24 de fev de 2012

32GB in 1980 and in 2010

30 de jan de 2012

Diagnosing a Blue Screen of Death Error in Windows

Diagnosing a Blue Screen of Death Error in Windows:

For many years now the famous Blue Screen of Death (BSoD) has been the ultimate indication that something disastrous has happened to make your computer die, but how useful is the information in the BSoD and the respective crash dump file that Windows produces?

The best article I ever found explaining the BSoD in depth is here on the Microsoft website, however it’s quite technical and doesn’t discuss how to actually troubleshoot a problem. The crash dump file is just technical details of what was being held in the computer’s memory at the time of the crash, and this will include details on every driver and service that was loaded, and every piece of software that was running.

The most useful pieces of information are to be found on the BSoD itself and are highlighted on the screenshot below. These are the BSoD error name, the stop error code and the name of the driver or service that has failed (this last one might not always appear). Performing a search online for these in conjunction, and the long string codes after the main stop error can give much more information, can help considerably in diagnosing where the problem lies.

But is it even easier than this to diagnose a BSoD stop error? Commonly a BSoD will be caused by something that has recently changed, such as a Windows Update where a new hardware driver has been installed. Windows has to support completely limitless combinations of hardware and software and so, no matter how much testing Microsoft might put hardware drivers, and software patches through before releasing them on Windows Update, there’s never any guarantee that a particular driver, service update or patch won’t cause problems with your particular mix of hardware and software.

One of the things I highlight in my book Troubleshooting Windows 7 Inside Out is the importance of working through a problem to figure out what’s new or what has changed on a computer system. If you don’t change anything then it’s extremely unlikely that a system that runs perfectly stably for weeks, months or even years will suddenly produce an error later on (unless a critical file has become corrupt after an event such as a sudden restart). So it’s very likely then that something new or changed will have cause the error, perhaps a graphics card driver as these are embedded deep within the Windows system.

There are ways around this, such as running a System Restore to roll back the system to before changes were made. You can then, for example, check Windows Update to see if it tried to install any drivers and if necessary, right-click on them to hide them completely. If the system is really unstable you can use Safe Mode or Windows Safe Boot mode to start the computer in a reduced functionality mode.

One other scenario however that can commonly trigger a BSoD is a computer’s fans becoming clogged with dust, especially for the processor and power supply. You should always clean (carefully!) the inside of your computer on a regular basis and clean out accumulated dust to make sure that the computer doesn’t overheat.

Armed with this information it shouldn’t be too difficult to diagnose a BSoD and repair the problem that has caused it. Whatever happens you can be sure that you will not be the first person ever to have encountered this problem, and usually you will find an article or forum post online where somebody is detailing exactly what the issue is. Failing that, a little bit of lateral thinking and diagnosis usually saves the day.

2 de jan de 2012

The Best Windows Software of 2011

The Best Windows Software of 2011:

This is the third part of the Ghacks best of 2011 series. In this top list, I’m going to look at the best software for the Microsoft Windows operating system that we have reviewed in 2011 here at Ghacks. We posted a total of 937 Windows related stories in 2011, of which the majority were software related.

It took quite some time to go through that list to pick the applications that should be included in the best of list.

Keep in mind that this is a personal selection. Please leave a comment if you think a program is missing from the list.

Close The Door – Displays the list of open TCP and UDP ports, useful to harden the system by closing ports that do not need to be open.


Connectivity Fixer – Attempts to repair the Internet connection automatically.

internet connectivity fixer

Desk Duster – Program that hides desktop icons automatically after a set period of time.

Elpis Pandora Desktop Client – A free desktop player for the popular Pandora Internet radio. (Alternative for non-US users: Listen to and Download Music from blocked Music Services)

elpis pandora radio client

Game Downloader – Links to more than one hundred free games that are available for download on the Internet.

pc game downloader

Mailstore Home – Use it to backup, archive and restore email accounts. The program supports several popular desktop clients such as Outlook or Thunderbird, and direct downloads via Pop3 and SMTP.

mailstore home 5

Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator – Create custom keyboard layouts with the help of this program.


