Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Super Bowl On NBCSports.com – The Worst

Trying to watch the Super “live” on the Internet (at nbcsports.com) has been the worst video feed experience I have witnessed to date.

Wow, is it bad. So bad, I’ll go ahead and break policy and use the word “sucks”. Terrible!

I’ll tell you more about the “why” in a bit…

(And before you ask, on fiber, currently testing @ 12 Mbps .)

Note: If anyone else had a different experience with their feed, I’d like to hear it.

February 5, 2012 Posted by | Internet, News | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Advanced Troubleshooting – Checking For Bad RAM

Some computer problems (aka “issues”) are fairly obvious.

For example, if you knock your laptop off the table, it hits the floor hard, and now the screen is black, and there are several large cracks zig-zagging in the glass.. and maybe some small shards of glass have fallen out..
Well, I don’t think you would need to hire me to tell you you need to replace either the laptop’s LCD screen, or the whole laptop.

Other computer problems require a bit more brainwork.

Such as the ones where something suddenly stops working, and a very unhelpul “error message” appears. You know the ones. Maybe SuperNerd from planet Zorkboo understands Stop error “0x0000000A” IRQ NOT LESS THAN OR EQUAL TO, but… you’re thinking, “in English, please?”
For those, you can start by using your favorite search engine, and search for the exact error message you saw (if it stayed in view long enough to copy down verbatim). Or you may need to hire a SuperNerd from planet Zorkboo (shameless plug: such as myself. See Aplus Computer Aid).

Yet other computer problems are so vague, or.. seemingly random, that even SuperNerd isn’t quite sure where to start troubleshooting (I call these issues “gremlins”.. as in “maybe your computer is haunted by invisible imps”).

An example of this might be a PC that simply randomly reboots itself for no apparent rhyme or reason, on no particular schedule. This could be due to a failing power supply, malware, corrupted system files, overheating, hardware failure, software failure, or gremlins. Where do you start?

Years of experience, special tools, system logs, and a formula of trial-and-error-process-of-elimination helps us computer techs zero in on the problem in a fairly time-efficient way. (Hopefully.) And today I am going to tell you about a free tool, built into Vista and Windows 7, that tests for one of those “hardware failures” that leads to gremlin type symptoms — a RAM memory module going faulty — named the Memory Diagnostic Tool.

“The Windows Memory Diagnostic tests the Random Access Memory (RAM) on your computer for errors. The diagnostic includes a comprehensive set of memory tests. If you are experiencing problems while running Windows, you can use the diagnostic to determine whether the problems are caused by failing hardware, such as RAM or the memory system of your motherboard.”

To test the integrity of your comupter’s RAM:

1) Click on the Start button

2) Type memory into the search pane. Now, above in the results window, the top result will be Memory Diagnostic Tool. Click on that.

mdt1

3) A new window will open, offering you two choices. Since the diagnostic tool needs to run before Windows starts up – you have to reboot (restart) your machine. The question is – do you want to do it now, or later? Odds are you want the first option — NOW. Save and exit any work you have open.

mdt2

4) Click Restart now and check for problems. Your machine will reboot, and a basic startup screen will show the tool’s progress and results. This should take several minutes, as many different low-level test are being run.

mdt3

When the scanning tests finish, you should know if your RAM memory modules fail miserably (and need to be replaced) or if you can eliminate RAM as your “gremlin”, and move to the next item on your troubleshooting checklist.. such as the power supply. Hopefully your RAM will pass, but if it doesn’t, the good news is, RAM is not too expensive, nor difficult, to replace. (For a tutorial on laptop RAM, click here.)

Good luck and happy computing.

Oh, yes. Did I mention? Sometimes it’s simply best to hand the headache off to a Pro.

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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May 10, 2011 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, Microsoft, PC, performance, tech, troubleshooting, Vista, Windows, Windows 7 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment