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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Self Computer Maintenance: Part 3 Using the Defragmentation Tools

Greeting to all, to continue on this series another way of accessing the scan disk tool is by pointing your mouse on the my computer picture or icon then double click to access the item of the icon, then select the hard disk drive you want to be fixed. After selecting the hard disk point the mouse on the disk and press the mouse right button or just press the right click button. From here a menu will appear from that menu select the properties tab at the bottom of the menu and the dialog box for the my computer icon will appear. Then select the TOOLS tab which contain the Scan-disk, Defragmentation and Back-up tools. Then select Scan-disk and press start. Again if it needs to be scheduled then just followed the instruction on the screen.

Now after finishing the repair and diagnostic of the scan-disk, your hard disk is now ready for the defragmentation tools. Now you may ask, what the heck is that tool and what does it do. First of all your hard disk files tend to be fragmented from all those usage day in and day out. You sometimes notice that the response time of your computer has become increasing slow this past days, weeks and months. And your wondering what is going on with this computer, it seems fine, it boot-up well there was no error or problems encounter in its operations. But when i try to access my files they seems a bit slow and yes it boot up well but its a little bit slower compare last week or last months.

So what is going on inside there. Remember your hard needs to spin in order to work and to access data, during that operation sometime your file tend tend to be separated from its component. What????, well actually your file is compose of several parts which i not go into to detail because it will become to technical and will defeat the purpose of this blog. Just know that a file store on the hard disk has many parts okay, and this part seems to be separated from the whole because when where using our computer, some other files is also being used. And there are plenty of them. The job of the defragmentation tool is to correct this error so that you can access your files much faster or same as before. Its put the file most used in the hard disk location where is can be accessed easily and can be loaded mush faster, the other files that is not being used much is put on the farthest part, well something like that. The fragmentation of the hard disk as a whole and your files as well is also fix.

DefragmentationImage by jmehre via Flickr

Well anyhow before is actually begins the fixing of the problem, it first analysis your computer hard disk drive to see how large is the fragmentation. After doing this it will display a report about this in percent like telling you that your hard drive is 50% fragmented and its recommendation of proceeding with the used of the tool to correct this error. Oh i need to mentioned that when your going to this, you cannot used your computer while deffragging is going on. So this one need to be scheduled as well. Now how long will it take to do this stuff. Primarily it defends on your hard disk size and how much files is there to check. If you have a very large amount of files to check.

Six hard disk drives with cases opened showing...Image via Wikipedia

You can do this before you go home, set-it up and start the tools, of course leave it alone once it has begun to work. Just turn off the monitor of you computer and let it be. Another thing If this is your scheduled you report this to you Tech Support Staff so that they will now what your doing and can monitor your machine first thing in the morning. If  your going to do this on your home computer then scheduled it before you go to sleep. Just do as mentioned above and check it the next day to see if its done. I hope i was able to help you in this little way on how to used this tool which is available to you. You don't need buy other tool and software for maintenance purposes. This two will suffice. But again for a more serious problem you need to consult a qualified technician to help you out on your computer problem.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Self Computer Maintenance Part 2: Using the SCANDISK and DISK DEFRAGMENATION software

To continue on this series, if you already has a UPS and its up and running, congratulation. The next set of tools is also very important as its take care of a specific hardware device on your computer the all important Hard Disk Drive. Yup this two software is often ignore because they take time to implement. But sometimes we need to pause for a moment to know what is going on and know the status of our computer, especially the hard disk drive.

The two software I'm mentioning is the scan-disk and the defragmentation tool for windows user. Both software are completely free. Its already inside windows you just need to access and used to see its benefit. Now why do we need this to software tool? Well this tool is used to simple make the files in your hard disk drive much easier to access. Also they check to integrity of each files and repair them and also your hard disk. Its test every sector of your hard disk to see is they are damage. If it is found to be damage the file occupying that sector or place in your hard disk is moved to another location complete with notice to all the software that is associated with it. Its just like your moving to another place and you want people to know that you are moving and have moved already. You inform all important people about the moving away activity. It is important to inform all that is involved in the process so that no-one will be lost when they try to communicate with you. You do not want to lost a file when maintaining your computer specially the important ones.

