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Question and Answer
My wife insists we need to buy a new PC with our tax refund because our two year old HP Pavilion notebook with Windows 7 appears to have a serious problem. It freezes, shuts off for no reason, takes forever to boot up and occasionally a suspicious message pops-up. However, our anti-virus program doesn't find a problem. Should we buy a new PC? Or can we fix and restore what we have?
– Michael D., Chicago, IL
Don't replace your notebook, fix it. The best solution to safely repair and restore your PC is to use a program TouchStoneSoftware recommends called Reimage. Download Reimage and within minutes the program will safely diagnose your PC for hidden problems like malware, viruses, broken or corrupted files. Reimage will even detect if there's a problem with your Windows operating system. Then within minutes, Reimage's patented technology seamlessly repairs and restores your computer to peak performance.

» Download Reimage
My brother in-law has a Mac and is always bragging about the different built-in features that the computer has. In particular, he's always talking about a feature named Time Machine. I was wondering, does Windows have anything similar that I can try? Over the last couple years I have transferred thousands of digital photos and videos to my computer and it would devastate me if my computer crashed and I lost them all. When I remember, I try to back up files manually to my external drive, but it's a pain in the neck, and I often go months between backups.
– Tim W., New York, NY
Your best bet would be to use a product like Genie Timeline Professional (Download Trial Here). Genie Timeline Professional acts as a Windows Time Machine, where you can go back in time from your backup and restore files to a specific point. It has a "set it and forget it" configuration which can be enabled in minutes after you download the program. The program couldn't be simpler - it's a 3-step configuration that optionally allows you to back up your files to an external hard drive or network drive. The powerful backup will automatically back up all your files - emails, documents, as well as your precious photos and videos, without you even noticing. Best of all, if your computer ever does crash, Genie Timeline Professional provides Disaster Recovery which will easily allow you to restore your files. Genie9 offers a free trial with no feature limitations. Try it out!

» Download Genie Timeline Professional 2013
I've noticed that the Power Menu in Windows 7 and Windows 8 offers options for Sleep, Hibernate, and Shut Down. Can you tell me the difference between them?
– Jim G., Fremont, NE
The Sleep and Hibernate modes are similar, both save the state of your open programs so that you'll have quick access to the files and programs you were using before you shutdown. In Sleep Mode, all of the information is saved to the memory in your system, and the PC uses only enough energy to supply power to that memory. With Hibernate, information about your open applications and files is saved in the computer's internal storage. The advantage of using Hibernate is that no power is necessary to keep the data on hand. However, Sleep Mode offers a faster restart, often only a matter of seconds, compared to Hibernate mode. You should use Sleep Mode when you plan on using the PC again in a short period of time. Hibernate is best when you don't plan on using the computer for an hour or more. Shut Down will close all of your applications and completely turn off power to the computer. This is the ideal mode for those who want a hard restart when they start their PC, which can be a good way to avoid bugs and memory leaks. Shut Down is also the mode you want to select after a program or Windows has installed updates and instructs you to reboot before the changes can go into effect. Of these three options, turning the computer on from Shut Down will take the longest.

PC Performance Tip: Disable Balloon Notifications

The notification balloons in Windows' lower right-hand corner can be helpful, but if you have a number of things going on at once, they can get pretty annoying. It's an extreme measure, but if you'd like to turn them off altogether, all it takes is a very simple registry tweak.

Open up regedit.exe through the start menu search or run box, and then browse down to the following key:


Right-click on the right-hand pane, and create a new 32-bit DWORD with the following values:
  1. Name: EnableBalloonTips
  2. Value: 0
You'll have to logoff and back on in order to see the change. Afterwards, you shouldn't see the ballons anymore.

Please Note: Before performing these tweaks, we recommend backing up your systems registry.

To back up the Registry the easy way, simply open Control Panel, click System, and then click System protection on the left sidebar. Click the big Create button to have Windows walk you through the straightforward process of creating a System Restore Point — it's as easy as that.

» Download RegistryWizard Now! (New version now available)

Driver Tip: Laptop Battery Charging Issues

Are you having problems with your laptop battery not charging? Have you ever thought that it could be a device driver issue? Well it very well could be.

There are some default battery device drivers which are bundled in Windows 7. These drivers try to control the battery charging properly, but for some laptops, these drivers may not function well. In such cases, users face problems like the laptop battery does not charge even when the battery is low and the power adaptor is properly plugged into the laptop. In these cases, it's better to download compatible battery drivers and install them instead of the Windows default drivers.

To uninstall the default drivers, navigate to your Device Manager in Windows. In the Device Manager, locate Batteries > Microsoft ACPI-Compliant Control Method Battery, right click on it and choose Uninstall. After you do this, restart the laptop and the battery charging should start to function normally.

BIOS Tip – When is it Time to Update My BIOS?

We get a lot of people who ask, "How do I know when I should upgrade my BIOS?" It could be different for everyone, but usually there are some tell-tale signs. If you're experiencing strange behavior such as blue screens, your system restarting, or you're looking for more functionality such as the ability to add a larger hard drive to your system, then a BIOS update is definitely something you will need to consider.

Motherboard makers are constantly enhancing the BIOS firmware and the end result can be significantly improved performance, less buggy behavior, additional functionality, improved overclocking performance, and much more.

» Perform a BIOS scan now!

Tech Tip
Tired of Hearing the Windows Startup Sound?
Getting tired of hearing the Windows Startup sound? If you don't want Windows to play the Startup sound every time you power on your PC, click the Start button and then click Control Panel. Click Hardware And Sound and then click Change System Sounds in the Sound area. Uncheck the Play Windows Startup Sound box and then click the OK button.

TouchStoneSoftware UndeletePlus RegistryWizard BIOSAgentPlus
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Quote of the Month
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Sites of the Month

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Stat of the Month

Top-5 Cellphone Handset OEMs in 2012
(Ranking by Global Unit Shipments)

Top-5 Cellphone Handset OEMs in 2012
Source: IHS Research
March 2013

Vocab Test


A phenomenon reported by cell phone addicts and BlackBerry junkies of feeling vibrations when there are none, or feeling as if they're wearing a cell phone when they're not.

Browser Add-On

Social Fixer

Social Fixer for Facebook fixes annoyances, adds features, and enhances existing functionality to make FB more fun and efficient.

SmartPhone App


SwiftKey replaces the touchscreen keyboard on your phone with one that understands how words work together, giving the world's most accurate autocorrect - and predicting your next word before you press a key.

  Twitter Tip

Share your expertise. What do you know that others may benefit from? Tweet that!

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!

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