Do I Need a RAM Upgrade?

RAM (Random Access Memory) is responsible for temporarily storing strings of data that can be accessed very quickly by the processor. The data here is almost always affiliated with running applications.

How much RAM do I have?

In Windows 7, click the start button, type in and then select  ‘system information’. Seek out ‘Installed Physical Memory’ to see how much there is.

Do I have enough?

To see how much RAM your applications are using, open up the task manager by pressing (all at once) CTRL, Shift and ESC. In the bottom right corner of task manager, you will see ‘Physical Memory: X%’. This is the percentage that is currently in use.

What applications are using the most RAM?

It’s important to keep an eye on what applications are running in the background of Windows. Some applications start up when windows starts and remain invisible yet still claim a portion of your RAM.

To find out what applications are using the most RAM, go to the task manager (CTRL, Shift, ESC) and select the ‘Processes Tab’. At the top of the table, press ‘Memory’ to order it by size. The applications with the largest number are utilizing the most memory.

How do I free up RAM?

To best way to free up RAM is to disable any unnecessary application that runs when Windows starts. To do this, click the start menu, type  and select ‘msconfig’. In the new window, hit the ‘Startup’ tab and deselect any application that is not required to run when Windows starts. (If you have an anti-virus, it’s recommended that you keep it enabled). Restart Windows to see the difference.

Should I add more RAM?

If you’re happy with the background applications that are running, and your RAM usage is above 60%,  I would recommend a RAM upgrade.


How to Remove a Password [Gain Administrative Access] on Windows 7 [or Vista]

This article will teach you how to effectively remove a password from a Windows 7 user account without any prior access to the operating system. This method involves manipulating Windows’ interface by renaming system files and enabling access to the hidden ‘Administrator’ user account that will grant full administrative access and the ability to remove passwords from other user accounts.

Please note that under the Computer Misuse Act 1990, it is criminal offence to obtain unauthorised access to computer material as well as modify/corrupt any existing material without the owner’s permission. Therefore, this article is published for educational purposes only.

Requirements

Step 1

Boot into your Linux Live USB drive and click ‘Try Ubuntu’. To do this, you need to insert the USB drive into the password-protected computer; access the BIOS and then change the boot order so that the USB is the first boot choice. Following this, just save your changes and restart the PC. The computer should now be running Ubuntu.

Step 2

Click on the ‘Home Folder’ icon on the left hand side of the screen. This should open an interface that functions similar to Windows explorer. On the left hand panel, there should be a list of drives that are in the computer. You should now identify which contains the Windows system files. This is pretty easy, as it usually contains the folders ‘Program Files’, ‘Users’ and ‘Windows’.

Step 3

Navigate to ‘../Windows/System32’. To do this, double click on the ‘Windows’ folder and then ‘System 32’.

Step 4

Rename ‘sethc.exe’ to ‘sethc.exe.bak’. This file will appear in the system32 folder and is a system file that runs as an accessibility feature that appears when the ‘Shift’ key is pressed five times in Windows 7.

Step 5

Make a copy of ‘cmd.exe’ and rename it ‘sethc.exe’. This file can also be found in the system32 folder and is a system file that runs the command prompt in Windows 7. These modifications will ensure that the command prompt will launch in Windows when the ‘Shift’ key is pressed five times.

Step 6

Shut down the computer and remove your USB Pen Drive. Then boot back into Windows.

Step 7

At the Windows log on screen, press the ‘Shift’ key five times to launch a command prompt. Type the following command ‘net user administrator active:yes’ and press ‘Enter’. If a message reading ‘The command completed successfully’ appears, reboot the computer.

Step 8

Once you have rebooted, you should see that there is now an ‘Administrator’ account, that may or may not be password protected. If you can log in without a password, you have full control over the operating system. You’re also able to remove other user passwords from the control panel once logged in.

If the Administrator Account is also Password Protected

If you’re faced with a password-protected Administrator account then you’re dealing with a more secure computer. Fortunately, we can still change the password. Just bring up the command prompt again (press ‘Shift’ key five times), and type:

net user user_name new_password

Change user_name so that it is the name of the account you want to change the password to and new_password is the password you wish to implement to the account. Please be warned that there will be no confirmation entry.

Finish

Congratulations, you should now have access to the Windows operating system. Please remember to restore your original ‘sethc.exe’ file (must be done outside of Windows).




How to Boot into Ubuntu [Linux] from USB

As technology moves away from the tradition of bootable discs, it’s important to learn the concept of bootable solid state drives (in this case, USB). This article provides step-by-step instructions of how to utilise the ability to boot into a Ubuntu Live environment (or any Linux Operating System) from a USB drive. This allows you to easily access and modify files on a computer’s hard drive without administrative permissions that prevent you from doing so in Windows.

Please note that under the Computer Misuse Act 1990, it is criminal offence to obtain unauthorised access to computer material as well as modify/corrupt any existing material without the owner’s permission. Therefore, this article is published for educational purposes only.