The first tool to be applied should be the SCAN-DISK. The hard drive should be check first for storage error and data error or file error. But first where it is located on the computer. Well follow this step, first click the START button then point to the ALL Programs and then to the ACCESSORIES and the final sub-menu is the SYSTEM TOOL where you will find both of this tool. Click on the Scan disk menu name and a dialog box will appear select the TOOL TAB and press CHECK NOW to used the Scan-disk tool. Okay this is getting to technical, i have provided a picture on the next step. From the picture above just check the to boxes and press start to begin the disk checking. However for some reason the scan-disk replied to you like " DISK CHECK NEEDS TO SCHEDULED, WOULD YOU LIKE TO SCHEDULED ON THE NEST RESTART?". There is an option there for a YES or NO answer from your. You must press the YES button the start the scan-disk on you next restart. It will automatically activate itself after restarting the computer because you have scheduled it. If the scan-disk finds some error in your files and or hard disk it will automatically fix these things. Also there 5 stage during the scan-disk diagnostic, you must allow all stages to be finish in order for the diagnostic to be completed.

That's it for the scan-disk. How the Disk Defragmentaion tool, can i use it before using the scan-disk. Well sometimes it work you can used it without suing scan-disk first. But most of the time if try to used it. It will suggest that check your disk first by using scan-disk before using this tool. This is getting too long Part two on the Disk Defragmentaion on my next post.

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Technical Support: Sharing a small knowldege

Greeting to all, before i continue with the series on Self computer maintenance, i would like to share a bit of information on how to make a Technical Support job easier. Off course this not applicable to all Tech Supp job out here. But i hope with this i can help some Tech Guy how to make your job easier if your the only one in your company and if that company allows employee to take good care of there own computer unit. Again this not applicable to all. Being a technical support guy for all sort of computer problems in a company is rely hard and it also harder if your the only one there. Your expected to solved almost any computer problem that the company and its employee encounters. Luckily we have the good all internet as our resources to help us in our daily task of trouble-shooting the computer hardware and software and to help and guide all the employee and Big Boss at our company. Now how can we possibly make it more simple and less demanding. The answer share a little bit of your knowledge on almost everything you do to all of them. After the training you must follow it up every now and then to make sure they are doing it. Also to let them know that this is serious stuff and you are serious in training them.

At first it will require a huge amount of task and energy on your part but the benefit of this in the long run will be more than enough satisfaction if done correctly and positively. even your manager will be able to notice the different in productivity for each employee by reducing idle time and maximizing the effectiveness and prolonging the life of the computer.

Star with the basic, like how to properly refresh the computer if its being used all day long. Explain it to them in plain simple terms that the computer just like any other machine needs to be refresh from time to time in order for it to function longer, therefore making them more productive. Don't do it by yourselves, guide them on a step by step task on how to properly shutdown and restart the computer. This way they will be able to do it by themselves id they feel that the computer is becoming sluggish in it performance. Explain it to them nicely and keep it simple how important it is do this as to maintain the right condition to make the computer more reliable in the long run. Be a friend them them and have the patience to share this one with them. Thereby giving them the basic tools needed to understand how there computer works. Also the solution to the most complex computer problem is sometimes prevention. Just alike a sickness or deceases, before started to become more serious, at its earlier stage the problem should be nip in the bud. This must be emphasis on the employee by your the Tech Support Guy pf the company. They will listen to you because they know that it is your job to know how to solve or fix the problems they encounter. Another plan of action is to scheduled seminar with actual hands-on exercises. Make a plan in advance draw up the topic you wish to train the employee. Topic that doe snot require in-depth technical knowledge for them. It must be easy and FUN for them so they will not be bored and they will become interested and pursue it even after the training. Of course you have to coordinate this with your boss and every person involved in the decision making.

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Friday, October 22, 2010

Self Computer Maintenance Part 1: Using UPS on your Computer

Greetings, today i will begin a series of self computer maintenance blog. This series is for those who is does not have a technical background or the ordinary user who wants to maintain there computer by themselves. I hope i can impart to you some simple things on how to maintain your computer without the help of a technical guy. To begin with do you know a electrical device that maintain power to your computer on a short period of time in an event of a power failure? This electrical device can really help us in such a scenario to SAVE our documents or works in progress and to properly shutdown our computer. Properly turn off your computer is one of the major factor that will prolong its life and its usefulness. With the help of the UPS, untimely shutdown during power failure or power fluctuation can go a long way in maintaining the health status of your computer.

So what is a UPS and how does it work. Well for one UPS stand for uninterpretable power supply or uninterpretable power source. Plain simple is a battery pack for the desktop computer. Just like the laptop computer which has a battery. The laptop computer does not get its power directly from the outlet but the battery charges up when connected to a regular AC outlet then the battery supplies the needed power for the laptop to function properly. The same is true with the UPS for the desktop computer, when it connect to the outlet your turn on then it start to store electrical and when you hook it up with your computer it is the one the supplies the computer its needed power to function properly. One of the main benefit of using the UPS against ordinary AVR or power source it that when something goes wrong with the normal supply of power in your area, the UPS can provide with enough time to save your files, close up all open software and properly shutdown your computer. Before using your UPS you need to read the instructions manual first, so you could gain a bit of an understanding on how its work. Basically every UPS needs to be charge up for about 8 hours before it is connected to a computer. Unpacked it from the box and connect it to the outlet in your house. Then leave it alone for 8 hours this way , it is conditioning the battery of regular used and it will have enough charge to power you computer. If it has a ON switch, turn it on to make it working properly an charging properly. The manual is were your going to get that information. So its a requirement to read your manuals, not just for UPS but for every appliances before using them. After charging it for 8 hours then its the time to connect it

It can do this because its has a battery unit inside that has charge enough power to supply your computer to do all those things mentioned above. Therefore keeping your computer hardware free from harm of sudden electrical loss while in used. Electrical outages or electrical ups and down can really do a great deal of damage on your computer hardware on a continuous basis. This is also true for almost all appliances today. This rectangular black things called IC or integrated circuit inside your appliances can work with little amount of current. But give more that they required and presto you have a cooked IC and there goes your appliances. Typically a personal UPS will give you about 15 minutes 0f power if its regularly and properly charge. Some more costly UPS is about 30 minutes, that enough time to save all your open files and properly shutdown your computer.

Now back to the UPS. Another thing it can do is SAVE your FILE which currently your are working. Its has become a habit of waiting to finish a document before saving them. It a really bad bad habit.Let say you have a five page document and during the last page and while finishing it suddenly the power went off, your computer suddenly shutdown. The result the entire document you just type in is now gone. Wasted time and effort you have to redo them again. Of course this is a Auto save feature on your word processing software, but let say you forgot to set it a a right time interval. It wasn't able to save your file information as it should be. Well this were the UPS come in handy, its save you the trouble of doing it again and it also helps you in maintaining your computer health status. You don't need a tech guy to maintain or check on your computer on a regular basis. Having also this UPS connected to tour computer than a regular AVR is a lot safer and better for your computer. If you don't have one now better start thinking of the possibilities of getting one today because if you take care of your computer, then you will be the one to reap its benefits and less head ache to from loss files and malfunctioning computer. 

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Hard Disk Drive Part 2

As i mentioned on part1 of this blog. Your requirement is important in determining the size of your hard disk. I also mentioned the term IDE, EIDE and SATA, well this are just some of the technology involve in a total hard disk makeup. The other technology is the RPM or Revolution Per Minute.The WHAT?????. You see there are plates inside the hard disk, this circular plate is coated with a certain material that make it able to store your data. Now what is that material, you may ask. I will try to give a less technical explanation of that as i can. I need to maintain a less technical look for all this technical stuff so i can reach out to all the other people who does not need to understand a more technical terms and approaches. Now lets go back to the RPM. You see the plate inside the HDD needs to spin around in order to save and/or access the data or your information. If for somehow it cannot spin well then your hard disk is in a lot of trouble there something wrong with it and it needs to be replaced.

IDE Drive connector

The higher the RPM of your HDD the faster it can get your data. For example a hard disk with a 5400 rpm is slower than a 7200 rpm and vice versa. Other hard disk can have an RPM of 10,000. The standard rpm for regular hard disk is 7200. Also their is cost related, the higher the RPM the higher the cost of the hard disk. Yup that the truth of it, You may ask,what the different of a slower RPM than a faster RPM. Well in small files or simple application usage let says playing solitaire then there is not much differences in terms of performance of your hard disk. But as your requirement grows then you will begin to  notice that it taking a bit longer than the usual to get that files to run may favorite games or software, my music player suddenly takes longer to load, my computer seems a bit slower than before, and also a whole lot of things, you begin to notice.

Inside a typical Hard Drive

The RPM of the hard disk is also a factor in determining the overall speed performance of your computer. Its contribute to the the time your computer "BOOT" meaning the moment you press the ON switch on your computer it will do a self check. It examined itself to see if all the necessary parts for it to work properly is there and that they are working fine. Its check the keyboard if its connected and working properly, that why when you see the lights on your keyboard blinks it means its checking it and same  is true with your hard disk, because the hard disk is where the software the control the hardware that your computer to see if the hard disk is working fine and is properly configured. As soon as all of this is done, then its load the software that would control or use the hardware. Without the hard disk or if something is wrong with the hard disk on your computer then, the software will not load properly, but this is just one aspect of it. Whewwww there are a lot of them out there.

Okay back to the RPM of your hard disk, the size of the file or files that your intend to use is also a factor for a faster or slower RPM. You see the bigger the files, software and others, the slower its appear on your screen. This is the moment you click on that file the hard disk access it from the hard disk location. When it finds it then it load from the hard disk to the memory and then it appear on your screen. That the only time you can use that file. The faster it can access that location where your file is located the faster it can be loaded to the memory and the faster it will appear on your screen.

I hope i was able to help you in understanding the RPM and process the take place inside your hard disk and your computer when a files is accessed and how the RPM can contributes to the overall speed performance of your computer.

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Hard Disk Drive Part 1

The computer today compare to the computer lets say five or more years ago is more powerful, faster, with bigger capacity and storage and also more energy efficient. Now lets focus on the bigger capacity in terms of data storage. This refer to a device  inside the system unit what we call the Hard Disk Drive or HDD. This device allows us to save all kinds of information that we put on our computer. All information meaning, your filed, pictures, movie, video and other stuff. The bigger the size of the hard disk the more information it can accommodate. There are a lot of type of hard disk out there from the old reliable to the new comer eager to prove its worth on costumer or people like us to try to take a look of what there device is offering. The hard disk is one of the most used part of a computer, the moment we open our computer, it and all other component inside the computer is activated from loading the operating and saving the information. The hard disk is also subjected to mechanical wear and tear, inside this seemingly non-moving item is a compose of moving part. They are the Head and Platter. I will try blog about this two part on my next blog, for the meantime lets focus on the size of the each hard disk for the desktop computer.

This is the device that where all our information, picture, video, document and other stuff, get stored. also this is this is where all the system that we used on our computer is also installed. The common thinking is that the bigger the size of the HDD the better, well that is most of the time that is true. If your computer can handle the bigger capacity drive then its okay to have one installed. The sizes range from 80, 120, 160, 250, 320, 500 Gigabytes and 1 Terabytes.

Now how many HDD can a single computer have?  Well it really depends on the technology that is present on your computer, For older computer the IDE or EIDE technology is present, then only four HDD can be put inside your computer, for newer technology like the SATA one can add up to 6 or more depending on the slot available in your motherboard. Lets go back to the size. Lets say our computer has a 320 gigabytes, which pretty decent for normal or average user.. But if your a professional user then a more bigger capacity HDD is in order. Professional user tend to do a lot of things on their computer than normal user do. Moore files, document, picture, MP3 files, bigger video, more powerful software, for gamers and editing. Programming software and more other stuff.

The amount available on the HDD depends on the data you want to used, so getting a new HDD may also require a small planning and also there is the budget consideration which true for all items that we used today not just for computers.

