May 26, 2011

Installing an Operating System

Installing an Operating System

The first thing you need to do is determine why you need to install an operating system. Is there something wrong with your existing install that cannot be fixed? Or perhaps you are doing an upgrade and would like to install a new version of an operating system. One more option might be that you have replaced your hard drive and simply need to install the same operating system you were using before. Presuming you know the whys, next ensure that you know exactly which operating system you wish to install.

Next is to make sure that you backup all your data. Bookmarks, Pictures, Documents and even things like game saves. When you are sure you are ready to go you can proceed. Even if you are just going to do an upgrade installation it is wise to have everything backed up in case something fails or goes wrong. Also avoid making a simple mistake like backing up your things on the same drive, put your backups on some type of removable media. Now you are ready to install the operating system.

It’s advisable to have an extra computer if you run into problems so you can look on the operating system developer’s website or search the internet for tips on your issues. Start by placing the media into the CD or DVD Rom drive and then boot the computer, you may need to enter the computers BIOS and change the setting that sets the boot order, ensuring that the optical drive boots first and not the hard drive. The computer should start booting from the disks and then you can proceed following on screen prompts to complete the installation.

Installing a New Hard Disk

Installing a New Hard Disk

Once you have spend the time figuring out just exactly what type of drive you require, and what size you would like, you can now take your time installing it. As always ensure that you are well prepared for the swap. Make sure all of your data is backed up and that you have whatever disks you need to re install your operating system. When you are certain you have everything you need and are properly ready you may proceed to the next step of physically replacing the disk.

Turn your computer off, and carefully remove all the cables, ensuring that you label any ones that you are unsure where they might go, or if you think you might get them confused with another one. Pull the computer out, and remove the side panel. Look inside, you may choose to clean out the inside of your computer if there is significant build up at this point, simply used compressed air in a can or do it carefully with a vacuum. Now find your hard disk inside and carefully remove the cables that go to it, there may be clips you need to push depending on the drive.

Now examine how the existing drive is installed, if it on slide rails push the clip inward and slide the drive out. If it is not and is screwed in like most drives are, using a screwdriver remove the screws holding it in. with some computer this may require removing the other side of the case to get at all the screws. With the old drive removed, replace it with the new drive and reinstall the screws or rails in the order you took them off. Being careful plug the cables back into the drive. You may now replace the side panel (s) and put the computer back plugging all the cables in. You are now ready to install an operating system on your new drive!

Selecting a New Hard Drive

A 2.5" laptop hard drive sitting on a 3.5...

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Selecting a New Hard Drive

When installing a new hard drive there are many things that you need be aware of. The first one is simply what type of computer are you installing this into; a desktop or a laptop. If it’s a laptop, odds are good you will be doing a replacement and not simply adding a drive. When purchasing a hard drive for a laptop ensure that you have the right kind of connection. If it is parallel drive, it will utilize a large connector with many small pins, if it is a SATA or Serial ATA, it will depend on one smaller connection with only a few pins.

The same advice applies when purchasing for a desktop. Ensure that you get a drive that’s compatible. Check your user manual or your manufacturer’s website for more information about your computer. If you are also replacing your primary drive on your desktop, like the laptop you will need to ensure you have new operating system disks, restore CDs and that all your data is backed up so you do not lose anything when the new drive is installed. If you are simply adding an additional drive this isn’t needed just ensure you have the physical space to install it in your computer.

There are many sizes of drives these days; an average size would be between 250 and 500 gigs. It can be very tempting to purchase large size drives right now, with their sub hundred dollar price point, but ensure that you take into account, that the more storage you have, the more that you will need to backup, and backing up over a terabyte of data can be a major task. It is much more data and will not fit on a CD or even a single burnable DVD disk.

Adding Hardware to Protect Your Computer

External hard disk enclosure from behind. On t...

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There is nothing worse than a computer crash wiping out months and sometimes even year’s of work. The excuse of the dog ate my homework isn’t going to work to the demanding boss who reminds you that you should have been more careful.

People are using their computers for so many things today. It’s a word processor, a game playing console, a photography studio and much, much more. If you spend any amount of time on the computer working on important things, there are some steps to help protect yourself against any loss of information.

•    Get an external hard drive – It’s not a great idea to store photos and word documents on your desktop as a rule of thumb. The more things you have on the desktop, the slower your computer is going to run. An external hard-drive is just about what it says it is. It’s a device that is separate from your computer where you save items like pictures and documents and music downloads. External hard drives can usually be purchased for about $100. This hardware is easily removable, lightweight, and typically not susceptiable to drink and food spillage. Even for the most computer illiterate person who hears the words external hard drive, it’s as simple as plugging into your computer and starting to use.

