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Video File Extensions

With the increasing storage spaces & the introduction of YouTube, Videos have become increasingly popular with the current generation. But, the extensions of videos have become increasingly diversified as well. It might be a bit tough for the PC Beginner to remember all the video extensions. So, here is a list of the common video formats used. To run some of these videos extensions., you will need a codec pack. For more information on codecs, visit Playing Videos - Part 1.

Video Extension

Type of Format

MPEG / MPG

Motion Pictures Exchange Group

MOV

QuickTime Video

RM

Real Media

DAT

VCD Format

VOB

DVD Video Format

WMV

Windows Media Audio/Video file

AVI

Audio Video Interleave

3GP

Third Generation Partnership Project

MP4

MPEG – 4 Part 14

GVI

Google Video File

SWF / FLV

Flash Video




Playing Videos - Part 1

Most of the current generation videos use an encryption technique to protect their videos. To view such videos, the media programs need a decryption algorithm, Such an encryption/decryption algorithm is termed as 'codec'. Since different video makers use different codecs, there are a wide array of codecs available on the Internet to play different types of videos. Obviously, downloading new codecs for all new videos is a tedious task. That is why, opting for a comprehensive codec pack is a better option. K-Lite Codec Pack is considered as the most effective codec pack by many.

There are four versions of the K-Lite Codec Pack: Basic, Standard, Full and Mega.

K-Lite Codec Pack Basic contains only the essential codecs. It has the lowest size.

K-Lite Codec Pack Standard contains all the codecs you need to play all the commonly used formats.

K-Lite Codec Pack Full contains most codecs & is suitable for high-end video users.

Download these 3 packs from here :
http://www.codecguide.com/download_kl.htm
http://www.free-codecs.com/download/K_Lite_Codec_Pack.htm

K-Lite Mega Codec Pack contains all the important codecs to play commonly used formats as well as formats which are used rarely. It has the highest size & is suitable for video experts. Download this pack if you want the most comprehensive K-Lite Codec Pack.

Download :
http://www.free-codecs.com/download/K_Lite_Mega_Codec_Pack.htm
http://www.codecguide.com/download_mega.htm



Keep your registry defragmented

Earlier, I had published an article explaining the importance of Disk Defragmentation. And just like the hard drive, the Windows Registry too gets fragmented with time due to the constant use of it by several programs. Most of the programs & the Windows utilities store their settings on the Windows Registry. Thus, the Registry should be defragmented regularly to ensure optimum PC performance.

Auslogics Registry Defrag is a free, quick & powerful software for Registry defragmentation.

To use it to de-fragment the registry :

1) Open AusLogics Registry Defrag.

AusLogics Registry Defrag : Main Window

2) Click on Next.

3) A dialog box will appear asking you to close all running programs. So, save your work, close all active programs & click on OK.

4) AusLogics Registry Defrag will now scan your registry for fragmentations. This will take around 5 minutes at the most.

AusLogics Registry Defrag : Scanning the Registry

5) You will then be provided with an analysis report of the Registry. You will also be shown the amount of registry space that can be reduced & the percentage of performance increase possible.

AusLogics Registry Defrag : Registry Scan Report

6) Click on Next to start defragmentation.
7) Your registry will be backed up. You will be asked to restart the PC. Do so by clicking on Yes.
8) After the restart, you will be given a report of Registry Defragmentation.
9) Click on Finish after viewing the report.

Note : Screen shots used with permission from AusLogics
.



The difference between Kilobytes & Kilobits

The Internet has changed the way that people perceive computers. So, a lot of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have emerged in current times. Each of them try to give better bandwidth, faster speed (measured in kilobits per second) & many other features.

One fact that you must be aware of while selecting an Internet plan is that ISPs use a different definition of KB (in KBPS) than most Internet users, download managers, Windows etc. The KB that ISPs use is kilobits while the KB that we refer to is kilobytes & 1 byte = 8 bits. Therefore, to convert kilobits to kilobytes, we have to divide the kilobits by 8 to get the kilobytes, that we use. Many new users tend to think that the kilobits is the same as kilobytes, since they have the same abbreviation, KB. This is quite natural but one must be vigilant about it.



Using AusLogics Disk Defrag

In one of my previous articles, I had explained the need for Disk Defragmentation. I had also recommended you to use AusLogics Disk Defrag for defragmenting the hard drives. Now, I will elaborate on the way to use the software to defragment a hard drive.

