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Question and Answer
I think I have a serious PC problem. For the past week my two year old Dell laptop crashes and shuts off for no reason. Plus it's now much slower than usual. I called Dell and they tried to sell me a new one. Does eSupport.com have any ideas what might have caused this problem? Any suggestion on how I can fix and restore my system?
– Charlie B., San Jose, CA
Thanks for the question Charlie. Unexpected Windows crashes, known as the BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) can be caused by several issues. Some common causes are malware, spyware, and viruses. Also, improper software installation or removal can play a role in corrupting Windows. To fix these types of problems you can try to repair Windows or as a last resort, re-install Windows all together. Both can be time consuming and tricky. However, before you do that we highly recommend a program called Reimage. This powerful utility quickly and easily repairs & replaces corrupted files, removes virus damage & much more. Here's how: Reimage's free preliminary scan will detect the errors on your PC's Windows operating system and identify a virus, malware or spyware. Then the Reimage patented repair process removes and replaces damaged files found during the scan. During repair, Reimage not only removes damage, but also reverses the damage done to your Windows OS by replacing corrupted and deleted files with fresh Windows files and components from their continuously updated online database. Your PC's performance, stability and security will be restored and improved. Give Reimage a try!

» Download Reimage
I recently installed some new memory and now I’m seeing system crashes and my system will occasionally freeze. Could the memory be the problem?
– Stephen R., Jacksonville FL

Damaged memory is more likely to cause crashes during memory-intensive operating such as installing Windows, compiling video, editing photos, or playing video games. Data stored in RAM can also get corrupted resulting in errors in your applications or in Windows. With more severe memory damage, non-demanding applications such as using your web browser or word processor may unexpectedly close or Windows may spontaneously restart when the computer is idle. In general, you should consider reseating the memory whenever the PC has inconsistent, hard to reproduce system failures after you have removed the RAM. Check for any cracks or other signs of trouble. If see any problems, return the RAM assuming it is still under warranty. You can also use the Windows Memory Diagnostic in Windows 7 and 8 to see if the RAM is faulty. To run the utility in Windows 7, click the Start button, and enter Memory in the Search box. Under Programs, select Windows Memory Diagnostics. At the dialog box, you can choose Restart Now and Check For Problems or Check For Problems Next Time I Start My Computer. Either way, you’ll need to restart the computer to run the utility. For those running Windows 8, type Control Panel, and select it from the Apps section. Click System and Security, choose Administrative Tools, and select Windows Memory Diagnostics. Choose Check For Problems the Next Time I Start My Computer, and Windows 8 will do so.

What is the difference between a computer with an integrated graphics processor and one with a dedicated graphics processor?
– James W., Dayton OH
Computers with integrated graphics will either have a chip built into the motherboard or capabilities built into the processor that performs the task of displaying video onto your monitor. The integrated graphics share resources with your computer’s memory, which can degrade the computers video performance. A dedicated graphics card is an add-on card whose sole job is to handle video processing tasks. If you are someone who plays video games or plan on editing home movies on the PC, it would be wise to have a dedicated video card. One of the key graphics processor specifications is the amount of video memory the card offers. The more memory the card offers, the faster the computer will be able to play games and the greater support it will offer for HD video. To let you easily connect your PC to an HDTV, many new computers offer an HDMI output to let you use a single cable for audio and video.

Driver Tip: Driver Store

One question we get asked is where are drivers stored in Windows 7? In older operating systems such as Windows XP and 2000, the driver source files needed for installing the devices were typically found in several locations.
  • %SystemRoot%\Driver Cache\i386\drivers.cab
  • %SystemRoot%\Driver Cache\i386\service_pack.cab
  • .inf files under %windir%inf
  • .sys files under %SystemRoot%\System32\Drivers
  • Support DLLs under %SystemRoot%\System32
  • Third Party co-installers in various locations.
DriverStore is a central location in Windows Vista and Windows 7 where all the driver files are stored, before they are copied to their final destination during the device driver installation.

For example, the driver package developed by Microsoft that contains the core mouse support files is present in the following folder:

C:\Windows\System32\DriverStore\FileRepository\ msmouse.inf_amd64_neutral_6f653f6716c1448c

Keeping the drivers in a central store allows for a much faster device installation and a more reliable driver rollback.

» Perform a driver scan now!



PC Performance Tip: Lock The Screen Image

If you share a Windows 8 PC with others and don't want them messing with the lock screen image, you can lock it so that it can't be changed. To do it, though, you're going to have to get down and dirty by editing the Registry.

