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Tips Of The Day For June 1998

Tip Of The Day For June 30, 1998: Have you ever considered backing up important CD-ROMs? It's perfectly legal to make a backup copy of software for personal use, and it could save you if you need a disk for something important some day and discover it is not working due to a scratch or other problem. The easiest way to make a backup is of course with a CD-R drive, but you can also copy the files to any other media, if you have the space.

Tip Of The Day For June 25, 1998: In my last tip, I discussed how you can sometimes save money by buying an older version of software inexpensively, and then buying the "upgrade" version of the latest release. An astute reader pointed out a weakness of this method: if you ever have to reinstall the software, you will not be able to unless you also have the original software (if the upgrade's setup program searches for the older software, which many do). Therefore, if this is likely to be a concern for you down the road, you should be careful with the money-saving suggestion I made. In particular, you may want to avoid the upgrade trick when dealing with operating system software, since you do not want to end up with problems if you have to reinstall your operating system at some point.

Tip Of The Day For June 18, 1998: OK, I'm going to save you some money here. Next time you are looking to buy a new software package, check carefully to see if there is an upgrade version available. Compare the prices of the "full" and upgrade versions. Then find out what packages qualify you for the upgrade, and check their prices. You may find that the cost of the older or competing software, plus the cost of the upgrade version of the new software, is much lower than the cost of the "full" version. I have in the past saved hundreds of dollars this way, and it is quite legal (I have recently asked a software manufacturer about this for confirmation--they said that it is true, and they don't worry about it because most people never notice the incongruity or take advantage of it.)

Tip Of The Day For June 15, 1998: Do you have a Pentium PC running Windows 95 or Windows NT with less than 64 MB of RAM? Is your system running sluggishly, swapping to disk a lot? I'm sure you can see where I am going with this... Upgrading your system memory is the fastest, cheapest, easiest way to get a significant increase in processing power and efficiency. If your system can take more memory, and if you are feeling that it is getting a bit slow in day-to-day tasks, that's the first place to look. RAM is very cheap right now.

Tip Of The Day For June 10, 1998: If you want to quickly and easily wipe out a hard disk partition that currently has data on it, use the "quick format" option. This erases the contents of the hard disk structures, effectively clearing the disk without making you wait through a full format. Quick format is an option for the Windows format program, or is invoked by the "/Q" option in DOS. Be careful to make sure you don't format a partition by accident!

Tip Of The Day For June 4, 1998: If you are having problems accessing some of your CD-ROMs, it may be because they are dirty. Sometimes dirt can build up on the disk, which can cause problems   with your CD-ROM reading them. Always clean compact disks radially, from the center out, using a soft cloth.

Tip Of The Day For June 1, 1998: Watch out for static, as it can ruin your day. Static electricity shocks are less common in the summer than the winter, primarily because the air is more humid in most places. However, it is still present; I recommend that you ground yourself to the case of your PC power supply before working within it. As an astute reader pointed out, sometimes the case is painted, and if so, this may prevent proper grounding from taking place. Touching one of the screws of the power supply case should avoid get around this problem.


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