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Feb 18, 2010

How To Transfer Browser Bookmarks to Another PC

Internet Explorer Firefox Chrome Transfer Bookmarks or Favorites
The procedure is different for every browser so I'll just point out the steps for the most common browsers.

Internet Explorer:
This is a simple matter of moving the contents of your Favorites folder from one computer to another. It's best to do this with IE closed.

In the old computer, create a new folder, either inside a shared folder (one that can be accessed by other computers on the network), or on an external drive (such as a flash drive). I'll call that folder Transport, although you can give it another name. Open the Transport folder.

Next, select Start (Start, then Run in XP), type favorites, then press ENTER. This opens your Favorites folder. Press CTRL-A to select everything in it, and drag it all to the Transport folder. If you're asked if you want to do something, you do.

On the new computer, open the Transport folder (which will require you to either access the network or plug in the external drive). Then open the Favorites folder as described above. Drag everything from Transport to Favorites.

On the old computer, launch Firefox and select Bookmarks, then Organize Bookmarks. In the resulting Library window, select Import and Backup, then Export HTML. Save the file to a shared folder or an external drive (such as a flash drive).

On the new computer, gain access to the HTML file you just created by logging onto the network or plugging in the external drive. Then, in Firefox, once again select Bookmarks, then Organize Bookmarks. Select Import HTML and follow the wizard.

On the old computer, in Chrome, click the Tools icon (it looks like a wrench) and select Bookmark manager. Once in the Bookmarks Manager, select Tools, then Export bookmarks. Save the file to a shared folder or an external drive (such as a flash drive).

On the new computer, gain access to the HTML file you just created by logging onto the network or plugging in the external drive. Click the Tools icon and select Bookmark manager. Once there, select Tools, then Import bookmarks. It's all pretty obvious from there.

Feb 9, 2010

How to Troubleshoot a PC that Stops During Boot

How to Troubleshoot a PC that Stops During Boot
A PC that starts, then fails to boot, probably suffers from an overheated CPU or a bad or underpowered power supply unit (PSU). But I'm going to suggest you check the power source first. Not because it's more likely the culprit (it isn't), but because it's easier to diagnose and fix. If you go to the trouble of replacing the PSU, and then discover that you only needed to plug it in somewhere else, you'll hate yourself in the morning.

So let's get the easy stuff out of the way. Try another outlet on the surge protector. Try another outlet on the wall. Try another surge protector. If the problem is with a desktop PC, try another power cord. If it's with a laptop, remove the battery and try with only the AC adapter.

None of these helped? Okay, I didn't really think they would, but they were worth trying. Now let's get on to the more likely issues:

A serious ventilation problem could cause your CPU to overheat and shutdown before the boot is complete. Make sure the PC's fans are all turning properly. This is easy to do on a desktop: Just open the PC and watch the insides as it boots. It's more difficult on a laptop, but if you listen attentively you should hear the fan.

You should also check the vents and air passageways to make sure they're not blocked or clogged with dust. If they are, use a can of compressed air to clean them out.

If the failure happens while Windows is booting, the operating system may be the problem. Try booting into Safe Mode: Boot the PC and press F8 just before the Windows log-on appears (it may take a few attempts to get the timing right). At the Boot Menu (assuming you get that far), select Safe Mode. If you can successfully boot into Safe Mode, it's a software problem.

If you can't even get into Safe Mode, try booting from something other than the hard drive. You likely have a bootable CD or DVD lying around (a Windows installation disc, for instance).

If all else fails, try replacing the power supply unit. Desktop PSUs are inexpensive. They're reasonably easy to replace, although if you're not comfortable working inside a PC, go to a professional.

For a laptop, try replacing the AC adapter. You'll need one specific for your model.

Feb 5, 2010

How to Fix Common Windows 7 and/or Vista Problems

Fix Windows Problems
Have you ever wished for a magic wand that could make annoying Windows problems disappear? Like, say, a missing Recycle Bin icon, or those pesky Runtime Error messages in Internet Explorer?

FixWin is that magic wand. This ingenious free utility requires just over 500K of space, runs without installation, and quickly fixes 50 different Windows glitches--many of which would normally require a trip to the Registry.

These are divided among five categories, including Windows Explorer, Internet & Connectivity, and System Tools.

Each problem is presented with a brief but thorough description. Here's an example: "CD drive or DVD drive is missing or is not recognized by Windows or other programs." To fix a problem, just click the corresponding Fix button.

It really is that simple. And before you get started, FixWin can scan your machine for--and fix--corrupted system files. It also allows you to create a System Restore point before making any changes, a smart addition.

Certainly FixWin won't solve all your Windows issues, but if it can correct just one, it's well worth the download. Download here.

Feb 3, 2010

PC Troubleshooting: The Correct Attitude

PC Troubleshooting
It really happens. You're rushing to a deadline or having a blast on your favorite game, then the system crashes. It's amazing how different people react when their computers bog down or doesn't respond. Some are indifferent, but most are bordering to violence. ^^

Here's a few tips to save yourself and your sanity...

1: Accept it. This stuff happens to everybody. Sometimes there's no rhyme or reason to it, and most of the time it's through no fault of your own. Windows is an unpredictable, unreliable beast (yes, even Windows 7). A single problem driver or incompatible program can wreak havoc on an otherwise healthy system. When you accept that problems can and will happen, they'll be less of a surprise--and less likely to ruin your day.

2: Relax. System won't boot? Printer won't print? iPhone won't sync? Take a deep breath. In fact, take several. Then walk away from the offending machine, device, or whatever, and do something else for 5-10 minutes. I know full well how annoying and frustrating these glitches can be. That's why it's crucial to get some distance, so you can come back calm and clear-headed. Which ties directly to rule #3:

3: Don't overreact. I can't tell you how many times I've made things worse by failing to heed rule #2. Instead, I start flinging mouse-clicks at the troubleshooting dartboard. Uninstall a driver here, update a BIOS there, run the free virus-removal utility that promises to fix everything--it all snowballs. That's how one problem evolves into several, until eventually you think: "Ah, screw it, I'll just buy a new PC." (Tell me you haven't had that exact reaction at some point.) By all means, troubleshoot the problem, but do so slowly and methodically.