Tag Archives: problem

Support Your Friends Tech Needs The Right Way

imageLet’s assume for a moment, that you just got a call from ———– (fill in the blank), who wants you to walk him through transferring files from one computer to another. Not so difficult for you, but often difficult for typical users.

A “help me out” call such as this, is not at all an uncommon occurrence if you’re a high level user. But you know that – which is why you’re going to change your telephone number to “unlisted”, or move out of the country.   Smile

From a personal perspective, I’ve learned, over the years, that a verbal “solve my computer problem” walkthrough is a non-starter – in most instances. Here’s why.

It’s a virtual certainty that some/most/all of your instructions, will have to be repeated – any number of times. If you’re the type of “helpful friend” who has extraordinary patience, you’ll probably buy into this awkward arrangement. But, you will need prodigious patience – and, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to test it.

It would be more appropriate (but far from perfect), to take the time (lots of time!), to set out the needed instructions in an email. But, there’s not much point in reinventing the wheel when a Google search string (continuing with this illustration) – how to transfer a file from one computer to another – will pop up more than 8 Million references.

For example, the most complete article I could find using a Google search string – how to transfer a file from one computer to another – contained just under 500 words. It’s possible of course, that you might be able to transfer the same set of instructions verbally using fewer words – but, I doubt it. And, even if that was possible – you’re back to some/most/all of the instructions needing to be repeated.

image

Courtesy dilbert.com

And that brings me to that dreaded question which, it seems to me, many high level users – the default neighborhood tech support gurus – are too shy to ask the “you’ve just gotta help me” friend – have you Googled the problem? The most common answer is of course – no.

If you’re still of a mind to go into rescue mode, then you must be the person to find an article you feel should solve the problem. Then, after working together through this article with the not so tech savvy “friend”, hopefully the problem can be resolved.

Make it clear that you expect active participation. In fact, insist on it. Unless you do, I can assure you that you will be the one doing all the heavy lifting. And, it’s this heavy lifting that, over time, sours many tech savvy users on staying in the “I’m a helpful tech savvy kind of guy” game.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

There are many ways to provide tech support to family and friends – hard experience though, has taught me to rely on this one.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

8 Comments

Filed under computer repair, Help, Interconnectivity, Point of View, Windows Tips and Tools

How’s Your Hard Drive? – Check It Out With These Free HD Tools

Hard Drive DiagAll modern Hard Drives are equipped with a feature known as S.M.A.R.T. that provides real-time analysis and the reporting of any developing problems and potential issues. The big question is: can you read the warnings?

The following free application can take the guesswork out of the equation, and make it easier to diagnose what’s really occurring inside the complex environment of the Hard Drive.

Ariolic Disk Scanner

Disk Scanner is a tiny freeware utility to check the hard drive for read errors. Sometimes, you may notice, that some files on the disk cannot be read. This may happen for several reasons, but the most important one is the hard drive degradation, that may be the first typical sign of the disk failure.

image

Fast facts:

Read-only test of hard drive volumes for read errors

Scan hard disk, flash drives, USB hard drives, CD/DVD, floppy

Disk Scanner does not require a setup – it’s portable. Run it directly from CD or a Flash drive

See the check result at a glance

Works with hard drives, flash disks, CD, floppy

Simple user interface

Download at: Ariolic Software

Hard Drive diagnostic software is offered free from all the major Hard Drive manufacturers. Check out their sites.

Western Digital Support

Samsung

Seagate

Please note that since Seagate purchased Maxtor, the download sites are identical.

Maxtor

Hard Drive Maintenance: Repair, Defrag and Disk Cleanup Tools

Fragmentation is caused by creating and deleting files and folders, installing new software, and downloading files from the Internet. When you delete files or folders, the first available empty spaces on the Hard Drive are filled in randomly when you create new files and folders, as you do when you save pics from your camera, install software, save emails, or create documents.

Hard Disk fragmentation makes the disk drive heads move more than necessary when reading files which can degrade performance over time, and can lead to system slowdowns, computer crashes, slow startups and shutdowns.

Auslogics Disk Defrag

The program (updated August 10, 2010 ), is extremely easy to use, does not require any analysis phase and is faster than most disk defragmentation software I’ve tested in the past, and it’s free.

In my view, it’s one more maintenance process in helping me get the maximum performance out of my hardware.

auslogics_disk_defrag

Fast facts:

Improve computer performance and stability

Increase your productivity – no more waiting for files to open

Defragment disks in minutes

Disk fragmentation map and detailed fragmentation report

Download at: Download.com

CCleaner

Running a Hard Disk cleaner such as CCleaner (updated September 27, 2010), can optimize systems by emptying the Recycle Bin, Temporary Setup Files, Downloaded Program Files, Temporary Internet Files, Old Chkdsk Files, Temporary Files, Temporary Offline Files, Offline Files, and more.

ccleaner2

Fast facts:

Frees up valuable hard disk space

Advanced features to remove unused and old entries

Comprehensive backup feature

System tray icon

Privacy tool

Download at: Download.com

Glary Utilities

Using Glary Utilities, you can tweak, repair, optimize and improve your system’s performance; and its ease of operation makes it ideal for less experienced users.

You can quickly find the tool you’re looking for: disk cleaner, uninstall manager, secure file deletion, memory optimizer, (a gentle) registry cleaner, duplicate file finder, tracks eraser, and empty folder finder.

image

Fast Facts:

Disk Cleaner Removes junk data from your disks and recovers disk space

Registry Cleaner scans and cleans your registry to improve your system’s performance

Shortcuts Fixer eliminates the errors in your start menu & desktop shortcuts

Startup Manager manages programs which run automatically on startup

Memory Optimizer monitors and optimizes free memory in the background

Tracks Eraser erases all traces, evidence, cookies, internet history and more

File Shredder erases files permanently

Internet Explorer Assistant manages Internet Explorer Add-ons

Disk Analysis provides detailed information files and folders

Duplicate Files Finder searches for space-wasting duplicate files

Empty Folders Finder removes empty folders (I love this feature)

Uninstall Manager completely uninstall programs

Download at: Download.com

A portable version is also available which you can download at GlarySoft.

Disk Heal

Disk Heal is a free Windows NT, 2000, XP and Vista utility that may be able to restore the condition of your Hard Drive, or a USB Flash Drive.

This application is a very useful tool that has a host of additional capabilities, including recovering hidden files and performing system tweaks; all can be accessed with just one click.

disk heal

Fast facts:

Fixes disk problems

Fixes task manager inaccessibility

Fixes folder options inaccessibility

Fixes registry editor inaccessibility

Recovers hidden files and folders

Changes the default icon of any drive, external, internal, or a partition

Security and system tweaks

Download at: Download.com

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

18 Comments

Filed under Computer Maintenance, Computer Tune Up Utilities, Disk Cleaners, downloads, Freeware, Hard Drive Maintenance, Hard Drive Tools, Portable Applications, Software, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Check, Maintain, and Clean Your Hard Drive With Free Tools

Hard Drive DiagThere’s no question that Hard Drives fail – I’ve had to deal with three failures, personally, in the past two years.

Fortunately, today’s Hard Drives rarely fail without a warning of failure given well in advance. All modern Hard Drives are equipped with a feature known as S.M.A.R.T. that provides real-time analysis and the reporting of any developing problems and potential issues. The big question is: can you read the warnings?

The following free applications take the guesswork out of the equation, and they make it easier than ever to diagnose what’s really occurring inside the complex environment of the Hard Drive.

Active Hard Disk Monitor

Active Hard Disk Monitor is a freeware disk utility that checks and monitors the status of your hard drives to help prevent data loss. The system is based on the Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology (S.M.A.R.T).

