Tomasz Sacherski's Blog

Founder of Cocotec

Laptop needs proper cooling

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Do you like to use your laptop on your knee?  If so, the laptop is likely not getting proper ventilation. This can lead to expensive hardware problems and even serious health problems.

Just imagine that all the equipment of a desktop PC is packed into the tiny space of a laptop body.  Components like main processor CPU, graphic card GPU and hard disk is generating heat.  The difference between desktop and laptop is space and amount of cool air provided to major components. A laptop generally has an air intake on its underside.  So air is sucked in and blown out the back or side of the laptop.

The harder the laptop is working, the more heat will be generated by the CPU.  If you use you laptop on your knee, or on a bed, there is a high chance that you are blocking the air intake underneath the laptop preventing the system to cool down.  To prevent internal components being damaged it will shut itself down. Overheating also occurs laptop radiator ribs are blocked by compacted dust. You can’t leave it unattended and will need to take it to a laptop repair shop to have it cleaned out.

To prevent this, there is a simple solution. First keep your laptop in clean environment, give it a clean at least once a year using can of compressed air (do it when laptop is turned off). If you need to use your laptop on your knees or bed get a cooling pad.

Logitech N100 Laptop Cooling Knee Pad with Fan

It doesn’t cost much but can save you a lot of trouble and prevent form expensive laptop repair.

Cocotec – Laptop Repair & Computer Support Services

Written by Cocotec - Laptop Repair & Computer Support Services

November 15, 2010 at 3:39 pm

Missing drivers for unknown devices

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After installing and setting up a fresh copy of Windows, more likely you will find that some of the drivers are missing under Device Manager and you see the little yellow exclamation point meaning a driver hasn’t been installed for a device.

The device just shows up as unknown modem, or unknown media device without giving you any hint on what exactly it is.

What you have to do in order to find out which driver you are looking for is to check the properties of the device, find out its vendor id and Google it. In Device Manager, right click on the unknown device and select Properties.  Go to the Detail tab and select Hardware Ids from the drop down list.  The image below shows what you should expect to see.

The Hardware Ids includes a Vendor code and Device code.  In this case, the Vendor code is 8086 and the Device code is 10DE. Simply Right-click on shortest one and paste into Google search box. You will get a search result with sites that should have the right driver for your unknown device.

Cocotec – Laptop Repair & Computer Support Services

Written by Cocotec - Laptop Repair & Computer Support Services

November 15, 2010 at 2:50 pm

MSCONFIG Power

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When Windows operating system fails to boot in a Normal way but Safe Mode works fine you can use Msconfig tool as an aid to getting the computer working again.

What you need to do is to perform a Clean Boot which is a method of starting Microsoft Windows in Normal Mode (as opposed to Safe Mode) with the minimum of drivers, startup programs and services.

A Clean Boot is one method that can be used in diagnosing Windows startup problems, especially in cases where there is a software conflict or driver problem.

To perform a Clean Boot, we need to run the MSCONFIG utility.
– on Windows XP – Click Start, then click Run.  Type msconfig in the text box then click OK.
– on Windows Vista and Windows 7 – Click Start.  In the text box where is says ‘Search programs and files’ type msconfig and hit Enter.

When MSCONFIG starts up, it will open a new dialog box with several tabs along the top.

Step 1 – Disable non-microsoft Services
Click the Services tab.
Tick checkbox at the bottom of the dialog box labelled ‘Hide all Microsoft services’.
In the list of services, untick all remaining services.

Step 2 – Disable Startup programs
Click the Startup tab.
Untick all the startup programs.

Then click OK and restart the computer.

When the compuer restarts, only the Microsoft services will run.  No 3rd party services or drivers will startup, and no 3rd party startup programs will be launched.

If this process allows the computer to boot without problems, you can go back into MSCONFIG and start an iterative process of re-enabling services and startup programs and retarting the computer, until you find the service or startup item that causes the problem to reoccur.

Once you have identified the problem software, you can take the necessary corrective action to fix or remove it.

Cocotec – Laptop Repair & Computer Support Services

Written by Cocotec - Laptop Repair & Computer Support Services

November 15, 2010 at 2:41 pm

Norton Removal Tool

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Norton Removal Tool is a portable application that removes files and registry entries from your computer related to Norton products.

Norton Anti-Virus and Internet Security uninstaller program can leave various files and registry entries behind after an uninstall. Badly uninstalled antivirus program means that your computer still thinks Norton is partially installed, even though it is gone.  This can cause conflicts if you try to re-install Norton again or if you try to install another anti-virus program.

The Norton Removal Tool uninstalls all Norton 2003 and later products, Norton 360, and Norton SystemWorks 12.0 from your computer.Always try to uninstall the program using its own uninstaller first. From Windows Control Panel, go to Add/Remove Programs or Programs and Features depending on your version of Windows, select the Norton program and click Uninstall.

Read more about the Norton Removal Tool at the official Norton site.

Download:
Download Norton Removal Tool

Cocotec – Laptop Repair & Computer Support Services

Written by Cocotec - Laptop Repair & Computer Support Services

November 15, 2010 at 2:02 pm

Posted in computer, laptop, software

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McAfee Removal Tool

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McAfee Removal Tool is a portable application that removes files and registry entries from your computer related to McAfee products.

McAfee Anti-Virus and Internet Security uninstaller program can leave various files and registry entries behind after an uninstall. Badly uninstalled antivirus program means that your computer still thinks McAfee is partially installed, even though it is gone.  This can cause conflicts if you try to re-install McAfee again or if you try to install another anti-virus program.

