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August 2002 Issue


Below, find our archived issue of the 5 Star Support Monthly Newsletter.


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August 2000 September 2000 October 2000 November 2000 December 2000 January 2001
February 2001 March 2001 April 2001 May 2001 June 2001 August 2001
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5 Star Support Monthly Newsletter

August 2002 Issue

Inside this issue:

1) Notes from the Editor
2) Industry News
3) Helpful Web Sites
4) USB Port
5) Shut Down Windows
6) Tips and Tricks
7) Questions and Answers
8) Contact Information

1] Editors Notes:

Welcome to all new subscribers and welcome back to all of you loyal 5 Star Supporters! 

There has been quite a few new volunteer technicians join the team. If you would like to have a look at their profiles, go to:

Now, onward to the August newsletter. Enjoy!

[2] Industry News:

Low-cost laptops jump on desktop P4 bandwagon
08:49 Tuesday 30th July 2002
John G. Spooner, CNET 

Nearly every PC maker has now come out with laptop chips based on Intel's desktop processor, as manufacturers aim to cut costs 
Gateway and Micron PC unveiled Monday low-priced notebooks that incorporate Pentium 4 desktop chips, becoming the latest companies to forgo portable processors in favor of more powerful but power-hungry chips.

The Gateway 400 notebook, priced at $1,499 (960) before rebates, includes a 2GHz Pentium 4 desktop chip, a 14.1-inch screen, 256MB of RAM, a 20GB hard drive and a DVD drive. Micron's Transport V1000 comes with a 1.7GHz Celeron desktop processor, a 14.1-inch screen, 128MB of RAM, a 10GB hard drive and a CD-ROM drive for $1,199, the company said.

Although initially controversial, using desktop processors in notebooks has become more popular as PC makers keep an eye on costs. Desktop chips are less expensive; for example, the 2GHz desktop Pentium 4 costs $193, while the mobile 2GHz Pentium 4-M costs $637. Lower component prices means a lower overall selling price -- and this has been good news for consumers.

Buyers who choose the lower-priced notebooks with desktop processors will, however, have to make a few trade-offs. These machines typically weigh more and offer much shorter battery life than their counterparts built with the Pentium 4-M.

A typical Pentium 4-M notebook will weigh 5 to 6 pounds and gets more than 3 hours of battery life. The Gateway 400 ranges between 7.2 and 7.5 pounds and racks up about 3 hours of battery life, the company said.

A price comparison shows the potential savings. Gateway's 400XL notebook, with a 2GHz Pentium 4, a 15-inch screen, 40GB hard drive and CD-R/DVD drive, sells for $1,799 before a $100 rebate. A Gateway 450XL, however, with a standard 1.7GHz Pentium 4 notebook chip and similar features sells for $1,958.

The new 400 notebook "rounds out Gateway's overall product lineup", said Paul Torres, Gateway product manager. "We're able to achieve an entry-level price point with a Pentium 4 processor."

Nearly every major PC maker has come out with notebooks that incorporate a desktop Pentium 4 processor. Hewlett-Packard's Presario 1500 includes a 14.1-inch screen, 128MB of RAM and a 20GB hard drive for $1,364. Dell's new SmartStep 200N comes with a 2GHz Pentium 4 desktop chip, a 15-inch display, 256MB of RAM, a 30GB hard drive and a DVD drive. It sells for $1,499.

Toshiba's latest in the category, the Satellite 1955-S801, weighs 9.6 pounds, sports a 2.2GHz Pentium 4 desktop processor, a 16-inch display and a removable wireless keyboard. It is priced at $2,499.

"We're seeing a new market segment emerge. It's cannibalizing the desktop market, but it's not affecting the mobile market," said Dean McCarron, analyst at Mercury Research. "We're seeing a piece of the desktop market become mobile desktops moving with LCDs, moving from plug to plug."