You can use Auslogics Disk Defrag to defragment a drive by following the steps given below :


1) After downloading & installing Auslogics Disk Defrag, open it.
2) You will be asked to select the drive that you wish to defragment.

(Click on the image to enlarge it)

3) After selecting the drive, click on Next.
4) The application will then start defragmenting the drive (This process will take a lot of time on older computers. The time taken also depends on the amount of the fragmented data & the size of the drive.)

(Click on the image to enlarge it)

5) After this, a report will be shown mentioning the number of files defragmented. Click on Back to defragment another drive or Finish to close the application.

For more information on this software, visit this page on the AusLogics website.

It is recommended to defragment all your drives at least once a month to maintain the performance of your PC.



How to associate any download manager with Mozilla Firefox

New : Below is a video explaining the instructions of this article :


 

You can also watch the high-quality version of the video. Note that it will need a faster internet connection. [800+ kb (kilobits) ps]


When you install a download manager, it will automatically associate with Internet Explorer (IE). So, when you click on a download link in IE, Flashget will open to download the file. To associate any download manager with Mozilla Firefox, install the Flashgot extension which can associate lots of download managers with Firefox, including Flashget, Free Download Manager, Getright, Orbit, etc.

How to install & set up the Flashgot plugin :

1) Visit the Flashgot Extension page.
2) Click on 'Add to Firefox'.
3) Firefox will then ask you to confirm the download of the extension for security reasons. To confirm the download, click on Install now. Firefox will start downloading the extension.
4) After the download finishes, you will be prompted to restart Firefox to install Flashgot. So, restart Firefox.

5) After Firefox opens, go to Tools ---> Add-ons ---> In the Extensions tab, Click on Flashgot ---> Options.

(Firefox) Tools -- Addons
(Click on the image to enlarge it)

(Firefox) Addons -- Flashgot -- Options
(Click on the image to enlarge it)

6) From here, select the download manager which you want to associate, in the 'Download Manager' area, if it is not already selected. Click on OK & close the Add-ons window.

Firefox)Select download manager(Click on the image to enlarge it)

This will integrate the download manager with Firefox. Now, whenever you click on a download link, a download window will pop up from which you can not only open the file with a particular application or download the file with the basic download manager but also download the file via the Flashgot extension ie., your download manager.

Note : This is one of the most visited pages on this blog via Google Search. But, it still has no comments. Thus, I do not know if it really is useful for my visitors. So, if you have read this article & found it helpful/complex, etc, then please comment below. It will help me in improving the blog. Thank you!



Manage your downloads efficiently

Do you download files from the Internet often? Do you use the basic download managers bundled with your browser? Then, what you need is a specialized download manager. The modern download managers provide you with powerful features like pausing/resuming downloads, resuming broken downloads, improving download speed, organizing your downloads & much more.

There are many download managers available on the Internet. I would recommend you to use Flashget. It is one of the most powerful & popular download managers on the Net. After installation, it gets directly associated with Internet Explorer. It means that whenever we click on a download, the download starts in Flashget instead of the default download manager of Internet Explorer. To associate it with Mozilla Firefox too, read this article.



What is the Windows Task Manager?

The Windows Task Manager is the tool that comes up when you press Alt + Ctrl + Delete or right-click on the task bar & click on Task Manager. The task manager lists all the programs that are currently running, including those running in the background. The task manager is very important for closing unresponsive programs & detecting the number of programs running in the background.

The task manager has 5 tabs, which are explained below :

Applications : This tab lists the active windows & its status. You can end a program by clicking on End Process, switch to a window & Start a new program from this tab.

Processes : This tab lists all the processes that are currently running & the amount of memory they are using. It is from here that one can see the processes running in the background. The various types of Spywares & Viruses always run in the background. To check the details of a particular process, visit Search Tasks. It is recommended to view the details of every process running on your PC to make sure that you don't have any spyware/virus related process running. The following processes are essential for Windows XP to run properly, & are thus safe :

svchost.exe - Normal Windows Services
taskmgr.exe - This is the Task Manager that you are currently running.
explorer.exe - A Windows utility.
lsass.exe - Local Security Authority Service.
winlogon.exe - Microsoft Windows Logon Process
csrss.exe - Microsoft Client/Server Runtime Server Subsystem
smss.exe -Session Manager Subsystem
System
System Idle Process

Services that are necessary for minor Windows services :

spoolsv.exe
alg.exe
ctfmon.exe

If you have any other processes running, check the process in Search Tasks.

The Performance & Networking tabs give details regarding network & CPU Usage, while the Users tab shows the users logged on to the PC.



