Tag Archives: computer repair

101-Key “Enhanced” Keyboard Layout

In 1986, IBM introduced the IBM PC/AT Model 339. Included in this last AT-family system was the new Enhanced 101-key keyboard. Little did IBM realize at the time, perhaps, but this 101-key keyboard would become the de-facto standard for keyboards for the next decade and beyond. Even today’s Windows keyboards and fancy variants with extra buttons and keys are based on this layout.

101-key "enhanced" keyboard

The “Enhanced” keyboard was electrically the same as the 84-key AT keyboard, but featured a radically redesigned key layout. The major changes included these:

  • Dedicated Cursor and Navigation Keys: Finally, separate keys were provided for cursor control and navigation. This enabled the numeric keyboard to be used along with the cursor and navigation keys. The cursor keys were also made into an “inverted-T” configuration for easier switching between “Up” and “Down” with a single finger.
  • Relocated Function Keys: The function keys were moved from the left-hand side of the keyboard to a row along the top, and divided into groups of four for convenience. While many users had been asking for this, they found that sometimes the grass really isn’t greener on the other side of the fence, as I discuss below…
  • Relocated <Esc> and <Caps Lock> Keys: The <Esc> key was moved back to the left-hand side of the keyboard, though it was placed up above the main typing area. The <Caps Lock> key was moved above the left <Shift> key.
  • Extra Function Keys: Two additional function keys, <F11> and <F12> were added to the keyboard.
  • Extra <Ctrl> and <Alt> Keys: Additional <Ctrl> and <Alt> keys were added on the right side of the <Space Bar>.
  • Extra Numeric Keypad Keys: The numeric keypad was fitted with an additional <Enter> key, as well as the “/” (divide operator) that had been missing up to that point.

Compared the 84-key keyboard the Enhanced keyboard layout was perceived by most users to be far superior. It was an immediate hit despite its one obvious inferiority to the AT keyboard: the smaller main <Enter> key. (The <Space Bar> is also a bit smaller.) Obviously, some of the changes made with the Enhanced keyboard are undeniable. However, others are in this author’s opinion good examples of the old warning: “be careful what you ask for”…

Many PC users, after having complained for years about changes they wanted made to the PC keyboard layout, found they weren’t all that happy with them once their wish was granted! Having never complained about the issues that were changed with the Enhanced keyboard myself, I found some of the changes quite frustrating–and I later discovered that I was not alone. My personal beefs with this layout involve the locations of the following:

  • Left <Ctrl> Key: With the older layout, the left-hand <Ctrl> key is readily accessible, and it is used by computer enthusiasts dozens, if not hundreds of times a day. (For example, cut, copy and paste are universal functions with standard Windows short-cuts of <Ctrl>+X, <Ctrl>+C and <Ctrl>+V respectively.) The new design puts the <Ctrl> key below the main keyboard, requiring a move of the entire left hand to reach it. And while having the <Caps Lock> key above the left <Shift> may be of use to some, I use the <Caps Lock> key maybe once or twice a month, how about you? :^) Overall, a really bad swap in my opinion.
  • Function Keys: Having the function keys on the left-side of the keyboard makes them easy to reach, particularly in combination with the <Shift>, <Ctrl> and <Alt> keys. Again, these are frequently used keys which are hard to reach when above the keyboard; most combinations that used to be simple with one hand now require two. For example, a command I use frequently when writing is <Ctrl>+<F6>, the Microsoft Word (and FrontPage) function to switch between documents. Compare the motion required to type this combination on an Enhanced keyboard to what was required with the function keys on the left side and the <Ctrl> key above the <Shift> key. Also consider <Alt>+<F4>, the standard combination to close a Windows application… and so it goes.
    The real irony, of course, is that the “on-screen labels corresponding to function keys”, which is what caused people to want the function keys along the top of the keyboard, disappeared from software applications many years ago!
  • <Esc> Key: This key is still a reach with the Enhanced design. Compare how often you use the <Esc> key in a day to the number of times you type a backwards quote or tilde! Again, a poorly-considered decision.

