Windows Xp Updates

Windows Xp Updates are essential for a computer which is running on Windows Xp. I am amazed at how some users are unaware of these updates and some completely ignore them altogether. These updates are essential because there are always changes or fixes for detected bugs and errors that could only be fixed if you download the newest and latest updates. Also included in the updates are software security fixes and downloads. Microsoft Windows XP is one of the most popular and well known operating systems all over the world, so it is very likely that you need to have the correct settings so you get regular updates.


By default your PC should have automatic Windows XP updates set. If not, go to your computer settings and adjust to auto download updates. You can do this by clicking on the windows start icon at the bottom left of your desktop and then scrolling to “Windows Update.” From here you can adjust the settings to your personal preferences as well as run a manual update checker to see if you have everything up to date. I personally have all essential Windows updates automatically checked for and downloaded daily at 6pm so that the next day I can view and install the essential updates. This seemingly minor setting can save you alot of headaches in the longrun as well as improve your PC experience.

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CD-Rom Drive Problems and Solution Tips

CD-Rom drives are used for many purposes and different people may use it for their own individual purposes. Some people use this drive to install softwares, games, listen to music and you can also use it to burn data to a CD. It is a known fact that A CD-Rom drive is quite versatile and essential in today’s PC use and as such, many people do not know how to deal with the problems related to it. You will find some of the common issues that most people face with their CD-ROMs and the solutions.


One of the most common reasons why these problems come up is because of mistreatment. The scratches and finger prints on the Compact Disc’s surface can cause electrical sound when it has been inserted in to the drive. Make sure that you do not touch the recorded surface of the CD.

Some of the errors or problems relating to CD-ROMs are:


• Can’t read the CD-ROM - If you are facing this problem then you should take out the CD and then insert another one in to the drive to see whether the other CD is working or not. Do you have another computer? If you have then you can try the first CD there and see if it is giving the same error message or not.

• You are unable to see the CD-ROM in the explorer - The recent CD-ROM drives have Advanced Technology Attachment or ATA interface that is used by the hard drives. Go to the device manager and then click the ‘+’ sign. Ensure that the secondary and the primary IDE controllers do not have a yellow exclamation and make sure that they are listed. If you see an exclamation mark then the CD-ROM has malfunctioned and if any one of the IDE controllers is not listed then that controller may be disabled. Also try unistalling and updating to the latest CD Rom drivers.

• No sound coming from the CD - If you have inserted a CD in to your computer’s drive and it starts playing without any sound, then you should first check your headset. If nothing is wrong with the headset then something must be wrong with your sound card or speaker system.

• Eject Button not working - If you face this problem then you should turn off your computer and then use a straightened paper clip and insert it into the small emergency eject hole in front of the drive. Usually manually ejecting and clearing any obstructions will fix this issue.

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How to Rollback Drivers and Solve Driver Problems

          Many internal drivers and system drivers are used by Windows XP to make sure that the hardware and software programs are working optimally all the time. The hardwares consists of graphics card, mouse drivers, system essentials, keyboard drivers, Windows drivers, motherboard and internal hardware.


Are you having problems with the latest driver update? If you are then you may want to use the device driver roll back feature (Windows XP). This will not exactly get rid of the problem that you are facing with the device driver but this can certainly resolve the problems just in case something goes wrong with the upgrade. You will be able to restore your PC back to working order by clicking just a few times.


Windows XP and Safe Mode


If something goes wrong with the system’s drivers then it is would a better idea to start your PC in Safe Mode. It will be possible for you to access the Advanced Options menu on Windows XP by pressing ‘F8’ when the Windows is still loading. Once you are on the Advanced Options menu, select one of the following options:


  • Return To OS Choices Menu
  • Reboot
  • Boot Normally
  • Debugging Mode
  • Directory Services Restore Mode
  • Last Known Good Configuration
  • Enable VGA Mode
  • Enable Boot Logging
  • Safe Mode With Command Prompt
  • Safe Mode With Networking
  • Safe Mode


Making use of the device driver roll back


If you have decided that you want to use the device driver roll back feature, you should then go to the device driver property page to locate the driver that is giving your problem.


