Monthly Archives: September 2012

HELP!! I JUST LOST ALL MY FILES :”(

Ever had the roller coaster experience of trying to recover your pictures, mp3 and files after they have been infected by virus. We have been talking about backing up your files for the past two weeks. Backing up of your files isn’t limited to your computer. You can also back up files of your phone. Nowadays, with the introduction of Smart phones (the likes of blackberry, IPhones etc.), you can use your phone as a removable device (in other words a flash drive).

I am sure you all know that. Let me give examples where this feature can come in handy, you visit a friend of yours that has a particular movie  you wish to collect, all you have to do is plug in the usb cable to your phone and you collect it. That is of course, after you must have asked how big the file is. The commonest one is when you need to print a document and we don’t have a flash, we go to a café and get it printed from our phones.  It’s quite easy yes?  Though it has its disadvantages.  First of all, you can lose all files if it gets infected with virus.

Let’s talk about this for now. I have heard people say “My pictures and music are gone” or “virus has deleted my files”. As usual, let me give an example, a real life experience (this time it wasn’t me).

My friend came over to see me, he was preparing to write a job test the next day but he had to print out his pass. He didn’t have a flash on him. I asked him how he was going to print it. He said he will use his blackberry with the USB cable. I was skeptical about the whole idea; I asked him what if the system he will plug his phone to had a virus. He said he will scan it with an anti-virus, nothing spoil. I was left with no choice but to follow him.

When we got there, while my friend was busy trying to print his pass, I myself was trying to get busy as well (saw a pretty lady and started chatting her up). It was smooth sailing till my friend came around saying “My pictures and music are gone”. I started laughing, told him I will try and get it fixed when we get home”. I turned to continue the conversation, only to find out that the babe don go  L . We left the place (my friend not knowing that he had blocked P). Anyways when we got home, I had a look at the phone. It was showing 0 songs in music and 0 pictures. I decided to check the media setting to check the memory.  I found out that it was seeing the files but it wasn’t displaying them. I connected it to my system and immediately my antivirus detected and deleted virus. I decided to do a full scan on the removable device. A few more viruses were found and deleted. We thought that was going to be the end of the story. I ejected the blackberry from my system to check whether the files where back. They weren’t. I reconnected it back to the system and opened it only to discover that the files were changed to .exe format. In layman term, if I double clicked on it, I will be installing virus. This wasn’t my first time dealing with virus. I suspected that the virus had hidden the original files and created a duplicate in its place. I decided to “unhide” them. I opened my computer, I went to organize. Under the organize tab I went to folder and search option.

I navigated to the view tab

I selected it to show hidden files and I unchecked the option “hide protected operating system” and voila I could see the files. I did a victory dance. I immediately deleted the ones that were .exe and I ejected the blackberry once more. I tried checking whether the files were showing.  To my greatest disappointment, nothing. My friend was already laughing at me saying I thought you did your victory dance. He was about heading home. He said maybe some other time. I told him I must solve it today. I could remember that I have faced this problem before. I opened command prompt.

 

The blackberry was in drive j. so I did

After which I inputted this code.(make sure you don’t make a mistake).

J:\>attrib –h –r –s /s /d j:\**

This time around, it just had to work. I am pretty sure you guys saw the stress to get it back. The other option is that you don’t use it at all or if you must. Make sure you backup your files. Cheers.

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S.O.S(Save Our Systems)

I am pretty sure many of you must have had thoughts about smashing your system or throwing it out of the window whenever it was painfully slow or when it hung in the middle of something important like an assignment or you are simply trying to set P. I can say for a fact that some of us have even gone as far as actually carrying out these thoughts. Hey it is ok. We are humans so it is bound to happen. Finding ways to increase the speed of your computer is the most important thing you can do as a computer user.

Before we go on, I have to tell you the truth. It is your fault that your computer is slow because you do not perform computer maintenance on it. It is your duty to speed up your computer and make it run at its optimal performance. Don’t go blaming the computer because it is slow. The reason for most slow computers has nothing to do with your CPU speed as popularly believed instead it has everything to do with junk files you keep on your computer and the lack of organization. Let us see how we can help make your computer run faster.

