Windows Archive

Synergy: How To Use One Keyboard and Mouse on Multiple Computers for Free

During my perusing of the Internet for something interesting to share with my readers, I stumbled upon an update to an application Synergy that lets you share your Keyboard and Mouse on Multiple computers. The best part about Synergy is that it works and it is Free!

The guys at Lifehacker were so generous enough to explain in detail how Synergy works and how to setup your ‘server’ (the computer that your mouse and keyboard is physically connected to) and the clients (Windows or Mac computer that does not have a keyboard or mouse).

Way back in the day two jobs ago, I use to use three PCs all with only one keyboard, monitor and mouse. This was done through a KM switch. Now with today’s technology this can be done virtually through software and your network. All you need is a working network, two or more computers connected to the same network and the free Synergy app.

The video below is a tutorial of Synergy on how to set it up and how it all comes together.

Try it for yourself if you have two or more computers that you wish to use the same keyboard and mouse for. Be sure to leave your comments below about the Synergy app.

Popularity: 16%

5 Popular Mysteries of the PC Solved!

computer-mysteriesComputers have nearly become a home appliance that is needed almost as much as a refrigerator on some households in America. The common PC running some version of the Windows operating system remains to be the most popular configuration among homes and even offices. Most of the users of PCs have somewhere along the lines experienced some type of mysterious event such as a downloaded file not being found or should you allow Adobe Reader and Java update all the time. These mysterious things happen to all of us and you should not always wonder if that beep that your computer makes when starting up is something you should look into getting fix or is it completely normal.

Here are 5 popular mysteries of the PC explained in from my common knowledge and experience which could help you.

  1. Why can’t I find a file that I just downloaded?
  2. Many times we download files or multiple files using different web browsers. Most times we never know where each web browser is setup to save those downloaded files and this could be a time consuming endeavor to find downloads. Each web browser has a set folder for saving downloads and you can customize that setting by opening up the ‘options’ in your specific web browser. Once you find the options and where downloads are saved, you can change the set path to your desired folder such as selecting your ‘my documents’ folder.

  3. Why doesn’t my iPad, iPhone or iPod connect and/or charge when I plug it into the front USB port on my PC?
  4. This is a common issue that Apple failed to address in the past. What it comes down to is, most USB ports in located in the front of a PC desktop or tower are actually ‘bridged’ and do not provide ample power to sometimes load an iPad, iPhone or iPod properly. In many cases neither an iPhone nor iPod will charge using the front USB ports. To solve this issue, it is best to use a USB port in the back of your PC. Many of the rear USB ports provide enough power to successfully sync or charge your iPhone or iPod. The iPad is a similar case but please keep in mind, iPads will NOT charge when connected to most PCs regardless of the port used. You must also use the proper USB cord that came with your device. A regular iPod or iPhone cord may not be compatible with the iPad and vic versa.

  5. My PC beeps when I turn it on. What do those beeps mean?
  6. Most PCs are configured by default to send some type of audible alert upon boot process. Those beeps come from the BIOS (software built into the motherboard). Each series or beeps mean something from as simple as a power-on notification to the RAM not being accessible. If your PC boots normally and runs fine, then you should not be concerned about one beep during startup. If you hear a combination or series of beeps and your PC fails to boot correctly, then you must look up how to decipher the PC beep code dependent on your type of motherboard. This may be done by contacting the manufacturer of your PC or doing a Google search for ‘PC Beep Code Meanings’.

  7. Why am I getting popups and system scans from some security program that I did not install myself?
  8. When this occurs, 9 times out of 10 you have a malware parasite installed on your computer. Malware, or what is also commonly referred to as spyware, is known to slip onto computer systems without alerting the computer user. When this takes place, the user may later notice popup messages appearing out of nowhere in addition to system scans being conducted by some unknown application. If this is the case, then the computer user must take immediate action to detect and remove the threat. There are several viable solutions out there that computer users can use to scan and remove malware. These programs include Spyware Doctor, SpyHunter and Spy Sweeper.

  9. My Printer wont print and I am not able to delete or cancel print jobs.
  10. This is a common issue with Windows PCs. The issue lies with the PC not successfully communicating with the printer. In most of these cases it is a software related problem. Simply rebooting the PC may or may not resolve the issue. In the case that rebooting does not resolve the issue, the use of a repair app may be needed to restore printing capabilities. Even still, unplugging the printer and then reconnecting it could also be a way to restore communication with the PC and printer. There is a printer communication repair program called ‘Stalled Printer Repair‘ that can be used to purge the printing queue and get the PC and printer communicating again. Not only will it clear any pending printing jobs, but you will be able to resume printing new jobs that you start after the fact.

