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Ergonomic practices while using keyboard


    How you use the keyboard is up to you. But by taking the time to adjust a few settings and to follow the following simple guidelines, typing on it can become easier, faster, and even safer. It is essential to use good ergonomic practices to help prevent or reduce soreness or injury to your wrists, hands, and arms. It is particularly important if you’re in front of your computer for long periods.

    Here are some ergonomic tips for a safer, more comfortable computer session:

   - Position your keyboard at elbow level, with your upper arms relaxed at your sides.

  - Center your keyboard in front of you. If it has a numeric keypad, use the Spacebar as the centering point.

   - While typing, use a light touch and keep your wrists straight.

   - When you're not typing, relax your arms and hands.

   - Take a short break every 15 to 20 minutes.

   - Type with your hands and wrists floating above the keyboard, so that you can use your whole arm to reach for distant keys instead of stretching your fingers.

   - Avoid resting your palms or wrists on any surface while typing. If your keyboard has a palm rest, use it only during breaks from typing.


Source: microsoft | at home

Posted: 03-26-2012 8:34 PM by Mandira Adhikari with no comments

Improving your wireless network

If the Windows operating system ever notifies you about a weak Wi-Fi signal, it probably means that your connection isn't as fast or as reliable as it could be. Worse, you might lose your connection entirely in some parts of your home. If you want to boost the signal for your wireless network (WLAN), try some of these tips for extending your wireless range and improving your wireless network speed and performance.

1. Position your wireless router, modem router, or access point in a central location

When possible, place your wireless router, wireless modem router (a DSL or cable modem with a built-in wireless router), or wireless access point (WAP) in a central location in your home. If your wireless router, modem router, or access point is against an outside wall of your home, the signal will be weak on the other side of your home. If your router is on the first floor and your PC or laptop is on the second floor, place the router high on a shelf in the room where it is located. Don't worry if you can't move your wireless router, because there are many other ways to improve your connection.


2. Move the router off the floor and away from walls and metal objects (such as metal file cabinets)

Metal objects, walls, and floors will interfere with your router's wireless signals. The closer your router is to these obstructions, the more severe the interference, and the weaker your connection will be.

3. Replace your router's antenna

The antennas supplied with your router are designed to be omnidirectional, meaning that they broadcast in all directions around the router. If your router is near an outside wall, half of the wireless signals will be sent outside your home, and much of your router's power will be wasted. Most routers don't allow you to increase the power output, but you can make better use of the power. If your router’s antenna is removable, you can upgrade to a high-gain antenna that focuses the wireless signals in only one direction. You can even aim the signal in the direction you need it most.


4. Replace your laptop's wireless PC card-based network adapter

Laptops with built-in wireless networking capability typically have excellent antennas and don't need to have their network adapters upgraded. These tips are for laptops that do not have built-in wireless networking.

Wireless network signals must be sent both to and from your computer. Sometimes your router can broadcast strongly enough to reach your computer, but your computer can't send signals back to your router. To improve this, replace your laptop's PC card-based wireless network adapter with a USB wireless network adapter that uses an external antenna.


5. Add a wireless repeater

Wireless repeaters extend your wireless network range without requiring you to add any wiring. Just place the wireless repeater halfway between your wireless router, modem router, or access point and your computer, and you can get an instant boost to your wireless signal strength. improve_06

6. Change your wireless channel

Wireless routers can broadcast on several different channels, similar to the way radio stations use different channels. In the United States and Canada, these channels are 1, 6, and 11. Just as you'll sometimes hear interference on one radio station while another is perfectly clear, sometimes one wireless channel is clearer than others. Try changing your wireless router's channel through your router's configuration page to see if your signal strength improves. You don't need to change your computer's configuration, because it can automatically detect the new channel.

To find your router configuration page, consult this quick reference table, which shows the default addresses for common router manufacturers. If the address is not listed here, read the documentation that came with your router, or visit the manufacturer's webpage.







Microsoft Broadband



7. Reduce wireless interference

The most common wireless technology, 802.11g (wireless-G), operates at a frequency of 2.4 gigahertz (GHz). Many cordless phones, microwave ovens, baby monitors, garage door openers, and other wireless electronics also use this frequency. If you use these wireless devices in your home, your computer might not be able to "hear" your router over the noise coming from them.

If your network uses wireless-G, you can quiet the noise by avoiding wireless electronics that use the 2.4 GHz frequency. Instead, look for cordless phones and other devices that use the 5.8 GHz or 900 megahertz (MHz) frequencies. Because 802.11n (wireless-N) operates at both 2.4 GHz and the less frequently used 5.0 GHz frequency, you may experience less interference on your network if you use this technology.

8. Update your firmware or your network adapter driver

Router manufacturers regularly make free improvements to their routers. Sometimes, these improvements increase performance. To get the latest firmware updates for your router, visit your router manufacturer's website.

Similarly, network adapter vendors occasionally update the software that Windows uses to communicate with your network adapter, known as the driver. These updates typically improve performance and reliability.

9. Pick equipment from a single vendor

Although a Linksys router will work with a D-Link network adapter, you often get better performance if you pick a router and network adapter from the same vendor. Some vendors offer a performance boost of up to twice the performance when you choose their hardware (like their USB wireless network adapters). Linksys has the SpeedBooster technology for its wireless-G devices, and D-Link has the 108G enhancement for its wireless-G devices. These enhancements can be helpful if you have wireless-G devices and you need to transmit over a long distance or you live in an older house (old walls tend to block the signal more than newly built ones do).

If speeding up your connection is important to you, consider the next tip—upgrading your wireless technology.

10. Upgrade 802.11a, 802.11b, and 802.11g devices to 802.11n

Although wireless-G (802.11g) may be the most common type of wireless network, wireless-N (802.11n) is at least twice as fast and it has better range and stability. Wireless-N is backward-compatible with 802.11a, 802.11b, and 802.11g, so you can still use any existing wireless equipment that you have—though you won’t see much improvement in performance until you upgrade your computer or network adapter to wireless-G, too.

If you're using wireless-B or wireless-G and you're unhappy with your network’s speed and performance, consider replacing your router and network adapters with wireless-N equipment. If you're buying new equipment, definitely choose wireless-N.


Wireless networks never reach the theoretical bandwidth limits. Wireless-B networks typically get 2–5 megabits per second (Mbps). Wireless-G networks are usually in the 13–23 Mbps range. The average everyday speed for wireless-N equipment is about 50 Mbps.



P.S. Don’t forget—the security of your wireless network is as important as its speed and performance.


Posted: 01-20-2012 10:27 PM by Mandira Adhikari with 1 comment(s)

Connecting through Wi-Fi: Is it secured?

Wireless local area networks, often called Wi-Fi, is the easy way to have internet access whenever and wherever you are. Its accessible with a wireless-ready mobile PC, such as a laptop, netbook, smartphone, or any other mobile device equipped with a wireless card. Wireless hot spots range from paid services to free public connections. Hot spots are everywhere, including coffee shops, restaurants, libraries, bookstores, airports, trains, and hotel lobbies.

One question arises though; “Are Wi-Fi hot spots safe?”

Public hot spots all have one thing in common—they are open networks that are vulnerable to security breaches. Because they do not encrypt data, your passwords, email messages, and other information can be visible to hackers. That means it's up to you to be aware of wireless hot spot security and to protect the data on your PC or mobile device.

Below are the few Internet security tips to make working on wireless networks in public locations more secure:

1. Disable your Wi-Fi adapter

When you’re not at home or at work, it’s a good idea to turn off your laptop or notebook’s Wi-Fi capability when you’re not using it. Otherwise your computer might connect to a malicious hot spot without your realizing it.

