Fixing Your Computer Absolute Beginner's Guide [NOOK Book]

Overview

Fix your own computer—without becoming a technical expert! This book is the fastest way to save money on computer repairs, avoid unnecessary frustration, and keep using perfectly good equipment instead of throwing it away! Even if you’re completely non-technical, you’ll learn how to get the job done, one incredibly clear and easy step at a time. Computer repair and maintenance has never, ever been this simple!

¿

Who knew how simple fixing your ...

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Fixing Your Computer Absolute Beginner's Guide

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Overview

Fix your own computer—without becoming a technical expert! This book is the fastest way to save money on computer repairs, avoid unnecessary frustration, and keep using perfectly good equipment instead of throwing it away! Even if you’re completely non-technical, you’ll learn how to get the job done, one incredibly clear and easy step at a time. Computer repair and maintenance has never, ever been this simple!

¿

Who knew how simple fixing your computer could be?

¿

This is the easiest, most practical beginner’s guide to fixing your own computer… simple, reliable instructions and crystal-clear pictures that show you exactly how to do it yourself! Here’s a small sample of what you’ll learn:

•¿¿ Maintain your computer so it’s less likely to break in the first place

•¿¿ Perform simple “ounce of prevention” tasks now, so it’s easier to fix problems later

•¿¿ Learn simple troubleshooting techniques for figuring out what’s wrong

•¿¿ Find the right tools (you might already have them!)

•¿¿ Buy the right parts without spending more than you have to

•¿¿ Fix aggravating Windows startup problems

•¿¿ Smoothly recover from PC crashes

•¿¿ Perform basic hardware repairs or upgrades at home, often in minutes

•¿¿ Install a new hard disk, CD/DVD drive, or Blu-ray drive

•¿¿ Speed up your computer by adding memory or upgrading its processor

•¿¿ Troubleshoot and fix network and Internet connection problems

•¿¿ And much more…

¿

Paul McFedries is a full-time technical writer and passionate computer tinkerer. He has authored more than 80 computer books that have sold more than 4 million copies. His recent titles include My Office 2013 RT, Windows 8 In Depth, Microsoft Windows 7 Unleashed, Microsoft Home Server 2011 Unleashed, and Tweak It and Freak It: A Killer Guide to Making Windows Run Your Way. He is also proprietor of Word Spy (www.wordspy.com), a website that tracks new words and phrases as they enter the English language.

¿

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780133408133
  • Publisher: Pearson Education
  • Publication date: 7/31/2013
  • Series: Absolute Beginner's Guide
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 894,801
  • File size: 40 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

Paul McFedries is full-time technical writer and passionate computer tinkerer. He is the author of more than 80 computer books that have sold more than four million copies worldwide. His recent titles include the Sams Publishing books Windows 7 Unleashed and Windows Home Server 2011 Unleashed, and the Que Publishing books PCs for Grownups, Windows 8 In Depth (coauthored with Brian Knittel), Formulas and Functions with Microsoft Excel 2013, and My Office 2013 RT. Paul is also the proprietor of Word Spy (www.wordspy.com), a website devoted to tracking new words and phrases as they enter the English language. Paul’s web home is at www.mcfedries.com, and he can be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/paulmcf and twitter.com/wordspy.

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Table of Contents

Introduction ..........................1

 

FIY: Fix-It-Yourself ........................ 2

Who Should Read This Book? ......................... 3

Conventions Used in This Book .................... 3

 

I PC Maintenance

 

1 Maintaining Your PC .................................5

Cleaning the PC ............................... 6

    Dust: Your PC’s Worst Nightmare ...................... 6

    Cleaning the Screen, Keyboard, and Mouse ............. 7

    Cleaning the Front and Back of the PC ............ 8

    Cleaning the Power Supply ..................11

    Cleaning the Interior ..............................13

Checking Free Disk Space ...........................16

Dealing with Hard Disk Errors ........................17

    Understanding Hard Drive Health States ...................19

    Repairing a Drive Manually ........................21

 