The application can be launched automatically at Windows startup and monitor the system in the background. An icon in the System Tray can display the temperature for selected HDD(s).

image

Fast facts:

Hard Disk performance monitoring and control

Based on Self Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology (or S.M.A.R.T.)

Able to scan and display bad sectors on a disk’s surface.

Displays current S.M.A.R.T. attributes

Can be launched automatically at Windows startup and monitor the HDD(s) in the background

Includes System Tray icon temperature status

Can generate event log and S.M.A.R.T reports

Download at: Download.com

Ariolic Disk Scanner

Disk Scanner is a tiny freeware utility to check the hard drive for read errors. Sometimes, you may notice, that some files on the disk cannot be read. This may happen for several reasons, but the most important one is the hard drive degradation, that may be the first typical sign of the disk failure.

image

Fast facts:

Read-only test of hard drive volumes for read errors

Scan hard disk, flash drives, USB hard drives, CD/DVD, floppy

Disk Scanner does not require a setup – it’s portable. Run it directly from CD or a Flash drive

See the check result at a glance

Works with hard drives, flash disks, CD, floppy

Simple user interface

Download at: Ariolic Software

Don’t forget, Hard Drive diagnostic software is offered free from all the major Hard Drive manufacturers. Check out their sites.

Western Digital Support

Samsung

Seagate

Please note that since Seagate purchased Maxtor, the download sites are identical.

Maxtor

Hard Drive Maintenance: Repair, Defrag and Disk Cleanup Tools

Fragmentation is caused by creating and deleting files and folders, installing new software, and downloading files from the Internet. When you delete files or folders, the first available empty spaces on the Hard Drive are filled in randomly when you create new files and folders, as you do when you save pics from your camera, install software, save emails, or create documents.

Hard Disk fragmentation makes the disk drive heads move more than necessary when reading files which can degrade performance over time, and can lead to system slowdowns, computer crashes, slow startups and shutdowns.

Auslogics Disk Defrag

The program (updated December, 2009), is extremely easy to use, does not require any analysis phase and is faster than most disk defragmentation software I’ve tested in the past, and it’s free.

In my view, it’s one more maintenance process in helping me get the maximum performance out of my hardware.

auslogics_disk_defrag

Fast facts:

Improve computer performance and stability

Increase your productivity – no more waiting for files to open

Defragment disks in minutes

Disk fragmentation map and detailed fragmentation report

Download at: Download.com

CCleaner

Running a Hard Disk cleaner such as CCleaner (updated January, 2010), can optimize systems by emptying the Recycle Bin, Temporary Setup Files, Downloaded Program Files, Temporary Internet Files, Old Chkdsk Files, Temporary Files, Temporary Offline Files, Offline Files, and more.

ccleaner2

Fast facts:

Frees up valuable hard disk space

Advanced features to remove unused and old entries

Comprehensive backup feature

System tray icon

Privacy tool

Download at: Download.com

Disk Heal

Disk Heal 1.48 (updated August, 2009), is a free Windows NT, 2000, XP and Vista utility that may be able to restore the condition of your Hard Drive, or a USB Flash Drive.

This application is a very useful tool that has a host of additional capabilities, including recovering hidden files and performing system tweaks; all can be accessed with just one click.

disk heal

Fast facts:

Fixes disk problems

Fixes task manager inaccessibility

Fixes folder options inaccessibility

Fixes registry editor inaccessibility

Recovers hidden files and folders

Changes the default icon of any drive, external, internal, or a partition

Security and system tweaks

Download at: Download.com

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

26 Comments

Filed under Computer Maintenance, Diagnostic Software, Disk Cleaners, downloads, Freeware, Hard Drive Maintenance, Hard Drive Problems, Hard Drive Tools, Software, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Hard Drive Tools For Easy Diagnosing and Maintenance

Hard Drive Diag Arguably, the Hard Drive is the most important element in a personal computer since it holds, in many cases, an accumulation of information that is of real and perhaps irreplaceable value: documents, digital photos, email messages, personal and business related work and important private data.

