virus screen   702 Weekend , 8 September 2001

Tips & Hints

Posted 19 September 2001

With the collapse in hardware prices and the impending release of Windows XP a lot of people are looking at upgrading their computer. There are a number of factors to look at when upgrading but the two most important are whether the upgrade is going to be cost effective and the age of the computer. We discuss this in the August 30 problem of the week.

One important thing to remember is not to be the first on your block. If you buy the latest, flashiest equipment and software those of us who know computers will admire you: For your courage. Don't buy the latest hardware or software until it has been on the market for a few months, by then any bugs should be ironed out.

CD-Drive Failure

When a CD drive fails it generally isn't worth repairing. It is much more cost effective to get a new one. If you have plenty of time on your hands you could dismantle it and try to repair it, but if you are paying for repairs then just buy a new one. It will be faster anyway. The usual warnings about spending too much on an old computer apply as well.

The vanishing hard drive

Graham has a hard drive that the computer can't see. Generally this indicates the drive has died and usually it isn't worth repairing. If the data on a dead hard drive isn't important then you could repartition the drive, reformat and see if it was just a partition problem. Even if the repartitioning works you can never fully trust that drive again, hard drive problems have a nasty habit of returning.

Partitioning a drive

Continuing the subject of drive partitioning, Nick wanted to know if dividing a drive into three partitions was a good idea. It is, having separate partitions for the operating system, applications and data makes maintaining the computer easier.

Some programs insist on installing themselves onto the C: drive and other programs insist on installing all sort of files in the operating system's folder (Microsoft are one of the worst for this). So you will never completely be able to totally isolate the drives, but having separate partitions will help.

Once again we had a lot of callers we couldn't get to. We will be back on again next month at 11.30. In the meantime visit our tips pages for useful help on getting the most from your computer. Happy computing.

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