Why I Love Computers

My attitude to computer technology is that keeping current with it is not only entertaining, it seems to be a useful way of spending time on the internet as compared to other social and political activities.

It is also a very good exercise for the brain to make the effort to understand, assimilate and discover new knowledge.

To have a perfectly running computer requires planning and a disciplined approach to use it, upgrade it and discover many new exciting things of doing things in the process.

All this requires effort and a cultivated interest. It also requires you to be more tolerant to change and accept limitations. It also helps you to accept other peoples opinions and comments a little more humbly.

As we grow old we all go through this process of learning how to accept the changing world around us.

My experience is that keeping current with technology helps me develop a more tolerant attitude to life.

After all you cannot get angry with you computer for misbehaving. You have to learn how to fix it or live with it.

Isn’t what this life is about?

 

 

AnniversaryUpdate3

Notes on Building a New PC

This write-up describes my recently completed project of building a new PC to replace my more than six year old desktop. It includes my rationale for the chosen configuration.

1. The core configuration of my old desktop PC was
Intel Core2 Duo CPU E7400 2.8 GHz, 4 GB Memory, Mother Board DG41RQ
180 GB Intel SSD for Windows 8.1 Pro
The main System Performance Values were
System Score – 4.1, Memory Score – 6.4, CPU Score – 6.4
Graphics Score – 4.1, Disk Score – 7.1

2. Microsoft Flight Simulator was installed on my desktop and performed satisfactorily.

3. The main points why upgrade was required since my old system had no support for Hyper-V and USB 3.0, the case had become old and some of the USB ports were no working properly. Also I could not install Windows 10 on this since future hardware upgrades would have invalidated my Windows 10 license. So I decided to bite the bullet and upgrade my desktop PC before installing Windows 10.

4. I had some very encouraging experience of Core i3 CPU. I had acquired an old Sony Vaio laptop model SVE14123CN with Core i3-3110M CPU @ 2.40GHz. I had replaced the 500 GB HDD with 180GB SSD and got these performance figures.
System Score – 4.9, Memory Score – 5.9, CPU Score – 6.9
Graphics Score – 5.5
Disk Score 8.1 with Windows 8.1 Pro

5. I compared these scores with the scores of HP Spectre x 360 with Core i7-5500U CPU @ 2.40GHz
System Score – 6.1, Memory Score – 7.5, CPU Score – 7.4
Graphics Score – 6.1, Disk Score – 8.1 with Windows 8.1 Home

6. The difference between Core i3 and Core i7 performance did not seem to justify the extra cost and heat generation. The HP x360 becomes uncomfortable to use for extended periods because it gets very hot.

7. So I decided to go for Core i3 CPU.
The items purchased for the upgrade from a local store were
Core i3-4150 3.5 GHz – USD 125
Gigabyte Mother Board – GA-H97M-D3H, Socket 1150, Micro ATX, 4 DDR3 RAM Sockets, 7.1 HD Audio, Six 6GB SATA Sockets, Six USB 3.0 Sockets – USD 112.5
Two modules of Corsair CMZ4GX3M1A1600C9 Vengeance 4GB RAM –
USD 60
Computer Case without Power supply – USD 18
All other items SSD, HDDs, DVD drive came from the old desktop.
The total Cost was USD 315

8. The instructions for installing the components were clear and cables etc. were clearly marked.
The CPU comes with the thermal paste so mounting the cooling fan is very easy. No need for a tube of silicon thermal paste.

9. On booting the old Windows 8.1 Pro install, it adjusted to the new hardware after automatically loading updates from Windows update. Since this was a motherboard update Windows 8.1 had to be reactivated by calling Microsoft on phone and going through the process with a MS Rep. I also had to reactivate Office 2010 with Phone activation.

10. I installed Windows 10m by upgrading the finished system using a Windows ISO

11. The final performance scores are
System Score – 5.3, Memory Score – 7.5, CPU Score – 7.5
Graphics Score – 5.3, Disk Score – 8.05
Windows 10 Pro Build 10240, Core i3-4150 CPU @ 3.50GHz, INTEL SSD 180 GB
Mother Board – Gigabyte Technology Co., Ltd. H97M-D3H, BIOS American Megatrends Inc.

12. The i3 CPU is of new generation and adjusts its running frequency and idles at .77 GHz reducing power consumption and heat generation. The frequency goes up automatically on demad. The on board HD graphics are very adequate for running the MS Flight simulator at the highest graphics setting. I regularly do video conversion of downloaded YouTube video clips. The performance is more than satisfactory for iSkySoft video converter. Sound quality of the built in HD audio is excellent using the Creative 5.1 speaker system. There is no distortion at high volume levels. I can see 1080p movies on the attached Sony Bravia TV without the slightest jitter or lag. Colour reproduction is also very good.

