Tech Treats

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This category is reserved for finds by our Editor Rhiannon Dent.

Items should consist of at least two paragraphs.

The first should be a "teaser" paragraph. This paragraph will be automatically published in our RSS feed. It should state the nature of the find and the benefits without mentioning the product name or providing a product link. For example:

"For months I've been looking for a good way of deleting 'undeletable' files. Finally I've discovered a free utility that does the job reliably and simply."

The second paragraph should at the very least, expand the benefits, name the product and provide a product link. For example:

"Unlocker is a tiny 230KB utility that works with Windows 2000 and XP. Vista users are out of luck. Just right click on the 'undeletable file', select 'Delete with Unlocker' from the context menu and next time you boot the file will be gone for good."

You can have a third paragraph if you wish; indeed as many as you like. However there must at least be a second paragraph after the opening "teaser" paragraph.

Sounds You Don't Want To Hear: Failing Hard Drives

Failing hard disk drives will often (but not always) make distinctive noises. Here's an excellent compilation of the sounds they make.

This is a great list of the various kinds of sounds that hard disk drives make when they are failing.
The sounds are grouped by manufacturer, with the sounds that you really don't want to hear listed for each vendor - Western Digital, Seagate, Samsung, Hitachi/IBM, Maxtor, Fujitsu, Toshiba, and Quantum.

Just click on the circle with the triangle inside next to the link to hear the sound for that manufacturer.

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Are You Missing System Restore Points in Windows Vista and 7? Try these tips.

Try one of these three tips if you're having trouble with System Restore.

I've seen a few error messages over the years that say my computer couldn't be restored using system restore. Some reasons I could track down, but for the most part the whole issue has remained a mystery.
It's less mysterious now, and if that message appears again I know where to look for answers.

Fix Missing System Restore Points in Windows Vista and 7

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Awesome Images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s First Five Years

Check out these impressive images sent from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) is five years old this week, and Wired magazine has a great article with all kinds of interesting information and a selection of their favorite Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) images.
The page has an option to view all 14 images on one page, just click the "view all" link towards the end of the article. Otherwise the page displays as a gallery showing one image at a time, something that anyone with low bandwidth can appreciate.

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Stolen WiFi: How To Check and What To Do If Your WiFi Is Being Pilfered

Checking your WiFi can bring surprises - here's how to handle them.

Many of us might not notice if someone is using our Wifi without permission; learn how to check if someone is using your Wifi, and what steps you can take to stop it.
I've never checked our WiFi connection to see if anyone is using it - if our bandwidth is exceeded our ISP sends out an email and throttles our speed for a some time. A more reliable way of testing (and fixes) can be found in this article.

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How To Detect Drivers for Unknown Devices in Windows

Banish the 'Unknown Device' message in Windows using this handy tip.

If I knew this tip years ago, it would have saved me uncounted hours of trying to track drivers.
I wouldn't have had my head inside many a computer case with a flashlight trying to find some obscure number printed on a piece of hardware.
Thanks to this article, I won't be doing that anymore.

If you've ever had the 'Unknown Device' message pop up and weren't sure what to do with it, you need to read this article.

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Worms, Trojans and Malware: What Are All Those Security Words and What Do They Mean?

Get descriptions of the more common types of things that infect computers and networks.

This article has a nicely done compilation of words that are used when the topic is computer security.
Easy and clear reading including definitions of these terms:

  • Malware
  • Spyware
  • Adware
  • Rootkits
  • Virus
  • Trojans
  • Worms

The definitions are all drawn from Wikipedia - you could look them up yourself but this a nice presentation.

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How To Make Your Programs Open Maximized

If you like program windows to open large this tip tells you how.

Most Windows programs open in a normal window, which fills part of the screen.
You can also have them open maximized, where they fit the screen but leave taskbars etc. visible.
Sure, you can use one of the buttons in the upper right corner to make windows smaller and larger, but if you'd rather have some (or all) of your programs open large all the time this is a fast and easy tip.

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