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Computer Tips, Tweaks, Reviews, Software, Guides, and More

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Thread Starter 
The Table of Contents
-The Basics of Computers
-Protecting Your PC
-Several PC problems you will encounter
-Reformatting
-Mac Talk
-Downloads
-Credits
Choosing A Computer
This is the popular question about computers: “What should I get?”
This section should basically give you a good walkthrough on what you should get, and suggest a few computers I reviewed myself.

Subtopics
- The Right Computer For You
- Reviews


The Right Computer For You
To help you decide on what type of computer you will get, think about whether:
A. you will be moving around a lot and want a small and light computer
B. you want raw power, even if it means a 2 foot tall case tower, and need the computer on at all times
Now if you chose A, you need the laptop. If you chose B, you need the desktop.

The next set of questions involves both the laptop and the desktop. So consider this:
A. You only need a PC for work, a bit of e-mail, and some easy Web browsing.
B. You are gonna listen to music, watch a few movies and videos, a bit of DVDs, play a few causal games, and burn some CDs.
C. You are gonna play a bunch of games, edit music and movies, and burn a bunch of CDs and DVDs.
D. You need all the power you can get - you’ll be playing the most hardware-intense games on the market, scan both viruses and spyware while playing a game and defragmenting a hard drive all at the same time, and edit movies, vids, pics and more while burning discs and doing a Photoshop job.

If you chose A, you can get a good, cheap computer, well under $500 for desktops, and $700 for laptops.
The hardware stats that should be included:
- An Intel Celeron D/M or a Core Solo processor. Otherwise, an AMD Sempron processor.
- 512 MB or more of shared memory, DDR and above.
- Integrated audio and graphics
- 80 or more GB of hard drive space
- CD/RW or a DVD drive, or a combo drive

If you chose B, get an entertainment computer, usually under $800 for desktops, and $1000 for laptops.
The hardware stats that should be included:
- An Intel Pentium D/M, a Core Solo 2, or a Core Duo (2) processor. Otherwise, an AMD 64 or Turion processor.
- 1 GB to 2 GB of shared memory, DDR2.
- Integrated graphics and audio
- 120 or more GB of hard drive space
- Combo drive or a DVD/RW drive

If you chose C, get a good gaming computer, well under $1500 for desktops, and $2000 for laptops.
The hardware stats that should be included:
- An Intel Core Duo 2 processor. Otherwise, an AMD 64 X2, Turion X2, or an AMD 64 FX processor.
- 1 or 2 GB of memory, DDR2.
- Dedicated graphics card with at least 256 MB dedicated, and PCI-E slot. Integrated audio.
- 200 or more GB of hard drive space
- DVD/RW drive

If you chose D, you’ll need the best damn thing ever. The prices can rise up to $10000 on some computers, so be sure to take a financial beating.
The hardware stats should include:
- An Intel Core 2 Duo, Extreme or Quad, or an AMD 64 FX.
- 2 to 4 GB of memory, DDR2.
- Dedicated graphics card with at least 512 MB, PCI-E slot. Dedicated audio card.
- 200 GB or more GB of hard drive space. Best if you get a 10000 RPM drive.
- DVD/RW drive

A note on processors
- IF YOU HAVE A BUDGET, get an AMD processor. You won’t regret it, and the processing speed difference is unnoticeable.
- If you need the power or overclock frequently, go ahead and get an Intel processor. But they're more expensive.

My Reviews On A Few Computers
Heres some good reviews of computer that i have found when i go to local computer stores.
Desktops
- Dell Dimension E520, Default Stats
I got this for my cousin a while ago, but I really loved its performance. You get a solid Pentium D dual core processor at an impressive 3 GHz. Vista further improves the experience with its exquisite features and its impressive ability to take advantage of all the processor cores.
Now this computer can do some good multitasking. Browsing the Web while running a virus scan created hardly any problems at all. Music can be easily run in the background while you check out some other stuff.
Now if you’re planning on playing Command and Conquer 3 or Halo 2 on this computer, keep dreaming. Even with the good hardware, it’s gonna run those games and others that require extensive loads on hardware like hell. Best that you stay away from serious gaming with this computer.
At $499 clean, it’s an excellent choice, for an entertainment desktop, but you’ll need a lot more power for games.
Overall - Great deal for a great computer, but hardly any power for some serious gaming. I'd give it a 9/10.