The upside of today’s high density disks is; modern disks allows for greater storage capacities and higher access speeds. However, the downside is; with densities and capacities pushed to the extreme there is much more information to lose should the drive fail.

So what do you think the chances of a Hard Drive failing are? Surprisingly computer industry statistics seem to indicate that the real-world annualized failure rate (average percentage of disks failing per year), was much higher than the manufacturers’ estimate – an average of 3% vs. the estimated 0.5 – 0.9%.

In fact, just at the moment, I’m dealing with a failing Hard Drive on one of my home machines. This is the third Hard Drive failure I have personally had to deal with, in the last 18 months.

If you should suffer catastrophic Hard Drive failure and you are one of the few, out of the ordinary, computer users who regularly and faithfully backup, you will have a lot of work ahead of you but you will recover. If you do not have a backup plan, it’s time you though seriously about developing one.

Fortunately, today’s Hard Drives rarely fail without a warning of failure given well in advance. All modern Hard Drives are equipped with a feature known as S.M.A.R.T. that provides real-time analysis and the reporting of any developing problems and potential issues. The big question is: can you read the warnings?

The following free applications take the guesswork out of the equation, and they make it easier than ever to diagnose what’s really occurring inside the complex environment of the Hard Drive.

Disk Heal

Disk Heal is a free Windows NT, 2000, XP and Vista utility that may be able to restore the condition of your Hard Drive, or a USB Flash Drive.

This application is a very useful tool that has a host of additional capabilities, including recovering hidden files and performing system tweaks; all can be accessed with just one click.

disk heal

Quick facts:

Fixes disk problems

Fixes task manager inaccessibility

Fixes folder options inaccessibility

Fixes registry editor inaccessibility

Recovers hidden files and folders

Changes the default icon of any drive, external, internal, or a partition

Security and system tweaks

Download at: Download.com

Emsa Disk Check

Emsa Disk Check is a dual-purpose utility, for disk checking (prescan and full disk reading) and also benchmarking. It scans/reads the entire contents of a disk (CD, DVD or Hard Drive; or even a floppy), and it shows any read errors that may occur. In addition, it shows drive speed information, progress statistics and so on. It was designed with simplicity in mind, but ease of use for you.

Emsa Disk Check 10

Quick facts:

Useful to quickly and fully scan removable disks like CD, DVD for surface defects like disk scratch problems, bad CD-R/RW DVD-R/RW writes, etc.

Can check CD-ROM, DVD, hard disks, even floppy disks.

Useful for benchmarking a drive: CD, DVD or HDD.

Shows ‘locked’ files on disks.

Reports progress, statistics (files, folders, time elapsed, estimated time remaining).

Reports any errors encountered (error count and log entry for each).

Download at: Download.com

HDDLife

HDDLife is a real-time Hard Drive monitoring utility with alerts, malfunction protection and data loss prevention features. This hard drive inspector is an advanced proactive hard drive failure detection system that manages all of your hard drive risks. HDDLife is S.M.A.R.T. technology based. This is not a free application but it’s 14 day trial period should provide the time needed to diagnose Hard Drive issues.

HDDlife

Quick facts:

Uses S. M. A. R. T. technology

Displays Hard Drive temperature

Displays hard Drive free space information and control

Current version supports IDE, Serial ATA and SCSI disks with standard controllers, while external IDE RAID and SCSI RAID controllers are not supported.

Download at: Download.com

Don’t forget, that Hard Drive diagnostic software is offered free from all the major Hard Drive manufacturers. Check out their sites.

Western Digital Support

Samsung

Seagate

Please note that since Seagate purchased Maxtor, the download sites are identical.

Maxtor

Hard Drive Maintenance: Defrag and Disk Cleanup Tools

Fragmentation is caused by creating and deleting files and folders, installing new software, and downloading files from the Internet. When you delete files or folders, the first available empty spaces on the Hard Drive are filled in randomly when you create new files and folders, as you do when you save pics from your camera, install software, save emails, or create documents.