2. Try to choose more secure connections

Use a virtual private network (VPN)

It's not always possible to choose your connection type, but Internet security is critical. When you can, opt for wireless networks that require a network security key or have some other form of security, such as a certificate. The information sent over these networks is encrypted, and encryption can help protect your computer from unauthorized access. For example, instead of using a public hot spot with no encryption, use a virtual private network (VPN). If your business does not have its own VPN, you can download and install free VPN software. The security features of the different available networks appear along with the network name as your PC discovers them.

Protect your email with https

One way to protect your email messages in public is to select the https or other secure connection option in your email account settings (if your email provider supplies one). This option may be called always use https, more secure connection, or something similar. Even if the email provider you use has a secure network, after you log on to your account on a public network, your information is no longer encrypted unless you use a more secure connection. An https connection, for example, which includes encryption, is more secure than an http connection.

3. Make sure your firewall is activated

A firewall helps protect your PC by preventing unauthorized users from gaining access to your computer through the Internet or a network. It acts as a barrier that checks all incoming information and then either blocks the information or allows it to come through. All Windows operating systems come with a firewall, and you can make sure it's turned on.

Note: Some antivirus software includes its own firewall. If your antivirus has a firewall and it is turned on, you do not need to turn on Windows Firewall. Having two firewalls turned on is not recommended.

4. Monitor your access points

Chances are that there are multiple wireless networks anywhere you're trying to connect. These connections are all access points, because they link into the wired system that gives you Internet access. So how do you make sure you're connecting to the right one? Simple—by configuring your PC to let you approve access points before you connect.

5. Disable file and printer sharing

File and printer sharing is a feature that enables other computers on a network to access resources on your computer. When you are using your mobile PC in a hot spot, it's best to disable file and printer sharing—when it's enabled, it leaves your computer vulnerable to hackers. Remember, though, to turn this feature back on when you return to the office.

6. Make your folders private

When the folders on your mobile PC are private, it's more difficult for hackers to access your files.

7. Encrypt your files

You can protect your files further by encrypting them, which requires a password to open or modify them. Because you must perform this procedure on one file at a time, consider password-protecting only the files that you plan to use while working in a public place.

8. Consider removing sensitive data from your portable computer

If you're working with extremely sensitive data, it might be worth taking it off your portable computer altogether. Instead, save it on a corporate network share or on a password-protected site, such as Windows Live SkyDrive, and access it only when necessary. This way, you have multiple safeguards in place.

A few simple precautions can help make working in public places more secure. By selecting the best wireless Internet connections and adjusting settings, you can enjoy more productive and safer work sessions—no matter where you are.



Posted: 01-18-2012 6:43 AM by Mandira Adhikari with no comments

Forgot your windows password?? ..not a big deal

Forgetting your windows password is really frustrating. You try and try but then.. nothing comes up, while you get stuck in the welcome screen!!

Good thing is, its not that big a problem. Here are some simple things you can try in such case:

  1. When you are at the logon screen click CTRL+ALT+DEL.
  2. Under the username put the word "Administrator" and put nothing under password. Most likely this will work, since there is a secret administrators account in every computer. If by any chance this does not work follow following steps:
  3. Reboot the computer into Safe Mode.
  4. When logging into Safe Mode you should be prompted with an option to what account you wish to use. Select the Administrator account. If prompted for a password try pressing Enter on the keyboard for no password.
  5. Once you've logged into the Administrator account open Control Panel and User Accounts.
  6. In User Accounts select the account you wish to change the password for, click change password and then enter the new password or click remove the password to remove the password from the account.

Posted: 01-15-2012 8:07 PM by Mandira Adhikari with 1 comment(s)

Remote Media Streaming

With Remote Media Streaming in Windows 7 you get to enjoy the music, videos, and pictures on your home PC while you’re away. Forget about copying all your media from your home PC to your laptop: Remote Media Streaming taps into your complete Windows Media Player 12 library over the Internet.

Easy to set up

To use Remote Media Streaming, both computers must be running Windows 7. Windows Media Player walks you through the steps to turn it on (you'll need to associate both computers with an online ID, such as a Windows Live e‑mail address). Then when you connect through the Internet, the Player will display and play the media libraries on your home PC the same way it does when you're connected directly to your home network.

More ways to enjoy your media

Remote Media Streaming is just one of the ways Windows 7 helps you enjoy your media library even if you're not in front of the PC. If you have a homegroup, it’s easy to share TV, movies, and other medias and files among the PCs running Windows 7 in your house. With an Xbox 360, you can also send the recorded TV, videos, and photos on your PC to your television. And you can stream to your stereo or TV using Play To (additional hardware might be required).

“Remote Media Streaming is available only in the Home Premium, Professional, Ultimate, and Enterprise editions of Windows 7.”

Posted: 10-11-2011 10:35 AM by Mandira Adhikari with no comments

How to choose a laptop?

    Following instructions might be helpful for you if you are planning to buy a laptop:


  • Firstly surf the internet, look all the ads and collect as much information as you can. Also be careful and think about what features you want and what's available in the market.

Once you are in the store do the following things:

  • Check out the screen area. Make sure it is a damage-resistant screen.

  • Get a built-in wireless card and Bluetooth, if you use that.

  • Feel how heavy the laptop is. Choose one that feels sturdy, solid and not too heavy.

  • See if the keyboard lights up. It is a nice feature.

  • Check out the sound to see if it will be loud enough for you. You can also purchase extra speakers.

  • If you need a built-in screen webcam, look at laptops that include those.

  • Also, you will want as many cells as possible in your battery. This will extend its life. Get an extra one if you can so you have a spare. They tend to wear down and lose their charge with age.

  • If you can swing it, get damage protection in case you drop the machine or it falls.

  • Try the keyboard. Since you can't replace it (except with the exact same item), make sure you're comfortable with its touch and responsiveness. Test it on a desk and on your lap.

  • Test the pointing device, track pad or track ball, the laptop alternatives to a mouse. Some of these can be hard to master. You'll be able to connect an external mouse, but the built-in device is more handy when you're mobile.

  • Check if the computer's bottom gets uncomfortably hot when it's running--a problem if you actually use the laptop on your lap.

  • Pay attention to screen size and resolution. Current liquid-crystal display (LCD) screens on laptops measure from 13 to 21 inches diagonally. Screen resolution may be as low as 800 x 600 pixels or as high as 1600 x 1200. The more pixels, the crisper the screen image. View the screen in a variety of settings: A screen that looks great in normal room lighting can look terrible in bright or dim light.

  • Choose a laptop with at least two USB 2 connections and at least one Firewire (IEEE1394) connection. USB 2 and Firewire are very popular and fast ways of connecting iPods, digital cameras and some phones to computers.

  • Check to see if the laptop has a DVD Burner. That makes backing up documents, music files and pictures a snap because of the high capacity of the discs.

  • Get an antitheft device. Hundreds of thousands of laptops are stolen every year. Look for cables that secure the laptop to a desk. Install software that disables a stolen laptop, or better yet, reports the laptop's location when it connects to the Internet.

  • Be skeptical of claims about battery life. In the real world, battery life is almost always less than what the manufacturer advertises. Its upto you how to optimize your battery power. Read more about  How to optimize battery power on your laptop

Posted: 09-30-2011 8:41 PM by Mandira Adhikari with no comments

Things to look for when buying a new Computer
  • Information:

- Gather the local newspaper ads, do some price hunting on the Internet, on the websites. This will give you a picture of what is currently available. Pay careful attention because your ideas may be outdated. Markets and new technology emerge daily.