TIPS ON HOW TO IMPROVE THE SPEED OF YOUR COMPUTER

USE AN EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE FOR BACKUP

Nowadays there is no excuse for not backing up your files!  In our last post, we tried to see the importance of backing up your system. You can  buy a portable USB flash drive of 4GB for about N2,500 or so or a 500GB external HDD from N15000. Both these portable devices are simple to connect to the computer via a USB plug. Once connected, you will find the device if you go to your start menu and then click on computer. For systems still running XP, it will be called my computer.

Use these devices to store all of your files on, leaving your computer clean and free to work on.

UPGRADE YOUR RAM

When you buy a new computer nowadays it should come with at least 3 GB of memory installed. This should be okay for a year or two; after which you will eventually need to upgrade your memory.

People are using old computers to do new things that those computers were not made for. Upgrading your computer memory and increasing your hard drive size can help speed up an old computer.

When upgrading your computer memory in order to speed up your computer, you have two options, to do it yourself or get someone else to do it for you. If you have no clue, I would suggest you take it to a professional for the upgrade.

 

ERASE UNWANTED FILES

When I say to delete unwanted files, I do not mean you should go around your computer and start a deleting spree and remove any file you do not want. In this case, I am talking about the files that you have created yourself, and are totally aware of what they are. For example if you created a Microsoft excel document and you no longer need it, and never will, then you must ask yourself this “why still keep it’’?

This is the kind of junk that fills up your computer. Files that you have created such as documents and image files can be safely deleted by selecting  the file on your computer, right clicking on it, and choosing delete from the menu or just hitting the delete button after selecting.

AVOID DOING MANY THINGS AT THE SAME TIME

If you’re like me, you will have 10 Windows open at the same time, with your Internet browser having at least 12 tabs opened as well. Yes I know it is crazy and I’m trying to change. I have realized that some programs cannot be open at the same time as others. For example you should not be running a large program like Photoshop or Dreamweaver, while running a virus scan at the same time. We all know what the right thing to do is, but we just can’t help ourselves.

DELETE HIDDEN JUNK FILES

Hidden or temporary files are created without the user knowing. All you have to do is open files, browse the Internet (most popular), install programs, and more files are created in the background. There is so much happening in the background that most people are unaware of and do not know that this area exists. This is something you are going to have to learn about if you want to speed up your computer.

DISK CLEANUP

Disk Clean Up will get rid of the rest of the junk files that you have missed.

For systems running with windows 7, you can perform a disk clean up by going to start menu>control panel >system and security (if you cannot find it, change the ‘’view by’’ to category)> administrative tools>freedisk space.

Go to start menu>accessories>system tools>disk cleanup. You can see more information about this system tool on my computer maintenance checklist for systems running with XP.

UNINSTALL UNWANTED PROGRAMS

Are you one of those people that constantly download and install programs onto your computer? Every software program you have on your computer takes up space. It is not only taking up space, but it might also be checking for updates and connecting to the Internet. It also might be starting up when your computer starts up. There are so many good reasons why you should remove unwanted programs.

After you have removed the software program that you did not want, make sure you restart your computer to complete the process.

DEFRAG YOUR HARD DRIVE

First of all, let us talk about the meaning of fragmentation.  It occurs when storage space is used inefficiently there by reducing capacity and performance. It often leads to space being wasted as its term also means wasted space.

When you install programs and save files on your computer, the files are automatically saved to the closest available space on your hard drive. This means that files for your programs are fragmented if your hard disk drive is not organized correctly. This is why we need to de-frag our computer to place the files back together and to place the most frequently used files at the front for easy access.

You should defrag your computer at least once a week if you use your computer often. If you do not use your computer that often, then you can defrag less often.

For systems running with windows 7, you can defragment your disk drive by going to start menu>control panel >system and security (if you cannot find it, change the ‘’view by’’ to category)> administrative tools>defragment your hard drive. If you are still using xp, the Windows disk defragmenter is located at start menu>accessories>system tools>disk defragmenter, you can choose to “analyze” first before you choose defrag. This feature will tell you if you need to perform this task or not.

