PC Hacks

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Intel-and AMD-powered PCs—which account for more than 90% of all personal computers—are powerful and expandable, and operating systems like Windows and Linux do a great job of running well on this hardware. But to maintain maximum stability and predictability, these operating systems don't push the hardware to its limits.That doesn't mean you can't.PC Hacks shows PC users like you how to get the most out of your hardware and software to make your PC experience more satisfying than ever. You don't need another ...

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PC Hacks: 100 Industrial-Strength Tips & Tools

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Intel-and AMD-powered PCs—which account for more than 90% of all personal computers—are powerful and expandable, and operating systems like Windows and Linux do a great job of running well on this hardware. But to maintain maximum stability and predictability, these operating systems don't push the hardware to its limits.That doesn't mean you can't.PC Hacks shows PC users like you how to get the most out of your hardware and software to make your PC experience more satisfying than ever. You don't need another collection of simple tips and command-clicks; you need PC Hacks, where you'll find proven techniques for enhancing performance and preventing problems with your PC hardware. This step-by-step, hack-by-hack guide, with invaluable tips and tricks throughout, will get you hacking the system board, CPU, BIOS, peripherals and operating system—everything but the unhackable power supply!In PC Hacks, Jim Aspinwall, the Windows Helpdesk columnist and feature editor for CNET.COM and author of three books on PC maintenance, delivers basic to advanced hacks for overclocking CPU and video cards, tweaking RAM timing, selecting the best performing components, and much more. He includes suggestions for reusing an old PC to off-load work from newer systems as well as ways to prevent security hacks. He also offers many tips for avoiding common mistakes—and for getting the system back up and running if something does go wrong.PC Hacks combines of the bestselling Hacks series style with the world's most popular computing hardware. Presented in a clear and direct format and covering both Windows and Linux operating systems, PC Hacks ensure that you'll hack and tweak your way to the best performance possible out of your trusty PC.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780596007485
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/28/2004
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 8.78 (w) x 5.96 (h) x 0.71 (d)

Meet the Author

Jim Aspinwall has been the Windows Helpdesk columnist and feature editor for CNET.com and is the author of three books on PC maintenance. A resident of Campbell, California, Jim is also an amateur radio operator, an electronics technician, and an OSHA-certified tower climber, maintaining radio transmission sites in northern California.

