Tech Notes with Warren Walker
Episode 5 : How to change your home page settingsWhen Internet Explorer starts it loads a home page or a pre-defined page.
Changing your home page is fairly easy.
Although there is a way to change the page using the pull down next to the home page icon, we are going to use a different approach. One that give us a bit more flexibility.
First lets find a new home page for you.
I prefer Google.com because the page loads quickly and I am always doing searches anyway.
So, try this. Type in google.com in the address bar and press enter.
We will now use the Tools option in the menu bar. If you don't have a menu bar, right click on a blank portion of the tool bar and enable the menu bar. While I'm in here, I don't use the "Links" so I am going to turn them off to help keep the toolbar cleaner.
Now select Tools - Internet Options - The General Tab at the top of the dialog and click the "Use Current" button.
This replaces the home page with the one you entered earlier. Here you can see google.com at the top of the home page list.
These other entries are home pages for the tabbed browsing.
For now just ckick OK at the bottom.
Close IE and re-open it.
You should now see Google as the home page.
For those using Firefox, the procedure is pretty much the same.
Digging into your computer Part 1
Myrtle Beach TV, Episode 2
Do you have unwanted messages or web pages popping on to your screen or perhaps your computer is as slow as me in the morning before I've had my coffee? And you say you have good antivirus and ad-blocking software installed but they don't help?
What is probably going on here are background programs that are taking over your computer so, don't throw that old computer out yet! You may be able to find out what is going on in the computer brain and why it is so stressed.
Your Windows based computer allows many programs to run simultaneously in the background. Some of these programs are critical to the operation of your computer and some are not. Those that are not can easily take over your machine and bring it to its knees begging for relief.
Just like your doctor uses CT scans, x-rays and MRI's to see what is going on inside you, we can use tools to see what is happening inside your computers memory.
Programs that run in your computer are called "processes". The tool that I use to view these processes is appropriately named "Process Explorer". written by Mark Russinovich for his company called Sysinternals, this program is now fully supported by Microsoft and can be found at the technet website http://www.microsoft.com/technet/sysinternals/utilities/ProcessExplorer.mspx
Before you dig into your computer, download and install the program from the Microsoft Technet website.
There is NO install program for this unique utility so you must extract it yourself and save it somewhere on your hard disk in order to use it.
Download the .ZIP archive, remembering where you saved it, and double click the .ZIP to open it. If you don't have Windows XP or later you may need the UNZIP program to extract the files. A good windows zipper program can be found at http://www.winzip.com. The free trial version is all you will need for now.
In Windows XP or later, you can create a new folder to store the program in and drag and drop the archive contents into that folder for you to use.
To create a folder, click on Start, My Computer and open the C: on your hard disk. Click on File, New and then Folder. Rename this folder to "Process Explorer" and put the archive contents there.
To start the program navigate to your C:\Process Explorer folder and double click the procexp.exe program.
The program will start and display all the processes and sub-processes that are running in your computer.
For now, just look through the process and explore how this program works. If you want more information about a process running, right click the process name and use the "search" function to find out more. If you see something obvious that needs attention, use the Kill Process to stop it. Be careful though, you just might kill something important and cause your computer to slow down or stop entirely. Don't worry you won't hurt anything. If this happens just restart your computer and all will return back to the way it was.
You may watch this segment that aired in episode 2.
Return here next week and, using process explorer, we'll expose the hidden secrets in your computer! Stop pop-ups, spyware, adware, and malicious stuff for good!
Cleaning your own computer
Myrtle Beach TV, Episode 1
Your personal computer is a technological wonder. The device that sits on your desk or floor could not have been possible just a few years ago. With processor speeds approaching 4GHz ("giga hertz") your computer could be 4 thousand times faster than the computer that was used to land the Apollo spacecraft on the moon and may have up to a million times more memory and in some cases a few billion times more data storage.
Now, we must note here that NASA could have made a faster computer but they knew that as the internal components went faster they required more power and thus produced more heat. We still have this burden to bear in our computers of today. Inside that box at your side are special heat transfer devices called "Heat Sinks" and cooling fans to help get the heat away from the critical components.
In the early days if the heat were not removed from the components they would simply burn up and cease to function. Today the components are a bit smarter and most of them will protect themselves by slowing down and thereby use less power.
By allowing the proper cooling we can let these components operate at their optimal level.
That noise you hear from the back of your computer is a fan that pumps large amounts of air through your machine in order to keep it happy. Unfortunately, unless you live in a filtered CLASS 1 clean room the fans also draw in the dust and other contaminates and leave small deposits behind that eventually build up on critical components and prevent adequate cooling.
It is a simple, safe and easy process to remove the dust from your computer. All you would need to accomplish this is a can of "canned air" that you can pick up at your local office supply store, and possibly a #2 phillips screwdriver.
NOTE: A little care must be taken to help prevent damage to the computer due to static discharge when the case is open. Do not reach into your computer without holding on to the case with your other hand. Always touch the metal part of the case before reaching into your computer to discharge any doorknob type static. While working with your computer keep one hand on the case at all times just to be sure.
Ok, that out of the way, lets get the dust out!
First shut down the computer, disconnect the power and all cables. For the cleaning you should take the computer outside to keep the dust out of your home. Remove the case cover. This may be real easy on some computers and a bit baffling on others, but we will need to remove the cover on the left side of the computer.
Once your figured out how to get in there, look for the device called the Power Supply. It is usually a rectangular box where all the electrical wires are connected including the power cord. Oh yea, as I mentioned above please make sure the power cord is disconnected before you take your computer apart!
Look carefully at the power supply and you will see some vents, slots or openings on the areas inside your computer and a larger exhaust opening on the rear of your computer that may or may not have a visible fan. Don't clean the fan yet. We don't want to blow the dust inside the computer.
Take the canned air with its long tip attached, holding the can upright and gently blow air through the inside slots. Try to keep the tip out of the slots and don't shake the can while spraying. Do this until all the visible dust is removed from the slots.
Now from the rear of the computer blow the dust out of the rear cooling fan. Go back to the inside slots and blow them out again to remove any dust that you may of loosened while cleaning the exhaust fan.
Next look to see if you may have any other axillary cooling or chassis fans around the front or back of the computer and clean them too.
Then locate the CPU cooling fan, usually located on or around the center of the main circuit board. Gently blow the dust out of the fan and off the metal cooling fins.
Finally, blow out any dust in the main chassis of the computer. Check to be sure that all the cards are properly seated by gently pushing them into their sockets, check the wires connections and put the cover back on.
Now, inhale, exhale, and pat yourself on the back for a job well done, and about $100 in service fees saved!
You may watch this segment that aired in episode 1.