How-To Guides

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WindowsThe InternetSafe ComputingHardwareNetworking | Troubleshooting & Repair | Miscellaneous

Each category above contains many helpful how-to guides that will help you fix problems, learn more about Windows, software, and hardware, understand your PC better, get more out of your PC, and much more.

Note: Each How-To guide has a link at the end of the article where you can download a zip file containing a plain text version of the article for your convenience. Please note the copyright is reserved and you are not entitled to distribute these contents or make other commercial gain out of them.

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WindowsToggling The Default OS (98/2000)
Multi-booting Windows
File Systems unraveled
Managing Windows 9x Resources
Getting started with Windows 2000
Dual-booting Windows 9x & Windows 2000
Speed up Windows 2000
Upgrade to Win 98 SE
Clean install Windows
Repairing Windows
Back up System Files
Windows 98 Registry Backup Guide
Device Drivers
Shut Down Background Applications
Multi-Monitor Action
File Types
Managing the Swap File
No more Windows Login
Windows AutoRun
Windows Send-To
Tweaking Windows
InternetChoosing the right ISP
Set up Dial-Up Networking
Set up E-Mail
Choose a browser
Internet Security Solutions
Search the Web
The Basics Of FTP
Downloading from the Internet
Multi-Player Gaming
NetMeeting
Internet Chat
Im-/Exporting Internet Settings
Removing AOL Instant Messenger
Reset IE Content Advisor
Custom HTML signatures
Improving Online Communication
Posting Screenshots
Safe Computing
Securing Wireless Networks
Securing Windows
Password Protection
UPS – Uninterruptible Power Supplies
Backing up your data
Backing Up Outlook Express Data
Virus Protection
Spyware
PC & Data Safety
Avoiding Spam
Say “No” To Hoaxes
Securing your browser
Secure E-Mail
Internet Security Solutions
HardwarePC Power Connectors
Understanding Hardware Resources – IRQ
Identifying A Motherboard
Adding More Memory
Installing Memory
Replacing a Bad Power Supply
The Basics of USB
Troubleshooting CD-ROM problems
Build Your Own PC
Installing a new video card
Installing IDE Drives
SCSI
Master Thy Modem
Keeping it cool
TroubleshootingThe Wireless Roadwarrior Experience
Computer Shopping Guide
Flashing the BIOS
User Guide to Tech Support Success
Understanding The Hexadecimal System
Electricity And Your Computer
Cleaning Your Mouse
Partitioning 101
Troubleshooting Basics
Clean Up Your Hard Drive
Troubleshooting Boot Problems
Understanding the Binary System
Removable Storage Options
The Basics of CD Burning
Advanced CD Burning
Disk Imaging
What is FAT/FAT 32?
Zip Files
CD-ROM Boot Disk
Boot Disk with Zip access
Overclocking
Correcting a slow PC clock
NetworkingTroubleshooting Network Connections
Making A Low-Cost LAN Cable Tester
Making Cat5 Straight-through and Cross-over Network Cables
Bandwidth Explained
Data transfer over a network
Switching 101
Any port in a packet storm
IP Addresses
Home Networking/Internet Connection Sharing
X-fer Files between PCs

Miscellaneous

System RAM Comparison
Pentium4 vs. AMD AthlonXP
Computer Quiz

Custom Logo For Your PC
Changing Your GUI
Cleaning Your Hard Drive – Thoroughly!

Windows

Learn how to update drivers
Learn how to update your drivers on your windows computer

Toggling The Default OS (98/2000)
Make it even easier to switch between Windows 98 and Windows 2000

Multi-booting Windows
Make multiple versions of Windows peacefully co-exist on your hard drive and easily accessible via a simple reboot

File Systems Unraveled
Learn all about Windows file systems FAT16, FAT32, and NTFS – how they work, and their advantages and shortcomings

Getting started with Windows 2000
How to prepare for the installation, different installation options, and customizing Windows 2000

Dual-booting Windows 9x and Windows 2000
You can install W2K and Windows 9x on the same machine and boot either one

Speed up Windows 2000
Free up some extra RAM and speed up Windows 2000 by shutting down services that aren’t needed

Upgrade to Win 98 SE
How to get Windows 98 SE, the new features, and more

Clean install Windows
How to start with a clean slate and install Windows fresh

Repairing Windows
How to check for missing or damaged Windows system files and repair them

Back up System Files
How to back up important system configuration files

Windows 98 Registry Backup Guide
How to back up your Windows 98 registry and restore it easily in case of emergency

Device Drivers
What they do and how to keep them updated

Windows 9x Resources
What are Windows system resources, how do they get depleted, how to monitor them, and how to recover them

Shut Down Background Applications
How to track down a program causing problems and stop it from loading

Multi-Monitor Action
Multiply your Windows desktop real estate by hooking up one or more additional monitors to your PC

File Types
What types of files are on your hard drive, how file extensions work, how to identify them, and some tips

