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What’s Wrong with My Computer? Diagnosing problems and making simple repairs and tune-ups on your computer Dr. Jan Pittman Vanderpool

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Presentation on theme: "What’s Wrong with My Computer? Diagnosing problems and making simple repairs and tune-ups on your computer Dr. Jan Pittman Vanderpool"— Presentation transcript:

1 What’s Wrong with My Computer? Diagnosing problems and making simple repairs and tune-ups on your computer Dr. Jan Pittman Vanderpool

2 Getting to Know Your PC Desktops versus Laptops/Notebooks CPU’s-Central Processing Units Memory-RAM-Random Access Memory Storage-HDD-Hard Disk Drive Display-Monitor-Computer Screen LCD vs CRT Operating System-Microsoft Windows – Windows 7 – Windows Vista – Windows XP – Windows 2000, ME, 98 & 95

3 Definitions-Desktop Desktop computer-May consist of five or more components; – Main frame or box which houses the CPU, memory, permanent storage, DVD or CD drive, video adapter, sound adapter, Ethernet connector, keyboard, mouse, speakers and display – Non-portable configuration whose components may weigh more than twenty pounds Review sites – – tml tml

4 Definitions-Laptop (Notebook) Personal computers designed for mobility in five broad categories as defined by size & weight; – Netbook/Subnotebook: <10.5" x <1.5" x <3.5 lbs – Ultraportable: 9-11" x 8-10" x lbs. – Thin and light: 11-15" x <11" x 5-7 lbs. – Desktop Replacement: >15" x >11" x >7 lbs. – Luggables: >18” x >13” x >12 lbs. Review sites – –

5 Definitions-CPU CPU(Central processing unit)- This is the brains of the computer and its power is generally measured in clock speed (cpu cycles). Today’s CPU’s clock speeds will exceed 2 GHz on desktops and 1.6 GHz on laptops. Caveat-Rated clock speeds are not linear measurements- a 3.0 GHz P4 is actually less powerful than a 2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo

6 Definitions- Memory Memory (RAM)- non permanent storage measured in megabytes (MB) or preferably, gigabytes (GB). Desktops should have at least 2-3 GB of RAM while laptops may have 1 GB but should have 2-3 GB of RAM Caveat- Windows XP can only recognize 3.28 GB of RAM. Anything more is wasted. Windows 7 (32 bit) can recognize 4 GB and Windows 7 (64 bit) can recognize 192 GB

7 Definitions-Storage Permanent Storage (Hard drive) – Unlike RAM, data stored in permanent storage remains after the power is turned off. Storage, like RAM, is measured in gigabytes (GB). Desktops should have at a minimum 500 GB of storage while laptops may suffice with 250 GB Caveat- If you plan to store pictures, videos or music, you should opt for as much storage as possible (terabyte plus)

8 Definitions-Display Desktop display (monitor) – New systems should have an LCD flat panel display of at least 19” diagonal with a minimum resolution of 1280 x Higher is better. Laptops display – Depending upon the size laptop the screen dimensions will vary from 7” to 19” (too heavy) Minimum resolution of 1280 x 1024 Caveat- The video card must have its own fast processor and enough memory to support active screens

9 Operating System Windows is the predominant operating system found on PCs – Windows XP-released October 30, 2001 and is currently the most widely installed PC operating system (est. >400 million worldwide) – Windows Vista-released January 30, 2007 and has been plagued by problems ever since its release – Windows 7- released October 22, 2009 purportedly to fix all past mistakes (installed on all new, major brand computers)

10 Definitions-Display Screen size – The screen size is the measurement of the displayable area of the screen from the lower corner to the opposite upper corner of the display (7”-20” notebook, 15”-30”+ desktop) Aspect ratio – The aspect ratio refers to the number of horizontal pixels to vertical pixels in a display. Traditional displays used a 4:3 aspect ratio. Most new widescreen monitors use either a 16:10 or 16:9 aspect ratio. Native resolution – All LCD screens can actually display only a single given resolution referred to as the native resolution. This is the physical number of horizontal and vertical pixels that make up the LCD matrix of the display.. Contrast ratio – Basically a higher contrast ratio will mean that the screen will tend to have deeper blacks and brighter whites. Connectors – Most LCD panels have an analog and a digital connector on them. The analog connector is the VGA or DSUB-15. The common digital interface is the DVI connector. Stands – Many people don't consider the stand when purchasing a monitor but it can make a huge difference. There are typically four different types of adjustment: height, tilt, swivel and pivot.

