Sunday, May 3, 2009

Guide To Finding Free Help To Common Problems On The Internet

Most problems in Microsoft Windows more than likely have already happened to somebody else at some point and hopefully have been fixed.

So why pay your local computer shop/company when the answer to your question or problem may already be out there for free it just knowing where to look and this is the first place an IT professional will look as well.

Microsoft Knowledge Base

One of the first places to look for Microsoft related product problems i.e. Windows XP/98/2000, Office 200/XP/2003 is the Microsoft Knowledge Base.

This is like Microsoft’s database of known Microsoft related problems (use the link below to try it out)

This lets you pick you product and then type your error message/problem and will then show results they feel match you problem.

Changing you search entry will display different results, learning how to phrase searches to get what you want is a great skill in finding your desired answers.

Lets say for instance you error message is Word 2003 and is saying that the document you are trying to open is corrupt.

Firstly select Word 2003 from the Search Product drop down list.

Then type the word “corrupt” without the hyphens in the for box and then hit the search button.

One of the results given is this one

And more than likely would have fixed your issue.

The Microsoft Knowledge Base has fixed many a problem for myself and friends without the help of an IT Professional.

Google Groups

One of the next best places to find answers to problems and is always worth a try is Google Groups (use the link below to try it out)

using similar search techniques as used on the Microsoft Knowledge base you can enter an error message.

Using the same problem as above as an example type the following “
word 2003 open document corrupt” without the hyphens in the empty box next to the Search Groups button and then click the Search Groups button.

You will see many results returned, click on the ones that seem the most relevant.

You will see that they are laid out in the style of the person who has asked the question at the top and then scrolling down you will see people that have made suggestions to his/her problem.

Again practice changing your search text as learning how to phrase searches to get what you want is a great skill in finding your desired answers.

Try not to be too specific with your search i.e.

Using the example again do NOT type:

When I open a document in Microsoft word 2003 on my computer I get the error message my file is corrupt

Try to shorten searches and try the following search instead:

word 2003 open document corrupt

Google Groups is immense in the information it holds so don’t just limit it to Microsoft related problems as you will find information for all manor of computer related problems i.e. printers, scanners, WI-FI, networking issues, and also non computer problems i.e. cars, health, home appliances etc.


Free Forums

Another great place is to post your own questions on a local forum, there are many free forums on the internet I have placed a link below to a particular favourite of mine.

For general computer and networking questions try here:

For general internet/broadband questions try here:

For a list of all forums try here:

You have to join this site but it is free

Again let someone answer your questions for you for free, but a top tip is to include as much info as possible about your question, be polite and always reply back with a thanks if a person has taken time to answer you question and don’t post too many questions all in one go.

Manufacturers Site

A lot of manufacturers of computer equipment have there own support sites where drivers and FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) about your product may reside a few are listed below.

Hewlett Packard:





Most big manufacturers will have a site for support to find them try searching on i.e. “epson downloads support” without the hyphens.


It is important to keep your items of computer hardware running with the most up to date drivers, Drivers are a piece of software that tells your computer how to talk to the specific piece of hardware i.e. printer, scanner etc.

Most drivers for products can be downloaded from the manufacturers site see above.

But if you are desperate and canot find a driver lets say for an old piece of hardware by a company no longer in business you could try the following sites (please note these sites usually charge)


Quick Jargon/ Acronyms Buster

ADSL - Asymmetric Digital Subscribers Line

AGP - Accelerated Graphics Port

ATAPI - Advanced Technology Attachment Packet Interface

AVI - Audio Video Interleaved


CODEC - COmpressor / DECompressor

CPU - Central Processing Unit

DNS – Domain Name Services

EIDE - Enhanced Integrated Drive Electronics

FTP - File Transfer Protocol

GHZ – Gigahertz

GB – Gigabyte (1,073,741,824 Bytes)

HTTP – Hyper Text Transfer Protocol

HTML – Hyper Text Mark-up Language

ISP - Internet Service Provider

JPEG - Joint Photographic Experts Group

LAN - Local Area Network

PVR - Personal Video Recorder

MPEG - Motion Picture Experts Group

MP3 - MPeg-1 audio layer 3

NTFS - New Technology File System

OEM - Original Equipment Manufacturer

PCI - Peripheral Component Interconnect

PCMCIA - Personal Computer Memory Card International Association

PDF - Portable Document Format

POP - Post Office Protocol

RAM - Random Access Memory

ROM - Read Only Memory

SATA - Serial Advanced Technology Attachment

SMTP - Simple Mail Transfer Protocol

TCP/IP - Transmission Control Protocol / Internet Protocol

URL - Uniform Resource Locator

USB - Universal Serial Bus

VPN - Virtual Private Network

WAN - Wide Area Network

WI-FI - Wireless Fidelity

WWW - World Wide Web

30 Links To Free Software Section

Free Virus Protection:

Free Spyware Removal:

Free Firewall Protection:
Windows XP has its own Firewall if you wish to use it.