Managing the Swap File
What is the Windows Swap File and how to optimize it

No more Windows Login
How to eliminate the Windows Login dialog box on startup

Windows AutoRun
What is AutoRun, how does it work, how to disable or enable it and some tricks

Windows Send-To
Send-To is a often overlooked but very useful Windows feature. Find out what it is, how to customize it to make it work for you

Tweaking Windows
Cool tips to tweak Windows, customize Windows the way YOU want it, and links to great Windows tweak utilities

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The Internet

Choosing the right ISP
How to find the best Internet Service Provider, a list of questions you need to ask, links to sites to find the best ISP

Set up Dial-Up Networking
Set up Dial-Up Networking yourself to avoid having to use your ISP’s software

Set up E-Mail
Choose an e-mail program and configure it

Choose a browser
Choose a browser and configure it

Internet Security Solutions for Home and SOHO
A great collection of links, tips, and advice about protecting your PC with a firewall. Mandatory reading if you have a cable modem or DSL.

Search the Web
Find information on the World Wide Web quickly and efficiently, using search engines and advanced search techniques

The Basics Of FTP
Learn about what FTP is, why you want to use it, where to get free FTP software, and how to use it

Downloading from the Internet
Great tips for successful, safe and organized downloading from the Internet plus links to great freeware sites

Multi-Player Gaming
Play computer games against others over a local network or the Internet

NetMeeting
Call people over the Internet for free, talk to them and even see them if you have a video camera

Internet Chat
Chatting over the Internet can be fun. Find out how.

Im-/Exporting Internet Settings
Exchanging bookmarks, favorites, address books, messages and e-mail account settings between browsers and e-mail clients

Removing AOL Instant Messenger
How to eliminate AOL’s Instant Messenger from your Netscape Communicator Installation

Reset IE Content Advisor
Forgot your IE Content Advisor Password? This trick will show you to remove the password.

Custom HTML signatures
Learn how to create your own HTML signature to use in the forum

Improving Online Communication
Improve the way you communicate online with these useful tips from common grammatical errors to message etiquette

Posting Screenshots
Learn how to “take a picture” of your screen or a window (called a screen shot), and post it online.

Safe Computing

Securing Wireless Networks
Wireless network security is important! This article describes the serious dangers associated with unsecured wireless networks, and how to easily avoid them.

Securing Windows
Improve your computer’s defenses by securing your Windows installation with these simple steps

Password Protection
Everything on using secure passwords and how to keep them safe.

UPS – Uninterruptible Power Supplies
Why you need a UPS, how it works, and how to buy the right one for you

Backing up your data
Why you should back up your data and how

Backing Up Outlook Express Data
Learn how to back up all your important e-mail data, such as the actual messages, rules, signatures, and address book if you’re using Outlook Express

Virus Protection
Protect yourself against viruses with these simple but important guidelines

Spyware
Understand what spyware is, learn how to identify it, and remove it from your system.

PC & Data Safety
How to protect your PC and your data against damage and data loss

Avoiding Spam
How you can prevent from receiving too much unsolicited e-mail

Say “No” To Hoaxes
What hoaxes are, how to identify them, and what to do about them

Securing your browser
Make your browser more secure to protect your privacy and your PC

Secure E-Mail
Encrypt your e-mail to to protect sensitive content from prying eyes

Internet Security Solutions for Home and SOHO
A great collection of links, tips, and advice about protecting your PC with a firewall. Mandatory reading if you have a cable modem or DSL.

Hardware

PC Power Connectors
Wiring diagrams of the most common PC power connectors.

Understanding Hardware Resources – IRQ
In this first one of three excellent articles, ChrisP discusses IRQs with the intent of clarifying device configuration and resource conflict resolution.

Identifying A Motherboard
Don’t know what type of motherboard your system is built around? We share a number of tricks that will help you identify even the most obscure motherboard.

Adding More Memory
Adding RAM is a great way to improve system performance. We’ll show you what you need to know before you go shopping to make sure you get the right memory for your PC.

Installing Memory
Installing more memory in your system is a very easy upgrade that you can do yourself within a few minutes. Our article shows you how to do it right and what to watch our for.

Replacing a Bad Power Supply
We show you how to successfully replace a bad power supply – it’s easier than you think.

The Basics of USB
USB, which stands for Universal Serial Bus, has been quite successful in the computer market in the last couple of years. We give you the scoop on its advantages, the caveats, and how to troubleshoot USB problems.

Troubleshooting CD-ROM problems
Because of its versatility, it can be tricky to troubleshoot CD-ROM problems, so we made a list of common problems and their solutions for you.

Build Your Own PC
We’ll show you how easy it is and guide you through the process step-by-step

Installing a new video card
We show you step-by-step how easy it is to replace your old video card

Installing IDE Drives
Learn how to install an IDE hard drive in your PC to replace an existing drive or add a second drive

SCSI
What is SCSI, how it works, and how to pronounce it

Master Thy Modem
All about modems, what they are, how they work, and how to make them work best

Keeping it cool
Why heat is bad for your PC, how to identify potential heat problems and how to keep your PC cool

Networking

Troubleshooting Network Connections
Easily identify and fix network connection problems in a home or small office network.