Beware of unsolicited e-mails

The modern e-mail technology is very useful for quick & efficient communication. But like many things on the Internet, it has its disadvantages too, as viruses & spywares can make their way into our PC through e-mail attachments. So, one must be wary when dealing with E-mails. Here are a few tips to be secure while checking e-mails :

1) Do not open attached files sent by unknown sources. They may contain viruses & spywares.

2) Do not visit links sent by unknown sources. The website linked to it may be unscrupulous.

3) As far as possible, do not open attached application files (Files that have the extension *.exe ie., Files that end with .exe)If it is sent by an unknown person, then do not even think about opening them. This is because viruses usually come in an application file.

4) Do not give your credit card info, passwords, etc through e-mails to unknown persons. And also note that banks & E-mail account providers will generally never ask you for such information via e-mail. The e-mail might have been sent by hackers who may use the information for their own use.



Analyze the EULA of softwares to make sure that the software is secure

Whenever we try to install a software, we are given an EULA (End user License Agreement) to read. We can only install the software if we agree to the agreement. Now, this agreement is usually very big. That is why, many PC users tend to skip this & directly install the software. Unscrupulous softwares mention their shady intents in the EULA. Therefore, it is important to take care if such intents are mentioned in the EULA or not. Since reading the EULA is a long & tedious task, it is advisable to use an EULA analyzing software to check the EULA.

EULAlyzer is an effective software which analyzes any EULA & gives us a list of suspect items, if any, in it. We can then decide whether or not to install the software. Its basic version is free. To analyze an EULA :

1) Whenever you come across an EULA, Select the complete EULA by dragging the pointer from the first letter of the EULA to the last, right-click on the selected text & click on Copy.
2) Open EULAlyzer.
3) Click on Analyze on the left hand side menu, or from the 'Scan new license agreement' link below the 'EULAlyzer scan' area.
4) Right click on the blank area below the License Agreement area & click on Paste.
5) Click on Analyze.
6) The EULA will then be analyzed & a list of suspect items will be given to you.



Turn off visual effects to boost your PC performance

One of the various features that Microsoft® Windows XP has over the previous versions of Microsoft® Windows is its display effects. For example, the colorful start menu, shadow effects, etc. It definitely adds up to the display value of the OS. But for slow computers, the effects lead to slower PC performance. Therefore, it is highly recommended to turn off all the visual effects of Microsoft® Windows XP if you are using an older PC. To turn off the visual effects, follow these steps :

1) Click on Start.
2) Right-click on 'My Computer' & click on Properties.

My Computer --- (Right-Click) Properties
(Click on the image to enlarge it)
3) Click on the 'Advanced tab'.
4) Click on the first 'Settings' button under the Performance area.

System Properties : Advanced --- Performance Settings
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5) Select 'Adjust for best performance' (or you can also uncheck the options that you want to turn off. The more options you uncheck, the faster your performance will be).

Adjust for best performance
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6) Click on OK & Click on OK again.

Note : Microsoft product screen shot(s) reprinted with permission from Microsoft Corporation.



Decrease the number of applications on the Startup List.

The Startup list has a list of the applications that start along with Windows. Many applications put itself on the Startup list by default. Thus, the startup time of Windows increases considerably. So, it is recommended to reduce the number of programs on the Startup list. To do this :

1) Open the Start menu (By clicking on Start/Pressing the Windows key)
2) Click on Run.
3) Type 'msconfig' & press Enter/Click on OK.


(Click on the image to maximize it)

4) Then click on the Startup tab.
5) Now, uncheck the programs that you do not wish to open on Startup. The lesser the programs selected, the less time it will take to start the PC.
6) Click on OK.
7) You will then be asked to restart your computer, which is not necessary. So, you can click on 'Exit without Restart'.
8) When you start the OS (Operating System) again after following the above steps, a window of an msconfig message will appear. Check the option given above the OK button & click on OK.

Some programs get ticked again even if you untick it. For such programs, you can mention to them not to start on Startup by changing the settings/preferences in the program. Also, if you wish to load only the basic applications on Startup (to minimize the Startup time), follow the above steps till Step 3. Then, select the Diagnostic Startup & click on OK & then follow the 7th & 8th steps.


(Click on the image to maximize it)

Note : Microsoft product screen shot(s) reprinted with permission from Microsoft Corporation.



Hello! Welcome to PC Beginners. Here, some useful tips for your PC will be given. This blog is meant for everyone, but it is mainly for those people who have little experience with computers. I am sure that your stay on this site will be a pleasant one!




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