PAY FOR AN ANTI VIRUS PROGRAM!

Don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with a free anti-virus program. In fact I will recommend Avast as my number one freebie. However, even though this can secure your system, it is safer to have the extra security features that come with the paid versions. Nowadays most new antivirus also comes with a firewall that if they do not, Windows provides a perfectly good firewall for free.

If you do not have an anti virus program installed you are risking everything. Is that really worth the trouble?

UPDATE YOUR APPLICATIONS AND PROGRAMS REGULARLY

Every program on your computer must be updated regularly. If you do not do this, you will have problems, guaranteed! Even Windows itself needs updating, along with any other applications and games, and even hidden device driver software.

To see if your device drivers are performing properly you can go to the Control Panel, click on system, advanced settings, and then you will find device manager under the hardware tab.

I use a program called Driver detector. Most computers need a program like this because having outdated driver software on your computer can disastrous. Having the wrong driver software on your computer can cause black screens, blue screens, and total computer crashes.

To find out if Windows needs updating, simply go to your start menu and type in the search section, “Windows update”.

DISABLE UNNECESSARY START UP PROGRAMS

When you boot into your computer it is not only the Windows operating system that is starting, as most people have many other programs starting at the same time. To speed up this process you need to disable startup programs.

To do this, go to the run menu by holding down the windows key and pressing the ‘’R’’ key. After which type ‘’msconfig’’. Click the start up tab and deselect the programs that do not need to start up with the system, for example yahoo messenger and ITunes.

A great way to speed up your computer is not to overwork it in the first place. For example most people have five or six programs open at the same time and they really aren’t using all of them. Close down programs you are not using.

USING THE RIGHT POWER OPTION (LAPTOPS)

Although all of these tips above can speed up your laptop, this one applies to laptops only.

All laptops built in the last 5-8 years make their batteries last longer by slowing down the computer processor when you don’t seem to be using all of it. Although this works great to prolong battery life, it means that your laptop runs slower when it runs off battery.

To switch your laptop back into normal mode, all you have to do is plug in your laptop and the computer processor will run at full power, giving you 100% of the speed you expected when you bought the laptop.

I believe I have done my good deed for the day. The rest is up to you to do. Cheers

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Preparing for that Disaster

I am not talking about the end of the world here, so you can relax. I am referring to the disaster that affects the IT world like when your system “crashes’’. A system will crash for either of these two reasons if not both. First of all, as a result of the Operating system becoming corrupt or the hard disk drive getting bad. Both can happen as a result of improper or forceful shut down of your system either by you or the system (when you have a bad battery). The corrupt OS can be solved either by repairing the OS or Installing a new OS (format) while for the Hard disk drive; sadly the only logical thing to do is to replace it.
I know a lot of you will be saying you can back up your files, yes you are right. You can back up, problem solved. But then again ask yourself, what happens when your back up fails or gets missing. A lot of you will be saying that’s not possible. Let me tell you a real life experience and to let you know it can happen. I have this system, the battery is bad (I have been looking to replace it, I am serious x_x). Anyways, like you know the light situation isn’t perfect, anytime the light goes, few minutes later my laptop goes off. This was happening a lot, anyhow I will just put it on whenever they brought the light; till one faithful day I put on my system and it was started up, gave it to my friend, I think he was trying to copy something from his external hard drive to my system, during the process of copying, my system froze for about 30 minutes, anyways I pressed the power button to shut it down. When I tried putting it on, a message came up that windows could not start up. I tried to do the start up repair, took 48 hours and it couldn’t be solved, PHCN decided to put me out of my misery by taking light(my battery still bad) When they brought the light, my system refused to come on. I mean it just didn’t come on. Something told me to try bending it on its side. I know it sounds crazy but I was desperate. I bent it and you would believe it came on. I took a picture so u guys will see I am not lying.