- HP Pavilion m8100e series, Default Stats
Completely wonderful. Included with a TV tuner and a dedicated graphics card, you can finally manage to get a bit of game on. Set with 1 GB of dedicated RAM , multitasking becomes a breeze as you listen to your own custom music library while playing a good game of Warcraft or MS. There is more than enough space to store loads of music and videos on this computer.
The AMD 64 X2 impresses me sometimes. When I compared this computer to its equivalent m8010y series, the performance benchmarks were quite the same, with the m8010y series beating this one by just a few points, and when I tried a few more times, the m8100e sometimes beat the other series. However, I chose this computer because you will get the same performance for $50 less, and that goes a long way.
Background virus scanning worked flawlessly and remained unnoticeable, with just a tiny bit of lag.
Keep dreaming of serious gaming, however, as this computer won’t handle any Halo 2 or something.
Overall - At $799, you can get a good bargain with hardware almost equivalent to a $2000 Alienware, but you’re gonna have to keep wishing about serious gaming. I'd give it a 9/10.

- Alienware Area-51 7500, Customized Stats
Customized stats include:
- Core 2 Quad at 2.4GHz
- 2 GB of RAM
- 320 MB NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS
One of my favorites. Sexy case, yet runs quiet for a gaming PC. You can run virtually any game currently in the market at over 100 frames per second, and not lag at all. Bit too much power, if you ask me, actually. However, it should last the next 10 years or so... that's good to hear.
This customized version costed approximately $3000 with a monitor, so it's pretty costly.
Overall - One of the elite computers. It's a worthy investment, keeping in mind that you don't screw it up in any way. However, $3000 is a costly price, so it won't be that affordable for most people. I'd give it a 9.5/10.

- CyberPower Gamer Ultra SLI GT, Somewhat Customized Stats
A very decent gaming computer for an excellent price. I'm not sure about the quality, however, since my friend got it yesterday. However, it works like a charm.
This model came with 2 GB of RAM and the default AMD 64 X2 4400+, with 2 NVIDIA GeForce 8's, set up in sLI. Astounding that the cost still remains under $1500. To be exact, it costed approximately $1400. I increased the amount of RAM because 1 GB is insufficient for running games on Vista.
I loved the look of the case. The defaults looked very crappy, like an ordinary business PC, but throw in an extra 70 bucks and it'll look awesome.
Now to the performance. I ran Rise of Nations and Age of Empires III (came free, and these are good games too ) and both ran well without any lag. Multitasking was above average, since you could browse the web, listen to music, and run a virus scan with minimal lag.
Overall - For $1400, you get the power of a $5000 Alienware computer. Excellent gaming PC for those on a budget, but be careful, since I don't know much about its quality. I'd give it a 9/10.

Unleashing The Power Within XP


If you didn't know, XP wasn't tweaked when you first bought your PC. Now with these tips, you can take advantage of your PC, such as speeding up page loading times, and optimizing your processor efficiency.

Subtopics
- Tweaking XP - The Simple Way
- Advanced Tweaking (ADVANCED USERS ONLY)
- Increasing Boot Times


Tweaking XP - The Simple Way

Easy: just download a few programs and whatnot. A free choice is Tweak UI, the free PowerToy from Microsoft. Google it up, download, and install. It allows settings not seen in Control Panel to be changed.

My personal choice is TuneUp Utilities, which is not free, but is a handy tool. With that program, you can do a lot, from changing your boot and login screens and formats, optimizing Internet connections, and cleaning out and fixing up the registry, to optimizing system performance values. It’s a handy tool, and the trial is available at cnet’s Download.com.

Another great tool, even though not free, is Diskeeper. It claims to defrag more files in a faster time than Microsoft’s included Disk Defragmenter in a shorter time, which is actually true from a test I conducted. I got 2 computers, fresh from a reformat, and all of its drivers and the same programs installed. One ran Diskeeper, the other ran the default defragmenter. Diskeeper finished the job in around an hour, while the other defragmenter finished when I finally woke up after a good night’s sleep, so... 9 hours? Big difference, huh? And the computers were the same - 10 GB formatted Macbooks on a Windows XP partition, with the same stats. So I’d recommend Diskeeper to those who’d like to invest a little money into faster document loading times, leading to faster virus scans and a faster computer in general. The trial is avaliable - check the Downloads section.

TweakNow RegCleaner Standard is one of the free tools I use to maintain my PC. It’s quite useful, scanning for obsolete entries that can conflict with your PC, and thus speeding up the computer. However, many “Unknowns” can pop up, and it’d be annoying to click every single one of them, since the last version I reviewed had no “select all” feature for the Unknowns.

To make a Shutdown shortcut on your desktop, right click on your desktop, then click create New Shortcut. In the Location text box, type "shutdown -s -t 0" (without the quotation marks). Name it anything you want (Shutdown is the most common) and click OK. Now whenever you wanna shut down, just click this shortcut and watch the ahem... magic. Thanks to Magixren for bringing that tip up.