Hard Disk fragmentation makes the disk drive heads move more than necessary when reading files which can degrade performance over time, and can lead to system slowdowns, computer crashes, slow startups and shutdowns.

Auslogics Disk Defrag

The program is extremely easy to use, does not require any analysis phase and is faster than most disk defragmentation software I’ve tested in the past, and it’s free.

In my view, it’s one more maintenance process in helping me get the maximum performance out of my hardware.

auslogics_disk_defrag

Quick facts:

Improve computer performance and stability

Increase your productivity – no more waiting for files to open

Defragment disks in minutes

Disk fragmentation map and detailed fragmentation report

Download at: Download.com

CCleaner

Running a Hard Disk cleaner such as CCleaner can optimize systems by emptying the Recycle Bin, Temporary Setup Files, Downloaded Program Files, Temporary Internet Files, Old Chkdsk Files, Temporary Files, Temporary Offline Files, Offline Files, and more.

ccleaner2

Quick facts:

Frees up valuable hard disk space

Advanced features to remove unused and old entries

Comprehensive backup feature

System tray icon

Privacy tool

Download at: Download.com

If you enjoyed this article, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

6 Comments

Filed under Computer Maintenance, computer repair, Defraggers, Diagnostic Software, downloads, Freeware, Hard Drive Maintenance, Hard Drive Problems, Software, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Computer and Internet Related Addictions

Guest writer, Rick Robinette, writes a thoughtful article on computer and Internet addiction, and what overindulgence might mean.

Overindulgence, in anything, (including computers and the internet) will result in devastation of some form.

image

Have you lost your connection with the real world as a result of excessive computer usage and what the internet has to offer (e.g. video games, chatting, texting, social networking, blogging, gambling, buying, pornography, compulsive surfing, etc…)?

Do you know someone personally, as a result of excessive use of the internet, whose:

marriage has been devastated?
career has been shattered?
family has been broken?
health has been affected?
financial ruin has occurred?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you are witness to someone (or yourself) of a computer or internet related addictive behavior.  Here in the U.S. we are just starting to recognize these addictive behaviors and are taking steps to provide help and resolution.

image

One such place to seek help is called reStart: Internet Addiction Recovery Program. reStart is the first program of its’ kind in the U.S. designed to specifically help internet and video game addicts overcome their computer or online dependencies. reStart is a 45 day in-patient (therapeutic) program, 6-bed facility (family style retreat), located in Fall City, Washington.

Current research suggests that anywhere from 6-10 % of the online population is dependent on one or more aspects of cyber technology and the internet. Among gamers, those playing multi-user games (like World of Warcraft) appear to be addicted at much higher levels. Both China and South Korea have designated Internet Addiction as their #1 public health danger and have responded by developing multiple treatment programs. The United States, by contrast, has been slower to recognize and respond to the problem but now is beginning to take some active steps.  This program is part of that process.

image

Another great resource is the Center for Internet Addiction Recovery, located in Bradford, PA. You will find treatment services for:

Cybersex/Cyberporn

Studies show that men are more likely to view cyberporn, while women are more likely to engage in erotic chat.

Online Affairs

Partners engaged in an online affair go through several personality changes and often rationalize that an online affair isn’t really cheating.

Online Gambling

At an alarming rate, people in recovery from gambling addiction have relapsed because of the availability of virtual casinos, as they use the Internet as another vehicle to satisfy their addiction.

Online Gaming

Like a drug, gamers who play almost every day, play for extended periods of time (over 4 hours), get restless or irritable if they can’t play, and sacrifice other social activities just to game are showing signs of addiction.

Compulsive Surfing

Internet Addiction is an impulsive-control problem and five subtypes have been defined:

  1. Cybersexual Addiction
  2. Cyber-Relational Addiction
  3. Net Compulsions
  4. Information Overload
  5. Computer Addiction

eBay Addiction

Online auction houses create a stimulating place where users can conquer others as the highest bidder, which can be intoxicating as one beats out others in the last precious seconds to win the desired prize.

