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Wish you Happy Diwali & Prosperous New Year

Happy New Year to everyone! May the divine lights of Diwali vanquish all the darkness in your life, and may you begin a new era of continued progress.



How to copy songs from Cassette Tape to PC

Recenty, I have come across an excellent technique by which we can transfer the cassette audio to the computer, in MP3 format. Thus, the songs can then be burned on an Audio CD or copied to mobile phones. You can also use this technique to make a backup copy of the Audio. 




Donate Rice by improving your Vocabulary


FreeRice banner

Today, I would like to mention a wonderful site that innovatively helps to carry out an excellent activity, donate rice to the needy people.

Freerice.com, an initiative of the World Food Program, is the site that I am talking about. It is a vocabulary game. In it, you will be given a word, the meaning of which you have to guess out of the 4 given options. For every correct answer, 10 grains of rice are donated. And the more the correct answers given, the tougher the words become. Thus, it is quite an engaging game.

It has recently added many more game types, added to the English meanings game, like simple Arithmetic, chemical symbols, find countries on the map, etc.



Recovering permanently deleted files

Permanently deleted data includes data deleted from the Recycle Bin & formatted data.

Have you ever faced a situation where you have accidentally deleted an important file from the Recycle Bin? It is generally considered that once this happens, it is impossible to recover it. But actually, such deleted files can be recovered, though the chances of it decreases as time passes. You will need a Data Recovery software for this purpose.



How to change the location of My Music, My Pictures, etc.

Windows contains special folders like My Music, My Pictures, My Videos &My Documents, Music & Pictures (Image) My Documents. These folders are default for their respective files. This means that :


  • My Pictures is the default folder for saving digicam pictures, custom-created images, etc.
  • My Music for music files, ripped audio CDs, etc.
  • My Documents is a default folder for saving documents, spreadsheets & presentations. And, some softwares / games also use this folder for saving their settings.

  • These folders are located in the local drive (The drive on which Windows is installed) And, we cannot change its location directly, except that of My Documents. This can act as a dis-advantage in many cases. Fortunately, this location can be changed with a simple trick.

    This can be useful in many ways. Example. You may have a large music collection in a different location than the My Music folder. Then, you may wish to automatically rip Audio CDs to that different location rather than the My Music Folder. This can easily be done by changing the default location of the My Music folder to your particular folder. The same applies for Video, Picture or Document collections.

    So, for changing the location of a special folder,

    For Windows XP :

    1. Download Tweak UI, a Windows XP Power Toy.
    After installing, open it from Start --> All Programs --> Powertoys for Windows XP --> TweakUI.

    Image of TweakUI tool, showing how to change the location of the 'My Videos' special folder


    2. Expand the My Computer tab & click on Special Folders.

    3. Select the special folder that you wish to change. 

    (Note : Don't select the same location for two or more different special folders, & do not point a location to system folders like 'Fonts')

    4. Then, change the location to your preferred folder.

    That's it! Now, the folders will point to your chosen location.




    Login to multiple IMs without any software

    Instant Messaging is an excellent feature of the Internet. Just by connecting to the Internet, people can chat, talk & even see each other, though they may be very far away physically. 


    There are several comanies which provide this service to their users. However, with the exception of some services, to be able to chat, you need to install an application on the PC. (Ex. Windows Live Messenger by Live mail) In addition, this software only supports its respective chatting platform. Thus, to use different chatting platforms, one needs to install many different programs.

    All these problems can be solved by using Meebo or IMO.im. Both of these are online applications that empower you to use multiple chatting platforms at once right from your web browser, without the need of any software. 

    Meebo

    Picture of Meebo.com

    Imo.im :  This tool has a special feature by which you can link all your accounts with one another, without the need to create an account with the tool.


    Picture of IMO.im

    Note : There are also many softwares for using multiple chatting platforms simultenously. But, this articles focusses only on the online applications.



    Search multiple search engines at once

    Everyone generally has a preferred search engine which is used to fulfill all one's search needs. But sometimes, when searching for rare topics, that one search engine may not give the required results. Thus, one then uses some other search engine for the search. This, in turn, gives several duplicate results & it too, may not give the required results.

