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Question from 4/13/2009

When booting, my PC would give me an error message telling me to shut down or “press F1 to continue.” Before I finally found and fixed the problem, the PC would generate files named FOUND.001, FOUND.002, and so on. Each time I would try to boot and “press F1 to continue,” it would generate another FOUND.00X file. When I open one of these “found” files, it reads “File 000x.chk recovered file fragments—pieces of files found when your disk was scanned.” Each matching folder has a different amount of recovered file fragments: File 000.CHK has 245,976K, while the folder FOUND.003 has 41 recovered files in it. These files now reside on my C: drive. Do I have to live with them, or can I delete them now that my PC is working again? —Stan Wagner

Submitted Anonymously to IS Department.

 

IS Department Response:

These “found” files were created by your Microsoft operating system when either it or you ran a disk-diagnostic utility such as SCANDISK or CHKDSK. The utility found and fixed an error, then outputted the affected data (or file fragment) into one of those files. Besides clearing up the clutter on your hard drive, the utility is also giving you a final opportunity to examine your data and decide whether you want to destroy it forever. (SCANDISK and CHKDSK can also be run with options to automatically delete these files when located. While that can save you a step and a few kilobytes, we don't recommend it, for safety's sake.)

If you want, open the .CHK files in a text editor such as Notepad to peruse their contents. If it turns out to be information you want or need (which is highly unusual, but it's happened to us), utilities available on the Web, such as UnCHK and FileCHK , can help you retrieve the data. Most of the time, however, the information the files contain will be either incomprehensible or useless. If everything on your computer is working properly, and if you're not missing any valuable data, chances are you can just delete the .CHK files and reclaim the hard drive space.

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Question from 3/23/2009

Many of us have already spent a lot of money buying a portable hard drive simply  to transfer digital video files, audio files, photos, et cetera from a home PC to a laptop or have spent hours burning DVDs again only to transfer files from office PC to laptop. This is almost copy paste job and we should not be wasting time and money on it. There is cheaper better  and faster option available to connect two computers and share data, printers, internet and play networked games.

The instructions below show how to connect two computers for the purpose of sharing data. This will let you share files and folders, printers, play network games, etc. You don't need a hub, switch or router with a crossover cable if you want to connect just two computers. You can even connect two desktops/laptops or a laptop and a desktop, having the same or different operating systems installed.

Requirements-

1.       Two computers -Two Desktop / Two Laptops / One Laptop and one desktop.

2.       An Ethernet crossover cable - A crossover cable is used to connect two computers directly, without the use of the hub, switch or router. Normal “straight through” cables have an identical sequence of colored wires on each end whereas crossover cables have the 1st and the 3rd wires (counting from left to right) crossed, and the 2nd and 6th wires crossed.

3.       Network adapters – The adapters should be present in both computers (these are standard these days)

How to Connect two Computers?

Connecting two computers is not easy as it seems. It requires certain configuration on both the computers. The article speaks about three methods in detail that will make your computer talk to each other.

Method#1 - Connect two computers with Ethernet crossover cable

1.       Connect two computers by plugging in two ends of the Ethernet crossover cable into the Ethernet port of each computer.

2.       Setup network properties on both the computer. For this navigate to Network connections in control panel, select properties by right clicking on it.

3.   Select internet protocol (TCP/IP) and press properties button to change the IP address to 192.168.1.1 (192.168.1.2 for the second computer) in the IP address field. Enter 255.255.255.0 in subnet mask (for both computers). Press ‘ok'. To change IP address in Window Vista navigate to Start->Connect to->View network computers and devices->Network and sharing center. Select Manage Network Connections, press properties button under Local Area Connection. Select Internet Protocol version4(TCP/Ip4) and press properties button. The internet Protocol (TCP/IP) Properties dialog box appears.

4.       Create workgroup for local network. Right Click my computer icon, select properties and change the computer name and workgroup. ( Note- Names of the computers should NOT be the same, but Workgroup names should be exactly the same on both).

5.       Press ok and reboot the computer now.

6.       Your home network is ready to transfer files share printers and above all, to play network games with your family and friends.

To start sharing your data, right click on any folder or drive and choose Sharing. You can also share printers and peripherals of other computer and play network games.

How to Set up a shared printer or other devices?

Go to Control Panel -> Network -> File and Print Sharing. There are two options available. Either you can share file or share printer or both. After this process finish, Windows will ask you to restart your computer. Restart your computer again to complete the shared printer setup.

Method#2 – Connect two computers using USB Bridge Cable.

Most of us use USB cable to connect printers, keyboards, digital cameras and MP3 players to the computer. The computers can also be connected via USB bridge cable. To do so follow the simple steps below-

  1. Start both the computers and Log in with you Windows account with administrator privileges.
  2. Take USB bridge cable and Insert one end of the USB bridge cable into a USB port of one of the computer, and the other end of the cable into the USB port of the second computer.
  3. Download and Install the driver software for the USB bridge cable. Make sure you download it from the cable manufacturer site.
  4. Install the USB bridge cable either as a link adapter or a network adapter. If you install it as a link adapter, you can only transfer the files between two computers. You cannot play networked games under such case. If you install it as a network adapter, you will have full network functionality.
  5. Your two computers are connected.

