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Question and Answer
I am so frustrated with one of our Dell Inspiron notebooks with Windows 7 due to its occasional hanging and unexpected shut downs. I'm forced to reboot and when I do it runs awfully slow. I've installed a popular anti-virus and anti-malware program. They both found no problems. I called Dell and their support line suggested I reinstall Windows XP, but warned me that there's a risk of losing important files on my hard drive. Now I'm at a loss. Is there a utility that will allow me to find out what's wrong and fix my Dell notebook without having to reinstall Windows?
– Jerry W., Dallas, TX
Thanks for the question Jerry. Here at TouchStoneSoftware we get these questions often. Reinstalling Windows might fix your problem. But doing so is time consuming and tricky. The easiest and safest option is to run a free system scan using a popular program that TouchStoneSoftware has endorsed for some time called Reimage. Within minutes Reimage will safely detect and fix all of the errors on your PC. If there's a hidden virus, nasty 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 get so many different opinions from so many different people that I thought you would be my final expert answer to this age-old question: Should I leave the computer on all the time or shut it off when not in use? Two computers are in question, one being my home computer with intermittent use daily, and the other is used about every two weeks on average.
– Mike R., Culver City, CA
It really comes down to your person preference. Don’t worry about factors like if turning off the system too many times will hard the components. It isn’t recommended, however, to leave BOTH computers on all the time. To conserve energy, power off the systems and unplug them when not in use. Personally, I don’t like to wait for my system to boot up, so I rarely shut my system down. Instead, I have it set to turn off the display after 10 minutes of inactivity and enter sleep mode after 15 minutes. The computer wakes up much faster from sleep mode compared with a cold start, but the downside is it may be a little sluggish if lots of programs are left open. An occasional reboot solves that.

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 such cases, it’s better to download compatible battery drivers and install them instead of the Windows default drivers. 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.

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.

PC Performance Tip: Make Windows 8 Faster
Windows 8, like any operating system can get bogged down and become slow. Here are some tips to help you speedup Windows 8 for better performance.

Pinpoint Application:

There are always some programs that tend to slowdown your system. Windows 8 task manager is competent enough that you can pin point such applications that are slowing down your computer.

Manage Startup Programs:

Windows 8 task manager also gives you access to disable such applications, which are launched at startup. At times, these programs can slowdown your system

Disable Animations:

Windows 8 is best at animations and effects. At times, these animations affect system performance while you are working. Disable these animations and improve Windows speed by:

» Perform a registry scan now!

BIOS Tip – Still Necessary To Upgrade Your BIOS?

One question we get asked a lot is "Is it still necessary to upgrade my BIOS in this day and age?" The answer is most definitely YES!

First, for those of you who do not know, let's go over what a BIOS actually is. The BIOS, which stands for Basic Input/Output System, is primarily responsible for initializing your systems hardware directly after powering up and begins the process of starting your operating system. The BIOS contains the codes your system requires to control the keyboard, display screen, disk drives, serial and USB communications, and other miscellaneous functions.

If your BIOS is out of date, your motherboard will not be able to utilize all of its features to their full potential, if even able to use them at all. An out of date BIOS will cause your computer to run inefficiently and eventually may cause the computer to fail to run some devices at all. Updating your BIOS will increase your computer's speed and compatibility with newer hardware. All the hardware attached to the motherboard, such as the RAM, processor, video card and disk drives, can be configured to a greater or lesser degree through the BIOS. Memory timings, processor speed and overclocking, hard disk detection and booting are all properties controlled by the motherboard's BIOS.

If you have an older computer, and want to upgrade to a newer, larger hard drive or to a newer operating system such as Windows 7 or Windows 8, then upgrading your BIOS is definitely a good idea. This will ensure that your computer is up to date and ready for the improvements you are planning. 

» Perform a BIOS scan now!

Tech Tip

Making Large App Tiles Smaller in Windows 8
You'll notice that some Windows 8 apps have small live tiles, while others have larger tiles that take up the space of two tiles. Right-clicking on a Windows 8 app's Start screen tile will display a few relevant options. If this is one of the larger tiles, choosing 'Smaller' will cut it down to half the size, freeing up some valuable Start screen real estate.

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Quote of the Month
"Tweeting is like sending out cool telegrams to your friends once a week."

- Tom Hanks

Sites of the Month
Fun Sites
How Much Will It Snow?
Snow storm and snowfall total predictions for today and tomorrow in any city America.

Useful Site
Rick’s Daily Tips
Computer Tips, Tricks, and Tutorials

Stat of the Month

Global Monthly LCD-TV Panel Shipments
(Millions of Units)

Global Monthly LCD-TV Panel Shipments
Source: IHS Research
January 2014

Vocab Test


To transfer data by copying it onto a USB drive, CD-ROM, (or floppy) and walking it over to the intended recipient (instead of using the internal network).

Browser Add-On


A place to collect, organize and share everything you like on the web.

SmartPhone App


Check is an award-winning app that stays on top of your bills & money for you, so you never miss a bill or get hit with overdraft & late fees again

Twitter Tip

Get a great profile pic, the standard egg avatar looks like a spam account.

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.

(New Version - May 2013)
  • iPad Support
  • Improved 'Activity' Section
  • Improved 'Processes' Section
  • Improved 'Battery' Section
  • Improved 'System' Information
  • Improved 'Network' Section
Best of all — It's FREE!

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