Basic Steps to Secure Your Computer

As someone who generally knows his way around a computer, I often get asked for help with computer problems. Let me just go over some basic things that will protect most people from the vast majority of threats to your PC’s security. It’s actually kind of simple, but I think a lot of people are just too LAZY. If you want to use a computer, this comes with the territory – don’t be ignorant.

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Bgears b-Enspirer Sound Card Has Poor Reliability

Well, the sound card in my system died over the weekend very suddenly. I have a Bgears b-Enspirer sound card in my system. It just stopped outputting sound and from I’ve read it seems the amp on the card has died. Even when I turn my speaker volume to max, the sound is barely audible and distorted. I actually thought it was my speakers first, but after connecting them to my onboard sound (Realtek HD Audio integrated with motherboard), the sound came out fine. So the Bgears b-Enspirer lasted a measly year and 10 months. And the warranty is only 1 year so I’m sh*t out of luck.

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Realtek’s Crappy Network Card Drivers

The other day, I decided to update my network interface card (NIC) drivers. I have Realtek NIC’s that are integrated into my motherboard (Abit IP-35 Pro) and they use Realtek’s RTL8110SC(L) drivers. Well, that update cost me half the damn day because they thoroughly messed up my network cards. I’d keep randomly getting notices saying the “network cable is unplugged” even though it was. Eventually the network card would shut down completely and I would lose Internet access.

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Clearing Recent Documents on Windows XP

You know what I’ve always found very annoying on Windows XP? The simple task of clearing recent documents. Here is one very simple example of how the user experience could be immensely improved with little effort. As many of you know, on the Start Menu in Windows XP, there’s a “Recent Documents” pullout menu that lists recent docs and images that you’ve opened. Well, it takes several clicks to clear this menu, which is unnecessarily complicated.

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Speed Up Your PC by Defragmenting Your Hard Drives

Most people don’t know that defragmenting their computer hard drives can significantly boost performance, especially on older computers or if you haven’t defragged in a very long time. Data gets stored in bits and pieces all over your hard drive and this gets worse as time goes on, as files get written or modified. So now your hard drive is looking all over the place to read a file which slows it down. Defragmentation puts those bits back together, right next to each other so reading that file now becomes faster.

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New PC Build

So I received all the parts for my new PC about a week ago but I didn’t have to time to put it all together. Today I went apple picking, but then I literally spent the entire evening lapping my heatsink (Thermalright Ultra-120 Extreme). Not the best way to spend my Saturday night but I’ll only have the free time to build my PC on weekends and I HAVE to put it together now to make sure everything’s working and that I don’t need to return anything. Then I can send in the UPC labels for rebates.

(Pictures on Page 5)

Here are the specs of the system:

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