Home > Store

Fixing Your Computer Absolute Beginner's Guide

Register your product to gain access to bonus material or receive a coupon.

Fixing Your Computer Absolute Beginner's Guide

eBook (Watermarked)

  • Your Price: $15.99
  • List Price: $19.99
  • Includes EPUB, MOBI, and PDF
  • About eBook Formats
  • This eBook includes the following formats, accessible from your Account page after purchase:

    ePub EPUB The open industry format known for its reflowable content and usability on supported mobile devices.

    MOBI MOBI The eBook format compatible with the Amazon Kindle and Amazon Kindle applications.

    Adobe Reader PDF The popular standard, used most often with the free Adobe® Reader® software.

    This eBook requires no passwords or activation to read. We customize your eBook by discreetly watermarking it with your name, making it uniquely yours.

Description

  • Copyright 2014
  • Dimensions: 7" x 9-1/8"
  • Edition: 1st
  • eBook (Watermarked)
  • ISBN-10: 0-13-340815-9
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-13-340815-7

Fix your own computer—without becoming a technical expert! This book is the fastest way to save money on computer repairs, avoid unnecessary frustration, and keep using perfectly good equipment instead of throwing it away! Even if you’re completely non-technical, you’ll learn how to get the job done, one incredibly clear and easy step at a time. Computer repair and maintenance has never, ever been this simple!

Who knew how simple fixing your computer could be?

This is the easiest, most practical beginner’s guide to fixing your own computer… simple, reliable instructions and crystal-clear pictures that show you exactly how to do it yourself! Here’s a small sample of what you’ll learn:

•¿¿ Maintain your computer so it’s less likely to break in the first place

•¿¿ Perform simple “ounce of prevention” tasks now, so it’s easier to fix problems later

•¿¿ Learn simple troubleshooting techniques for figuring out what’s wrong

•¿¿ Find the right tools (you might already have them!)

•¿¿ Buy the right parts without spending more than you have to

•¿¿ Fix aggravating Windows startup problems

•¿¿ Smoothly recover from PC crashes

•¿¿ Perform basic hardware repairs or upgrades at home, often in minutes

•¿¿ Install a new hard disk, CD/DVD drive, or Blu-ray drive

•¿¿ Speed up your computer by adding memory or upgrading its processor

•¿¿ Troubleshoot and fix network and Internet connection problems

•¿¿ And much more…

Paul McFedries is a full-time technical writer and passionate computer tinkerer. He has authored more than 80 computer books that have sold more than 4 million copies. His recent titles include My Office 2013 RT, Windows 8 In Depth, Microsoft Windows 7 Unleashed, Microsoft Home Server 2011 Unleashed, and Tweak It and Freak It: A Killer Guide to Making Windows Run Your Way. He is also proprietor of Word Spy (www.wordspy.com), a website that tracks new words and phrases as they enter the English language.

Sample Content

Table of Contents

Introduction ..........................1

 

FIY: Fix-It-Yourself ........................ 2

Who Should Read This Book? ......................... 3

Conventions Used in This Book .................... 3

I PC Maintenance

1 Maintaining Your PC .................................5

Cleaning the PC ............................... 6

    Dust: Your PC’s Worst Nightmare ...................... 6

    Cleaning the Screen, Keyboard, and Mouse ............. 7

    Cleaning the Front and Back of the PC ............ 8

    Cleaning the Power Supply ..................11

    Cleaning the Interior ..............................13

Checking Free Disk Space ...........................16

Dealing with Hard Disk Errors ........................17

    Understanding Hard Drive Health States ...................19

    Repairing a Drive Manually ........................21

2 Maintaining Windows .........................25

Deleting Unnecessary Files ...................................................26

Defragmenting Your Hard Disk ..............................27

Repairing, Updating, and Uninstalling Programs .......................29

    Repairing a Software Installation ............................29

    Updating Windows 8 Apps ...................................30

    Uninstalling Windows 8 Apps .................................32

    Uninstalling Desktop Programs ................................32

Checking for Windows Updates ................................33

    Configuring Automatic Updates ..............................33

    Checking for and Installing Updates Manually .....................35

Installing a New Device ...........................................36

    Installing Plug and Play Devices .............................37

    Using Action Center to Complete a Device Install ................38

Uninstalling a Device ...................................39

 

