Tuesday, April 28, 2009

5 Tips for Cleaning Your PC

Delete Old Files

Possibly the most obvious place to start cleaning up your PC is by deleting all the old files you no longer use or need. Don't waste important space on your hard drive by keeping old files and folders. If there are files or photographs you wish to keep, free up space by burning them to disk or upload them on to a website - more than one if necessary. An email inbox can also be used for this purpose. Remember to delete old PDF documents and e-books as well.

Help Your Hard Drive
Your hard drive will store many files which were downloaded while you were using the internet. If you notice the speed of your PC slowing down then you probably need to clean up the internet files stored on your computer. To do this navigate to My Computer - Control Panel - Internet Options. A box will appear on screen and in the section marked Temporary Internet Files, click on Delete Files. Using the settings option, you might think of changing "Amount of disk space to use". To give your PC a more comprehensive clean up try the following steps to run a disk clean up : Go to Start - Programs - Accessories - System Tools and choose which drive you wish to clean. If you haven't yet cleaned out the Temporary Internet Files you can do so from here. Other files which can be removed here are Downloaded Program Files, Temporary Files stored on that particular drive and the Recycle Bin. By using the More Options tab there are additional programs and components which can be deleted.

Clean Your CPU Unit Regularly
As well as cleaning the software components of your PC it is important to remember the external hardware components also need regular looking after. Many system crashes and slow running machines are caused by dirty and dusty CPU units. Clean your cables to free them of dust, check the fan and clean the air holes of your PC as dust gathered can cause your system to overheat, possibly to dangerous levels and if not regularly kept clean may damage your hardware irreparably. When cleaning your PC hardware components, unplug all power cables and use a vacuum specially designed for computers. Alternatively use a variety of sizes and coarseness of paint brushes and a few clean soft cloths. This option will only be of use if regular upkeep is maintained. Remember never try to wipe clean the internal components such as the motherboard or cards.

Uninstall Old Programs
Remove all the old programs you don't use anymore including any files and folders left over. If you are constantly installing new programs having lots of installation exe files cluttering your computer hard drive can slow up your PC. Also this frequent installing and uninstalling will leave old data and file fragments stored on your hard drive long after the applications have been removed. To clean these files out, right click on the hard drive icon on your PC, click on explore and Program Files. You can safely delete all the empty files and folders from the programs no longer installed. It is a good idea to use a powerful registry cleaner such as RegCure to clean up your PC efficiently. Registry cleaners are completely safe to use as they will only delete old files your system no longer needs or uses. A good tip to see what may have silently downloaded on your PC is to press CTRL+ALT+DEL simultaneously, this will bring up Task Manager which will show all applications currently running on your computer, including those running in the background . Some of these download automatically when you surf certain websitesand usually contain adware or spyware. Run a spyware cleaner to remove these programs before running RegCure to get rid of all the leftover fragments.

Update Your Passwords
Sometimes giving your PC drives a thorough clean can affect old password cookies. To fix this, visit the Microsoft technical support website where you can download a tool which will update and replace old passwords. This is a small download and is free to use.

Source : windowsaccelerator

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

4 Tips to Prevent Expensive PC Repairs

Early detection of any problems your PC may be having is vital to prevent further damage from occurring. Therefore it's important for every computer user to spend some time looking for any signs of trouble. It's highly recommended that you keep your PC in good health and you will be rewarded with a fast, smoothly running machine.

Carrying out regular maintenance will alert you to any sign of trouble ahead. Catching any problems early can mean the difference between a simple clean up or a costly repair job.

The following steps should be carried out on a regular basis and should keep your PC in tip top condition.

1. Run Disk Defragmenter.

Over time, the data stored on your PCs hard drive will scatter as information is stored randomly according to what free space is available. This will result in your computer taking longer periods to access the necessary files and therefore a slower performing PC. Defragging will shift these blocks of data so they sit simultaneously as much as possible, making your computer locate data much quicker.