    Thus, when searching for rare topics, it is advisable to search multiple search engines at once. There are many online tools available for this purpose, which are called Meta search engines. These tools search major search engines for your query & then present to you the results together, with the search rankings determined by the average rankings from the concerned search engines. These tools are listed & explained below :



    How to reduce your Internet's data transfer

    Sometimes, when monitoring your Internet's data transfer, you might notice that you have transferred a lot of data & that your download limit might finish very soon. Thus, you will need to reduce your rate of data transfer. Here are some tips to do so :


    Turn off images : 
    Images have a much higher size than regular text. Thus, the more the images loaded, the more is the data transferred. Thus, you ahould turn off image loading from your browser's settings.

    Turn off other extras : 
    Similarly to images, disabling extras like pop-ups, Java, Javascript, etc. too helps in lowering data transfer. Note that some features in some sites may not work with Java / Javascript disabled. So, you can enable them temporarily if the features are important.

    The PC Beginners RSS feed in Google Reader

    Take advantage of RSS Feeds : 
    The RSS feed of PC Beginners in Google Reader
    Many sites (like this one) offer RSS feeds of their content. If the sites that you visit contain RSS feeds, then subscribe to the required feed in a reader & then read the article from the reader. By doing this, only the article will be loaded excluding the other parts of the web-site. This will reduce 
    data transfer.

    How can one know whether a site contains feeds or not?
    Look for the RSS icon RSS logo in the web page. If the page contains RSS feeds, then the RSS logo icon will be usually present in it. You can subscribe to the feed by clicking on the icon.

    I will write more points in this article once I find them. 



    ISP Internet Plans explained

    With the increasing demand for the Internet, several ISPs (Internet Service Providers) have entered the competition. All of them provide a choice of a variety of plans/schemes to the consumers. The plans differ from each other in many ways. So, below is the explanation of the various properties of ISP plans :

    Speed : The speed of the data transfer is an important feature of all ISP plans. Obviously, the higher the speed, the faster is the Internet. One thing that is important to know with regard to the Internet speed is the difference between Kilobits & Kilobytes

    Download limit : ISP plans usually have a download limit applied of a specific amount ex. 500 MB, 5 GB, etc. If the limit is exceeded within the period of the plan, then you are charged extra or the plan expires early. 

    One thing to note is that this limit is not just limited to actual downloads. Even the data transferred while surfing web sites is included in it. This is because, to view a web site, the browser needs to 'download' its images & data temporarily. Similarly, the data transferred in chatting, playing videos, etc. is also included. Thus, it is actually the 'data transfer' limit rather than the 'download' limit.

                     How to reduce data transfer.

    Note : These two properties (speed & download limit) are generally available complementarily to each other. For ex. The plan having a higher speed will have a lower download limit & vice versa. So, you will need to make a choice between the two. If you download a lot of data of a big size, then it is advisable to select a plan with a higher download limit. Otherwise, a faster plan would be better.

    Night plans : Some ISPs offer night plans. In such plans, you are offered higher speeds & download limits between certain night hours. Ex. 10pm & 8am, etc. Use such plans only if you are absolutely sure to use it in the given time.

    That's it! Good luck in selecting an Internet plan perfectly suitable for you.



    How to stay safe from your Internet's download limit

    The monthly download limit is an important property of ISP plans. Usually, a data transfer (download) limit is applied & if more data is transferred than it, extra proportionate charges are charged. But, manually keeping a check on the amount of data transferred is a tedious task. So, given below is information on tools that will help you to analyze your data transfer easily & effectively  :

    NetMeter monitor
    NetMeter : This is one of the best tools available for monitoring data transfer. It carries out its task very effectively. It runs in the
    background & monitors the data download & upload. Then, you can easily view the amount of data transferred & other such information from the Reports & Totals option (contained in the the right-click context menu of NetMeter's monitor or its taskbar icon). You can also view the daily, weekly & monthly reports from this option.

    NetMeter Analysis
    NetMeter --> Totals & Reports option

    Should I set NetMeter to run on Start-up?
    Yes, if you use an Internet connection that is always on, ie., which does not require you to start an extra application like a dialer. However, if you have a connection that starts with a dialer, you can disable this option & then start NetMeter everytime you connect to the Internet. If you forget things often, then it's recommended to let it run automatically on Start-up.


