Optimize and Keep Your PC Up to Date

A device driver is a small program or code that comes packaged with most computer hardware. Your graphics card, sound card, monitor, modem, Ethernet card, CD-ROM, DVD ROM and many other pieces of hardware have device drivers. These device drivers translate data between the operating system and the hardware. Microsoft does not make these drivers, unless, of course, Microsoft made the hardware.

If there is a problem with your drivers then the particular piece of hardware may not work, or have limited functionality. Some device driver errors could show up while your computer is booting.  If you get the error while your computer is booting you will usually see the name of the file that is involved in the error. The filename is not a good indication of which piece of hardware it involves. After booting you can find out by right clicking My Computer and choosing properties. Then choose Device Manager. Depending on your operating system, the menu could be in a few different places.

Your Device Manager shows a list of hardware that is in your computer. If you are experiencing hardware problems then it will show you information regarding the problem here. If you see an informational icon, or a red icon beside a certain piece of hardware then that could be where you are experiencing problems. Double click this piece of hardware and read what error it discusses. You can then search at the hardware manufacturerÕs website for a driver update, or if you are using Vista, it can search online for you with just the click of a button. If you are using Dell computer you can go to DellÕs website and search for device drivers there.

If the device driver that came with your computer was working and now suddenly quit, you can either restore your computer back to a previous day when your not getting any errors, or get out those CDs that came with your computer. They have the device drivers that were originally loaded on your computer. You can put the correct CD into your CDROM and the update your device driver.

Once you have found your new device driver you can go back to the Device Manager and choose to update the device driver. After updating your device driver the icon beside it in the Device Manager should go away and be replaced with the normal icon. You should not get any more errors and your computer and hardware should work smoothly now.

Windows Systems Restore

Microsoft offers a component in its operating systems that will allow you to restore your system back to the state it was in before a malfunction or system failure. Microsoft in particular has had its problems of crashes and malfunctions. This is the reason they have built in an operation that will allow you to restore your operating system to its original state should you experience a fatal crash.

Windows systems restore was not always built into Microsoft’s programming. As their operating systems began to grow and expand they started offering a systems restore feature to make their system more attractive. Windows XP has a Windows systems restore feature built into it.

The newest kid on the block is Windows Vista. While Vista still has its share of problems, it does have an improved systems restore feature that is based on Shadow Copy technology and provides a broader spectrum of restore options. Let us say that you want to restore your computer to yesterday at 4:00 p.m. You will get a calendar that comes up on your screen asking you for a date and time to restore your computer to. Just choose that date and your system will do the rest of the work for you.

Restoring your system will not cause you to lose any data or files. It will only restore your operating system to the settings you had before changes were made. System restore will back up system files with extensions such as exe, dll, and others. It saves these files in a safe place for recovery at a later time and date. In many ways this serves as a system backup that will prevent you from losing your stored files in the event of a system crash.

The different operating systems such as Windows XP and Windows Vista have quite a few differences in the way they system restore works. Windows XP has a volume of 12% where Windows Vista works on a volume of 15%. Vista was designed with much larger volumes in mind. Windows XP had a limit on the amount of backed up files it stored but that window has been greatly expanded with Windows Vista. Vista also offers frequent updates that come across your computer as soon as they become available. It is hoped that Vista will soon have all of the kinks worked out of it and it will be a more acceptable operating system.

Up until the point of Windows XP the operating system could not be restored as long as the settings were set to boot normally or in safe mode. If Windows was not bootable it was not possible to restore the system. Windows Vista has changed this in the Windows Recovery Environment. This will allow you to launch system restore even though the Windows system is not bootable.

Microsoft has always has its share of problems and frustrated users. It seems as though you get used to one operating system and they already have another one on the market. With Windows Vista they are hoping to eliminate many of the problems they have faced in the past with respect to system crashes.

Nobody wants to be working on their computer and suddenly get a blue screen, which is also sometimes referred to as the blue screen of death. Microsoft Windows is the most common operating system that has problems with this error. The blue screen error is usually a sign that your operating system has encountered a critical error. The system will then display a blue screen error and shut down to avoid damage to the system.