3 Preparing for Trouble .......................41

Backing Up Your Files ...................................................42

    Backing Up File Versions with Windows 8’s File History .......42

    Backing Up Files in Windows 7 ...................................44

    Backing Up Files in Windows Vista ..........................46

    Backing Up Files in Windows XP ..................................48

Setting System Restore Points ........................................51

Creating a Windows 8 Recovery Drive ......................53

Creating a System Image Backup ...............................55

Creating a System Repair Disc ...........................................58

II Troubleshooting and Repair

4 Understanding Basic Troubleshooting .............61

Determining the Source of a Problem .........................62

    Did You Get an Error Message? ...............................62

    Did You Recently Change Any Windows Settings? ...................62

    Did You Recently Change Any Application Settings? ...............63

    Did You Recently Install a New Program? ...........................63

    Did You Recently Install a New Device or Update a Driver? ............64

General Troubleshooting Tips ........................64

Troubleshooting Startup ............................................64

More Troubleshooting Tools ..........................................65

    Running the Windows Troubleshooters ............................66

    Running the Memory Diagnostics Tool ............................67

    Checking for Solutions to Problems ...............................69

5 Troubleshooting Device Problems ...............71

Troubleshooting with Device Manager ........................72

Troubleshooting Device Driver Problems ...............................74

    Basic Device Driver Troubleshooting ............................74

    Tips for Downloading Device Drivers ..........................76

    Updating a Device Driver .......................................77

    Rolling Back a Device Driver ..................77

6 Recovering from Problems ...............81

Restoring Backed-Up Data ....................................82

    Restoring a Previous Version of a File in Windows 8 ...........82

    Restoring a Backed-Up File in Windows 7 ..............................84

    Restoring a Backed-Up File in Windows Vista ..............86

    Restoring a Backed-Up File in Windows XP ......................88

Accessing the Windows 8 Recovery Environment ......................89

    Accessing the RE via PC Settings ....................................89

    Accessing the RE via a Recovery Drive .............................90

    Accessing the RE via Windows 8 Install Media ................91

    Navigating the Recovery Environment ...........................91

Booting Up in Safe Mode ...........................94

Recovering Using System Restore .............................95

Refreshing Your Windows 8 PC .............................97

Resetting Your Windows 8 PC ................................98

Restoring a Windows 8 System Image .....................99

7 Troubleshooting Your Network ............. 103

Repairing a Network Connection ...................................104

Checking the Connection Status ................................104

Checking Connectivity with the PING Command ............106

General Solutions to Network Problems .......................107

    Turning On Network Discovery ................................109

    Updating the Router Firmware .......................111

Troubleshooting Cables .............................113

Troubleshooting Wireless Network Problems ............114

III PC Upgrades

8 Basic PC Repair Skills ............ 117

What Tools Do You Need? ............................118

Setting Up Your Work Area ..............................121

Playing It Safe ..................................122

    Keeping Yourself Safe ..................................123

    Keeping Your Components Safe ..................124

Opening the Computer Case ..........................125

Making Cable Connections ...........................127

Working with Expansion Cards ..............131

    Understanding Expansion Slot Types ..............132

    Installing an Expansion Card ........................135

9 Buying PC Parts ............... 139

Researching Parts Online .............140

    Checking Out Product Reviews ...........140

    Performing Price Comparisons ..........................143

Researching Retailers Online.........................145

Buying Parts Online .............................147

Returning Parts Online .................................149

Buying Parts Offline .............................151

10 Replacing the Power Supply ................ 155

Getting to Know the Power Supply ...................156

Buying a Power Supply ......................................158

Removing the Old Power Supply ...................160

Installing a New Power Supply ............................162

11 Upgrading the Hard Drive ............ 167

How a Hard Drive Works .........................168

Understanding Hard Drive Specs ............................169

    The Hard Drive Interface and Throughput ....................170