11 So why doesn’t it all work and what can you do about it? There could be a number of reasons why your computer does not operate like the finely tuned beast that your salesperson promised you it would be. Some of the most common are: – Inefficient memory management – Inefficient data storage – Registry corruption – Spyware, malware or adware infection – Virus infection – Limited physical resources – Inefficient system configuration

12 Built-in Windows Utilities Windows has several system housekeeping utilities already built in and when used regularly, will improve the performance of most systems. Among the more useful are: – Scan Disk-a hard disk physical check and repair utility Scan Disk – Disk Cleanup-a file management utility that removes unneeded files from you hard drive Disk Cleanup – Defragmenter-a file management utility that restores data contiguity to file storage Defragmenter

13 Memory Management Memory or RAM is the area in which your computer performs the tasks that you select, such as writing a letter or editing a picture. The larger the area (to an extent), the more work that can be done. After the task is completed, the memory that was being used should be made available for subsequent tasks. This is called memory management. These tools will help you recover memory that Windows still thinks is unavailable. CleanMem: Free RAM XP Pro: html html

14 Data Storage Data is stored on your computer in units know as files. These units are initially stored all in one place but over time become spread out over the drive or fragmented. As Windows seeks to keep track of and retrieve these now fragmented files, it takes more time, hence your computer slows down. MyDefrag: DownloadAndInstall.html DownloadAndInstall.html Defraggler: MyDefrag GUI:

15 Registry Corruption The Windows system registry is the central repository for all of the components and settings in Windows. It is revised each time a new program or device is added or removed from your system. It is also updated each time you restart your system. Your system should automatically create a system registry restore point each time a major update occurs but that is not always the case. Over time the system registry becomes cluttered with unused or duplicate entries which slows down performance. These utilities can safely alleviate some of that clutter. Eusing Free Registry Cleaner: EasyCleaner: A Shampoo Win Optimizer: WinOptimizer-2010-Advanced/ _ htmlhttp://download.cnet.com/Ashampoo- WinOptimizer-2010-Advanced/ _ html

16 Viruses Computer viruses range from snippets of code to full blown programs that enter your computer most often by visiting an infected web site, downloading and opening an infected or inserting media (flash drive, external HDD or floppy disk) that contains infected files. Viruses effects range from the innocuous to the irreversible. AVG Free Antvirus Avast! Free Antivirus Avira Free Antivirus Antivirus_program_20080.html Antivirus_program_20080.html Panda Cloud Free Antivirus

17 Spyware, Malware, Adware These range from small bits of code to full blown programs; from the innocuous to the fatal; from benign to extremely infectious – Spyware-instances that allow unauthorized access to and tracking of personal information on your computer – Malware-malicious code whose primary function is to disable one or more functions in your computer – Adware-generally harmless but annoying code written to hawk a product or service Search & Destroy: Destroy/ /1http://fileforum.betanews.com/detail/Spybot-Search- Destroy/ /1 Ad-Aware: 8022_ html?part=dl-ad-aware&subj=dl&tag=top5http://download.cnet.com/Ad-Aware-Free-Anti-Malware/ _ html?part=dl-ad-aware&subj=dl&tag=top5 Malwarebytes: 8022_ html?tag=mncolhttp://download.cnet.com/Malwarebytes-Anti-Malware/ _ html?tag=mncol

18 Backup With all of the cyber threats to the sanctity of your data, it is critical that you have a reliable backup routine. Most people’s data becomes invaluable the moment after it is irretrievably lost. GFI Backup: Fbackup: Cobian Backup: Toucan: wnload wnload


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