Tips and Tricks
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What Do All Those Windows Processes in Task Manager Do? by Kelly Lynn

If you're a hands-on Windows user, you've probably been to Task Manager,to take a look at what exactly happens behind the scenes. You've probably looked under the Details and Processes tabs and seen a number of running processes with mystifying names, taking up your computer's resources. What do these processes actually do, and should you shut them down?   svchost.exe   In early versions of Windows, every internal process was launched by a .exe executable file. Over time, though, Microsoft changed this practice. Internal Windows services were moved to a different kind of executable called the Dynamic Link Library file or .dll file. The idea was to break tasks down to smaller sections, to write .dll executable files for them, and to share them across programs. This made programming easier, because … Continue reading

Why is Windows Update as Slow as It Is? by Kelly Lynn

Windows Update has never been particularly speedy. While you aren't likely to notice if the update process entirely automatically, you'll certainly get impatient should you try to do it manually (you might want to do this if the automatic update process is set to an inconvenient time, and you simply want to get the update process going right away). When you click on the Check for updates button in Windows Update, it can take as long as 15 to 30 minutes for the process to even discover what updates are needed. If your computer hasn't had a chance to update in a while, the process can take even longer. To many computer users, this seems inexcusable; does Windows Update need an update for itself? Why should it take it this … Continue reading

What is an IP Address Conflict, and What Do You Do About It? by Kelly Lynn

If you have more than one device connected to your home network, you may, on occasion, come up against a problem called an IP address conflict. In Windows, you get a little notification. It goes Network error: Windows has detected an IP address conflict. Another computer on this network has the same IP address as this computer. When this happens, usually, you lose your connection to the network, or your connection becomes unstable. Why does this happen, and what can you do about it? The notification is spot on   Every computer on a network must have a unique IP address. It's the only way that the router can keep track of where a request for a new webpage or network resource comes from, and where information arriving from the … Continue reading

When Your PC Seems Sluggish, Task Manager Gives You All Kinds of Options by Kelly Lynn

When your computer seems to run slow, your first instinct is usually to restart it. If you're the curious type, though, you'll probably want to check for the cause. Going to the Process tab of Task Manager is the way to do it. With its detailed resource allocation listings, Task Manager gives you great insight into what programs or processes take up too much of the resources available. Once you do discover that a process doesn't play nice, Task Manager also gives you ways to correct the situation -- you get to set processes to low priority levels to force them to trim their demands, or you get to shut them down altogether. Looking at Task Manager   Task Manager is easily accessed through a right-click on the taskbar. If … Continue reading

Are Terabytes of Cloud Storage Really a Practical Idea? by Kelly Lynn

When you sign up for an Internet connection, you usually only get to see numbers advertised for the download speeds available. The average American broadband connection is now around 21 Mbps, which puts it way behind countries in Eastern Europe such as Estonia and Hungary. If you're only willing to pay $50 a month, as most people are, you get no more than 16 Mbps in most areas. This can be a problem when you try to take advantage of Dropbox, iCloud, OneDrive, Amazon Cloud Drive or any of the other great services that offer gigabytes or terabytes of space online (one Chinese service called Tencent Weiyun actually offers 10 TB for free, and another called Qihoo 360 offers 36 TB; the one problem is that these sites are completely … Continue reading

Did You Ever Wonder Why Your 64-Bit Windows Had Two Folders Named Program Files? by Kelly Lynn

It was with Windows Vista that Microsoft first made 64-bit operating systems easily available to regular consumers (while there was a 64-bit version of XP available, consumers didn't have easy access to it, the way they do on Windows versions released ever since). Certainly, Windows 64-bit is more efficient; what about the other difference? Users who install 64-bit versions of Windows do know that there's better performance to be had; 64-bit operating systems are able to use more than 3 GB of RAM, for instance, and are faster. To all appearances, though, 64-bit operating systems are identical to 32-bit ones; there's just one prominent difference -- when it comes to 64-bit installations, Windows places two different Program Files folders on the C: drive, rather than just the one seen on 32-bit installations. … Continue reading