Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The joys or pains of overclocking your cpu

Some times a good procedure for boosting a clients PC performance is something called over clocking.  Basically you increase the speed at which the computer CPU or Central Processing Unit operates or "thinks". Not all CPUs can be overclocked and the method for doing it varies from computer to computer based on manufactures and what not. Now this article isn't going to tell you how to do it because quite frankly I don't believe I can describe it adequately enough for you to be able to do it with out problems. Over clocking can be one of those things that permanently damages your computer resulting in having to replace parts or more likely just get a new computer all together. If some thing goes wrong in an overclocking endeavour then there is a very real possibility that not even the most skilled computer repair guru can help your poor machine.

Still it is a viable and free way to increase your systems processing power.
To be honest I am not all that versed with the ins and outs of it myself which is why i rarely will do it for a client if at all. Though try as I might if I am genuinely unable to increase performance for a person or company whose budget simply cant afford a faster new computer then I very well may consider it.

Well lets break it down shall we?

Overclocking in a nut shell is this. You have a computer with lets say an Intel processor such as an Intel Celeron(Intel is the manufacture and Celeron is the specific type of CPU it is). You may have already figured out what your processor speed is, measured in either MHZ or GHZ by right-clicking on your "my computer" icon in windows and clicking on properties and then up comes some system information including the CPU speed. And then lets say your CPU speed is in fact 2.00 GHZ or maybe even 2.93 GHZ (those are typical Celeron speeds). Overclocking will allow you to increase the speed from lets say 2.00 GHZ to 2.60 GHZ effectively adding an over 25% speed increase. Or from 2.93 GHZ to 3.20 or maybe even 3.40.

That's a basic break down of what is achieved during over clocking. Oh on a side note. If you have a CPU that is 2.00GHZ that means it can preform a theoretical 2 billion actions per second. So clearly the higher the number the better off you are.

There are a few more things to mention regarding over clocking as well. When it comes to an Intel CPU, Intel largely supports overclocking on alot of their processors. But in order to make a rather noticeable performance increase with an Intel CPU one must also be able to increase the FSB or "Front Side Bus" speed of the RAM (memory sticks) as well. Basically you increase the speed at which the CPU and memory talk to each other. So when considering overclocking your Intel CPU I advise also looking up in EXTENSIVE detail about the FSB and RAM overclocking/speed increase etc.

AMD is another manufacturer of CPUs. AMD's CPU speeds are measured a bit differently from an Intel CPU. When you look at the specs for an AMD processor in your my computer properties of windows, you would expect to see a lower number of GHZ speed compared to an Intel. For example with an Intel you may expect to see 3.40 GHZ. Whereas with the AMD you could expect the same amount of performance with a number like 2.4 GHZ. AMD CPU's are notorious for being just incredible CPU's for gaming. Whereas Intel CPU's are better suited for multi tasking application or running alot of programs lets say. These days if you are not a gamer I would recommend an Intel Pentium 4 processor. But if you are a gamer Then AMD CPU's are noted for the gaming world.

Any way. The way one attempts to overclock a CPU or change memory settings is in the motherboard BIOS. If you don't know what the BIOS is then please refer to a previous article on this blog which may discuss about it or else don't worry about it. The BIOS is the master control center for your computer. If you change a setting in your windows operating system, then the worst that can happen is that windows no longer starts (more or less easy to handle) Whereas if you make a change in the system BIOS you could literally fry your entire computer. Maybe now you can see why overclocking can be dangerous. When inside the BIOS you cant just go around changing any random setting or number that you may think is appropriate. IF you do know where to find the control option for adjusting your cpu's clock speed/frequency, and are tempted to adjust it then you must do so in small increments only. For example some BIOS will only allow the increase in the "frequency multiplier" by around 20x which means when you overclock the CPU you can increase the multiplier by up to 20 times. So if your CPU clock is set at 100 then the option may only go to 120. That is more than enough to get about 300-600 MHZ speed increase depending on your CPU type. But you don't just want to jump into the highest setting. Your computer may not even start up if you do. As I said before take it in small increments and save your settings and restart your computer. If windows starts up then so far so good. If windows does not start and your computer keeps shutting down then your CPU is running too hot and you must change your settings back before you melt your CPU!