What computer mysteries have you encountered that you cannot seem to resolve? Share with us (below in the comments section) so you may help others.

Popularity: 10%

Top Windows 7 Keyboard Shortcuts That You May Not Know About

windows-7-keyboard-shortcuts-2My father use to be a fan of the old IBM workstations mainly because he worked at a factory for many years that used them back in the late 80′s and early 90′s. During that time they did not have a mouse and he was forced to use the keyboard sometimes creating his own keyboard shortcuts. Sure they later upgraded to Windows XP several years later and he found himself fondling around with the keyboard to get the system to do what he wanted it to do. Now we are all faced with the new Windows 7 operating system on most of our PCs at work, home and even in public locations. Have you ever tried using Windows 7 with just a keyboard and no mouse? It isn’t very fun unless you know a good portion of the top Windows 7 keyboard shortcuts, many of them you did not know existed.

Microsoft has been so kind and generous to still allow us to use the keyboard for not only typing letters and numbers but for shortcuts to navigate your way through programs, windows and even web pages. I have compiled a list below from various sources of the several Windows 7 keyboard shortcuts that you may not have known about. Now the next time you sit down at your Windows 7 PC you can literally give the mouse a rest.

Our list of Windows 7 Keyboard Shortcuts that you may not know about

  • Ctrl+N opens a new window
  • Ctrl+W closes the current window
  • Ctrl+Shift+N creates a new folder
  • End moves to the bottom of the active window
  • Home moves to the top of the active window
  • F11 maximizes/minimizes the active window
  • Ctrl+period (.) rotates an image clockwise
  • Ctrl+comma (,) rotates an image counter-clockwise
  • Num Lock+asterisk (*) on the numeric keypad shows all subfolders under the selected folder
  • Num Lock+plus sign (+) on the numeric keypad shows the contents of the selected folder
  • Num Lock+minus sign (-) on the numeric keypad collapses the selected folder
  • Left arrow collapses the current selection if it’s expanded, or selects the parent folder
  • Alt+Enter opens the Properties dialog for the selected item
  • Alt+P shows the preview pane
  • Alt+left arrow shows the previous folder (same as pressing the backspace key)
  • Right arrow shows the current selection if it’s collapsed, or selects the first subfolder
  • Alt+right arrow moves to the next folder
  • Alt+up arrow shows the parent folder
  • Ctrl+Shift+E shows all folders above the selected folder
  • Alt+D moves the focus to the address bar
  • Ctrl+E and Ctrl+F move the focus to the search box
  • Windows key and the left or right arrow keys docs and un-docs the live window to the left, right or center of the screen
  • Windows key and the up arrow key or down arrow key restores or minimizes a window
  • Windows key plus ‘D’ shows the desktop

Do you know of any Windows 7 keyboard shortcuts that some PC users may not know about? Please share them with us by posting it in the comment section below.

Popularity: 15%

Evolution Picture Gallery: 25 Years of Microsoft Windows

The guys at computerworld.com posted an interesting ‘visual tour’ showing the past 25 years of the most popular computer operating system ever, Microsoft Windows.

Can you believe November 20, 2010 marks 25 years since Microsoft introduced the first version of Windows to everyone? It is rather obvious that Windows has evolved into something we could never fathom 25 years ago. From a never-seen-before GUI (Graphical User Interface) in 1985 to what we know as Windows 7 today, Microsoft has taken the world’s most recognized and used PC operating system beyond our dreams.

Below are computerworld.com’s images of Windows throughout the 25 years showing a representation of each version starting with version 1 which most of us probably do not remember.

Windows 1.0

Windows 1.0

Windows 2.0

Windows 2.0

Windows 3.0

Windows 3.0

Windows 95

Windows 95

Windows 98

Windows 98

Windows ME

Windows ME

Windows 2000

Windows 2000

Windows XP

Windows XP

Windows Vista

Windows Vista

Windows 7

Windows 7

Can you imagine what the next 25 years will have in store for us?

Popularity: 12%

How To Create Your Own Fancy Slideshow Screen Saver for Free

If you are like me, then you don’t want to waste time when it comes to creating a decent slideshow screen saver for your PC. Sure there are some pricey applications out there that you can buy for displaying your favorite pictures in a slideshow as your screen saver. Did you know there are a few ways that you can do this for FREE?

screen-saver-settings

One application that I use for free is Google Photos Screensaver which is included in the Picasa program. If you install the free Picasa application, then you will have an option to setup a Google Photos Screensaver. After it is installed, you can either select your own photos from Picasa, an online Web Album, photos from public sits or your own personal photos located on your computer. The best part of this screen saver app is that it has dual monitor support meaning it will display a different image on each monitor simultaneously. Visual effects can also be changed including Pan, Zoom, Wipe, Collage, Push and others. This is by far one of the better screen saver options that you can find for free and customize to your likings.

google-photos-screensaver

Flickr also has a nice screen saver option for free. The tool is called Flickr.NET Screensaver. If you download the small application, then you will be able to configure it similar to Picasa’s Google Photos Screensaver.

