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Question and Answer
Out of frustration I started looking for a new laptop to replace my 3 year old Dell Inspiron. But WOW, after seeing the prices soar past $1000 I've decided to hold off and stay with my Dell and go to plan B to find the problem. While my Dell has been a good system, it is so slow at times compared to when it was new even though I'm running Windows 10 with 8 gigs of RAM and a fast i5 Intel CPU. For unknown reasons, it will freeze for a minute or two, forcing me to wait or shut down and reboot. Sometimes Google Chrome is unresponsive for minutes. I do use my PC a lot and have a bunch of apps. My friend suggests that Windows or perhaps some files has been corrupted or maybe malware or a virus is the cause. Is there a safe and easy way to restore my Dell? Should I reinstall Windows or is there a way to find and fix what's causing the problem?
– Loni K. Seattle, WA

Before you spend $1000 on a new PC, take a minute and check your system for common issues that can cause stubborn PC problems. For example, close to 85% of PCs have problems with Windows or software that lead to a slow or unstable system. Here's a secret; Windows needs to be maintained or even restored occasionally. The #1 tool we recommend for the job is Windows Repair Tool. Since 2007 millions of PC users have trusted Windows Repair Tool to find and safely repair Windows problems ranging from missing or corrupt files, viruses, malware and so much junk that kill PC performance. Within minutes Windows Repair Tool will test your complete system and provide a nice system report. Next, Windows Repair Tool will fix and restore Windows, all without needing to Windows reinstall. Windows Repair Tool has patented Windows repair and restore technology that replaces important system files that have been damaged. Look at this as a complete PC and Windows tune up without performing a risky Windows reinstall. Windows Repair Tool will repair and optimize your PC safely and return it to peak performance. Best of all Windows Repair Tool is free to try.

» Download Windows Repair Tool

For the past few days I'm getting a message on my HP Pavilion laptop saying a BIOS update is available. I keep clicking 'remind me later' because I'm not sure if it's something I should allow. There doesn't appear to be info on what the BIOS update fixes or why it's needed. What is BIOS and is it a good idea to update the BIOS if the PC maker releases an update?
– Dee C. Boulder, CO

This is a popular question here at TouchStoneSoftware. BIOS or Basic Input Output System is firmware used to perform hardware and operating system checks during the boot up process. Typically BIOS updates are released by your PC manufacturer for bug fixes, to improve performance and stability, even security patches. A BIOS update can help extend the life of a PC. Many users ask TouchStoneSoftware how they can identify their BIOS and if a BIOS update is available for their PC. A great app for safely identifying your PC's BIOS brand like AMI, Phoenix or Insyde, date, version and update status is BIOSAgentPlus. This program has been trusted by 50 million users since 2005. To try it, go to BIOSAgentPlus and run their free app. It's quick, simple and safe. BIOSAgentPlus will provide a system hardware overview including a useful BIOS report for your PC. Good luck!

» Try BIOSAgentPlus

Driver Tip: Check Your Driver Versions

If you are having issues with your computer it’s often necessary to check the versions of drivers that you have installed on your system, especially when the problem is with display drivers, which always seem to have the most issues.

There’s a command line utility that comes bundled with Windows that gives you similar output. It’s called driverquery.

Running the command with no parameters will give you the default output.

To get detailed output you can use the /v parameter: driverquery /v

Or to output in list or csv format instead of the default table format, you can use the /FO switch:

Driverquery /FO [list, table, csv]

You can check out the full list of parameters to use with the command

PC Performance Tip: Find Slow Programs

You're using your computer, but it's dragging. Try this: Open up the Task Manager and check out the "Processes" tab. It will show you which apps and background processes are running and how much of your CPU, memory, disk and network resources they are each hogging up. Right click on the app you want to kill.

» Perform a PC performance scan now!

BIOS Tip – Will An Updated BIOS Fix That?

A question we get quite often is “Can a new BIOS fix my problem?” The answer depends on what the problem is. There are certain things that a BIOS update will not fix. The following are a couple of examples.

Increasing Amount of RAM or Updating the CPU – This one is a little tricky. Here’s why… While, in most cases, you may need a BIOS update to help with your RAM and CPU support, it isn’t the only factor. The chipset on the motherboard must also support the amount of RAM and the speed of the CPU that you want to upgrade to. For example, if you want to upgrade to 4GB of RAM, and the system chipset only supports 2GB, then a BIOS update isn’t going to make a difference. However if the system chipset supports 4GB and your system will only see 2GB, THEN a BIOS update is necessary. With the CPU, the system chipset must support the speed that you are upgrading to If not, then the BIOS doesn’t matter.

USB Boot Capability – USB Boot Capability is another function that is dependent on the chipset. The system chipset must support this function in order for the BIOS to enable it.

» Perform a BIOS scan now!

Tech Tip

Defrag your Windows 10 PC

Optimizing your hard drives can help your PC run smoother and boot up faster. To optimize them:

1. Select the search bar on the taskbar and enter defrag.
2. Select Defragment and Optimize Drives.
3. Select the disk drive you want to optimize.
4. Select the Optimize button.

» Slow PC? Run a free PC Diagnostic Test

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