Friday, May 27, 2011

Resolve Your Own Computer Problems

Taking Care Of Your Own Computer Problems

Your son/daughter needs to use the personal computer to explore a project for school the following day. You hear a profanity from the study or where the computer is situated. The personal computer won't start up up or won't turn on! Your only knowledge of the computer stops after checking your email. Does this sound familiar? If you're lucky there is a teenager who is computer savvy or you have this friend who is famil;iar with the computer.

Wouldn't you like to be able to solve this yourself and be a hero in this son/daughter's eyes? Maybe we can get you headed in this direction. I am accumulating a series of articles that could help educate you for this. It is not a matter of "IF" this will could occur but one of when it will occur. Murphy's Law states it will happen when you will be able to least afford for it to happen. I've been that individual with the savvy in my family since the computer showed up in the early 1980's. If it can happen, it has happened to me.

Common Personal Computer Problems Confronting the PC User

Computer troubles might seem vastly complicated at first sight. But most are comparatively simple to solve
. That doesn't mean they will be inexpensive if somebody else does the job.
Nevertheless, some tasks can be handled an average Joe or Jane
. With a scale of 1 to 10 (where 10 should be done by qualified technicians who wear fewer than three electronic gizmos on their belt), replacing computer memory is usually about a 4. Replacing a hard drive is more difficult (about 6 or 7), but still achievable. Replacement of a video card or internal modem is no more than a 2.

A word of caution: Static electricity could wipe out the circuitry inside your PC. Prior to you reaching for anything inside that box, ground yourself by contacting the metal computer frame. Do yourself a favor and buy a wrist grounding strap. They can be found at Best Buy for approximately $5.
Here are four of the most common PC problems you could fix by yourself.

You power up the computer and zip occurs.

It Will Not Power Up

No lights, no beeps, no fan noise. What is the first thing you do? Make sure the darn thing is plugged in! Even if you're absolutely certain that it is connected, double check.

Assuming that it is plugged in, you in all likelihood have a bad power supply. This is a metal unit housed in the top and rear of the computer. It is normally installed with four screws and with the power cable connected to it. It has a fan blowing air out the back for cooling purposes. If you don't feel air movement at the fan grill and your power is good, the power supply is bad.

A wiring harness leaves the power supply inside the computer. Several power connectors are attached to the ends of the wires. These plug into drives, fans and possibly other gizmos. The harness also will have connectors to the motherboard. It doesn't matter which wire connects where, as long as the connector fits.

The computer comes is, but nothing appears on your monitor.

In other words, Windows never appears. You may have a monitor problem. Try another known-good monitor on the computer and see if anything shows on the screen. If the second monitor works, the first one is bad. Monitors are not worth repairing. Just purchase a new one. Do not open the case of a monitor to fix it. The capacitors inside monitors store electricity. You might be injured or even killed.

If the screen is dark, it might be a video card problem. First, find the video card. This is a card that fits into a slot in the CPU board. The cable from the monitor connects to the VGA (video graphics adapter) interface, which sticks out through the rear of the computer. If the VGA port is part of the motherboard, the video is built-in. You can't fix that. Otherwise, it will be part of the video card.

Assuming there is a separate card, make sure it is securely seated. The front of the card can rise out of the slot inadvertently as the back end is fixed to the computer frame.

If you have another computer that is working properly, turn it off and remove the video card. Put the card that works in the problem computer. If the system works, you need to buy a new card. If you don't have a card to test your system, buy a cheap one. If it doesn't solve the problem, return it .

You could spend hundreds of dollars on a video card. But if you're running business applications and surfing the Web, buy on price. The expensive stuff is for serious gamers.

If you regularly get the "Blue Screen of Death," you may have a random access memory (RAM) problem. This is also referred to as BSOD.

Note the message on the blue screen, especially the numbers. Check it in Microsoft's Help and Support Knowledge Base. Also, put the text of the error message in a search engine such as Google, and check the Internet.


Monday, May 16, 2011

How to Solve a Slowing Computer Problem

If your computer is running slow, there are a few things that can be done to improved the speed. Learn what some of these things are so that you can hopefully get a faster running computer again.

Most of the time people using a computer over time will find that it starts to slow down a quite bit. This can be rather frustrating when you want to get something done and do not want to have to wait for the application to open or when moving from one window to another. There are some ways of helping your computer speed up a bit so that you won't have as slow of a machine.

