Does Your Keyboard Need Lights?

Probably not, but they do look cool. The choice of getting a keyboard with LED lights built in is strictly a personal choice. Unless of course you use your computer in the dark a lot, then LED lights can have a practical use. There are a lot of people who never learned to type without looking at the keys, for these people, having the keys lit up at night can be a real benefit.

Changing out your keyboard is one of the easiest upgrades you can possibly do to your computer. However, there are some things to consider before you buy a new one. There are a variety of keyboards on the market now; you need to decide which one would work the best for you.
You could choose to replace the keyboard with one that is basically the same as the one that came with your computer, or you could upgrade it to a style of keyboard that will be more convenient for you to use. You can also choose from a variety of colors for your keyboard, most brands come in black, white, and stainless. If you bought your computer as a complete package then you may want to stay with the same brand name as your computer. This should not limit your options though, most brand names come in a variety of styles.

Along with a variety of LED colored lights, keyboards also come with either wireless or USB connections. So if you are tired of the mess of wires it takes to hook everything up to the back of your tower, a wireless keyboard may be a good upgrade for you. You also have the option of the basic style of keyboard, similar to the one that came with your computer, or a very slim model that is not much thicker than a piece of paper. There are even keyboards out there now that can be completely submerged in soapy water to clean them.

If you are left handed they make a keyboard just for you. There are also keyboards that are split in the center placing the keys at an angle that is supposed to be more comfortable for some people to use. You also have to consider whether an ergonomic shape would be more comfortable for you to use. If you do a lot of work on your computer this could definitely make your life easier not to mention more comfortable. They offer much greater support to your wrists and prevent pain from extend periods of time typing. Many offices have switched to this style to prevent wrist strain.
Almost all of these options can be found with the LED lighting option if you are willing to look around. Many allow you to choose the color you want the LED lights to come in. Once you find the perfect keyboard, it is easy to install, if it’s a USB hook up just plug it in and run the disc. For the wireless varieties you just load the disc.

Installing a New Power Supply

The first step is deciding what amount of power you computer needs. If you have had problems and need to replace the old one, you should probably buy one that is a little more powerful. I say this because if the old power supply fried, it could be because it wasn’t big enough or powerful enough for the computer you are running. It could also be a faulty equipment problem not all power supplies are made equal.

So if you are replacing a 400 W power supply you might want to buy a 450 W or higher. Keep in mind that if you are just using your computer for surfing the web you probably don’t need the most powerful one that you can find, just one that is slightly more powerful than the one you are replacing. However, if you are playing a lot of high graphic games on the computer then you may want to go with a larger power supply. It just depends on what the computer is being used for.

Once you have the new power supply and are ready to install it, you need to turn off the power to your tower. If the tower is in a cramped area where it is hard to work on it, you’ll need to move it out, this means unhooking everything from the back of the tower. Remember where they were attached so you can replace them when you are done.

Next you need to open your tower case, depending on the case this could be removing a side panel, or the top panel, some open up like a book, again it just depends on the type of case you have. Make sure you ground yourself before touching anything inside the case; you can either buy an anti-static wrist band or keep touching the metal portion of the case. You need to do this to protect the electrical components inside the computer.

Then remove the four mounting screws that hold the old power supply in place, and gently set this aside. Do not remove any of the connections from the old power supply yet. Place the new power supply in the case and secure it using the four screws you removed from the old power supply, and then using the old power supply as a guide move the connections one at a time to the new power supply. This saves a lot of confusion and ensures that you connect things in the correct place.

Once you have everything connected to the new power supply you are ready to close up the case. Before you close it check to be sure that it is clean and dust free. Dust particles inside your computer case can settle on the motherboard and cause the circuits on the board to overheat.
Reattach all your peripherals and power up the computer. When it turns on you may get a found new hardware message depending on the operating system you are using.

No More Sound? We Can Fix That!

Before you consider replacing your sound card, check to make sure all your audio drivers are up to date. Next make sure one of the kids didn’t put you on mute. It has been known to happen. The easiest way to check this is to reset all your audio settings to the factory default. You should be able to do this by going to hardware and then to audio systems.

If you have checked everything else and still have no sound, it may be time to replace your audio or sound card. This is a little tricky, but it can be done. Keep in mind that a sound card is not a card; it is more like a circuit board. Just remember throughout the process that force is not an option, be gentle.

First you need to find a new sound card that is compatible with the rest of your computer system, mainly the motherboard, power supply and speakers. If you use your computer for gaming, listening to music or watching DVD’s this could be a good time to consider upgrading to a better sound card as well. There are some really nice options out there now, most of which do not come standard on a computer.

