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PCs & Laptops

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Use a Power Strip for Your PC

Power strips allow you to plug in more devices than you have available sockets in the wall. Plug everything into a power strip and then plug that single power strip into the wall, as illustrated the following [more…]

How to List Your Laptop’s Hardware in the Device Manager

The Device Manager is a window listing all the hardware in your laptop, and it's extremely useful for troubleshooting. In fact, a quick glance at the Device Manager window is all it takes to determine [more…]

How to Choose Printer Paper

There’s really no such thing as a typical sheet of printer paper. Printer paper comes in different sizes, weights (degrees of thickness), colors, styles, and textures. Printer paper can, however, be divided [more…]

Computer Processing

Between receiving input and providing output, your computer processes. In other words, the computer processes input and produces output. Without processing, the computer's output would be the same as its [more…]

How to Unpack Your New Laptop Safely

You might think that unpacking the box that your laptop computer comes in is pretty straightforward — and you would be right. However, there are still some things you should keep in mind so that you don’t [more…]

Turn Windows Vista Off

You have more than one way to turn your computer off. In fact, the proper term isn’t even “turn the computer off.” No, you shut down the computer. As it turns out, turning the computer off is merely one [more…]

The Network and Sharing Center Window

The Network and Sharing Center window is the main location for nearly all networking operations. To display the Network and Sharing Center window from the Control Panel Home, select View Network Status [more…]

Types of Laptop Batteries

All laptops use batteries, but not all batteries are the same. It pays to know about the differences between lithium-ion, NiCad, and NiMH batteries, even before you buy a laptop. [more…]

What to Do When Your Laptop’s AC Adapter Isn’t Providing Power

When your laptop loses power or doesn’t start up, one reason could be that the AC adapter you use to plug your laptop into an electrical outlet isn't working. Here’s how to find out: [more…]

Your PC’s Graphics System

The monitor may get all the attention, but it’s only the visible half of your computer’s graphics system. A graphics system produces the visuals that allow you to interact with your computer. The graphics [more…]

What a Scanner Can Do for You

Scanners are interesting beasts — and man; you get a lot of bang for your scanner buck! In fact, a perfectly serviceable, relatively inexpensive USB scanner is waiting for you at your local Maze O’ Wires [more…]

Enhance Your PC's Sound with External Speakers

The PC has always come with an awful, internal speaker. It still does today, but in addition, most PCs have a standard set of stereo speakers. Those speakers are fine for basic sound, but your PC is capable [more…]

How to Remove a PC Card from Your Laptop

Although you can easily pull out a PC Card from the PC slot in your laptop, that’s not the best way to treat your laptop’s hardware. Instead, follow these steps: [more…]

How to Access Your E-mail while Traveling with Your Laptop

When you leave home with your laptop, you can easily access your e-mail using a Web-based e-mail system. Most people pick up their e-mail by using an e-mail program. That program, such as Microsoft Mail [more…]

How to Add Ports to Your PC

Consider adding ports to an older PC. Although adding or upgrading ports doesn’t speed up your computer, you can connect a wider range of external devices if you have additional ports — and those devices [more…]

How to View Permanent Storage in Windows

Windows lets you view all permanent storage devices in the computer in one central location: the Computer window. That window is configured to display storage devices in categories to make for easy storage-device [more…]

Your PC’s Keyboard and Mouse Ports

The PS/2 keyboard-and-mouse ports are designed to connect your keyboard and mouse. This figure illustrates the plug that fits in the keyboard and mouse ports. The keyboard and mouse use the same kind of [more…]

How to Disconnect Your Laptop from a Dialup Connection

Unlike the always-on broadband connections, you must always disconnect your laptop from a dialup connection when you're done using the Internet. Just as you said [more…]

Where to Put Your Graphics Card on Your Motherboard

Although today’s video cards look like any other typical adapter cards, most recently created video cards fit in either of two types of motherboard slots: [more…]

The I/O Panel of Your PC

The back panel of your PC’s tower that you plug peripherals into is called the I/O panel (see the following figure). The items you find on your PC’s I/O panel may be labeled with text, or they may be denoted [more…]

How to Use Your PC’s Setup Program

During the startup process, a message appears on the monitor, telling you a certain key combination to enter the Setup program. You don’t always need to run or access the Setup program, but it’s good to [more…]

Restart Windows Vista

You need to reset, or restart, Windows in two instances: whenever Windows tells you to restart after you install something new or make some change, or whenever Windows fails to cooperate. A restart clears [more…]

How to Use Your Laptop’s Windows Mobility Center

If you use Windows Vista, you can control many features on your laptop from one window: the Windows Mobility Center. The Windows Mobility Center presents laptop users with a slate of common places to visit [more…]

How to Close Your PC’s Console Case

When you finish doing whatever motivated you to open your PC’s console, close the console up! You can’t turn the PC on until you close the console case. Make sure you close the console properly; otherwise [more…]

Your Computer’s Network Interface Card

Your PC requires Ethernet networking hardware to connect to the network, specifically a network information card, or NIC. Your NIC may also be called an Ethernet card or a network adapter. The NIC circuitry [more…]

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Adding a hard drive to your computer improves performance and increases memory. Installing a second internal hard drive is easy with these step-by-step video instructions. [more…]

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