A very simple method through which you can go to the device driver property page is to go to the desktop and then locate ‘My Computer’. Now right click this icon and then go to ‘properties’. The ‘System Properties’ dialog box will appear and now you need to click on ‘hardware’ and then click on ‘Device manager’. Now click twice on the appropriate device and this will show the properties page of that component. You can uninstall the software, roll back the driver, update the driver or find information on the driver on the Driver tab.


Once you click ‘Roll Back Driver’, the system will ask you whether you really wish to roll back the driver. Click ‘yes’ if that’s your intention. Once this is done, the system will restore the previous version of the driver and uninstall the existing driver. You will then have to restart your PC.

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The Right Level Of Security For Your PC When You Go Online

If you own a computer that you use to access the internet, then you have to ensure that you are using online security that can monitor your PC for fast response and reliability. These days, more and more users are now opting for the online security services because of the easy to use interface. You will be able to know when hackers are trying to access your computer. What’s more, you will find that there are more and more online security services that are offered by new vendors. So, you have a wide variety to choose from when it comes to protecting your computer. As a result of advancement in technology, you will not just get online protection software but you will also be able to protect your privacy better than before. You will need to get online security software if you wish to protect your computer from being hacked by unknown people, friends, colleagues, hackers, employers, etc.

You need to have a good antivirus software program in your computer so that it can protect your system from being hacked. Make sure that the software is being updated on a regular basis so that your computer will be protected against new viruses. You need to shield your PC from different kinds of threats such virus, adware and spyware. If you are using an unsecured wireless connection regularly then your system is at risk of being attacked. Thus, you should ensure that you are using a safe internet connection.

By getting a good security program for your computer, you will be able to safeguard your personal computer from being attacked. There are some people who hack in to other people’s systems to cause havoc and you should protect your system from these hackers. If your system is not secured or if it has security holes then it will be easier for the attackers to hack in to your system. These hackers will be able to access the important information in your computer when they hack in to your PC. You have to ensure that you select PINs (Personal Identification Numbers) or passwords that are not easy to guess. Make sure that you do not use the same password for all your internet accounts. If possible, try and install a personal firewall so that your computer will not be accessed by unauthorized persons. This applies especially when you connect online through DSL or cable modem.

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Basic Drivers That Your PC Need

     A driver is also an often overlooked piece of software which acts as an intermediary between some hardware item and the computer in driving that hardware to respond to the commands issued. Hardware could be attached to the computer externally like a printer, or internally like PCI sound and modem cards. The device driver facilitates two-way communication between the hardware device and the relevant computer software application.    


     A driver works by transmitting an impulse to the device for a specific function in response to a command received from the computer through a software program.  The device then responds by sending the data requested back to the device driver for onward transmission to the software program that originated the request.


     Your computer carries several installed drivers in respect of many pieces of hardware that came with the computer or were subsequently added as external devices such as a scanner, printer, bluetooth device, digital camera, router, or internal devices such as a sound, radio, TV, modem, VGA, network cards etc. Even removable hard drives and USB devices such as flash drives are also driven by drivers specifically designed for them. If not for the exact driver written for a specific device to work with a particular operating system such as Windows 2000, XP, Vista etc., it will be impossible for the operating system to even recognize them, leave alone getting the devices to function properly.


      The main cause very often for any hardware to not function or malfunction is a corrupt device driver. They tend to get corrupted fast and easily due to their intermediary functions in regularly interacting with the devices, their relevant software application programs and the operating system. 


     However, fortunately re-installing the driver using the installation CD-ROM that accompanied the hardware device, which then overwrites the existing corrupt driver files, can easily rectify such anomalies. Operating systems such as Windows Vista and Windows XP are capable of installing the drivers automatically without access to the device driver CD-ROMs in respect of many common and Windows registered devices.


     With regard to Mac drivers however, it is prudent to uninstall the existing driver files completely before you re-install a new version. If you had purchased a hardware item quite sometime back and not used it to-date, rather than installing the driver using the installation CD-ROM that accompanied the device, you may download the latest available driver for that device from the manufacturer’s website for best results.


     Downloading the latest device driver is not only the fastest and the easiest way to get a defunct hardware to work, but it is also the most effective way too, for a much improved performance like never before.

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Automated Updates For Your PC Drivers

As you must be aware, the computers that are sold in the market are available in different sizes as well as shapes. However, the devices that these computers use to carry out the various tasks are all the same such as DVD ROMs, hard drives, printers, etc. When you make use of automated updates, you will be able to ensure that your personal computer, as well as the devices inside the computer, is operating optimally.

