Mobile power management for Windows Vista

windows vista

Even though it has been delayed, Microsoft’s vaunted new operating system Windows Vista (formerly known as Longhorn) is still one of the most highly anticipated software releases out there. With Bill Gates himself saying that Windows Vista is going to be his company’s first significant version since the transition from Windows 3.1 to Windows 95 the anticipation for this new OS has really grown.With various Windows Vista builds being released as a way for PC enthusiasts and other technical people to take stock of the operating system, a number of important details can now be discussed about Windows Vista.

One of the salient features discussed about Windows Vista is the power management features that will benefit users of mobile PCs. This is quite important especially since power management is a very crucial factor for most mobile PC users who lug around their laptops wherever they go in order to be productive. Usually a mobile PC user will try to manage how their laptop’s battery is expending power especially when they are in a situation where they cannot plug their devices into an AC adapter. These users would constantly check the battery meter and usually when the meter gets below the one hour mark the indicator drops very rapidly.

Windows XP has a little power meter that can be seen in the system tray but battery management will really depend from OEM to OEM. Windows Vista though offers a more uniform approach. Although the battery level can still be monitored in the system try, there is now an option where a user can change certain settings by right clicking. This is allows a degree of freedom for mobile PC users.

Background file transcoding with Windows Media Center

Microsoft’s Windows Media Center is probably one of the niftiest pieces of sotware the Redmond software giant has unleashed to the public. Windows Media Center has helped bring the ease and convenience of its Windows operating system into the entertainment centers of many homes. With Media Center, playing various media files is more intuitive and easier to do.There are many hidden gems inside Windows Media Center that users will discover if they play around with the many features and settings. Unfortunately, not many people will actually do this because of the fear of a new piece of software.

One of the niftier features of Windows Media Center, particularly with the Windows Media Player is the ability to set up an automatic synchronization for a person’s playlists. But what’s more, if the automatic synchronization is enabled, Windows Media Player can actually transcode the video and audio files in the background, allowing the software to the transcoding when the person is not using the computer.

To enable / set up the background file conversion feature, first start Windows Media Player 10, then right click on the toolbar to display the shortcut menu. On that menu you go to Tools and then to Options. When the Options box open, click the Devices tab and then click Advanced. When the File Conversion Options dialog box opens the Allow files to convert into the background check box should be ticked off and then press OK.

Remember though that background transcoding does not work with manual synchronization.

Disable certain Windows XP services

windows

It is a widely acknowledged fact that Windows XP is a bloated piece of software. There are just so many things incorporated into the operating system that not really used by the regular, casual user. The bad thing about these additional features and little applets is that they reside in the system memory, which helps slow down the overall performance of the system.In order to fully maximize the speed of your operating system and also your computer, it would be a good idea to disable some of these unused Windows XP services. To access these, Click on Start, then Run, and type services.msc” then enter.

Among the services that you can safely disable are:

* Alerter – Sends alert messages to specified users connected to the server computer.

* Application Management – Allows software to tap directly into the Add/Remove Programs feature through the Windows Installer.

* Background Intelligent Transfer Service – The Background Intelligent Transfer service is used by programs like Windows AutoUpdate to download files by using spare bandwidth.

* Error Reporting Service – Allows applications to send error reports to Microsoft in case there is an application fault.

* Fast User Switching – Windows XP allows users to switch quickly between accounts, without requiring them to log off.

* Help and Support – Allows the XP Built-in Help and Support Center to run.

* IMAPI CD-Burning COM Service – You don’t need this if you have other software to create CDs.

* Indexing Service – Indexes contents and properties of files on local and remote computers; provides rapid access to files through flexible querying language.

Tweaks you can do for faster internet

internet

Everyone wants to have faster internet connections. The faster, the better because fast loading pages and swift returns on queries to search engines not only means saving a lot of time it also makes surfing the net a much more enjoyable experience.

Of course, if you want a faster internet connection then you should apply for a faster connection plan with your internet service provider. That is the fastest and most effective way of getting the fast speeds that you need.

But even if you do not apply for a faster internet connection there are certain tweaks that you can still do on your computer in order to make pages load faster and squeeze a little more speed on your existing internet connection.

