Thursday, November 26, 2009

My Computer Is Frozen Up Solid!

Approach 1: Press Esc twice.
This action usually doesn’t work, but give it a shot anyway.

Approach 2: Press Ctrl, Alt, and Delete all at the same time.
If you’re lucky, Windows Task Manager appears with the message that you discovered an “unresponsive application.” The Task Manager lists the names of currently running programs — including the one that’s not responding.
Click the name of the program that’s causing the mess and then click the End Process button. You lose any unsaved work in it, of course, but you should be used to that.
(If you somehow stumbled onto the Ctrl+Alt+Delete combination by accident, press Esc at the unresponsive-application message to return to Windows.)
If that still doesn’t do the trick, try clicking the Task Manager’s Shut Down menu and choosing Restart. Your computer should shut down and restart, hopefully returning in a better mood.

Approach 3: If the preceding approaches don’t work, push the computer’s reset button. When the Turn Off Computer box appears, choose Restart.

Approach 4: If not even the reset button works, turn the computer off and choose Restart from the Turn Off Computer box.


Sags, surges, noise, spikes, blackouts…what really happens to connected devices when they experience a power anomaly? A lightning strike is a frequent example, although it is just one of countless problems that can strike your equipment. Imagine lightning has just struck a nearby transformer. If the surge was powerful enough, it travelled instantaneously through wiring (AC, network, serial, phone lines and more) with the electrical equivalent force of a tidal wave. For PC users, the surge could have traveled into your computer via the AC outlet or phone lines. The first casualty is usually a modem or motherboard. Chips go next, and data is lost. Lightning Facts The utility responds to overvoltages by disconnecting the grid. This creates brownouts and blackouts. If the voltage drops low enough, or blacks out, hard disks in computing machinery may crash, destroying the data stored on the disks. In all cases, work-in-progress stored in cache is instantly lost. In the worst case, password protection on the hard drives can be jumbled, or the file allocation tables may be upset, rendering the hard disks useless. Are you protected? Call today for an evaluation: 815-345-4930

Dial Up Doesn't Mean You're Safe

Most of us use our computers on the Internet.  Whether we connect by our telephone line or a broadband connection there is a certain amount of risk involved these days.  Just connecting to the Internet and opening your browser is pause for caution.

Just because you use dial-up does not mean you are safe!

If you connect to the Internet via a dial-up modem, your risk increases with the duration that you remain connected.   As your computer
gets more and more infected it will become slower and more frustrating to use.  Buying a new computer will NOT solve this problem - you’re new computer will fall victim even faster. The best and least expensive route is to clean and protect your current investment.

Most updates required to clean and protect your system from Internet threats are large and designed more for the broadband user.   Having your system professionally cleaned and protected in-house is a recommended course of action.  Our maintenance and protection services ensure your updates and Internet security are complete.  Every 6 months we recommend another in-house update and scan.  Our in-house updates are done on a high speed connection, allowing us the ability to provide this service to you.

If you don’t think your computer is as protected as it should be: the longer you wait, the worse it gets.  Why pay extra for internet you can’t use or has made using your computer a headache?  Call us today for an evaluation: 815.345.4930

Don't Ignore the Windows Key

The Windows logo key, located in the bottom row of most computer keyboards is a little-used treasure. Don't ignore it. It is the shortcut anchor for some of the following commands: Windows + D: Minimize or restore all windows Windows + E: Display Windows Explorer Windows + F: Display Search for files Windows + Ctrl + F: Display Search for computer Windows + F1: Display Help and Support Center Windows + R: Display Run dialog box Windows + break: Display System Properties dialog box Windows + shift + M: Undo minimize all windows Windows + L: Lock the workstation Windows + U: Open Utility Manager

How Much is Too Much?

A very common question we get is:  What kind of computer should I get?
The first step in solving this dilemma is to know what you would like to use the computer for at the present time and what you might be interested in “trying” later on.
Someone purchasing a computer for office work will have different needs than someone purchasing for home use or home entertainment.
Some people like portability and may require a laptop PC.  Just like a desktop PC, laptops should be purchased with the type of use it will get in mind.
Very cheap computer deals, always turn out to be just that - cheap.  The old saying: “You get what you pay for” comes to mind more often than not when we are called to repair one of dozens of name-brand, off-the-shelf computers.
A trusted friend or associate is often the best resource you can use to help begin the PC selection process.  Future Quest Technologies specializes in working closely with its customers to ensure the right computer is chosen, installed, configured and operational wherever it is needed.
Future Quest Technologies has a wide variety of computers for every type of user and environment.  Backed by solid nationwide warranties and excellent, personalized support, you're sure to be happy with your purchase.  Just remember:  a custom configuration is no more expensive than an off-the-shelf model - it quite possibly could be less in the long run since you aren’t buying more computer and software than you need or spending time dealing with support issues you shouldn’t have to.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Virtual Memory, Pagefiles and RAM

Back when Microsoft started out as a DOS based system any program you wanted to run had to be done one at a time. Compared to today's standards it was a very archaic, slow and inefficient way to get anything accomplished. With the advent of Microsoft Windows 3.0 a user could now do more than one thing at a time on their computer. The only limitations were the computer hardware abilities, which still weren't much to speak of.  But hey, you could run a game of solitaire and and your write program at the same time!
As Microsoft "improved" on its Windows product, hard drive space and physical RAM became more and more important. People needed to be able to run multiple programs at a time for peak efficiency. Most computer systems are limited in the amount of physical ram that can be installed in them. The limitations of physical ram won't stop Microsoft though, so they started utilizing virtual memory. Virtual memory uses extra storage space on your hard drive to simulate physical memory. This is why it's always a good idea to have lots of extra hard drive space. If you have ever used your hard drive space until it was almost all gone, you may have noticed that your computer runs a lot slower. This is because Windows no longer has that space to use for memory and storing information it needs beyond your computers physical ram. The physical ram holds portions of the operating system and programs currently in use or often used for easy and quick access. To free up space in the physical ram storage your hard drive space gets used for data that is not immediately needed, but should be readily available for efficiency. When you open many programs at once your physical ram can get used up quickly. This is when Windows swaps data from your hard drive (virtual ram/pagefile) back to your physical ram as needed.
As programs become larger and more complex with better graphics and more features, hard drive space has also increased as well as the amounts of physical ram your computer can have installed in it. Your pagefile, or virtual memory, expands the physical ram of your computer so you can do more faster. Any phycical ram overflow to space on your hard drive is called swap space. Generally your swap space should be twice the size of the physical ram installed into your computer. Swap space is divided into segments, called pages. These pages each have a unique address that can be referenced when needed. When an address is referenced, the page can be swapped into memory. This page is returned to your hard drive when no longer needed and other pages are then called.
Since your computer typically moves only as fast as its slowest component, it is always a good idea to create your pagefile, or virtual ram, on a second hard drive. While this is not always possible, it's the best practice since your main computer hard drive is used frequently and most activity occurs on it. A second hard drive would typically have less data traffic and increase the speed of your computers access to the virtual memory you have set up. Another best practice is to typically let Windows adjust your virtual memory for you, unless you know what you are doing. If you adjust your pagefile, or virtual memory, too low or too high, you may encounter problems running some software programs.