You can also encounter blue screen errors because of a physical fault such as computer components that over heat, problems with memory, or trouble with your power supply. Sometimes the blue screen error will appear if your hardware is attempting to operate beyond the specific limits the hardware is programmed for.

There are times when the blue screen problem will automatically correct itself when you reboot your system but there is also a chance that you will have to dig deeper to resolve your issues. There are a lot of reasons for Windows operating systems to crash. In fact, if you run a windows operating system, chances are very likely that you will encounter this error at some point in time.

Unless you are an expert at compute repair, chances are that you will not know all that can be done to repair blue screen errors. If you encounter this error you should have a pen and paper handy to write down all of the information found on the screen error. This will be useful to a technician in case you are not able to repair the error yourself. Before you can get this information you may have to go into the settings on your system and make sure that automatically restart is not checked off.

Of course your first attempt to get back up and going is to reboot your system and in many cases this is all that is required. If you continue to get the blue screen after rebooting you can press F8 several times to take you to the advanced options menu. Once you are at the advanced options menu you can tell your computer to restart in safe mode. This should allow windows to reload but you will have limited capabilities.

If this too fails to boot your computer you can once again press F8 to take you back to the advanced options menu.  Here you should find an option that will allow you to restore to the last known good configuration. If your computer reboots at this point there is a strong chance that your system has been repaired and you will not encounter any further immediate problems.

If you are not able to get your system up and running with these few simple suggestions you may need to take your system to a repair technician that is more experienced in dealing with this type of error. Be sure to take your notes you wrote down about what type of error you had. The chances are fairly likely that the technician is familiar with this type of error and knows exactly what to do to fix it.

SATA Drivers

Another term for SATA is serial ATA which is also known as advanced technology attachment. Many consider SATA the next generation of drive interface. The previous generation was labeled PATA which is the traditional interface that most people are familiar with.

More information on SATA:

If you have ever looked inside a computer you are probably familiar with the flat, forty wire cables that are parallel and connect the hard drive. CD Rom, and other type devices to the controller. PATA has been the standard for many years and it has served the public well, even though it has had its share of drawbacks.

When cables are limited to eighteen inches in length this will often make it difficult to make connections. This has also been known to block the flow of air, preventing the cooling system to work. Even though round cables came on the market the more advanced PATA drives would only strike a maximum transfer rate of 133 MB. There was an increased speed of CPUs and RAM that were changing the computer as we first knew it. Developers saw that PATA was becoming limited in what it could do and they developed a newer, more powerful system known as SATA.

There are some very distinct advantages of SATA over PATA. The cables are very thin and they contain very small seven pin connections. It is quite possible for them to come in lengths of three feet and they are easier to be routed out of the way of the necessary cooling systems. This allows the cooling systems to have more room to work and keep the key components of your computer cool and in working order.

SATA also has lower power requirements than its predecessor PATA. SATA only requires 250 mV where PATA required five voles. Since chip core voltages are on the decline, SATA has a much more promising future. It makes setup simpler and the drivers can even be removed or added to the computer while it is running. This is a process known to many as hot-swapping.

Probably the most impressive feature of SATA is the fact that it has a transfer rate of 300 MBps with a newer version set to hit the market in 2008 that will provide 600 MBps. The earlier forms of PATA had a limitation of only 150 MBps. This is a huge increase in the transfer rate and can be found on the more modern computer systems.

The introductory transfer speed is so close to the PATA speed that there is very little noticeable difference and the price of the SATA will compare to PATA. But, with the advancement in technology it is a wise choice to upgrade to SATA. The future holds many more upgrades that will be more noticeable than the ones currently on the market. For someone who is looking to upgrade and grow, SATA is by far the preferred way. SATA is compatible with most operating systems that once used PATA and soon you will only find operating systems that contain SATA instead of PATA.