Type "shutdown -r -t 0" to make it a restart button.
Type "shutdown -l" to make it a logoff button.
Type "shutdown -s" to make it a standby button.
Type "shutdown -h" to make it a hibernate button.

Advanced Tweaking
NOTE: I'm not sure whether these tweaks work in Vista, so if you use Vista, avoid this section until I get more information about Vista compatibility. And these tweaks proved to work in Windows XP.
Another note: These tweaks can easily be triggered through Tune-Up Utilities, but if you can't afford it (or crack it lol) then check out this section.

ADVANCED USERS ONLY - Registry tweaks
To access the Registry, you must be an administrator. Go to Run, type in "regedit" and hit OK. Registry Editor pops out and you're ready to risk screwing up your PC big time.
And any tweak requires a system restart, so after you're done tweaking what you need, restart to see its effect.

Here are a few registry tweaks I found useful:

- Force Windows to Unload DLLs from Memory
Why tweak: Windows automatically keeps DLLs loaded in memory in case applications using it are launched later on. This can be a problem on systems with 512 MB or less, because of memory shortage. This tweak will disable DLL caching.
To tweak: Find the key [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentV ersionExplorer]. Create a new sub-key named "AlwaysUnloadDLL" and set the default value to 1. Delete the sub-key to re-enable DLL caching.

- Disable Core System Paging
Why tweak: On default, Windows pages the system core to the disk to save memory space. This immensely slows down your PC as memory access is much faster than disk access. By disabling this feature, the core system will be kept in memory, speeding up system performance. DO NOT USE THIS TWEAK IF YOU HAVE LESS THAN 512 MB OF RAM.
To tweak: Find the value "DisablePagingExecutive" in the key [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlSe ssion Manager]. Change the value to 1. Change the value to 0 to re-enable core system caching.

- Setting up L2 (Large Second Level) Cache
Why tweak: Windows is optimized on default to use a processor's L2 cache up to 256 KB. Most new processors have L2 caches at 1 and 2 MB, so it's best that you change the value to maximize how Windows uses the cache.
To tweak: Find out what the size of your processor's L2 cache is. After that, find the key [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlSe ssion Manager]. Look for a DWORD value called "SecondLevelDataCache", and if it doesn't exist, create a new DWORD value with the same name. Set its value to equal your L2 cache size in Kb's using the decimal base.

Other tweaks:
Here is a tweak that doesn't require traveling through the Registry:
- Disabling the Wireless Configuration Zero service
If YOU ARE CONNECTED ON A WIRELESS CONNECTION, DO NOT DISABLE THIS SERVICE.
To those who are connected through Ethernet, disabling this service will speed up boot and login times. To do this, go to Control Panel, select Classic View, then go to Administrative Tools, then open Services.
Look for the "Wireless Configuration Zero" service, then double-click it. Stop the service then select "Disabled" in the Startup Type drop box.
The computer should load a bit faster now.

Improving Boot Times
Microsoft claims that Windows XP and above came with a tiny integrated program that automatically optimized boot times, and claimed their other boot optimizing software, Bootvis, useless. However, XP's integrated program doesn't work too well, especially when the boot times are upped to 2 minutes. Bootvis, even though not well known among most of us today, actually does make a difference, believe it or not. This section will show you how to use Bootvis properly and use it to its full potential.

First, download Bootvis and install it as normal.
Then run it. Go to the Trace menu, click "Next boot and driver delays," and reboot.
When Bootvis loads again, go to the Trace menu and select "Optimize." Reboot again. Bootvis will reanalyze your boot procedure and times, then optimize them.

By using Bootvis on three of my computers - a Macbook with Boot Camp, a desktop, and an 8 year old Thinkpad, I managed to decrease boot load times on all three. Here are my results:
- Macbook
Previous boot time: 35 seconds
New boot time: 23 seconds

- Desktop
Previous boot time: 1 minute and 1 second
New boot time: 8 seconds

- Thinkpad
Previous boot time: 47 seconds
New boot time: 32 seconds

**ADVANCED USERS ONLY**
Analyzing the Bootvis results will also lead you to improve boot times even more. On most PCs, the large amount of drivers and the time it takes to load them results in long boot times. You can uninstall hardware and its drivers if you don't need them, and speed up boot times even further. Make sure you know how to maintain PC hardware properly and how to properly uninstall hardware drivers.
The Internet

Ah yes, the wonder of the world (of technology lol) that inspired many and opened up many opportunities. But here are some tips you probably never knew.