Yes I said hot and melt. When you force the CPU to work faster by overclocking the whole thing heats up quite a bit. I overclocked a clients computer the other day and it lasted about 4 days running just fine but I suppose it couldn't do it anymore and decided to die. I had to then walk the poor client over the phone on restoring BIOS default settings...I was very unhappy.

One last thing about AMD CPU's and overclocking. Only recently with the introduction of the Venice type processor did AMD support overclocking at all (Not entirely sure if that's accurate). but if you can manage to overclock your AMD CPU then it should be noted that you probably do not need to change any settings with the RAM or FSB since AMD CPU's are already fully optimized to have better handling with that than an Intel.

THAT IS ALL I believe I have covered enough material to educate you enough on some of the dangers and basic operations and principles of overclocking.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Using the System File Checker to restore corrupt files

The System File Checker can be a useful tool to help out if core system files become missing or corrupt.

This tutorial will explain how to perform it using Windows XP.

Click on start > All Programs > Accessories > Command Prompt

Once there type in sfc and a list of commands will be displayed giving you some options as to what to do.

Typically you want to then type in sfc /scannow to start an instant scan of the computer to check for files.

Basically at this point the scan process may take a good while and i suggest you do nothing on your computer while its scanning. If it encounters a problem it will let you know. You will also need your windows xp cd with the current service pack as is installed on your computer. For example if you have windows xp service pack 3 installed on your computer then you will need to use the windows xp service pack 3 cd!

In order to tell which service pack you have installed, simply right click on "My Computer" and select properties. Up will come a window with lots of information on it. You want where it says windows xp, a version like "home edition" or "professional edition" and then some where close to that will be a service pack number!

Need computer repair? click here to visit my support desk!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Obtaining Your System Information

Here is a simple and sweet method for quickly retrieving your computers system information. The system information contains alot of things such as makes and model/serial numbers of hardware device and current versions of different programs. It also lists details regarding your memory capacity for your computer and for your graphics card! Overall knowing how to access your system information can be a helpful thing to know. Whether for yourself or for informing a computer repair man about problems you may be experiencing.

For windows xp all you need to do is click on start, all programs, accessories, system tools, system information. And that's it!

Now the first thing you will see is your summary. That knowledge is important to know for potential computer repair work that may be needed. If the numbers and letters seem confusing to you then you can look up some of these things on the Internet or else there is no need to worry about it. Just as long as you know where to go to tell your computer repair tech support guy about your system information. He will know what they all mean.

Often times clients of mine will need to figure out not only what kind of video 3d graphics card they are running, but how much memory it has to see if they have enough to play a game. This information is also easily obtained in the system information window. Simply click on "components" and then select "display" to pull up all the information regarding your video card. The part which talks about your cards memory capacity is "Adapter Ram" and then a number usually measured in MB or megabytes!

Friday, September 2, 2011

How to boost your Virtual Memory!

In this post i describe step by step how to increase your computer's virtual memory... Don't know what virtual memory is? =P

Well then let me explain!

Virtual memory is what allows your computer to process programs which may require more memory/RAM than you have! For example. John Smith's computer has 2gb (gigabytes) of RAM built into his computer (Those small little electronic circuit boards which fit into the main board). Now John is a busy man! and John needs his computer to run many different programs at once! John would like to browse the Internet, check his e-mail, edit a photo in his favorite photo editing program, listening to music on his computer, talk to his friends in an instant messenger program, and write up a document in his favorite word processing program! Phew!..John might be too busy!

Well what is going to end up happening as John works more and more doing all the things mentioned above, is that his computers built in RAM is going to run out and his computer will slow down horrifically so. And then poor John wont be able to do any of those things and think he has to call a computer repair guy.

Ah but wait! =D That's when VIRTUAL MEMORY kicks in to give John an extra boost in memory power! Virtual memory acts as a back up reserve of memory in case the computer runs out of normal RAM. Yay no costly computer repair service for John!