[4] USB Port:
by Jimmy Fan

In a day and age where personal computers are used for a myriad of applications, many new devices have sprung up since IBM's original two serial port personal computer some twenty years ago. Scanners, portable hard drives, Zip drives, and force-feedback joysticks are just a few examples of devices appearing on the desktop. Although attempts have been made to provide four to eight serial ports on a single PC, there was no real standard that gained widespread acceptance. SCSI seemed to be the solution of choice for many vendors of scanners and external drives, however, interface cards and devices were expensive and the standard lacked complete unity. Therefore, many began work on specifications for new interconnecting solutions, such as IEEE 1394 (FireWire) and USB. 

Universal Serial Bus (USB) is the solution touted by seven leaders of the PC and telecom industry: Compaq, DEC, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, NEC and Northern Telecom (now, Nortel Networks). Though slower than FireWire (IEEE 1394), USB still boasts a data rate of 12 Mbps (mega-bits per second) and allows you to connect up to 127 devices to your PC! It is designed to support modems, keyboards, mice, 4x 6x CD ROM drives, joysticks, tape/floppy/hard drives, scanners and printers. In addition, a new wave of peripherals such as telephones, digital speakers, digital snapshot and motion cameras, data gloves and digitizers are to take advantage of this exciting and versatile new interface.

There are three physical parts to the USB system. These include the host (computer), hubs, and devices. All connectors are one-size-fits-all, so a device can be plugged directly into the host, or into a hub, which in turn is plugged into the host. 

The USB cable is thin (four wires) and carries enough power for low-power devices, like keyboards and mice. The maximum bandwidth is 12 Mbps, which is shared amongst all devices on the USB network. Since devices are organized in a tiered fashion, not every device needs a direct connection to the host. A device can be plugged into a hub, into another hub, and then the host, thus avoiding a clutter of wires behind the computer.

Whenever you plug in a device, the host senses voltage differences in the USB network and proceeds to query (enumerate) the device for type, vendor, functionality and bandwidth required. That device is assigned a unique address ID and co-exists with all other USB devices. Even if two identical devices are plugged in, they will each have a unique address and can be distinguished separately by the computer. Once enumeration is complete, the appropriate device driver is loaded by the operating system (O/S) and the user will be prompted for the driver disk if necessary. All contention of devices is handled by the host and by the software residing on the host. There is no need to configure interrupt IRQs, addresses, or DMA channels.

When devices are detached (unplugged) from the USB network, the host computer detects the detachment, alerts the appropriate application and unloads the drivers.

Other than plugging and unplugging the devices, there is no user intervention in configuring the devices.

Since the personal computer has evolved from a small business tool to a common information appliance in the modern household, the demands placed on it in terms of usability have also changed. Users are less tolerant to problems with installation and setup. USB is just another step closer to making the personal computer the ultimate household appliance that will answer your calls and make your coffee.


[5] Shut Down Windows:
By Vince Underwood

Some people just don't understand the importance of properly shutting Windows down. In this article, I will explore some of the more important reasons for doing so.

Windows performs something called write-back caching. This is the portion of memory that temporarily holds data until it can be permanently saved or otherwise modified. This feature speeds up your computer by allowing Windows to
write information in memory to the disk when more resources are available.

Windows makes certain registry entries at shutdown. If you just turn off your system these registry entries will not be made. 

If you are on a network and have shared resources, these resources are not released until a shut down is properly performed. By not shutting down properly, these resources will hang indefinitely.

In Windows XP:
When you use System Restore to perform a restoration to your system, System Restore may not restore all files as expected. You may also receive the following error message when you restart the computer after the restore process: System Restore Restoration Incomplete Your computer cannot be restored to: Date Restore Point Name This restoration is incomplete. It was interrupted by an improper shutdown. You should undo this restore or choose another restore point. To choose another restore point, restart System Restore. 

Now, I realize that some times you have no choice but to turn the power off, but this should be kept to an absolute minimum. If you get blue screens or you just lock up often, then it is time to find out why so that this can be fixed.


[6] Tips and Tricks:
By Vince Underwood

<> Alphabetize your Favorites:

If you would like IE 5.x to sort your Favorites Alphanumerically, here's how: 
Click on the Favorites drop down menu (or use the ALT-A keyboard combination), right click any Favorite and select "Sort by name." You can do this for the main folder and for the individual subfolders. 

