August 8, 2008
Dear CNET members,
Happy Friday! Before we get started on this week's topic, if you don't mind, I just wanted to share with you a couple of a father's proud moments that occurred this week. First, my 2-year-old daughter is finally getting the whole potty thing and for the first time, took care of her business on the toilet--can't wait until we are diaper free! My 5-year-old son for the first time swam on his own without any floatation devices, and jumped off the diving board for the first time. I have long waited for these moments and having two incredible milestones in one week for my children to reach is just sheer joy for a daddy, and I just wanted share that little piece of my happiness with you. Now let's tackle Gail's questions on how to speed up her computer and if there really is a simple and easy instruction on how to do so.
Gail, I'm going to be brutally honest with you, there is really no so-called "easy button" that you can press and magically make your sluggish computer become fast again. And even with simplest solution that many of our members may have provided you, it's always going to be a shot in the dark if it will, in fact, help your system. You see, there are just too many factors involved that can cause a computer to become sluggish--ranging from hardware deficiencies, software conflicts, malicious software (spyware or virus), to just about anything under the sun. If there are technical issues that you just don't quite understand, even with the simplest instructions and step-by-step how-tos, it can be frustrating to get past that barrier. I'm not trying to discourage or scare anyone from attempting these endeavors, as I was once there myself. All I'm stating is that computers are complex machines and if you have a willingness to learn about it, take some risk and learn from trial and error, eventually it will become easier to take on new challenges in solving computer troubles.
So as you read through this week's answers provided by our members, you'll get a range of solutions, some are simple and some more complex. If you are looking for the easy way out, well you're probably not going to find the silver bullet that cures all. On the other hand, what you will learn from many of our members' answers is some helpful solutions and tips that that will, hopefully, give you some clues on how to troubleshoot your issue. However, if you don't feel comfortable following any of the solutions, I would suggest you find guidance from a technical friend or family member. However, don't just let them do it, watch how they do it, so you can learn. And if it boils down to it, sometimes the best alternative from recurring frustrations and time savings is to seek a professional for help. I've selected a few great answers from our members to get you started in the Q&A section. By the way, there are some great explanations on hardware drivers provided, so check them out. Have a great weekend everyone! Enjoy the Olympics!
Member Question of the Week
Can anyone please explain, in plain English and step-by-step
instructions, how to speed up a slow computer? In previous
newsletters answers that cover this topic are very confusing.
The posted answers say don't use register cleaners,
de-fragging won't speed it up, and the most confusing one is,
update the drivers! How does a person update the drivers and
what exactly is a driver? The answer of "going to a
manufacture's Web site to update a driver" is meaningless to
me, cause don't know what I am to update or how I find the
drivers installed on the computer. All I want is a simple
list of methods (step-by-step instructions) for any
nontechnical person like myself, to follow and understand in
order to speed up my computer and also what routine and steps
to take thereafter to keep my computer in good running state.
Using a Dell desktop with Windows XP SP2. Thanks for the
opportunity to ask a question.
Just some member contributions to get you started, but please read through the all answers!
--Submitted by: waytron
Speeding up your Dell desktop
--Submitted by: Precede
Here is as easy as it gets.
--Submitted by: dukethepcdr
I strongly suggest you find a knowledgeable friend...
--Submitted by: rae2_2
What you're asking is not easy
--Submitted by: High Desert Charlie
Read all member contributions
Thanks to all who contributed!
Previous week's Q&A
I'd like to get an external hard drive to use for backup of
files and maybe as a main access point for music and photos.
I'm not sure what brands are best or what vendor I should
purchase from. I want at least 300GB but probably more. The
drive should be easily connected and detached, and synching
between the drives for backing up data should be simple (I
don't want to manually search all folders in a directory to
figure out which ones have been updated since last backup).
I'm more concerned with reliability and durability than with
getting the lowest price, as I will be counting on the drive
for file backup. What are some members' recommendations? Is
it a bad idea to use a backup drive for regular access to
music and photos? I play music on my PC a lot and don't want
to wear out my primary drive. Using a Dell Dimension 5150
with Windows XP. Thanks!!
Thanks to all who contributed!
Each week we take a look at topics discussed in the forums.
Have fun and enjoy!
More from the forums
Check out next week's question:
Hi CNET! I'm ready to start college in a couple of months and
I'm shopping for a new laptop. It's an age-old question, but
it's the MacBook versus PC laptop question. I'm not here to
instigate a fight over Mac versus PC and how one is better
than another, but really to get an idea of what will be best
for me while I'm in school. I know that both laptops will do
pretty much the same, music download, word processing,
spreadsheets, digital photos, Internet and e-mailing. I
currently own a PC desktop at home and was thinking about
getting PC laptop, but a few friends suggested that I look
into an Apple MacBook as they do offer great incentive on
campus to buy one. If I get a MacBook now, is there a huge
learning curve switching from a PC to Mac? What makes them
different? Pros and cons for each? Does Mac work out
better for college--because maybe more students use them?
I'm not sure if that true. I'm quite iffy on the whole
MacBook transition, that's why I'm here to ask for advice and
learn from you. And by the way, my father says I have a limit
of $1,500 and no more than that. Thanks in advance for any
advice you can provide me.
(Note to members: Please keep your posts on topic, civil, and respect each other opinions and views. Any flaming or personal attack will be removed. Thank you! -Lee)
Have a question?
Home Audio & Video
How did you gain the majority of your computer technical skills?
(Please click on button to vote)
Computer courses or training (Any recommendations?)
Learning from friends or family (How so?)
Learning from technical forums or Web sites (Any recommendations?)
Magazines, learning CDs, or textbooks (Any recommendations?)
Learned all on my own through trial and error (How so?)
Other (What is it?)
Help your fellow members
Every Thursday at 1 p.m. PDT (4 p.m. EDT),
CNET tech gurus, Brian Cooley and Tom Merritt
answer your calls and e-mails, offer their advice
and opinions, and provide tips on new gadgets
and gear. Tune in live on CNET TV and give us
a call at 1-888-900-CNET during our show. See previous episodes of CNET Live below.
Ask the editor Live!
Got a burning tech question? Each Thursday from 11 a.m. to noon Pacific Time, we'll give you the chance to chat live with a CNET editor. We'll cover a new topic each week, from cell phones to TVs. Get those burning tech questions ready!
Check out the event calendar!