a new Hard Drive the CMOS setup sees the Hard Drive correctly so it is connected correctly but in windows after it has been installed by the the Add New Hardware Wizard it is not shown in My Computer.
what is happening here is that windows hasn't created a partition for this drive or it hasn't been initialized.
To verify and correct this we have to go to Disk Management this is done by clicking on Start, click Run, type compmgmt.msc, and then click OK
In the left pane click on Disk Management ,your disks and partitions are shown.
To create a new partition, right-click the unallocated space on the disk where you want to create the partition, and then click New Partition ,when asked choose Extended Partition(primary is more for installing an operating system and booting of it) ,choose the default size ,when done click Finish(or close).
For an Extended Partition we need to create a Logical Drive so right-click your new Partition and choose create Logical Drive follow the steps and at the end you have the option to Format it ,do it so that Windows will see your drive .
when complete close disk Management and see if the drive is seen In My Computer.
Here is more info if you get lost;

Monday, May 19, 2008

run older programs in windows vista

If you try to run an older program that was designed for Windows XP or earlier you might get an error or it just wont start.
The first thing to try is the Windows Vista Compatibility Mode ,this is done by right-clicking the program .exe file ,selecting properties and then Select the Compatibility tab.
You can choose to run the program in Windows XP compatibility mode or even an earlier windows version.
If that doesn't work you can also try disabling the Visual Themes and Desktop Composition options, play around with the settings till it works.
If all else fails see if the program manufacturer has released a patch or update for that specific program.

cannot remove virus it says its in use or write protected

If you run an Anti-virus scan in windows or if a virus is found the program might give the error that it cannot delete ,quarantine or repair it.
First make sure you have the latest virus definition files (this is easily done by clicking on update button).
The best way to remove a virus is to boot into safe mode and run it from there.
when rebooting or switching on your computer tap the F8 key a few times before windows starts to load( usually after the machine beeps and shows your systems speed and memory amount).
you will be shown the boot menu( here is a description of the items shown), choose the option right on top called Safe Mode and press Enter.
After windows has loaded many files your mouse cursor will reappear and the graphical display will return.
Don´t worry if the display looks bigger or not so crisp it´s what we call the back door of windows ,click on the username that needs to be opened to enter Safe mode.
you will be asked if you want to launch System Restore or continue in Safe Mode ,choose Safe mode.
After the system has loaded the icons open the Anti-Virus program and run the scan.
when finished reboot and windows will reboot normally.

Monday, May 12, 2008

How to disable annoying startup programs in windows XP

If you have many programs starting up with windows or your taskbar is full of icons and you would prefer that they wouldnt, then you can try disabling them.
This will also make your computer faster, the first way is to actually right-click on the programs icon on the taskbar and see if they have a tick next to an option called load on system tray or load with windows ,unchecking this will disable them from loading next time you restart your system.
Also going to the programs properties and looking for an option to load with windows if there is no option to tick or untick a load windows option.
Another way is to run the Microsoft System Configuration Utility or MSCONFIG for short ,
from the run box and then uncheck items from the start up tab.
Remember not to remove essential programs like your anti virus program.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Invalid / Non System Disk error when switching on PC

when switching on a computer the error Invalid / Non System Disk would appear.
In this case it was an easy problem since their was a floppy diskette left in the floppy drive and the system tried to boot of it ,no operating system was found so the error was shown.
In other cases it could be a wrong boot order in the CMOS setup ,usually the Hard Drive should be the first boot device.
Also A corrupt operating system which will need a repair install.
A Hard Drive that is not properly connected or faulty can also cause this.

how to get drivers for your computer without system CD

If you ever format a computer then you will need the drivers for your system ,these are usually video ,sound ,network and others ,missing a driver CD makes this even more difficult.
If you have a branded PC like HP then all you have to do is go to their website and download the appropriate drivers for your computer.
No name brand computers are more difficult you have two options.
1: Use a program to view your manufacturer like Hwinfo,
2:You will have to open up the box and look on the motherboard itself to find out the manufacturer and model of your computer.
Here is a video to help you;
If you have other devices connected to your system like a printer ,webcam etc. ,their drivers and software will also need to be downloaded from the manufacturers site or use the CD if you have it.

Epson printer prints with horizontal white bands or streaks

If the printer hasn´t been used for a while this can happen.
The first thing to try is to run a head clean from the printers properties box and go to the maintenance tab, run various cleans and print a few pages until the printing improves(note this uses quite a bit of ink so you might have to get a refill).
If after many prints the print output is the same then you should try replacing the culprit cartridge.

PS: Sometimes if you get this printing problem after changing a cartridge it could also be a faulty cartridge.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

windows vista error Internet Explorer has stopped Working

When ever trying to open Internet Explorer the error Internet Explorer has stopped Working would appear.
First I decided to reset Internet Explorers settings by going to Control Panel ,Internet options , clicking on the advanced tab and choosing the Reset option at the bottom of the menu.
It reset all my Internet settings and the error went away.
Other steps to follow would be running an updated Anti-virus ,adware and spyware scan.

Network cable not detected by Windows Vista

weird one this one ,when plugging in the network cable the system doesn´t recognise it and says no network devices available to connect to.
Also the wireless adapter connects to a network but gives an error saying that it cannot get Internet access.
First thing to try is make sure they are fine in Device Manager If they are then we try uninstalling both adapters from Device Manager ,reboot and test again.
If the problem persists then disable the firewall and Anti-Virus program and see if it will detect the cable or connect to Internet.
Since I was getting errors saying that the firewall could not be enabled and the network service could not be started I decided to rather repair the Vista installation using the Upgrade Option Of The Vista DVD as it installs vista on top of itself and repairs any corrupt system files.
no information will be lost too, here is complete instructions ;

Monday, May 5, 2008

Device Manager shows yellow question mark for the SMBus controller

After formating a windows XP computer Device Manager shows a yellow question mark for the SMBus controller(it can also be under Other Devices).
Only solution is to download and install the Intel® Chipset Software Installation Utility.
restart the computer and no more errors.

Remove CMOS password from a desktop computer

A client added a system password to his system via the CMOS Setup so the computer would ask for it every time the computer is switched on.
The only problem....
He forgot what it was ,now the quickest way to resolve this is to short or reset the CMOS Setup.
This is done by opening the computer box .
Once open find and locate the battery , we have to options here.
1: We can remove the battery and leave it out(with the power mains unplugged) for about 10 minutes .
2:Short the CMOS by jumpering two of the three pins(some boards only have two pins) next to the battery by placing a jumper on top of them for about ten seconds.
This is illustrated in your motherboards documentation.

Option one is the easiest one especially if you are a beginner.

Outlook Express 6 gives blank error when trying to send or forward email.

When trying to forward an email to someone else or even trying to send a newly made email Outlook Express would give an error ,the weird thing was that it was a blank error with no error code.
The first thing to check is if the SMTP server is correct in the account options by going to Tools ,Accounts ,Mail tab selecting the email account and choosing properties ,go to servers tab and make sure the SMTP information is the correct information that was given by the ISP.
If all is correct then what you can then do is what worked for me many times which is create a new Outlook Express Identity.
First you must backup your email address and address book contacts.
Go to Tools ,Accounts ,Mail tab ,select your email address then on the right hand side click on the Export button ,select the destination and give it a name(keeping the extension .iaf).
If you have many email addresses then you have to do this for all of them.
Backing up the address book is very similar, click on the Address book tab(it should be next to the Send and Receive icon)once open click on File ,Export then choose address book(wab).
Select the destination and give it a name .
Once all this is done we can create a new identity.
On the File menu, click Identities, and then click Add New Identity ,type a name for the identity and click on OK.
When prompted say Yes to switch to the new identity, click Cancel to close the New Account wizard. If you are prompted to import settings or messages, select “Do not import at this time” or Cancel.
Now we are going to import the email address we exported.
Click on Tools ,Accounts ,Mail then choose the Import option on the right hand side and import the saved .iaf file.
the same thing must be done for address book contacts ,click on the address book icon then File ,Import ,Address Book(wab) and choose the location of the file and import.
Finally import your messages from the old identity ,on the File menu, click Import, and then click Messages, Select Microsoft Outlook Express 6 from the list of programs, and then click Next.
Then select the name of the Identity to import, and then click OK

The repair has now been done.

If you still get an error try to repair Outlook Express;

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Drive is not accessible. Incorrect function when trying to open CD in Windows XP

Strange error this one ,when a customer tried to open a CD by clicking on it in My computer he would get the error D:\Is not accessible. Incorrect function.
After doing some research at Microsoft and other areas the only real solution that worked for me was to Right-click the CD drive and go to properties ,then recording tab ,finally enabling the option to allow recording on this device.
And that was it the error went away when opening a CD.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Add a new hard drive to your desktop computer