13. Final verdict: i3 CPU is a cost effective solution for both desktop and laptop. You don’t require an i5 or i7 unless you have a special need like continuous professional usage of Photoshop and Video encoding and editing. What is most important is to replace your System Drive with an SSD. The first thing you should do after you buy a new laptop is to buy a SSD and a USB 3.0 enclosure to put the removed HDD for external use. (Inateck 2.5 Inch USB 3.0 HDD External Hard Drive Disk Enclosure is an excellent choice)

Computer Setup for Windows 8.1

This series of articles will help you setup your new computer for an efficient use. These are applicable for Desktops, Laptops and Tablets.

Microsoft Account
The Microsoft Account is used to save your settings and gives you free 7GB space on OneDrive, the Microsoft Cloud Storage.  This can be used to store and share your documents, photos, music or videos. More. . .

Windows 8.1 Keyboard Shortcuts
Windows works very well with mouse and touch. But the keyboard shortcuts are the fastest and easiest way of getting things done. More. . .

Initial Settings
Settings that will improve your experience of using your computer need to done first. More. . .

Partition your Hard Disk
In order to improve performance of your computer over it’s life we need to partition the hard disk. More. . .

Removing Programs
Some of the manufacturer installed programs are really not required. They need to be removed. More. . .

Clean up Hard Disk
Before you start you should remove unnecessary files from your computer . More. . .

Personal File Folders
The default locations of your personal files and folders need to be setup. More. . .

Start Screen
What is the Start Screen and how it helps you control and use your computer. More. . .

Resources and Tips
Resources and Tips to help you use your computer well. Plus useful Program Download Links, Additional Language Support Etc. More. . .

 

Please leave your comments, suggestions and requests for additional information in the comments section.

Cleanup Hard Disk

You can use Disk Cleanup to reduce the number of unnecessary files on your drives, which can help your PC run faster. It can delete temporary files and system files, empty the Recycle Bin, and remove a variety of other items that you might no longer need.

You can also delete unnecessary system files on your PC. This option, in addition to cleaning up the files associated with your account, allows you to delete previous Windows installations, Windows Defender files, and Windows upgrade log files that you might no longer need.

 

To Clean up Drive C Do the following:

  1. Press clip_image002+ E to open the File Explorer.
  2. Right Click on Drive C and display Properties.
  3. In the Drive C properties Window Select “Disk Cleanup”

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  4. The system will scan the drive C for files that can be deleted and after a while display the list of items and their size that can be deleted.
  5. Now to delete the system files select “Clean up System Files”. The System will then rescan the files that can be deleted and show you another list. This time the list window will show more files that can be deleted. Now select the tab  “More Options” to select some more files like System Restore Points for deletion.

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  6. Now Click “Cleanup” to delete unnecessary System Restore Points and other system files.

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  7. Click OK to all dialog boxes to complete Disk Cleanup.

 

Defragment The Hard Disk

Over a period of time as Hard Disk gets used files are created and deleted. This leads to non-contiguous use of disk space. This is called Fragmentation of Data stored on the disk. Fragmentation makes your hard disk do extra work that can slow down your computer. The process of Disk Defragmentation rearranges fragmented data so your disks and drives can work more efficiently.

Disk Defragmenter program can be set to runs on a schedule. However you can also analyze and defragment your disks and drives manually if desired.

  1. To Start the Defragmenter press clip_image002[1] + W to open Setting Search and search for Defragment and select Defragment and Optimize .. .
  2. The Optimise Drives Window will open.

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    Select Drive C: and Click on Optimise to Defragment Drive C:

  3. After a while (A Long time if this is the first time you are optimising) the process will complete. (It goes through 10 passes)
  4. You can select the other Drives in Sequence and defragment the complete hard disk.
  5. You can set a schedule to automatically defragment drives. After the defragmentation is completed Click Change Settings.

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    In the Optimisation Schedule Select Check Boxes as shown and Select Daily Schedule.

    Daily Optimisation takes very little time and your disk always remain in top condition.

 

This completes the process of Cleaning up your Hard disk

 

 

Back to Computer-Setup-For-Windows 8.1

Resources and Tips

  • The Microsoft Windows Support site has an immense amount of information on using Windows 8. Click Here to Access This Site.. . .
  • Paul Thurrott’s Windows Supersite has the latest news and information about using Windows 8. You can search the site to find solutions.
  • Paul Thurrott has written an excellent book on Windows 8. This book is available in eBook format – PDF, Mobi (Kindle) and ePub (iPad).
    It costs only  USD 2 with all future updates free. It can be purchased Here. . .  (Highly Recommended)
  • Microsoft Community is website where you can get answers to your questions about Windows 8 from other users. You can also browse other peoples questions and answers.
  • Internet Explorer 11
    Windows 8.1 had two versions of this browser. The Modern Version started from the Start Screen works like the full screen Modern Environment.
    The tutorial on How To Use is Here… This version of the browser has a great READING View to articles on web pages without all the distracting items.
    You can also PIN sites to the Start Screen.

    The other version of the browser is started from the desktop and works exactly like the earlier version of Internet Explorer. You can PIN sites to the Taskbar.