  • Maximize the computer's memory; try for at least 1GB RAM (or more):

- RAM (Random Access Memory) is the black "memory stick" (silicone chip) inside of the computer that helps it to run quicker. It lessens those blank screens that often appear when switching in between programs. It is good to have as much as you can. If you can get more than 1 GB, please do so. You can add memory easier at a later time, if you choose.

  • Hard Drive (HD) space:

- Hard Drive (HD) space is often confused with "memory." This is the hard drive space. All of your programs are stored on here, including your Operating System, which is Windows Vista (or XP), in most cases.

- You will want to maximize this as well. Photos, videos, games and software take up the most room. Think of your future needs. You will have the computer for awhile. Your family's items will be stored on the PC, as well.

- Go for at least 100GB or more of HD space. GB is short for Gigabytes.

  • Brand:

- Buy a brand of computer that does not need a lot of repair or the least amount of service calls.

<<more about PCs>>

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Posted: 09-30-2011 7:16 PM by Mandira Adhikari with no comments

Protecting your personal files

Eliminate private documents permanently from your hard drive

When you stop and think about it, your home computer holds a lot of information about you— credit card numbers, bank account details, passwords, medical information, websites you've visited, and those deep, dark secrets you share with your best friend via email.

There naturally comes a time when you're ready for an upgrade, whether it be a bigger hard drive or an entirely new PC. But what should you do with the old one? And what about the information on it? You need to remove this information whether you donate it, sell it, or trash it.

Imagine your hard drive— including all of your personal information—falling into the wrong hands. That's what could happen if you don't do a little damage control before you dispose of your hard drive.

Why "delete" isn't enough?

Many people think that clearing their history, deleting files and cookies, and emptying their computer's recycle bin is enough. Not so, according to IT specialist Tony Lum. He says that's like removing the table of contents in a book. The chapters (or your files, in this case) are still there, they're just harder to find.

What you've actually done is remove a particular file from the disk's index. The file itself still exists on your hard disk. For the average person it's harder to recover, but an experienced programmer (or hacker) could easily locate the file. Previous or temporary versions of the file might also be saved under different names.

You need to go one step further and overwrite your data. Lum recommends you back up everything you want to keep on your hard drive and then run hard -drive wiping software, which will overwrite your information with random ones and zeros. He also recommends you use a program that overwrites your data more than once. The more it's overwritten, the harder it is to recover.

Select software to wipe your hard drive clean

Is it impossible to retrieve your information afterward? Not 100 percent, but Lum says that unless the CIA is after you, you should be in the clear after using one of these disk-erasing tools that are available for download online:

  • Active@ KillDisk: This free hard - drive eraser overwrites data using zeros. You can upgrade to the professional version that conforms to the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) standards.

  • Softpedia/DP Wiper: IT consultant Daniel Gresser recommends freeware programs from Softpedia, like DP Wiper, which overwrites in from one to 35 passes and has DOD-compliant wiping.

  • WipeDrive: WipeDrive overwrites your data as many times as you like and runs a verification test.

"Always keep a record of where all important files are stored," says Gresser, who recommends deleting each file by dropping it into DP Wiper and selecting the kind of wipe required.Unless you take the hard drive out and keep it, to get a PC ready for sale, Gresser suggests that PC users delete the following using DP Wiper or a similar program:

  • Everything in the My Documents folder.

  • All temporary Internet files.

  • All cookies.

  • All files relating to personal and financial matters that may have been stored in folders other than My Documents.

  • All email: Outlook Express users need to search for and delete .dbx files; Windows Mail users need to search for and delete .eml files; and Microsoft Office Outlookusers need to search for and delete .pst files. This will send them to the recycle bin for secure deletion. Also, remember to remove all email account settings and passwords.

Reinstall your operating system to overwrite files

Your operating system's installation CD should allow you to simultaneously reinstall and clear your hard drive. Lum says this should be enough to prevent the average person from obtaining personal information from your hard drive. However, he says he's managed to salvage data from computers using third-party software even after an operating system was reinstalled.

Protect information on your work computer

You'll also want to think about personal information on your work computer when it's time to move on to a new job. You can't wipe the hard drive since the computer isn't your property, but you can make it somewhat harder to find sensitive information by deleting personal emails, clearing your web browser's cache and history, deleting any personal files on your hard drive, and emptying your trash or recycle bin.

Playing it safe

Still concerned? Don't dispose of your hard drive. "The bottom line is, if you're really concerned about identity theft, then don't give away your hard drive," says Lum.

Gresser also recommends taking some preventative measures when you set up your new computer. "One thing people can do to make disposing of PCs with sensitive data easier down the road is to encrypt their data as soon as they get a new PC or hard disk," he says. "If strong encryption is used, then you can format the drive and dispose of it with the computer. Someone who wanted to retrieve the data would first have to undelete the data and then try to break the encryption, which is not going to happen." He suggests using BestCrypt from Jetico to encrypt your documents.



Posted: 09-30-2011 4:30 PM by Mandira Adhikari with no comments

Cleaning up your computer is simple and easy


Cleaning up is a must – be it yourself or your computer.872486_f260

Whether it's a desktop or laptop/notebook computer, dust and lint can clog the cooling vents causing your computer's brain—the central processing unit (CPU)—to heat up. And heat is the biggest cause of component failure in computers. Regular cleaning could save you costly maintenance fees down the road.

Follow the five simple steps in the cleanup and maintenance routine below to keep your computer and accessories looking new  and shiny and smoothly running.



Note: Always turn your computer off and disconnect it from the power source before you begin any of these steps.

Step 1: Inside the case

If you see dust or other debris accumulating around the vents of your desktop or laptop, you can bet there's more inside—and it's only going to cause trouble. To remove it, you'll need to open the case. That may sound more intimidating than it really is. Before you begin, of course, make sure the computer is turned off and disconnected from the power source.

One more consideration: Manufacturers' policies vary, but, in some cases, opening your computer case may void your warranty. You may even encounter a warning sticker on the case. Review your warranty terms before continuing.

· For desktop computers. Desktop computer manufacturers employ a variety of fastening mechanisms to secure the case. Face the back panel: Modern cases typically use two or more small knobs that you can turn by hand, or buttons that you press in, to release a side panel or the entire shell of the case. Others may require you to remove two or more slotted or Phillips screws. If in doubt, consult your owner's manual for specific instructions.

· For laptop and notebook computers. Set the computer upside down on a table or other stable surface. (You may want to place a towel or paper under the computer to prevent scratches and scuffs.) Remove the battery. On most laptops, the vents on the underside will be grouped on a removable panel, secured to the case with several screws. Typically, these are very small Phillips-type screws, which may be of different lengths. Remove them, and be sure to keep track of which goes where.

After you're inside either your desktop or laptop, touch as little as possible inside the computer—keep your fingers away from cards and cords. Look for any dust bunnies or other bits of fluff in the nooks and crannies. Pick these out carefully with tweezers or a cotton swab. Blow compressed air around all of the components and along the bottom of the case, keeping the nozzle at least four inches away from the machine. Blow air into the power supply box and into the fan.

Try to aim the stream of pressurized air in such a way that it blows debris out of and away from crevices and recesses, rather than driving it deeper in. Safety glasses are a good idea, too, to keep the flying dust out of your eyes.

Take particular care when blowing the delicate fans. Over spinning them with excessive pressure can crack a blade or damage the bearings. Position the compressed air can well away, and use short bursts of air rather than a steady blast. As a precaution, you might also carefully immobilize the fan blades with your fingertip or a cotton swab while using the air can.