Time to add a new hard drive to the computer ,it can be bigger or the same size.
In this case I am going to add a bigger drive as a secondary drive so I can save all of my favorite stuff onto it, it will also be an older IDE form drive.
First step is to open the computer box, depending on your box you might have to remove both side panels or just one panel.
Find a spare drive bay to install the new drive to ,usually below where the current hard drive is.
Make sure the data cable that is already connected to your main hard drive has a spare connector and long enough so you can attach your new drive to it.
There must also be a spare power connector coming from the power supply to connect to the drive.
We now have to change the drives jumpers ,that is make it slave on the cable ,since the main drive should be on the master setting, look on the diagram on the top or bottom of your new hard drive to set it as slave.
Once you have made the adjustments and the cables reach you can now install the drive.
Remove the drive from its packaging and slide it into the spare drive bay from inside the computer box ,line it up with the two screw holes on the drive bay(if the drive is too long then only line it up with one hole).
Screw in the two screws on the side facing you then turn the computer box around and screw in two more screws on the other side ,this will make sure the hard drive is secure.
You should now plug in both cables make sure they are connected the same way as the old drive ,the data cable should have a faint vertical stripe on it this stripe must point towards the power connector of your drive ,the power connector only goes in one way.
Once everything is connected switch on the computer ,enter bios by pressing the DEL key or similar (when the computer first posts or makes a beep it should say press the following key.. to enter setup.)
Once in look for the option Standard Cmos Settings or IDE devices to make sure the system sees both your old drive and your new one if it does go to the Exit section and save and exit.
If your drive is not shown then you must check the jumpers and cables.
when booting into windows the drive should automatically be installed, restart the computer when prompted.
When back in windows(2000 or XP) you can see if the drive is ready for use by going to My Computer and look for a new drive letter ,if you don't see one then you will have to partition and format the drive in order to make it workable.
To do this you will need to use the built in Disk Management feature.

That's it a new drive has been installed and ready to be used.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Windows XP does not autoplay CD's

This one can be annoying since the CD does not autoplay and you have to go to my computer and click on the CD ROM icon to play the CD.
the best solution that worked for me from Microsoft was the one about editing the registry, locating the following key :HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\CDRom and changing the value of Autorun to 1.
After changing it I reboot the computer pop in any CD and it now autoplays.

computer does not switch on ,burning smell

The other day I try to switch on a computer to do a format but it didn´t switch on instead I smelt a burning smell coming from the back of the computer.
I quickly removed the power lead from the power supply to avoid damaging the computer even more ,I opened up the box ,reconnected the power lead and pressed the power switch and waited to see what was causing it.
Suddenly smoke came out of the power supply ,at the moment it seemed to be the culprit ,to make sure it wasn´t another component that was doing this I disconnected the power leads from the power supply to the other devices such as hard drive ,CD roms and floppy drive ,only the lead to the motherboard was connected I then reconnected the power lead from the mains to the power supply and pressed the power switch on the front of the computer again ,the same result happend smoke and burning smell.
knowing that the power supply had to be the culprit I removed it and connected a used power supply I had lying around .
The computer switched on ,beeped and booted into windows, all was fine.
It was lucky that only the power supply had died since it could have been a more expensive problem such as the system board or processor.

ball mouse not moving correctly anymore

If you have one of those old mice with a ball at the bottom instead of the newer optical ones(the ones with the red light at the bottom), you may notice the pointer doesn´t move so well anymore when you move it.
One big way to fix this is to turn the mouse upside down and remove the protection lock that holds the ball in place by turning it anti-clockwise.
Remove the ball and clean the three small scrolling wheels that are inside with a cotonete and some alcohol(not the drinking kind ) untill the excess dirt is gone.
Put back the ball and close the lid ,it should work now like new.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

view windows and office product key

Sometimes when you can´t find your product key or somehow you have lost it there is a quick way to view what your key is by using a very simple program.
Produkey enables you to view the windows key from 2000 and up, it can also show Microsoft Office XP and 2003 keys.
so you dont have to buy another key if you can´t find yours.

Rememebr if you have formatted your hard drive then this wont work , you will have to buy another key.

computer slows down when connecting Ipod or other external USB mass storage device

A customer had a problem with his Ipod, when connecting it the computer would slowdown, the hard drive would start making strange noises and itunes would not recognise the device.
So the first step was to remove and reinstall itunes and the Ipod but with no success as the problem persisted.
I then decided to change the hard drive for a new one since it was making strange noises I thought this was the problem but again the problem persisted I then decided to format and reinstall windows onto the new drive ,keeping his old system on the old drive in case the format didn´t work I had a backup.
I did the format and reinstalled windows the Ipod and itunes, it started to work fine, managed to detect the device and copy music from the computer to the Ipod when all of the sudden the computer went slow ,hard drive made clunky bad sounds and the copy process did not complete with an error.
Frustrated i decided to change hardware parts I changed the easiest one the power supply and behold all worked fine.
no more slowness ,clunky noises and managed to copy over 200 songs to the Ipod with no errors even put back the old drive with his system and it also worked.

