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Driver Tip: Problems After Upgrading Hardware

If you are experiencing weird issues after upgrading your hardware, or you've just upgraded to the latest hardware device and aren't seeing the performance you'd like? You may want to remove the old drivers, which are still installed for the old hardware, even though you can't readily see them in device manager.

What you have to do is set a less-known flag to allow you to see non-present devices, and then launch device manager. You'll then see the old devices in the list, and can uninstall the drivers for them.

In Windows 7 or Vista, the first thing you'll need to do is open a command prompt in administrator mode. Type cmd into the start menu search box, and then use Ctrl+Shift+Enter to open in administrator mode. (You can also right-click on the command prompt and choose Run as Administrator)

Paste in the following line:

SET DEVMGR_SHOW_NONPRESENT_DEVICES=1

Open Device Manager. Once you are in Device Manager, go to the View menu and choose Show Hidden Devices, which will show all the device drivers including things that aren't currently installed in your computer.

You can right-click on the driver and then choose Uninstall from the menu to remove the drivers for that old hardware.

We've found that this can resolve a lot of weird issues, and even increase performance on some machines where you've upgraded a bunch of times. This isn't necessarily going to increase performance, but it's nice to have a tidy computer nonetheless.

This works the same in Windows 7, Vista, and XP.

» Perform a driver scan now!




BIOS Tip: Is it still necessary to upgrade my BIOS?

One question we get asked a lot is "Is it still necessary to upgrade my BIOS in this day and age?" The answer is most definitely YES!

First, for those of you who do not know, let's go over what a BIOS actually is. The BIOS, which stands for Basic Input/Output System, is primarily responsible for initializing your systems hardware directly after powering up and begins the process of starting your operating system. The BIOS contains the codes your system requires to control the keyboard, display screen, disk drives, serial and USB communications, and other miscellaneous functions.

If your BIOS is out of date, your motherboard will not be able to utilize all of its features to their full potential, if even able to use them at all. An out of date BIOS will cause your computer to run inefficiently and eventually may cause the computer to fail to run some devices at all. Updating your BIOS will increase your computer's speed and compatibility with newer hardware. All the hardware attached to the motherboard, such as the RAM, processor, video card and disk drives, can be configured to a greater or lesser degree through the BIOS. Memory timings, processor speed and overclocking, hard disk detection and booting are all properties controlled by the motherboard's BIOS.

If you have an older computer, and want to upgrade to a newer, larger hard drive or to a newer operating system such as Windows 7, then upgrading your BIOS is definitely a good idea. This will ensure that your computer is up to date and ready for the improvements you are planning.

» Perform a BIOS scan now!




Registry Tip: Granting User Account Permission in Windows 7

Have you ever encountered the error message "Cannot edit, create, delete, or modify registry key" when trying to make a change to the registry in Windows 7? Many registry settings are protected from changes, making registry changes in Windows 7 impossible. To get around this issue, you will have to grant your user account permission to modify the registry.
  1. Right-click on the registry entry that you want to modify and click on permissions.
  2. Select your username and give yourself "Full Control"
You should be able to modify the registry and apply your registry changes.

If you still can't apply any registry changes in Windows 7, you can replace the owner of the registry entry with your own user account. Then you will be the owner of the file and can do whatever you want with it.
  1. To do that repeat step 1 above and open the permissions window of the registry key, then click on "Advanced"
  2. Go to the tab "Owner" and assign ownership of the registry entry to yourself. Make sure to check the option "Replace owner on subcontainers and objects."
» Perform a registry scan now!




Question and Answer
I'm using Windows 7, and I really don't like Internet Explorer 8. Is it possible for me to remove IE8 and install Internet Explorer 7?
- Donald R., Oklahoma City, OK
IE8 can be removed from Windows 7 but there's no version of IE 7 available for Windows 7. To uninstall Internet Explorer 8 from Windows 7 follow these easy steps:
  1. Open the Start Menu, and type in Windows Features
  2. Click on Turn Windows Features On or Off
  3. Uncheck the box next to Internet Explorer 8, then click OK
  4. Once you click OK, you will be prompted to restart.
  5. Once the computer has restarted, IE8 will be removed.
Another option is to run IE8 in IE7 mode. That can be done by doing this:
  1. Open IE8
  2. Click on TOOLS then DEVELOPER TOOLS
  3. Then Click on BROWSER MODE and check off Internet Explorer 7
Internet Explorer 9 is also right around the corner, in fact it is in Beta form right now. You can try it out here.

I use Mozilla Firefox and when I try to download a file, it sends the file to the DOWNLOADS folder on my C: drive. How can I change where the files are saved to?
- Lindsey C., Shawnee Mission, KS
There are a couple of different ways to change where the files are being saved. The first way is to have the browser ask you on every download where you want to save the file. You can do this by clicking on TOOLS in Firefox and then choose OPTIONS. Then click on the GENERAL tab, and click the radio button next to ALWAYS ASK ME WHERE TO SAVE FILES. Now you will be prompted to provide a location everytime you download a file.

The second way is change the default location for saved files, so that every time you download a file it will be saved to the location you choose automatically. To do this, you want to click on TOOLS in Firefox and then choose OPTIONS. Then click on the GENERAL tab, and click the radio button next to SAVE FILES TO . You then need to click on BROWSE and navigate to the location you want the files saved to. Files will now be saved to this location by default.

 
Quote of the Month
"Computers are useless. They can only give you answers."

- Pablo Picasso

Sites of the Month

Fun Sites
AltUse
Great site to find out alternative uses for everyday in-home products.

Techie Sites
Software Reviews
If you're thinking of downloading or buying a new program, check out SoftwareReviews.com first. Users can download programs directly from the site and rate them as well.

Stat of the Month
Top 5 Websites as of October 2010
  1. Google
  2. Facebook
  3. YouTube
  4. Yahoo
  5. Gmail

Vocab Test

Scareware
A type of malware designed to trick victims into purchasing and downloading useless and potentially dangerous software.

Windows 7 Shortcuts

Win+E
Opens up My Computer

Win+R
Opens up the Run box

Ctrl+Shift+Click
on a taskbar button Starts a program on the taskbar as Administrator

Win+Shift+Left Arrow or Right Arrow
Moves the window to another monitor

Browser Add-On

TwitterBar for Firefox
TwitterBar allows you to post to Twitter from Firefox's address bar. A small Twitter icon sits to the right of your address bar; clicking on it will post your tweet, and you can hover your mouse over it to see how many characters you have left.


Windows 7 Gadget

Facebook Explorer
If you are one of the many people addicted to Facebook this gadget is for you! Facebook explorer tracks your messages, friends' activities, event invitations and more. You can also change your status message easily.




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