Driver Hunting

Ok, let’s say you just finished wiping a computer, but something’s not right.  The display is a little odd or it won’t play audio…perhaps it won’t connect to the internet.  You go to the device manager and see one or more little yellow exclamation marks of doom.

No problem, right?  You just go to the manufacture’s website and download them, right?  If you have a lot of experience wiping a computer, you know that the manufacture’s list of drivers often does not have everything you need.  And thus, many times most of the hours of work that goes into a computer are spent searching for drivers.  Well, I have come across a couple of sites that should help you find the drivers you so desperately need.  But first, you are going to need the device and vendor numbers of the problem device.

Goth Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > System Information

Once you get there, go to the topic tree on the right and select Components > Problem Devices.

There you should see a list of missing drivers next to big numbers like this

pci\ven_14e4&dev_4211&subsys_ab0513d1

From this you can get the device number and vendor number.  The four digit number following “Ven_” is the vendor number (14e4 in this case) and the four digit number following “Dev_” is the device number (4211 in this case).

Now goto http://www.pcidatabase.com/

Enter the vendor number in the space provided.  It should show you the name of the vendor, click on it to continue.  Now use Ctr+F to search for the vendor number.  Hopefully you should see information on the device along with the download location.

Note:  Sometimes you may find the driver, sometimes you may find a clue that will lead you to the driver, and sometimes you will find nothing at all.  This is an incomplete user-edited database, so its not perfect.  Feel free to update PCI Database when you find a driver that its missing.

Hopefully it worked.  But if not there is another site.

http://netbump.com/hadiV2/

Type in the number and it should give you a large list of possible.  Sometimes you just have to randomly try drivers until you find one that works.

Well, until next time, good luck and happy hunting!

Defragmenting a Hard Drive (Vista)

One of the most important ways you can keep your computer running like it should is to make sure you defragment your hard drive regularly.  In this article, I shall explain how to defragment a computer running Windows Vista.

[Note: For an explanation of what defragmenting is, please read my article entitled “Computers made simple: What does defragment mean and is it important?“]

Goto My Computer and right click on your hard drive (usually C:)  Select Properties

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When the properties list opens, click on the “tools” tab at the top of the window.

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Now click on the button that says “Defragment Now…”

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At this point you can set the computer to automatically defragment in the background on a schedule here.  Simply make sure that “Run on a schedule” is checked and then click modify schedule.

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Now pick a time and day of the week that is convenient for you and press ok.

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Now press “defragment now…”

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Select the Drives you want to defragment.  (probably all of them, but at least C:) and hit Ok.

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Now all you have to do is wait for it to finish!  It should run in the background now.

(see also Defragmenting a Hard Drive in XP )

Windows 7-Introduction

windows7Since the days of DOS, Microsoft has come a long way with the development of Windows. In the long line of Operating Systems, Windows 7 is the newest installment and while it does not differ much from Vista, it is in some ways considered the true successor to Windows XP. XP has proven itself as one of the best Windows Operating Systems Microsoft has released and it is only fitting that it is replaced by a worthy upgrade but that upgrade has been very difficult for Microsoft.

Microsoft would develop Windows Vista as the successor for XP but Vista would go on to receive poor receptions and even poorer sales due to flaws and a greater demand for more powerful hardware. This would lead many to question the need to upgrade when XP could still handle the job just as well or even better than Vista. Windows 7 is Microsoft’s answer to Vista’s problems. 7 is more or less a service pack in the guise of a new OS. The release candidates have so far shown the major fixes and upgrades that Microsoft had implemented into the new OS along with the improved performance that rivals XP.

In the next few weeks I will be posting reviews that cover the different aspects of Windows 7 compared to XP and Vista so keep a lookout.

Defragmenting a hard drive (XP)

One of the most important ways you can keep your computer running like it should is to make sure you defragment your hard drive regularly.  In this article, I shall explain how to defragment a computer running Windows XP.

[Note: For an explanation of what defragmenting is, please read my article entitled “Computers made simple: What does defragment mean and is it important?“]

Goto My Computer and right click on your hard drive (usually C:)  Select Properties

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When the properties list opens, click on the “tools” tab at the top of the window.