Free Trojan Remover:

Free Spam Filters:

Free File Manager:

Free Email Clients:

Outlook Express Comes With Windows or Download Latest Internet Explorer From

Free POP Up Stopper:

Free Digital Picture Viewers:

Free Digital Picture Editor:

Free FTP Clients:

Free Bookmark/Favourites Cleaner:

Free Download Managers:

Free Cleanup Utility

Free Online Services and Utilities

The links below provide great utilities/services on the web and what is more they are free.

Online Word processor and Spreadsheet creator

Create PDF files Online

Create and Manage an Online Calendar

Webmail Address’s

Online Note Taking (Great For School/Students)

Connect to you Home PC from the Office and Visa Versa

Online Favourites/Book marking Service

Check You Internet Firewall Online

Check you POP3 Emails Online

Now For Some Entertainment, Information & Fun

Find Your Way Around and Plan Trips (Amazing but needs a decent specification PC)

Great Shopping/Price Comparison Sites (save plenty)

News, Some Serious Some Fun Some Technology

A Myriad of Videos for all Tastes (within reason)

Prepare to Spend Hours On These

Win Prizes

Fancy A Try At Your Own Website (SiteMakerFree)

Now Some Play Time

10 Easy Windows XP Tips Aimed At Saving You Time


Firstly lets list Windows shortcut keys using the “WindowsKey” (Usually found to the left of the space bar)

Windows Key + D = Brings the desktop to the front of what you are working on
Windows Key + R = Opens the Run window
Windows Key + M = Minimizes All Windows
Windows Key + Shift + M = Undo actions caused by Windows Key + M
Windows Key + TAB = Tabs through current open windows
Windows Key + F1 = Opens Windows Help
Windows Key + L = Locks Computer
Windows Key + E = Opens Windows Explorer

Give them a try and get used to using them (Saves Time)


Hold down the shift key when deleting a file to avoid it going into the recycle bin (remember you cant undelete it then)


Want to open a file in another programme when double clicking, then right click it first and select the “open with” option


Want to select a batch of files for deleting at once then hold down shift and click on the first one and then click on the last one while still holding down shift

Don’t want to select them all between the first and last file then hold down CTRL while selecting the files


Download Microsoft Power Toys (TweakUI) this gives you the ability to tweak usually hidden settings in Windows XP. Here is the link.


Access Web Pages from the Taskbar
When you're working with a document and suddenly decide that you need to look something up on the internet, you first have to load up Internet Explorer and type the relevant URL into the address bar. A considerably easier method is to add an address bar to the taskbar, and to do this you need to right-click an empty area and select Toolbars > Address. It's now possible to type addresses straight into this box, and when you press [Enter], Internet Explorer will automatically load that page for you.


Launch Applications with a Shortcut
When you're working and need to quickly launch another program, it can be annoying to have to navigate through the Start menu for the relevant shortcut, even if you have opted to pin a program to the top of the list. By creating keyboard shortcuts for applications, you are able to launch them in an instant. Navigate through the Start menu and right-click on the program shortcut you're interested in, and then select Properties. Click in the Shortcut Key box and press the key combination you'd like to use – such as [Ctrl] + [Shift] + [W] – before clicking OK.


Control what programs startup automatically with MSConfig.

Click Start Button, Select Run, and type msconfig in the run box and select O.K.
Then use the Startup Tab and untick anything you do not wish to start automatically, if you wish to reverse any changes simply put the tick back in.


Insert special characters into you work the easy way.

Click Start, All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, Then Click “Character Map”


Quick Shortcuts on desktop.

If you are tired of having to click start, Programs etc. to run your programs.

Why not create a desktop shortcut the easy way.

Click the start button and find the program you require a desktop shortcut to and then click it and hold the click and drag to your desktop.

SEO Easy Guide For Newbie Bloggers

One thing I felt personally weak on was the fine art of search engine optimization (SEO) so I set about finding out more.

I used one of my friend’s websites which I had designed as a testing ground to see how high I could get it in Google for a start off.

We chose a phrase he wanting results for and in 2 weeks of using the guide below he is top in Google UK.

This is what I found out. (PS He is not a painter or Decorator)


Think of your main search phrase you would like results for i.e. "painter and decorator in Yorkshire" and try this phrase in Google to find out what competition you are up against if the competition is massive try "painter & decorator in Leeds" this narrows down your area (For non UK readers Leeds is a city in Yorkshire UK)

Once you are happy with a good phrase with little competition we need to look at how to get that keyword into your website/blog.

You can also check with sites like this

And you will see that certain keywords command lots of money i.e. soma online, carisoprodol etc (whatever these are ??) best to avoid these unless this is your sites purpose.

Using keywords like these when your site has nothing to do with them can have an adverse effect.


Lets base this guide on generating search hits for "painter & decorator in Leeds” and that our company is called Mr. Painter

Place keywords in 5 areas of your site.

1. Meta Tag Keywords
2. Meta Tag Description
3. Meta Tag Page Title
4. The Alt Tag in Images
5. The Body Of The Page

For this example the main keywords would be painter, decorator, leeds and you must try to keep these together in the 4 areas mentioned above so.