    The Hard Drive Form Factor ................................176

    The Hard Drive Speed ...............................177

Buying a Hard Drive ..................................177

Removing the Old Hard Drive .........................178

Installing a New Hard Drive ............................181

Finishing Up ................................182

12 Upgrading Your CD or DVD Drive ............ 185

Choosing a CD or DVD Drive ......................186

    Understanding Disc Capacities .................................186

    Getting to Know Drive Types .................187

    Understanding Drive Speeds ............................188

Buying a CD or DVD Drive .............................189

Removing the Existing CD or DVD Drive .......................190

Installing the New CD or DVD Drive ....................193

13 Adding More Memory ........... 195

Understanding Memory Specs ............................196

    The Memory Module Standard ........................197

    The Memory Type and Speed .......................197

    The Memory Module Capacity ..................198

Determining How Much Memory Is Installed ............198

Determining What Type of Memory Is Installed ..........199

Determining How Much Memory You Need ...............202

Buying Memory .........................205

Pulling Out the Old Memory Modules ...............205

Installing the New Memory Modules ...................207

14 Updating the Video Card and Monitor ........ 211

Assessing Your Video Card Needs ......................212

Understanding Video Card Specs ......................215

    The GPU Chipset ...........................216

    Video Memory ................................217

    Video Card Connectors .....................218

Buying a Video Card ........................221

Choosing a Monitor .................................223

Setting Up a Multimonitor System .....................225

    Setting Up Multiple Monitors on Windows 8 .................225

    Setting Up Multiple Monitors in Windows 7 ...................227

    Setting Up Multiple Monitors in Windows Vista or XP ..........228

    Moving Up to Three Monitors ..................229

15 Improving the Sound System ............ 233

Understanding Audio .................................234

    Analog-to-Digital Sound Conversion ......................234

    The Nature of Sound ...................................234

    How an Analog Sound Wave Gets Digitized .................235

Understanding Sound Card Specs ......................236

    The Sampling Frequency ....................237

    The Sample Depth ................................238

    The Number of Channels ............................240

    Sound Card Connectors .............................241

Buying a Sound Card .......................................242

Connecting Speakers or Headphones ................245

16 Upgrading the CPU .................. 249

Understanding What the CPU Does ................250

Intel or AMD? ......................................250

Understanding CPU Specs ....................................251

    The Processor Family ....................................252

    The Processor Cores ...................................253

    The Processor Name .......................................254

    The Processor Clock Speed ...........................255

    The Processor Socket ..............................256

    The Processor Cache Size ...............................258

    The Processor Manufacturing Process .................258

    The Processor Core Type ............................259

Keeping It Cool: Fans and Heatsinks ......................259

Buying a CPU ...................................263

Removing the Old CPU ................................265

Installing the New CPU .....................................267

    Installing an Intel CPU in a Socket 1155 Board .............268

    Installing an AMD CPU in a Socket AM3 Board ..................270

    Installing the CPU Cooler ..........................271

17 Changing the Laptop Battery .......... 275

Understanding Laptop Batteries ........................276

Getting More Out of Your Battery ........................276

    Extending Your Battery’s Life ................................276

    Extending Your Battery’s Charge .......................277

When Should You Replace the Battery? .............279

Buying a Battery .....................................280

Installing the Battery ..........................281

18 Upgrading Your Network ................ 285

Understanding Wireless Networks .............286

    802.11b ......................................287

    802.11a .....................................287

    802.11g ...........................287

    802.11n ..................................288

    802.11ac ...........................288

Learning About Wireless NICs ................289

Putting It All Together with a Wireless Router ..................291

A Buyer’s Guide to Wireless Networking Hardware .............293

    Purchasing a Wireless NIC ............................293

    Purchasing a Wireless Router ....................295

Index ...................... 297

Updates

Submit Errata

More Information

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020