Once you have the sound card, you need to unhook all the peripherals from the back of the computer including the power cable. Next move the case to an area where you have room to work and good lighting, a work bench or kitchen table are good options. You just need somewhere clean with plenty of room, because you are going to have to lay your tower on the side to work on the sound card.

Look on the back of your case and you will see where all the speaker connection are, these are the colored pegs where you plug the speakers in at, usually these are pink, green, blue and yellow. There should be tow screws there that need to be removed. Remove them, but put them somewhere you can find them you will need them again.

Then open your case, there should be one more screw holding in the sound card, remove this screw and keep it separate from the other two. Gently rock the sound card to work it loose. Do not pry or force it out that could damage the connections. Once you have it out gently remove the connecting cables and attach them to the new sound card.

Insert the new sound card, making sure that it is lined up correctly. If it does not want to slide into the slot the old card was in, remove it and make sure nothing is blocking the slot then try again. This is where the patience comes in; forcing the card could damage it.

Once you have it installed and everything is lined up replace the screws you removed, first the one inside and then the two outside the case. You should be all set.

Creating a Wireless Network

When should you create a wireless network?

  • When you have several computers running in the same house.
  • When you want your small office to be more efficient.
  • When you are tired of wires running all over the house to connect computers.
  • When you want the option of using a laptop or desk style computer without interruptions in service.

These are all good reasons to install a wireless network. However, there are many different options to choose from when you go shopping for a wireless network. Some are created for in home use, but if you are running a business from you home these might not be the best choice for you.
When you are choosing a wireless network check the speed and the area it will cover, there are small networks that cover around 75 feet, on up to systems that will handle a much wider radius. Take some measurements and be aware of the distances involved when you go to look for a network.

Speed can also be an issue, if you are setting this system up in your home for personal use and you have several family members that play games online you may want to look for a network that offers faster speeds. Remember that for a wireless network to function you are going to need to install wireless cards in the computers that you want connected to the network.

Once you have chosen the wireless router that best suits your needs, you need to connect it to your main computer. If you already have a router then you will be replacing it with the wireless router. Attach all the cables from the old router to the new wireless router. When you see green flashing lights on both the router and the modem, this signals that the router is recognizing an internet signal.

You are not quite done. Power up the computer that the router is connected to and load the driver disc that came with it. This will request you to put in a username and password. The username is not important; many people just use admin as the password. You also need to set up security for the router; you don’t want anyone in the neighborhood running off of your internet service.

There should be directions on how to access and set up the security you want in the installation book that came with your router. Once you have set up the security and password share the password only with those you want to be able to access your network. This could be only family members, or the employees that work in your business. Make sure that they do not share the password with other people as this will cause a breach in your network.

Most laptops come equipped with a wireless card, but if you are using your wireless connection with desk top model computers you will have to install wireless cards in each computer so that it can access your wireless network.

High Graphic Games Need Better Video Cards

With care your computer could easily outlast the video card that came with it. New technology is constantly coming out with better and clearer graphics for games and movies. This upgrade in technology also means that your video card will probably need to be upgraded at least once during the life of your computer. Thankfully replacing the video card is not a difficult process. Getting the right video card to install could be the more difficult problem.

When you go to the store or look online for a new graphics card there are some things you will need to know about your computer. What motherboard you have installed is one of these things, if you are using an older computer, your motherboard may not have the connections for the newer video cards.

While it would be nice to just order the newest card that everyone is talking about on the game you play online, if it doesn’t have a place to connect it to the motherboard it isn’t going to do you much good. A good rule of thumb is to find out what kind of video card you presently have installed and then try to find one with more built in memory, or better speed, or both.

You can find out what video card you have installed by clicking on My Computer, Properties, and then Device Manager, this should bring up a list of the hardware on your computer. Write down the information about your video card and then go shopping. When you have the new video card, repeat the above steps and at Device Manager go on to Display Adapters, you will need to select your video card from the list and Remove it. Now you are ready to shut down the computer and install the new video card.

Unplug all power sources from your computer and open up the case. You may have to unplug the peripherals from the back of the case if you need to move it so that you have room to work on it. When you have the case open, find your video card, there will probably be one screw holding it in place that you will have to remove, as well as a cable or connector. Remove the old card, and attached the cable to your new card. Carefully insert the new card into the slot.

It can sometimes be a bit difficult to get the new video card in, make sure that it is aligned with the notches in the mounting slot, and then press it gently in place. Be very careful with this as trying to force the card into the slot can damage the connections and result in having to buy another new card. When the card is installed and the holding screw is back in place, close up your case. Reattach the peripherals that you had to disconnect and power up your computer. You will need to load the drivers from the disc that came with the new video card. Then you should be ready to play!

How to Install Speakers for Your Computer

This may seem to be a process that is so simple that it needs no explanation, but if you have never done it, even simple things can appear to be complicated. The first thing you need to do is decide on the speaker system that you want. This largely depends on what you want to listen to.