Meta Tag Keywords

Place meta-tags between the tags


You can add more keywords but make sure your main 3 keywords are first I wouldn’t do more than 15

Meta Tag Description

Place meta-tags between the tags


Again not too long and keep your 3 main keywords as close together as possible

Meta Tag Page Title

Place meta-tags between the tags


Again not too long and keep your 3 main keywords as close together as possible

Summary Of Meta Tag Section

We should have your 3 main keywords mentioned 3 time each by now and have kept them as close together as possible

Other meta tags can be used but these are the 3 main standard ones

A handy Meta Tag Generator can be found here

And once you have you meta tags in place you can check them here

The Alt Tag In Images

Most web design packages like Frontpage etc will let you place an Alternative Tag (Alt Tag) when you insert pictures

So again place you keywords on any pictures you insert especially on your index page

So if you choose to insert a picture of yourself then use the Alt Tag “Mr. Painter – Leeds West Yorkshire”

This will get 2 of your 3 main keywords mentioned again with the addition of the word Yorkshire which would not hurt.

In Blogger pages you have to manually add the alt tag in your post by doing the following.

Insert picture into your post
Type your post but before posting flip to the HTML view and look for the following line.


It will not be exact but will be very similar
then add the following after it

alt="Painter and Decorator Services - Leeds" title=" Painter and Decorator Services - Leeds "

It should then look like this

src=" alt="Painter and Decorator Services - Leeds" title=" Painter and Decorator Services - Leeds "

6. Post it and try to hover over the picture to see if it works

Try to vary your tags for every picture, mentioning the keywords to many times can have an adverse effect as some search engines see this as keyword spamming and will not index your site.

The Body Of The Page or Post

Goes without saying really when you type your content for your web page that will no doubt go on about how long you have been a painter who your top clients are any awards certificates etc.

Try to include your top keywords again close together in sentences in variouse locations it would also pay to try and include you other keywords you mentioned in you keywords meta tag

Again try not to mention your top keywords to many times thorough out I found mentioning your top keywords 7 or 8 time in total did the job for me with my friends site

If you would like to see your results as to how many keywords you have and how many times they are mentioned try these 2 sites

Once your site is set and you are happy the get it submitted to some search engines i.e.

Give it a few weeks for your hard earned work to show itself after you have submitted your site


It would also be wise at this stage to mention another great way to increase traffic and that is by using Back Links.

Back links are basically links to your site from somebody else’s but it pays to get them right.

Don’t just tell you friend to put a link i.e.

But to use an anchor in the link i.e.

Make the link say Painter & Decorator Leeds and have this phrase link to your site.

There are many sites on the web that offer back link services and usually require you to put a link to them on yours and visa versa. (try searching on Google)

I do hope you get the results you need and remember this guide is just the start of making sure your site gets some attention.

Windows Vista Tips

Windows Vista Tips to use snip tool
Windows vista have program called snip by which you can take screenshot and put it in document or send by email. You can take different type of snap like free form, rectangular and full screen and you can send in various formats like jpg or gif or html. To access this tool open start Manu and type SNIP at new button.

Access command prompt in windows vista
In windows vista if you want to open folder in dos prompt. Then you don’t need to go at command prompt and writing long boring command.
Just right click the folder and hold the shift key that you want to use in command prompt and select open in command windows.

Get permanently Manu bar in windows vista
You can not find manu bar in windows vista by default
To see it temporary press Alt button.
To get turn on manu bar permanently.
Open my computer Click on tools then folder option
Then select view tab and select the option show manu.
Apply changes and ok.

Windows Vista Tips to change Icon size
Right click on free space of desktop
Select tab view and choose to classic Icons.

Windows Vista Tricks to change default browser
In windows vista if you click on link it will automatically open in IE
But if you want to open link in firebox or another browser
Then in control panel open programs and default programs
Then click on set your default program
Now select web browser you want
And click select default for this program
And check http for protocols
And apply changes.

Windows Vista Tricks to send photo by Email
In all Microsoft operating system when you right click on picture pics you can find option to send by email but in windows vista on one more feature is you can send it in different size like 768 x 1024 or 1280 x 1024 or real size as it is.

Windows vista tricks Add program to start manu
Just right click program and sect pin to start manu this list will appear above the recently opened program.

Windows vista GUI Performance
If you have not very high hardware configuration and want to speed up graphics then you need to turn off some features.
Right click on my computer and open properties.
In advance option
Select performance and click on setting
Now customize the option.

Windows Vista Tricks for Changing the Sidebar
Vista sidebar take unnecessary place on desktop and you can’t place other icon there
You can remove individual gadget from sidebar
Right click on gadgets and click detach
Move it where you want on desktop
Even you can close side bar by right click on side bar and close.
To get back side bar click icon on system tray.
There will now be an icon in the system tray for the sidebar if you want to get it back.

Windows NT (Windows 2000, XP Professional)

  • Desktop Gone Forever
    If you can do without the regular NT 4.0 desktop permanently, it's possible to start with just the Task Manager even without Command Prompt. Launch the Registry Editor and locate HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SOFTWARE/Microsoft/ CurrentVersion/WinLogon. Double-click on value named Shell (set by default to Explorer.exe). Enter Taskmgr.exe for the NT Task Manager. For a command prompt, enter Cmd.exe. Close the Registry Editor and log off.