Take a Test

Cybersexual Addiction Quiz
Internet Addiction Test (IAT)
Quiz for Obsessive Online Gambling
Quiz for Compulsive Online Gamers
Quiz for Online Auction Addiction
The Partner’s Addiction Test
The Parent-Child Addiction Test

I have personally witnessed the evolution of computers and the internet from the very beginning. On a personal level, I have witnessed the devastation that can occur as a result of overindulgence in the various avenues that computers and the internet has to offer. The internet, in a sense is a virtual world, where your soul and mind can become consumed, if you let it. If you need help, please seek it!

In connection to this article and information, I also encourage you to read A Look At Our Newest Addiction at Tech-for Everyone.

Note: To read my personal contrary take on computer or Internet addiction, please read “Internet Addiction – Do You Qualify?”, on this site.

This is a guest post by Rick Robinette, who brings a background as a security/police officer professional, and as an information technology specialist to the Blogging world.

Why not pay a visit to Rick’s site at What’s On My PC. Like me, you’re sure to become a frequent visitor.

If you enjoyed this article, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

10 Comments

Filed under addiction, Guest Writers, Interconnectivity, Internet Addiction, Living Life, Mental Illness, Personal Perspective, pornography, Windows Tips and Tools

Internet Addiction – Do You Qualify?

image According to Dr. Jerald Block, M.D., in an editorial published on The American Journal of Psychiatry website, Internet addiction is an “increasingly commonplace compulsive-impulsive disorder” and should be included in psychiatry’s official guidebook of mental disorders, the DSM-V.

The DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), is an American psychiatric handbook that lists categories of mental disorders, and the criteria for diagnosing them.

Despite its controversy in certain quarters, controversy in part caused by a perceived need to add new mental illnesses, ( and why not? More “sick” people equals more money), it is used worldwide by clinicians and researchers, as well as insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and policy makers.

So how do you determine if you, a family member or someone close to you qualifies as an Internet addict? How do you determine if its real?

Well according to Dr. Block’s statistics, if you exhibit any of the following symptoms while online or offline; excessive gaming, sexual preoccupations or excessive email or text messaging, you meet at least one or more of the criteria needed to establish Internet addiction.

Hold on now, before you become concerned with “excessive email or text messaging”, (I wonder who defines excessive and under what circumstances), apparently you must also  exhibit the following:

Withdrawal – including feelings of anger, tension, and/or depression when the computer is inaccessible. (I can see how some people might feel mildly depressed when their system goes down – I do.)

Tolerance – including the need for better computer equipment, more software, or more hours of use. (I qualify here, I am always upgrading to better equipment, and I test upwards of 400 applications annually.)

Negative repercussions – including arguments, lying, poor achievement, social isolation, and fatigue. (I might qualify here – there are days when I definitely get fatigued, after hours of looking at a computer screen.)

When I was reading this editorial, naturally, I began to compare my normal daily email activity with that of my friends – I generally get up to 100 or more emails daily (excluding spam), and at least 35 or more frequently require a personal response. Is this excessive? Who says so? Should I be concerned that I might run the risk of becoming an Internet junkie?

I know I’m being facetious regarding my email, but there is a larger problem here.

My problem with this issue is not Dr Block’s research, since he does go on to say that 86 per cent of “internet addicts”, also have some other form of a mental disorder.

image

I know that mental illness is a complex and mystifying subject that includes a multitude of variables. And mental illness is the issue that needs to be addressed here. Lets not confuse this important issue with the “red herring”, of Internet addiction.

Interestingly, in the footnotes to Dr Block’s article the following statement is appended: Dr. Block owns a patent on technology that can be used to restrict computer access. Dr. Freedman, has reviewed this editorial and found no evidence of influence from this relationship.