Despite these limitations, the 101-key keyboard remains the standard (actually, the 104-key Windows keyboard is the standard now, but the two layouts are nearly identical). Of course, countless variations of the basic design exist. A common modification is to enlarge the <Enter> key back to its “84-key layout size”, and squeeze the backslash / vertical-pipe key between the “=/+” key and the <Backspace>. An improvement in my estimation!

As for me, rather than curse the darkness, I lit a candle: I use a 124-key Gateway Anykey programmable keyboard with function keys both above and to the left of the main typing area, and a large main <Enter> key. I relocate the left <Ctrl> to where it belongs and the <Caps Lock> key somewhere out of the way where it belongs. :^) I swap the <Esc> key and the backquote/tilde key as well. Ah, freedom. :^)


The PC Guide
Site Version: 2.2.0 – Version Date: April 17, 2001
© Copyright 1997-2004 Charles M. Kozierok. All Rights Reserved.

This is an archive of Charles M. Kozierok’s PCGuide (pcguide.com) which disappeared from the internet in 2018. We wanted to preserve Charles M. Kozierok’s knowledge about computers and are permanently hosting a selection of important pages from PCGuide.

Cyrix 5×86 CPU

Cyrix 5×86 (“M1sc”)

Despite having the same name as AMD’s 5×86 processor, the Cyrix 5×86 is a totally different animal. While AMD designed its 5×86 by further increasing the clock on the 486DX4, Cyrix took the opposite approach by modifying its M1 processor core (used for the 6×86 processor) to make a “lite” version to work on 486 motherboards. As such, the Cyrix 5×86 in some ways resembles a Pentium OverDrive (which is a Pentium core modified to work in a 486 motherboard) internally more than it resembles the AMD 5×86. This chip is probably the hardest to classify as either fourth or fifth generation.

The 5×86 employs several architectural features that are normally found only in fifth-generation designs. The pipeline is extended to six stages, and the internal architecture is 64 bits wide. It has a larger (16 KB) primary cache than the 486DX4 chip. It uses branch prediction to improve performance.

The 5×86 was available in two speeds, 100 and 120 MHz. The 5×86-120 is the most powerful chip that will run in a 486 motherboard–it offers performance comparable to a Pentium 90 or 100. The 5×86 is still a clock-tripled design, so it runs in 33 and 40 MHz motherboards. (The 100 MHz version will actually run at 50×2 as well, but normally was run at 33 MHz.) It is a 3 volt design and is intended for a Socket 3 motherboard. It will run in an earlier 486 socket if a voltage regulator is used. I have heard that some motherboards will not run this chip properly so you may need to check with Cyrix if trying to use this chip in an older board. These chips have been discontinued by Cyrix but are still good performers, and for those with a compatible motherboard, as good as you can get. Unfortunately, they are extremely difficult to find now.

Look here for an explanation of the categories in the processor summary table below, including links to more detailed explanations.

General Information

Manufacturer

Cyrix

Family Name

5×86

Code name

"M1sc"

Processor Generation

Fourth

Motherboard Generation

Fourth

Version

5×86-100

5×86-120

Introduced

1996?

Variants and Licensed Equivalents

Speed Specifications

Memory Bus Speed (MHz)

33 / 50

40

Processor Clock Multiplier

3.0 / 2.0

3.0

Processor Speed (MHz)

100

120

"P" Rating

P75

P90

Benchmarks

iCOMP Rating

~610

~735

iCOMP 2.0 Rating

~67

~81

Norton SI

264

316

Norton SI32

~16

19

CPUmark32

~150

~180

Physical Characteristics

Process Technology

CMOS

Circuit Size (microns)

0.65

Die Size (mm^2)

144

Transistors (millions)