    I will post about more such powerful, free tools for monitoring data transfer once I find them.



    How to speed up your PC

    1. Remove spywares & viruses

    Viruses & spywares are one of the major & most common reasons of PC slowdown. This is because, they use up the majority of the available memory for their unethical activities. And, the remaining memory is shared by the other programs. Thus, as the programs have to suffice with low memory, slowdown is caused. Therefore, removal of spywares & viruses is the first step towards a speedy PC.




    2. Clean & defragment :

    In course of time, the PC gets filled up with lots of junk files, gets fragmented & takes a lot of time to carry out simple tasks. Thus, for fixing this problem, you will need to clean & defragment your PC.

    CCleaner - Freeware Windows Optimization
    i) Cleaning up the junk files is a very easy task these days thanks to free, simple & powerful utilities like CCleaner & Advanced SystemCare Free. Using these tools, you simply need to select the junk items to remove, start the cleaning process & within 
    a couple of minutes, your PC will be clean! You can clean several junk items like temporary Windows files, obsolete registry entries, browser data, etc. using these softwares.

    ii) As data moves from one place to another in a PC, it becomes fragmented, as a whole. This also acts as a reason for slowdown. Thus, it is important that you regularly defragment your PC drives for a quick PC. There are several utilities like Auslogics Disk Defrag, Smart Defrag, etc. For this purpose. You can occasionally defragment the Windows Registry as well.

    You should clean & defragment your PC regularly twice a month to maintain its efficiency & quickness. 




    3. Disable unnecessary Windows services : 

    Windows provides a variety of services to us. However, many of these services are not at all useful for most types of users. These services use up extra memory, causing slowdowns for other programs. Thus, disabling some of these services will help in quickening up the PC. The following services can be safely disabled :

    ClipBook
    Remote Registry 
    Telnet
    NetMeeting Remote Desktop Sharing
    Alerter
    Error Reporting Service
    Messenger
    Print Spooler (if you don't use a Printer)

    To disable the services,  go to Start --> Run --> services.msc. Then, right-click on the concerned service, click on Properties & change the Start-up Type to Disabled.

    For information on why the given services should be disabled, check the main article on disabling unnecessary Windows services.


    Decrease the programs on Start-up :

    The Startup list is a list of the applications that start along with Windows. Many applications put itself on the Startup list by default. The more the programs on it, more programs will run, which will slow up the PC. So, it is recommended to reduce the number of programs on the Startup list to speed up the PC. You can do so from the Startup tab of the 'Msconfig' utility (Open it from Start --> Run --> msconfig)




    [Older PCs] Turn off visual effects :

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

    You can disable the extra effects from Start --> Right-click on My Computer --> Properties --> Advanced --> Settings (1st). 




    So, good luck in speeding up your PC!



    Disable unnecessary Windows services

    The Windows operating system provides a host of services which help us in several ways. But, the more the services enabled, the slower the PC becomes. And, there are various services which are not at all useful for most types of users. These services should be disabled so that the PC doesn't unnecessarily consume extra memory & become slow. 

    So, first of all, here is how you can disable a particular service :

    1. Open 'services.msc' from Start --> Run.



    2. From the list present in the application, right-click on the service you wish to disable & click on Properties.



    3. Now, in startup type, you can select Disable to disable the service or Manual to forbid the service from automatically starting.

    And now, given below is a list of services that can be disabled (with reasons) :

     --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Note : The 4 services given below are useful if the PC is accessed remotely, ie., from another PC. And usually, the majority of users never use Remote access. If you are one of them, then you can disable the 4 services :-

    ClipBook : This service helps to share information with Remote computers. 

    Remote Registry : Enables remote users to modify registry settings on your computer. 

    Telnet : This service is used to facilitate remote users in opening programs on your PC.

    NetMeeting Remote Desktop Sharing : This service enables us to view our desktop remotely using NetMeeting. 
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    These services can be disabled too :

    Alerter : This service helps in giving administrative alerts to the user. However, it can be used by hackers to harm the PC. Thus, it should be disabled. It is disabled by default in XP SP2 & is not present in Vista

    Error Reporting Service : This service helps in reporting errors to Microsoft. However, if you don't wish to report errors, you can disable this service.