  • Using the Windows Task Manager
    Windows Task Manager can aid you in finding the amount of RAM you can regain by disabling unnecessary system services. Right-click on the taskbar and select Task Manager from the context menu. You can view the CPU usage and memory usage under the Performance tab, To regain resources, you can kill unnecessary processes from the Processes tab.

  • Fast Menus
    You can change the Start menu delay in displaying sub-menus. Run Regedit adn navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER \Control Panel\Desktop. Change the value for MenuShowDelay to any number between 0 (fastest) and 4000 (slowest). If the above does not exist, add a string value with this name.

  • Launch Faster
    You can change the default boot delay of 30 seconds. Open Control Panel > System > Startup/Shutdown. Under the Show List For, change the settings to the desired boot delay value. To bypass the boot menu altogether, set the delay to 0. Note: If you dual boot between the Operating Systems using the NT boot loader, do not set the boot delay value to 0.

  • Messing with Partitions
    Before using Disk Administrator to make changes to the partitions, you may want to make sure you save your current configuration. To do this, click Start > Programs > Administrator tools > Disk Administrator > Partition > Configuration > Save. Insert a formatted floppy disk into your drive and click OK. You can restore the partition structure later by clicking on Partition > Configuration > Restore.

  • Performance Monitor
    The Performance Monitor will not monitor disk performance unless you turn on the disk counters first. to do this, open the Command Prompt window and type diskperf -Y. r\Restart the computer. you can monitor disk activity with the Performance, you should turn them off by typing diskperd -N at the Command Prompt when you have finished testing.

  • Sharing Resources Secretly
    To secretly share a resource, simple append a dollar sign ($) to share name. When you do so, the resource doesn't appear in Network Neighborhood, but is readily available by either mapping the drive or typing the UNC in the Run dialog box. This provides an additional degree of privacy and security to a shared resource. Further more, and access restrictions or passwords assigned to that shared resource remain in effect.

  • NT Protocol Analyser
    NT server 4.0 includes a software-based protocol analyzer called the Network Monitor Agent. To install it open Control Panel > Network > Services and click on Add. Select Network Monitor Agent from the list. You can now start Network Monitor from the Administrative Tools. To capture network data, click on Capture > Start. Click Capture > Stop to stop monitoring.

  • Alerter and Messenger
    If messages don't reach their destination's) when using "net send" command, turn on the Alerter and Messenger serviced in the Services applet of the Control Panel. also, make sure that the intended recipient is not logged in to multiple machines.

  • Adding a Command Prompt to any Folder
    Open Explorer and click View > Options > File Types. Locate Folder and click Edit. Click New to open the New Action dialog box. Type Command Prompt in the Action box, and type cmd.exe in the Application Used to Perform Action box. Now you can right-click a folder and click Command Prompt to open a Command Prompt window at the folder's path.

  • AutoComplete
    You can automatically fill in file and folder names at the command prompt, much like a UNIX terminal. Launch the Registry editor and move down to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER \Software\Microsoft\Command Processor. Select CompletionChar and set its value of to 9. Restart the system for the changes to take effect. Now, at the Command Prompt window, type in the first few characters of the file or folders and press Tab to complete it automatically.

  • Saving Recent Desktop SettingsTo save the Desktop settings on normal exits only. You could lose your recent Desktop modifications if NT crashes or hangs. you can save your current Desktop settings by selecting and object on the Desktop and pressing F5 key.

  • Key to the CD Key
    The CD Key is required to reinstall the operating system. If you have lost it, you can retrieve it form the Windows registry. Open Regedit and navigate to HKEY_LOCALMACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\WindowsNT \CurrentVersion. Look at ProductId. The CD Key is digits 6 thought 15.

  • The Bin is Full
    To change the icons used for the Recycle bin, run the Registry Editor and navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Classes\CLSID\ {645F040-5081-101B-9F08-00AA002F954E}\DefaultIcon. Edit the value labeled Full and type the path to the icon file. Similarly, edit the value labeled Empty Empty to specify the icon for the empty recycle bin.

  • Compressing data
    Windows NT lets you compress and decompress directories and files on NTFS partition. Compression reduces storage requirements for seldom-accessed files without degrading overall drive performance. You can compress and expand files and directories form My Computer or Explore - just right-click on item, select Properties and enable Compress form the list of attributes.

  • Drop and Run
    You can open the Run dialog box (Start > Run), then drag and drop a file or application onto it form My Computer or Explorer. The compete pathname appears in the Run dialog box. Now you could add command-line options or simple click OK to launch the file.

  • Re-create NT installations disks
    You can re-create NT installation disks if you lose or damage your original set. Format three floppy disks and load your 4.0 CD-ROM in the drive. Form the Run dialog box, browse to the i386 folder on the CD-ROM and select winnet32.exe and click Open. Alter the Run command like to d:\i386\winnt32/ox (where the first d is the CD-ROM drive letter). Click OK and follow the prompts.

  • List of settings and address
    For a complete list of the settings and address currently assigned to your system, open the Command Prompt form the Start button's Program menu, and type ipconfig/all. this will display all TCP/IP relates settings on the system. This is similar to winipcfg in Windows 9x.