 

 

When the system came on, I had to reinstall the old OS. I didn’t mind at least it came on. I already had back up my files on my external hard disk, on a flash drive and on my friend’s system. I was extremely thorough. Anyways my system was taking a long time to reinstall the OS. I am not talking about hours here, talking about days. I am pretty sure you know what happened next, PHCN struck. I was becoming fed up with it but I had no one to blame except myself. I turned it on and had to do the same process over again and it even had to do a check disk on the hard drive. It was taking days again, I have already lost over a week’s worth of work. PHCN finally put the dagger in the heart. They struck and that was the end of the hard drive. You are asking how did I know? I was suspecting that the hard drive might be the cause so I opened the system and kept it one of those hard drive casing with USB and tried repairing it from another system. It told me that my HD was unreadable, that it couldnt define the volume and so many other things. I was resolved to getting a new HD. I had my back up so I didn’t care. All of a sudden, my external HD started messing up, I couldn’t copy things from it and copy to it, did a lot of repairs till one day it didn’t come on. I tried opening it on another OS (Linux). For those that don’t know. There are times that windows would or can not open some flash drives or HD but other OS will be able. Anyways, it wasn’t showing on Linux. That was the end of the external HD. I started looking for my flash, and lo and behold it was missing. Apparently one of my friends “borrowed’’ it without asking. I asked him about my files, he said when he put the flash drive inside the USB port, that he got a message that prompted him to format and he did. I thought I was dreaming. I just went to bed immediately. Woke up the next day to find out that I wasn’t dreaming. I was becoming desperate, I called my friend that I backed up my files asking him how far, he gave me the final blow. He too had to replace his HD. I gave up. I lost over 450 GB worth of setups, documents, songs. Everything you could possibly think of. I had no choice but to start everything all over again. But I learnt my lesson and learnt other ways that I should have done and some other processes I skipped. I felt I should share with you.
ALWAYS SET A SYSTEM RESTORE POINT
Computers cant give you 100 percent efficiency, the best it can do is 99.999%. So you should be wary. By setting a system restore point, you can always set your system to the last time your computer was in a good condition. In case your system all of a sudden develops a fault.
BACK UP YOUR FILES
Always try to back up your files weekly or monthly or when you make important changes. You can never over back up your files. I have learnt additional ways apart from the conventional ones. First, put your files in a folder and zip it. After which send an email to yourself. So in case you need it, you can go to your inbox and download it from there (provided you don’t delete your box) and the next one is sky drive (which we will discuss much later). Finally, Google allows you to back up your files online. (Thank you Google).

ENSURE YOUR COMPUTER IS WORKING OPTIMALLY
Try not to go over a month without shutting down your system. Most of us are guilty of putting the system to sleep or hibernating or simply just closing the system. Make sure you do routine checks for example de-fragmentation, disk clean up and ensure your anti-virus is up to date.

I am sure you guys were expecting that since I told you about the different types of disasters, I should at least tell you how you can prevent them. Sadly the best you can do is detect them and react to them. You just have to pray that you are lucky.

Thanks for the reading.

 

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Operating Systems (OS)

Top of the morning to everyone, first of all we will like to apologise to our readers for not releasing a post last weekend. Now,I guess that’s out of the way(please 😉 ) I guess we can move on to what we have for you today.

In this post, we will be discussing about Operating Systems, in short OS. I can hear lot of groans,like “we are not in school’’ or “this is not a lecture room’’or “I hope this is not another boring lecture’’. I can guarantee you after reading this, you will not have any complaints(I hope x_x).

First of all, what is an Operating System? In Computer Science, it is simply the basic software that controls a computer. It has three major functions:

-It tells computer hardware, such as computer memory, printers, disks, keyboard, mouse, and monitor what to do, how to do it and when to do it.
-It organizes files on a variety of storage media, such as floppy disk, hard drive, compact disc, digital video disc, and tape.
-It manages hardware errors and the loss of data.

Operating systems control different computer processes e.g. running a spreadsheet program like excel or accessing information from a computer’s memory. One very important function is interpreting commands, enabling the user to communicate with the computer.