2 Maintaining Windows .........................25

Deleting Unnecessary Files ...................................................26

Defragmenting Your Hard Disk ..............................27

Repairing, Updating, and Uninstalling Programs .......................29

    Repairing a Software Installation ............................29

    Updating Windows 8 Apps ...................................30

    Uninstalling Windows 8 Apps .................................32

    Uninstalling Desktop Programs ................................32

Checking for Windows Updates ................................33

    Configuring Automatic Updates ..............................33

    Checking for and Installing Updates Manually .....................35

Installing a New Device ...........................................36

    Installing Plug and Play Devices .............................37

    Using Action Center to Complete a Device Install ................38

Uninstalling a Device ...................................39

 

3 Preparing for Trouble .......................41

Backing Up Your Files ...................................................42

    Backing Up File Versions with Windows 8’s File History .......42

    Backing Up Files in Windows 7 ...................................44

    Backing Up Files in Windows Vista ..........................46

    Backing Up Files in Windows XP ..................................48

Setting System Restore Points ........................................51

Creating a Windows 8 Recovery Drive ......................53

Creating a System Image Backup ...............................55

Creating a System Repair Disc ...........................................58

 

II Troubleshooting and Repair

 

4 Understanding Basic Troubleshooting .............61

Determining the Source of a Problem .........................62

    Did You Get an Error Message? ...............................62

    Did You Recently Change Any Windows Settings? ...................62

    Did You Recently Change Any Application Settings? ...............63

    Did You Recently Install a New Program? ...........................63

    Did You Recently Install a New Device or Update a Driver? ............64

General Troubleshooting Tips ........................64

Troubleshooting Startup ............................................64

More Troubleshooting Tools ..........................................65

    Running the Windows Troubleshooters ............................66

    Running the Memory Diagnostics Tool ............................67

    Checking for Solutions to Problems ...............................69

 

5 Troubleshooting Device Problems ...............71

Troubleshooting with Device Manager ........................72

Troubleshooting Device Driver Problems ...............................74

    Basic Device Driver Troubleshooting ............................74

    Tips for Downloading Device Drivers ..........................76

    Updating a Device Driver .......................................77

    Rolling Back a Device Driver ..................77

 

6 Recovering from Problems ...............81

Restoring Backed-Up Data ....................................82

    Restoring a Previous Version of a File in Windows 8 ...........82

    Restoring a Backed-Up File in Windows 7 ..............................84

    Restoring a Backed-Up File in Windows Vista ..............86

    Restoring a Backed-Up File in Windows XP ......................88

Accessing the Windows 8 Recovery Environment ......................89

    Accessing the RE via PC Settings ....................................89

    Accessing the RE via a Recovery Drive .............................90

    Accessing the RE via Windows 8 Install Media ................91

    Navigating the Recovery Environment ...........................91

Booting Up in Safe Mode ...........................94

Recovering Using System Restore .............................95

Refreshing Your Windows 8 PC .............................97

Resetting Your Windows 8 PC ................................98

Restoring a Windows 8 System Image .....................99

 

7 Troubleshooting Your Network ............. 103

Repairing a Network Connection ...................................104

Checking the Connection Status ................................104

Checking Connectivity with the PING Command ............106

General Solutions to Network Problems .......................107

    Turning On Network Discovery ................................109

    Updating the Router Firmware .......................111

Troubleshooting Cables .............................113

Troubleshooting Wireless Network Problems ............114

 

III PC Upgrades

 

8 Basic PC Repair Skills ............ 117

What Tools Do You Need? ............................118

Setting Up Your Work Area ..............................121

Playing It Safe ..................................122

    Keeping Yourself Safe ..................................123

    Keeping Your Components Safe ..................124

Opening the Computer Case ..........................125

Making Cable Connections ...........................127

Working with Expansion Cards ..............131

    Understanding Expansion Slot Types ..............132

    Installing an Expansion Card ........................135

 

9 Buying PC Parts ............... 139

Researching Parts Online .............140

    Checking Out Product Reviews ...........140

    Performing Price Comparisons ..........................143

Researching Retailers Online.........................145

Buying Parts Online .............................147

Returning Parts Online .................................149

Buying Parts Offline .............................151

 

