1) Don't be a guinea pig. Let someone else find out if the" latest and greatest" really is.
2) "If it ain't broke, don't fix it !" Fine-tuning a system sometimes produces unexpected results. Backup first, and use the ERU too !
3) Use quality, proven hardware, from a source that can stand behind it. You get what you pay for. There are great computer bargains out there. But beware, some of the bargains "aren't". The same applies to software.
4) Upgrade your RAM memory. If your hard drive light blinks often when you are using a large program (especially with graphics), Windows may be using your hard drive as extra (extra slow) memory. Adding memory "chips" will make the computer work much better.
5) Internet... there are a lot of hints out there too ! Check the websites of the various manufacturers of hardware you own. Printers use software that is updated to help eliminate bugs. The same applies to the hardware itself. You can check site to find out information about your hardware's Y2K compliance. One easy way is to set you computer's clock to 11:55 PM on 12/31/99 and watch what happens. Some computers will fail to "roll-over" properly, but resetting the clock on 1/1/2000 will work. Watch out for leap year issues that can catch you, though. 2000 is a leap year, 1900 wasn't. Make sure your PC can recognize 2/29/2000. The is a variety of Y2K software out there. I've used Fix2000 with good results.
6) Internet itself... if you have trouble sending large email files, connecting, etc. try using a different connection numbers. Internet providers give you a list with multiple numbers. Not all numbers connect to the same equipment and I have seen routing issues cause strange problems that simply dialing into a different number will cure. Also make sure the number you call is designed for your modem speed. A 56K modem will work at 33.6K if that is the best the connection supports. Hold your mouse over the small "two computer" icon on the right side of your taskbar for a few seconds to see your connection speed.
7) Cleaning your PC- use your vacuum cleaner with a large NEW paintbrush and gently loosen/vacuum dust from around disk drives and vents. After you are done, feel the vent next to where the power cord connect while the PC is running. You should feel air coming from it. If you don't, the fan inside that vent has failed ! Get it fixed ASAP or costly failure will occur. There is usually a fan on the processor itself, too. To check this, power down the PC and carefully remove the cover. Power up the PC again and look for a tiny (2" square) fan mounted on a metal part with fins. These often fail too, and heat is bad for the main processor chip. A symptom of a fan failing is noise. You will usually hear various kinds of buzzing, vibration, etc. before the fan fails. When the noise stops, you will likely think "whatever it was, it's okay now!", when actually, it means the fan has stopped completely and you are on your way to a "meltdown". Don't be fooled ! Now that you've read this far... D & M Electronics, Inc. will sell you a replacement ball bearing (the best one, NOT sleeve bearings) Pentium Processor fan. (for a typical Pentium chip) for only $4.95 if you mention this newsletter. This is a $10.00 savings over Radio Shack's $14.95. This offer is good as long as supplies last. (We have several dozen in stock.)
Until next time... Happy Computing !
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