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Tips Of The Day For March 1998

Tip Of The Day For March 30, 1998: With memory so cheap now, many people are upgrading their 486 machines (yes, there are still a lot of them out there!) If you do upgrade your memory, be careful about choosing 30-pin SIMMs. Some parity 30-pin SIMMs use 3 chips, and others use 9; some systems don't like the 3-chip version, and others just have a problem with the two types being mixed in the same machine. You can read much more on memory packaging issues here.

Tip Of The Day For March 26, 1998: If you use too much heat sink compound when attaching a heat sink to a CPU, it may melt and drip into the PC box causing a huge mess. Spread only a thin layer, as described here. Better yet, purchase a boxed CPU with an integrated heat sink, and save yourself a lot of hassle.

Tip Of The Day For March 23, 1998: If you are using Windows NT, you can assign drive letters so that they are not contiguous. With the exception of special driver programs (such as for disk compression), DOS partitions are normally lettered contiguously (C:, D:, E: etc.) under Windows 3.x or Windows 95.

Tip Of The Day For March 19, 1998: If you are trying to network a group of PCs under Windows 95, and you are having problems getting the network to function properly, remember to check under the Device Manager for hardware problems with the network card. Sometimes, when the network card isn't working properly, Windows will just not connect to the network, and won't even give you an error message to tell you that the network card isn't operational.

Tip Of The Day For March 15, 1998: Always remember to close any files you are working on before you leave your PC for a long period of time. The reason is simple: you never know when the power may fail, and if it does and you have files unsaved, you will lose any changes you have made to the file. Another reason is that with a file left open in a word processor or other program, you may accidentally hit the keyboard and make changes to the file that you didn't intend.

Tip Of The Day For March 13, 1998: Is your keyboard gungy? Mine gets that way every few months or so and I have to clean it off. The easiest way to avoid a dirty keyboard is to simply never eat any food when you are working on the PC, but I've never been very good about avoiding this. :^) Cleaning the keyboard is easy; use any general-purpose cleaner, such as rubbing alcohol or an ammonia-based window cleaner. Use a clean cloth and put the cleaner on the cloth; then wipe the keys. Don't spray cleaner directly onto the keyboard or it will get between the keys and possibly cause problems later on. Also, it's best to turn the PC off before you start, to avoid problems with random keystrokes being sent to the system

Tip Of The Day For March 9, 1998: If you are upgrading your processor, consider upgrading your CPU fan at the same time. While switching from one chip to another of the same general type means you can keep your old CPU fan, I don't recommend it. CPU fans don't have a long useful life, unless you have purchased a top-of-the-line model. If you have a standard fan, and it is more than about a year old, get a new one. They are only a few dollars. (Better yet, get a boxed CPU with an integrated fan, and save yourself some time and mess.)

Tip Of The Day For March 5, 1998: DOS, Windows 3.x and Windows 95 come with a program called Scandisk built into them to allow you to scan for file system errors. I recently encountered a situation, however, in which Scandisk for DOS was unable to repair damage on a corrupted hard disk. When I used a similar Norton Utilities program, Disk Doctor, it was able to fix the damage. So if you are finding the built-in Microsoft utilities won't do the job for you, you may want to try using a commercial alternative.

Tip Of The Day For March 2, 1998: If you encounter a resource conflict when adding an internal modem to your PC, this is usually because the modem is trying to set itself up as COM2, the second internal COM port. You can usually change the modem to use different settings, but you can also often change the resources used by the secnd internal COM port to avoid the conflict. See here for more details.

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