"Well how does it do that?" Glad you asked!

Virtual memory works by taking some un-used space of your hard drive and treating it like memory, adding it to the amount you already have. You can specify how much virtual memory has to work with by following these simple steps...

First check to see how much hard drive space you have available for virtual memory to use. Double click on "My Computer", then right click on "Local Disk(C)" and then click on properties. Now the number with the pink icon represents how much space you have free to use on your hard drive. Remember this number! It will help determine how much virtual memory you can use.

When you got that then RIGHT CLICK on the "My Computer" icon and select properties. Click on the advanced tab at the top and then click on the "Settings" button in the performance section. After which you will need to click on another tab at the top called "Advanced". And then hit the button called "Change" in the Virtual memory section!

Now you will see two text boxes with numbers in them labeled "Initial size" and "Maximum size". Click on the little button that says "Custom size" so you can edit those two text boxes.... Now remember the number that told you how much hard drive space you have available? What you want to do is make sure you have at least any where from 5-10gb of space available before you change the numbers in the boxes. IF you do then you can go ahead and specify as much as you would like in both the initial and maximum amount. 3000-4000 is a good amount, Make sure the maximum size is at least 1gb or 1000 greater than the initial size!

Now when you have your numbers in place you will need to hit the "Set" button to finalize it and then hit the "Ok" button.

Here is a video walk through of how to do it in windows xp!


If you start to run low on hard drive space, your computer will give you a warning about your virtual memory and you will have to go back into your virtual memory settings and scale back down your numbers.... Or else remove some stuff from your hard drive, maybe un-install a program or two or delete old files to free up some space!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Computer Repair man epxlains how to host games/game servers

Alright I have been getting alot of requests from people asking me how do they get people to see their game server or more directly how to host a game on starcraft. Well I will now include everything you need to know to get started! You don't have to be a computer repair guru do it! It's easy and every one has the ability to host games and gaming servers!

The main reason why people cant get people to join their games/servers is because for your protection by default inbound Internet connections are blocked so as to prevent unwanted access to your computer. And all we need to do is open those connections up! This article will address how to do so with windows firewall, a modem, and or a router.

One thing I learned early on in my computer repair career is how to allow legit good programs to get past the windows firewall! And this is step number one. Configuring your windows firewall to allow starcraft access. Why starcraft? Well it is a good example to use for demonstrating however the same can be applied to any .exe gaming server or port number. Alright now this video shows a simple walk through for adding a program into the list of accepted programs in windows xp firewall

If you have windows vista or windows 7 then the steps are more or less the same so here is a general run down. Step on find your control panel you can click either start you go to my computer. Step two locate windows firewall. Step three make sure the firewall is on and allows exceptions. Step four click on add a program to the safe access list(or something similar). Browse around (ussually in program files) for starcraft.exe and then once you have found it click the button to add it into the list. OR you can add a port instead in which case the port you want to add is both udp and tcp 6112 (that's the battle.net port number) If you use a gaming server then enter the port number and network protocol (tcp/udp) for your server.

And that's it for the windows firewall! Now if you have a modem instead of a router then you might be done at this point and may not need to continue go ahead and try to host a game.


You will need to have administrator access to your router for this. Go to your browser and type in (Last two digits might be different depending on your router type! just google what it is or try checking the bottom of the router) when you do a user name and password prompt should come up (you need to know what the name and password is) If you don't know it then go to http://www.portforward.com/ You will need to know the brand name of your router and the model number and scroll down in the list till you see it and then click on it. An advertisement will come up which you can skip if you prefer. Then a list of games will come up which you can select from in order to allow them access to your router. Find starcraft and click on it. Ignore the part regarding static ip (if you are using starcraft) and then follow the rest of the steps to let starcraft past the routers firewall so you can host a game!