Operating systems are of two categories: single-tasking and multitasking. The more primitive single-tasking operating systems could run only one process at a time. Take for example, when the computer is printing a document, it cannot start another process or respond to new commands until the printing is completed. (You can just imagine). Fortunately, advances in technology has changed that, all modern operating systems are multitasking and can run several processes simultaneously i.e. you can be preparing a document, copying files and at the same time be playing music on your computer.

I hope you are getting the picture. I am sure if asked to mention a type of OS, many will quickly respond saying: Microsoft Windows. True, it is, but there are others which are uncommon to a lot of people, especially in this part of the world, namely: UNIX, Macintosh (Mac), OS/2 etc.

In this post however, we will be focusing on just 3 types, namely: Microsoft Windows, Macintosh (Mac) and Linux.

Find below a brief history, applications and flaws about this operating systems

In the year 1969, at AT&T Bell Laboratories, UNIX was invented. It is a popular operating system among academic computer users. Its popularity rose due to the growth of the Internet. The Software for the Internet was initially designed for computers that ran UNIX.

Variations of UNIX include:

-SunOS (distributed by SUN Microsystems, Inc.),
-Xenix (distributed by Microsoft Corporation),
-Linux (available for download free of charge. and distributed commercially by companies such as Red Hat, Inc.).

UNIX and its clones support multitasking and multiple users. It consists of a file system that provides a simple means of organizing disk files and lets users control access to their files.

Another plus to this OS is the fact that it is really secure, and less prone to hacking, and it allows low level communication with the hardware, making it the geek’s preference. On the other hand the commands in UNIX are not readily apparent, however, and mastering the system is difficult. Although UNIX is popular for professionals, it is not the operating system of choice for the general public.

In 1984, the Operating system Macintosh was developed by Apple Computer, Inc.; it pioneered the use of a graphical interface which made the computer easy to operate for the novice user.
Mac OS can be divided into two families:

-The Mac OS Classic family, which was based on Apple’s own code
-The OS X operating system, developed from Mac OS Classic family

Apple is known for hiring the best industrial and interface designers around, and it shows in the intuitive nature of the GUI, if you have used an iPhone, iPad or iPod you will understand what I mean. Mac OS is a two-layered system, the attractive GUI sits atop a UNIX core. It’s simply impossible to install a destructive Trojan or virus unless the user explicitly allows it root access via typing in the admin password. On the other hand, all that flashy secure reliable power comes at a price. Macs cost more than machines that run other operating systems. Highly specialized software can be difficult to source for Mac OS, such as industry-specific applications. If you’re a computer gamer, Mac OS isn’t going to do it for you. Boot Camp and Parallels will allow you to run games natively in Windows, but there may be a performance hit. Some games are produced for Mac OS, but the number is very small.

In 1985, the Windows operating system was manufactured by Microsoft Corporation, providing users with a graphical user interface (GUI), which allows them to manipulate small pictures, called icons, on the computer screen to issue commands. Windows is the most widely used operating system in the world. It is an extension of and replacement for Microsoft’s Disk Operating System (MS-DOS). In Windows, the user can move a cursor around on the computer screen with a mouse. By pointing the cursor at icons and clicking buttons on the mouse, the user can issue commands to the computer to perform an action, such as starting a program, accessing or copying a data file.
Variants include: Windows- NT, 95, 98, 2000, XP, Vista, Windows 7 etc.

It is highly user friendly, and its software compatibility is high, making it the business man, gamer, and novice’s choice. On the other hand, it has the disadvantage of requiring more hardware—such as faster CPUs, more memory, and higher-quality monitors—than do command-oriented operating systems, and it is not the best when it comes to core security.

Future Innovations

Operating systems will continue to evolve. A recently developed type of OS called a Distributed OS is designed for a connected, but independent, collection of computers that share resources such as hard drives. In a distributed OS, a process can run on any computer in the network (presumably a computer that is idle) to increase that process’s performance.
Who knows what next is brewing in the labs in the world of OS, all we can do is wait and see.

Thank you for reading this post and God bless.

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