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Question and Answer
Please help! My computer has recently started to have major problems. It’s been running very poorly over the last few weeks and now I’m getting blue screens of death that started yesterday. I’m thinking I need to reinstall Windows, but I’d really like to avoid that. I don’t want to lose all of my data and reinstall all of my programs. Is there anything else I can do?
- John H., Oak Harbor, WA

Yes there is something you can do, John. We at TouchStoneSoftware have discovered a great tool: True Image by Acronis. In such problems as yours, it saves the serious time and hassle of having to backup and reinstall all of your programs. With Acronis' patented disk imaging and PC-cloning technology, every bit of data can be restored to its original shape in minutes - without having to reinstall any software applications. You can also use the Secure Zone function to create a secure disk partition on your internal drive. That way you can recover your system easily at any moment, even if your Operating System has failed.

There are lots of extra features such as synchronization of your data across computers and devices, smart scheduling, access to cloud storage, and even free mobile apps.

With Acronis True Image, you will never have to worry about losing your data and restoring your computer ever again.

» Read More & Try Acronis True Image Today!

When I boot my system, I get an NTLDR is Missing, Press Any Key To Restart error. Do you know what is causing this and how I can fix it?
- Mike T., Aurora, IL
There can be many causes for this error. It can be caused by the computer attempting to boot from a non-bootable source such as a hard drive with no operating system on it. It can be caused by a corrupt Windows installation. It can also be caused by something as simple as a loose hard drive cable, verify that the cable is secure. Many times this error is caused when the computer is attempting to boot from a non-bootable floppy disk or CD-ROM. First verify that no floppy diskette or CD is in the computer, unless you are attempting to boot from a diskette. If you are attempting to boot from a floppy diskette and are receiving this error message it is likely that the diskette does not have all the necessary files or is corrupt. If everything checks out, you should reinstall or repair Windows to correct this issue.
When I'm at work I constantly need to leave my desk and like to lock my computer when I leave. Is there a quicker way to lock my workstation?
- Christopher L., Park River, ND
Yes there is a way you can create a desktop shortcut to lock your workstation and then when you need to lock it, you simply click the icon and it's done. Here is how to create that shortcut:
  1. Right click on an open area of the desktop

  2. Select New / Shortcut

  3. For the program, enter Rundll32.exe User32.dll,LockWorkStation

  4. Rename the shortcut to something like Lock

  5. You can also change the icon for this shortcut

  6. Right click on the icon

  7. Select Properties

  8. Click on Change Icon

  9. Click ok for the warning that the program does not contain any icons

  10. Select an icon from the list that you want

  11. Click OK and OK

The Run command is displayed on the right side of the Start menu.

Driver Tip: Why You Should Always Keep Drivers Up To Date

Drivers are simply a piece of software that allows higher level computer programs like Windows to interact with a hardware device. In other words, a driver allows Windows to recognize and work with the hardware in your computer. Windows itself incorporates some basic drivers for things like mice and keyboards but most drivers are created by the manufacturer of the specific hardware device.

Drivers are required for integral devices like graphics cards, sound cards, wireless adapters and network (wired/LAN) adapters but are also needed for external hardware like printers, webcams and scanners.

Updating a driver is often a useful first step in troubleshooting any hardware related issue in Windows. Also, driver updates are often released to fix an issue with how Windows works with a piece of hardware or to enable new features for it. Therefore, even if your hardware appears to be working fine now, we normally recommend updating drivers as a preemptive measure. This helps ensure that you don't have issues in the future, especially if the date of your existing driver is already more than a year old.

BIOS Tip: Change Your BIOS Settings to Improve Your Boot Up Speed

Tweaking your BIOS settings can be a good way to get your system to boot faster. Just a simple change of some of the key settings can make dramatic differences in how fast your system boots up.

Enable the "Quick Boot" Feature: Many newer PC's have a special BIOS setting, usually called "Quick Boot" or "Quick Power On Self Test" that can be enabled to make the boot take less time. Try enabling this setting; this will cause the BIOS to skip some of the normal test routines that it performs at boot time, speeding up the boot process.