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Now click on the button that says “Defragment Now…”

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When the disk defragmenter opens, make sure that the right harddrive is selected.  (if there is more than one option)  Then select “Analyze”

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After analyzing the hard drive, disk defragmenter opens a window that tells you if your harddrive needs to be defragmented.  If it does, select Defragment.

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While it defragments you will notice two colored bars.  The top one represents estimated disk usage before defragmentation.

The blue areas represent contiguius files (files that are not fragmented), the red areas represent fragmented files, the green areas represent unmovable files, and the white areas represent free space.

The second bar is labeled “Estimated disk usage after defragmentation” though this is misleading. It has been my experience that this is closer to an estimate of what the drive is currently like.

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Now all you have to do is wait for it to finish!

Well, now you know how to defragment your Windows XP computer!

(see also Defragmenting a Hard Drive in Vista )

Computers made simple: What does defragment mean and is it important?

One of the things I always stress to computer users is to make sure they keep their hard drive defragmented  (defrag).  I can’t tell you how often it it is cause of a slow computer.  Unfortunately, the average PC user seems to have never heard of defragmenting.

In this post, I shall explain (and simplify) what defragmentation is and why it is so crucial.

Lets start out with an imaginary (and very simplified) hard drive.  It contains 12 blocks of space with which to store programs.  It currently contains files 1 and 2, each taking up 3 blocks.

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But lets say we delete file 1

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Next we add a new file (3), this one is much bigger than file 1, it is 6 blocks long.  Notice, that in order to make room, it splits into 2 parts.  This is called a fragmented file.  It takes the computer much longer to find the 2 separate parts than to find a file that is in one piece.

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But what if we take this a step farther and delete file 2.

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Now we add another file (4).  This one is also 6 blocks long.  See, now both files are fragmented and the computer is running much slower….we should defrag…

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There, the pieces have been moved around, and the computer can find the files much faster.

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Now imagine the same thing, only with thousands of files covering millions of blocks, many of them broken into far more than 2 pieces.  See why deframenting your computer is so important?

See Also:  Defragmenting a Hard Dirve (XP)

Creating and Installing New Ringtones on the iPhone

Customization and personalization has become a huge part of personal computers and the web. It makes sense that cellphones should offer up the abilities to do what the average person does on their computer such as surfing the web, playing games and running applications. Cellphones are now coming with all this functionality and are being followed by customizable features to almost anything a user wants to change. The iPhone is a perfect example of these changes taking place. It offers up many applications and games to the consumer allowing him or her to pick what is best for their needs. Many of these games and applications cost money, however some are created and distributed for free by the average iPhone user; ringtones are no different. Anyone can create a custom ringtone from the music they already own and without any cost. This tutorial covers exactly how to create and import a custom ringtone on to the iPhone.

PICKING THE MUSIC

The ringtone can be forty seconds long thus a selection of the music needs to be chosen. This can be done in iTunes. The first thing that needs to be done is to change iTunes import settings.

Go to Edit and select Preferences.

On the General tab, select Import Settings and click on the the top drop-down menu.

Select “AAC Encoder” then click ok and exit out of the Preferences window.

Find the music or audio that will be the new ringtone. If it is not already in iTunes then just import it or drag-and-drop the music file over iTunes music library.

Right-click on the music file and Click on Get Info. This will bring up a window with several tabs at the top.

Click on the Options tab. On this tab there will be two fields that say “Start Time” and “Stop Time.”

These fields determine where the music starts and stops playing. The selection can be up to forty seconds long. Determine the start time and stop time of the selection of music for the ringtone and enter the time into the two fields.

CONVERTING AND IMPORTING

The last step is to convert and import the selection of music and place it on the iPhone.

Right-click the song and click on “Create AAC Version.” This will create another copy of the song that is as long as the start and stop time recently specified.

iTunes itself will not convert the song to a ringtone, so instead iTunes needs to be tricked into importing it as a ringtone. This is done by copying-and-pasting the newly converted song to a folder on the hard-drive and changing the file extension.

Right-click the song that was just pasted and choose Rename.

Rename the extension of the song from “.m4a” to “.m4r” and then drag-and-drop the song into the ringtones section of iTunes.

Make sure to paste it into iTunes ringtone section and not the iPhone’s otherwise problems will crop up when trying to add multiple custom ringtones.

Once the ringtone has been imported into iTunes, drag it to the ringtones section of the Iphone.

The ringtone should now be installed on the Iphone.