2.0

Voltage, Power and Cooling

External or I/O Voltage (V)

3.45

Internal or Core Voltage (V)

3.45

Power Management

SMM

Cooling Requirements

Active heat sink

Packaging

Packaging Style

168-Pin PGA

Motherboard Interface

Socket 3; or 168-Pin Socket, Socket 1, Socket 2 (with voltage regulator)

External Architecture

Data Bus Width (bits)

32

Maximum Data Bus Bandwidth (Mbytes/sec)

127.2

152.6

Address Bus Width (bits)

32

Maximum Addressable Memory

4 GB

Level 2 Cache Type

Motherboard

Level 2 Cache Size

Usually 256 KB

Level 2 Cache Bus Speed

Same as Memory Bus

Multiprocessing

No

Internal Architecture

Instruction Set

x86

MMX Support

No

Processor Modes

Real, Protected, Virtual Real

x86 Execution Method

Native

Internal Components

Register Size (bits)

32

Pipeline Depth (stages)

6

Level 1 Cache Size

16 KB Unified

Level 1 Cache Mapping

4-Way Set Associative

Level 1 Cache Write Policy

Write-Through, Write-Back

Integer Units

1

Floating Point Unit / Math Coprocessor

Integrated

Instruction Decoders

1

Branch Prediction Buffer Size / Accuracy

!? entries / !? %

Write Buffers

!?

Performance Enhancing Features


The PC Guide
Site Version: 2.2.0 – Version Date: April 17, 2001
© Copyright 1997-2004 Charles M. Kozierok. All Rights Reserved.

This is an archive of Charles M. Kozierok’s PCGuide (pcguide.com) which disappeared from the internet in 2018. We wanted to preserve Charles M. Kozierok’s knowledge about computers and are permanently hosting a selection of important pages from PCGuide.

History of NTFS

Overview and History of NTFS

In the early 1990s, Microsoft set out to create a high-quality, high-performance, reliable and secure operating system. The goal of this operating system was to allow Microsoft to get a foothold in the lucrative business and corporate market–at the time, Microsoft’s operating systems were MS-DOS and Windows 3.x, neither of which had the power or features needed for Microsoft to take on UNIX or other “serious” operating systems. One of the biggest weaknesses of MS-DOS and Windows 3.x was that they relied on the FAT file system. FAT provided few of the features needed for data storage and management in a high-end, networked, corporate environment. To avoid crippling Windows NT, Microsoft had to create for it a new file system that was not based on FAT. The result was the New Technology File System or NTFS.

It is often said (and sometimes by me, I must admit) that NTFS was “built from the ground up”. That’s not strictly an accurate statement, however. NTFS is definitely “new” from the standpoint that it is not based on the old FAT file system. Microsoft did design it based on an analysis of the needs of its new operating system, and not based on something else that they were attempting to maintain compatibility with, for example. However, NTFS is not entirely new, because some of its concepts were based on another file system that Microsoft was involved with creating: HPFS.

Before there was Windows NT, there was OS/2. OS/2 was a joint project of Microsoft and IBM in the early 1990s; the two companies were trying to create the next big success in the world of graphical operating systems. They succeeded, to some degree, depending on how you are measuring success. :^) OS/2 had some significant technical accomplishments, but suffered from marketing and support issues. Eventually, Microsoft and IBM began to quarrel, and Microsoft broke from the project and started to work on Windows NT. When they did this, they borrowed many key concepts from OS/2’s native file system, HPFS, in creating NTFS.