Lastly, blow air into the floppy disk, CD or DVD drives, and I/O ports—but again, not too aggressively. Wipe the inside of the cover with a lightly moistened cloth, and dry it before replacing it.

It is recommended that cleaning up should be done every three months if your case sits on the floor, if you have pets that shed, or if you smoke. Otherwise, every six to eight months is fine.

Step 2: Outside the case

Run a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol around all of the openings on the outside of your case. Give them one swipe with the damp end of the swab and one swipe with the dry end. Do this as often as you clean the inside of your computer.


Step 3: Keyboard

Turn the keyboard upside down and gently shake it. Most of the crumbs and dust will fall out. Take a can of compressed air and blow into and around the keys. Next, take a cotton swab and dip it in rubbing alcohol. It should be damp, but not dripping wet. Run the cotton swab around the outside of each key. how-to-clean-up-my-computer Rub the tops of the keys. Don't be stingy with the swabs. Discard them when they start to get dirty, and switch to a fresh one. If you have a laptop, follow the same procedure but take extra care with your machine—treat it as gently as you would a carton of fresh eggs. If your laptop has a touchpad, use the damp swap to wipe it clean, as well. Do this keyboard cleanup monthly.

It's tempting to use a vacuum cleaner to suck the debris out of the keyboard and other parts of the computer, but technicians warn that it can create a static electrical charge that can actually damage the computer's sensitive electronics.

Worried about spills?

If a spill happens, immediately turn off your computer, disconnect the keyboard, and flip it over. While the keyboard is upside down, blot the keys with a paper towel, blow compressed air between the keys, and leave it to air dry overnight. Check to ensure that all traces of moisture have evaporated before using the keyboard again. Laptop spills need more attention because liquid can easily penetrate the keyboard and damage internal parts. For laptop spills, immediately turn off the computer and remove any external power source and other items plugged into it. Turn the laptop over, remove the battery, and then bring it to your nearest repair center to check for internal damage. Simply blowing compressed air into the keyboard and letting your computer air dry upside down overnight aren't enough, because liquids can sit inside a laptop for days.

For all spills, be aware that anything other than plain water may cause severe damage, and never attempt to dry a keyboard or laptop in a microwave or conventional oven.

Step 4: Mouse

Disconnect the mouse from your computer. Rub the top and bottom of your mouse with a paper towel dipped in rubbing alcohol. Scrape hard-to-remove grime with your fingernail. If you have an optical mouse, ensure that no lint or other debris obscures the light-emitting lens on the underside of the mouse.

If you use a mechanical mouse, open the underside of the mouse and remove the ball. (In most cases, you simply need to rotate the plastic ring encircling the ball one-quarter turn counterclockwise.) Wash the ball with water, and let it air dry. To clean inside a mechanical mouse, dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and rub all of the interior components, paying particular attention to the little rollers, where gunk tends to collect. Finally, blow compressed air into the opening and ensure that the interior is dry. Replace the ball and the cover.

Clean your mouse monthly.

Step 5: Monitor

For liquid-crystal display (LCD) laptop and flat-panel monitor screens, slightly moisten a soft, lint-free cloth with plain water. Microfiber cloths are excellent for this purpose. Avoid using paper towels, which can scratch monitor surfaces. Don't spray liquid convert-computer-monitor-ccd-cctv-2directly onto the screen—spray the cloth instead. Wipe the screen gently to remove dust and fingerprints. You can also buy monitor cleaning products at computer-supply stores.

For glass CRT (television-style) monitors, use an ordinary household glass cleaning solution. Unless your manufacturer recommends differently, don't use alcohol or ammonia-based cleaners on your monitor, as these can damage anti-glare coatings. And never try to open the housing of a CRT monitor. Capacitors within can hold a dangerous electrical charge—even after the monitor has been unplugged.

Clean the monitor weekly. Finally, make sure that everything is dry before you plug your computer back in.

Posted: 09-30-2011 3:29 PM by Mandira Adhikari with no comments

Microsoft Silverlight

Microsoft Silverlight is a free web-browser plug-in that enables interactive media experiences, rich business applications and immersive mobile apps.

Silverlight works on all major OS's

  • Windows,
  • Mac
  • Linux

and all major browsers

  • Internet Explorer
  • Firefox
  • Google ChromeSafari

The system requirements for Microsoft Silverlight and associated technologies are listed below.


  • Operating System: Windows 7,Windows Vista; Windows XP Service Pack 2
  • Intel® Pentium® III 450MHz or faster processor (or equivalent)
  • 128MB of RAM

Mac OS

  • Operating System: Apple Mac OS X 10.4.11+ (Intel-based) or above
  • Intel Core™ Duo 1.83GHz or faster processor
  • 128MB of RAM


Silverlight 4 delivers a full suite of powerful features to application developers, bringing innovative platform capabilities to browser-based experiences. Silverlight provides an ideal platform for developing and deploying modern business applications for both internal and end-user applications on both sides of the firewall


  • Enabling business application development. Silverlight 4 affirms its position as the natural choice for building business applications on the Web:
    What’s new for application developers
    • Comprehensive printing support now enables the creation of a virtual print view, enabling applications to deliver print-friendly documents.
    • A full set of controls with more than 60 customizable, skinnable components makes it easy to build forms that can be sorted, resized and validated. New controls include RichTextArea with hyperlinks, images and editing.
    • Localization enhancements with bidirectional text, right-to-left support and complex scripts such as Arabic, Hebrew and Thai and 30 new languages.
    • The Microsoft .NET Framework Common Language Runtime (CLR) now enables the same compiled code to be run both on the server and the client, reducing development time and testing resources.
    • Enhanced databinding support reduces the amount of code needed to work with customized data for display.
    • Managed Extensibility Framework supports building completely modular applications, allowing for fast startup and download, efficient development and testing, as well as agile customization and servicing.
    • Windows Communication Foundation RIA Services introduces enterprise class networking and data access, allowing applications to work with any source of data and any server.
    • Extensive tooling support for Silverlight, new in Visual Studio 2010:
      • Fully editable design surface for drawing out controls and layouts
      • Rich property grid and new editors for values
      • Drag and drop support for databinding and automatically creating bound controls such as listbox and datagrid
      • New datasources window and picker
      • Easy-to-pick styles and resources to make a good-looking application based on designer resources built in Expression Blend
      • Built-in project support for Silverlight applications
      • Editor with full IntelliSense for XAML and C# and Visual Basic languages
  • Empowering richer experiences. Silverlight 4 introduces additional capabilities that enable developers to create richer, more appealing, high-performance interactive and innovative media experiences:
    • Enhanced animation capabilities allow for more dynamic, interactive presentation of data in lists.
    • Webcam and microphone support allow sharing of video and audio in applications such as chat and customer service.
    • Audio and video local recording capabilities capture RAW video without requiring server interaction, allowing new scenarios such as capturing voice or video to send in e-mail, or allowing the recording to be edited locally before saving.
    • Copy/paste and drag-and-drop make it easy to bring photos, text and other data into your application.
    • New features such as right-click and mouse wheel scrolling enable developers to add conventional desktop interaction models.
    • Silverlight 4 runs across all platforms and major browsers.
    • Silverlight 4 applications start quicker and run 200 percent faster than the equivalent Silverlight 3 applications with performance optimizations.
    • Multitouch support enables a range of gestures and touch interactions to be integrated into user experiences.
    • Multicast networking enables enterprises to lower the cost of streaming broadcast events such as company meetings and training, with seamless interoperability with existing Windows Media Services streaming infrastructure.
    • Content protection now available for H.264 media through Silverlight DRM powered by PlayReady.
    • Output protection for audio/video streams allowing content owners or distributors to ensure protected content is only viewed through a secure video connection.
    • Official support of the Google Chrome browser
    • Hardware acceleration for Deep Zoom
    • XAP signing and verification to ensure application integrity
  • Moving beyond the browser. Silverlight 4 extends out-of-browser capabilities pioneered in Silverlight 3 that enable a Web presence to establish closer, more persistent relationships with customers without any additional runtime download or the need to write applications in a different way.
    For sandboxed applications
    • Developers can place HTML within their application, enabling much tighter integration with content from Web servers such as e-mail, help and reports.
    • Silverlight 4 provides support for desktop pop-up notification windows to easily provide real-time information and feedback to users using a common user interface metaphor.
    • Offline DRM extends the existing Silverlight DRM powered by PlayReady technology to work in a disconnected state, enabling users to view content and engage with a Silverlight application where and when they want. Protected content can be delivered with an embedded license so that users can go offline immediately and start enjoying their content.
    • Silverlight 4 offers full control over window settings such as start position and size to ensure applications have maximum usability and flexibility.