Computers have several essential components—there’s the hardware and the operating system of course, but there are also small pieces of software called drivers. Drivers are small software applications which allow hardware to communicate with the rest of the computer. Essentially, the drivers of a piece of hardware, such as a video card, act as a sort of bridge between the video card and the computer, providing the hardware with a set of instructions which tell it how to operate.

Computer drivers are, therefore, absolutely essential. It’s essential also to understand how to keep your computer’s drivers up-to-date, as outdated drivers can reduce your computer’s performance potential and may even cause serious problems.

Another essential concept is different types of drivers your PC may use. Some pieces of hardware in your computer may use Windows drivers—a default set of drivers which were installed when your operating system was installed. Other pieces of hardware, such as your video card and sound card, may use their own set of drivers. Whether you’re using Windows drivers or specific hardware drivers, it’s important to ensure they’re up-to-date, both to optimize your PC and to prevent crashes and other problems.

One of the most important reasons to keep your drivers up-to-date is simply that computer component manufacturing companies—particularly those which make video cards—release new and improved versions of drivers which improve the way the hardware operates. Updating the drivers for your video or sound card often improve the performance of the card and your entire computer, and may even provide you with some new features for the hardware.

Additionally, keeping your drivers up-to-date will help prevent crashes, because old and outdated drivers are more likely to become corrupt. When this happens the associated hardware may stop performing correctly—and this can often cause your computer to crash while carrying out certain operations.

Finally, if your computer is simply performing sluggishly, or there’s something wrong and your efforts to determine the source of the problem haven’t yet paid off, checking for new versions of the drivers your computer uses can often provide a solution.

Having Windows drivers that work correctly is vital in order to prevent crashes and to keep your computer running efficiently. In many cases your drivers will continue to function with no problems, but from time to time some driver problems will arise. Luckily, corrupt drivers and other driver errors don’t have to be more than an inconvenience when they arrive. It’s possible to repair or replace any Windows drivers that give you trouble, making sure that they don’t cause unneeded problems or keep you from being able to optimize your PC.

If you have the installation disc for your Windows installation, you should be able to perform a repair function by inserting the disc into your CD or DVD drive while Windows is running. If you have corrupted or damaged Windows drivers, the system will repair or replace them automatically while the repair program runs. Attempting to repair Windows at the first sign of trouble is a great way to prevent crashes and keep your copy of Windows from encountering massive slowdowns and other running problems.

Running maintenance software to remove spyware and other forms of malware can reduce the negative effects that these harmful programs can have on your Windows drivers. Though a scan to remove adware may not fix all driver corruptions, but as part of a regular maintenance plan it can help prevent the corruptions that cause computer crashes and driver errors in the first place. Keeping your computer spyware and adware free can also speed up boot time and make your computer run better in general.

Should the driver that you’re having problems with be related to a specific piece of hardware or other computer peripheral, you may get better results by simply reinstalling the driver package for the hardware. This will ensure that a working copy of the driver has been installed to replace the corrupted one and will save you the trouble of further driver and software problems down the line.

Drivers are a very important element when it comes to keeping your PC functioning properly. A driver is a program specifically designed to help a piece of hardware (a device such as a printer or sound card) communicate with your operating system. Because there are so many hardware devices available, and because operating systems are frequently upgraded, it may happen that at some point or another, you are missing the correct driver needed to allow your device to function properly.

If this happens, you will know because the device will not work at all or will not work properly. If your device is old, it could be that it is failing, but with relatively new devices, a missing driver is likely the culprit.

To locate a missing driver, there are three main places you can check:

1. The manufacturer's website. This is the best way to get the most up-to-date driver available. Manufacturers frequently issue updated drivers to improve performance and security, so if your driver is old enough, you may simply need the updated version. Visit the website of the company that made the hardware you are struggling to use with the rest of your PC. There should be drivers for each specific product and each operating system with which a product is compatible. Follow the installation instructions, restart, and see if the problem is fixed.
2. Try the original driver. If for some reason you can't find a driver on the device manufacturer's website, check the installation CDs that came with the device. If you haven't not run the CD, do so. If you have, look through the data to see if you can find a driver. It may not be the most current version with regards to security, but there is a good chance that it will allow you to use the device.
3. If neither of these methods work, run the Windows Add Hardware Wizard. After searching for driver-less devices (make sure the device is attached) you will be able to instruct the Wizard to locate a driver. Keep in mind that the driver Windows finds is likely to be out of date, so whenever possible, go directly to the manufacturer's website whenever you need to locate a missing driver.