Always try to uninstall the program using its own uninstaller first. From Windows Control Panel, go to Add/Remove Programs or Programs and Features depending on your version of Windows, select the McAfee program and click Uninstall.

Read more about the McAfee Removal Tool at the official McAfee site.

Download:
Download McAfee Product Removal Tool

Cocotec – Laptop Repair & Computer Support Services

Written by Cocotec - Laptop Repair & Computer Support Services

November 15, 2010 at 1:57 pm

Posted in computer, laptop, software

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AVG Removal tool

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AVG Removal Tool is a portable application that removes files and registry entries from your computer related to AVG products.

AVG Anti-Virus and Internet Security uninstaller program can leave various files and registry entries behind after an uninstall. Badly uninstalled antivirus program means that your computer still thinks AVG is partially installed, even though it is gone.  This can cause conflicts if you try to re-install AVG again or if you try to install another anti-virus program.

Always try to uninstall the program using its own uninstaller first. From Windows Control Panel, go to Add/Remove Programs or Programs and Features depending on your version of Windows, select the AVG program and click Uninstall.

More details about the AVG Removal Tool at the official AVG site.

Download:
Download AVG Removal Tool (32 bit version)
Download AVG Removal Tool (64 bit version)

Cocotec – Laptop Repair & Computer Support Services

Written by Cocotec - Laptop Repair & Computer Support Services

November 15, 2010 at 1:54 pm

HD Tune: Check your hard drive health

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HD Tune is a great tool for checking the general health of your hard drive.  Its reading the S.M.A.R.T. data off your hard disk and displays it in a table format.  You can use it with internal or external IDE (ATA/PATA) or SATA hard disks. It also works for hard disks plugged in via USB.

S.M.A.R.T. parameters has a threshold, beyond which it could indicate a drive starting to fail.  If HD Tune determines potential problems, it will highlight that row in the results table.

It shows you such information about your disk as temperature, which can be a good indication about whether your computer system is running too hot.

Go to Error Scan to test the surface of your disk and look for so called bad sectors. If HD Tune finds any, it will mark broken blocks in red. Data on a bad sectors cannot be red or written so basically hard disk need a replacement.

Download free trial version here

Cocotec – Laptop Repair & Computer Support Services

Written by Cocotec - Laptop Repair & Computer Support Services

November 15, 2010 at 1:42 pm

Laptop battery usage tips

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Customers often ask about their laptop batteries and how to get the best performance out of them.  A lot of people don’t realise that the laptop battery, much like the battery in any other device, is a consumable item.  After a couple of years it will not hold charge for as long as it used to, or maybe it just won’t charge at all.

There are some myths saying that its best to remove your battery or let it drain to the end then fully charge back again to keep its long life. But it’s only a myth.

First of all battery should be used so forget about removing it. You end up with loosing best laptop function – mobility.

Don’t let it drain completely, as it will only shorten its life.

Don’t keep it plugged with power cord all the time you use it.

Let the battery work, this way you can be sure getting the best out of it.

And one more thing you should keep in mind. Most manufacturers give 1 year warranty on their laptop, but only 6 month on a battery!

Cocotec – Laptop Repair & Computer Support Services

Written by Cocotec - Laptop Repair & Computer Support Services

November 7, 2010 at 3:50 pm

Posted in laptop, tips

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Create a System Restore point in Windows 7

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System Restore is turned on by default, creating restore points regularly for you. In case you want to create your own System Restore point, here’s how to do it.

Click on the Start button and right click on Computer.  Select Properties from the context menu and the System window will open.

Click on System Protection and the System Properties window will open, with the System Protection tab automatically selected.

Click Create and you will be asked to provide a name to this System Restore point.  Use a meaningful name so if ever you need to restore your system, you will recognise the name you used.

Finally, click Create and the System Restore point will be created.

Cocotec – Laptop Repair & Computer Support Services

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November 7, 2010 at 3:36 pm

Posted in software, windows

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How to buy Laptop Memory (RAM)

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No matter what you use your laptop or desktop computer for, it can usually benefit from additional memory.  The more RAM memory you have in your computer, the easier it is to have multiple applications running at once, meaning your computer does not have to use the pagefile on your hard disk as much, so your computer runs faster and better.

So once you have decided to upgrade your RAM, your next decisions are,

– How much RAM do I need?

– What type of RAM do I need?

How much RAM you can upgrade depends on how many spare memory slots you have and how much RAM can go in each memory slot.  I usually open up a computer and see how many slots it has and how many are free.  But the amount and type of RAM that can go in each slot depends on the exact make and model of the computer or motherboard. Its best to have a look on manufacturer website for your computer or laptop specifications.

For example you will have DDR2 PC2-5300 that is inside of your laptop. In this case, DDR2 is the type of memory.  It refers to the memory technology, but importantly, it also indicates the size and shape of memory stick that will fit in your laptop.

PC2-5300 is a measure of the speed of memory that can be used in the laptop.  Some computers can make use of a couple of different memory speeds, and faster is generally better, but it is a good tip to make sure all of your memory sticks are running at the same speed, to make sure they are fully compatible with each other and to get the best performance out of them.

So if I only had 2 x 512MB RAM sticks in my laptop and I wanted to max out the memory, I would buy two sticks of 2GB RAM, remove the smaller memory sticks that the laptop came with, and install the new ones.  Job done.

Cocotec – Laptop Repair & Computer Support Services

Written by Cocotec - Laptop Repair & Computer Support Services

November 7, 2010 at 3:30 pm

Posted in computer, laptop, upgrade

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