Tag Archives: troubleshooting

TweakGuides.com – A Tweakers Paradise?

imageComputing is more or less all about generics – a sort of, one size fits all approach. But, if you’re like me, the last thing you want is a machine that’s configured to run with settings which don’t take into account your specific requirements. Luckily, there are more than a few free tweaking apps available, which help average users apply the most common system tweaks.

But, if you’re considering customizations beyond the basics – tweaking your games, browsers, video card, or overclocking your CPU for example, you’re going to have to to dig a little deeper on your own. Unless you’re aware of TweakGuides.com, that is.

If you’re looking for a site that covers tweaking the way it should be covered – detailed, suitable for both novice and advanced users, and written in plain language, then TweakGuides.com is the place for you.

Just some of the goodies available at TweakGuides:

Firefox Tweak Guide

Google Customization Guide

The Gamer’s Graphics & Display Settings Guide

Game Tweak Guides

But, I’ve held onto the best for last – TweakGuides Tweaking Companion – a terrific compilation of Windows customization, optimization and troubleshooting advice for Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7.

From the site:

The TweakGuides Tweaking Companion (TGTC) is the complete system customization and optimization guide for all Windows users. Designed for novice and advanced users alike, it is written in plain English to help you genuinely understand all key aspects of Windows and your PC.

The guide covers every major topic, from the correct installation of critical drivers and software, through to simple explanations and recommendations for every significant Windows setting and feature, all the major performance and convenience tweaks and customizations, as well as detailed troubleshooting advice.

Also provided are links and instructions for a large number of reliable free applications which can enhance your system and give you viable alternatives to purchasing commercial software.


In all cases, the regular system specific edition of TweakGuides Tweaking Companion (PDF) is free.

Once downloaded, first extract the PDF file from the .ZIP archive using the built-in Windows compression utility, or the free 7-Zip utility. Then use the free Foxit Reader software to read the PDF file.

To round out the free offerings, the site provides a very active forum – the place to go for questions, answers, and advice, on operating systems, software, and hardware.

A big shout out to regular reader Michael F., for introducing me to this super site.  Thank you Michael.

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Filed under downloads, Firefox, Freeware, Google, System Tweaks, Technicians Advise, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Troubleshoot BIOS Beep Codes With Free Rizones Beep Code Viewer

Recently, I swapped out the video card on one of my machines, and at the same time bumped up the memory by adding another two GB of RAM. A fairly simple operation which was followed, unfortunately, by a not so simple series of BSODs, system lockups, failure to boot, and the usual – “what’s going on here”, frown.

All of these problems were intermittent, and I eventually solved the issue by re-swapping components in and out. In the end, the culprit was a bad piece of RAM (actually, a RAM compatibility issue).

While going through this mildly frustrating experience, I got a bit of a test on my knowledge of BIOS beep codes. I have to admit – I barely got a passing grade. But, as it turns out, there was an upside to this exercise – I found a nice piece of free software which is designed specifically to translate BIOS beep codes; displayed in a very functional GUI.

Rizone Beep Codes Viewer, is a simple portable tool (save it to a USB stick), that will explain the BIOS error beep codes for all the main PC BIOS manufacturers (AMI, AWARD, Phoenix, IBM).

Following the application launch, click on your BIOS type – select the beep code, and you’ll be provided with a  detailed diagnosis of the problem; including a recommended solution.



System requirements: Windows 2000, Win 7, Server, Vista, XP – (32 and 64 bit).

Download at: PC Advisor UK

This is a terrific free application and a worthwhile addition to your troubleshooting tool box.

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Filed under 64 Bit Software, BIOS Beep Codes, Computer Tools, Diagnostic Software, downloads, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Portable Applications, Software, System Utilities, USB, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Get to Know Your Computer! – Get Free Belarc Advisor

belarc2.jpgIn order to effectively maintain your computer and proactively deal with problems that may occur, it is essential that you have as much information about your system as possible.

If you need help from a computer support group, from a tech support line, or from a computer knowledgeable friend, you will need to provide specific and accurate details of your computer. Without these details, it can be very difficult for even the most knowledgeable computer tech to be time efficient. 

So it is important for you to create a detailed profile of your computer system before problems occur, and retain a printed copy of the report. Generally, creating such a profile can be very time intensive. But all is not lost! 

Belarc Advisor is a program that automatically generates a detailed report of the hardware and software on your computer. It records essential information such as, operating system and processor details, the amount of RAM installed, and drive specifications.

The report also includes a comprehensive list of the software installed on your system, as well as software license numbers and product keys.  In addition, it lists the status of the Microsoft hotfixes on your system.  If any hotfixes need reinstalling, you will be advised of this.

Critically important is the category in which your computer is given a security rating based on the Center for Internet Security (CIS) benchmark test which involves testing for: System Security Status, Virus Protection, and Microsoft Security Updates. 

The results are displayed in a formatted HTML report. The report is clearly formatted for ease of understanding and divided into appropriate categories. Hyperlinks within the report allow you to quickly navigate to different parts of the document, find out more about a particular hotfix entry, or see where a listed software product is installed. 

I have been using this program for 5+ years and find it invaluable for troubleshooting and diagnostics. 

Belarc Advisor is free for personal use. 

Operating Systems: Windows Vista, 2003, XP, 2000, NT 4, Me, 98, and 95. 

Browser Requirements: Internet Explorer, Netscape Opera, Mozilla, and Firefox. 

Download at: Download.com

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Filed under Diagnostic Software, Freeware, Security Rating Applications, Software, System Utilities, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools