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Jul 31, 2010

How to Email a Web Page

So you just stumbled across a killer blog post, maybe something to do with, oh, I don't know, solving PC hassles. It's so good, you immediately want to share it with friends and family members.

There are plenty of ways to send a Web page. You can copy the URL and paste it into an e-mail. You can look for an embedded "e-mail this" icon and use the site's own mail form. Heck, I've seen some people take a screenshot of page and send that.

Why overcomplicate things? Both Internet Explorer and Firefox have built-in tools for e-mailing whatever page you're viewing.

Jul 28, 2010

Windows Freezes During Shut Down

Windows Freezes Shut Down
My desktop occasionally fails to shut down properly. It seems to complete Windows' shutdown process, but then just freezes--without actually turning off.

Pressing the power button accomplishes nothing. So what option do I have left? Pull the power cord right out of the wall? That would certainly turn the system off--unless it was a laptop, in which case I'd have to remove the battery as well. What a hassle.

Jul 25, 2010

How To Check If Lightning Damaged Your PC

When your PC doesn't boot and you suspect that a lightning caused it, here's how to check it up.

First, unplug the computer, open it up, and have a look. Have a sniff, too. An unusual smell may lead you to the damaged piece.

It's probably the power supply. That's where the electrical spike would come in, and it's thus the most likely component to be damaged. Luckily, power supplies are relatively cheap and easy to replace--some cost less than $40. Of course, if you have to replace your power supply, you should get one that will cover your needs.

Jul 22, 2010

What To Do When A Website Isn't Loading

Any number of problems could cause this. There might be a problem with your router. Or with your PC. Or your browser. Or it could be something with the site itself that's completely out of your control.

The first thing you should do is try another browser. If you generally use Firefox or Chrome, try Internet Explorer--it's already on your PC. If you only use Internet Explorer, maybe this is a good time to install and try something else.

Rebooting everything is another good idea. Shut down the PC, unplug the router from the AC power, then unplug the DSL or cable modem's power, as well. Wait a minute, then plug the modem back in. When the lights indicate it's working properly, plug in the router. Wait for the lights on that, too. Then boot your PC and try again.

Jul 17, 2010

How to Clean Up Your New PC

Unfortunately, no new, major-brand PCs that I know of come with a way to install a fresh, unencumbered version of Windows 7. If you want to get rid of all that useless and annoying bloatware that companies load onto their machines, you're going to have to either spend money or spend time--or both.

The most expensive solution is to buy a retail version of Windows 7 and install it from scratch. This gives you the cleaner new installation. But aside from the expense, the idea just doesn't sit well with me. You bought Windows when you bought the computer; you shouldn't have to buy it again.

Jul 14, 2010

How To Use IMAP for Gmail

Gmail IMAP
A key question that remains is whether to use the POP or IMAP setting to fetch your messages from your Gmail account.

I won't bore you with lengthy descriptions of each. In a nutshell, POP downloads a copy of each e-mail to your PC, leaving the original on Gmail's servers. It's a one-way transaction. IMAP, on the other hand, provides a live, two-way connection between your mail program and Gmail.

Jul 11, 2010

Is It Safe To Use Your Laptop In The Car?

Use Laptop in Car

The inertia of normal driving shouldn't cause any harm. People use their laptops on trains and buses all of the time--some of the buses in my area even offer WiFi.

I used to own an MP3 player with a hard drive, and I played it frequently--plugged into my car's sound system--while driving. That didn't seem to bother it.

Jul 9, 2010

How To Download YouTube Videos

Download YouTube Videos
Ever wish you could watch that piano-playing cat at 35,000 feet? Alas, YouTube requires a live Internet connection, and Wi-Fi is still pretty hard to find in the friendly skies. Fortunately, you can download YouTube videos to your PC for anytime, anywhere viewing, no Internet required.

There are countless ways to "rip" YouTube vids, but I'm partial to Keep Tube. It's available as both a Firefox extension and a browser bookmarklet, the latter compatible with Chrome, Internet Explorer, and so on.

Jul 6, 2010

Registry Cleaners: Do They Help?

Registry Cleaners
There's considerable controversy on this subject. These programs examine your Windows Registry, looking for pointers to non-existent files and other problems. Then, with your permission, they "fix" the problems, usually by deleting the keys.

Many experts are absolutely opposed to such programs, arguing that they do little or no good and can cause considerable harm. Others find them valuable, with some serious caveats.

Jul 2, 2010

How To Clean Up System Restore

Microsoft's built-in System Restore for Windows XP, Vista, and 7 have saved me a lot of trouble in fixing computer problems, provided the system can still successfully run in Safe Mode at least. But on times of malware or virus infection, System Restore is not a good idea. And it is a good practice to delete all previous restore points after removing the virus and malware so that you won't accidentally bring them back. Here's how...