10 Replacing the Power Supply ................ 155

Getting to Know the Power Supply ...................156

Buying a Power Supply ......................................158

Removing the Old Power Supply ...................160

Installing a New Power Supply ............................162

 

11 Upgrading the Hard Drive ............ 167

How a Hard Drive Works .........................168

Understanding Hard Drive Specs ............................169

    The Hard Drive Interface and Throughput ....................170

    The Hard Drive Form Factor ................................176

    The Hard Drive Speed ...............................177

Buying a Hard Drive ..................................177

Removing the Old Hard Drive .........................178

Installing a New Hard Drive ............................181

Finishing Up ................................182

 

12 Upgrading Your CD or DVD Drive ............ 185

Choosing a CD or DVD Drive ......................186

    Understanding Disc Capacities .................................186

    Getting to Know Drive Types .................187

    Understanding Drive Speeds ............................188

Buying a CD or DVD Drive .............................189

Removing the Existing CD or DVD Drive .......................190

Installing the New CD or DVD Drive ....................193

 

13 Adding More Memory ........... 195

Understanding Memory Specs ............................196

    The Memory Module Standard ........................197

    The Memory Type and Speed .......................197

    The Memory Module Capacity ..................198

Determining How Much Memory Is Installed ............198

Determining What Type of Memory Is Installed ..........199

Determining How Much Memory You Need ...............202

Buying Memory .........................205

Pulling Out the Old Memory Modules ...............205

Installing the New Memory Modules ...................207

 

14 Updating the Video Card and Monitor ........ 211

Assessing Your Video Card Needs ......................212

Understanding Video Card Specs ......................215

    The GPU Chipset ...........................216

    Video Memory ................................217

    Video Card Connectors .....................218

Buying a Video Card ........................221

Choosing a Monitor .................................223

Setting Up a Multimonitor System .....................225

    Setting Up Multiple Monitors on Windows 8 .................225

    Setting Up Multiple Monitors in Windows 7 ...................227

    Setting Up Multiple Monitors in Windows Vista or XP ..........228

    Moving Up to Three Monitors ..................229

 

15 Improving the Sound System ............ 233

Understanding Audio .................................234

    Analog-to-Digital Sound Conversion ......................234

    The Nature of Sound ...................................234

    How an Analog Sound Wave Gets Digitized .................235

Understanding Sound Card Specs ......................236

    The Sampling Frequency ....................237

    The Sample Depth ................................238

    The Number of Channels ............................240

    Sound Card Connectors .............................241

Buying a Sound Card .......................................242

Connecting Speakers or Headphones ................245

 

16 Upgrading the CPU .................. 249

Understanding What the CPU Does ................250

Intel or AMD? ......................................250

Understanding CPU Specs ....................................251

    The Processor Family ....................................252

    The Processor Cores ...................................253

    The Processor Name .......................................254

    The Processor Clock Speed ...........................255

    The Processor Socket ..............................256

    The Processor Cache Size ...............................258

    The Processor Manufacturing Process .................258

    The Processor Core Type ............................259

Keeping It Cool: Fans and Heatsinks ......................259

Buying a CPU ...................................263

Removing the Old CPU ................................265

Installing the New CPU .....................................267

    Installing an Intel CPU in a Socket 1155 Board .............268

    Installing an AMD CPU in a Socket AM3 Board ..................270

    Installing the CPU Cooler ..........................271

 

17 Changing the Laptop Battery .......... 275

Understanding Laptop Batteries ........................276

Getting More Out of Your Battery ........................276

    Extending Your Battery’s Life ................................276

    Extending Your Battery’s Charge .......................277

When Should You Replace the Battery? .............279

Buying a Battery .....................................280

Installing the Battery ..........................281

 

18 Upgrading Your Network ................ 285

Understanding Wireless Networks .............286

    802.11b ......................................287

    802.11a .....................................287

    802.11g ...........................287

    802.11n ..................................288

    802.11ac ...........................288

Learning About Wireless NICs ................289

Putting It All Together with a Wireless Router ..................291

A Buyer’s Guide to Wireless Networking Hardware .............293

    Purchasing a Wireless NIC ............................293

    Purchasing a Wireless Router ....................295

 

Index ...................... 297

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