How to defrag your PC :
- Click on Start
- Choose Programs
- Select Accessories
- Click on System Tools
- Select Disk Defragmenter
- Choose the drive you want defragmented

Defragmenting the hard drive can take quite a considerable amount of time. Always close down any programs that are running as these may cause the tool to restart every so often.

2. Use Disk Cleanup.

The Windows Operating System has an in-built system tool which will remove unneeded files safely from the hard disk. A hard disk which is cluttered with data an cause a slow performing PC. The Disk Cleanup tool is used for the following maintenance tasks :
- To empty the recycle bin
- To delete temporary Windows and the Internet files
- To delete unused programs and applications
- To delete downloaded program files
- To remove obsolete Windows components

3. Remove Spyware and Adware.

Whilst surfing the Internet or downloading files and programs, these malicious pieces of software can be installed on your PC unintentionally . They can cause severe performance problems and can pose a security threat so need to be dealt with properly. Running regular Spyware and Adware scans will remove these unwanted programs and restore your PC to optimal performance levels.

4. Scan Your Registry.

With regular installation and removal of programs and even general day to day tasks, lots of information gets placed in the Windows Registry, some of which will no longer be needed. This redundant data overloads the registry, making the PC take longer in locating required information, which in turn slows up your computers speed and can cause your system to stall or crash. By running a registry scan regularlythis unnecessary data can be located and removed resulting in a much more efficient registry system and therefore a fast smooth running PC. We highly recommend the newest version of RegCure 2008.

Performing regular maintenance tasks on your PC will root out any problems before damage can be caused.

Source : windowsaccelerator

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Dracula Legend

Some say that Transylvania sits on one of earth's strongest magnetic fields and its people have extra-sensory perceptions. Vampires are believed to hang around crossroads on St.George's Day, April 23rd, and the eve of St.Andrew, November 29th. The area is also home to Bram Stoker's Dracula and it's easy to get caught up in the tale while driving along winding roads through dense, dark, ancient forests and mountain passes.

Count Dracula, a fictional character in the Dracula novel, was inspired by one of the best-known figures of the Romanian history - Vlad Dracula, nickname Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler) - who was a ruler of Wallachia (1456-1462).

An Intriguing Figure in The Fifteenth Century by Benjamin Hugo Leblanc -EPHE- Sorbonne (Paris) & Laval University (Quebec) Count Dracula is more than 100 years old and still alive! Of course, almost everybody has heard about this Nosferatu: through movies featuring Max Schreck, Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee or Gary Oldman; in several books - among which the recent Vampire Chronicles of Anne Rice; or even in bedtime stories told to us in our childhood. We all have an idea of who or what the Count is. However, on the other hand, Vlad Tepes (Dracula), the historical figure who inspired Bram Stoker for his novel, is definitely less known.

Vlad Tepes was born in December 1431, in the fortress of Sighisoara, Romania. Vlad's father, governor of Transylvania, had been inducted into the Order of the Dragon about one year before. The order - which could be compared to the Knights of the Hospital of St. John or even to the Teutonic Order of Knights - was a semi-military and religious society; originally created in 1387 by the Holy Roman Emperor and his second wife, Barbara Cilli. The main goal of such a secret fraternal order of knights was mainly to protect the interests of Christianity and to crusade against the Turks. The boyars of Romania associated the dragon with the Devil and decided to call Vlad's father "Dracul" - which in Romanian language, means ""Devil"; "Dracula" is a diminutive, which means "the son of the Devil".

In the winter of 1436-1437, Dracul became prince of Wallachia (one of the three Romanian provinces) and took up residence at the palace of Tirgoviste, the princely capital. Vlad followed his father and lived six years at the princely court. In 1442, in order to keep the Turks at bay, Dracul sent his son Vlad and his younger brother Radu, to Istanbul, as hostages of the Sultan Murad II, Vlad was held in there until 1448. This Turkish captivity surely played an important role in Dracula's upbringing; it must be at this period that he adopted a very pessimistic view of live and learned the Turkish method of impalement on stakes. The Turks set Vlad free after informing him of his father's assassination in 1447. He also learned about his older brother's death and how he had been tortured and buried alive by the boyars of Tirgoviste.