Requirements

  • USB Pen Drive with 1GB capacity or more (contents will be erased)
  • Windows computer
  • Internet connection

Step 1

Download and install LinuxLive USB Creator from here. The application is an executable file (.exe), once downloaded, open this file and follow the on-screen instructions to install.

Step 2

Open LinuxLive USB Creator. This can be found quickly by searching for it in your Windows start menu. LinuxLive USB Creator is open-source software for Windows that offers a relatively simple interface for transferring a bootable Linux disc-image (intended for use on CD) to a USB Pen Drive.

Step 3

Insert your USB Pen Drive into your computer. Click on the ‘refresh’ symbol left of the drop down box on LinuxLive USB creator so that it can detect your drive, then select it with the drop-down box. The selected drive will be completely erased so please ensure that it is the correct one.

Step 4

Click on ‘Download’ icon and then ‘Select your favourite Linux’. In this example, Ubuntu will be used. Once you have selected your Linux distribution, click ‘Automatically’ to start the download, this may take some time depending upon your internet speed and the distribution you have chosen. Feel free to choose and experiment with different Linux distributions. You may have noticed that there is an option to add ‘persistence’. Adding persistence allows you to save data and install some software within your portable Linux operating system that would normally be erased following a reboot.

Step 5

Select ‘Format the key in FAT32’. This option completely erases the USB drive before the Linux disc-image is transferred. Select ‘Hide created files on the USB key’. This option will hide all of the files that will be transferred on to the USB drive. This is useful if you still intend to use your drive to carry files to and from PCs, as it will completely hide the large amount of files needed for Linux to boot. Decide whether you want to ‘enable launching LinuxLive in Windows’. This will allow you to run your Linux distribution directly within Windows as a Virtual Machine. Please note that this option will automatically download a modified version of VirtualBox to your USB drive.

Step 6

Click on the lightning bolt icon to begin the transfer process. This may take some time depending on your current system and USB specifications.

Step 7

Take your USB drive and insert it into the computer you wish to boot into Linux. Please make sure that this computer is able to boot from USB. Turn on the computer and boot into BIOS, this can usually be achieved by tapping F1, F2, DEL, ESC or F10 (just look out for the message on the initial start up screen). Navigate the BIOS interface and find the ‘boot order/sequence’ settings and ensure that your USB drive is the top choice. If your system has an option to temporarily select a device to boot from, feel free utilise that feature.

Finish

If all went well, you should now have a fully functioning Linux-based operating system running from your USB Pen Drive. This USB drive can be used as many times as you wish to achieve all sorts of tasks that you may come across in the world of troubleshooting.




How to Remove ‘Consider Replacing your Battery’ Notifications and Red X in Windows 7

————————————————————————————

UPDATE


Windows 7  SP1 (Service Pack 1) adds the ability to simply disable the battery health warnings by unselecting ‘Warn me if my battery may need replacement’. To access this new feature, simply download and install SP1. You can do this by clicking on your start button, all programs, and then Windows Update (SP1 is listed as an Important Update).

The option can be accessed by left clicking on your battery icon in the tray bar (only once SP1 has been installed).

————————————————————————————

This is a follow up post from here

This post will take your laptop from this:

Before

To this:

After

1. Click the battery icon, and select ‘More power options’.

2. On your preferred plan, select ‘Change plan settings’.

3. Click ‘Change advanced power settings’.

4. Scroll down, and expand ‘Battery’.

5. Expand ‘Low battery level’ and change the percentages to 7%.

6. Expand ‘Critical battery level’ and change the percentages to 5%.

7. Expand ‘Reserve battery level’ and change the percentages to 4%.

8. Expand ‘Low battery action’ and ensure that the values are set to ‘Do nothing’.

9. Expand ‘Critical battery action’ and ensure that the value for ‘On battery’ is set to ‘Hibernate’.

So far, we have lowered Window’s cause for concern when the battery’s level is low, and prevented it from hibernating at 17%, but rather, at 5%.  The next few steps will remove the battery tray icon and replace it with a less irritating one.

1. Click on the up arrow in the tray bar (near the battery meter icon) and select ‘Customize’.

2. Click ‘Turn system icons on or off’.

3. Set the power icon’s behavior to ‘off’. This will remove the icon from the tray.

4. Download BatteryBar here. After downloading, run the file and follow the installation steps.

5. Once installed, right-click on the task bar, select ‘Toolbars’ and enable ‘BatteryBar’.

Congratulations, you should now be free of all ‘Replace your Battery’ notifications!




Windows 7 ‘Consider Replacing your Battery’ Notifications

————————————————————————————

UPDATE

Windows 7  SP1 (Service Pack 1) adds the ability to simply disable the battery health warnings by unselecting ‘Warn me if my battery may need replacement’. To access this new feature, simply download and install SP1. You can do this by clicking on your start button, all programs, and then Windows Update (SP1 is listed as an Important Update).

The option can be accessed by left clicking on your battery icon in the tray bar (only once SP1 has been installed).

————————————————————————————

To see my effective method to remove the feaure, click here.