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Computer 101

One may ask a question What is a computer? and the answer to that depends on how do you look at things, the computer, basically it has screen which display the information, it has a keyboard and mouse to access and manipulate this information and a main system unit where all the information is store and process. All this component are link together via cables, all this cable is connect to the main system unit most of the time it is located at the back of the computer.

The computer is one of the most used machine today. It can be found in almost all places in all country of the world today. The reason for this is it been design to carry-out all sort of task man would like it to do. Do task are but not limited to are typing,programming, playing games. mathematical computations, simulations, watching movie or video, listening to music, communicating with other people, and a whole lot more. Because of this versatility, it has spread all over the planet in just a few decade ever since its humble beginning.


As i explain earlier the computer is made up of several main keys parts, i say key parts because without them it will not function properly. They are the monitor, system unit, keyboard, pointing devices and printer. Still the other add on parts that has been dim necessary and very useful is the web-cam, microphone and speaker or headset. The function of the the main key part is always been the basic, to input and process the information and create an output of that information.

A computer can do multiple things at once of course this would this would depend on the hardware configuration that the computer has. If the computer will be used for ordinary task such as typing report, watching movies, personal stereo system and playing minor games such as solitaire, then a ready made computer from the shelf is right. But is if the computer will be used for gaming then a higher memory, a faster processor, a bigger hard drive and a separate graphics card will be needed. Please consult and do some planning if your going to buy a new set of computer.

Another function of the computer is to do specific task, one major example of this is a computer is used as an ATM Machine. To function like this a software is used to configure that computer to function as required and an added hardware is added to the exiting computer setup to complete the task. So the computer can be programmed to do also specific task.

Now here comes the internet, and everybody is suddenly connected to everybody. The function and usefulness of the web-cam, mic and speaker suddenly get a very big boost. It has become a must add-in accessories for the all type of computer, today if you want to talk to your friend or family who is in another far away place, face to face, then all the three items mentioned is a must for you. Such is  the winder of the internet the its changes the status of these three times from luxury to necessity or needs, whenever one decide to acquire a computer. Of course one also needs a stable and reliable internet connectivity.

Now using them all together as one simple machine doing a variety of task then one would have a pretty good idea of what we can expect from this machine called the computer.

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Cellphone to SmartPhone to Computer

Technology today compare to technology a few decades ago has become more integrated in our daily life. I said this because as i observe may own progress and my countries progress. One example of how technology evolve was the CELLPHONE. When i was just starting out after graduation the cellphone was just coming into our lives back then, they were still bulky and big, then came the wireless type they become small and more user friendly but still they are not in a level as it was today compare back then.

Today smart phone can be applied to almost anything in our daily activity, such as money transfer, online payment, ticket, web surfing, watch video streaming, tracking device and etc. It also acts a as a person locator, back then a person can go through his daily activity without these devices. It is still for luxury. But now only a decade has past and the cellphone has evolve into something very-very handy. almost every people in every country has one type or another, depending on the services and models available for that region.

Old black and White display mobile phones

Also almost all mobile devices has multiple feature in them, they are not just for texting or calling, but has evolve into a lot more very useful application for business, finance, personal health, hobby, and a lot of other interest. The price has also gone down from 5 to 10 years ago where it used to cost a lot for a simple cellphone. While now a days, one can buy prepaid phone kit from almost any location in every country.

Also the phone design has come a long way from the early bulky type to the cover change, the antenna was place on the inside, using a single key to navigate the entire menu to playing music and watching video with bigger memory capacity, games has also evolve from black and white to full colored feature games type just like what is found on a PC and also using different type connectivity. From GSM, GPRS to 3G.

The latest in cellphone technology innovation is the touch screen navigation, that is using your finger to select menu, feature and function. The use if button to navigate your phone is slowly being put away step by step, as new model comes from different manufacturer, one trying to outdo each other to have a piece of the pie of the smart phone market which has grown a lot in this past years.

It has become an essential part of everyday activity. It helps a lot of people to know that they are connected to there family and friends on a 24 hours basis. 

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