  • Easy addition of users
    Creating a user template makes if easy to add multiple new users with the same group and access privileges. Open User Manager for Domains. Add a new user by selecting New User form the User menu. Label this user as a template for the user level, such as Template--Worker or Template--Secretary and set the correct privileges and options for Groups, Profile, and Dial-in. the next time you need to add a user, simple select the template account, and select User > Cope from the menu. All you need to do is changed the name and password.

  • Maintaining a Repair disk
    The Emergency Repair Disk (ERD) holds a record of the settings and boot parameters for your primary partition Boot Sector. Every time you make a change to these areas, you should also re-crease the ERD; otherwise, the repair disk will not restore your system to the most recent functioning state. To crease an updated ERD, type rdisk /s in the Run dialog box.

  • Documentation Books on your hard drive
    Wish to avoid inserting the NT CD-ROM every time you access Books Online? Simple cope the \Support\Books form the CD-ROM to your hard drive. Next, remove the disc form the drive and attempt to launch the Books Online Shortcut. When you're prompted to insert the CD-ROM or specify an alternate route, click the Browse button, and select the directory where you copied the files.

  • Restoring a damaged boot sectorAn up-to-date Emergency Repair Disk (ERD) can aid you in recovering from a damaged boot sector. To restore a damaged boot sector, reboot the computer using the Setup disk 1, followed by disk 2 when prompted. Select R for Repair. Form the next menu, select only Inspect boot sector (to check the boot sector for damaged). Insert disk 3 and then the ERD when prompted and follow the instructions on screen.

Windows common shortcut keys

The most important shortcut keys that are used in Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office.

Action Shortcut keys

  1. Change the font CTRL+SHIFT+F
  2. Change the size of font CTRL+SHIFT+P
  3. Increase the Font Size CTRL+SHIFT+>
  4. Decrease the font size CTRL+SHIFT+<
  5. Increase the font size by 1-point CTRL+]
  6. Decrease the font size by 1-point CTRL+[
  7. Change the case of letters SHIFT+F3
  8. Close the active item ALT+F4
  9. Format letters as all capitals CTRL+SHIFT+A
  10. Apply or remove bold formatting CTRL+B
  11. Apply or remove underline CTRL+U
  12. Minimize all windows Windows logo key+M
  13. Underline single word CTRL+SHIFT+W
  14. Double underline text CTRL+SHIFT+D
  15. Apply or remove hidden text CTRL+SHIFT+H
  16. Find Files or Folders WINDOWS+F
  17. Apply italic formatting CTRL+I
  18. Format letters as small capitals CTRL+SHIFT+K
  19. Apply automatic spacing CTRL+=
  20. Remote formatting in plain text CTRL+SHIFT+Z
  21. Cancel the current task ESC
  22. Change the selection to symbol font CTRL+SHIFT+Q
  23. Display nonprinting characters CTRL+SHIFT+*

Hard Drive

Your hard drive, or also called hard disk, is a gigantic diskette in your computer. It is one disk big enough to store you Operating System, games and programs. Without it, your PC is just an empty shell.

Check Your BIOS

Better beware of older systems with large hard drives. If you have an older motherboard, your BIOS might not recognize hard drives larger than 2.1 GB. Hopefully, your BIOS is EPROM which means although read only (noticed the ROM?) it can be edited by authorized editors. Nearly all newer motherboards support that. All you need to do is to go online, go to your motherboard manufacturer's website and try to download a flash BIOS update. Install it and it should be done.

Are You FAT Enough?

If you have a large capacity hard drive with more than 2.1 GB, you might have a problem. Windows 95 itself will only recognize a partition with not more than 2.1 GB. You need FAT32. With FAT32, you can have one large capacity hard drive without partitioning. You will also save some space with FAT32. In short, larger hard drives require FAT32.

Consider Partitioning

Although you can have one big fat hard drive as one partition, you should consider partitioning as well, if you have a big hare drive. Partitioning is the method of dividing an area on a disk into smaller portions of lesser capacities that can be recognized by the operating system. Picture this: your hard drive is a cake. It is easier to eat a cake divided into pieces than to eat it whole.

Partitioning enables you to achieve greater efficiency and functionality from high-capacity disks (2.1GB or greater). You can create partitions by using FDISK on a system running in MS-DOS mode or by using a third-party disk utility. Remember that after partitioning, all data will be loss so be careful.

You can set aside a small partition for backup purposes. In case you should decided to format, just format the partition you use to store Windows. Your data in the backup partition is still there. But be careful! If you format a FAT32 partition with a FAT16 formatting utility, your partitions with data in it will all be loss! So never install DOS after formatting Windows. Because DOS utilizes FAT16, your FAT32 partition will all be gone.

Access Time or Seek Time?

