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Tech Tips

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    PlanetQuake | Features | Tech Tips | 1-15-2000
   

Tech Tips
This is where your gaming and hardware needs are met. Be all that you can be or get out of the game! This won't be a forum for techno-geeks to find more ways to impress their non-technical friends, it's for plain folk who need help to better their gaming experience. But don't blame us if you blow your machine sky high; we're offering tips, not the Bible on computers. The mailbag is alive and well - send in those questions to TechTips.

by Love2Play


1/15/2000: Managing Windows

 

How much do you understand about your Windows OS? What does it actually do with your hardware and your Quake game? What are those nightmare error messages that pop up in the middle of an intense frag and force you into the three finger salute (ctrl-alt-del) ? We thought we would take this time to help unravel some of the mysteries of Windows and give you some power back. With some understanding, you may be able to become the boss of your OS and stop yourself from making the mess any worse.

 


System Information

There are several ways to know more about what's under the hood in your computer. And this is an important thing to know if you are going to be the one in charge. Know what's in there! Everyone knows about Control Panel, but does it always tell you what's in there? Sometimes not. For example it may put your Voodoo 2 card down under Sound and Game controllers instead of Display Adapters. Or it may put your CD-Rom in the Multimedia category. You just never know, it all depends on the drivers. Windows does not actually look at your hardware, it goes by what clues the drivers give it. So where else would you look? System Information.

Start Menu>Programs>Accessories>System Tools>System Information. Here it will tell you right down to the very driver what is in your machine. It also has a few troubleshooting areas if you look through all the options available. This is an excellent place to get to know what is in your computer. And, if you are having problems and need to tell someone what you have and what drivers are there, you can now do so with complete information. In Hardware Resources you will find IRQs. This will tell you what is on every IRQ. Very important to know when troubleshooting hardware failure.

The system configuration utility

Another important feature in System Information is under Tools, Configuration Utility. Notice the Startup tab? That tells you EVERYTHING that loads at startup. Sometimes there are unnecessary programs here. We've told you in the past to not load things at startup that you could run by clicking on them when you need them. That is a waste of resources. Check for programs here often, you never know when a program you recently installed has added itself here.

 

 

 




Keeping it Clean

Now that you know what is in there you need to know some basic rules about keeping it neat. If you don't then you are in for the Windows hissy fit -- a.k.a., the blue screen of death. You've seen it, when your system halts with a bright blue screen that say "fatal error protection blah blah" This is one of the many terrifying messages Windows can suddenly throw in your face. We'll cover those, don't worry. But how about preventing them? Let's look at what causes them:

1. Multiple installs of a failed install. In other words you installed something, it didn't work the first time so you kept trying to install it over and over.
2. You switched one piece of hardware for another. Such as upgraded your video card. However, you did not remove all traces of the old card in Windows.
3. You added something new to the machine and it took the IRQ of something else.
4. You installed a program and you had no idea it installed right on top of another program.

Solutions:

1. Before installing programs of any great size, do a scandisk. Make sure that your file system is clean to begin with. Otherwise it just gets messier.

2. When removing hardware you intend never to use again, take everything with it. Don't leave it's software and drivers behind.

3. Check your IRQs before you go crazy trying to make it work. Sometimes it is necessary to remove peripherals and install them again one by one so Windows can pick and choose the IRQs. Not all hardware is truly Plug n' Play. Sometimes it just won't go. But if you remove that piece of hardware and try another slot, it will find an IRQ. Further explanation: you have a modem, soundcard, video card, and a network card for playing on a LAN. You get cable and now need to remove the modem and put in another network card. When you install the new network card it is now on the same IRQ as your soundcard. Your sound no longer works. First thing to do is to move your network card to another slot. DO NOT try to make it take another IRQ manually, that seldom works. Moving it to another slot will make windows choose another IRQ. If this doesn't work, remove all of your cards except the video card and start over. Install the soundcard last. Now all your cards will choose an IRQ separately (we hope).

 




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