NTFS was designed to meet a number of specific goals. In no particular order, the most important of these are:

  • Reliability: One important characteristic of a “serious” file system is that it must be able to recover from problems without data loss resulting. NTFS implements specific features to allow important transactions to be completed as an integral whole, to avoid data loss, and to improve fault tolerance.
  • Security and Access Control: A major weakness of the FAT file system is that it includes no built-in facilities for controlling access to folders or files on a hard disk. Without this control, it is nearly impossible to implement applications and networks that require security and the ability to manage who can read or write various data.
  • Breaking Size Barriers: In the early 1990s, FAT was limited to the FAT16 version of the file system, which only allowed partitions up to 4 GiB in size. NTFS was designed to allow very large partition sizes, in anticipation of growing hard disk capacities, as well as the use of RAID arrays.
  • Storage Efficiency: Again, at the time that NTFS was developed, most PCs used FAT16, which results in significant disk space due to slack. NTFS avoids this problem by using a very different method of allocating space to files than FAT does.
  • Long File Names: NTFS allows file names to be up to 255 characters, instead of the 8+3 character limitation of conventional FAT.
  • Networking: While networking is commonplace today, it was still in its relatively early stages in the PC world when Windows NT was developed. At around that time, businesses were just beginning to understand the importance of networking, and Windows NT was given some facilities to enable networking on a larger scale. (Some of the NT features that allow networking are not strictly related to the file system, though some are.)

Of course, there are also other advantages associated with NTFS; these are just some of the main design goals of the file system. There are also some disadvantages associated with NTFS, compared to FAT and other file systems–life is full of tradeoffs. :^) In the other pages of this section we will fully explore the various attributes of the file system, to help you decide if NTFS is right for you.

For their part, Microsoft has not let NTFS lie stagnant. Over time, new features have been added to the file system. Most recently, NTFS 5.0 was introduced as part of Windows 2000. It is similar in most respects to the NTFS used in Windows NT, but adds several new features and capabilities. Microsoft has also corrected problems with NTFS over time, helping it to become more stable, and more respected as a “serious” file system. Today, NTFS is becoming the most popular file system for new high-end PC, workstation and server implementations. NTFS shares the stage with various UNIX file systems in the world of small to moderate-sized business systems, and is becoming more popular with individual “power” users as well.


The PC Guide
Site Version: 2.2.0 – Version Date: April 17, 2001
© Copyright 1997-2004 Charles M. Kozierok. All Rights Reserved.

This is an archive of Charles M. Kozierok’s PCGuide (pcguide.com) which disappeared from the internet in 2018. We wanted to preserve Charles M. Kozierok’s knowledge about computers and are permanently hosting a selection of important pages from PCGuide.

Commodore Plus/4

Plus/4 – 121 colors in 1984!

Model:           Commodore Plus/4 

Manufactured:    1984 

Processor:       7501/8501 ~0.88MHz when the raster beam is on the
visible screen and ~1.77MHz the rest of the time. (The TED chip
generates the processor frequency). The resulting speed is equal to the
vic-20. A PAL vic-20 is faster than this NTSC machine, but a PAL Plus/4
is just a little faster than a PAL vic-20.

Memory:          64Kb (60671 bytes available in Basic)

Graphics:        TED 7360 (Text Editing Device 7360 HMOS)
          
Hi-Resolution:   320x200                 
                 Colors: 121 (All can be visible at the same time)     
                 Hardware reverse display of characters     
                 Hardware blinking
                 Hardware cursor
                 Smooth scrolling
                 Multicolor 160x200
                 (No sprites)

Sound:           TED (7360)
                 2 voices (two tones or one tone + noise)
"OS"             Basic 3.5
Built in         Tedmon, software:
                 "3-plus-1" = word processor, spreadsheet, database and
                 graphs.

History and thoughts

The Plus/4 was called 264 as a prototype (January 1984) and was supposed to have customer selectable built in software. But they decided to ship all with the same built in software and rename the computer Plus/4 (June 1984). (The reason for the long delay was that Commodore’s factories were busy producing C64s). There was other versions available of the same “TED” computer (more or less): The C16 – Looks like a black Vic20 with white keys but is the same computer as the Plus/4, but with no built in software (except for Tedmon), only 16kb of ram, and no RS232. Why it looks like a vic-20 is because Commodore intended it as a replacement for the vic-20 when it was cancelled in 1984. There was also a C116 with the same features as the C16 but looked like a Plus/4 with rubber keys. About 400,000 Plus/4s were made (compared to 2,5 million vic-20s and something like 15 million C64s).