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Table of Contents

About the Author;
Why PC Hacks?;
How to Use This Book;
How This Book Is Organized;
Using Code Examples;
How to Contact O'Reilly;
Got a Hack?;
Chapter 1: Basic System Board Hacks;
1.1 Introduction: Hacks #1-10;
1 Lock Others Out of Your Computer;
2 Bypass the BIOS Password;
3 Recover a BIOS That Won't Boot;
4 Boot Faster;
5 Display a Boot-Time Graphic;
6 Configure Boot Device Order;
7 Set Your Clock Back;
8 Avoid the Legacy USB Option;
9 Hack an Unhackable BIOS;
10 Upgrade Your Flash BIOS;
Chapter 2: Basic System Board Setup;
2.1 Introduction: Hacks #11-18;
11 Step Away from the Legacy Device;
12 Manage Devices;
13 Configure Serial Ports;
14 Configure Parallel Ports;
15 Configure Sound Cards;
16 Configure SCSI Host Adapters;
17 Configure Network Cards;
18 Reeducate Plug and Play;
Chapter 3: CPU Hacks;
3.1 Hacks #19-29;
19 Get More Power;
20 Identify Your CPU;
21 Which CPUs Are Hackable?;
22 Which System Boards Are Hackable?;
23 Determine Your CPU Speed;
24 Keep It Cool;
25 Control CPU Clock Speed from the BIOS;
26 As Goes Voltage, So Goes Speed;
27 Set the CPU Multiplier;
28 Unlock Your CPU Multiplier;
29 Check the Vents;
Chapter 4: Memory Hacks;
4.1 Introduction: Hacks #30-39;
30 Install More RAM;
31 Recognize Memory Limitations;
32 Install the RAM Your Operating System Needs;
33 Tame the Windows 95 and 98 Cache;
34 Manage the Paging File;
35 Manage Windows System Resources;
36 Force Windows 98 and Me to Swap Less;
37 Pin the Kernel in RAM;
38 Speed Up Your RAM;
39 Enable Memory Interleave for Via Chipsets;
Chapter 5: Disk Hacks;
5.1 Introduction: Hacks #40-57;
40 Partition and Format Wisely;
41 Determine Your Filesystem;
42 Create a New Partition with NT, 2000, XP, and 2003;
43 Create a New Partition with PartitionMagic;
44 Merge Partitions with PartitionMagic;
45 Convert FAT to NTFS;
46 Create or Delete NTFS Partitions from the Recovery Console;
47 Fix the Master Boot Record on FAT Partitions;
48 Fix the Master Boot Record on NTFS Partitions;
49 Fix the Partition Boot Sector on NTFS Partitions;
50 Fix GRUB or LILO Boot Problems;
51 Format Your Disk;
52 Change Logical Drive Letters;
53 Restore DOS Bootability;
54 Rescue a Blown 2000 or XP Installation;
55 Fix the Windows 95 File-Caching Bug;
56 Avoid the Delayed-Write-Caching Blues;
57 Detect Drive Failure Before It Happens;
Chapter 6: Disk Drive Performance Hacks;
6.1 Introduction: Hacks #58-67;
58 Choose the Fastest Hard Drive;
59 Use an 80-Wire Cable;
60 Upgrade Your IDE Interface;
61 Kick It Up a Notch with Serial ATA;
62 Get the Fastest IDE Driver for Intel Chipsets;
63 Get the Fastest IDE Driver for Via Chipsets;
64 Speed It Up with RAID;
65 Speed Up DOS with SMARTDRV;
66 Speed Up Windows with VCACHE;
67 Linux's Drive Performance Booster;
Chapter 7: Video Hacks;
7.1 Introduction: Hacks #68-74;
68 Get off the PCI Bus;
69 Upgrade from Built-in Video;
70 Don't Expect Much from AGP Aperture Size;
71 Choose the Correct AGP Mode;
72 Overclock Your nVidia Adapter;
73 Overclock Your ATI Radeon;
74 Overclock Anything;
Chapter 8: I/O Device Hacks;
8.1 Introduction: Hacks #75-84;
Basic PC Configuration Rules;
75 Let Windows Tell You About I/O Card Conflicts;
76 Break the Rules with LPT Ports;
77 Break the Rules with COM Ports;
78 Rewire Your COM Ports;
79 Boost COM Port Performance;
80 New Uses for an Old Port;
81 Use USB for Peer-to-Peer Networking;
82 Get the Most out of USB;
83 Install the Driver Before You Install the Hardware;
84 Please Continue Anyway;
Chapter 9: Boot-Up Hacks;
9.1 Introduction: Hacks #85-94;
85 Make a Bare Disk Bootable;
86 Configure a Multiboot System;
87 Multiboot with Third-Party Utilities;
88 Speed up Operating System Installation and Maintenance;
89 Access NTFS Files from Other Operating Systems;
90 Give Your XP Installation Access to the Recovery Console;
91 Hack the Windows 95/98/Me DOS Startup;
92 Hack the MS-DOS Configuration File;
93 Hack the MS-DOS Startup File;
94 Hack the Windows NT/2000/XP Boot Loader;
Chapter 10: Configuring a New PC;
10.1 Introduction: Hacks #95-100;
95 Clone Your Hard Disk;
96 Move Applications and Settings from One PC to Another;
97 Protect Your PC from Viruses;
98 Protect Your PC from Malware;
99 Surround Yourself with a Firewall;
100 Do Your Backups;

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2004

    Getting down to the bare bones...

    A lot of books on the market take you through the inner-workings of Windows, Linux, [insert favorite OS here]. However, there are very few out there that go deep inside the PC itself and get down to the hardware level. In 'PC Hacks', the author takes us inside the PC to look at what can be done at the hardware level to tweak system performance and stability. First off, this book is not for the novice user. If you are not willing to 'risk a little' then you should not attempt the hacks set forth in the book. Many of them, if not performed precisely, can cause serious damage to your system -- some could even cause permanent hardware damage (such as overclocking your CPU). However, for those who are brave -- the rewards and adventure that await are well worth it. Covering topics such as upgrading your power supply, changing CPU voltage (overclocking), moving and changing disk partitions, even overclocking your video card (that was even a new one for me!) will have most dedicated PC geek up to all hours trying out different settings and tweaks. Even if you aren't ready to start messing with the voltage, the book provides a good handbook on topics such as 'Why should I worry if my paging (virtual memory) file is fragmented?' and 'Do I need to upgrade by BIOS?' that even middle-of-the-road users might fight well worth reading up on. There are a number of items that the author talks about that are merely informational, but could really come in handy the next time your system decides to stop functioning the moment you need it to the most. For those 'old timers' out there, this book comes close to the old Norton books of the mid 1980's that explained what went on under the hood of early PC's. For the younger users, it is a terrific way to explore the true 'hobbyist' side of computing and tweaking a system much like a car enthusiast tunes his engine.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2004

    safe overclocking

    Aspinwall takes you on an exploration of a PC that some users never venture into. His hacks tend to be hardware oriented. But there is one hack that is very well known in many computer books. Though it is usually so effective in improving system performance that he probably felt it prudent to include in this book. Namely, adding more RAM. Simple and cheap to do. The other hacks are more involved. Overclocking is heavily discussed. With warnings to install adequate cooling. Intel and AMD are leery of encouraging overclocking. Possibly because you might melt your computer doing so. Liability considerations. But if you carefully follow the author's guidelines, you should do fine. Of the software hacks, there are somewhat more that relate to the Microsoft operating systems, than to linux. Fans of the latter might grumble, but it's a fair assessment by the author of the market realities.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2010

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