Got Scary PC Problems? Look at What's Buried Inside

Buried within your computer are a multitude of small programs. These programs are called drivers and critical to a PC's function and performance, yet people often ignore them or are unaware of their existence. Actively maintaining these drivers can boost performance and reduce problems so you can get the most from your PC.

One of the modern PC's strengths is that you have a virtually unlimited range of choices for adding on devices such as keyboards, cameras, printers, and storage. The PC is able to handle these additions with ease as long as it has a driver.

Driver software is different from application software. An application gives you the software tools to perform a task, like download and edit a photo or compose and send an email. The driver does the grunt work of translating generalized instructions and data from the application into device-specific signals to the relevant hardware, like a camera or modem.

Like everything else on the PC, drivers need occasional maintenance to stay in top form. Unfortunately, maintaining driver software is not a simple task.

How to Clean Up a Spill on a Laptop  


By working fast, you can save your laptop from the effects of a coffee spill

by Zack Stern, PC World  

When liquids meet electronics, you can't waste time. Conductive liquids cause most of the initial damage. Immediately unplug the laptop from its power cord, and pull out the battery. Don't bother closing programs or saving data.

Read the entire article at PC World Magazine's website.

How to Get an Optimized Match Between Windows 7 and Your PC's Core Systems Software 

Last month, we told you about what you need to do in order to prepare your PC for an upgrade to Windows 7. Here are a few more details:

Embracing Windows 7 will bring new levels of functionality as well as ease-of-use features to your current computer. But is your PC really ready to upgrade to Microsoft's latest operating system?

At the heart of every PC is core systems software (also known as BIOS - the basic input-output system), which is the base that all other software - including Windows® - must build upon. Your PC's core system software might have some compatibility issues with Windows 7 that could hinder achieving top performance or even cause loss of function.

The BIOS is the first in a series of programs that the PC must execute - a process called "booting" - in order to become ready for use. Booting is not the BIOS' only role, however. In order to get things started, the BIOS must have a detailed understanding of the PC's specific hardware and configuration, and be able to interact directly with that hardware.

Windows, on the other hand, needs to be able to run on any suitable computer regardless of such details, so it does not work directly with the hardware. The BIOS serves as Windows' local guide, interpreter, and foreman for interacting with PC hardware, so the two must work together efficiently.

The older BIOS on your current PC, however, may not fully mesh with Win7. Some users, for instance, have reported that the brightness function keys for their laptop displays stopped working after Windows 7 was installed - the result of a BIOS-Win7 mismatch. A properly matched BIOS, on the other hand, will allow Windows 7 to efficiently interact with the PC's hardware, boosting performance across nearly all applications.

Since the BIOS is slightly different on every computer, there is no way for the Windows 7 installation software to know if your BIOS also needs an update. You'll have to check that yourself, a potentially laborious process that requires finding out who made your PC's BIOS and checking with their technical support to identify and install the upgrade.

Phoenix Technologies®, the world leader in BIOS technology since 1985, offers a tool that vastly simplifies the process for almost any PC: BIOSAgentPlus™. This low cost and simple-to-use tool will scan your PC's BIOS to determine if upgrading is needed, then automatically locate and install the new programming that ensures your PC is up-to-date and ready for Windows 7.

It's a quick and easy first step that all should take before attempting to install the new operating system. The result will be an optimized match between Windows 7 and your PC's foundation, giving you a solid boost to reaching top performance with your Windows 7 upgrade.


Got Scary PC Problems?


How to Clean Up a Spill on a Laptop


Windows 7 & Your PC's BIOS



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Barbara McGuinness
September's iPod Nano Winner


PC tools banner has free advice for those considering the Windows 7 operating system upgrade.



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