When he was 17 years old, Vlad Tepes (Dracula), supported by a force of Turkish cavalry and a contingent of troops lent to him by pasha Mustafa Hassan, made his first major move toward seizing the Wallachian throne. Vlad became the ruler of Wallachia in July of 1456. During his six-year reign he committed many cruelties, and hence established his controversial reputation.

His first major act of revenge was aimed at the boyars of Tirgoviste for not being loyal to his father. On Easter Sunday of what we believe to be 1459, he arrested all the boyar families who had participated at the princely feast. He impaled the older ones on stakes while forcing the others to march from the capital to the town of Poenari. This fifty-mile trek was quite grueling and no one was permitted to rest until they reached destination. Dracula then ordered boyars to build him a fortress on the ruins of an older outpost overlooking the Arges River. Many died in the process, and Dracula therefore succeeded in creating a new nobility and obtaining a fortress for future emergencies. What is left today of the building is identified as Poenari Fortress (Cetatea Poenari).

Vlad Tepes adopted the method of impaling criminals and enemies and raising them aloft in the town square for all to see. Almost any crime, from lying and stealing to killing, could be punished by impalement. Being so confident in the effectiveness of his law, Dracula placed a golden cup on display in the central square of Tirgoviste. The cup could be used by thirsty travelers, but had to remain on the square. According to the available historic sources, it was never stolen and remained entirely unmolested throughout Vlad's reign. Crime and corruption ceased; commerce and culture thrived, and many Romanians to this day view Vlad Tepes as a hero for his fierce insistence on honesty and order.

In the beginning of 1462, Vlad launched a campaign against the Turks along the Danube River. It was quite risky, the military force of Sultan Mehmed II being by far more powerful than the Wallachian army. However, during the winter of 1462, Vlad was very successful and managed to gain several victories. To punish Dracula, the Sultan decided to launch a full-scale invasion of Wallachia. His other goal was to transform this land into a Turkish province. He entered Wallachia with an army three times larger than Dracula's. Finding himself without allies, and forced to retreat towards Tirgoviste, Vlad burned his own villages and poisoned the wells along the way, so that the Turkish army would find nothing to eat or drink. Moreover, when the Sultan, exhausted, finally reached the capital city, he was confronted by a most gruesome sight : hundreds of stakes held the remaining carcasses of Turkish captives, a horror scene which was ultimately nicknamed the "Forest of The Impaled". This teror tactic deliberately stage-managed by Dracula was definitely successful; the scene had a strong effect on Mehmed's most stout-hearted officers, and the Sultan, tired and hungry, decided to withdraw (it is worth mentioning that even Victor Hugo, in his Legende des Siecles, recalls this particular incident). Nevertheless, following his retreat from Wallachian territory, Mehmed encouraged and supported Vlad's younger brother Radu to take the Wallachian throne. At the head of a Turkish army and joined by Vlad's detractors, Radu pursued his brother to Poenari Castle on the Arges river. According to the legend, this is when Dracula's wife, in order to escape capture, committed suicide by hurling herself from the upper battlements, her body falling down the precipice into the river below - a scene exploited by Francis Ford Coppola's production. Vlad, who was definitely not the kind of a man to kill himself, managed to escape the siege of his fortress by using a secret passage into the mountain. He was however, assassinated toward the end of December 1476.

The Only real link between the historical Dracula (1431-1476) and the modern literary myth of the vampire is the 1897 novel. Bram Stoker built his fictional character solely based on the research that he conducted in libraries in London. Political detractors and Saxon merchants, unhappy with the new trade regulations imposed by Vlad, did everything they could to blacken his reputation. They produced and disseminated throughout Western Europe exaggerated stories and illustrations about Vlad's cruelty. Vlad Tepes reign was however presented in a different way in chronicles written in other parts of Europe. (Excerpts from a feature published in Issue #5 of Journal of The Dark, Benjamin Leblanc).

Source : Wikipedia