<> Get your IP address:

You can find out what your IP (Internet Protocol) Address is, here's how: Got to, Start> Run, type in: winipcfg Click "OK". You can use this to create a more direct connection when configuring gaming sites or some online voice chats. 

<> Rearrange your Outlook groups:

Would you like to customize your Outlook Bar by changing the default order of the groups (Outlook Shortcuts, My Shortcuts, Other Shortcuts)? Here's how. 
Change the order in which groups appear on the Outlook Bar: 

In Microsoft Outlook on the File menu, click Exit and Log Off. 
Click the Start button on the Windows taskbar, point to Find, and then click Files or Folders. 
In the Named box, type *.fav and then click Find Now. Files with the extension .fav will be listed. 
Right-click the .fav file with the same name as your mail profile, click Rename on the shortcut menu, and then type a new name such as yourname.old. 
In the Named box, type Outlbar.inf and then click Find Now. 
Right-click the file and then click Open. 
Look for the following section about one-fourth of the way down in the file: 

Change the AddGroup entry order to the order you want. For instance, if you want the MailGroup (My Shortcuts) to be on top in the Outlook Bar, make the entry look like this: 


On the File menu, click Save. 
Restart Outlook. 
Outlook will use the .inf file to build a new .fav file and rearrange the order of the groups on the Outlook Bar. You will see a message asking you to wait while Outlook rebuilds the Outlook Bar.

<> Last known good registry:

If you crash Windows NT and you do not have a back up copy, you may be able to recover by using the "Last Known Good" option. While booting, press the space bar at the blue screen then press "L" to boot using the last known registry. 

<> Disabling XP's Hibernation feature:

The Hibernation feature can be somewhat of a resource hog. If you don't plan to use it, you may as well disable it. Here's how: 
Go to Start> Settings> Control Panel. 
Select the Power Options Icon 
Click on the Hibernation icon 
Uncheck Enable Hibernation 


[7] Questions and Answers:
Generated from 5 Star Support Solution Center

<> Problem:

How to stop a Wizard pop up offering to install unwanted new audio hardware.

<> Solution:

Locate and install the drive for the equipment, then let Wizard install the new hardware. It can be uninstalled through the settings and control panel, and the annoying pop up will no longer appear to delay booting up each time.


<> Problem:

Q#W1-6944 Computer won't Defragment

<> Solution:

Start, then Run, type Msconfig, Go to Startup on far right. I clicked off 8 programs before I got the one that would let me defrag my Computer. You have to keep trying this way and restarting the computer over & over again after each one you try. Two of my results were similar. I was so tickled with your wonderful service. I am an old Lady and the response was great and written out so I could understand them all. Thank you so much for this service...


<> Problem:

Q#W2-6978 scratch disk: " error writing to Scratch disk"

<> Solution:

This error is an Adobe Photoshop error. The partition designated for page swapping must have available at least five times the size of the file being manipulated. Or, in Photoshop, assign more than one partition as scratch disks.


<> Problem:

Q#W2-6982 Sluggish system after upgrade

<> Solution:

Removed McAfee antivirus program and problem was solved. 5 Star Site recommended "Antivir" Program, using it and it's great! Thank you!


<> Problem:

Had problem with Internet connection sharing in Windows XP, after upgrading from Windows 98SE.

<> Solution:

Gary sent me a small utility called Repair Internet that he made. It is just a batch file that clears then resets the Internet IP address. 
Thanks a bunch Gary.


<> Problem:

How can I tell what video card I have?

<> Solution:

Go to run> type in: dxdiag> hit enter> go to display. 
Thank all who helped me solve this problem


<> Problem:

hard drive won't defrag Q#W2-6991

<> Solution:

selective startup
uncheck the box for "load startup group
reboot and defrag
then repeat the steps above and set to normal then reboot
This solution was sent by and was the 1st I used and it solve the problem. Thanks to the other two techs that responded and all these solutions will be filed for future use.
Response time was excellent!


[8] Contact Information:

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