Want to find out how much memory your motherboard supports? There is a quick way to scan your computer. Crucial has an excellent tool that you can download to find out what your current configuration is and how much memory you can add. Visit http://www.crucial.com/systemscanner/
Agree to the terms and download the tool. The tool can then be ran against your system.
Backblaze is a data backup service that offers an excellent price along with great customer service on data backup services. They have truly developed their own technology to help protect your data and you need to go over and check out their stories on disk drives and how they make their servers. Backblaze just released a blog on their study of how long disk drives last at their organization (see the link below).
Interestingly enough, they break down the information and it almost matches what we have seen over several years as far as our servers’ disk drives (we use standard consumer grade drives and build our own servers). While our servers have ran 7 days a week, I can’t imagine the use that Backblaze disk drives go through.
While we can’t compare our network or servers to backblaze, here’s a few of our statistics. Our annual fail rate is around 1% on server drives (Like I said, we can’t possibly move as much data as they do) and at the 4+ year mark, we begin to see close to the same number which is around 10%. Our numbers are lower because of our type of use. The school’s disk drives usually have service time of an average of 4-7 years as far as our servers are concerned. The fail rate at that time isn’t truly known at our school because of upgrades or preventative maintenance upgrades depending on the server’s role.
We also see around two disk drives fail per hundred annually on workstations. This fail rate usually falls back to around 1% or less from the second to the fourth year. After the fourth year, we generally see an increase in the fifth or sixth year that can appear to become problematic and appear to be an epidemic when we may see 5+%. Oddly enough if the drive makes it beyond the sixth year, the older drives usually will continue to live until these machines are taken out of service. Remember that workstations are not used the way servers are – generally. The school has several older computers in shop areas that are on their 8th or 10th anniversary with their original drive.
It is rare for computers to not be replaced on schedule. Our IT Department usually upgrades or replaces computers every three to four years. Upgrades and replacements of course depends on technology. We recycle computers into other departments and save money as much as possible.
Backblaze gives an exceptional example of monitoring and keeping up with their information and infrastructure.
Usually when I resolve a problem, there seems to be an outbreak of the same problem. Lately I resolved issues with wireless networking on several laptops and a desktop by disabling the power settings. Apparently when the laptop woke, it would not connect or was extremely slow on connecting. Disabling the power settings in both areas resolved the issue on all of the laptops and the desktop.
Power under the Device Manager
- Right Click Computer, Manage, Select Device Manager, Double Click on Wireless card, Click the Power Management tab. Uncheck the All the computer to turn off this device to save power
Use the Advanced Power settings to turn off power settings on wireless adapters
Click on Change plan settings (above)
Click on Change advanced power settings (above)
Scroll down to Wireless Adapter Setting, click the + sign, click the + sign beside Power Saving Mode. Change the On battery setting to Maximum Performance and Plugged in to Maximum Performance. Apply the settings.
Many times I have met people who have almost filled their C drive with a ton of programs. I personally prefer purchasing a new hard drive and cloning it to gain space. However, it often gets risky or you don’t have time to do this. Have you ever cleaned your hard drive and wanted more space? One of the things that takes so much space is your programs. By default programs go to the program files folder and often take a lot of room after you install several programs.
One thing you can do is simply put in a second drive and copy the programs over. Well, it doesn’t work exactly like that. Steam Mover allows you to move programs off of your main drive and load them on a secondary drive. Putting in a second drive for storage is easy. Pretty much you open your computer (when off of course). Insert the drive. Plug in the SATA cable (making sure the controller is on in the BIOS). Boot into Windows. Right Click my computer, go to Manage. Click on Disk Management and activate and format the new drive. Now Steam Mover seems to work with all programs I tried it on. The <2 mb file can be downloaded here. After downloading, select the programs you want to move and they will move to the D: drive (or whatever drive you have). This now frees up space on your drive and your computer will speed up. Be sure to defrag afterward.
This is a great alternate solution for freeing space. While there is no guarantee by the author of the program, it is a solution that is long overdue. (Windows 7 and Vista Only)
Over a period of time your hard drive may begin developing bad sectors or bad blocks. Roadkil has a possible solution for you if you are afraid you are going to lose the data. Unstoppable Copier copies your files to an alternate drive.
One of the hardest computer related tasks for new IT people to learn is looking for drivers.
If the computer is a brand name, try the manufacturers website first. Remember, many vendors use a service tag or serial number to identify the computer. If you can enter this tag, you will find the exact drivers intended for your computer. Download your operating systems drivers. Often Windows Vista drivers can be used for Windows 7. Try to research before building a computer and see which vendor offers updates over a period of time (one or more years of support). These vendors are vendors who care and want you to have a good experience with their hardware. Recently we flashed a BIOS for our computers and the vendor had offered hexacore processor support for a two year old motherboard. Truly a vendor who cares.
Know the components in your computer – use software to identify them – use the internet to download drivers based on the components in your computer
Zipped – the driver is downloaded and the files needed to make the hardware work are compressed. Unzip (extract) these files. Use either the setup.exe program to install or go to the device manager and select update driver and ‘point’ to the downloaded driver if a setup option is not available
Self Extracting – the driver is downloaded in a setup file that extracts and runs through a setup process
Recently my niece dropped her laptop and the hard drive stopped working. Normally an easy fix, I looked for the access panel for the hard drive so that I could replace it. What? No access panel? Oh, easy fix, lets rip the laptop apart, remove the motherboard and every screw so that I can now find the hard drive mounted and attached to the bottom of the motherboard. Do you think any home user could perform this task? Oh, and the screws were so tight the guys had to hold a screw driver on the screw and use pliers to turn it. Thanks Kyle and Matt….
Although it is published on Realtek’s site, many endusers and IT techs miss this download. The Realtek Ethernet Diagnostic Software is an excellent piece of software that allows for diagnostic troubleshooting of your network card. Remember, download the latest driver for performance and reliability.
Found here (Look for Windows Diagnostic Program), the software allows you to do the following:
See the MAC address of your card
Adjust Advanced Settings (Remember to turn off everything but Flow Control)
Thank you Andrew for finding this! Many forums will tell you to re-install windows or to mess with the HAL in order to show multiple cores after changing processors. Kasey (one of our students) changed his quad-core processor to a hexacore processor. Once he booted up he only saw four cores. Andrew discovered an easy fix by using EasyBCD. Here’s what you do. Download EasyBCD
Install the Software
On the menu, Click on Advanced Settings
Limit Windows to (Change the CPUs to 0 Zero) – Yes this is correct
Once you reboot the task manager will show all of your cores.
EasyBCD is a boodloader that does so much more than fix the number of CPUs seen by your taskmanager. It allows you backup and restore your BCD settings, allows you to setup your MBR (Master Boot Record), repair boot files, helps you to diagnose boot problems, limit CPU or memory usage for older programs.
Use printmanagement.msc to correct the problem. Delete the drivers under printer server. Try to connect again.
If this does NOT work, right click on the driver again and go to Properties – Find the path to the driver. Delete the driver from the printmanagement.msc screen. Close out the printmanagement.msc screen. Now go to the driver on the c: drive (path from the above properties screen) and delete the driver files. Try again – Good Luck.