Browse Month

February 2016

Cooling Problems: A Five Step Approach

Is your computer a monster? Is it a fire-breathing dragon that can go howling through the latest games, the most intense video, and the heaviest of heavy duty number crunching?

If so, the analogy of fire-breathing dragon to computer may be particularly apt, because the inside of its case can run as hot as blazes. To prevent this, I favor a five step approach.

The first step is perhaps the easiest to deal with. Answer this: what is the room temperature where your computer is located? Cool, perhaps uncomfortably cool for some people, is best. This brings to mind a friend, a skinny, aesthetic fellow, who spends hours running a demanding 3-D animation program on his PC.

He liked a room temperature near 80 degrees, while his computer would have preferred something in the range of 68 or so. Actually, he was shortening the life of his machine by running it under these conditions. Finally, he was persuaded to wear a pullover, and turn the thermostat down. My friend is reasonably content with the compromise, and his computer lives on.

Now, the second step: have you noticed the design of computer desks? How there’s a cubby hole set aside for the computer itself? Usually, a PC will just barely fit into the things.

If you get such a desk, use the cubby hole for instruction manuals, textbooks, put a vase there, anything but a computer. The walls of the cubby hole block air vents, restricting the airflow inside your computer’s case. Hot air pools up, letting the temperature climb higher, like the inside of a oven.

No matter how strong the exhaust fans are in your PC, it has to be able to pull some air in through the vents to breathe, you might say. Give it a chance. Keep it out of the cubby hole.

Also, keep it out of direct sunlight. That is the third step. Ask yourself this: why does a cat like to sleep in the shaft of sunlight that comes through a window? The answer is obvious. It’s warm there.

Now, imagine a computer, with a dark colored case sitting before that same window. It will get hot without even running!

When your cat gets hot, it can get up and walk away. Your computer can’t. So, keep it out of sunlight.

The next step is one of the most practical, and addresses the problem directly. The surest way to lower the temperature inside your PC’s case is to add another fan.

This is a much simpler operation than it may sound like to the beginner. All you have to do is open up the case, mount the fan with four screws, and either connect it to a lead coming from the case’s power supply, or plug it into a 5V receptacle on the motherboard.

The rub comes when you don’t have a place to mount another fan. This is often a problem with smaller size cases.

Modification, cutting a new fan port, is a job best left to an experienced hand. I have done this sort of thing, but only on a completely empty case. Everything, motherboard, hard drive, and all, comes out first. No metal shavings, or metal dust should be allowed to reach your PC’s components.

The fifth step, if the others fail, is liquid cooling. At one time, this was viewed as a drastic option, and I can well remember how leery many of us were when this new technology came on the market. Yet its fascination drew me to try it, on a PC I put together from scratch.

The effectiveness surprised me. It tamed what could have been an otherwise insurmountable cooling problem, and has performed admirably in the many months since.

Uses for an External Hard Drive

An external hard drive is a hard disk drive (much like the one in your computer) that is placed externally, outside of the case. You can buy them pre-made, or purchase a hard drive and an enclosure, and make your own. They came in many sizes, are relatively inexpensive, and are well suited to perform various functions. In this article, I will detail 3 specific uses for your external hard drive.

For one reason or another, you may have chosen a computer whose storage capacity you’ve outgrown. It may be full to capacity with files and programs, and you need room to expand. So the first example is to use your external hard drive to add expandability to your computer. This is true in case all of your PC’s hard drive bays are full, and especially if you have a laptop which has only one hard drive bay.

A second example is to use your external hard drive as a shared storage drive. You can attach it to a PC, set permissions and share-ability, and start saving, and sharing various files. For example, you can share and save pictures, MP3s, and video files. By using it in this manner, you’ll be able to free up tons of space on your computer’s local hard drive, and you’ll be able to share files with everyone in your home network.

Another possible use for your external hard drive is to save important documents. For example, you can scan wills, deeds, insurance information, leases, bank account and credit information, and store them on your external hard drive. You can also take pictures of all your valuables, and keep these safe in your external hard drive for future reference. If it’s important to you, then it’s worthy of being saved in your external hard drive. You can then store this hard drive in a secure location such as a fire-proof safe, or a safety deposit box. This will surely save you tons of headaches in case of theft, or worse yet, a disaster.

There you have it. That’s 3 possible uses for your external hard drive. They’re versatile, and come in sizes that you can choose according to your specific needs. If you have a lot of files to save, then you can get a 500 GB hard drive, or larger if you wish. If you only have a few important documents to save, then maybe a 15 GB hard drive will suffice. The important thing is that it is you who can choose the size you need. It is you who can choose what its primary function will be. And if you need to, you can get more than one external hard drive. That’s what makes them so ideal.

What Power Supply Do I Need?

