Tech Tips


Short PC tips and tricks

How to Fix a Computer that Keeps Waking Up

Computer sleep imageNot too long ago I bought a new desktop PC. Whenever I put it to sleep, in no time flat it was awake again. A little research revealed that this is not an uncommon problem and can have several possible sources. Malware infections are sometimes the cause but more often it is some device that is waking the machine up and that was the case for me. In this tip, I will describe several settings in your system that may keep waking up your PC.

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How to Make Hibernation Work Better on Your PC

Many of us hibernate our PCs instead of turning them off. This provides a quick way to restart while using less power than the “Sleep” mode. This is particularly useful in laptops. Hibernation works by placing  the contents of RAM in a hidden system file called “hiberfil.sys”. In Windows XP and Vista, this file is the same size as the amount of RAM that is installed on the PC. In Windows 7, the default is 75% of the RAM size. This file is always in the root of the drive with the Windows folder or normally the C: drive.

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How to Manage Super-Hidden Windows System Files

You are probably familiar with the fact that some files in Windows are given the attribute of “hidden” and do not normally show up in Windows Explorer. You may also know how to make these files visible. (The method for XP is at this link and for Vista/7 is here.) However, there are some system files that are really hidden; they are “super-hidden” and require an additional tweak to make them appear in the Explorer file manager.

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How to Get the Best Use from the 7-Zip File Archiver Program

Just about every PC user encounters compressed files in formats such as ZIP and RAR at one time or the other. The most common format is ZIP and Windows has a built-in function for managing ZIP files. However, it is a pretty minimal feature. You don’t have to be a power user to find that you prefer to install and use one of the free multi-featured file archivers.

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Stop Web Trackers and Protect Your Privacy with This New Free Browser Add-On

Going on the Internet these days means having a horde of advertisers chasing after you to find out what you do on the web. Those who wish to protect their privacy have various options and many are discussed at TSA. Here is a new one to consider. It is called “Do Not Track Plus” and is a browser add-on.

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How to Fix a Missing Windows CD/DVD Optical Drive

This may be an old tip but the problem it fixes is so frustrating when it occurs that it is worth a reminder. For various reasons, the Windows operating system or Windows software may fail to recognize the CD/DVD optical drive. You look in (My) Computer and there is no CD/DVD drive listed. This may happen after uninstalling CD/DVD burning software, installing a Windows update, or for other reasons.

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How to Keep Track of Changes to Your PC with a Free Microsoft Tool

Do you ever wonder exactly what is being added or modified on your PC by that new application that you are trying out? Do you wish that you had a record of the changes to the Windows Registry and system files that happen every time you install something? Several free programs are available to do all that and there is a list of some at this link. One of them is from Microsoft.

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How to Allow Connections Through the Windows 7 Firewall

Experienced computer users often employ a third-party firewall but many average PC users rely on the Windows firewall. One problem that you may encounter with the Windows 7 application is that it sometimes blocks a program that you have just installed. Here is how to configure the firewall settings to allow the program to access the Internet.

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A Better Way to Manage Chrome Browser Bookmarks

I like the Chrome browser but one thing it lacks is a simple way to sort or alphabetize bookmarks. It is true that you can go through the tedious process of clicking through the sequence Wrench icon—Bookmarks—Bookmark Manager, then click a folder, then click the "Organize" drop-down menu, and finally choose “Reorder by title”. But how convenient is that?

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How to Easily Insert Special Symbols and Characters in Windows - Part II

The procedure in the preceding Part I is limited to inserting something over a hundred characters. But there is a much larger universe of symbols and characters available if you use hexadecimal as input. The Alt key, the numeric keypad, and the regular keyboard are involved in this particular procedure. (You may have to first make a very simple Registry edit for this to work. See the section below.) Here is how to to insert a hexadecimal coded character:

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