If you want to buy a hard drive but are confused with the specifications of access time and seek time, remember that the key to the speed of a hard drive is the average access time. This is the time taken to access a single sector to the time when the drive's head reaches the sector. But beware, some ads quote seek time that is not the appropriate measurement. Access time is seek time plus latency (the time it takes for the chosen sector to come around to be positioned under the read/write head)

Speed, Not Space

A lot of people are confused between speed and space. If you have a Quantum Fireball with 1.2 GB and a Quantum Bigfoot with 3.5 GB surely you should put the Bigfoot as the master and Fireball as the slave right? Wrong! You should always consider speed as well as space. The Quantum Fireball has a faster access time. A faster hard drive means better performance. Make sure your operating system is store in the faster hard drive. You can use the Bigfoot to store your programs or games which makes not much difference to the speed. With speed hungry programs or games, store them in the faster drive too. You must know what to put where.

The status of the drives is determined by setting small jumpers that are usually located next to the IDE connector on the drive itself.

How to Create your own Keyboard Shortcuts keys in MS Word?

Today tip will help you to create your own keyboard shortcuts keys in MS Word. Before reading this tip, may be you are using only the default shortcuts keys which are available in MS Word application. You can select any specific key combination that you want to use to perform a particular task.

If you are not an expert user then you can take many clicks and lot of menus navigations to perform a basic task. With shortcut keys, you can speed up your working pace without lifting your hands on the keys; otherwise require a conventional mouse to select menus and buttons options. You can create your own keyboard shortcuts for every word command. For example, if you are using Word Count feature constantly then you can assign any key combination like Alt+Z to run Word Count command.

Follow the given steps to create your own shortcuts keys for your favorite command

First click on Start button, go to Program then click on Microsoft Word to run the word page.

Now go to Tools menu and click on Customize option.

Here a small dialog box will appear with title Customize, now click on "Keyboard..." button.

Now again a small dialog box with title Customize Keyboard, the list of all the categories of commands with appear on the left side of the dialog box. You should click on the category that contains the command which you want to assign a shortcut keyboard.

Choose the command you want to assign a keyboard combination on the right side of the customize keyboard dialog box and then click the key you want to create shortcut.

Now click on Assign button to final the shortcuts key combination then close it.

In future whenever you type the keyboard combination, word will work according to that command you have assigned this shortcut.

How to preview the Word documents without opening?

In Microsoft Word, you can preview the document list within Word without having to open the document. This tip is very useful, if you have many word files and are not sure which file contain the information that you need. Almost all versions of Word support this feature to view all word file as preview one by one.

Follow the given steps to preview the word document without having to open the document:

First click on Start button, go to Program then click on Microsoft Word to run the word application.

Now go to File menu and click on Open option to open any word file. Here a small dialog will appear with title "Open".

Now on the right hand side of the toolbar click the down arrow on Views and choose Preview.

This will open the preview pane. Click on any file on the left hand side and preview what inside the file. When you find the file you need just click Open button to open the file.

USB 2.0 - Hi-Speed USB - FAQ

What is USB 2.0?
USB 2.0 is a complete overhaul to the Universal Serial Bus input/output bus protocol which allows much higher speeds than the older USB 1.1 standard did.

USB 1.1 allowed a maximum transfer rate of 12Mbits/second. That rate is now called 'USB.' Though some manufacturers label their products Full-Speed USB. Note that this seems a bit deceptive. It
s easy to mistake Full-Speed for Hi-Speed.

As an aside, USB mice and keyboards need only 1.5Mbits/s to function. That performance level is also named 'USB' by the USB Promoter Group.

To sum it up, USB 2.0 specification incorporates three speeds: Hi-Speed, Full-Speed and Low-Speed. You as a consumer don't need to figure out all the jargons. Just keep in mind that only 'Hi-Speed USB' and 'USB' host and devices exist.

How do I know if my PC has USB 2.0?
You can identify whether your PC has Hi-Speed or not relatively easy. Open Device Manager and expand the Universal Serial Bus section. There should be an "Enhanced" USB host controller present.

Windows 98 systems may use a different name, because Hi-Speed USB drivers in these operating systems are not provided directly from Microsoft (Windows ME, 2000 and XP get their drivers through Windows Update).

These drivers are provided by the manufacturer, and may carry the maker's name (i.e. ADS, Belkin, IOGear, Siig, etc.). There should also be two standard version USB host controllers present as well. They are embedded in the USB chip which routes the differing USB speeds accordingly without user intervention.

There are currently 6 manufacturers of the Hi-Speed USB host silicon themselves:

  • ALi (Acer Labs)

  • Intel

  • NEC

  • SiS

  • VIA

  • nVidia (shows as "Standard" controller

Any other brand name that appears in Device Manager would likely be an add-in Hi-Speed USB PCI card. The makers above do not make add-in cards, but they do make the chips that are used in them.

How do troubleshoot "unknown device" error listed in Device Manager?

  • The USB device or the USB adapter requires its own power source. If your USB device or adapter came with an AC power "brick", try connecting it.

  • Here's a likely one - the front USB ports on your PC case may be misconnected. I've seen them that way from the factory. It's a good idea to check the connections against specifications. The standard order of connection is Red, White, Green, and Black. No more than 4 wires per USB bank are needed.

  • Defective device. Do not assume that all PC components work correctly out of the box. I've seen many new USB devices that do not work. If you can, try the device on another PC.