The nightmare of losing your hard earned and hard worked-on documents doesn’t ever have to be threatened when you use an external hard drive. In this world of digital photography many people are storing their photos on the hard-drive of their computer or leaving them on the desktop. That scenario is a disaster waiting to happen as computer crashes do happen and will leave you mourning your decision not to take action sooner.

The next time you head down to the local computer store, take a minute and invest in the one item that will speed up your computer and keep your information safe.

Remaking Your Computer Experience

Image of a Western Digital 250Gb SATA Hard Dri...
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The blue screen of death. The spinning death wheel. Regardless of whether you use a PC or a Mac, these are terms you’ve most likely heard. And, for about 99 percent of computer users, they’ve not only heard of these things, they’ve experienced them. Sometimes, they’ve become such standard experiences that users wish harm upon their computer, and often go so far as to contemplate throwing it out the window. Rash actions won’t help your computer, but there is something that can help.

By reinstalling all of your computer software, you can create a like-new computer experience for yourself. It’s not as difficult as it may sound, but it does require a few things. Naturally, you need a place to store all of your files while you tinker away at the process. An external hard drive is the ideal storage device. If you aren’t already backing up your information regularly on a separate drive for safety, this is a good time to begin a good habit! Simply copy the contents of your computer’s hard drive to the external hard drive. This will take a while once you’ve begun the process, so let that run while you search the classifieds for Los Angeles apartments.

When you’ve completed the back-up process, you’re ready to begin the process that will bring you some relief as a computer user. Delete the entire contents of your computer’s hard drive. This eliminates any bugs or viruses that have worked their way into your system. Then, reinstall your operating system programs, followed by any other favorite programs you’ve picked up along the way, such as the Microsoft Office suite or Photoshop. Once completed, simply migrate your personal files from the external drive to your computer’s drive. This creates a sort of natural defragmentation process, which will assure that your files and programs are blocked together in the most efficient manner possible. All told, ‘death’ will be gone from your computer experience.

Four Common Myths about Computer Hardware

There are many myths and falsehoods floating around about computer hardware. Some of those myths are designed to entice computer users to spend more money on updated components while other myths just have no reason or supporting information computer hardwarebehind them. Here are four common myths that you may have heard about computer hardware so you can be a more informed computer user.

1. Internet speeds are affected by the type of desktop computer you have. Computers do not typically have a lot to do with the Internet speed that you experience unless you are using hardware that is five years old or older. Your Internet speed is mainly controlled by the type of connection you have. A dial up connection is, of course, going to be slower than a cable connection regardless of the type of computer you have. Upgrade the type of connection you have before blaming the slowness of the Internet on your computer.
2. Popular name brands are better than the less popular brands. The big-name computer companies typically just put the computer together by using hardware and software from other companies. Sometimes the same parts they use are the exact same parts the less popular brands use in manufacturing their computers. When you buy a computer just for the brand name, you often end up spending more just for the name.
3. Computer hardware is very difficult to understand. You don’t have to be a computer expert to know about computer hardware. Before computers were in nearly every home, it was difficult to know about computer components and parts. But the knowledge you need these days is so easily accessible that nearly any computer user can learn everything they need in order to understand computer hardware.
4. Upgrading is the best way to speed up your computer. While getting a new computer, better hard drive or more RAM will undoubtedly speed up your computer, this is not always the case. Sometimes your computer may be slow because you run too many programs on it at one time. Cleaning out your hard drive is often all you need to do to speed up its performance.

Three Tips for Buying an Internal Hard Drive

Your computer’s hard drive is one of the more important pieces of hardware. It is what stores your data, information, pictures, music and more. But if your internal hard drive is rather small, you can upgrade to a larger one to store more stuff and increase your computer’s performance. Here are three tips to consider when choosing another internal drive.

Is it compatible?
Before making your final decision on which internal hard drive to purchase, make sure it is compatible with your computer. The connections should be compatible or else you won’t be able to use it. Also, make sure your particular computer can handle the size of the new hard drive. Some smaller computers have a limit as to the size of hard drive that it can have installed so find this information before making your purchase.

What is the drive speed?
The drive speed is the speed at which the platters spin on your hard drive. It is measures in revolutions per minute, or RPM. The standard speed for a laptop internal hard drive is about 5400 RPMs. Speeds are typically higher for desktop computers. A normal speed is 7200 RPMs for a desktop but you can also find high performance hard drives with speeds up to 9600 RPMs. The faster the speed, the more expensive the hard drive is going to be. However, the speed of your hard drive will partially determine the efficiency and speed at which your computer operates.