  • These are some of the useful Apps from the Store you can download.
    * Adobe Photoshop Express : For Simple but Effective Editing of Photos
    * Adobe Reader Touch : Modern Version of Desktop Adobe Reader
    * Asparion Clock : For Live Clock Information on Start Screen
    * Fiction Book Reader : To Read eBooks in ePUB and MOBI Format
    * HDFC Bank : Netbanking Application
    * Megatube : YouTube downloader
    * News Bento : News Aggregator & Reader
    * OneNote : Excellent for taking notes and saving Reading View webpages

    The main page of the Store has Collections of useful Apps grouped together by categories for easy download.

  • Some Useful Programs to Download and install on the Desktop

    * 7-Zip : All purpose open source program to manage compressed files.
    * VLC Player : All Purpose program to play Video files of any format.
    * Calibre : Program to Manage eBooks.
    * CCleaner : All purpose computer cleaner.
    * DVDVideoSoft Studio : A collections of program to manage Video and Audio files
    * Evernote : Another note taking program.
    * NoteTab : A HTML and plain text editor. Useful for making simple Web Pages.
    * TreeSize Free : View Folders and File sizes on Hard disk

    * Windows Secrets : A useful news letter full of news and tips plus Windows Forum Access

    * Windows Essentials : A collection of programs for Mail, Live Writer, Photo Gallery, Movie Maker and One Drive

  • Language Support: You can add additional language support to your Windows installation.

    Just go to Control Panel Home and select Add Language

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    Select Add Language and add the Language required. Here Marathi has been added as additional language.

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    To activate a language in a Text Entry Program like Word, Press clip_image002 + SPACE BAR and select the language.  Press clip_image002[4] + U to display the language keyboard on the screen. Redo these steps to go back to the original language.

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Back to Computer-Setup-For-Windows 8.1

Microsoft Account

A Microsoft account is an email address and password that you use to sign in to Windows. It’s free and easy to set up, and you can do so with any email address you choose, or get a new email address.

For example, you can use an Outlook.com email address for your Microsoft account. If you don’t have an account you can visit https://outlook.com and register a new email address.

(Note: Even if you can use Gmail or Yahoo email address for a Microsoft Account, I would not recommend it as from my experience you eventually end with a conflict between Microsoft Services and Google or Yahoo services.)

When you sign in to your PC or device with a Microsoft account, you can get apps from the Windows Store, back up all your important data and files using free cloud storage, and keep all your favorite stuff—devices, photos, friends, games, settings, music, and so on—up to date and in sync.

One Drive

You get 7GB of Microsoft Cloud Storage Free when you sign up for a Microsoft Account. You can store documents, pictures, music or videos on One Drive. The contents of your One Drive can be accessed on the Web at Outlook.com These folders are also available on your computer when you open the “THIS PC” in File Explorer.

You can also see the “About One Drive Page” at https://onedrive.live.com/about/en-us/

 

OneDriveFolders

One Drive Folders in File Explorer

 

Back to Computer-Setup-For-Windows 8.1

Initial Settings

There are some initial setting you must do to make it easy to use your PC.

Show Desktop Icons

  1. Press clip_image002_thumb5 + D to show the Desktop
  2. Press clip_image002_thumb5 + I to show Settings
  3. Select Personalization from the Settings Menu for the Desktop
  4. When you see this Control Panel Screen, choose Change Desktop Icons.

image

Click the Check Boxes for Computer, User Files, Network and Recycle Bin to show these icons on the Desktop.

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Set Text Size on Desktop

The Text Display Size on the High Resolution Display Monitors requires adjustment to make it more readable. This is done by adjusting Text Scaling.

  1. Press clip_image002_thumb5 + D to show the Desktop
  2. Press clip_image002_thumb5 + I to show Settings
  3. Select Personalization from the Settings Menu for the Desktop
  4. When you see this Control Panel Screen, choose Display.

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  5. Select the ”Let Me Choose One Scaling Level For all My Displays” Box

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  6. Normally 125% size scaling will give you a reasonable Text size.
    For High resolution displays you may have to set it to 150%

    Click Apply to activate the new scaling level.

Folder Options

The default options for displaying files in the File Explorer need to be changed to protect your PC.

  1. Press clip_image002_thumb5 + D to show the Desktop
  2. Press clip_image002_thumb5 + I to show Settings
  3. Select Control Panel from the Settings Menu for the Desktop
  4. When you see this Control Panel Screen, Enter Folder in the Search Panel and Select Folder Options.

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  5. In the Folder Options Screen Select the View Tab.

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    Select these Options
    “Show Hidden Files”   ON
    ”Hide Empty Drives”   OFF
    ”Hide Extensions For Known file Types” OFF
    ”Hide Folder Conflicts”  OFF
    ”Hide Protected Operating System Files” ON

    Select Apply to Activate your Selections.

Back to Computer-Setup-For-Windows 8.1