Subtopics
- The Secret Behind IE6 And Above
- Speeding Up Your Internet Experience
- A Comparison Of The Most Popular Browsers


The Secret Behind IE6 and Above
Never knew, huh? That IE6 and possibly IE7 are actually INCLUDED with SPYWARE THEMSELVES?
Microsoft contradicts themselves quite a lot. (Curse them, that's why I'm an Apple freak. )
Going more into detail, IE6, as I know, was included with the Alexa plugin, which came with it. Now the Alexa plugin is a hidden plugin that my friends never knew existed. It tracks your actions online and sends you advertisements based on what you look at. The plugin can sometimes receive personal information, which is BAD.
To get rid of it, you can either get the trial of TuneUp Utilities and disable the plugin from that program, or get a trial of ZoneAlarm Security Suite and scan with the spyware tool, as I know that it detects Alexa.

Speeding Up Your Internet Experience

There are many ways to speed up the Internet - the worst is through the registry. However, for all you Firefox users, you’ve come in luck - the FasterFox plugin increases the number of connections made to web servers to increase the bandwidth transmitted. By using Fasterfox, I could load up the main Apple website 2 times faster than regular.
You can also use TuneUp Utilities to optimize your Internet connection with a few simple clicks.

A Comparison Of The Most Popular Browsers
All of these browsers, compared with each other.
- Internet Explorer 7

I actually found it alright, but not what I expected. The new interface looked terrible, and web page load times were still the same as IE6. Security was still filled with bypasses and flaws, but Anti-Phishing is a nice addition. I'm a bit suspicious about this browser, as IE6 was included with the Alexa plugin, considered spyware, and it could be included here too. The application load times were good, ranging from 1 to 3 seconds.

- Mozilla Firefox
My favorite pick. It's secure, and versatile with the many plugins avaliable, such as IE Tab, ForcastFox, Fasterfox, etc. Anti-Phishing is also on here. What I don't like about Firefox is that some websites are screwed up by Firefox, ex. Xanga and Googlepages. It also loads slowly, tests ranging in around 5 seconds. However, this is my favorite. Here's something for broadband people that will really speed Firefox up:

1.Type "about:config" into the address bar and hit return. Scroll down and look for the following entries:

network.http.pipelining network.http.proxy.pipelining network.http.pipelining.maxrequests

Normally the browser will make one request to a web page at a time. When you enable pipelining it will make several at once, which really speeds up page loading.

2. Alter the entries as follows:

Set "network.http.pipelining" to "true"

Set "network.http.proxy.pipelining" to "true"

Set "network.http.pipelining.maxrequests" to some number like 30. This means it will make 30 requests at once.

3. Lastly right-click anywhere and select New-> Integer. Name it "nglayout.initialpaint.delay" and set its value to "0". This value is the amount of time the browser waits before it acts on information it recieves.

If you're using a broadband connection you'll load pages MUCH faster now!

Excellent Free Programs That Protect Your Computer

- Lavasoft Ad-Aware Free

The highest-rated and free antispyware program as stated from a PC World survey (and my personal favorite), Ad-Aware is the best choice for the average user. I would use this until 2007 is better before for now Lavasoft 2007 has horrible ratings and from what i heard updates are slow, and some other bugs.

- Avast Anti-Virus Home Edition
My favorite anti-virus program in the free market, Avast provides many features programs like Norton or Kaspersky have, for a free price. Avast has 7 different real-time shields for different functions, such as E-mail. The only hassle is that the shields drain quite a bit of memory, and you have to sign up for a free yearly subscription, which, even though is free, is annoying.

- Spybot Search And Destroy
The runner-up to Ad-Aware, the improvement to 1.4 is impressive. In a comparison I made a few weeks back, I had Spybot 1.2 and that didn't detect much. However, Spybot 1.4 made many improvements - it detected more than 3 times the spyware it detected in 1.2. However, scan speeds took much longer than in 1.2, so that's a small turndown. However, this is a good program to use along with Ad-Aware.

- ZoneAlarm Basic Firewall
Loads better than that Windows Firewall crap. ZoneAlarm protects both incoming and outgoing Internet traffic, and has saved me from a few extreme situations Windows Firewall wouldn’t have saved me from, such as an invasion of my computer through IE. However, it drains at least 30 MB of memory solely for the engine, and not to mention the firewall itself. It’s a good deal, however.

- Cyberhawk Basic
An excellent program that scans real-time for suspicious changes and actions. However, since most of you play MS, I recommend that you don’t install it on the PC that you play MS on, since it blocks GameGuard. It is a good addition to your arsenal of protection programs, however. Just don’t install it on the computer that you play MS on.

- AVG Antivirus (Free Version)

My runner-up to Avast Antivirus. It drains less memory from the computer, but I don't like how it runs its background scans. Even if you select "Low Memory Usage," your PC will lag just as much. Also, scans take a long time, around 1 and a half hours average on my PC. I also don't like its real-time protection, as many viruses got through it. However, it does get its job done well.