Its just a reminder that there is always a way to fix these problems it just takes time.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

How to format windows xp

when a computer becomes too slow, corrupt and full of programs sometimes its best to format and reinstall windows.
Before formatting make sure all important information has been backed up and you have the necessary installation disks eg: windows CD ,office programs ,burning software etc.
Depending on your type and brand of PC you might have a CD that does everything for you like an HP, Dell, Acer or other PC.

To start formatting reboot the PC and on the first screen the computer shows(it can be the one where you here the beep) there is a key sequence that you have to press to change the boot order or enter setup, press the change boot sequence key and you will get a list of devices to boot from, here you select your CD or DVD drive.

If you only get the enter setup option access it and look for a boot order option and change your first boot device to CD or DVD drive ,save the changes and exit.
The computer should now boot from your CD you will get a prompt saying "press any key to boot from CD" you must press any key now, (for an HP or other branded PC that has a recovery disk when you boot from the CD follow the instructions provided.)

windows will now load the setup program, when it is ready it will give you three options at the screen with the blue backround.
Choose the option To setup windows XP now, press Enter

At the Windows XP Licensing Agreement page press F8 to continue.

At the next screen you must choose which windows installation to install a fresh copy over.
If you have a single installation of Windows on your PC it should already be highlighted. If you have multiple installations, select the installation that you are wanting to reinstall.
Press the ESC key to choose the option to install a fresh copy of windows XP.

On the next screen press D to delete the selected partition ,you will get a warning screen here you press enter to continue the deletion ,another screen will appear with a last warning press the key L to finalise the deletion.

You will be back at the main screen, windows has been deleted and so has the partition.

Choose the option to set up Windows XP on the selected partition by pressing Enter.

Next choose how to format the partition I recommend the option Format the partition using the NTFS file system as its the recommended file system for XP and it also checks your hard drive for bad sectors and corrects them, Press Enter to continue.

Depending on the size of your partition or hard drive formatting can take anywhere for 15 to 1hour to complete so be patient and go take a break while it does it.

when the formatting is complete setup will copy the necessary installation files from the Windows XP installation CD to the newly formatted partition, when that is complete setup will reboot your PC you do not have to press any key to start from a CD just let the PC reboot with the CD still in the drive.

you will now get a graphical version of setup and your mouse will be usable.

Just follow the steps ,choose typical settings when possible and you must have your windows XP product key with you as you will need to input it when asked.
when finished setup will reboot once more to the final step of the installation.
follow the steps again choose if you want to activate windows and enter you user name when prompted ,when you get to the Thank You screen click on finish and windows will load for the first time ,the installation process is now complete.
After giving yourself a a pat on the back it will be time to install the driver CD for your computer and any other Cds that came with external devices such as printers ,webcams etc.

computer has noisy fan

Today I walk into work and the computer is making a noisy sound coming from the back ,so I decide to give myself a challenge and try to resolve it.
The first step is to look at the power supply fan at the back of the box and make sure its spinning if it is then the problem may lye elsewhere if it´s not spinning then we will have to replace the whole power supply unless you´re not afraid of opening a power supply and replacing that specific fan and also risking to get a shock ,if the power supply fan is working then we will have to open the box.
I open the box side panel by removing the two screws at the back holding it.
I then remove the panel and while the computer is on I have a look inside, since I only have two fans( one on the power supply and one on the CPU) It has to be the CPU fan that's at fault and it sure is since its not spinning correctly.
To remove the CPU fan the computer must be switched off and disconnected from the mains power .The best way to do this is to lye the box flat on the its back so you can work easier also touch the chassis of the box(the metallic structure of the box) to ground yourself before touching any parts.

Now we have two options to repair the fan before we go further .
1: we replace the Heat-sink and fan
2: we add lubricant oil to the ball bearing of the fan

I recommend the first option since oiling the ball bearing can be messy and the problem could repeat itself quite soon.
To remove a Pentium 4 CPU in the socket 478 form factor ;
For the newer Pentium 4 CPU socket 775 ;
For AMD CPU you basically lift the metal clip with a flat screwdriver downwards towards the board then move it forward then up;,,30_182_869_4348%5E6678,00.html

After removing it you should go buy a new one and no more noise.
I was lucky to have a used one that was still noise free, you should actually buy the Fan before you remove the Fan from the board unless you need to take it to a computer shop and ask for a similar one.