In our world today, the quality of a personal computer is often measured only by its processor speed, memory capacity, and hard drive space and for gamers, the quality of the video card. Sometimes, the computer monitor will grab some attention, especially if it has an LCD screen. Seldom, however, do we think of a computer by its power supply. And seldom do we give them an upgrade, even if we have upgraded each and every other computer component.

But when the power supply is damaged or stops working, we have to think about it, or we have no computer period. The only solution is a power supply replacement.

There are a lot of computer power supplies available in computer shops, so finding one should not be difficult. Replacing your power supply with a new unit should also be easy. The hard part is selecting the power supply that your computer needs. There are different kinds of power supplies and each has different specs. For your computer to work properly, it must be equipped with the right one.

There are two basic things to consider whenever you are buying a new power supply for your computer — power requirements and the power supply’s form factor.

Power Requirement

Modern power supplies have power outputs that range from 200 watts to 500 watts. Before purchasing a new power supply, you must first know the amount of power that each of your computer’s components need. These power requirements can usually be found on the labels of the components themselves. By adding up these figures, you’ll have a good estimate of the power output your new power supply should have.

As a general rule, never buy a power supply with output ratings that are lower than your estimates. Neither should you buy those that have too high a power rating, as most of this power would simply be wasted.

Form Factor

The standard form factor used on most PC power supplies today is the ATX-form factor. Not all power supplies, however, use this standard. If you have an older PC, it must be using a power supply in the AT-form factor. There are also less common form factors today like the TFX and BTX form factors. Before purchasing a new power supply, identify first what form factor would fit on your PC or else there’ll be no way for you to use it.

How To Properly Install A New DVD Drive With Ease

When you are ready to begin installing your new DVD Drive,have plenty of room on your desk or table to work.Allow enough space to move around and to be able to move the system unit as well.

Check to see if you have ample light.You may want to have a container to place small screws in.The system unit cover may have small screws and you don’t want to lose them.

After you have plenty of work space and ample lighting, prepare your mind as well.Make this and every other adventure of working on your computer educational and fun.

Now go over to to familarize yourself with all components inside the PC. Take the time to study the actual components inside your computer.You’ll be glad you did should something go wrong.Follow these steps to install your drive.



Turn off your computer and unplug all peripherals. Take notice of how you unplug or disconnect any devices.


Remove the side panel of the tower system or the cover if you have a desktop.Place the panel in a safe place well out of the way.


Before touching anything inside the system unit, remove electrical static charge from your body by touching a door knob or any unpainted metal surface.


Remove the new drive from its protective wrapping and take the time to read through the manual. Be sure you have all components and save the box just in case it need to be returned.


Check the jumper settings on the drive to be sure it is set to master.If you are adding this drive as a second drive,you will have to set one as master and one as the slave drive.

Your manual should make this procedure quick and fast. A small pair of tweezers can be used to remove the small jumper to the correct position.Most drives are set to master by default.



Locate the drive bay for the cdrom drive.In most cases,its at the top of the case.If you are removing another drive,slide it out partially,disconnect cables, and slide the drive out completely.Take note of the location of all connections.

If you are installing a new drive the first time,use a small screwdriver to pop off the 5.25 inch drive bay cover and bezel on the system unit case.


Slide the new drive in partially and connect the data,sound,and power cables to the rear of the drive.Slide the drive in completely and use small screws to secure the drive to the case.

In some cases,the drive is secured to the case with the use of Drive rails.These rails should be mounted on the old drive if you had to remove one.Check the drive’s manual if your new drive came with side rails.

When connecting the cable,carefully graps the cables by the ends and not the wires themselves.Carefully but firmly push the connectors into their sockets until you are certain of a good connection.

If you are installing this drive as a second drive and have made this drive the secondary or slave drive, connect the drive to the center connector on the Ribbon cable.The master drive must be at the end.


After all cables are re-connected to the drive and the drive is secured to the case,replace the system unit cover,reconnect all peripherals.Be sure the faceplate of the drive is flush with the front of the computer.



Boot up the computer and in nearly all cases,the operating system should detect the new drive and install the device driver if necessary.

In most cases,new cdroms and dvd drives will not come with a cdrom or diskette with a device driver. Windows should install the drive with ease.

Some new drives will come with a cdrom full of software,such as games,music,or movies.Check this cdrom for software utilities that you may need to help run and operate your drive.


heck your new drive to see if Windows has recognized it.Click on My Computer and you should see the drives installed.Check for both drives if you installed the drive as a second drive.

And that’s it.You can now use the drive as a huge data backup.Or you may want to make movies. Whatever the case,check the drive for compatbility with other drives.

Take the time to learn absolutely everything about that computer you’re reading this with.Quickly master the art of installing not just the dvd drive, but all drives and other components.