Windows XP & Vista - Hardware & Maintenance

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Troubleshoot the Blue Screen of Death

One problem that can appear on a Windows PC is so loathed that it has its own acronym: Blue Screen of Death, or BSOD. Fortunately, Mr. BSOD isn’t as common as he was in years past, but he’s still around [more…]

How to Silence the Sounds that Windows Makes

Windows plays a host of musical ditties as you go about your day. Sometimes, the sounds serve as important reminders or warnings. At other times, the sounds annoy the heck out of you. Disabling them can [more…]

How to Change Windows Taskbar

The Windows Taskbar is that strip of desktop real estate that (usually) claims the bottom row of your PC screen. But it doesn’t have to stay there. It can be moved, resized, or even hidden. And sometimes [more…]

See All Icons on the Quick Launch Bar

Windows Vista and Windows XP feature a Quick Launch bar on the taskbar. (In Windows 7, the Quick Launch bar is replaced by the ability to pin icons to the taskbar.) Some programs give you the option to [more…]

How to Change Notification Area Icons

Since the notification area (aka the system tray) first appeared it’s been a pain in the taskbar for some users. In Windows 7 and Vista, however, that pain can easily be controlled or eliminated. Sorry [more…]

How to Change the Read-Only Attribute on Files and Folders

Read-only is a file attribute, or a characteristic that the operating system assigns to a file. In this case, read-only means that the file can be only opened or read; you cannot delete, change, or rename [more…]

How to Add Items to the Search Index in Windows

The Windows search command doesn’t actually search your stuff. Instead, it searches an index of your stuff. That’s because it’s much quicker to search an index than to search everywhere. Consider a book [more…]

Troubleshoot Your Windows PC Using Safe Mode

Safe mode tells you one thing best: whether the problem you are trying to troubleshoot is with Windows. In Safe mode, only Windows itself is loaded: the basic parts of the operating system. Any other software [more…]

How to Understand and Use Windows Task Manager

The typical Windows PC is running about three dozen processes when it’s just sitting there. Every program that’s running is referred to as a task; hence, the term [more…]

Understand the Relationship between Windows Applications and Processes

A connection exists between the items on the Task Manager’s Applications tab and the items on the Processes tab. When you open an application, it launches a number of processes. The processes do all the [more…]

How to View All Windows Processes Using the Task Manager

Windows runs a lot of processes. Normally, the Task Manager window displays only the processes that relate to your account in Windows. To see the whole lot of them, including processes that Windows runs [more…]

How to View Services Using the Windows Task Manager

The Task Manager window in Windows 7 and Windows Vista features a Services tab, something that the Task Manager in Windows XP lacks. Of course, it doesn’t mean that Windows XP lacks services; it means [more…]

How to End a Program that is Not Responding

Several terms are used to describe the act of a program biting the dust: crash, hang, die, stuck and frozen. Task Manager uses Not Responding. Seeing the Not Responding text in the Status column is a surefire [more…]

How to End a Process with Windows Task Manager

Sometimes you’re directed to stop a process, or perhaps you’re motivated to end a process to troubleshoot problems with your computer. When those needs arise, follow these steps to stifle a process by [more…]

How to Stop or Disable a Service with Task Manager

On occasion, Windows may direct you to disable or end a service in the course of trying to troubleshoot a problem with a Windows application. During those times, refer to these steps for the proper procedure [more…]

Understand the Windows Process svchost.exe

A process in Windows named svchost.exeis often a source of anxiety and woe among PC troubleshooters. That’s probably because the single process svchost.exe [more…]

Understand the Windows Process rundll32.exe

A problem child in the Windows pantheon of processes is something called rundll32.exe. The rundll32.exe program exists to run programs held in DLL files. A DLL is a [more…]

How to Disable Start-Up Programs in Windows

To determine whether a program is causing a problem, you have to be a PC troubleshooting sleuth. Problems with device drivers or processes that load initially are often flagged by start-up error messages [more…]

Find Start-Up Programs for Your Account in Windows

Like many people, you may have configured certain programs to automatically start when you log in to Windows. These start-up items appear on the aptly named Startup menu, found on the All Programs menu [more…]

Troubleshoot Blocked Start-up Programs in Windows

Every once in a while you may see the Windows Has Blocked Some Startup Programs message? Try as you can to dismiss it, it doesn’t go away until you deal with the situation. [more…]

How to Get into Windows Safe Mode

Windows Safe mode is a good troubleshooting mode because only processes and services necessary to start Windows are launched. It isolates things like video customizations and network settings from the [more…]

How to Find Out If Your PC Has Enough Memory

The more programs running simultaneously on a computer, the slower it runs. The speed decrease should not be noticeable, especially when you switch applications. If it is, your PC may not have enough memory [more…]

How to Check Virtual Memory on Your Windows PC

Virtual memory is disk storage that’s used to supplement the actual memory (RAM) in your PC. When memory resources get low, chunks of memory are quickly written to disk. The memory that’s written is then [more…]

Spyware: The Number One Reason Computers Slow Down

If your computer is suddenly slow, you have a problem that needs to be addressed immediately. If it has slowed down over the past few weeks or days, it fits in the [more…]

Activate ReadyBoost to Speed up a Slow Windows PC

ReadyBoost speeds up computer performance. It does so by supplementing system memory and mass storage access with a portion of fast flash memory from a flash drive, such as a USB thumb drive. Windows 7 [more…]

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