The reason why the Plus/4 wasn’t more popular was one: The C64! Commodore kind of competed with themselves. Let’s list the benefits with the two computers:

 Plus/4:
   * 121 colors (compared to c64's 16)
   * Very powerful basic
   * Built in machine language monitor
   * A little faster
   * Built in software
   * Lower price

 C64:
   * Sprite graphics
   * Better sound
   * Lots of software available
   * All your frieds have one
   * Your old vic-20 tape recorder will work without an adapter
   * Your old vic-20 joysticks will work without adapters

Well, which would you choose?

Well, Basic 3.5 is quite powerful. It has commands for graphics, sound, disk commands, error handling etc. I counted 111 commands/functions (compared to 70 for the C64). On the c64, POKE and PEEK is the only way to access graphics, sprites and sound. And with most of those registers being two bytes big and the chips a bit complex to set up, that is quite troublesome and time consuming for the basic. And drawing graphics with lines, circles etc using only basic on the c64 is just impossible (or would take a year!) On the other hand – if basic programming doesn’t interest you, but copying pirate copied games from your friends, then the c64 is your computer… I mean back then! 😉

There was more reasons than just the c64 for the Plus/4’s lack of success. There are many theories about this on the internet so instead of just repeating them, I would like to contribute with another one: The strange names! Why on earth name the same line of computers so differently! The Plus/4, C16 and C116 is more compatible than a vic-20 with and without memory expansion! And they even look different! I would have made two different computers:”TED-64″ (Plus/4) and”TED-16″ (The C16, but in a Plus/4 case).

They would also have normal joystick and tape ports (or adapters included with the computer). The 3-plus-1 software could have been left out and been sold separately on a cartridge to bring down the price of the computer. It could have been sold together with the computer in a bundle at a reduced price if you wanted to. This way the original 264 idea about customer selectable included software could have been doable with all the selectable software on different cartridges.


My impressions

I have just got the Plus/4, but my impression of it so far is very positive. It’s little and neat. I like the basic and the graphics. The computer has very much “Commodore” feeling. I would say it’s like a mix between the vic-20 (for the simplicity, one graphcis/sound chip and default colors), the C64 (for the similar graphics) and the C128 (for the powerful basic and the similarities with the 128’s VDC chip features like blinking etc.) The Plus/4 also have the Esc codes that the C128 has. The machine language monitor is also almost the same. But in the same time the Plus/4 is simple and easy to survey like the vic-20. I think it’s a well designed computer. The only thing I don’t like about the Plus/4 is the lack of a Restore key. But there are work-arounds (Runstop+reset for example). I have written some more tips about this in the manuals below.

The same people designing the Plus/4 (except for one) later designed the C128.

If you plan to get a Plus/4, then you might want to know that the 1541 diskdrive is working, the video cable is the same as for the c64 (at least composite and sound that my cable is using). But for joysticks, you need to make a little adapter, also for the tape recorder (if it isn’t of the black type that has a built in adapter).

My Plus/4 is a NTSC machine with a 110V power supply. And living in Sweden I needed to buy a 220->110v converter. The Plus/4 does not need the frequency from the PSU (like the C64), so a simple converter that generates 110v 50Hz is fine. My Plus/4 has a square power plug. Others have a round one, and then I could have used an European c64 power supply instead. There are of course PAL Plus/4s as well, but I got mine for free and I like the NTSC display too. No BIG border around the screen like on all PAL Commodores. The NTSC Plus/4 has also a little faster key repeat, so it feels a little faster even though the PAL version runs faster. BUT – There is MUCH more PAL software available it seems…


This is an archive of pug510w’s Dator Museum which disappeared from the internet in 2017. We wanted to preserve the knowledge about the Commodore Plus/4 and are permanently hosting a copy of Dator Museum.

