ASK THE PROS 2009 Memory, Water, and Credit Cards

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Howdy folks! Time’s flying and suggestions for Ask the Pros are still coming at a good pace. I’m taking as many as I can each Newsletter and I’ve even answered a few directly so remember, Ask The Pros is for those that don’t need an immediate answer. For immediate help I suggest our Help Forum . Our members are a warehouse of information and can’t wait to give you a hand. Who knows, you may end up helping someone else just by asking the question.

Q.Victorio says: I’m getting a message “Virtual memory too low”. What can I do about this?

A. In Windows XP right click My Computer and select Properties. Go to the Advanced tab and under Performance click Settings, then click the Advanced tab. There you will find the option to let Windows manage your virtual memory.

That is the setting I would choose, but if the warning continues, you can raise the setting to an amount that equals 1.5 times the amount of installed memory. Unless you have an extremely small amount of memory in your system, this message can be indicative of a buggy application with a memory leak. Use the PC Pitstop OverDrive scan to find the offending software. You might also consider adding more memory to your system as this will allow for more virtual memory.

Q. Peter hits on an important topic: “I want to donate my laptop. How do I clean and clear my hard drive? Thank You, PKJ”

A. For years I’ve been collecting computers and donating them to people and organizations that can use them. There’s nothing I’d rather tell you than, “reformat, reinstall, and do various things to clear your hard drive before giving your computer to someone really needing the system, but I just can’t do it. How many systems have I received from people that say their hard drive is clear and empty only to find that’s not the case? Way too many! There’s just too much opportunity to do it incorrectly or partially and the risk can be huge. My suggestion is to remove the hard drive from the system, then dismantle and destroy it. It’s not what I would like to suggest, but it’s what I do with my recycled systems. It costs a little but buy a completely new hard drive. The cost is nothing near what it could be if my credit card information got into the wrong hands. Never ever give your hard drive away. Remove it, dismantle it, and destroy it.

Q. Tony has a popular question: “Like many I am frustrated by the constant need to update software. I currently use XP and all my current software meets my needs entirely; however, I need to buy a new laptop and considered waiting until Windows 7 is available.
As 7 is a 64 bit will my software continue to work, in particular MS Office Pro 2000?”

A.Windows 7 will be available in 32 and 64 bit from what I can see. I personally used Windows 7 as my jumping point into 64 bit computing. So far, I’ve not found any problems with the software I’m using but of course there will be some apps that don’t keep pace with the changes. A good friend uses Windows 7 and Office 2000 and he reports no problems. My advice is to wait and get Windows 7. It’s going to be a winner and will be here sooner than originally scheduled. What the heck, if you have access to the Windows 7 beta give it a go and maybe set up a dual boot system.

Q. Kiri asks: “Hello, I have an Acer Aspire One w/ SSD. I am an idiot and spilled water on it. I let it dry out, but when turned on the screen only shows vertical stripes. Is .this computer done? Have any tips for recovery?

A. I’m pretty sure I have most of the idiot market covered. Reminds me of the time I set my brand new 19” HP CRT Monitor on my bed and then watched as it crashed to the floor. Or the time I took a $1,000.00 + processor and crushed it trying to fit the wrong heat sink on it. Amazing how easily cores can crush. Found it, bought it, crushed it, Boom!! $1,000. 00 gone.

I’m afraid that if your system was on at the time, it’s probably toast. If it was off and no water hit the battery then you’ll probably be good. The important part is giving it enough time to completely dry out before putting the power to it. I still get excited about washing my keyboard in the dishwasher and using it after room drying, just one of life’s small pleasures.

Please note,this is the perfect example of when not to throw out a system with the drive intact. Even if your system is “hosed” and you can’t use this notebook, don’t be tempted to toss it in the trash or give it to someone for parts. Take the drive out and destroy it. Even SSD drives.

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Please note: we will not be able to respond to every question submitted. Selected questions will be answered in the Ask The Pros section of our Monthly Newsletter.

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