And that's it you are done no need to call a computer repair man out after all! If you have more questions however you can go ahead and contact me through comment or through the tech support tab

Monday, August 29, 2011

Windows 7 backwards compatibility mode

Some times when dealing with a new operating system like windows 7, Some programs stop functioning or wont run like starcraft. And then you may feel the need to look up local computer repair help. This however is not always necessary! Windows 7 as well as older operating systems allows you to run old programs in backwards compatibility mode. Which in a nut shell means this. If you have a program or a game like starcraft you would like to play that's designed to run on much older operating systems then you can right click on the game icon and select run in compatibility mode. Or you may have to right click on the icon and select properties first then look for a tab which mentions compatibility. And then that's it!

Now as a note of interest, it seems windows 7 does not like to run starcraft even in backwards compatibility mode! If you find that this is the case then I recommend shutting off ALL programs you have running and then trying it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Glossary of terms for computer tech jargon!

Seems applicable to me for the do-it-yourself computer repair folks out there and a reference guide glossary of terms is useful and so I will herein include a list of abbreviations, terms, and general jargon along with their meanings and explanation. Bare in mind this will in no wise be a complete list as that would be a few books worth of information!
  • TOWER = The case your computer parts are stored in. usually shaped like an elongated box.
  • HDD/HD = This is your hard drive located in your "My Computer" folder for windows OS, it stores all your information, programs and files.
  • OS/OPERATING SYSTEM = Your Operating System is what enables you to easily control programs and files on your computer. Some operating system are called "Windows", "Linux", "Unix", "Android", "Mac OS" and various other brands.
  • MEMORY/RAM = Memory generally refers to the part of your computer which is designed to hold and retrieve information quickly. Memory can also refer to the storage space on your hard drive, although they are typically a separate thing. Memory usually looks like thin pieces of circuit boards with some integrated circuits on it, placed inside the mother board of your computer. There are many different types of memory too as they come in all shapes and sizes for example, DDR, DDR2, DDR3, SDR etc. Memory is also known as RAM or random access memory. The more memory you have the faster your computer can retrieve and manipulate data.
  • MOTHER BOARD = The main electronic board inside your tower is called the mother board. It is the most easily identified piece of equipment in your computer as it is the largest piece. Everything plugs into your mother board. When looking to upgrade parts of your computer, it is usually necessary to make sure new parts are compatible with your mother board version. You can look this up online by typing in your mother board make and model which can be found inside printed on the board itself, or you can call up your local computer repair man to take a look at it for you.
  • COMPUTER REPAIR/IT GUY = "IT" stands for "Information Technology" and is a broad spectrum term used to define any area with in computer or high technology based fields. An IT professional will be able to handle your computer repair needs. Some work solely for specific companies or corporations. Some work for business and residential as part of a larger IT company, and some do computer repair and general IT work as a freelance such as myself. Most professional computer repair men and women will be either A+ certified or comptia certified as those are  pretty much industry standards.
  • CPU/CENTRAL PROCESSING UNIT = This is the brain of your computer it is a relatively small chip which sits inside the motherboard and is covered by a big heat sink metal piece and a fan. It heats up pretty quickly which is why care is taken to ensure it keeps cool. It is the other half of the coin in responsibility for your computers speed. CPU power and RAM is the combination for computer performance speed. The more you have of each, the faster your computer will run.
  • ISP/INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDER = The company you pay money to in order to be able to connect to the Internet.
  • BROWSER/WEB BROWSER = A program used to look up websites on the Internet. Some browsers are known as "Internet Explorer" by Microsoft, "FireFox" by Mozilla, "Chrome" by Google and many more.
  • BIT = A bit is either a "1" or a "0" it basically has to do with the electricity that runs in your computer being either on or off. That's how the computer thinks in the CPU is by looking at a code of zeros' and ones' to see a pattern of information. Kind of like Morse code expect blazing by at millions or even billions of times a second.
  • BYTE = A byte is just eight bits. For example "10011010"
  • KB/KILOBYTE = "Killo" means 1000 so a kilo byte is one thousand bytes.
  • MB/MEGABYTE = "Mega" is a million so one mega byte is one million bytes.
  • GB/GIGABYTE = "Giga" is one billion or in this case 1 billion bytes.
  • TB/TERABYTE = "Tera" is 1 trillion
That concludes today's vocabulary lessons boys and girls =P If you have any questions about terms or abbreviations then feel free to ask in the comments section!