What is the storage capacity?
Before spending too much money on an internal hard drive, be realistic about how much space you actually need. You can get hard drives with a terabyte or more, but are you going to use all that space? If so, go for it. Internal hard drives are generally less expensive than external ones and you can usually get good prices if you shop around.

Wiping Out Your Old Hard Drive

Samsung HD753LJ hard disk drive (750 GB storag...
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When you are done with your computer, donating it to a good cause is a great thing to do. However, you want to be careful to wipe out the hard drive to delete any personal information from it so it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Here are three ways you can wipe out the information from your hard drive so you can donate it without worrying about the information that is on it.

Use a Disk Erasing Utility Program
A disk wiping program is a good way to take off the old information on your hard drive so it can never be recovered. There are some inexpensive programs that will do this for you, including Disk Wipe, Acronis Disk Cleanser, Iolo Drive Scrubber and several others. Some of these programs simply overwrite the information on your hard drive with zeros so it cannot be read again. Some programs do this multiple times for extra security.

Reformatting Your Hard Drive
Many times, simply reformatting your hard drive is a great help. While it does not delete the information on the hard drive, it does overwrite it with other data. Unfortunately, someone who is computer savvy may be able to recover the information and get to your personal information. This is not the best option to use if your computer and hard drive is going to strangers.

Destroy Your Hard Drive
The most time-efficient method for making the data on your hard drive unrecoverable is to completely destroy it. Bash it with a hammer, stomp on it with your feet, run a magnet over it or do something else that will make it useless. Unfortunately, you cannot donate it to charity when this happens. If you have enough time, do a disk wipe and disk reformat instead so you can give it to someone who is less fortunate than you.

Three Ways for Storing Your Information

Storing your data on your computer is a great way to keep it readily available. However, your computer’s internal hard drive can only hold so much. After awhile, too much data on your computer will slow it down and make it run inefficiently. It may even cause it to freeze up at times. Here are three convenient methods for storing your data so you can clean up your computer and still keep the information you need.

External Hard Drives
An external hard drive is a great way to store tons of data. You can buy external hard drives with as much memory as you will ever need. If you ever fill up the drive, you can always buy a new one and start filling that one up as well. However, since you can get external hard drives with two terabytes of space and even more, it will take awhile just to fill one of those up. Simply connect it to the USB port on your computer and you can start transferring data in a matter of seconds.

CDs and DVDs are ideal for storage because you can separate the data into categories. One CD or DVD can be for your favorite playlists while another could be for important documents. They make great backups even if you keep the same data stored on your computer or external hard drive. It never hurts to have a couple backups in case your other storage devices fail or get stolen.

Many companies allow you to store much of your data on their server either free or at a very low cost. Many email providers now offer unlimited storage space so you can email stuff to yourself as a way of storing it as well. When you store your pictures, music, documents and other information online, you can access it from anywhere. You can go on vacation and not worry about dragging your storage discs with you because you can simply get any information you need straight from your email or online storage website.

Four Things You Should Know about Netbooks

With computers getting smaller and smaller, netbooks are the next logical progression after laptops in the world of computer hardware. Netbooks are generally smaller versions of laptops and they are lighter and more portable than most laptop computers. However, with the number of advantages that a netbook offers, there are some things you should know before buying one.

Playing DVDs
Many of the current netbooks on the market do not have optical drives installed in them. This means you won’t be able to play DVDs on them. On the bright side, you can still watch videos online or videos you have stored on your netbook’s hard drive or other external storage device.

Smaller Keyboards
If you will be doing a lot of work on your netbook, you should be sure that you can get accustomed to typing on a smaller keyboard. It may take some time to get used to it if you have larger fingers. Test a netbook’s keyboard out before you purchase it. However, if you are just looking for a netbook to have with you in case you need it, the smaller keyboard may not have a significant impact on your decision.

Do you plan on taking your computer with you wherever you go? If so, a netbook may be ideal for you. They are lighter and smaller so you won’t be straining your back by carrying a netbook around with you. However, if you are just looking for a computer to keep at home, a netbook is probably not the best option for you. Instead, consider a desktop computer and save some money.

Hard Drive Space
Netbooks typically have smaller hard drives than laptops and desktop computers. Therefore, if you want a netbook for storing hundreds of audio files, pictures or other types of data that take up large chunks of your hard drive, you should reconsider. Instead, get a laptop with a sizeable hard drive or get an external hard drive for storing your data and use your netbook for simple tasks like checking your email and browsing the web while you are away from home.