Commodore Plus/4 Service Manual

Convert FAT Disks to NTFS

This article describes how to convert FAT disks to NTFS. See the Terms sidebar for definitions of FAT, FAT32 and NTFS. Before you decide which file system to use, you should understand the benefits and limitations of each of them.

Changing a volume’s existing file system can be time–consuming, so choose the file system that best suits your long–term needs. If you decide to use a different file system, you must back up your data and then reformat the volume using the new file system. However, you can convert a FAT or FAT32 volume to an NTFS volume without formatting the volume, though it is still a good idea to back up your data before you convert.

Note  Some older programs may not run on an NTFS volume, so you should research the current requirements for your software before converting.

Choosing Between NTFS, FAT, and FAT32

You can choose between three file systems for disk partitions on a computer running Windows XP: NTFS, FAT, and FAT32. NTFS is the recommended file system because it’s is more powerful than FAT or FAT32, and includes features required for hosting Active Directory as well as other important security features. You can use features such as Active Directory and domain–based security only by choosing NTFS as your file system.

Converting to NTFS Using the Setup Program

The Setup program makes it easy to convert your partition to the new version of NTFS, even if it used FAT or FAT32 before. This kind of conversion keeps your files intact (unlike formatting a partition).

Setup begins by checking the existing file system. If it is NTFS, conversion is not necessary. If it is FAT or FAT32, Setup gives you the choice of converting to NTFS. If you don’t need to keep your files intact and you have a FAT or FAT32 partition, it is recommended that you format the partition with NTFS rather than converting from FAT or FAT32. (Formatting a partition erases all data on the partition and allows you to start fresh with a clean drive.) However, it is still advantageous to use NTFS, regardless of whether the partition was formatted with NTFS or converted.

Converting to NTFS Using Convert.exe

A partition can also be converted after Setup by using Convert.exe. For more information about Convert.exe, after completing Setup, click Start, click Run, type cmd, and then press ENTER. In the command window, type help convert, and then press ENTER.

It is easy to convert partitions to NTFS. The Setup program makes conversion easy, whether your partitions used FAT, FAT32, or the older version of NTFS. This kind of conversion keeps your files intact (unlike formatting a partition.

To find out more information about Convert.exe

1.After completing Setup, click Start, click Run, type cmd, and then press ENTER.
2.In the command window, type help convert and then press ENTER.
Information about converting FAT volumes to NTFS is made available as shown below.
Converting FAT volumes to NTFS

To convert a volume to NTFS from the command prompt

1.Open Command Prompt. Click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, and then click Command Prompt.
2.In the command prompt window, type: convert drive_letter: /fs:ntfs 

For example, typing convert D: /fs:ntfs would format drive D: with the ntfs format. You can convert FAT or FAT32 volumes to NTFS with this command.

Important  Once you convert a drive or partition to NTFS, you cannot simply convert it back to FAT or FAT32. You will need to reformat the drive or partition which will erase all data, including programs and personal files, on the partition.

Commodore Computer History Archive

As I train new our computer systems engineers I have found that few of them know anything about the Commodore home computer systems. In the early 1990s, when I first started getting into electronics and computers, Commodores were everywhere. By the mid 90s they were ancient relics. I always had five or six laying around the shop. Most were given to me for spare parts from customers. The majority of them had no issues, they were just out dated. For fun and to train new guys, we repaired many of them over the years. Over the years, less and less of our computer systems engineers had any experience on Commodores. Today, virtually no one under 35 knows what a Commodore computer system is.

The MOS 6502 chip

The reason why a 15 year old could work on a Commodore was that the systems were all based around simple CPUs. The MOS 6502 was very easy to diagnose issues with and repair. All I needed to work on the circuits was a simple analog volt meter and a reference voltage. Digital voltmeters were very expensive in the 1990s, I don’t think we had one until the late 90s.

