LangaList Plus

Security Essentials test drive — month 6

After half a year of real-life testing, Microsoft’s Security Essentials anti-malware application is batting 1.000.

All nine test computers — a mix of Windows 7, Vista and XP systems (including two portables with 20,000 miles of travel) — remain malware- and virus-free.

Read More »

Recover from a disastrous hard-drive crash

Losing Windows’ file names can be almost as bad as losing the files themselves.

Getting all your data back the way it was may be possible, but it’ll take some serious digging.

Read More »

Tracking down and preventing unwanted reboots

Unwanted restarts can be more than an exercise in frustration and wasted time — they can easily result in lost data.

Fortunately, there are only three main causes of unintended reboots, so finding — and
controlling — them is usually not hard.

Read More »

Are the benefits of defragmentation overblown?

One of the never-ending, always-simmering debates between PC users is whether defragging modern hard drives provides any measurable benefits to PC performance.

Unfortunately, the answer is not an absolute yes or no but instead depends on how you defrag your system.

Read More »

Windows’ primary disk-checking tool gets stuck

Windows’ built-in disk-repair tool, chkdsk.exe, has come a long way over the years, but some disk problems are simply beyond its ability to remedy.

When Windows’ disk check is not up to the task, third-party repair tools may be your ticket back to a healthy hard drive.

Read More »

Using Task Manager to troubleshoot startup woes

Sometimes when trouble strikes, you have to choose between a simple brute-force fix and a more-complex but also more-informative surgical repair.

Reinstalling software is inelegant but usually works; using Windows’ built-in tools can be quicker and less traumatic.

Read More »