If you have a broadband connection – whether it is DSL or cable – there is a likelihood that you can do a few things that can help optimize its speed. For people who use Windows XP, there are a number of registry settings that refer to how fast data is transmitted to and from the network interfaces. Manipulating these setting to more accurately follow what the capabilities of your connection possess will help in increasing its speed. There are many locations within the Windows registry that can be changed that will result in improvements in the connection speed. Since there are such a great number of files that should changed in the registry it would be a good idea to do research on each of the registry tweaks first to determine which ones will have the best effect on your particular computer.

Securing your wireless network

Networking

One of the most common mistakes made by people who set up a wireless network at home is leaving that network unsecure. An unsecure network allows other people with a WiFi device to join your network, leech off the internet connection and also access files from the computers that are legitimately part of the network.Thus, it is important to secure a wireless network so that it will deter hackers and leechers from using the internet resources that they are not authorized to use.

The following are some of the steps that should be taken in order to secure a wireless network.

• Look at the antenna placement – try to place the antenna of the access point in a manner that will limit how far the signal will be transmitted beyond the intended coverage area. As such, do not put the antenna near a window because the glass pane will not hinder the signal. As a rule of thumb try to place the antenna at the center of the area you want to cover but keeping in mind that there is as little signal leaking happening.

• Use WEP or Wireless Encryption Protocol — This is a standard method of encrypting traffic through a wireless network. It may not a really strong form of encryption but it is enough to deter casual hackers.

• Change SSID and disable broadcast – Change the SSID from the default to something that is harder to guess. Also uncheck the broadcast option so that the network will not appear in the list of available networks.

Why do you need heatsinks?

fan

Because of the super fast calculations and speeds that are being achieved by today’s processors the natural byproduct of this is the incredible amount of heat that is produced by these processors. In fact, the heat it produces is so high that if nothing is done to dissipate that heat it can actually permanently damage the processor.This is where heatsinks come in. Heatsinks are thermall conductive materials (usually metal but sometimes coupled with other heat dissipating devices) that help absorb this tremendous heat and then disperse it away from the heating component – in this case, the processor.

Some of the most common heatsinks are the stock heatsinks that come with the processors themselves. The most common metals used for these devices are aluminum, copper and steel – with copper being the most conductive and thus the best material for dissipating heat. But this effectivity also comes at a premium as it is the most expensive type of heatsink.

The fancy fins that is commonly seen in heatsinks are not there for decorative purposes. These fins increase the surface area through which the heat will dissipate. The larger the heatsink, the more heat it can hold and of course the more fins there are then dissipating that heat radiantly becomes faster too. Most heatsinks now feature active cooling in that there is a fan placed on the heatsink itself to help draw out the heat. There are also passive heatsinks that do not feature a fan or any other device to aid in heat dissipation.

The Science of Overclocking

Processor

When you buy a computer’s processor, that processor’s core speed is usually preset at a certain level. But for many PC enthusiasts, the preset core speed will not stop them from determining the upper limits of a processor’s capabilities so they overclock these processors.Overclocking is a process in which a processor’s stated speed is pushed to its upper limits is a way for PC enthusiasts to exploit and get more speed from their existing PC components, most frequently the processor. For example, an AMD AthlonXP 2500+, a processor that was quite famous for its high overclockability, has been tweaked by many enthusiasts and after overclocking its frequencies was able to make it run up to a speed that is similar to an AthlonXP 2800+. That is a decent bump in speed that does not require buying anything else.

This concept of buying a processor and then bumping up its performance to approximate the speeds of more expensive variants is the reason why overclocking is very popular. In fact, there are small groups of PC “geeks” that make it some sort of bragging rights to be able to increase the speed of a computer part (say a processor) to its most upper limit and past the previously recorded overclocked speed.

But before you do it though, be aware that overclocking, although it sounds like fun, has its own dangers. First of all, overclocking a computer part basically voids its warranty. So if something happens to the particular part then you can’t have it replaced even if it is still under warranty. Which leads me to my second warning. Overclocked computer parts run significantly hotter than when it is running at stock speeds. Overheated parts can cause crashes and even general system failures.