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HARDWARE GUIDES

Quick Tips for PC Beginners
By: wubayou
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    2011-10-24

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    If you are new to the PC world, you will have to get used to a plethora of features at your disposal. Here are a few quick tips for PC beginners to help you become more versed in some of the functionality at your fingertips.

    Upgrading Your PC? Wipe Out the Old One First

    As PCs with upgraded technology and friendly price tags continue to flood the market, you may be tempted to purchase a new one. Itís not a bad idea, but make sure you donít simply ignore your old PC and toss it in the trash.  You probably have plenty of sensitive data still on it, so cleaning it properly is a must in the name of security and privacy.

    Unfortunately, the act of just deleting files off your PC or reformatting it wonít put you in the clear.  Luckily, many programs exist to simplify the process to give you extra peace of mind.  One such program is Darikís Boot and Nuke.  This self-contained boot disk detects and completely deletes hard disk contents automatically.  Once finished, you can then sell or toss your old PC without having to worry about putting your privacy at risk.

    Double-clicking Is Not Always Necessary

    You can save your fingers a little bit of wear and tear by following the rule of not double-clicking everything in existence while using your PC.  Yes, it is true that in Windows itself you open items, on your desktop for instance, by double-clicking on their icons.  However, if you are using a web browser, submitting a form, clicking on a link, etc., one click is all you need. 

    Of course, sometimes double-clicking wonít cause any problems, other than extra work for your fingers, but there are times when it could backfire.  Particularly, if you are making a purchase on a website and double click the submit button after entering your payment information, you could be accidentally charged twice.  You could post a duplicate message on an internet forum by double-clicking as well.

    Adjust Power Settings to Suit Your Needs

    For frequent travelers, a laptop with lengthy battery life is a must-have companion.  Since laptops differ in size, configuration, and more, battery life will fluctuate across the board.  To ensure you get the best battery life possible, check your laptopís power settings.  This can be done in the Control Panel, under the System and Security section.  Once there, click on Power Options.  Depending on the laptop you are using, there will be options to select specific power plans that have predetermined settings to prolong battery life.  You can also create your own power plan to closely fit with your usage.  If you tend to walk away from your laptop frequently, creating custom settings to dim the display, turn it off, etc. after a certain amount of idle time is a good idea.  Separate settings also exist for when the laptop is running on its battery or is plugged in.

    Avoid Including Unwanted Programs during Installation

    Thanks to installation wizards and improved user-friendliness in the computing environment, installing programs or applications is as easy as can be.  While the hands-off approach is certainly timesaving and relaxing, it opens up the possibility of overlooking the installation of secondary, unwanted programs.  For instance, when installing a program, there may be the option to install a toolbar or some other third-party application that you originally did not want.  Unless you read the entire dialog box, you may miss such a detail.  To avoid bloating your PC with unnecessary programs, be sure to read through all the details in any installation wizards prior to clicking Next or OK.  If you donít, you will find yourself irritated when that unwanted app appears, and it will be necessary to remove it manually.

    Remove Unused Programs

    When you purchase a new computer, thereís a good chance that it will come loaded with several programs that you will never use.  Itís also highly likely that you will download programs off the internet from time to time, and forget you even had them.  Thereís no need to keep such programs on your computer, so you are better off performing some occasional ďspring cleaningĒ via the Control Panel.  Select the Uninstall a program feature under Programs, go down the list of programs, and uninstall any that are unnecessary.  Just be careful that you do not delete any vital programs in the process.

    Eliminate System Tray Clutter

    You may have noticed the clustering of icons on the right side of your taskbar.  Such icons can be helpful to give you a heads up on the status of things like your internet connection or battery power, but itís not necessary to have a ton of icons that are cluttering up your display.  You can customize the appearance of the icons with ease to give your PC a cleaner look.

    To clean up the system tray, go to the Appearance and Personalization section of the Control Panel.  Click on Taskbar and Start Menu, and click on the Taskbar tab.  Click Customize under the Notification area section.  You will see a list of the various icons.  Next to each, you can choose to show the icon and notifications, hide the icon and notifications, or only show notifications.  Hide the icons of items that are not of utmost importance to give your RAM a bit of a rest.


    DISCLAIMER: The content provided in this article is not warranted or guaranteed by Developer Shed, Inc. The content provided is intended for entertainment and/or educational purposes in order to introduce to the reader key ideas, concepts, and/or product reviews. As such it is incumbent upon the reader to employ real-world tactics for security and implementation of best practices. We are not liable for any negative consequences that may result from implementing any information covered in our articles or tutorials. If this is a hardware review, it is not recommended to open and/or modify your hardware.

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