Remove the Boot Delay Setting: Some PC's have a BIOS setting that you can use to intentionally delay the boot-up of the PC by several seconds. This setting is often called "Boot Delay" or "Power-on Delay". This can be useful when the BIOS is booting too quickly, causing hard disk drives to be booted before they are ready. However, it also slows the boot process down, so make sure that it is only enabled if it is needed.

Disable Floppy Drive Seek: Also called "Boot Up Floppy Seek." Most PCs have a BIOS setting to disable floppy drive seeking, which is the short access the BIOS makes to the floppy disk just before it boots the system. This seek (unless disabled) is performed regardless of whether the system is being booted from the hard disk or floppy disk. Disabling the seek speeds up the boot process by a couple of seconds. This doesn't really have any negative impact on the system, although if you are having problems with your floppy drive you will probably want to re-enable the seek as this makes troubleshooting some types of problems easier.

» Perform a BIOS scan now!

PC Performance Tip: Clean Your Windows Registry Often

This is an essential, but often overlooked, task to improve PC performance. In fact most PC users are unaware of the necessity to regularly clean the Registry as Microsoft does not include a cleanup tool in any version of Windows.

Every time a program is installed it makes changes to the Windows Registry - a huge internal database of Windows' settings. Virtually all Windows programs, and Windows itself, store a massive array of information inside the database. These thousands of entries control the behavior and appearance of virtually everything on your system.

Changes to your PC system are not always handled correctly in the Registry, leading to conflicts and the slowing down of your PC. Over time this leads to a bloated and possibly, corrupted Registry. Reasons for this include:
  • Frequently installing or uninstalling programs
  • Removing a program which leaves traces behind
  • Leftover entries from a hardware uninstall
  • Unused drivers on your system
  • Spyware or similar programs that reappear every time you reboot
You can edit the Registry manually using a Windows program called Regedit, but this is really a job best left for hardened PC experts. Thankfully, programs are available that can clean up your Registry automatically to help improve PC performance, such as Registry Wizard. Registry Wizard scans your Registry, looks for entries that are redundant or invalid and lists them so that they can be corrected with one mouse click.

» Perform a registry scan now!

Tech Tip
Protect Your Personal Information - Use Active Malware Detection to Safeguard Your Financial Transactions
Traditional Anti-Malware products are designed to scan for malware "fingerprints" which must first be identified by anti-virus researchers working in a lab. This delay creates a window of time during which threats can go undetected and can infect your PC - even when Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware software has been previously installed.

To stay fully protected, TouchStoneSoftware recommends Zemana AntiLogger, which detects running malware on your computer and shuts it down immediately. AntiLogger eliminates threats from keyloggers, SSL banker trojans, spyware, and has undergone extensive testing to ensure maximum compatibility with almost every Anti-Virus or Firewall software.

» Download a 15-Day Free Trial of Zemana AntiLogger

» Read More About Zemana AntiLogger
Follow Us

Quote of the Month
"The Internet is so big, so powerful and pointless that for some people it is a complete substitute for life"

– Andrew Brown

Sites of the Month

Fun Sites
Drawminos is a cool time killer for us to build and draw with dominos online then watch it all fall over.

Techie Sites
PC Trick
PCTrick is a great place to find interesting useful computer tips and tricks. Get interesting PC news and updates.

Stat of the Month

Worldwide Market Share Forecast of Notebook PCs Using Either HDDs or SSDs as Storage Medium
(US Dollars)

Worldwide Market Share Forecast of Notebook PCs Using Either HDDs or SSDs as Storage Medium
Source: IHS iSuppli Research
July 2012

Vocab Test


The reverse process of finding out who is hacking into a system.

Browser Add-On


This Firefox add-on can save the browser sizes or positions, and can restore them with a single action.

SmartPhone App

Slacker Radio

Slacker Radio is free, totally customizable radio with over 100 genre stations.

  Twitter Tip

Do not follow too many people. No one is going to follow someone who is following thousands of people but only has 10 followers.

iPhone App



iOptimizer is the ultimate application for getting to know your iPhone, iPad or iPod better. iOptimizer monitors the performance of your device, so that you can configure it for optimal use. It will also help you find out everything about your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch both on the system and on the user level. iOptimizer is powerful, intuitive, and extremely easy to set up and use.
Best of all — It's FREE!
(New version released
June 15, 2012)

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