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Question and Answer
Two years ago we purchased a HP Pavilion dv7 notebook running Windows XP. Well, last week it started to run very slow and freeze up daily. Trying to find the cause, I installed a popular anti-virus and anti-malware program. Both programs reported my notebook as "clean". Now HP support is telling me to reinstall Windows XP. But I've learned there's a risk of wiping out or losing important files when reinstalling Windows. Is there a program that that will allow me to detect and fix my HP notebook without having to reinstall
Windows XP?

– Elizabeth F., West Simsbury, CT

Thanks Elizabeth. We get these questions a lot. You're right; reinstalling Windows is both time consuming and tricky. We've heard from many users that have lost valuable documents and files when doing so. The easiest and safest option is to run a free system scan using a popular program that TouchStoneSoftware has endorsed for years called Reimage. Within minutes Reimage will safely detect and fix all of the serious errors on your PC. If there's a virus or malware or spyware on your notebook, it will be detected and removed. Plus, Reimage's patented technology reverses any damage already done to the Windows OS with a full database of replacement files.

» Download Reimage

I just upgraded to Windows 8, and one thing I want to be able to do is stop Windows from automatically installing the periodic updates without my knowledge. Can this be done?
– Michelle A., Charlestown, IN
You can change the update settings by following these steps:

First, open the Windows 8 Control Panel. You can do this through the Power User Menu or by activating the shortcut found on the Apps screen, or by hitting the Windows key and typing in 'control panel' (no quotations).

Next, click the 'System and Security' link. This will open a window where you can select 'Windows Update.' On the left side of the Windows Update screen, click 'Change Settings.' This will open a host of settings options allowing you to control how Windows 8 will receive updates from Microsoft.

The 'Check, Download and Install' option will allow updates to install themselves automatically. The 'Do Not Check At All' setting will prevent all automatic downloads, installations, and even update checks.

The 'Check and Download (Do Not Install)' option sets the computer to download Microsoft's updates, and then to ask the user which ones to install and which to leave untouched. On this setting, no updates will ever be added to the system automatically, so the user must regularly remember to review available updates. This is the setting for those looking for more control over which updates get added to their Windows 8 system.

The 'Check Only (Do Not Download and Do Not Install)' setting tells Windows merely to notify you of what updates are available. One at a time, you decide whether or not to download them, and then whether or not to install them. This is perhaps the best option for those looking for total control over Windows 8 updates. You will be made aware of the updates and patches released by Microsoft, but the computer system will do nothing with them until you give your approval.

Once you've made your choice simply click the OK button to confirm the changes.
I have a new system with Windows 8 and I've heard of a way that you can shutdown the system with just one click of the mouse. Can you tell me about this?
– Sam L., Carlsbad, CA
Yes, there is a way to achieve a shutdown with one click. Here is what you do:

First, get to the main desktop screen. Next, right click on the desktop and select New --> Shortcut. When the menu appears, click 'Create new Shortcut.' When Windows 8 asks you what item you'd like to create a shortcut for, enter the following command: 'shutdown /s /t 0'. (By the way, that's a zero. Also, make sure not to include a period or the quotations.) Then click 'Next.'

Enter a name for the new shortcut ('Shutdown' is a good choice) and click 'Finish.'

Next, right click on your brand new shortcut and then left click on 'Properties.' A new dialog box will appear. Click 'Change Icon.' When Windows 8 tells you that 'The file C:\Windows\System32\shutdown.exe contains no icons, click 'OK.'

You'll now be asked to select an icon from a list of images. Pick the one that suits you best.

Once you've done that, right click the shortcut again. Select 'Pin to Start.' Now your brand new, customized shutdown icon will appear continuously on the operating system's Start screen.

You can repeat all of these steps to create a new Restart shortcut, as well. The only difference: after selecting 'Create new Shortcut' you'll have to enter the command 'shutdown /r /t 0' (zero again). The "r" is for "Restart."