We now live in a highly reactive society; one in which there are individuals, groups, and organizations willing to find fault, in some form, with technological progress and technological change. Generally, for their own monetary gain. The Internet, and addiction, seems to be the flavor of the week.

I wonder if you, like me, have noticed the huge increase in television adds for addiction “cures”, or the number of reality television programs focused on addictions. Not surprisingly, these adds or television programs, do not deal with so called “Internet addiction”. Why would they – Internet addiction, as a standalone issue, is a myth. Mental illness leading to addiction is not.

It would be foolish to suggest that “Internet addiction” does not need to be studied more thoroughly – it does. We need to resolve this issue that the popular press would have us believe is a serious problem.

Or, is it that the media, for the sake of sensationalism, takes isolated instances of computer addiction (in their view), and creates a frenzy of concern that is unwarranted, and not supported by the facts? The media and the “facts” – an oxymoron if there ever was one!

Let me give you an example of the outrageous controversy (in the media), surrounding this contentious issue. The best way to illustrate this, is to offer you a recent quote published in the Toronto Star, from Dr. Bruce Ballon, a psychiatrist with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto.

“We’ve been receiving at least a couple of calls a week asking, ‘How do you deal with Internet addiction?” Ballon goes on to say, “(Society is) just starting to realize – oh my God, it’s so huge. This is why people have been afraid to open the doors.”

I think you’ll agree, there seems to be a major disconnect here. Consider, “a couple of calls a week” versus “oh my God, it’s so huge.”

I’m not a mathematician, but I do know this, given that Toronto is a city of 3 million people +, the number “two” is hardly “huge”. In fact, its not even significant. As my old English professor would say, this is “balderdash”. Or as my friends, who are much more down to earth would say, “what a load of bullshit”.

Despite the possible negative psychological effects of Internet usage for those who already struggle with some form of a mental disorder, overall, the many positive effects associated with the Internet would be hard to overstate.

It’s always important for us to remember that there are lies, dammed lies and then there are statistics.

If you enjoyed this article, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

6 Comments

Filed under Interconnectivity, Internet Addiction, Living Life, Mental Illness, Personal Perspective

Diagnose, Maintain, Clean Hard Drives With These Free Tools

Hard Drive Diag Arguably, the Hard Drive is the most important element in a personal computer since it holds, in many cases, an accumulation of information that is of real and perhaps irreplaceable value: documents, digital photos, email messages, personal and business related work and important private data.

The upside of today’s high density disks is; modern disks allows for greater storage capacities and higher access speeds. The downside is however; with densities and capacities pushed to the extreme there is much more information to lose should the drive fail.

So what do you think the chances of a Hard Drive failing are? Surprisingly computer industry statistics seem to indicate that the real-world annualized failure rate (average percentage of disks failing per year), was much higher than the manufacturers’ estimate – an average of 3% vs. the estimated 0.5 – 0.9%.

In fact, just at the moment, I’m dealing with a failing Hard Drive on one of my home machines. This is the third Hard Drive failure I have personally had to deal with, in the last 18 months.

If you should suffer catastrophic Hard Drive failure and you are one of the few, out of the ordinary, computer users who regularly and faithfully backup, you will have a lot of work ahead of you but you will recover. If you do not have a backup plan, it’s time you though seriously about developing one.

Fortunately though, today’s Hard Drives rarely fail without a warning of failure given well in advance. All modern Hard Drives are equipped with a feature known as S.M.A.R.T. that provides real-time analysis and the reporting of any developing problems and potential issues. The big question is: can you read the warnings?

The following free applications take the guesswork out of the equation, and they make it easier than ever to diagnose what’s really occurring inside the complex environment of the Hard Drive.

Disk Heal

Disk Heal is a free Windows NT, 2000, XP and Vista utility that may be able to restore the condition of your Hard Drive, or a USB Flash Drive.