For example, most prominent home computer systems and video game systems in the 1980s and 1990s had a MOS 6502 or a derivative within them. These derivative chips were called the 650x or the 6502 family of chips. The Commodore VIC-20, Commodore 64, Apple II, Atari 800, Atari 2600 and NES all had a 6502 or 650x chips in them. Almost everything made from the mid 1970s to the mid 1980s had a connection to the 6502 family. By the late 1980s newer and faster chips by Motorola and Intel replaced the MOS 6502 family as the primary go to processor.

Commodore History Disappearing

While I train new field engineers here at Karls Technology I have been looking online for reference materials about Commodores. Back in the 1990s reference material was available at the library, in hobby magazines and BBS’s. Today, I find very little good reference material about Commodores, MOS or the 6502 family of chips. Previously, you could find people that worked for MOS, Commodore or GMT around the internet. As those engineers of yesterday pass way their knowledge of the history of computing leaves us.

Before the days of blogs, much of the early computing history was recorded on early engineer’s personal websites. Those websites have gone offline or were hosted by companies that not longer exist.

Computer History Archive

Due to this knowledge leaving us and much of it only existing in an offline capacity; we decided to start archiving Commodore, 6502 family and other early computer history information. Therefore, we will scan and post below any knowledge we find in an offline repository. In addition, any historical personal websites about early computer history from yesteryear will be archived here. Our goal is to document as much early computer history as possible.

Text Editing Device TED 7360 Datasheet

Commodore Plus/4 Specifications

Commodore Plus/4 Service Manual

Commodore Semiconductor Group’s Superfund Site from the EPA

Designing Calm Technology by Mark Weiser, Xerox, 1995.

How to prolong the life of your Computer!

KTI’s tips on how to prolong the life of your computer

1) REGULAR MAINTENANCE
– clean windows registry
– clean out temporary files, downloads, history and cookies
– run virus and malware scans regularly
– clear recycle bin
2) UPDATES 
– keep all the software on your computer up to date, including
antivirus software and the operating system
3) DEFRAGMENT HARD DRIVE
4) STEER CLEAR FROM HEAT AND DUST
– Keep your computer out of the heat and instead in a well-
ventilated area
– Dust can clog up your fan and accumulate on circuits inside,
which in turn can overheat your system leading to various
malfunctions
– Clean your computer regularly

KTI’s tips for Macbook users:

1) Clean off your Hard Drive – Make sure you have sufficient free disk space (exhausting your disk space will significantly slow down your system), Clean out unnecessary files and/or upgrade to a larger disk
2) Stop applications from automatically launching upon login –> clean out Startup items (go to System Preferences to reconfigure your settings)
3) Clean out “Other” System Preferences that you do not use or need
4) Upgrade your MAC’s RAM
5) Check your Apple Activity Monitor to find info on CPU usage, virtual memory usage and RAM requirements 
6) Use “Fan Control” to keep your Mac running cool, thereby maximizing its performance
7) Manage and evaluate your Widgets properly – disable the ones you do not need to enhance your computing efficiency

KARLS TECHNOLOGY is devoted to giving your computer a long and healthy life!

Overheating? Beat the heat, as well as moisture and sand! Keep your digital devices protected this summer :-)

In love with your digital gadgets and their conveniently handy shapes and sizes which allow you to take them with you on all your SUMMER travels and to all your SUMMER destinations? All things tech are dear to Karls Technology as well, and their protection from damage is of utmost priority to us. Let’s cover some basic tips and rules to ensure your technological devices are shielded from the summer heat & humidity, cold weather, splash & rain (if you’re poolside or at the beach, lucky you!), small debris and scratches as well as other physical damage (hiking or driving through rugged terrain)!

