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Question and Answer
Recently my Acer Aspire notebook running Windows 7 started to run like a DOG! So, I decided to update several of my many software apps. Yesterday, I started getting "corrupt DLL file" and "missing DLL file" error messages and my notebook has been locking up. Do you have any suggestions or insight into this problem and more importantly how I can fix this?
– Annie W., Sedona, AZ

This is a common PC problem and can be easily fixed. The likely cause of DLL (dynamic-link library) files becoming corrupt or damaged is a result of something we ALL do: install and / or uninstall software programs. DLL files can get overwritten, removed or corrupted when installing newer versions of a software program. This may cause problems for programs that still need the old version to operate properly. The other cause is a bad or incomplete installation of a program, corrupting one or more files causing the DLL errors. The result is the program begins to malfunction and crash.

Solution: The safe and simple solution is to run a free scan using a popular program we recommend called Reimage. Within minutes Reimage will detect and replace your missing or damaged DLL files with fresh, clean and up-to-date files. Plus, Reimage will detect and repair Windows Errors, Blue Screen of Death, Virus or Malware Damage and can even perform an Operating System Recovery.

» Download Reimage

I have been thinking about downgrading my computer from Windows 8 to Windows 7. I've heard that in order to do it, I need to disable something called Secure Boot. Can you tell me what that is, and how I disable it?
– Donald S., St. Paul, MN
Secure Boot is a feature in Windows 8's Unified Extensible Firmware Interface, or UEFI. It's there to ensure that all operating systems running on a computer are digitally signed, meaning they are legitimate and not affected by malware. In other words, Secure Boot is a security feature designed to keep your PC safe from malware attack.

However, you can't go about downgrading a Windows 8 system to Windows 7 without disabling Secure Boot.

To do that, boot your Windows 8 computer to the main screen. Next, search for an application known as Powershell. Once Powershell opens, type in the command: confirm-SecureBootUEFI. Then hit enter.

You will then be presented with several pieces of system information. If that data indicates that Secure Boot is installed on your system, you will need to disable Secure Boot in your PC's BIOS. Let's do that now.

Next, go into Windows 8's Charms menu and enter Settings. Then click Change PC Settings and then General. On the next screen, scroll to the very bottom and click Restart Now under the Advanced Startup tab.

On the next screen, click Troubleshoot. On the following screen, click Advanced Options.

Once you've reached the Advanced Options screen, look for a UEFI Firmware Settings option. If it's there, you can click and disable it. (Note that this option will only appear if you have Secure Boot enabled.)

From there, you'll put your Windows 7 installation CD into your computer's DVD drive and restart the computer. You'll then initiate the Windows 7 installation process.
I have been using Windows 8 and I like it. But I really dislike is the lock screen. I feel it's just a waste of time. Is there a way I can get rid of it?
– Martin R., Jacksonville, FL
The lock screen is enabled after a Windows 8 PC is awoken from sleep mode. The lock screen often displays the current local weather, the time, and the number of emails waiting in your inbox.

In order to dismiss the lock screen, a user must close it with a click or drag up and away using the touch screen controls (assuming your PC contains touch screen hardware). Then will you be presented with a log-in prompt where you can enter your user name and password.

Some users have found the lock screen useful, but for others it's just an annoying obstacle that decreases productivity.

To disable Windows 8's new lock screen, follow these simple steps.

From the Windows 8 Start screen, hit the Windows key and R at the same time. A run dialog box will then appear. In that dialog box, type gpedit.msc and click OK. You will then be presented with the Local Group Policy Editor.

Next, click on Computer Configuration, Administrative Tools, Control Panel, and finally Personalization. You'll then be presented with a few options related to the lock screen. From this display you can change the lock screen image or completely disable the lock screen.

To disable the lock screen, double-click Do not display the lock screen.

One last dialog box will then appear. Once it does, simply select Enabled and then click OK. You're enabling Do not display the lock screen. Once you've changed these settings; you shouldn't see the lock screen on your Windows 8 computer.

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:


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: Why does a computer need a BIOS?

We were asked recently by a customer an interesting question. Why does a computer need a BIOS?

A BIOS is a hardware dependent piece of code stored on the motherboard itself. Every different motherboard needs a custom BIOS written for it, so it would be impossible to have a generic BIOS/OS all-in-one (although the BIOS is technically just stored code, so you could theoretically write an OS for one particular motherboard).