MSI Afterburner – A program for nearly every video card – and not only cards by MSI – that can be used for various purposes, including overclocking, undervolting, recording videos and reducing the speed of the video card fan to reduce the noise it generates.

msi afterburner

msi afterburner software

Mouse Without Borders – Official Microsoft software to use one mouse on multiple computer systems. Options to copy files and clipboard entries included.

mouse without borders

NirLauncher – A graphical user interface for all Nirsoft applications.

nir launcher

No Dupe – A fast duplicate file finder for the Windows operating system. Alternative: Dup Scout


Steam Tool Library Manager – Lets you move individual Steam games to different partitions or hard drives to make room on the default Steam partition.

steam tool library manager

Streamwriter – Can be used to download multiple Internet radio streams at once to the computer. Great feature set, easy to use.


streamwriter interface

TDSS Killer – A program to remove some of the nastiest trojans and rootkits from a Windows PC.


VDownloader – Excellent program to download web videos. The program can play and download YouTube videos and videos from several other sites such as Megavideo.

download videos

Windows Firewall Notifier – Improves notifications and manageability of the built-in Windows Firewall.

windows firewall notifier

Windows Password Resetter – Use it to restore or reset Windows account passwords.

changing windows account password

WinFlushPrintJobs – Flush the printer queue to recover from stuck print jobs.

Did I miss a program? Let me know in the comments.

© Martin Brinkmann for gHacks Technology News | Latest Tech News, Software And Tutorials, 2012. | Permalink |
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2 de dez de 2011

The How-To Geek Guide to Learning Photoshop, Part 2: Panels

The How-To Geek Guide to Learning Photoshop, Part 2: Panels:

One of the best features of Photoshop is one of the worst, as well: you are overwhelmed with options. Have a quick look through the default panels and learn more of what Photoshop can do in your hands.

Adjusting Panels

The default panels are snapped to the right side of your PS window. They are a fine set to begin with in Photoshop, and you can always adjust them, hide them, show them, or whatever makes the most sense to you. Photoshop workspaces are largely about personal comfort and have little to do with the so-called “correct” way to use Photoshop.


Your default set of panels from “Essentials” will look like this. If you lose any of them, you can get them back by going to the sshot-495 in the workspace area of your menu bar. You should see an option in the contextual menu that says “Reset” which will reset your workspace to the default panels.


The panels can be condensed by clicking the sshot-485 on the right of the panel. They can further be condensed or expanded by clicking and dragging on the left side of the panels.


It’s also simple to create “Free Floating” panels by clicking and dragging them away from the snapped areas on the left and right.

It can be simpler to edit panels this way, and later return them to the snapped area, grayed out here by Photoshop as they are dragged to become free-floating.


Panels can be added back to the snap area by dragging them to the far right of your PS window. Release your mouse button when your cursor is nearly on the farthest right part of the screen, just within the dark gray window. You should see the blue line illustrated above, telling you you’re setting your new panel set to snap on the side of your screen.

Exploring Default Panels

The “Essentials” workspace is also the default set of panels. These will be what we’ll go over first.

mini bridge Mini Bridge: Adobe Bridge is an image file browsing program similar to Faststone, XnView, or Google Picasa. CS5 has integrated a smaller version of Bridge to allow more visual browsing of your images within your panels. This can be extremely helpful, although any of the aforementioned programs work just as well, if not better. Bridge tends to be a bit on the pokey side, and uses more resources than you might expect.

sshot-501 sshot-503

Visual browsing within Photoshop, however, is helpful. Bridge loads when you open the panel and ask to “Start Browsing.” Intuitive tools help navigate to folders on your machine; important and frequently used files or folders can be added to Favorites for quick recall later.


When you find an image you wish to load, either double-click it in Mini Bridge, or right click and pick “Open” from the contextual menu.

history History: One of the most important features of Photoshop, History allows users multiple levels of undo, allowing you to reverse a long series of mistakes. This can allow you to edit photographs or images more naturalistically, experimenting with effects that may or may not come out correctly.


As you can see, the above image has some random nonsense done to it I’d like to undo entirely.


Opening the History Panel, you can walk backwards through all of the steps you’ve done on your image, or even revert the file by clicking the topmost area, directly below “History.”


You have a great deal more control over your editing with these multiple levels of undo.

color Color: A simple panel, color allows you to pick and edit your foreground and background colors without opening the color contextual menu.


You can adjust your Red, Green, and Blue values from 0 to 255. Higher values will give you brighter colors, as you are adding brighter and brighter light to your current color. You can also pick color straight from the rainbow at the bottom of the panel, if that seems more naturalistic.

You can also click the sshot-509 to adjust options, and pick sliders from different color modes. If you are a beginner, you won’t be interested in this until you learn about color modes first.

swatches Swatches: A good resource for beginners and professionals alike, swatches are a panel of saved colors.


By default, CS5 has a saved palette of 122 colors for you to use.

sshot-557 sshot-560

You can create new swatches from your foreground color by simply clicking the sshot-509 and selecting “New Swatch.”


Whatever color you have selected will become available as a swatch.

styles Styles: As a panel of saved “Layer Effects,” styles can be an interesting way for beginners to start experimenting or veterans to save their most common layer effects for reuse.


Simply clicking any of the default styles will apply them quickly to your active layer. You can manually edit them, or click the sshot-562 to remove all layer effects.

sshot-567 sshot-566

Many of the defaults may appear strange.

sshot-565 sshot-564

Others may have some limited use.


Many may leave you scratching your head. They are not all useful. However, clicking the sshot-509 will allow you to save whatever effects you have on your current layer, which can prove useful.

adjustments Adjustments: The adjustment panel creates layers that change and filter your image dynamically. While you can apply Hue/Saturation, Contrast, or Levels to your photograph, it would be permanent. Adjustments creates new layers on top of your image, that can be adjusted inside this panel.


Clicking “Levels” automatically creates a new adjustment layer.

sshot-571 sshot-572

You are given the option to adjust the Levels sliders and change the contrast of my image.


These changes can be undone without using the history or the undo functions.

sshot-575 sshot-576

Multiple adjustment layers can be stacked, each one dynamically editable at any time, even when the image is saved and reopened. Notice how they appear as separate layers in the layers panel.


The example from earlier, now with the Hue/Saturation and Levels adjustments.

masks Masks: The masks palette is a method for blocking out parts of layers, reducing them to transparency. This is an elegant, non-beginner way to remove a background from a layer without using effective but destructive editing techniques.


The mask panel has features unique to CS5, and can help even beginner users cut out backgrounds from images with little to no effort.


layers Layers: Layers are the hallmark feature of Photoshop, allowing users to create 2d images in multiple editable parts.

sshot-506 sshot-507

New art can be created in layers without disturbing separate layers above or below.

sshot-580 sshot-581

Layers can be copied and masked, among other things. Adjustment layers are also created and managed in this panel.

sshot-584 sshot-585

Layers can be stacked on top of one another, giving weird, fun, or unexpected combinations of effects.

sshot-587 sshot-586

Opacity and Blending Modes are also controlled here. Image editing with layers can quickly create rich images, and makes editing easy.

channels Channels: Digital images display colors in combinations of primary colors, each with values.

RGB Channel Demo copy

These primary colors are viewable separately your color channels. Beginners can safely ignore the channels panel, as there are few uses for beginner or even intermediate users to use channels.


If you care to play with channels, save your image and experiment. You can find a beginner’s primer on channels here, if you care to learn more before diving in. However, you can do worlds of photo editing without using or even understanding them, so use your own judgment if you prefer to ignore them or learn to use them.

paths Paths: Another difficult area of Photoshop, paths are vector based primitives operating similar to the ones in Illustrator. Vectors themselves are not difficult to understand, but the Pen Tool is difficult and frustrating for new users to dive into.


While the path panel is very straightforward, and paths and vectors fairly easy to understand, the Pen Tool and Paths in Photoshop are better left for a more in-depth article.

Come back to How-To Geek for the next section of the HTG Guide to Starting With Photoshop, where you can learn about the menus and filters that can make Photoshop confusing to new users.

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