When you're on the Start screen, type REGEDIT, click Apps on the right-hand side of the screen, then click the regedit.exe icon that appears on the left side of the screen.

A security window appears asking if you want to allow the Registry Editor to make changes to your PC. Click Yes, and the Registry Editor launches.

Now navigate to:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\

See if there's a key called Personalization there. If the key already exists, don't create another one. Instead, follow the instructions in the next paragraph. If the key doesn't exist, you'll have to create it. To do so, click Edit --> New --> Key. That creates a new key, but it will have a name like "New Key #1." You have to rename it. Right-click it, select Rename, and rename it Personalization.

Now that the Personalization key is there, create a new DWORD value under it called NoChangingLockScreen. To do that, right-click the Personalization key and select New --> DWORD (32-bit) Value. Rename the DWORD value NoChangingLockScreen. Double click-it and change its value from 0 to 1. Now exit the Registry Editor.

Log out of Windows or restart it, then log back in. The lock screen background shouldn't be changeable -- consider it locked. If you want to allow the background to be changed in the future, use the Registry Editor to change the value of NoChangingLockScreen from 1 to 0.

Please Note: Before performing these tweaks, we recommend backing up your systems registry. To back up the Registry the easy way, simply open Control Panel, click System, and then click System protection on the left sidebar. Click the big Create button to have Windows walk you through the straightforward process of creating a System Restore Point — it's as easy as that.

» Perform a registry scan now!


BIOS Tip – Tweaking BIOS to Improve Boot Speed

Tweaking your BIOS settings can be a good way to get your system to boot faster. Just a simple change of some of the key settings can make dramatic differences in how fast your system boots up.

Enable the "Quick Boot" Feature: Many newer PC’s have a special BIOS setting, usually called "Quick Boot" or "Quick Power On Self Test" that can be enabled to make the boot take less time. Try enabling this setting; this will cause the BIOS to skip some of the normal test routines that it performs at boot time, speeding up the boot process.

Remove the Boot Delay Setting: Some PC’s have a BIOS setting that you can use to intentionally delay the boot-up of the PC by several seconds. This setting is often called "Boot Delay" or "Power-on Delay". This can be useful when the BIOS is booting too quickly, causing hard disk drives to be booted before they are ready. However, it also slows the boot process down, so make sure that it is only enabled if it is needed.

Disable Floppy Drive Seek: Also called “Boot Up Floppy Seek.” Most PCs have a BIOS setting to disable floppy drive seeking, which is the short access the BIOS makes to the floppy disk just before it boots the system. This seek (unless disabled) is performed regardless of whether the system is being booted from the hard disk or floppy disk. Disabling the seek speeds up the boot process by a couple of seconds. This doesn't really have any negative impact on the system, although if you are having problems with your floppy drive you will probably want to re-enable the seek as this makes troubleshooting some types of problems easier.

» Perform a BIOS scan now!


Tech Tip

Creating a System Repair Disk Can Save You Big Problems in the Future
If you use Windows 7 it's a good idea to create a system repair disc right away in case you run into problems booting the OS later on. Click Start > Maintenance > Create a System Repair Disc, and let Windows 7 build a bootable emergency disc. If the worst does happen then it could be the only way to get your PC running again.


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Quote of the Month
"Men are only as good as their technical development allows them to be"

- George Orwell

Sites of the Month

Fun Sites
Radio Tuna
Choose from thousands of radio stations online right now, playing the best music from every genre.

Useful Site
LibriVox
Extensive collection of free audio books read by volunteers; the goal is to record every book in the public domain.

Stat of the Month

Global Monthly LCD-TV Panel Shipments
(Millions of Units)

Global Monthly LCD-TV Panel Shipments
Source: IHS Research
October 2013

Vocab Test

Speako

Slang for a typo made by a speech recognition program.

Browser Add-On

Facebook Addict Alarm

Alerts you every time you spend more than 15 minutes on Facebook.


SmartPhone App

Plume

A beautiful and completely customizable Twitter app that will revolutionize the way you use Twitter!


Twitter Tip

Connect Twitter to Facebook. If you are using Twitter to promote your blog or website, you can avoid making updates to multiple places by connecting Twitter to Facebook.

iPhone App

iOptimizer

iOptimizer

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.

(New Version - May 2013)
  • iPad Support
  • Improved 'Activity' Section
  • Improved 'Processes' Section
  • Improved 'Battery' Section
  • Improved 'System' Information
  • Improved 'Network' Section
Best of all — It's FREE!

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DriverAgent
eSupport UndeletePlus
RegistryWizard
BIOSAgentPlus



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