  • All drivers are not installed. Some devices will require installing the driver package before plugging in the device. Some devices will also require basic USB files from the Windows CD before the unit will function. The general rule is to always follow installation directions precisely and to have the Windows CD ready.

How fast is USB 2.0?
USB 2.0 has a raw data rate at 480Mbps, and it is rated 40 times faster than its predecessor interface, USB 1.1, which tops at 12Mbps. Originally, USB 2.0 was intended to go only as fast as 240Mbps.

How will consumers benefit from USB 2.0?
With speed 40 times more than that of USB 1.1, USB 2.0 broaden the range of external peripherals that can be used on a computer. Even with multiple high-speed peripherals connected to a USB 2.0 bus, the system will less likely to hit the bandwidth bottleneck. The new specification also inherits the current USB's Plug and Play and hot-swapping capability as well as providing backward compatibility for USB 1.1 hardware, allowing existing user base to upgrade seamlessly.

Do USB 2.0 & USB 1.1 hardware work interchangeably?
You may have heard that USB 2.0 is "backward-compatible" with USB 1.0/1.1 (Full-Speed USB). While that's true, USB 1.1 is also forward-compatible with USB 2.0. Whenever a system has USB 2.0 ports, you'll find the "Enhanced" USB controller in Device Manager, but you will also find two other USB controllers. These two to maintain backward compatibility to USB 1.1 devices. Each USB 2.0 host actually has 3 chips onboard. The USB controller routes signals to the correct controller chip depending on how a device is recognized. Where a device is physically plugged in has no bearing on how it is routed. All ports on a USB 2.0 motherboard can host any USB devices at all as long as the system and devices are healthy.

The vast majority of USB 2.0 devices will work on older PCs and Macs. None should flat-out fail unless there are other issues with the system. Hi-Speed USB devices will revert to Full-Speed operation when connected this way. Understand that Hi-Speed is at least ten times faster than Full-Speed in actual operation, so the speed difference is quite noticeable - unless you have never experienced Hi-Speed, of course.

When it comes to USB hub compatibility between USB 2.0 and USB 1.1, here some facts:

  • A powered hub is always preferable to unpowered.

  • USB hub ports are not as capable or flexible as real PC ports so it's best not to expect the world of them.

  • USB 1.1 (obsolete) hubs will work fine on USB 2.0 ports, but they cannot utilize USB 2.0 capabilities. They will default to slower speeds.

  • Hi-Speed and Full/Low-Speed USB devices can coexist nicely on USB 2.0 hubs. Connecting such a hub to a USB 2.0 port is recommended.

  • USB 2.0 hubs can be used on older USB 1.1 computers.

  • Although it is said that you can "cascade" up to 4 hubs, problems may start to arise after two hubs, it's best to minimize hub usage if possible.

  • Many USB devices don't work well on hubs. Cameras, scanners and especially USB drives are known to have problems with hub connectivity.

  • Remember that "active USB extensions" are really just one-port hubs.

Will USB 2.0 replace USB 1.1?
Not entirely, because many products such as generic keyboards, mice, joysticks and audio speakers do not require the faster speed of the new USB 2.0 technologies. Only bandwidth-hungry devices, such as web cams and high-capacity storage systems, will need all the speed. However, next-generation systems will come with USB 2 ports rather than USB 1.1.

How do I distinguish between a USB 2.0 and a USB 1.1 devices? New logos designed by the USB Promoter Group allow consumers to easily identify the new USB 2.0 products. The new colorful logo for USB 2.0 is labeled USB Hi-Speed, and the new logo for USB 1.1 is labeled with USB Basic Speed. However, most people won't miss it as manufacturers often label USB 2.0 READY Or 40 times faster than USB 1.1, on the boxes.

Will USB 1.1 devices run any faster on a USB 2.0 bus?
No. However, the new USB 2.0 archiclecture allows more high-speed USB 1.1 devices, such as web cams, audio devices, to share the bandwidth. Developers need to follow USB 2.0 spec in order to design higher speed peripherals that can take advantage of the extra bandwidth. USB 1.1 devices still operate at 12Mbps at full-speed and 1.5Mbps at low-speed on a USB 2.0 bus. Even though USB 1.1 devices won't run any faster, they can work alongside of USB 2.0 devices on the same bus.

What are USB Hi-Speed and USB Basic Speed logos?
These logos are part of USB Promoter Group's branding program that ensures the quality of USB products. The USB 2.0 certified products would display a blue, white and red logo, bearing the words Certified and Hi-Speed. The classic USB 1.1 certified products would display a black and white logo with the words USB and Certified.

Under a license from USB-IF, products must pass the compliance tests before manufacturers can use one of the two trademarked logos. The Promoter Group will take legal actions on manufacturers that label either logo on their products, which have not passed the tests.

What happen if a USB 2.0 devices are plugged into a USB 1.1 systems?
The entire bus under the USB 1.1 root hub will slow to 12Mbps. The operating system will probably notify the user about the sub-optimal configuration and recommend for a better course of action.

If several USB 1.1 hubs are connected to a USB 2.0 bus, then each of the USB 1.1 hubs will get a full 12Mbps bandwidth.

What is the max? Length of a USB 2.0 cable?
5m. however, if you cascade 5 hubs with 5m USB cables, this will allow you to connect a device 30m away.

