Microsoft keeps building more and more into Windows, but sometimes all you want or need is a bare-bones, minimal OS.
If small and fast is what you want, several free programs let you remove unnecessary Windows components to improve your system’s performance and reliability.
When the Web becomes unreachable, it’s time to start digging into your router and firewall settings.
When your system’s port 80 is blocked, all http: traffic stops, and you’ll need to do a bit of cyber-sleuthing to learn the cause.
Device Manager — Windows’ underutilized repair tool — offers a fast, free way to repair common hardware misconfiguration problems.
Instead of removing and replacing a device that shows some error in Device Manager, the most effective solution is often to use a “soft” uninstallation and reinstallation.
If you use a browser very often, you may see errors such as “a script is slowing your computer.”
This can happen for many reasons, but topping the list of usual suspects are security programs that attempt to determine what a Web site’s script is up to before allowing it to run.
On a PC with an abundance of RAM, is it possible to do away with the pagefile altogether?
Nixing your pagefile will save some disk wear — and maybe even gain your machine some speed — but doing so may be skating on very thin ice.
With free virtual machine software, you can safely test the Windows 7 Release Candidate on your PC without risking your current setup.
You won’t get the level of performance in a virtual machine that you would with a standard Win7 installation, but VMs are still a fairly fast and easy way to create a software test bed.
The low number of reads and writes supported by USB devices means active caching on a flash drive is a bad idea.
Moreover, Microsoft’s much-vaunted ReadyBoost won’t improve the performance of most Windows systems, making this “speed-up” technology more trouble than it’s worth.
Few things can ruin your day faster than seeing an error message pop onto your PC’s screen.
While most Windows error messages can actually help you solve problems, I explain today a few that remain hopelessly arcane.
Caveat lector (translation: “reader beware”): The Web is filled with outdated and incomplete Windows-tuning tips.
Following the wrong advice on tweaking the pagefile to boost your PC’s speed can actually reduce rather than enhance your system’s performance.
It’s not always easy to tell whether a program really needs the rights and privileges of a server.
When your firewall alerts you that an application wants to act as a server, you have two simple ways to determine the correct response.