• NOTE: Do NOT run 2 or more antivirus programs, antispyware programs, or firewalls at the same time. They will just conflict, and your PC will start to crash from them.

Why Not To Go With Windows Firewall
Believe it or not, Windows Firewall is a horrible firewall. If you’d ever call it a firewall. It only monitors outgoing traffic, and hardly notifies you whenever a program asks for permission. Personally, Windows Firewall has forced me to reformat a computer a few times, due to its lousy protection. I recommend getting ZoneAlarm Firewall to make up for this crap of a “firewall.”

The Proper Way of Removing Spyware and Viruses
- THIS DOES NOT INVOLVE ADWARE TRACKING COOKIES, AS THEY ARE EASILY REMOVED. IF YOU FIND A TRACE OF SPYWARE WITH A TAC RATING OF OVER 5, OR IF YOU FIND ANY VIRUSES, FOLLOW THIS SECTION.


Always boot up in Safe Mode and disconnect from the Internet. If you have scanned over and over and deleted the same thing over and over again, but it keeps coming back, that is the reason why it keeps popping up in your scan results - it automatically redownloads and reinstalls itself through code that triggers a secret Autorun program that performs the reinstallation and crap. Safe Mode disables all startup entries and only starts up vital Windows processes, so these programs won't get the chance to launch on startup.
After that, run spyware and virus scans, and delete them as normal.
Reboot normally and reconnect to the Internet, and scan again. Nothing should pop up now.

Several PC Problems You Will Encounter

- The computer won’t boot
First, check to see that all cables are in all the way, especially the video and the power cords.
Then see if the lights on the computer turn on. If they turn on, it should only be a loose video cord, a broken video card or monitor, or the video card was not installed properly. It could also be a BIOS problem. If so, jump to the BIOS step.
If they don’t turn on, check your power supply.
Try to see whether the power supply fan starts to spin. If it does, go back to the last step. If not, you have a power supply problem. Replace it.
As stated in step 2, the BIOS might not be working. Rub your hands over metal to discharge any static, unplug all cables, and open up your PC case. Look for the CMOS battery, which is a small, circular, and silver battery near the CMOS jumpers. It’s best that you look over a motherboard manual to find the CMOS jumpers.
There are 2 methods to resetting - set the jumpers to another position for 30 seconds, or taking out the battery. Be careful around the jumpers, since they’re easy to lose, and if you lose them, you’re screwed. For example, on my motherboard, the jumpers are set on 1-2, and there are pins in the order of 1-2-3. Remember that the position of your jumper now is the default. Place the jumper into the order of 2-3, wait 30 seconds, and move it back to 1-2.
If jumpers aren’t avaliable, refer to the CMOS battery. Unplug it for approximately 5 minutes, than plug it back in. Then set up the default settings, such as dates and stuff.

Now if the case is that it freezes all the time at the boot screen, try booting into Safe Mode. If that works, the partition has a problem, and you will need to repair the OS with your Windows CD.
If both crash, you might have to reformat your computer.

- You are connected, but the Internet does not load
It happens once in a while. Try resetting your DSL/cable modem and router, if you have one. If that doesn’t work, move on.
Check for loose cables, and reconnect them in case.
Try using another computer to test the Internet. If that one works, your computer has a problem, and it can easily be resolved by opening Command Prompt (type CMD in Run/Seach Prompt) and then type in ipconfig /renew. If this doesn’t work or if the other ocmputer does not, then move on.
If you're behind a router, perform factory resets on your modem and router - make sure you know what your ISP password and username are. Set them up again, and they should now work flawlessly.

- You’re being assaulted with loads of pop-ups.
Check the Removing Viruses and Spyware section.

- Your PC is just running plain slower than usual.
Check how much hard drive space you have. Usually, when you have less than 15% remaining, your computer will lag more due to less virtual memory space. If you have a clean hard drive, try defragmenting. If these don’t work, scan for viruses and spyware, and then clean out your registry, and defrag it if possible. Also, uninstall anything that you don’t need anymore.
You’ll have to move on to more drastic measures if the above don’t work, such as replacing hard drive cables and updating your BIOS. Also, try replacing the hard drive, as those slow down after a period of time. At worst, sometimes a reformat will speed it back up again, and that will tell you that you downloaded some crap. If these don’t work, your computer has just aged, and is running slower than usual. That’s natural, and all you have to do is replace your PC.

- Forgot your password?