The purpose of the BIOS is to do the following:

When the PC starts up, the first job for the BIOS is the power-on self-test, which initializes and identifies system devices such as the CPU, RAM, video display card, keyboard and mouse, hard disk drive, optical disc drive and other hardware.

Note that you can still start a computer without a hard drive- which is why the BIOS is a requirement for a computer. In other terms, the BIOS provides a common software interface to allow a stored computer program to communicate with various hardware devices connected to the motherboard. For example, if I have two different motherboards with two different SATA controllers, the BIOS allows me to write a piece of code that can work with both, without my knowledge of how the motherboard actually sends commands to the SATA device. I just have to tell the computer "read sector X from this SATA device", and the BIOS is responsible for actually sending those commands to the hardware.

Where it actually gets the "read sector X" information from is a stored program contained within the BIOS, which usually directs the computer to start reading from a bootloader stored in a common location. These common locations are agreed upon by various software and hardware developers, and usually provided to the public to allow for more compatibility between systems.

Once a basic level of interfacing (again, logical interfacing through software) is established, the operating system itself builds a common interface with your various hardware devices (usually by using "device drivers"), and the operating system can then control the hardware.

Finally, it should be noted that the BIOS is also used to make modifications to the computer hardware configurations, and store them in the on-board EEPROM (so your computer remembers the changes next time you start it up). However, once the operating system is loaded, it has full control of the computer.

This allows for motherboard manufacturers to develop software allowing you to make these changes from within your operating system, as opposed to having to reboot into the BIOS. Again, this is very hardware and software dependent, but goes to show that all computer interfacing is relative. The BIOS is exactly what its name implies - a basic input/output system, to allow a common software interface for a more advanced program ("operating system") to take control of the machine.

» Perform a BIOS scan now!

PC Performance Tip: Missing CD/DVD drive (Code 39)

Have you ever gone to read a CD or DVD and found it missing in My Computer? Maybe giving an error code 39 or 19 in the device manager? Here's a quick solution.

Note: This tip deals with editing the registry. It is always suggested that you backup the registry before making changes.

  1. Log on to Windows by using an account that has Administrator rights and permissions.

  2. Start Registry Editor

  3. Click on the plus signs (+) next to the following folders in the left side of the window:
    • SYSTEM
    • CurrentControlSet
    • Control
    • Class
    • {4D36E965-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}

  4. Look for any of the following names in the right side of the window:
    • UpperFilters
    • LowerFilters

  5. If any of the items above are listed, right-click on them and choose Delete.

  6. Save any open documents, and then restart your computer.

  7. Open My Computer and check to see if your CD or DVD drives have returned.

  8. You may need to reinstall CD or DVD burning software.

» Perform a registry scan now!

Tech Tip
Searching for Files in Windows 8
The Search in Windows 8 has been significantly improved when compared to all previous versions of Windows. To search for a file or run a program in Windows 8 from the Start screen just start typing what you're trying to find or want to run. As you begin typing, the results will start appearing on the left-hand side.

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Quote of the Month
"Computers themselves, and software yet to be developed, will revolutionize the way
we learn."

– Steve Jobs

Sites of the Month

Fun Sites
Music recommendation service which allows listeners to create a radio station by selecting genres, eras, popularity, moods, and colors.

Useful Site
Pulsefeed uses your favorite topics, social accounts & websites to build you a personalized magazine which is full of fresh, interesting content.

Stat of the Month

Global Smartphone Shipment Market Share for Research in Motion/BlackBerry

Global Smartphone Shipment Market Share for Research in Motion/BlackBerry
Source: IHS iSuppli / Screen Digest Research
January 2013

Vocab Test


A form of shareware in which the author requests that you donate the fee to a designated charity.

Browser Add-On

PhotoZoom for Facebook

Photo Zoom is a simple, light-weight extension that integrates directly into Facebook so you can see the larger images of photo albums.

SmartPhone App


Gas prices can vary by up to 20 cents per gallon or more. GasBuddy helps you find the cheapest gas prices with one tap.

  Twitter Tip

Use Hashtags Sparingly. Hashtags are a great way to have your content exposed to people outside your circle, but try not to over-use them. You should know what hashtags to use and when to use them for the greatest effect.

iPhone App



iOptimizer is the ultimate application for getting to know your iPhone, iPad or iPod better. iOptimizer monitors the performance of your device, so that you can configure it for optimal use. It will also help you find out everything about your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch both on the system and on the user level. iOptimizer is powerful, intuitive, and extremely easy to set up and use.
Best of all — It's FREE!
(New version released
June 15, 2012)

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