|Windows Startup Issues
Article By: National Repair Center 3/11/2011
|Have you ever started your computer and for some reason it failed to boot properly? As fate would have it, stuff like this happens when we need to get
something done that is important. It is trying on our patience, but the most probable reason for this boot error is the hard drive.
It isn’t always easy to tell if the startup problem was caused by the Windows Operating System or one of the programs that run automatically at startup. An
easy procedure is to disable one of the programs located in the startup sequence.
Windows makes it easy to access this program, simply go to the run bar and type in “msconfig” to load the System Configuration window. Choose “Startup”
and scan the list. Check off the programs you can do without. Do not go ‘check happy’ and uncheck programs that help protect or run your system. It is
advisable that you write down which programs you disable so you can enable them later. Once you are done, you will need to restart your system.
If your system crashed and shut down, it may restart on its own. During reboot the system may automatically access the Advanced Boot Options menu.
Select the line for the Last Known Good Configuration. This will load the system with the last configuration that worked. If this solves the problem there is no
need to access Safe Mode.
If the last known configuration did not work, another alternative is starting the system in Safe Mode. Essentially Safe Mode loads Windows with a minimum
number of programs and drivers. Safe Mode takes a lot longer to load than the normal booting process, so be patient.
The Safe Mode screen will look radically different than your normal screen because Safe Mode doesn’t load background applications. You are only
permitted to do certain things in Safe Mode, for instance, your CD or DVD drive may not be available, and your backup options will be disabled. After you
have accessed your startup files, or scan disk, you need to reboot the system to enter Windows normal boot sequence. Safe Mode isn’t a place for
beginners to fool around in, so do what you need to do, then get out.
Another startup error could occur from the Windows Registry. The Registry is critical to the operation of Windows and should never be tampered with if you
are not qualified. There is a command to use to access this part of the system, but I will not mention it in this article because entering into the registry editor
is extremely dangerous.
There are websites that tell you how to access and allegedly how to fix a registry code. It may seem simple and may tempt you to follow their advice. Be
weary of this temptation because if the advice is not sound, you can easily damage your system.
Think of Registry Code as DNA Code. If you found a website that informed you how to change a code in your DNA strand, would you do it? Of course you
wouldn’t. Treat your computer registry the same way. Every program stored in your system uses the registry code in order for it to run properly. If you do
have a Registry issue, there is something you can do without accessing the Registry Editor. If this other option fails, then seek a professional repair
Every Windows system contains a program called System Restore. This handy program takes a snapshot of your Registry so if a part of the code becomes
corrupted, you can simply restore the unit to an earlier time when the computer did work.
It sounds great, right?
It is, but like anything else there is a catch. System Restore is not a backup utility, it only reverts the registry to an earlier time when there was no problem. In
doing so it can remove any software that you installed between points A and B. On the up side, it will not erase your files. Windows also creates a restore
point when you install new software so in the event the software has a problem you can simply use the restore point and start again.
System Restore does not allow you to go back to an infinite time, it will only save restore points until the allocated space fills up, then it will overwrite the
oldest files first. The system should automatically create a restore point once a week, or you can do them manually.
For most issues a simple System Restore will probably get you back on track. If it doesn’t, you may need to use your System Recovery disk to repair the
system, or seek professional assistance.
To avoid a lot of heartache you should always make a current backup of your files at least once a week.
|Playstation Home Users Can Watch Nasa's Shuttle Launch
Article By: NASA's Linda Rosner 2/24/2011
|WASHINGTON -- NASA's final liftoff of space shuttle Discovery will be available in a unique "social viewing" environment available through Sony Computer
Entertainment America's PlayStation(R)Home for PlayStation(R)3 computer entertainment system.
Discovery's launch on Thursday, Feb. 24 at 4:50 p.m. EST is the first live streaming event to be offered by Sunset Yacht, a premium personal space from
LOOT, Sony DADC's interactive entertainment development team. Users will be able to chat via Bluetooth headsets with others watching the launch - all from
inside the PlayStation Home social gaming environment.
"We're excited about this new way for people to experience the exhilaration of human spaceflight as part of a larger community," said David Weaver, NASA
associate administrator for the Office of Communications. "In addition to the other two shuttle launches planned for April and June, NASA looks forward to
sharing more of our endeavors with PlayStation users."
In addition to live streamed events, the Sunset Yacht's NASA TV channel will offer hundreds of videos offering spectacular views of the universe from past
and current NASA missions. A gallery of podcasts showcasing several missions including the Mars Science Laboratory and Voyager spacecraft also will be
available from the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.
"The launch of the space shuttle Discovery provides a wonderful opportunity to introduce people to the fun of social viewing," said LOOT Managing Director
David Sterling. "Users can share this experience with their friends, regardless of where those friends happen to be in the world."
|Protect Your Wireless Network
Article By: National Repair Center 2/16/2011
|In 2007 the US Census data determined that 88.7 million households had computers. That was 78% of all households in America! It is likely that in 2011 we
have reached 90% or better. Computers can do so much for us, but it all comes down to connections. One small wire opens a portal that allows us to go
practically anywhere. Congress is already putting together a National Broadband Plan to bring high-speed internet to rural America. This means almost
every computer user will have some type of connectivity.
There are three types of connectivity names that everyone needs to understand. They are: LAN, WLAN and WWAN.
LAN, simply means a physical connection to the computer. This is a wire that plugs into the port in your unit and goes to the router box provided by your
phone or cable company.
WLAN, is a Wireless Local Area Network. It is commonly called Wi-Fi and is what any HotSpot location uses, such as Starbucks. Almost all computers and
laptops that are sold today have wireless capabilities.
WWAN, means a Wide Wireless Local Network. It is a mobile broadband that cell phones use and is commonly called 3G or 4G, and means 3rd Generation
and 4th Generation. Other former names were 2G and 2.5G.
Unless the device you have is meant to travel far distances most home owners and business owners use either a LAN or WLAN connection. Wireless
connections out beat LAN connections because wireless connections are more convenient for today’s society. The wireless connection allows you to move
around your home, office or property without losing your Internet connection. This is the main reason why laptops are so popular as they have just as much
speed and memory capabilities as desktop computers, but have the ability to travel with us.
One major difference between LAN and WLAN is security. A wireless device uses bandwidth signals, and those waves can be picked up by other people
beside you. An open network allows outsides to gain access to your device–and your information.
Have no fear, as you can protect yourself. Be sure your wireless router is password-protected. Your password should be as difficult as possible without
making it ridiculous to remember. Avoid using simple combinations like your phone number, birth dates, social security numbers and other information that
can be easily obtained by professional hackers. Always use a combination of upper and lowercase letters along with numbers. Instead of your regular birth
date 05211970 (May 21, 1970), change it to something like M05a21Y1970. This still contains the birth date but also contains the word May. Many new
routers won’t allow you to use simple codes, but as a rule of the thumb, all of your passwords should be difficult enough to deter an adequate hacker.
Your next defense is a Firewall. A Firewall protects your data from Internet hackers. In today’s world we hear all too often the affects that identity theft play in
peoples lives, and the devastation of viruses hitting the internet. There are actually two types of Firewalls. One is used by your computer, the other is
network based and safeguards all of the computers sharing your wireless network. More is better, every personal computer should be protected by its own
Firewall and your wireless network should be protected.
When you first purchase your wireless router, the manufacturer provides you with a website to enter your information and username/password. These initial
settings can easily be hacked over the internet. The moment you have confirmation that your router is working, immediately change your administrator
passwords and all usernames. Again, your usernames and passwords should always be difficult for people to access. Do not use simple combinations like:
Admin: Fred, Password: Flintstone.
The wireless router will also come with a default network name which is known as SSID or Service Set Identifier. The SSID needs to be the same for all of the
devices in your home or business that you wish to have connected to the wireless network. If you leave the default SSID it only shows hackers that you have
little computer knowledge and may be easy prey. Just like everything else, avoid using the simple elementary names. Personal information about you and
your family is easy to obtain. Your memories are not. Try mixing up something like where you first met your spouse: in London in 1985 on Canal Street. Your
new SSID number can look like: 1L0nd0n9Cana18Str33t5. What we did here is use the year 1985 and broke it up evenly, then we took the key words:
London, Canal, Street and made it a combination of upper and lowercase letters and changed easy alphabet letters to numbers. An ‘O’ can be substituted
with a Zero. An ‘L’ becomes a 1 and so on. Be creative while maintaining an easy-to-remember combination.
If you are a home network, you need to make sure you disable the SSID broadcast. This is a feature used by businesses and hot spots. This can be
disabled by logging into your network using the admin password. Leaving this on can signal hackers that you may be available to prey on.
When you are setting up your wireless router, be sure to set the unit as close to the center of your home as possible. This will help confine the signals closer
to you and away from the street and/or neighbors. So a hallway closet is better than putting the unit on a table by the front window. Also, keep the devise
away from household appliances like telephones and microwaves.
Finally, if you are going away on vacation or for a few days, shut the router off if you do not need it. Why leave something open for attack while you are
away? This is only feasible if you only use the network for your computer and not for VOIP phones, security cameras, servers or other devices that require a
More and more people are going wireless and are staying in contact with family and friends by using their computers, laptops and mobile devices. We are all
connecting and need to make sure we keep our data safe. Always be sure to safeguard yourself.
Here at National Repair Center in Dunnellon, Florida, we are more than capable of helping you set up your secure wireless network in your home or office.
|What Is A Hard Drive?
Article By: National Repair 2/11/2011
|Our world is filled with various types of hard drives even though we may not know they are present. Most people relate to a hard drive of the type typically
found inside of a computer. It is that particular type of drive that we access on a daily basis. The actual hard disk was invented in the 1950s and the name
was chosen to distinguish this hard stationary unit from the more portable floppy disk.
Information storage in an almost permanent for was the reason behind the invention. It gives our computers and other electronics the ability to store
information in a semi-permanent state, regardless of power loss or years on inactivity. Over the years we have been familiar with very similar devices such
as the record, cassette tape, and compact disks. All of these items have the ability to store and record information. The hard drive is different as it is capable
of reading, writing and erasing information endlessly, or so it seems.
The magnetic recording material of the hard disk is layered onto a high-precision aluminum or a glass-like disk. This is why it is advisable to never place a
magnet near a computer. The hard-disk platter is polished to mirror-like smoothness. A hard disk can access a referenced point in the matter of seconds.
Like a compact disk, a hard disk spins at high speeds and can hit a maximum speed of 170 mph! Within a few seconds your files can be accessed and read.
Hard disks around the globe are filled with tons data. The speed information is accessed and recorded has changed our world dramatically. Each passing
year hard drives are able to store more and more data and access this data faster than ever before. A great example of this is when you fill out something
on-line and almost instantaneously you are provided with your vital statistics.
Amazing! But, like any modern day wonders, there are drawbacks. A hard drive cannot be dropped, if it is, the disk plotter can jam or damage the platter.
Once damaged, the chances of retrieving information is almost nonexistent. Unfortunately, there is no way to just open the drive and fix it. The hard disk is
contained inside a sealed aluminum casing and prying one open will ruin the drive.
Curious as to what is inside this box? The metal case does have filtered ventilation holes so the unit can breathe and equalize pressure. Inside is the
controls that reads and writes the disk, along with the motor. The platters inside are mirror-smooth and reflective. The motor is capable of spinning the
platter anywhere from 3,500 to 7,200 rpms. There is also an arm that holds the head which reads and writes. Similar in fashion to the old record-player arm
that read the grooves in a record. A typical hard disk has multiple platters and heads in order to increase the storage capacity of the drive.
Because hard disks can and will ultimately fail, it is imperative that you religiously back up your information so you always have a current file on hand. A
great way to back up is to use portable drives, these drives connect to your computer with a USB cable and are capable of storing a great deal of
information. The backup process is so simple and convenient that it should be done at least once a week or more depending on the amount of information
you generate on a daily basis.