If you listen to a lot of music on your computer and want it to sound like it does when it’s played live in the club then you may want to consider a surround sound system. This is great if you live alone or have a sound proof computer room. It may be a little too much of a good thing though if you share your house with others.

You can find some nice speakers that will produce good sound with only two speaker systems though. This is the most common set up for computer speakers so you may find that this option allows you a wider variety of brands to choose from. Some sets come with just the speakers and some also include a sub woofer that acts as the main power supply for the speakers.

If you are still producing more sound than other people in the house appreciate you could always decide to go with a headphone set. This option allows you to listen to your music at the level you enjoy, but others in the house do not have to listen with you. Many people who play online games use a combination of head phones and microphone together to allow them to talk to the other people that are gaming with them.

Once you have made the decision on the best speaker system to fit your needs, it is very easy to install them. If you went with a two speaker set, which is the one most people use with their computers, then you will have a right and left speaker and possibly a sub woofer. One speaker will usually have the volume control knob on it. On mine this is on the right hand speaker, which is handy because I am right handed. You may be able to find a set with the controls on the left speaker if you are left handed.

On the back of the speaker will be a cord coming out and on one there will also be a jack or a spot to plug a cord in. Some sets allow the speakers to be interconnected and some just have both hook up directly to the sub woofer. Plug the cord from the sub woofer into the outgoing jack on the back of your tower. This jack will be down by the area where your sound card is installed. Then plug in the power cord which is usually attached to the sub woofer. Turn on the computer. You may need to load a driver disc if one came with your speaker system, if not then you should be all set.

Adding a DVD drive to Your Computer

We all enjoy being able to watch our favorite shows. Why not make sure that you can watch them from your computer if you want to. Installing a DVD drive allows you the freedom to do this. It might be a good idea to get one that records DVD’s as well, no sense doing this over again in a few months.

Before you buy the DVD drive, make sure that your computer can run one. If you are using a new computer it may already have a DVD drive in it. If not they are easy to install. You do need to make sure that you have the space for one though.

Your computer needs to have at least 32 MB of ROM; it should also have at least a Pentium II processor. You will need at least that much storage space and speed to run the DVD drive. Other than that all you need is an open 5 ¼ bay to install the drive in. If you are getting close to maxing out your hard drive you may want to consider upgrading it as well.

Once you verify that you have the speed and storage for a DVD drive, and a space to put it in. You need to check your sound and video cards and your speakers to be sure that they can run the DVD drive. Then it is just a matter of finding a DVD drive that is compatible with your sound and video cards.

If you cannot find the sound card and video card information to check for compatibility, you may want to check into a DVD upgrade kit. These are a little more expensive but they do contain everything you need to do the upgrade, including step-by-step instructions on how to install it.
You found the DVD drive that will work with your computer and you are ready to install it. First you need to shut down your computer, unplug the power cord. If it is somewhere hard to get to, you may have to unhook all the peripherals from the back of the tower and move it out in the open. Next you open up the tower case. Ground yourself by touching the metal frame of the tower to remove any static buildup.

While you have it open it’s a good time to clean out the dust that has built up inside the case, this can be done using a can of compressed air. It’s a good idea to keep a can around it works great to clean out your keyboard too.

Then it’s just a matter of connecting cables and fitting the DVD drive into the empty bay and securing it. When you have everything hooked back up and power up your computer you should get a message that new hardware has been found. At this point you will probably need to load the disc that came with your new DVD driver to load the drivers it needs.

Hard Drive Installation

First you need to find out what kind of hard drive is compatible with your mother board. Otherwise, you will have an expensive hard drive sitting on your desk that is totally unusable. So, before you order that knew hard drive with all that extra space that you are craving, check out your computer specifications to find out what model of mother board you have installed and then go shopping for your hard drive.

If you are like most people these days you will probably be shopping online for your new hard drive. There are many great suppliers, just make sure that the hard drive you choose is compatible with the mother board that is already installed. You should be able to find this information in the specification section of the part description. If it does not tell you what systems the hard drive is compatible with, contact the supplier and ask them or find a hard drive that does give you this information. It is much easier to ask than order it and have to return it later.

If you are going to be replacing the hard drive in a new computer then you are probably going to be looking for a SATA drive. These are much easier to install that the older IDE drives. You also need to decide if you are just replacing the current hard drive or adding a second hard drive to your system. Adding a second hard drive can be a bit more complicated than just replacing the one that came with the computer.

These are just some of the decisions you need to make before starting to install a new hard drive in your computer. We will assume you have made these choices and have your hard drive ready to go in the computer.