    For trusted applications
    • Users can read and write files to their My Documents, My Music, My Pictures and My Videos folder (or equivalent for non-Windows platforms), enabling applications to make local copies of reports and media files.
    • COM automation enables access to devices and other system capabilities such as a Universal Serial Bus security card reader.
    • Users can access other desktop programs such as Microsoft Office Excel to create a report.
    • Group policy objects allow organizations to manage which applications are trusted.
    • Comprehensive keyboard support in full-screen out-of-browser mode enhances kiosk and media applications.
    • Enhancements to networking allow cross-domain access without a security policy file.
Silverlight For Windows Phone 7
  • High quality video and audio using a wide range of codecs, DRM and IIS Smooth Streaming
  • Deep Zoom for enhanced reading and photo browsing experiences
  • Vector and Bitmap Graphics and animation

Silverlight can also access the unique capabilities of the phone including:

  • Hardware acceleration for video and graphics
  • Accelerometer for motion sensing
  • Multi-touch
  • Camera and microphone
  • Location awareness
  • Push notifications
  • Native phone functionality

Posted: 09-29-2011 6:46 PM by Mandira Adhikari with no comments

Windows Live Essentials for Windows XP


  • Operating system: Windows XP with Service Pack 2 (32-bit edition only), Windows Vista (32-bit or 64-bit editions), Windows 7 (32-bit or 64-bit editions), or Windows Server 2008.
  • Processor: 1 GHz or higher for Windows 7 or Windows Vista; 800 MHz or higher for Windows XP.

  • Memory: 512 MB of RAM for Windows 7 or Windows Vista; 128 MB (256 MB or more recommended) for Windows XP.

  • Resolution: Minimum 1024 x 768

  • Internet connection: Internet functionality requires dial-up or broadband Internet access (provided separately). Local or long-distance charges may apply.

  • Browser: Windows Live Toolbar requires Internet Explorer 6, Internet Explorer 7, or Internet Explorer 8.

  • Graphics or video card: Windows Live Movie Maker requires a video card that supports DirectX 9 or higher, and Shader Model 2 or higher.

Additional Requirements:

  • For Writer: Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 or higher.*

  • For Photo Gallery: SQL 2005 Compact Edition and Windows Imaging Codecs.*

  • For Photo Gallery and Movie Maker: Some components of DirectX 9.

Windows Live Messenger for Windows XP

Send instant messages to contacts or groups, play games, share pictures as you chat, and see what’s new with people you know.

Installed with this program:

  • Microsoft application error reporting
  • Microsoft visual studio runtime
  • Windows live communications platform
  • Segoe UI font
  • Windows live call


Windows Live Photo Gallery for Windows XP

Easily edit, view, organize, and share your favorite photos. You can also tag people in photos, stitch photos together into panoramas, and much more.

Installed with this program:

  • Windows imaging component
  • Windows imaging component hotfix
  • SQL server CE 3.1
  • Microsoft visual studio runtime
  • Direct3D 9
  • Microsoft application error reporting
  • Windows live communications platform
  • Windows live sync

Windows Live Mail for Windows XP

With Windows Live Mail on your desktop, you can access multiple e-mail accounts in one program, plus your calendar, newsgroup, and feeds. And it’s part of Windows Live, so you can view your calendar online, and see when Messenger contacts are available to chat.

Installed with this program:

  • Microsoft visual studio runtime
  • Microsoft application error reporting
  • Windows live communications platform
  • Segoe UI font

  • Junk mail filter update


Windows Live Writer for Windows XP

Create great-looking blog posts, including photos, videos, maps, events, and tags, and publish them to almost any blog service –Windows Live, WordPress, Blogger, Live Journal, TypePad and may more.

Installed with this program:

  • .NET framework


Family Safety

Help keep your kids safer online. With Family Safety, you can decide how your kids experience the Internet. You can block or allow certain websites and contacts, and monitor where your kids are going online.

Posted: 09-28-2011 3:35 PM by Mandira Adhikari with no comments

Windows Live Writer for Windows XP

Windows Live Writer, developed by Microsoft, is a desktop blog-publishing application that is part of Windows Live Essentials , which includes:

  • Windows Live Call
  • Windows Live Family Safety
  • Windows Live Mail
  • Windows Live Photo Gallery
  • SkyDrive
  • Groups
  • Home
  • Hotmail

Windows Live Writer makes it easy to publish your blog posts to almost any blog service—WordPress, Blogger, LiveJournal, TypePad,  Windows Live Spaces, SharePoint blogs, Telligent Community, the MetaWeblog API, the Movable Type API and many more.

Windows Live Writer has the features like WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) blog editor as well as tools for publishing photos, maps.

Windows Live Writer can be downloaded from: Windows Live Writer for XP

Minimum requirements for installing Windows Live Writer

  • Windows Service pack 2 or higher
  • Latest net framework.
  • Windows Installer
  • Internet Explorer 7 or higher
  • Windows Live writer

P.S  The best part of Windows Live Writer, in my opinion, is working offline. Write, edit, add pictures, videos, links whenever and wherever you want and then hit the Publish button ( this needs Internet Connection, of course) whenever its possible. 

Posted: 09-27-2011 7:19 PM by Mandira Adhikari with no comments

Adding a Bing Map is easier with Windows Live Writer

With just following two simple steps you can insert a Bing Map in your blog post to display a location:


Step 1: Find a location

Click the Insert tab, and then click Map. In the Find location box, type an address or location, and then press Enter.

Step 2: Select the kind of map that you want

Click the drop-down list, click Road, Aerial, or Bird's eye, and then click Insert.


and then you are done. Try it with Windows Live Writer!

Posted: 09-27-2011 7:02 PM by Mandira Adhikari with no comments

Information Technology : Pros and Cons

Information Technology (IT) is an applied science that covers the technology and other aspects of managing and processing information. Particularly IT deals with the use of computer & computer software to control, store, protect, process, transmit and retrieve information. Development in the field of IT in the past two decades has shrunk the world into a small village called global village. IT has made the world like a small family where people can interact with each other and their life has been much easier. Whether we go to the moon or to the ocean bed, IT connects us with the world and the happenings all around. IT has already deepened its root in the mind of so many people that it is difficult to find a sector which is not affiliated to IT by any means. Indeed it has become a way of living.

Computers, the backbone of IT, invented more than half a century ago, have occupied many tables at homes and offices. In this world of 21st century, better known as world of Information Technology, one who can merely read and write will not be called literate unless he or she will be able to operate a computer. Most of the literate people of the present world feel this way. This is the reality of the feature too. It looks everywhere that computer education is about to bloom.