There are other ways of customizing a slideshow screen saver but have proven to be much more difficult. One of those ways is using Flash via the app InstantStorm. Picasa and Flickr provide modern options that are fully compatible with all versions of Windows including Windows 7.

Popularity: 17%

How To Revitalize An Old Desktop Computer

old-cpu-caseIn today’s economy many of us could really care less about replacing our current desktop computer with a new one. We would rather spend that money on other necessities in life. If your current desktop computer is starting to perform slow and needs either to be replaced (by your current standards) or just upgraded to hold you over for another 6 months to a year, then you can take a few steps to revitalize it.

Making sure that you purchase the right parts for upgrading your computer is a major key to saving money. Not only can you go broke buying the wrong upgrades for your system, but you can easily spend over the amount that a new system would cost in the first place.

Upgrade your RAM

Depending on what type of desktop computer you have, chances are that you can start by upgrading the system RAM. RAM is relatively cheap now days and you can save even more money by shopping online for the best deal for RAM. Do your homework first before upgrading RAM. Some computer manufacturers like to ship their systems with RAM that takes up all available slots and others may leave you with one or two empty slots. Find out what your system specs and requirements are first and then shop for the appropriate amount of RAM so you will not buy something that does you no good. In rare cases, you may purchase a stick of 2gb’s of RAM thinking that it will give you an additional 2gb of RAM not knowing that your system has two slots taken up by 1gb sticks of RAM each. A single 2gb stick or RAM would be a waste as it would only upgrade you to 3gb of ram because one of the 1gb sticks would be replaced.

Upgrade your Hard Drive

Upgrading to a new faster and bigger hard drive is also a relatively inexpensive upgrade that can increase performance on an older computer. Many new hard drives have increased transfer rates and larger buffers. This will allow your programs to open quickly and enable you to access files faster. It may also put you at ease knowing that your hard drive is less likely to crash due to old age.

Upgrade your Video Card

A new video card can bring life back into an older computer. Many older systems from big PC manufacturers such as Dell, HP and Sony will use integrated graphics built onto the motherboard. These are good for basic video operations and only one monitor. If you wish to upgrade to dual monitor support and speed up your older system then using a new video card is key. You must be careful when finding a compatible video card for your older PC. Some new video cards have power requirements that your system cannot support. It is best to look at your current system’s specs and find out of you can support a new video card.

Operating System Upgrade?

The operating system is one of those touchy upgrades that may not benefit you by upgrading. Upgrading from Windows XP to Vista is a bad idea because it will not give you any type of performance boost and could drain your system even more in terms of performance. The CPU in an older system will be bombarded by extra utilization and you will be very unhappy.

Avoid CPU Upgrade?

The CPU in your computer is probably another area that you may want to avoid upgrading. Very few computer systems greatly benefit from a CPU upgrade not to mention it can cost you well over $200 which is well over the budget of the first two upgrades that we mentioned, RAM and hard drive.

Monitor Upgrade?

What about your monitor? Chances are, unless you have a really old system, you have a LCD monitor. The size of the monitor is really personal preference if you have an LCD display. A larger monitor will not really increase any type of performance but be more pleasing to your eyes. If you have an older CRT monitor, then it may be time to upgrade to at least a 19 inch LCD display. They run relatively inexpensive now days and can be had for around $120.

Do you have any suggestions for our readers that may consider keeping their current system and upgrading it for a little more performance? Have you read our post on how to Restore Your PC to Like-New Performance?

Popularity: 20%

What’s The Difference: 64-Bit vs. 32-Bit

Have you have ever wondered the main differences in 64-Bit operating systems, hardware and applications vs. 32-Bit? Did you know that the essential difference in the two starts with the ability to access a certain amount of information or RAM?

system-information-32-bit-vs-64-bit

Ever since the new release of Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows 7, expert to novice computer users have asked the question: what is the difference in 32-bit and 64-bit? If you asked this very question, then you are not alone by far.

32-bit operating systems such as Windows 7 Home 32-bit, can only access 4 GB of RAM which puts a limitation on how well some applications may perform. A 64-bit machine has the ability to access much more system memory, around 17.2 billion gigabytes. A 64-bit machine virtually eliminates any limitations leaving a lot more room to grow and create more complex infrastructures.

Not only does the choice of a 32-bit and 64-bit system come down the amount of RAM that you plan on accessing, but other hardware must be compatible as well starting with the processor. If you do not have a 64-bit capable processor such as Intel’s line of Core2 Duo chips or better, then you should not make any plans to install a 32-bit operating system.

Backwards compatibility is also a big question that arises when it comes to a 64-bit system running 32-bit applications. The majority of 32-bit applications will run just fine on 64-bit systems with a 64-bit operating system installed. Even in this case, new operating systems such as Windows 7 64-bit will separate 64-bit and 32-bit applications upon installation into a different Program Files folder.

Some users may have a misconception when it comes to the speed of a 32-bit system up against a 64-bit. Performance on either system is fundamentally the same if you are using a system that has only 2 to 4 GB of RAM installed. A 64-bit system has the potential to outperform a 32-bit by taking advantage of advanced hardware meaning more system memory and additional virtual memory access. Think of it as a box that holds several decks of cards in a casino. A 32-bit box can only hold 4 decks of cards and it is up to you if you wish to fill it with the full 4 decks or not. A 64-bit box in the exact same casino can hold 50 decks of cards but the casino does not change the amount of tables that they play on. Keep in mind that a 64-bit operating system will take up a lot more hard drive space when installed vs. a 32-bit OS.

So which should you use, 64-bit or 32-bit? It all depends on the box holding the cards. If your “box”, meaning your computer, uses more than 4GB of RAM, then you may want to consider running a 64-bit version of Windows. If you use Mac OS X then you really do not have to worry about choosing 32-bit or 64-bit, that is already taken care of for you.

What type of system are you currently running, 64-bit or 32-bit? How much RAM do you have installed? Do you notice any difference in a 32-bit system vs. a 64-bit?

Popularity: 6%

Geek Roundup: Apple iPad vs. Windows Netbooks

apple-ipad-vs-windows-netbook

So the iPad is probably one of the most talked about devices since Blue Ray or the introduction of the iPhone. After the hype all dies down what will really win the competition when it comes to Windows based netbooks up against the new Apple iPad?

Many have argued that the Apple iPad will be a device for those in the market for a high-end netbook or those who have that “need” to fill the gap between their iPhone and notebook computer. Steve Jobs clearly criticized the Netbook in his introduction to the iPad at Apple’s iPad launch on January 27th. Much of the criticism was aimed at the Netbook being slow and having low-quality displays. After we have had time to sit down and analyze the new Apple iPad it leaves much to be wanted in terms of an actually “portable computer”.

Basically an iPad is essentially another portable computer. A netbook is also a portable computer as it is usually referred to as a low-powered notebook. Current generation netbooks provide decent battery life and the ability for it’s user (or users) to install a multitude of applications and do multitasking. The iPad on the other hand, gives you access to the thousands of iPhone/iPod touch apps available on the app store. Multitasking, not really something that the iPad can do currently Maybe the new 4.0 firmware version should add something to the realm but for now it is what it is and that is something that cannot multitask like a netbook.

In terms of quality, Apple has always been top-notch using the best materials that you can get your hands on for a relatively low price. Some netbooks do tend to look cheap but the latest models have made some strides in the direction of quality from some manufacturers. The screen quality is virtually unbeatable in the iPad’s price point if you get the $499 version. Outside of that you will start competing with LED backlit screens offered in some netbook lineups.

Usability of a netbook is virtually identical to a thin and light notebook without the extra processing power. Use of Windows XP in most netbooks does give you a rather mundane and “old” feel but the feeling is familiar. Speaking of familiarity, the iPad is very familiar IF you own or have owned an iPhone or iPod touch.

Who is going to buy the iPad? We already know who buys netbooks but it remains to be a mystery as to who will be in the market for an iPad. The Apple iPad really does not replace any type of computer device out there unless you have been yearning for a huge 10inch iPod touch with 3G networkability. Yes the Apple iPad does everything great from organizing photos, reading books (e-reader), viewing videos (provided they are not flash – app supported) and even surfing the web just like you do on your iPhone only this time you can see it much better. But then their lys a separation of a netbook and iPad. Netbooks are just like PC’s, you can do just about anything until you reach the limits of its processing power. The iPad, you can also do just about anything but not at the same time and not on your terms. Apple has pretty much locked the iPad down so you are limited to what the developer of each individual app allows you to do just like in the iPhone.

So, what is your scoop on the Apple iPad when compared to a modern day netbook? Will you even consider buying the Apple iPad once it goes on sale in March? Make sure you explain yourself so I can give you my thoughts on your comment.

Popularity: 12%