Automated driver update programs like DriverDetective are those programs that help your computer devices to function properly. These programs are not the same for all devices inside your computer. Different computer devices have different driver programs and they are programmed in such a way that they accept the generic commands given by the computer system and then the drivers translates the commands that the devices understand. This way, the various computer devices will be able to carry out their functions optimally.

You may not know this, but the drivers need to be updated regularly and there are several reasons for this. Malicious threats are very common in the World Wide Web and most of these threats have been designed or created in such a way that they target the devices inside the computer. Moreover, compatibility problems come up when new standards are introduced. As a result, the old or the existing driver may not function properly or it may not work the way it should work.

Since the computer has many devices and drivers, it is important for you to keep track of the updates for all the drivers so that your PC is functioning optimally. If you do not make use of the automated updates then you will have to spend a lot of time in front of your computer searching for the latest updates for all the devices in your computer. This is the main reason why many people make use of the automated DriverDetective updates to update their computer devices. With just one click, you will be able to find the updates for all the devices in your computer.

The software program that I am talking about can scan your PC, search for all the devices in your computer and then look for the devices that needs to be updates or detects the devices that are broken. Afterwards, the updates will automatically be downloaded and the right driver for your computer will be installed. It is as simple as that!

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How to Free up Lost Disk Space

     An unfortunate side-effect of the functionality built into both windows XP and Windows Vista which protects the computer user from accidental loss of data relates to the fact, that over time, an increasing amount of redundant data is left behind. This data takes up space on the hard drive and can eventually grow to a size of several gigabytes.

     To free up the optimum amount of space it is important that every user cleans out this unwanted data, allowing them to free up larger amounts of usable hard disk space. Possibly the best way to automatically clean this of data is to use one of the excellent cleaning utilities available. Arguably the best free software to perform this administrative task is the popular application named CCleaner. The best of the paid solutions is the extremely successful Tune-up Utilities 2008. Both of these applications do an excellent job of clearing down most redundant data although they are far from perfect.

     As mentioned above there are utilities available to clear out this old data but none of them clean everything. There are two areas of the Windows file system which require manual cleaning. The first of these relates to the Windows Update website. If you browse to the folder C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution you will find it contains several subfolders which can contain several hundred megabytes of redundant data. This data is downloaded as part of the Windows Update routine, and once all updates have been installed is no longer needed. It’s perfectly safe to delete everything in the subfolders, although you may find that some items are locked files and will be unable to delete them, this is fine just delete the things that you can to free up quite a large amount of the space.

     The second place on your hard drive which requires manual cleaning is in your user profile temporary folder. Depending on how Windows is installed on your PC this folder may be visible or it may be invisible. Navigate to your user directory, if you’re temporary directory is visible then delete everything within it, if it is not visible you will need to turn on visibility through the folder options; you will need to change the folder settings to show hidden and system files.


     So there we have it, by using a combination of an intelligent this cleaning utility and a short manual process outlined above you’ll be asked to free up the maximum amount of usable space.

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Optimising your internet connection

     Many people do not realise that their internet connection may not be operating at its best. Internet connection performance, like many system wide settings, can be tweaked and improved with great results.


     One of the major tasks that can be undertaken to ensure that your internet connectivity is optimal is to match your TCP/IP settings to the connection speed offered by your Internet Service Provider (ISP). This involves changing the size of your TCP/IP MTU (Maximum Transfer Unit). The MTU defines the maximum size that your TCP/IP connection will transit as a single packet; this should be set to a lower size on slower connections. There are a whole host of excellent MTU tweaking application freely available for download on the Internet. The most well known of these is Dr. TCP.


     Next on the agenda for internet connection optimisation is the RWIN (Receive Window). The RWIN acts as a kind of buffer for incoming data and also sets the upper limit upon the amount of data which can be received before confirmation must be sent to tell the remote host that data has been received successfully. If the RWIN is set too low, your PC will be forced to send confirmation data frequently, and on slower connections this can tie up a significantly large amount of bandwidth, far better to set the RWIN higher, leaving more bandwidth available overall. Once again, a host of great free RWIN optimisers are available for download directly from the internet.