Making A Low-Cost LAN Cable Tester
Create a simple but reliable 10Base-T cable tester that will work with any continuity tester or ohmmeter.

Making Cat5 Network Cables
Learn how to save money by making your own Cat 5 network cables with just a few simple tools.

Bandwidth
Understand bandwidth, how it is measured, and the difference between theoretical and effective bandwidth.

Data Transfer Over A Network
Understand how data flows across a network – any network, including the Internet.

Switching 101
Learn the difference between a hub and a switch

Any port in a packet storm
What network ports are, how they work, and why they are so important

IP Addresses
What IP Addresses are, how they work, why they are so important, who assigns them, and more

Home Networking, Internet Connection Sharing
How to network multiple PCs at home and share a single Cable or DSL Internet connection between them.

X-fer Files between PCs
An easy way to transfer files between PCs and/or Laptops

Troubleshooting

The Wireless Roadwarrior Experience
Summary: This mutt of an article is about my experience with setting up a Sony Ericsson T68i GSM cell phone to work with a Windows XP laptop wireless via a D-Link DNT-120 Bluetooth USB adapter to transfer data between the two as well as connect to the Internet, configuring the phone with a Jabra Freespeak BT200 Bluetooth wireless headset, customizing the T68i with pictures, themes, and ringtones, and finding the best software to do all that. It contains everything from how-to instructions over mini product reviews to software recommendations, tips and tweaks, and my own subjective comments.

Computer Shopping Guide
This article will prepare you for your computer shopping trip, help you analyze and understand any computer ad, and tell you what questions you should be asking before your purchase. It includes a handy PC911 Computer Shopping Checklist to print and take with you when you go shopping to make sure you get all the important data, and can then compare possible candidates side-by-side.

Flashing the BIOS
While BIOS flashing requires some care and preparation, it is a relatively simple process if done right. We’ll walk you through the steps of properly flashing a BIOS using a real-world example, explaining what you need to know to successfully flash your BIOS.

User Guide to Tech Support Success
Getting tech support does not have to be an exercise in futility. Our article gives you several excellent tips to help you get the best help possible.

Understanding The Hexadecimal System
Yet another numbering system besides decimal and binary. Find out why and how.

Electricity And Your Computer
Electricity 101 – a basic explanation of the considerations involved in powering and protecting your personal computer.

Cleaning Your Mouse
Turn that filthy rodent into a shiny and smooth performer inside and out with a simple cleaning

Partitioning 101
Learn about the basics of partitioning using FDisk and Partition Magic

Troubleshooting Basics
While experience helps when troubleshooting computer problems, everybody can resolve PC issues as long as one keeps a few simple, but important things in mind.

Clean Up Your Hard Drive
Recover a significant amount of hard drive space within a few well-spent minutes, and perform some basic maintenance to whip that drive back into shape.

Troubleshooting Boot Problems
If your computer suddenly does not boot properly anymore, this article will help you identify and resolve the issue, period.

Understanding the Binary System
What the binary system is, how it works, and why it is so important for your computer.

Removable Storage Options
Different ways of storing data on removable media for transportation or back-up and the best options.

Burn Baby Burn!
The ultimate guide to burning your own CDs – Part 1. Everything you need to know about burning CDs. How it works, how to make audio, data and mixed mode CDs.

Once More Into The Fire
The ultimate guide to burning your own CDs – Part 2. Red Book, file formats, cue sheets, mixed mode CDs, hybrid CDs, overburning, bootable CDs, and more.

Disk Imaging
Making an image of your hard drive is a painless way to recover from an installation gone bad or a total system meltdown

What is FAT/FAT 32?
The advantages of FAT 32, how to create a FAT 32 drive and how to convert an existing drive from FAT 16 to FAT 32

Zip Files
What are zip files, how to use zip files to compress data, make self-extracting zip files, the best zip utilities

CD-ROM Boot Disk
How to make a floppy disk to boot your PC with CD-ROM support

Boot Disk with Zip access
How to make a floppy disk to boot your PC with ZIP drive support

Overclocking
The concept of overclocking, the benefits and dangers, and how to do it right

Correcting a slow PC clock
What to do when your computer clock is slow

Miscellaneous

System RAM Comparison
The concept behind the different types of RAM, their strengths and weaknesses

How much do I qualify for a home loan?

Pentium4 vs. AMD AthlonXP
What are the differences? Why are Intel chips so dominant among computer system providers, and why do some vendors instead push the AMD AthlonXP series?

Computer Quiz
Think you know how to troubleshoot basic computer problems? Take the quiz and find out!

Custom Logo For Your PC
Add a custom OEM logo to your System Properties window.

Changing Your GUI
Think your desktop is boring? Here’s how you change it.

Cleaning Your Hard Drive – Thoroughly!
The “alternative” way of cleaning your hard drive – NOT!

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