Easy - boot up in Safe Mode, log onto the Administrator account that should appear in the login screen, and reset your password. Usually that account has no password.
Now if you set a password for your BIOS, reset your CMOS, as demonstrated in the “My PC won’t boot” section. Also, try finding a trustworthy password reseter or cracker, such as Ophcrack.
Otherwise, you’re screwed big time, and will have to resort to a reformat.

Reformatting

How to reformat, posted here for easier access. I sometimes find it annoying to click links to go to other websites, like Mindstormer's thread, especially with a slow browser and ISP problems.
THIS SECTION WAS MADE IN REAL-TIME AS I REFORMATTED MY COUSIN'S MESSED UP COMPUTER, RUNNING WINDOWS XP. But I think Vista should be similar.
Before Your Reformat
Reformatting should be used ONLY AS A LAST RESORT. Mostly, people think about reformatting because their PCs are messed up. Follow this procedure to make sure whether you need a reformat or not:
- Are all cables in correctly?
- Do you have suspicious programs you should uninstall?
- Did you Google up your problem for solutions?
- Did you ask any friends experienced with computers about your problem?
- Did you run virus and spyware scans in SAFE MODE?
- Is your hardware and are your hardware drivers corrupted?
- Did you perform CLEAN reinstallations (completely uninstalling, restarting, clearing the Registry, then installing again) of your drivers?
- Did you perform System Restore to the day before your problems began, and did the problem disappear after that?
- If you bought your PC, does your PC manufacturer provide PC recovery software on their website? If so, have you used it correctly?


If you followed all these guidelines and your problem persists, you're in need for a reformat.
KEEP IN MIND THAT WINDOWS RECOVERY CDS ARE NOT INSTALLED LIKE THIS.

FIND OUT WHAT YOUR WINDOWS INSTALLATION KEY IS. You're screwed without it. It should be on your PC case (if you bought the PC) or on your installation CD (if you bought Windows for a self-built PC)
Search for the drivers for your hardware - Network card drivers are most important; in the case you can't find other drivers, the Network card driver will enable you to search the Internet for them. It saved my butt a couple times before.
Back up ONLY what you NEED - work files, records, stuff like that. Don't even think of trying to back up MapleStory - that's kinda dumb... no, REALLY dumb.
Get a flash drive, with at least 128 MB or higher, as drivers can be large - all my drivers total 100 MB. Back up all your drivers and necessary files onto the drive.
Burning files onto a CD is also acceptable, but slower and less efficient.
Now if you have a secondary hard drive, I recommend you store your music, videos, and then drivers and only programs you NEED.
Double-check to make sure everything you need is on your flash drive/CD, then say goodbye to your computer for what it is now. Get out your installation CD, restart your computer, and boot up from the CD (hit the key if specified, commonly F11 or F12, otherwise at "Press any key to boot from CD" just press any key).

The Proper Procedure
NOTE: This procedure is also used for installing fresh copies of Windows. If you are installing Windows on a brand new PC you just built, ignore steps 2 and 3.


Step 1: Boot up from the CD, then on the main screen, hit Enter.
DO NOT HIT R, AS THIS LEADS TO A RECOVERY CONSOLE INSTEAD. It's very confusing - much like running DOS back in the 80's. *shiver*

Step 2: Agree to the terms and crap like that. After that, you'll be prompted to repair your partitions. This does not work all the time, even though all programs and drivers are retained. Even worse, most of the programs won't work because the Registry values for those programs are erased during the repair. So hit Esc, then select your partition (usually there is only 1, unless you set up 2 partitions to run 2 OSes) and hit D.

Step 3: Confirm the partition deletion, then back at the Partition menu, select "Unpartitioned space" and hit Enter.

Step 4: Select between the NTFS and FAT file systems. Here is a short comparison of the two:
- FAT: More compatible with other operating systems (Windows 95/98, for example), but does not have file security features and has horrible space management. Also limits the maximum space on a partition to about 4 GB, I believe.
- NTFS: It's not compatible with some operating systems, but it is more secure and allows for secure file compression, and is better at managing space.
Then again, I highly recommend NTFS. Who the heck (other than me and those conducting research) uses Windows 95, and Linux? I mean, come on. xD

Step 5: Wait for the unpartitioned space to finish creating a partition, and wait for the installation files to be installed. The PC will reboot automatically in 15 seconds, and direct you to the Windows installation, which takes approximately 35 minutes.

Step 6: In the middle of the installation, you will be asked to provide your name and company. Fill them out, then type in your Windows key. Afterwards, you will be prompted to set a computer name. I recommend you leave it, especially if you're reformatting a PC in a company office, but if you really want to, type in a new name under 15 characters. Set the time and date and your time zone, and continue on, where you will be prompted for a Network settings installation. I recommend selecting "Typical" unless you are an advanced PC user and need something else.