The first thing that must be done is to make sure that your slow issues isn't really an internet connection issue. Sometimes people think their computer is being slow when in reality it's that their internet speed is slower which is an internet service provider issue and has nothing to do with your machine. If the applications on the machine are responsive but the internet is slow, call your internet service provider to see what the issue is.

If everything on the computer seems to be working fine but one specific program is lagging and causing you trouble, you may just need to install that application again. At times there are errors that need to be fixed which can be done when installing the application again from scratch.

Update and run your virus and malware software. You need these for protection. If you do not do this, you will always have huge computer problems. You must be responsible and keep these on, running, and updated to fight against software designed to slow down and even ruin your computer.

If you have not done this in awhile, be sure to defragment your hard drive. This will take some time the first time that you do it, but it is known to increase speeds of your machine especially when doing tasks that require the hard drive to perform properly. This can be done about once every week or two depending on how many changes you are making on your machine on a daily basis.

Lastly, if all else fails a reinstall of the computer will clean the hard drive and fresh install of the operating system will definitely speed up the computer. You will have to back up all your data from your hard drive before you attempt to wipe the hard drive and reinstall the operating system.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

How do I implement a firewall

We suggest you approach the task of implementing a firewall by going through the following steps:

0. Determine the access denial methodology to use.

It is recommended you begin with the methodology that denies all access by default. In other words, start with a gateway that routes no traffic and is effectively a brick wall with no doors in it.
1. Determine inbound access policy.

If all of your Internet traffic originates on the LAN this may be quite simple. A straightforward NAT router will block all inbound traffic that is not in response to requests originating from within the LAN. As previously mentioned, the true IP addresses of hosts behind the firewall are never revealed to the outside world, making intrusion extremely difficult. Indeed, local host IP addresses in this type of configuration are usually non-public addresses, making it impossible to route traffic to them from the Internet. Packets coming in from the Internet in response to requests from local hosts are addressed to dynamically allocated port numbers on the public side of the NAT router. These change rapidly making it difficult or impossible for an intruder to make assumptions about which port numbers to use.

If your requirements involve secure access to LAN based services from Internet based hosts, then you will need to determine the criteria to be used in deciding when a packet originating from the Internet may be allowed into the LAN. The stricter the criteria, the more secure your network will be. Ideally you will know which public IP addresses on the Internet may originate inbound traffic. By limiting inbound traffic to packets originating from these hosts, you decrease the likelihood of hostile intrusion. You may also want to limit inbound traffic to certain protocol sets such as ftp or http. All of these techniques can be achieved with packet filtering on a NAT router. If you cannot know the IP addresses that may originate inbound traffic, and you cannot use protocol filtering then you will need more a more complex rule based model and this will involve a stateful multilayer inspection firewall.
2. Determine outbound access policy.

If your users only need access to the web, a proxy server may give a high level of security with access granted selectively to appropriate users. As mentioned, however, this type of firewall requires manual configuration of each web browser on each machine. Outbound protocol filtering can also be transparently achieved with packet filtering and no sacrifice in security. If you are using a NAT router with no inbound mapping of traffic originating from the Internet, then you may allow LAN users to freely access all services on the Internet with no security compromise. Naturally, the risk of employees behaving irresponsibly with email or with external hosts is a management issue and must be dealt with as such.
3. Determine if dial-in or dial-out access is required.

Dial-in requires a secure remote access PPP server that should be placed outside the firewall. If dial-out access is required by certain users, individual dial-out computers must be made secure in such a way that hostile access to the LAN through the dial-out connection becomes impossible. The surest way to do this is to physically isolate the computer from the LAN. Alternatively, personal firewall software may be used to isolate the LAN network interface from the remote access interface.
4. Decide whether to buy a complete firewall product, have one implemented by a systems integrator or implement one yourself.

Once the above questions have been answered, it may be decided whether to buy a complete firewall product or to configure one from multipurpose routing or proxy software. This decision will depend as much on the availability of in-house expertise as on the complexity of the need. A satisfactory firewall may be built with little expertise if the requirements are straightforward. However, complex requirements will not necessarily entail recourse to external resources if the system administrator has sufficient grasp of the elements. Indeed, as the complexity of the security model increases, so does the need for in-house expertise and autonomy.