Driver Tip: Driver Store

One question we get asked is where are drivers stored in Windows 7? In older operating systems such as Windows XP and 2000, the driver source files needed for installing the devices were typically found in several locations.
  • %SystemRoot%\Driver Cache\i386\
  • %SystemRoot%\Driver Cache\i386\
  • .inf files under %windir%inf
  • .sys files under %SystemRoot%\System32\Drivers
  • Support DLLs under %SystemRoot%\System32
  • Third Party co-installers in various locations.
DriverStore is a central location in Windows Vista and Windows 7 where all the driver files are stored, before they are copied to their final destination during the device driver installation.

For example, the driver package developed by Microsoft that contains the core mouse support files is present in the following folder:

C:\Windows\System32\DriverStore\FileRepository\ msmouse.inf_amd64_neutral_6f653f6716c1448c

Keeping the drivers in a central store allows for a much faster device installation and a more reliable driver rollback.

BIOS Tip: Disabling Onboard Sound to Accommodate Sound Card

When installing a new sound card it is sometimes necessary to disable your onboard sound so that the computer will recognize and use the new sound card properly. This is what you need to do.

Typically, this is done by disabling the on-board sound card within the BIOS as soon as you turn your computer.

Once you are inside the CMOS menu, you may need to go into every sub-menu and look for an option that pertains to your on-board sound, and then disable it. Once that's finished, exit the BIOS (saving changes), wait for the computer to reboot, and then power down; insert your new sound card in the PCI slot and power on the computer... boot into Windows and the new sound card should be detected. The old one will no longer appear under Device Manager.

» Perform a BIOS scan now!

PC Performance Tip: Disabling the Login Screen in Windows 8

Recently a customer asked us how to bypass the login screen in Windows 8, so that the system will just boot normally without needing to login. Here is how this can be done.

First boot up your computer and enter your log-in information and password. This is the last time you'll be asked to go through this.

Once you are logged in, press Win-X (hold down the Windows key and simultaneously tap the X key). This will initiate a pop-up menu on which you can click Command Prompt (Admin).

After the command prompt opens, simply enter the term 'control userpasswords2' (no quotations) and press Enter.

Lastly, uncheck the box in the User Accounts section marked 'Users Must Enter a User Name and Password to Use This Computer'.

Now click 'OK' and confirm the automatic sign-in option by entering the password twice will hide the log-in prompt until you go through the reverse of this process to activate it again.

It's important that you reboot your computer right after performing the steps listed above.

» Perform a registry scan now!

Tech Tip
Is Your Windows 8 Computer Having Trouble Keeping the Correct Time?
Right click on the clock icon in the bottom right corner of your Windows 8 screen. When the options menu pops up, select 'Adjust date / time.' A new window will then appear. Click on the 'Internet Time' tab and then click 'Change settings.' From the next screen you can select the option 'Synchronize with an Internet time server.' Once the drop-down menu appears you can select the option '' After that's complete, simply tell the system to 'Update now.'

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Quote of the Month
"We were promised a simpler life, and technology has only complicated our lives."

– Freeman Thomas

Sites of the Month

Fun Sites
A free to use website that will act as an excellent resource for lyrics to your favorite songs.

Techie Sites
Gizmo's Freeware
The best freeware independently reviewed and rated by the web's most popular freeware review site.

Stat of the Month

Worldwide Ebook Reader Shipment Forecast
(Millions of Units)

Worldwide Ebook Reader Shipment Forecast
Source: IHS iSuppli Research
December 2012

Vocab Test


The act of telling too much about yourself on a blog or social networking site.

Browser Add-On

Save To Pulse

Save stories from your favorite blogs and news sites across the web.

SmartPhone App


Zeebox helps you discover, connect, share and interact - all live as you watch TV. Chat with your friends, start a viewing party, or Tweet your thoughts on what you're watching.

  Twitter Tip

Logos are OK, but people like connecting with people. Try using a photo of yourself.

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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