Method#3 – Connect two computers wirelessly with WiPeer?

If both the computers are on wireless network then you can use WiPeer to share data across two computers, play network games, etc. In order to use WiPeer, one needs at least two computers with a network card. If the two computers have a wireless card, it is possible to establish direct communication between the two computers without any router. Alternatively, if the two computers are already connected to the same LAN, either through an Ethernet wire or wirelessly, then they can also use WiPeer.

How to Verify if two computers are connected?

Ping is the simplest way to verify the connectivity. Open the command prompt (located in the start menu-accessories-command prompt) and type ping (ip address of other computer). Suppose ip address of second computer is 10.20.30.40 then open the command prompt and enter the following line (make sure you are writing correct ip address) and then hit enter-

Ping 10.20.30.40

If it returns ‘Request timed out' as shown in screenshot then your computer is not connected.

If it returns ‘Reply…' as shown in screenshot then your computer is connected correctly.

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Question from 3/17/2009:

My wife recently squeezed past me with her back to my PC. Later, when I looked at the monitor, the image on the display was rotated 90 degrees to the left! Wondering what happened, I got out my trusty Windows XP “complete references”—both of 'em. No mention of this condition.

So I observed the keyboard and did some combination experiments. On my keyboard, which is a cheap KeyTronic keyboard with three extra Windows keys (which I never use), I finally found the combination: Alt+Ctrl+arrow key. You can rotate the display orientation upside down, left, and right! I couldn't duplicate it on my wife's keyboard, unfortunately.

—Submitted by Motor Vehicle Department.

 

IS Department Response:

Rotating the screen via this key combination is certainly good for an April Fool's Day prank on another PC user. (It could also be useful, we suppose, for quickly reorienting the screen when viewing digital photographs taken with the camera held vertically.) It doesn't work on many systems, however—we've only observed it on certain PCs with Intel integrated graphics.

Of course, as you found, having this feature can lead to rotating your screen by accident. (We've answered more than one late-night phone call from friends and relatives about this very problem. A spontaneously flipped screen is disconcerting, to put it mildly.) If you find this function annoying, you can go into Control Panel and turn off “Enable Hot Keys” in the advanced Display settings to keep it from recurring. But it's good to know how it's done in the event it gets triggered by mistake. After all, it's hard to diagnose a PC problem like this with your head tilted 90 degrees or your monitor flipped completely upside down!

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Question from 3/15/2009:

When shutting down my home-office desktop for the day, is it best to leave it in the standby mode, hibernation mode, or simply shut it down completely? What's your recommendation, and why?

—Submitted by Administration Department.

 

IS Department Response:

The default choices Windows XP offers on the shutdown menu are Turn Off and Stand By. (Shut Down and Sleep are the options for Vista users.) When you put your computer into standby mode, you're basically telling it to take a brief nap. It uses less power, but it doesn't shut down any applications or save the state of your system to the hard drive. It saves energy by shutting down nonessential hardware such as peripherals and fans.

An additional mode, hibernation, writes everything in your computer's memory to the hard drive, shutting down your system almost completely. Because of this, it takes your PC a little longer to start back up from hibernating. Since your data has been saved to the hard drive before hibernation, the PC skips its full boot process and loads what was written to the hard drive back into RAM, and the applications that were running start up as if nothing had happened.

You may need to turn hibernation on, however. To enact the hibernation option in Windows XP, click the Performance and Maintenance icon in the Control Panel (if necessary), select Power Options > Hibernate tab, and put a check mark in the “Enable hibernation” box. If the option isn't there, Windows does not support this option with your hardware. You'll then need to set the length of time your PC is idle before it hibernates; you do this on the Power Schemes tab, on the drop-down menu labeled “System hibernates.”

Vista offers an additional shutdown option, Hybrid Sleep, a combination of sleep and hibernation that saves your work to both memory and your hard drive, and then puts your PC into power-saving mode. It should be enabled by default; to check, access it via Control Panel > Power Options, click “Change plan settings” for your power-saving scheme, then “Change advanced power settings.” There, unfold the “Sleep” and “Allow hybrid sleep” submenus. (In the same location, you can also enable XP-style hibernation.)

Standby/sleep and hibernation both save your work so you can pick up right where you left off, but shutting down forces you to close all programs and start fresh. Our advice: If you're leaving your computer for a little while and would like to quickly resume what you were doing, standby/sleep is best for short periods of downtime, and hibernate is best for longer ones. If you don't need to immediately pick up where you left off or don't want to save your data in open programs, then turn off your PC. Remember, though, that if you plan to replace any of your hardware, you must first turn the computer completely off.

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