Computer due to its versatility can be used in almost all sectors such as educational sector, banking, medicine, airlines, film industry, agriculture, scientific research, engineering, factories, et cetera. In fact, computer has made many tasks so easier, reliable and accurate that its popularity in various fields is increasing rapidly. Computer technology is increasingly becoming a part of contemporary society. It has become so indispensable tool that no business or organization can function effectively without them. Computers have a wide range of uses be that commercial field or non-commercial. The pace of development of computer science and technology has enabled us to live a life led by luxury and comfort.

Computer can be used as the good tool of teaching and learning process. Using computer, one can learn about so many things which is also called as Computer Aided Learning (CAL). It provides attractive and interesting methods of learning. We can have on-line tests and computerized assessments. Moreover, distant learning, searching information on The Internet are also possible only with the help of a computer. In the same manner, computer can be used in medicinal field to prepare medicines, medicinal tools, etc. It is also used in hospitals in keeping records of patients’ case histories, the symptoms of rare and common diseases and their corresponding medication, monitoring heartbeat pulse, blood pressure and other such vital human features through computerized devices such as ECG Monitors and Computer Axial Tomography (CAT) scanner. They are also used to monitor the availability of beds, location of doctors and patients in large hospitals, calculation of hospital staff payrolls and patient’s medical fees, et cetera.

 Electronic banking is yet another gift of computer technology. It has revolutionized the banking business. Deposits and withdrawals are instantly logged into a customer’s account, which is perhaps stored on a remote computer. Computer-generated monthly statements are unlikely to contain any errors unless they arise during manual entry of cheque amounts. The technology of electronic funds transfer which is supported by computer networking, allows the amount of our shopping’s bill to be immediately deducted from the customer’s bank account and transferred to that of the shopping center. Similarly to conduct any kind of transaction instantly and almost worldwide, people use Automatic Teller Machine (ATM), which is provided to them as a card and a personal identification number which is popularly known as a PIN code. 

Computers are widely employed to improve scientific and technological advancements. They are being used to scan space for detection of different life forms in the space. They are also used to design, operate and launch the man made satellites, space exploration vehicles, rockets, and in the training of astronauts. Likewise weather forecasting, aerodynamics modeling, seismology and weapon research have become much easier and reliable with the advent of computers. Today experts are even trying to enhance the capabilities of computers to meet all the requirements of the researches. They are developing the computers having Artificial Intelligence (AI). Those computers can solve the problems and also learn from their mistakes and can imitate human skills such as problem solving, decode and respond to natural language and reasoning. It makes us possible to communicate with computers via a natural language system instead of using an artificial language. A natural language program can interpret the parts of speech and the meaning of a sentence and then translates the sentence into application command in the machine understandable language and process. Researchers, in those computers, have used concepts of Psychology, Linguistics and Computer Science in an attempt to prepare systems to do tasks that no machine has ever done automatically so far.

In addition to this, the works of police force are also not deprived of computers’ benefits. The record-keeping tasks of police which were long handled by using a diversity of manual systems are now handled electronically using a set of computers. Computers operate from central geographic points, storing data and making it instantaneously and accurately available to many police constituents. Advances in computer networking permit the linking of many police and investigative databases and make possible the development of national criminal investigation systems. Interpol is an example of an international computer network that coordinates the exchange of criminal intelligence to aid police agencies in searching for fugitives or missing persons or property. In addition to servicing as a depository and dispenser of information, a computer can provide statistical analysis for research and management, develop intelligence databases and analysis systems, assist in the analysis of physical evidence, facilitate swift document retrieval and help in such areas as the identification of fingerprints.

Computers, communication devices, traffic signals and associated equipment, and detectors for sensing vehicles are four basic elements in the computerized traffic control system. Traffic flow information is picked up by the detectors from the roadway and transmitted to the computer system for processing. The detectors are normally embedded in or suspended above the roadway. Vehicle counts and speed are typically measured and vehicle type can also be obtained. The computer processes the traffic flow data to determine the proper sequence for the lights at the intersection or ramps. The sequencing information is transmitted from the computer through communications equipment to the signals. In order to assure safe and proper operation, information is also transmitted from the traffic signals to the computer, confirming proper operation. Humans can interact with the system by accessing the computer system in some way.

Moreover, the development of the Internet is regarded as the greatest break through in the field of Information Technology. The Internet is the network of networks. It is the number of computers connected to each other (with the help of cable or without cable) to form a global network. It connects millions of computers and billions of users together. The Internet links one corner of the world to another i.e. sitting at a corner of the world; we can chat, share information, send and receive messages, doing business electronically, easily and effectively with the people at another corner of the world. In fact, the Internet is the most effective, faster and easier means of communication in today’s world. Using the net, as it is popularly called; it is possible to communicate across the continents in a fraction of second. Therefore, distances and geographical locations are no longer barrier to communication these days.

Communication apart, the Internet has several other facilities like information searching, net news, e-commerce, e-banking, e-governance, e-education, net meeting, file transfer, voice mail, WWW and much more. There are numerous sites for us to search information in almost all the subject matter. In addition to this different search engines like Bing, Google, AltaVista,, Yahoo etc have the information searching even more easily. Similarly the World Wide Web is the most popularly used component of the web. It enables us to present the information to worldwide people using formatted text, graphics and a range of multimedia options like sound and movies. Access to remote information comes in many forms. It can be surfing the World Wide Web for information or just for fun. Information available includes the arts, business, cooking, government, health, history, hobbies, recreation, science, sports, travel, and many others. Fun comes in too many ways to mention, plus some ways that are better left unmentioned.

Yet another form of computer-assisted communication is videoconferencing. Using this technology, employees at distant locations can hold a meeting, seeing and hearing each other and even writing on a shared virtual blackboard. Videoconferencing is a powerful tool for eliminating the cost and time previously devoted to travel. It is sometimes said that communication and transportation are having a race, and whichever wins will make the other obsolete.

It is also due to the facility of the Internet that many companies are doing business electronically with other companies, especially suppliers and customers. For example, manufactures of automobiles, aircraft, and computers, among others, buy subsystems from a variety of suppliers and then assemble the parts. Using computer networks, manufacturers can place orders electronically as needed. Being able to place orders in real time reduces the need for large inventories and enhances efficiency. Likewise doing business with consumers over the Internet has become more important. Airlines, bookstores, and music vendors have discovered that many customers like the convenience of shopping from home. Consequently, many companies provide catalogs of their goods and services online and take orders on-line .this sector is expected to grow quickly in future. It is called e-commerce (electronic commerce). Another area in which e-commerce is already happening is access to financial institutions. Many people already pay their bills, manage their bank accounts, and handle their investments electronically.

Many newspapers have gone on-line and can be personalized. For example, it is sometimes possible to tell a newspaper that you want everything about corrupt politicians, big fires, scandals involving celebrities, and epidemics, but no football. Sometimes it is even possible to have the selected articles downloaded to your hard disk while you sleep or printed on your printer just before breakfast. The next step beyond newspapers or the net news including magazines and scientific journals is the on-line digital library. Many professional organizations, such as the ACM and the IEEE Computer Society, already have many journals and conference proceedings on-line. Other groups are following rapidly. Depending on the cost, size, and weight of bulky notebook computers, printed books may become outdated. Skeptics should take note of the effect the printing press had on the medieval illuminated manuscript.

All of the above applications involve interactions between a person and a remote database full of information. The second broad category of network use is person-to-person communication, basically the 21st century’s answer to the 19th century’s telephone. E-mail is already used on a daily basis by millions of people all over the world and its use is growing rapidly. It already routinely contains audio and video as well as text and pictures. Smell may take a while.

The popularity of the Internet will surely grow as networks become more secure. No doubt the range of uses of computer networks will grow rapidly in the future, and probably in ways no one can now foresee. After all, how many people in late 1900s predicted that teenagers tediously typing short text messages on mobile phones while riding buses would be an immense moneymaker for telephone companies in 10 years? But short message service is very profitable. Computer networks may become hugely important to people who are geographically challenged, giving them the same access to services as people living in middle of a big city. We can figure out from all these features that with the Internet and its supporting networks, the world is just a click away.

Another important uses of IT can be considered as the invention of robots, which have made our life much easier and comfortable. Robots are invented in different shapes and sizes and with various purposes. Some are made to do our household works while some to perform the adventurous tasks where the human power fails to approach or to do. Some rich countries have even employed robots instead of men in the industries and factories. Those industries get many advantages as they don’t have to spend a huge amount of money on the salary of employees. With that sum they can enhance the quality of their products. Thus it helps to boost up the industries and industrial products resulting in the development in the country’s economic status. Robots seem to perform more than half of human works which becomes very easier for us and our time as well as energy will be conserved.

Furthermore, IT being the backbone of universal economy, has enormous potential for sustainable development of a country. The optimum use of IT and computers in various sectors are beneficial for the society. The extensive application of IT will promote economic consolidation and contribute significantly to poverty alleviation raising the living standards of people.

In spite of these immense uses of IT, we cannot deny the dark side of massive use of IT. A well known computer engineer Joachim Graf has well said that “If anything goes wrong in this world, it will and nothing will go wrong like a computer.” Due to the overdependence on all types of modern devices, people are becoming dull. They are growing lazier as all of their tasks are done by computers and other devices and they don’t have to use more of their creativeness and intelligence at all. As the time takes leap with the increase in the development of IT, people are forgetting to be independent and hard working. Using the IT and computers instead of doing useful things, people hang on more recreation like watching movies or playing different computers games which have got more disadvantages than advantages.

Robots and the computers doing most of our works are making our mind inactive such that it may one day do all of our works and soon after we will find that computers will be ruling our lives. The Artificial Intelligence that we discussed earlier may not also is totally beneficial as it will have the ability to grab the intelligence out of a human and can imitate his characteristics. There is more likely to the massive development in IT may one day be ruling on us as a master and we would be the slave serving them.

Moreover, with the increasing demand on internet facility there is the great chance of piracy, hacking of data and information as well as the virus transformation. With the net news, it will cause massive unemployment among 12- year- old paperboys who earn their living that way. Also the employing of robots instead of humans also causes unemployment problem in the country. Likewise tele-learning may radically affect education: universities may go national or international. Tele-medicine is only now starting to catch on (e.g. remote patient monitoring) but may become much important. The killer application may be something mundane, like using the webcam in your refrigerator to see if you have to buy milk on the way home from work.

  Abuse of company email policies is yet another misuse of IT which hampers the help desk operations. People often consider the misuse of personal email as the biggest headache they face. Many IT managers working in government report that email abuse is the most frequent misdemeanor they encounter. Furthermore, user IDs are personal, and each user should use only his or her own username and identification. Exceptions to this rule are cases where use of an alias or nickname is allowed, as well as course and group IDs issued for a specified purpose. The IDs, passwords and PIN codes related to user rights must be handled with care as we may have to suffer the misuse of it by others. Likewise bugging of indoor conversations, misuse of information, and illicit transfer of data using portable terminal devices and illicit photography and filming with portable terminal devices are also causing a great problem to us.

Sometimes perpetrators may due to revenge, malice, and frustrations try to manipulate or destroy IT equipment, accessories, documents, or the like. Greater the knowledge acquired by the perpetrator and the more far-reaching the impact on a work operation, the more effective they are. The effects range from unauthorized viewing of sensitive data to the destruction of data media or IT systems, which could result in these being out of action for prolonged periods. We may sometimes also be tapped while talking on phone; our data might be lost or get overloaded while transferring them over the net.

Abuse of something normally beneficial may lead to a harmful reliance on it. It can be extracted from above that IT has got comparatively more advantages than disadvantages. But the misuse of IT can be even more disadvantageous. The development of IT which was thought to add comfort to our life might destroy our life one day. For instance, we can’t forget how the Einstein’s nuclear bomb caused the World War II while it was not made for that purpose at all. The misuse of IT might be prone to the World War III where computers would be destroying the world and human existence. Of course we never want that to happen. Therefore we ought to realize from now only that IT and computers are to make our tasks easier and reliable, not to make them suppress our intelligence and creativeness. So, if we use them properly, it would be proved to be a boon for us and we would get even more advantages from IT.

Posted: 09-26-2011 4:54 PM by Mandira Adhikari with no comments

How to optimize battery power on your laptop

Have you ever run out of battery power on your laptop, notebook, or netbook during a meeting or a class? Sufficient battery life is a persistent challenge for mobile PC users. You can take simple maintenance steps to extend the life of your laptop battery. The Windows operating system also offers several ways to help maximize the battery life of your mobile computer.

In this article, I'll introduce some tips that you can use to recharge a battery and extend laptop battery life, and I’ll discuss how to take advantage of Windows settings to manage power more efficiently.

Treat your battery right

For on-the-go computing, your battery is your best friend. Knowing how it likes to be treated is the first step to keeping both of you happy.

  • Keep battery contacts clean. Battery contacts can get dirty or corroded over time, reducing the effective delivery of power. With your mobile PC turned off and unplugged from its external power source, remove the battery. Use a cotton swab dampened with rubbing alcohol to wipe the metal contacts on the battery and inside the device. Allow them to dry completely before reinstalling the battery and reconnecting to a power source. Repeat this procedure every two to three months.

  • Charge your battery correctly. When you're on the road, be sure to carry a power cord and plug your computer in whenever you have the chance. Unlike the older-generation rechargeable batteries like nickel-based (NiMH) batteries (see next paragraph), modern lithium ion batteries can be partially discharged and recharged repeatedly with no harmful effects, but you should avoid fully discharging lithium ion batteries. Consult your owner’s manual for more specific tips on charging, and never use an AC adapter (power cord) or battery charger not approved by your device’s manufacturer.

  • Completely drain nickel-based batteries periodically. If you're using an older laptop (at least three years old) with a nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) battery, be sure to completely drain it and recharge it (every one to three months—consult your owner’s manual) to ensure that it will hold a full charge. (Most newer mobile PCs use lithium ion batteries, which don't need to be drained to maximize their capacity.) To drain a NiMH battery, simply turn on your computer, unplug it from its external power source, and let the computer run. To speed things up, you could start several applications, turn the screen brightness to its highest level, and ignore all of the great power-saving strategies below. After the power is completely drained, recharge the battery fully. This may take up to 12 hours.

  • Cool it. Your mobile computer generates heat, and higher operating temperatures reduce your device’s efficiency, which in turn demands more battery power and can shorten battery life. Make sure that your computer can “breathe”: Don’t let clothing, lint, or other obstructions block the cooling vents. See How to clean your computer for more tips on keeping your computer spotless and running smoothly.

  • Carry a spare. Buying an extra battery is a good investment for your peace of mind. Battery prices vary widely. You can significantly increase the power available to you if you're willing to splurge a little. Contact the manufacturer of your mobile PC to find a replacement battery, or search here.

  • Store it properly. If you don’t expect to use your mobile computer for a week or more, it’s a good idea to store the battery, discharged to about 40 percent of full capacity, in a cool place. Click the battery status icon in the notification area of the Windows taskbar to check the current charge. Avoid storing a fully discharged—or fully charged—lithium ion battery for extended periods, as this can diminish battery life.