    Messenger : This service is used for communication within a network. It too, can be misused by hackers. Thus, it should be disabled. It is disabled by default in XP SP2 & is not present in Vista

    Print Spooler : It loads files to memory for later printing. If you do not use a printer, disable this service.





    How to remove tough Viruses

    Earlier, I had published an article on staying safe from Viruses. But even while following all precautions, a Virus may still enter your PC. Fortunately, almost all the viruses will get repaired or deleted by scanning your PC with a good anti-virus software. But, there are certain viruses that cannot be removed by an anti-virus software. So, to remove such tough viruses, one can :


    (Note : The anti-virus will give you the name of the virus, the name of the infected file & its directory when it informs you of its inability to remove the virus.) 

    1. Scan the infected file with other anti-virus softwares :
    Note down the name &  directory of the infected file. Then, scan that particular file/directory with another anti-virus program. This should most probably remove the virus. If not, then,
     
    2. Search for the virus' removal tool :
    There are many such viruses which the anti-virus programs cannot remove. For some of these viruses, specially designed removal tools are created & are available in various places on the Web. 

    To search for a removal tool, 

    1) Open your favourite search engine & search for the tool by using the following syntax : " 'Virus Name' removal tool" (without quotes) where 'Virus name' be replaced by the name of the virus. 

    ii) Then, from the list of search results, visit a result that you find more relevant. 

    iii) The resulting page will provide a download of the removal tool. Thus, downlad the removal tool & follow its instructions properly to remove the virus.

    If you cannot find a tool, then

    3. Revert your PC to a previous date :

    Note : To use this technique, you will need to know the date when the virus infected the PC.

    Note 2 : This option can only be used if the PC has System Restore enabled. And further, system restore is only available in Windows ME, XP & Vista.

    By using the System Restore feature, you can revert your PC to a previous date. This will turn the PC into exactly how it was on a previous date, which will obviously remove the virus, undo all installations, data changes, etc. done between the current & reverting date. Thus, before reverting, make sure that you save all your important changed data to an external medium like CD, Pen drive, etc.

    Then, to revert your PC to a previous date :

    1. Start System Restore. (From Start --> All Programs --> Accessories --> System Tools --> System Restore )

    2. Select the option 'Restore my computer to a previous time (XP) / Choose a different restore point (Vista) & click on Next.

    3. Then, select the date to which you wish to revert your PC. (The date selected should be the earliest date before the date when the virus infected the PC)   

    4. After this process, the virus should get removed.


    Thus, these are some ways by which a tough virus can be removed. Good luck in the removal of your PC's virus!



    Introducing Cell Phone Beginners

    Hello, everyone! Today, I would like to unveil my 2nd blog, named Cell Phone Beginners. As the name suggests, I will be writing articles for the Cell phone, aiming to write them in such a way, that even beginners can understand them. And, it's articles are going to start from tomorrow itself!



    How to find Software help effectively

    There are many instances when working with a software that one does not know how to perform a particular function or does not possess the required knowledge. In such cases, one needs help. Here is what you should do for effectively finding help :


    1. Check the Help file : Most softwares come with a help file built in. This file tends to fully cover all aspects of the software. Thus, it is likely that all your help needs will be fulfilled by it. 

    You can access this file by pressing the F1 key or going to Help --> Contents. After opening the file, you can either go through its different sections or search for a term from the search tab, to get the information you need.

    2. Online help : Some companies offer online help for their products. Thus, you can visit the product's web site (You can find the web page address from Help --> About). Then, you can search for the required information in a way similar to how you find help from the help file.

    3. Search : You can also seek the info by searching for it on the Net. There are many reliable info sources online which can guide & inform you.

    You can use the syntax "how to *** using 'software'" or "what is *** in 'software'"  (without the quotes) where *** stands for the required info & 'software' stands for the name of the concerned software.

    4. Ask : You can ask for the required info in sites like Yahoo! Answers, Wiki Answers, etc. or in blogs (like this one) By this way, you will most probably get your answer. And, there's also the traditional way of asking an expert PC friend for the information!

    Thus, these are the ways by which you can get help for a software effectively.



    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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