The first things you need to do are power down your computer and disconnect everything from the back of your tower. This makes it easier to pull the tower out and open it up. Make sure you are grounded to avoid static while working on the computer. If you are replacing the current hard drive with the new one then you will have to begin by removing the old one. The hard drive is normally located under the CD/DVD drives in your computer tower. Pay attention to how the connections are made on your current hard drive before removing it. This will make it easier to replace them on the new hard drive.

Remove the cables first before unscrewing the current hard drive from the case, sometimes the cables are difficult to remove, having the hard drive still secured makes it easier to remove the cables without damaging them. Then unscrew the current hard drive and hook the cables up to the new hard drive, if they do not fit try turning them over and retrying them. Then simply slide the new hard drive into the slot and secure it with the old screws. Close up the tower and reattach all the connections to the back and power up.

Installing Memory in your Computer

Installing more memory in your computer is one of the easiest ways to improve the performance and speed of your computer. However, it is important to buy the right type of memory. There are several computer brands on the market so it is not surprising that there are several brands of memory. Even within a given brand there are things to watch out for.

If your computer was manufactured before 2002 then you may have an older style of memory module in it. Most computers built after 2002 have DDR or DDR2 memory modules in them. If you still have your owners’s manual for the computer check in it and see what type of memory is installed

.

Computers are individuals when it comes to replacing memory, there is no one-size-fits-all involved. The first thing you need to do is find out what kind of memory your computer can run. Computers can be limited to certain amounts, speeds, and manufacturers. If you buy the wrong kind of memory module it will not work in your computer.

Your computer manual should tell you what type and size of memory you already have installed. If you no longer have the computer Manual then you can turn off the power and open the tower to look at the memory module already there. Before touching anything inside the tower of your computer, first touch the metal frame to disperse any static. Remove the clips on the memory if there are any, and then gently press the tabs on both end of the memory module to release it. Do not touch the connectors’ across the bottom of the module.

Carefully lift the module out and there should be a label on it telling you what kind of memory it is and the amount and speed. While you have the tower open check for dust and blow it out with canned air. The label should read something like 128MB PC 3200 400MGz DIMM it may not say exactly that but it should be similar. While you have the tower open check and see how many slots you have for memory modules. These would be slots just like the one you removed the memory from. Normally they will be right next to each other. Write down what is on the label then gently replace it in the slot, making sure that the small bump in the bottom of the memory slot lines up with the groove in the memory module. As you press down gently on both sides the tabs should click back into place, and then just replace the clips and power back up.

You now have the information you need to order more memory and you know how to install it. You can either order the new memory module online or at your local computer store. Keep in mind that if you have two slots for memory and want to go from 128MB to 256MB then you need to order one 128MB module.

Troubleshooting a Computer Virus – Important Things to Know

One of the biggest problems that can happen with your computer is to get infected with a virus. This is such a troubling hassle which can destroy your files and eventually make your computer system crash. Not all viruses, spywares or malwares are that destructive though, as some of them can just be really irritating. One example is window pop-ups that continuously show on your screen. Most of them advertise adult products or sometimes cause your computer to freeze and hang. This is one of the most common symptoms that demonstrate a virus infection on your computer.


Viruses are commonly found in unknown websites, emails from strange recipients and infected flash drives. The sad thing is even social networking websites like Facebook and MySpace can also be infected because of hackers. A good example is koobface.  This is a virus program found in Facebook and was created by hackers to get your credit card details and other important information. It would usually contain titles and words that encourage you to click the link. Examples are “you look funny in this new video “or “you look just awesome in this new video”. After clicking on the video it will ask you to download the updated version of Adobe Flash Player. And if you do, the virus will attack your computer system.
A common solution is to do a system restore, which removes the viruses from the computer. This will lead to clearing the hard disc drive, which means all your important data and files will be erased from the hard disc drive. It is much like re-installing the whole operating system of your computer and you have to go through the hassle of re-installing everything again. It is also a very time-consuming method, one that would last for hours and hours. This should be your last resort as there are still other simpler options that you can do.
There are basically two ways to remove a virus on a computer, manually or automatically. Automatic virus removal typically uses anti-virus software to detect and remove the virus infections. Manual virus removal is more commonly uses by computer experts and technicians. They will check all data information one by one to locate and delete the virus. Viruses can also come with a newly-installed application. If this is the case, try to uninstall the program or recent update that has been made to the computer.
Ways to have better protection on your computer are always available. Make sure that you keep your anti-virus program updated for better security. Some of the most popular security software being used today are Norton 360, McAfee Security Scan, Bit Defender and AVG. Do not download any file or attachment from people you don’t know, especially from those unreliable websites. Try also to optimize your web browsers by clearing the cache and cookies. If the virus is really resilient, contact a computer technician for further assistance. Remember to backup any and all important files before executing any troubleshooting steps.