Have you been experiencing system problems caused by switching to Windows Vista or have you bought a PC with the Windows Vista operating system? Such as malfunctioning devices, hardware crashes that show the dreadful blue screen, or strange error messages. A big reason for these system issues is that the hardware or peripheral device drivers are not Windows Vista compatible.  These computer system problems could be the result of old and out-of-date drivers.

Driver Detective eliminates this problem by automatically scanning your PC and finding the delinquent drivers. You then simply download and install the recommended Windows Vista drivers! It's that easy. Having Vista compatible drivers is crucial to any new Vista ready PC or PC upgraded to Windows Vista.

While there are a number of things that you can do in order to speed up boot time on your PC, an unexpected computer crash can make the time it took you to optimize your PC wasted. In order to prevent crashes from ruining your computing experience and possibly damaging your computer, it’s important that you know what some of the most common causes for these PC crashes are. Here are the most common causes for PC crashes as well as what you can do to help avoid them.

One of the most common causes for PC crashes is power-related problems; this can take the form of either power failure or a power surge. While there isn’t much that you can do in regards to controlling the flow of power into your house, using a surge protector power strip can help to keep your PC safe from damage caused by power surges. An external universal power supply can also be useful, since it will give you a few minutes of power even in the event of total power failure so that you can shut down Windows properly and avoid potential damage to files, hard drives, and Windows drivers.

Other common causes of PC crashes include spyware, adware, and software virus infestation. Any of these programs can make your computer unstable, even if you’ve previously taken the time to optimize your PC. Scanning programs exist to detect and delete virus files as well as to remove adware, but you need to remember that regular scans are required to remove spyware and other dangerous programs.

Yet another common cause of PC crashes is software malfunction. In most cases a problem with Windows drivers or other critical software is resolved simply by rebooting your computer. Should the problems continue, they are easily corrected by simply reinstalling the driver or software suite that contains the malfunctioning program.

One last common cause of PC crashes is simply having an overheating processor or motherboard. This can cause your computer to run slowly even as you try to speed up your PC, and will generally result in crashes that give no warnings. If you suspect that your computer is overheating, make sure that it has adequate ventilation and that the fans or cooling system are working correctly and are free of dust or dirt.

Optimize Your PC

When you are running a PC, you may notice that over time,
the performance begins to slow down a bit. The longer you run a computer, the
more files, programs, and data your computer will accumulate. What you have on
your system, as well as how it is organized, can all contribute to slower
performance and loading times.

To optimize your PC for better performance, there are many
things you can do. The more steps you take to improve performance, the greater
their collective benefit will be. While there are hundreds of tips out there,
here are some of the most helpful:

1.
Have less programs run immediately on startup. When programs you use
infrequently are set to run automatically, they slow your computer down. Go to
Start > Run> and type “MSCONFIG”  to access the Startup tab and unselect
unnecessary programs.

2.
Clean out temporary files. Every so often, empty the recycle bin,
temporary internet files, and old system restore data. This can be done through
My Computer > Properties > Disc Cleanup. With more space, your computer can run
faster.

3.
Update your drivers. Frequently, the drivers that help your devices and
programs communicate will be updated to reflect better technology and
programming. Check for updates to get better performance.

4.
Defragment your data. Computers sometimes break files into smaller pieces
for storage. Once you accumulate more files, it can help to take a step back and
rearrange. Go to My Computer > Properties > Tools to access the automated disk
defragmenter.

5.
Delete programs you do not use. Old programs that you no longer use are a
waste of space, which slows down your whole PC.

6.
Update programs you do use. When programs you do use have updates,
install them. These updates general improve both performance and security.

Security. Use
anti-virus software that keeps unwanted files from becoming embedded in your
system

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