1)      Temperature:

The summer heat can be quite relentless. While you may be enjoying a pleasantly cold swim to cool off, the phone/laptop/tablet you have brought along with you to stay connected wherever you are or to snap some fun summertime pictures cannot, unfortunately, escape the heat that easily. Both, dry and humid heat can inflict significant damage to your digital devices with the worst-case-scenario being the ‘heat-related death’. Overheating can ruin the hardware as well as the battery! Therefore, simple precautionary measures should be taken to keep your gadgets safe! Keep all technological devices out of direct sunlight, preferably in the shade if you chose to take it outside with you. Let your device cool off gradually, in case it has overheated due to prolonged exposure to the sun! Do not try to cool it down fast!!! Also, you can purchase special accessories for your laptop/tablet such as a ‘cooling pad’. This accessory is a great companion for any traveler as it keeps your device’s air circulation consistent when using it outdoors!

If you have chosen a cold and frosty environment for your summer vacation, some safety measures apply as well! First and foremost, be aware that cold temperatures are known for their adverse effect on battery life. Furthermore, it is advised to keep your device close to you (to your body, in a zipped pocket) so as to protect it from harsh (freezing) weather conditions. You also want to avoid sudden and frequent temperature changes as they can cause visual distortions in the display.

However, bear in mind that it is still the best and smartest decision to keep your digital device in a preferably air-conditioned, well ventilated room in a spot that is least exposed to the sunlight!

2)      Water, Sand, Small Debris:

While your conventional smart-phone cover guards your phone against screen cracks, scratches and more serious damages from dropping your phone, it will not protect it from this frequently reported casualty – the dreaded water damage! Even a small amount of moisture can wreak havoc on your electronic device. Sand and small debris on the beach are your device’s enemy as well, as they can easily get stuck in the small crevices of your phone/tablet. This can lead to various annoying issues such as a malfunctioning keyboard or audio issues. However, it can also provoke more serious problems, corrupt your battery and eventually turn your phone into an utterly non-functional device. Spare yourself the pain, and instead protect your gadget with suitable waterproof cases such as “Smartphone and Tablet Sheaths”. For situations that necessitate heavy duty waterproof cases (e.g.: kayaking, rafting) you should try out protective accessories such as the Survivor & Catalyst waterproof case by Griffin, the DryCASE or the DryCASE Backpack!

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The dreaded Blue Screen Error

The dreaded “BSOD or Blue Screen Of Death” – the error message notorious for its confusing, intimidating text against an electric blue background screen. The infamous error with the irritating capability of popping up at the worst time imaginable, exactly when the unsuspecting technology user may have been working on something important or perhaps when he/she had almost reached the victorious next stage in a video game! Sound familiar?

Breathe….In some cases, a blue screen error, also referred to as a STOP error, is not a very severe issue but an annoying one regardless. Insufficient RAM or disk space is one of the simpler reasons as to why your system could be showing a blue screen error. However, all blue screen error messages can ultimately cause problems with the operating system and the hard drive over time. Therefore, EARLY PROBLEM DETECTION IS CRUCIAL. When your system encounters a critical error, your system shuts down (a preventative measure to avoid further damage) and the BSOD error message appears. In some cases the BSOD serves as an indicator of a very serious fundamental issue. Frequent BSOD’s suggest more serious problems and can cause considerable damage to your system. Here is a list of some potential underlying causes of a BSOD:

  • Physical hardware damage such as a faulty power supply or faulty RAM, malfunctioning hardware
  • Temperature: Overheating of computer components
  • Application installations, hardware upgrades, system updates, software errors
  • Registry corruption
  • Malware and computer viruses

The blue screen provides a cryptic breakdown of the existing issue. Our trusted Karls Technology engineers will utilize this message for diagnostic purposes and repair – IDENTIFY the address where the error message occurred, DETERMINE the type of error and most importantly, REPAIR & RESOLVE the issue!