Optimize your power settings

The display and hard disk on your mobile PC are the two biggest consumers of battery power. By choosing a power plan (called a power scheme in Windows XP) you can extend your battery life by automatically lowering screen brightness and reducing other power-hungry functions. A power plan is a collection of hardware and system settings that control how your mobile PC manages power.

Windows 7

Windows 7 has two default power plans:

  • Balanced. Automatically balances performance with energy consumption on capable hardware.

  • Power saver. Saves energy by reducing your computer’s performance where possible.

Change your power plan

  1. On the Windows taskbar, in the notification area, click the battery meter icon.

    Windows taskbar notification area with the battery meter icon circled
  2. Select either the Balanced or Power saver power plan.

Windows Vista

Windows Vista has three default power plans:

  • Balanced. Offers full performance when you need it but conserves power when the computer is idle.

  • Power saver. The best choice for extending battery life. The cost, however, is slower performance.

  • High performance. Maximizes system performance at the expense of battery life.

Change your power plan

  1. On the Windows taskbar, in the notification area, click the battery meter icon.

  2. Select the Balanced, Power saver, or High performance power plan.

Windows XP

Windows XP includes two power schemes that were created specifically for laptops and other mobile PCs.

  • The Portable/Laptop power scheme. Minimizes the use of power to conserve your battery but adjusts to your processing needs so that the system speed is not sacrificed.

  • The Max Battery power scheme. Minimizes power use but does not adjust as your processing demands change. You should use Max Battery only in situations that require minimal processing, such as reading documents and taking notes in a meeting.

Use a power scheme designed to maximize battery life:

  1. Click Start Start button button, and then click Control Panel.

  2. In Control Panel, verify that you're in Category view, and then click Performance and Maintenance.

  3. In the Performance and Maintenance window, click Power Options.

  4. On the Power Schemes tab of the Power Options Properties dialog box, click the arrow under Power schemes, and then click Max Battery.

  5. Click OK.

You can also create a custom power scheme to suit your specific needs. You can create as many custom power schemes as you want.

Take advantage of low-power states

The different versions of Windows provide the following battery-saving states:

  • Windows 7. Sleep and hibernation (which is like deep sleep)

  • Windows Vista. Sleep and hybrid sleep (which is a combination of sleep and hibernation)

  • Windows XP. Standby (which is like sleep) and hibernation (which is like deep sleep)

Sleep (Standby)

In a sleep state (standby), your display and hard disk turn off, and all open programs and files are saved in random access memory (RAM)—your computer's temporary memory—rather than to the hard disk. Information stored in RAM is cleared when the computer turns off, so it's a good idea to save your work before placing your system in sleep or standby mode. Otherwise you may lose data if you lose power or swap batteries or if your system crashes.

Sleep (standby) is particularly useful when you're using your mobile PC intermittently during the day. For example, when driving between clients' offices, put your computer to sleep or on standby to maximize the life of your battery and to maintain quick access to open programs, files, and documents. When you want to use your computer again, it wakes up quickly, and your desktop is restored exactly as you left it.

Windows 7

  • To put your computer into a sleep state, click the Start Start button button, click the arrow to the right of the Shut down button, and then click Sleep. This action saves all open documents and programs and puts your computer to sleep while still allowing the computer to quickly resume full-power operation (typically within several seconds) when you want to start working again.

  • To wake your computer, press the Power Power button button on your computer.

Windows Vista

  • To put your computer into a sleep state, click the Start Start button button and then click the Power Start button button. This action saves all open documents and programs and puts your computer to sleep while still allowing the computer to quickly resume full-power operation (typically within several seconds) when you want to start working again.

  • To wake your computer, press the Power button.

Windows XP

  1. Click the Start Start button button, and then click Control Panel.

  2. In Control Panel, verify that you're in Category view, and then click Performance and Maintenance.

  3. In the Performance and Maintenance window, click Power Options.

  4. In the Power Options Properties dialog box, click the Advanced tab.

  5. Under Power buttons, click the arrow, and then click Standby.

  6. Click OK.


In hibernation, your computer saves everything to your hard disk and then shuts down. When you restart the computer, your desktop is restored exactly as you left it. Hibernation uses less power than the sleep state (standby), but it takes a bit longer to resume.

Windows 7

  • To put your computer in hibernation, click the Start Start button button, click the arrow to the right of the Shut down button, and then click Hibernate.

Windows Vista

  • To put your computer in hibernation, click the Start Start button button, click the arrow next to the Lock button, and then click Hibernate.

  • Note: This puts your computer into a power-saving state but saves your work to your hard disk so that you can safely turn off your computer.

Windows XP

  1. Click the Start Start button button, and then click Control Panel.

  2. In Control Panel, verify that you're in Category view, and then click Performance and Maintenance.

  3. In the Performance and Maintenance window, click Power Options.

  4. In the Power Options Properties dialog box, click the Hibernate tab.

  5. Under Hibernate, select the Enable hibernation check box.

  6. Click OK.

Hybrid Sleep

Hybrid sleep is a power-saving feature designed primarily for desktop computers. Hybrid sleep saves any open documents and programs to random access memory and to your hard disk and then puts your computer into a low-power state.

Adjust screen brightness

You can also conserve battery power by reducing the screen brightness. To adjust your screen brightness, refer to the instructions from your mobile PC manufacturer. Every computer is slightly different, but you can usually use a combination of keys, a function key, or a software tool to dim the screen.

Even better than dimming the screen is blanking it completely when you're not using your computer. You can further minimize power consumption by reducing the amount of time the computer is idle before the screen goes blank. The power schemes and power plans in Windows let you adjust your power settings to turn off the display after as little as one minute of inactivity. In addition, a number of third-party software developers offer free applications that enable you to turn the display off and on at will.

Turn off wireless

Another significant drain on your battery power is your wireless card. You should turn off your wireless device when you're using your mobile PC but are not connected to a wireless network. You can either remove your Wi-Fi card or press the manual hardware button (or switch) on your computer, if you're using a Centrino-based mobile PC. Refer to the instructions from your mobile PC manufacturer to learn where the manual hardware button is. Other computers may require that you turn off the wireless connection using software settings. Again, consult your instruction manual for details.

Additional power-saving tips

In addition to adjusting power settings to maximize battery life, consider the following tips to minimize power consumption when you're away from electrical outlets.

  • Turn off scheduled tasks. If you use scheduled tasks to run programs or scripts, or if you schedule other tasks to occur automatically at a preset time, specify that these tasks won't be performed when the computer is running on battery power.

  • Keep the use of tools in the notification bar to a minimum. Try to minimize your central processing unit (CPU) usage. Look at the notification area of the taskbar and close any tools (or utilities) that are not necessary. Often, these tools are installed on the computer when you first receive it. Windows 7 users can also click the up arrow at the end of the notification area to see tools and utilities that are hidden but available. The notification bar, shown below, is on the bottom right of your computer desktop.

    Windows taskbar notification area with the tools and utilities icons visible
  • Limit power-intensive activities. Avoid watching a DVD, listening to a CD, or playing online games on your mobile PC when you need to conserve battery power.

  • Add memory. You can minimize the reliance of Windows on virtual memory and reduce power consumption by adding memory (RAM) to your mobile PC. (Shop for additional memory.)

By adjusting your mobile PC settings to conserve battery power and by implementing these tips, you can relieve the stress and inconvenience of running out of battery power.

Posted: 09-26-2011 4:43 PM by Mandira Adhikari with 3 comment(s)

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