Step 7: Wait for the installation to complete. Once it finishes, no more wait. Yay.

Recovering Your Now Lost Files
All your drivers, files, programs, and stuff will be gone. Now Windows will boot up for the "first" time, and automatically adjust your display resolution. Enter any accounts you want to create. They will automatically be Admins, but you can always change them to Limited accounts. Log into your "new" account.
You're not done yet. However, on a happy note, you just got through the hard part. Grab your flash drive/backup CD and reinstall all your drivers. After that, restore all your important files onto your PC, then reinstall your programs. Just be careful on what you install, though, 'cause I don't think you'll want to go through this again.

Mac Talk

Topics
-The Pros and Cons of Macs Over Windows
-Reviews
-Boot Camp
-Viewing HTTP mail in Apple's Mail application


The Pros and Cons of Macs Over Windows
Pros

- Much less viruses and almost no spyware
- More elegant UI
- Runs both Mac AND Windows
- Included with software you'd have to purchase for a brand new PC
- Hardly crashes
- Much more efficient memory management
- On a reformat, all your drivers are included in the Installation CD, while on a PC, you have to search over the Web or over lots of CDs
- Up to a 4 way video chat
- Takes advantage of video cards for its UI elegance
- Much better at handling unresponsive programs
- Most installations only require drag and dropping
- Quick at finding files and folders
- Excellent at processing graphics (UI graphical features like window minimizing/maximizing, Expose, and HD Video playback are flawless)
- Software Update prevents you from visiting many other websites to obtain updates for your hardware

Cons
- It will be a bit rough for Windows experts to run their first Macs for a while
- Hard to self-troubleshoot the hardware itself (ex. taking apart the Mac)
- Not many compatible programs
- Short warranties
- Dual-booting is still in beta
- The UI is confusing at first
- SOMETIMES more expensive than a PC with the same stats

Reviews
- Macbook, $1099 version
This is the older version, when the Core 2 Duos were just released on the Mac. The newer version should run much faster.
I ran a multitasking test, running iTunes, iChat, Safari, Mail, Adium, and AppleWorks 6 at the same time. I noticed a bit of lag, but a simple upgrade of RAM should solve that. Now I ran Warcraft III with all these programs, and it lagged so much I forced a shutdown on my computer.
Booting up again, I tried Warcraft III alone, and there was a huge difference in performance.
I booted up into Windows through Boot Camp, and there wasn't much to say. Aside from all the bugs, Windows was good.
Battery life was alright, with around 5 hours without Airport, 3 hours with Airport, and 2.5 hours with DVD playback. Screen brightness didn't seem to make a difference in battery life. Charge times were acceptable - a full recharge takes an hour and 10 minutes.
I liked the design of the Macbook itself - slim, thin, and wisely-used space. The screen was bright and sharp, and the keyboard layout prevented crumbs from falling into the key slits.
What I didn't like about the design was the sides of the Macbook. They're sharp enough to cut you, and I won't even talk about the edges near the laptop hinge. There was also the discoloration problem, which I've noticed on my friend's Macbook. The sides were easily chipped, but were unnoticeable from looks, and wasn't too annoying. I recommend rubbing sandpaper on the edges to smoothen them out.
Overall - Excellent, versatile laptop with minimal flaws, impressive battery life for the power it packs. Great investment at $1099, I'd give 9.5/10.

Boot Camp
Subtopics:
- Installing it
- Windows functions on a Mac
- The bugs you will come across
Installing it
The requirements include:
- Mac OS X 10.4.6 or later
- The latest firmware updates for your Mac
- At least 10 GB of free hard drive space
- A Mac with an Intel processor
- A blank CD or DVD
- This guide to save some paper from printing out the instructions as directed on the main Boot Camp website Environment ftw.
- A full version of Windows XP Home or Professional with Service Pack 2, WIndows Vista Home Basic/Premium, Business, or Ultimate. (No upgrade or multi-disc versions)

After fulfilling the requirements above, download the beta and run the installer.
It will automatically burn a CD with all your needed drivers for Windows, including keyboard, trackpad, iSight, and more drivers.
You will be allowed to select the size of your Windows partition. I recommend at least 10 GB for the partition, maybe 20 GB if you have the space.
After the partition is installed, insert your Windows Installation CD and your Mac should automatically boot up the CD. Refer to the "Reformatting" section on how to install a fresh copy of Windows.
After Windows is installed, at the gray screen before the Apple logo pops up, hold down your Alt key and when two hard drives pop up, select the Windows drive and let it boot up. After logging in, insert the CD that Boot Camp burned, and it will install the drivers for everything in the Mac.

