Computer Users' Group
February 18, 2004

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Computer Users’ Group

February 18, 2004

Pastfinders Computer. We’ll start by using built in tools to see what we can learn about the computer. We’ll start with the control panel and see what each item can tell us. We’ll use the printer set-upp to add the Generic Text Only printer that can create a text file from proprietary formatted text (ie FamilyTreeMaker). We’ll note the processor type, amount of memory, hard disk size, etc. We’ll cover installing hard drive, CD Drives and Burners and DVD Drives. How do you set them up and connect them?

The system icon leads us to the Device Manager which will tell us if anything is acting up and we’ll be able to see what each hardware item is. We’ll also be able to see if our system is optimally configured or if we are suffering a performance loss.

Note: Our system uses Windows 95 which has very limited diagnostics; later versions of windows include System Information which you get to through START, PROGRAMS, ACCESSORIES, SYSTEM TOOLS. It will tell you more than you ever wanted to know.

We’ll also talk about ways to learn more through the Internet. We’ll use one program from the internet to test the system memory but most system tests require an Internet connection. (Our computer wouldn’t boot on the disk I made and I couldn’t change the setup because I don’t know the password. to the BIOS setup).

Then we’ll take the cover off and see what’s inside. We’ll wrestle with the flat ribbon IDE cables but they will soon be obsoleted by smaller serial cables. We’ll identify the two extra memory sockets and install enough memory to double what’s in the computer. Installation is simple but you need to know how to snap the memory modules into place. And we’ll touch on other types of sockets so you’ll know how to do it in your system.

Keeping the inside clean can keep your system from overheating. A gentle cleaning of dust buildup and cleaning fan blades can help.

Unfortunately, my laptop computer froze before I got to show these sites. I removed the battery but it didn’t help. Here’s a tip–when your laptop freezes or won’t shut off, unplug it from the power source and then remove the battery and leave it out for several seconds. I was too fast and the capacitors remained charged enough not to clear the memory. Works fine now!!!

Web Sites. History Buffs will like www.historyplace.com. It has quite a bit on the Civil and Revolutionary Wars and, why I went there, the Irish potato famine.

To check out your computer, try www.pcpitstop.com. It will run tests and compare you to the average for your computer type.

Here’s an easy way to move files. Instead of dragging and dropping you can use "Send to? to send the file to any directory on your computer or on your network. You can get the file from

Trogladite Software at http://www.trogsoft.com/products/sendto/ . You right click on the file you want to move and then click on SEND TO and then on ANY FOLDER and from there you just select the destination folder.

When you see traffic backed up on I 4 do you ever wonder if the traffic on the Internet is as bad? Here’s the way to find out. Go to http://www.internettrafficreport.com/namerica.htm and you’ll see a chart of Internet traffic. High numbers are best. Green is good, yellow is poor and red is bad.

There seemed to be a consensus that we should go back to the beginning and do some more basic computer stuff. Let me know how you feel. More basic computing, more basic computing genealogy, scanning and image processing or what?