     Whenever you make a change to either your MTU or RWIN settings, make sure you take note of the original values so that you can restore them should you find that your internet connection has actually become slower. Most people find that they need to experiment with these settings to find the optimal values for their ISP.


     Another option is to find a good, automated optimisation application. This software will ask for information about your ISP, your PC, how you connect to the internet and what you use your PC for. It will then make intelligent choices about the settings required for your MTU and RWIN automatically. Once again, be sure to save your original settings before committing any changes so that you may restore them should the software make a wrong choice on your behalf.


     All in all there are major benefits to be had, especially for people who use a slower type of internet connection, by ensuring that their MTU and RWIN settings are optimal.

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How to Perform a Perfect Re-Install

          Perhaps you tried to update your drivers or software and something terribly goes wrong. Today we will guide you through how to perform a perfect re-install for your PC. You may have wondered what would be the best way to reinstall your PC. It makes sense that when you wipe your hard drive and re-install your operating system that you make sure that your machine is running perfectly. Below are some tips designed to ensure that you perform a perfect re-install.


           First of all, you should gather together all of the latest drivers for your hardware. Before you wipe your hard drive visit the websites of all of your hardware providers and download the very latest drivers. Burn theese onto a CD or copy them onto a USB stick to use later in the install.


         Whichever operating system you are choosing to install, be it Windows XP or Vista, make sure you have downloaded the latest service pack from Microsoft. Currently this is service Pack 1 for Vista and service Pack 3 for Windows XP. Copy this onto the same CD or USB stick as your drivers.


        Next you can start your operating system install, boot from your CD or DVD and delete the current operating system partition and recreate it. When you are prompted to format the partition do not choose quick format, instead perform a full format.


       Once your operating system install is complete you should then install the current service Pack. Once this install is complete then reboot your PC and begin to install your drivers, rebooting when prompted.


        Once the service pack and drivers have been installed you should visit Microsoft Update and install every single possible hot fix and patch. You may need to reboot your PC several times and visit Microsoft Update repeatedly until there are no more updates available.


        Once you have finished installing every update, you should then take some time to clean up your installation. By using one of the many great utilities such as Tune-up Utilities 2008 you will be able to remove leftover installation files, and repair registry errors. It is important to note that the Windows registry will often contain hundreds of errors following a fresh re-install.


         Once you have repaired your registry, removed all of the temporary installation files that have left behind, and checked everything is working, you should then fully defragment your drive. Finally you can consider creating a disk image which can be burned to CD or DVD which can be used to restore your system to this perfect state at any time.

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Dealing with Vista codec problems

One of the major criticisms of Microsoft Vista has been the fact that it can be extremely difficult to ensure that every multimedia file type can be played via the inbuilt Windows Media Player or Media Centre.

This problem stems from the fact that Microsoft do not own licenses for the many other codecs used when people compress multimedia content. This has become an increasingly problematic situation as the Internet has become the preferred vehicle for transporting large media files. In this situation, the files will be compressed using advanced codecs and cutting edge compression techniques. If your Vista install lacks the correct codec to decompress the file, then you will in all likelihood only hear sound and see no video, or vice versa. Luckily there are two ways in which you can overcome these codec problems with Microsoft Vista.

The slickest way to ensure that you can play every multimedia file type which is currently available is to install the Vista Codec Pack. This is a third-party application that has been produced by a Vista enthusiast, and packages every current codec and compression algorithm into one simple install. Once you have installed the Vista Codec Pack you will be able to play every file type within either Windows Media Player or Media Centre. The only downside of using the  Vista Codec Pack is that you may find you need to refresh your thumbnails to ensure that every video file displays a thumbnail correctly in the folder view. The Vista Codec Pack comes with an application which allows the user to click codec settings, and adjust them for performance and quality.

For those people who prefer not to install a low-level codec pack which could cause problems in the future, then there is a single software application available which can play every known type of audio and video file. This application is named VideoLAN or VLC, and is a freely downloadable, extremely lightweight, and feature rich media player. For many people, VLC is considered a must have Windows application, and one that can solve every single Vista codec problem. VLC is also available for Windows XP, and is the only media player which solves every single window XP codec problem.

If you are experiencing codec problems within Windows Vista, then either of these two solutions outlined above offer you a simple and effective way to solve them.

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