Windows functions on a Mac
- Right click: Two fingers on the trackpad and a click.
- Volume and Brightness - Hit Fn and the Volume and Brightness keys.
- Eject - the Eject button on your keyboard
- Windows Key - The Apple Key
The bugs you will come across
Keep in mind that I run Boot Camp 1.1.2, so these might not pop up. Anyways...
- Blue screens whenever you run a game (defragment to get rid of them)
- If you hit the Fn key and use the volume controls as normal, the Volume panel won't disappear, even when clicking on your desktop.
- The Eject key might not work at times.
- XP repeatedly asks for confirmation of installing the Apple Keyboard driver after you exit MS, and possibly other games.
- The keyboard driver is not detected, and then automatically uninstalled at times.

Viewing HTTP mail in Apple's Mail application
As you know, Mail only includes POP, IMAP, Exchange, and .Mac mail accounts. However, you can use Hotmail and other HTTP mail clients with the Mail app by simply downloading the HTTPMail plugin.
After installing the plugin, create a new account in Mail. Set the Account Type as httpmail. Name the description however you want it. Fill out your entire E-mail address, with the @hotmail.com or the @msn.com, in the specified box. Fill out your name in the Full Name box. After that, set the "Incoming Mail Server" to hotmail.com. On User Name, type down your account username without the @hotmail.com and likewise, then enter your password. After that, confirm your options and then create your new account.

Download Section

Tweaking

TweakUI
Tune-Up Utilities
Diskeeper
TweakNow RegcCleaner
Bootvis

Protection

Ad-Aware
Avast
Spybot-Search And Destroy
Zone Alarm Firewall
Cyberhawk
AVG-Antivirus

Recovery
Ophcrack

Credits
Credits go for darklord2525 and me lilxkid24 on this.
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post #2 of 10
???
    
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post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
just a guide i did for computers
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post #4 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcbzhnsr1 View Post
???
ahhh, I see now
http://forums.pcworld.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=46041

nice work, very long, but that's what she said. Seems helpful to the budding enthusiast
    
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post #5 of 10
Your avatar!

Maple Story

<-- Bera; Level 86 Ranger - Retired

Ontopic: Long guide, I'd have to read! D:
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post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcbzhnsr1 View Post
ahhh, I see now
http://forums.pcworld.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=46041

nice work, very long, but that's what she said. Seems helpful to the budding enthusiast
thanks
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post #7 of 10
*drum roll*

And Overclock.nets longest post award goooess tooooo....
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post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
i just found out on this site lol. I registered like 5min ago. Discovered it while browsing through members on pcworld forum
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post #9 of 10
hell of a 2nd post lol

some nifty things anyway, although most of it's pretty much taken off any IT dept's "recommended software and tweaks" list (the PC shutdown/restart/etc buttons and TweakUI especially). not bad ^_^ b

rather informative on the Mac front as well, since i've never really bothered to learn the ins-and-outs of them (and honestly don't see the reason to when $$-to-performance is factored)

also i'll throw in my 2 cents:
*if you're behind a router, the software firewall is optional. it acts as a hardware firewall and is much more effective, although using software firewalls with relaxed permissions is something i'd recommend.
*Opera Browser, very good browser that does not increasingly eat resources at the rates IE and Firefox do when umpteen million tabs are up. also includes features that Firefox requires plugins to utilize.
*I'd also mention that enabling pipelining in Firefox, while usually helpful for broadband users with a high downstream, doesn't get fully utilized at the "slower", low-end broadband service levels (I fall under this category T-T)
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128GB Samsung 830 SSD 1TB Samsung HD103SJ some Asus DVD/CD-RW Thermalright Ultima-90i w/ Ven. BTK 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Windows 7 Pro 64-bit 25.5" ASUS VW266H Logitech Wave Antec TruePower New 750W 
CaseMouse
Rocketfish Full Tower Logitech MX1000 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
X2 3800+ ASUS A8N-SLI Premium SLI 8800GTS 512MB 4x 512mb Corsair/Kingston 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
2x 250GB WD Caviar 2x NEC 3550 Windows XP SP3 ASUS 26" 16:10 
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post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
ya il change it as technology moves on
Dell Inspiron 531
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Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
Seagate 320GB SAMSUNG Black 22X Windows XP Pro x86 Asus 24" 1920x1080 
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Apple Slim Keyboard Corsair 450 VX Dell Inspiron 531 Logitech Wireless Mouse 
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Dell Inspiron 531
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
AMD Athlon™ X2 4850e 2.5ghz AMD Hammer BFG 9800 GT 3GB DDR2 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
Seagate 320GB SAMSUNG Black 22X Windows XP Pro x86 Asus 24" 1920x1080 
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