What do I need to use a USB 2.0 device?
The requirement is similar to that of USB 1.1, but all components will have to be USB 2.0 compliant. A successful USB 2.0 connection requires a USB 2.0 host controller card, a USB 2.0 driver and a USB 2.0 peripheral.

How much will it cost to upgrade to USB 2.0?
Around $80 to $150. Currently, Orange Micro., Adaptec and IO Gear are shipping USB 2.0 PCI cards, some of which even have FireWire ports. Interestingly, almost all USB 2.0 PCI cards include an internal port, which is probably for connecting internal USB 2.0 IDE enclosure or USB 2.0 front panel.

Will USB 2.0 arrive on mobile computers?
Yes, but not in integrated solution on laptops. You will need a USB 2.0 Card Bus card. Orange Micro. is shipping USB 2.0 compliant 4-port Card Bus card. Eventually, notebook vendors will adapt to USB 2.0 technology, and we will see USB 2.0 ports on laptops. This transition won't happen until 2002 at the earliest.

Which operating systems support USB 2.0?
Microsoft has released the official USB 2.0 driver for Windows XP and Windows 2000. The version is 5.1.2600. The software is available on-line at Windows Update website. (If you don't have a USB 2.0 card installed in your system, Windows Update won't list the USB 2.0 driver as an update.)

The software company is still considering USB 2.0 support for Windows ME, but it already has decided not to bring USB 2.0 to Windows 98 and Windows 98 SE. If you have Windows 98, you will have to rely on 3rd party USB 2.0 support from USB card manufacturer.

Do USB 1.1 cables work with USB 2.0 devices?
Ideally, yes. USB 2.0 architecture uses the same cables and connectors as USB 1.1 compliant products. Unfortunately, only 3 out of 11 cables on the market are certified as USB 1.1 compliant. You may run into the cables that cause problems connecting high-speed peripherals. To avoid negative user experience, most vendors include USB 2.0 compliant cables with their USB 2 PCI cards and peripherals.

How to Insert your Digital Signature into Word Documents?

As usual today I have brought a different and surprising tip for you. This tip will increase your knowledge in the field of Computer. In fact you can't do your signature or your official work without papers. But you will be surprised to read this tips how you can insert your Digital Signature into Word Documents. Most people don't give value that there is any technique to sign files electronically and then send via fax or email.

Follow the given steps to insert your signature electronically in Word documents:

First of all scan your signature page and then save image using (.GIF or .JPEG) extension. Now you have scanned image of you signature, save the image on your computer and note that file name where you save it.

Click on Start button, go to Program then click on Microsoft Word to run the word page.

Now go to Insert menu, click on Picture> From File then browses your scanned signature file and click Insert button to add this file in word.

If your signature is not looking so good and its size is wrong then you should rescan your signature then repeat all the steps to insert it again.

To save your signature for reuse in future documents, highlight the signature graphic, and then choose insert AutoText-New. Here a new Create Auto Text dialog box will appear. Name your signature and click ok.

Now just type the name the file of your signature and press Enter to insert your signature in the future or choose insert AutoText-Normal then click on signature name. There is no need of ink, Word jump down in your digital signature.

I think this will help you and soon I will come back with another useful tip for you.

Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Windows key - access Start menu
  • Windows key + Pause - open System Properties
  • Windows key + D - minimise/restore windows
  • Windows key + F - open Search window
  • Windows key + F1 - open Help and Support Center
  • Windows key + E - open Windows Explorer window
  • Windows key + M - minimise all windows
  • Windows key + TAB - move through open windows on Taskbar
  • Windows key + SHIFT + M - restore all windows
  • Hold CTRL while dragging - make a copy of selected item
  • Hold CTRL + SHIFT while dragging - make a shortcut to selected item
  • CTRL + ESC - open Start menu
  • CTRL + C - Copy
  • CTRL + X - Cut
  • CTRL + V - Paste
  • CTRL + A - Select All
  • CTRL + Z - Undo
  • CTRL + B - Bold highlighted text
  • CTRL + U - Underline highlighted text
  • CTRL + I - Italicise highlighted text
  • CTRL + Plus key - increase browser text size
  • CTRL + Minus key - decrease browser text size
  • CTRL + ALT + DELETE - open Task Manager
  • ALT + underlined letters in menus - open menu item
  • ALT + ENTER - show Properties of selected object
  • ALT + F4 - close current window or program
  • CTRL + F4 - close window within program
  • ALT + TAB - switch between open windows or programs
  • TAB - move forwards through control items or links in current window
  • SHIFT + TAB - move backwards through control items or links
  • ENTER - click selected control item or link
  • BACKSPACE - move up one folder level
  • HOME - go to start of current line or web page
  • END - go to end of current line or web page
  • CTRL + END - go to end of current document
  • PAGE UP - move up through current document or web page
  • PAGE DOWN - move down through current document or web page
  • PRINT SCREEN - take snapshot image of current screen
  • ALT + PRINT SCREEN - take snapshot image of current window
  • F2 - rename selected item
  • F5 - refresh current window or web page
  • F6 - move through window panes