Windows 7 was introduced with a feature that alerts the user when a laptop battery is unable to hold a optimal charge capacity. This works by reading the battery’s original design capacity, and the current maximum capacity. If the current capacity has reduced below forty percent of which it was designed for, Windows users will experience a very annoying flashing red ‘X’ on the battery tray icon.

You can analyse the capacity in Windows by running the command ‘power cfg /energy’ in an administrative command promt. A report will be generated accessible in the C:\Windows\System32 folder, titled, ‘energy-report.html’.

Capacity data should be displayed similar to this:

Battery:Last Full Charge (%)
The battery stored less than 40% of the Designed Capacity the last time the battery was fully charged.
Battery ID 9100PANASONICPRESPAL
Design Capacity 44400
Last Full Charge 15451
Last Full Charge (%) 34

There are a few disadvantages to this feature. First of all, anyone able to cope with the battery at a level of capacity lower than 40% is constantly hastled to buy a new battery, even if they don’t want to. Second, anybody attempting to sell their laptop will be at a huge disadvantage if they have an older battery, a buyer would see this as a flaw. Third, a laptop with this problem will hibernate by default when the battery hits 17%.

This feature – in my opinion – is a bad one and I agree with many people that Microsoft should allow users to easily disable it.

To see my simple yet effective method to remove the feaure, click here.


Low Resolution and Stuck on Generic Non-PnP Monitor

” My computer’s resolution has changed from what it usually is (1440 x 900), and is now stuck on a poorly displayed 1024 x 768. When I change the resolution back, 1440 x 900 it becomes out of range, and the ‘Display’ is labelled ‘ Generic Non-PnP Monitor’ in the screen resolution properties”

In the past week, I have come across this problem twice, and both times the solutions were similar (both were using VGA connections and Windows 7).

At first, I assumed that the graphics driver had been uninstalled or overwritten by Windows Update. To verify this, I entered the device manager. To do this, click the start button, followed by right-clicking ‘Computer’, and then selecting ‘Properties’. A new window should display showing various information about your computer. On the left hand side, click ‘Device Manager’.

On the device manager, I expanded ‘Display Adapters’ by clicking on the arrow to the left of it. Once that had expanded, I was able to see that the correct driver was installed. In this case, it was a NVIDIA GeForce driver. If no driver has been installed, it is usually labelled ‘Standard VGA Graphics Adapter’.

Having verified the Graphics Card’s driver was installed correctly, I shut down the computer and began to inspect the VGA cable on both ends. I ensured that they were connected correctly, without being loose. In one case, a little tightening solved the problem, and the computer booted up with the 1440 x 900 resolution again.

On the other computer – however – the problem was still not solved. At this point, I inspected the VGA socket on the monitor and found that one of the nuts on the port itself had become loose. Using a pair of small pliers, I tightened it up and reinserted the cable. Upon boot, this computer – too – was displaying Windows at the correct resolution.

In summary, if you experience this problem, ensure that the correct driver is currently installed and operating correctly, then check the VGA cable and eliminate any loose connectors by either tightening the cable ends or the port itself.


Laptop’s Webcam Doesn’t Work

“My Toshiba Satellite L300D displays ‘Webcam driver open fail. Please restart camera or computer’, when I try to run the Camera Assistant Software. It was fine until I upgraded to Windows 7”

Before I started the repair, I made sure that I had the Vista 32-bit webcam software and drivers. These can be found by clicking here. (The webcam driver was on page 4 for me). I extracted the files to ‘Documents’.

To begin, I uninstalled the Camera Assistant Software by clicking ‘Uninstall a Program’ link in the Control Panel. When that had completed, I opened the device manager. This can be activated by holding down the Windows key and pressing ‘Pause Break’ on the keyboard and then clicking ‘device manager’ in the upper left corner. I clicked on ‘Imaging devices’ and then right-clicked the ‘Chicony’ driver, and Uninstalled it, as pictured below.

At this point, I switched off the wireless, using the switch on the front of the machine. This prevents Windows from searching for drivers automatically and reinstalling the wrong one. I restarted the laptop at this point.

Once it had fully booted, I accessed the files for the webcam software that I downloaded earlier and found the ‘setup.exe’ file. I right clicked this, selected properties and then the compatibility tab. By selecting ‘Run this program in compatibility mode for’: Windows Vista (SP2), the program is forced to operate in a forged Vista environment (which is what the webcam software is designed for). Then I clicked ‘OK’.

After this, I ran the ‘setup.exe’ file and followed the quick installation, and proceeded to restart the computer (you can switch your network connection back on once it has restarted).

I was then able to run the Camera Assistant Software, which correctly loaded the webcam without any problems.

This must be done on Windows 7 to install the camera as Toshiba have not developed a driver to support the camera on Windows 7 operating systems.

I have also noticed that a lot of Laptops need this treatment in order for webcam drivers to work on Windows 7, where the laptop has been designed for Windows Vista. This method should solve most of these cases, but, if you require help, please do not hesitate to contact me at contact@introubleshoot.co.uk


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.