Guide to the Beginners Guides
To help you solve those pesky PC problems I've
put together a very special Newsletter today. This issue focuses
exclusively on the almost 70 PCSTATS Beginners
Guides we've published to date! Call it your very own "Guide to
the Beginners Guides!" Along the side column, we also look
into the newest platform to come from Intel that you'll want to know
about; it's called "Viiv." I hope you enjoy this issue!
On a another note,
due to some issues we've had to address recently; "PCSTATS asks that you do not reproduce its articles elsewhere. Please respect our Copyright and the many hours of effort which go into each Beginners Guide." Thank you!
to the PCSTATS Beginner's Guides! We pride ourselves on having some of the
clearest and easiest to follow how-to articles available on the 'net. From
hardware upgrades to home networking to data backups, you'll find it here on
PCSTATS.com, in the Forums and weekly PCSTATS
What we are trying to do with these guides is to strip
the mystery out of computer setup and servicing. The plain fact is, do it yourself
computer maintenance just isn't that complicated, and we see no reason why
the average computer user should have to pay a service center for help when
easy and often free solutions are within reach.
PCSTATS has worked hard to provide guides that
detail every facet of modern computer use. Starting with the basics, PCSTATS
covers installing Windows XP
and upgrading from Windows 98 to XP. Once you've got XP installed,
how about learning about some of its
hidden features. Moving
on, we tackle some of the most asked computer questions like
"how do I create MP3 files from my CDs?", "
how do I burn CDs/DVDs
and what formats
should I use?." We also put you on the right track towards
converting your home movies into video files, then turning
those video files into DVDs. Most important of all, how should you
protect your data?
We have some good answers, and more than a few helpful
hints to put you on the right track.
A second area PCSTATS Beginners Guides focus on is
how to make your computing life easier. For example, spam email has become a
painful fact of life for most computer users, but it doesn't have to be such a
major irritation. A beginner's guide to
stopping spam gives you
several easy procedures which will quickly make spam email much less of an
obstacle to your use of email. Likewise, the proliferation of viruses and
spyware on the Internet threatens everybody. We give you a heads up on computer
safety in our guide to
firewalls and Internet security
, and cover the safe removal of intrusive
adware and spyware programs
too. Do your wrists and eyes ache from too much computer time? Check out
PCSTATS' ergonomics guide
for some handy tips towards more comfortable computing.
Increasing your productivity within Windows XP is
also a topic covered in several of our guides. If you regularly work at home as
well as the office, you'll be interested in our guide to synchronizing files and folders so you'll always have the latest versions of
your files at hand with out confusion. Own one of those handy-dandy USB key
drives? take a look at a set of cool and clever USB
drive projects; you can do a lot more with those things than you might
think! Another handy thing to learn is how to create batch files within Windows; these little
programs allow you to automate many of your most tedious
Tired of installing the latest Service Packs in every
new Windows XP system you create? Tired of installing Windows XP at all? Check
out this pair of guides, both of which are among the most popular articles with
overworked IT staff: 'Slipstreaming: creating a Windows XP CD with Service Pack 2
included' guides you through the process of incorporating the latest Windows
XP Service Pack right into your operating system CD, while the guide to creating a fully unattended Windows XP installation CD gives
you everything you need to know about automating the Windows installation
process in one handy location.
If you'd like to be sure that you have the basics
of security and computer hygiene nailed down, but don't have the time or the
inclination to learn about these subjects, try our quick guides to securing your PC and getting rid of spyware, adware and browser hijackers.
If you want to know more about the guts of your
system, the hardware that keeps it going, PCSTATS has a series of articles just
the weekend hardware warrior. Take a look at our guide to
assembling your own PC for a
comprehensive, step-by-step guide to building a home computer.
Once you have that mastered, you'll find the do-it-yourself guide to building a home theatre PC
a snap! The annual
PC maintenance checklist
helps ensure that your PC will stay in top shape for as
long as you own it. Sometimes it's good to go back to basics, and a good way to
start is with this guide to
computer memory. It
explains how RAM works and why you might want more of it if your computer is
getting 'slow'. For PC speed freaks, we cover
RAID hard drive setups
in detail, what they are, and how to set them up. If you are feeling ambitious,
how about a bit of video
card BIOS flashing?
Would you like to try overclocking but aren't sure
where or how to start? This guide to overclocking a videocard will get you moving in the right
direction. The companion guide to overclocking the processor, memory and motherboard explains
the overclocking process for the rest of the system components; what the
benefits are, as well as some of the potential dangers.
Interested in what makes Windows XP tick? Then we
have some articles for you; this guide to the
Windows XP registry will take you through this storehouse of XP
customization settings, while the comprehensive article on Windows XP's Safe Mode will equip you to use this powerful recovery mode to your
advantage. I'd also suggest you check out the guide to the Windows XP services for information on what these behind-the-scenes
programs do, and how to create your own. If you are experiencing
frustrating crashes or errors (and what Windows user hasn't at some point
or another?) this handy guide to understanding and resolving the
infamous BSOD (Blue Screen Of Death) error should be interesting reading.
Finally, get to grips with the
Windows XP command prompt to increase your knowledge and control of the OS.
Upgrading and updating your PC is another
inevitable task that we try to make easier. Take a look at PCSTATS' guide to flashing your motherboard's BIOS for one example. If you've grown used to your Windows XP install and hate the thought
of reinstalling to accommodate a new computer system or hard drive, see this
time-saving guide to
cloning windows XP for another
Want to upgrade your system but don't know where to begin? We
have the answers in this guide to the fundamentals of updating a PC , and it will certainly
give you a helping hand in the right
direction. If all you want to do is upgrade your motherboard, we've got an article on handling
this complex operation too. No more service charges!
are tired of Windows altogether, or wary of Microsoft's operating
system validation requirement for downloading patches, why not consider
moving to Linux? PCSTATS has written three guides to this alternative OS, covering
the basics of getting familiar with the Linux KDE
desktop and then moving into the process of installing a Linux PC. In the third installment, we
walk you through the task of installing new software in Linux, and where to find some productive programs
Networking is a very important area of computer
knowledge, especially as many homes now have more than one computer.
Sharing an Internet connection
among the computers in your household is a good start. If you're
curious, PCSTATS also has guides to
allowing you to share files between the systems in your home, and an article on
the benefits of wireless
networking. While wireless is
extremely easy to set up and use, it has some security concerns that every user
should know about. In PCSTATS'
wireless security article, we provide any user with the
knowledge they need to secure their wireless network from intruders. Advanced
users may find this guide to Virtual Private Networks (VPN) and internet connection
useful. If you have a printer, why not share it over your network so
that anyone in your house can use it? The easy to follow printer sharing guide has the goods.
Once you have a broadband Internet connection,
there are a lot of interesting things you can do with Windows XP that are not
immediately obvious. For example, how about
enabling remote access,
so you can work on your desktop from any Internet enabled computer in the world?
Or maybe you'd like to create
your own FTP server,
allowing easy file transfers over the Internet? Perhaps you'd even like to learn
how to create your own
weblog ('blog') a small personal website. Speaking of
websites, this guide to website hosting from a home PC has that critical topic completely covered! It's all here in
PCSTATS collection of Beginners Guides.
Once you've got a blog or website going, how about setting up an RSS
feed so others can track your site easily? If you check out several
bookmarks every day, learning about RSS
readers could save you a lot of time.
Hardware failure is an unfortunate fact of
life for PC owners, and one of the things that keeps computer stores in
business. Fortunately there are ways to detect problems before they happen, and
reduce the damage if your hardware should fail. Hard drives are one of the focal
areas for failure in modern computer systems, due to their mechanical nature.
They are also rather easy to erase, accidentally or maliciously. In one of our
most popular and acclaimed guides, PCSTATS Beginners Guides looks at ways to
restore your lost data
in the event of just such a hard drive disaster. On the
same topic, our guides to
diagnosing bad memory
and bad hard drives as well as interpreting your
computer's 'beep' error codes
will help you troubleshoot your PC at home. If you'd just like to expand the
amount of storage space on your PC, well we've covered that aspect too with the
guide to formatting and partitioning a hard drive!
Encryption and passwords are important facets of
modern computer use, especially where the Internet is concerned. These subjects
can be rather hard to understand for the average user, however. We've attempted
to set things straight in this walk-through of
encryption and online privacy
Locked yourself out of your computer or file by
forgetting a password? In twin guides, PCSTATS' examines the strengths and weaknesses
of Windows password
document password decryption
giving you the knowledge you need to reclaim access. Knowing how to
break back into Windows, or a locked document or ZIP file isn't something you'll
need to know everyday, but when you're in a bind this information can be a life
saver. PCSTATS also examines how to 'harden' your
laptop computer , so if it is lost or stolen, at least your data will be safe.
For assorted tips and tweaks that can make your
Windows XP experience, cleaner, faster and uniquely yours, we present our most
popular set of PCSTATS Guides; 101
tips and tweaks for Windows XP, 99
Performance Tips for Windows XP and 104
Great Tech Tips for Windows XP. That's 304 useful tips, every one of them
tested. You are sure to find something you like in one of these
For some comic relief, as well as a serious look
into the kinds of problems and errors of judgement that may one day destroy your
precious computer, take a look at the extremely insightful guide to the
most common ways to kill a PC. Why not visit our feedback page and
share your own stories once you're finished!?
||PCstats Weekly Tech Tips: RegEdit and RegEdit?
The Windows registry editor is one of the most powerful tools available to any tweaker. WindowsXP has a nasty habit of only allowing one window open by default, which can be limiting if lots of changes need to be done, and it makes keeping track of different registry keys and settings a little difficult. However it is possible to open up a second instance of Regedit.
After loading the Windows Registry editor, go back to Start -> Run and this time type "regedit –m" and hit the OK button. The –m switch allows users to open a second window which should help keep things organized a bit easier.
All of the PCstats Weekly Tech Tips have been archived in the Forums for your reference.
|All about INTEL ViiV|
Convergence is coming, so the major hardware and software manufacturers like Intel and Microsoft would have you believe. Soon your PC and TV will be inextricably entwined in a dance of video goodness (and serious amounts of cash).
Intel recently announced the ViiV (rhymes with 'five') platform, essentially attempting to do for desktop computers what Centrino did for laptops; that is, to assure customers that the computer in question will do certain things extremely well. In the case of Centrino, the targets were wireless performance, battery life and comparably high computing power for a mobile system. ViiV is more vague inevitably, since it encompasses almost every desktop PC form factor. The main points of emphasis are multimedia and TV-tuning/video capture abilities including 5.1 audio, a TV-tuner and TV-out.
Every ViiV machine is intended to be capable of serious home-theatre work including time shifting and program recording as well as future support for HD-DVD playback; they will also sport instant on/off capabilities. The program will be officially launched early in 2006.
Intel's ViiV specifications start with a dual-core (Intel) processor, probably the upcoming 'Presler' dual-core processors. Windows Media Centre will be the operating system of choice, and each ViiV PC will come with a remote control, just like current Windows Media Centre PCs. 5.1 sound will be required, as will wired Gigabit Ethernet, though a TV-tuner and wireless networking support are apparently optional. The lack of a mandatory TV-tuner is an odd step if Intel wants ViiV to take over the TV rooms of the nation. Perhaps there will be two ViiV specs, one with the tuner and one without. This would allow users to see at a glance if they are getting a fully capable multimedia machine, which is the point of a platform like ViiV in the first place.
To jibe with Intel's hopes for ViiV PCs to become home theatre appliances, the company is including an interesting 'Quick Resume Technology' allowing a ViiV PC to be turned on and off instantly (provided it's already been booted the normal way). The specification also calls for an internal media server, capable of converting media files for improved playback on various media devices such as televisions, stereos and handheld computers.
With the Dual-core processor at its heart, Intel sees the ViiV system as a home media hub, allowing multiple simultaneous uses such as playing music in one room while watching a movie on TV in another. Getting something like this to work well for consumers means more than just guaranteeing good hardware though; it'll be all about the interface. We'd imagine that Intel and Microsoft have negotiated some changes to the way XP Media Centre Edition works to better fit with the capabilities of the ViiV platform. We'll see early in 2006.
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