This application is a very useful tool that has a host of additional capabilities, including recovering hidden files and performing system tweaks; all can be accessed with just one click.

disk heal

Quick facts:

  • Fixes disk problems
  • Fixes task manager inaccessibility
  • Fixes folder options inaccessibility
  • Fixes registry editor inaccessibility
  • Recovers hidden files and folders
  • Changes the default icon of any drive, external, internal, or a partition
  • Security and system tweaks

Download at: Download.com

Emsa Disk Check

Emsa Disk Check is a dual-purpose utility, for disk checking (prescan and full disk reading) and also benchmarking. It scans/reads the entire contents of a disk (CD, DVD or Hard Drive; or even a floppy), and it shows any read errors that may occur. In addition, it shows drive speed information, progress statistics and so on. It was designed with simplicity in mind, but ease of use for you.

Emsa Disk Check 10

Quick facts:

  • Useful to quickly and fully scan removable disks like CD, DVD for surface defects like disk scratch problems, bad CD-R/RW DVD-R/RW writes, etc.
  • Can check CD-ROM, DVD, hard disks, even floppy disks.
  • Useful for benchmarking a drive: CD, DVD or HDD.
  • Shows ‘locked’ files on disks.
  • Reports progress, statistics (files, folders, time elapsed, estimated time remaining).
  • Reports any errors encountered (error count and log entry for each).

Download at: Download.com

HDDLife

HDDLife is a real-time Hard Drive monitoring utility with alerts, malfunction protection and data loss prevention features. This hard drive inspector is an advanced proactive hard drive failure detection system that manages all of your hard drive risks. HDDLife is S.M.A.R.T. technology based. This is not a free application but it’s 14 day trial period should provide the time needed to diagnose Hard Drive issues.

HDDlife

Quick facts:

  • Uses S. M. A. R. T. technology
  • Displays Hard Drive temperature
  • Displays hard Drive free space information and control
  • Current version supports IDE, Serial ATA and SCSI disks with standard controllers, while external IDE RAID and SCSI RAID controllers are not supported.

Download at: Download.com

Don’t forget, that Hard Drive diagnostic software is offered free from all the major Hard Drive manufacturers. Check out their sites.

Western Digital Support

Samsung

Seagate

Please note that since Seagate purchased Maxtor, the download sites are identical.

Maxtor

Hard Drive Maintenance: Defrag and Disk Cleanup Tools

Fragmentation is caused by creating and deleting files and folders, installing new software, and downloading files from the Internet. When you delete files or folders, the first available empty spaces on the Hard Drive are filled in randomly when you create new files and folders, as you do when you save pics from your camera, install software, save emails, or create documents.

Hard Disk fragmentation makes the disk drive heads move more than necessary when reading files which can degrade performance over time, and can lead to system slowdowns, computer crashes, slow startups and shutdowns.

Auslogics Disk Defrag

The program is extremely easy to use, does not require any analysis phase and is faster than most disk defragmentation software I’ve tested in the past, and it’s free.

In my view, it’s one more maintenance process in helping me get the maximum performance out of my hardware.

auslogics_disk_defrag

Quick facts:

  • Improve computer performance and stability
  • Increase your productivity – no more waiting for files to open
  • Defragment disks in minutes
  • Disk fragmentation map and detailed fragmentation report

Download at: Download.com

CCleaner

Running a Hard Disk cleaner such as CCleaner can optimize systems by emptying the Recycle Bin, Temporary Setup Files, Downloaded Program Files, Temporary Internet Files, Old Chkdsk Files, Temporary Files, Temporary Offline Files, Offline Files, and more.

ccleaner2

Quick facts:

  • Frees up valuable hard disk space
  • Advanced features to remove unused and old entries
  • Comprehensive backup feature
  • System tray icon
  • Privacy tool

Download at: Download.com

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Filed under Cleaning Your Computer, Computer Maintenance, Diagnostic Software, Disk Cleaners, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Hard Drive Maintenance, Hard Drive Problems, Slow Computer, Software, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools