Saturday, October 25, 2008

How to Check Virtual Memory

Windows 2000


Right-click My Computer, and then click Properties.


In the System Properties dialog box, click Advanced


Click Performance Options.


In the Virtual memory pane, click Change to increase the paging file.

Windows 2000 requires an Initial value of 126 MB for debugging.


After you change the setting, click Set, and then click OK.


In the System Control Panel Applet dialog box, click OK to the following message:

The changes you have made require you to restart your computer before they can take effect.


Click OK to close the Performance Options dialog box, and then click OK to close the System Properties dialog box.


When you are prompted to restart your computer, click Yes.

Windows XP


Click Start, right-click My Computer, and then click Properties.


In the System Properties dialog box, click the Advanced tab.


In the Performance pane, click Settings.


In the Performance Options dialog box, click the Advanced tab.


In the Virtual memory pane, click Change.


Change the Initial size value and the Maximum size value to a higher value, click Set, and then click OK.


Click OK to close the Performance Options dialog box, and then click OK to close the System Properties dialog box.

Monday, September 22, 2008

how to backup

Backing Up

  1. Right click on desktop, create new folder
  2. Name it “bu and the date” ie. bu0803008 (you cannot use hyphens or dashes)
  3. Copy files by using the copy and paste function into the bu folder. When copying from one location to another on the same drive you must use the copy and paste method, otherwise it will move the file from its original location. When you are copying to a different drive (C drive to an external drive, you may use the drag and drop method.)
  4. Drag and drop that backup folder into (onto) a thumb drive or other backup media
  5. With files like Outlook and Quickbooks the data file is not stored in “My Documents” so it is important to use the back up or export function under the “File” menu.

    1. for example in Outlook 2000 under the “File” menu click on “Import/Export”
    2. click on Export to a file. Click next. Use down arrow to find “Personal Folder File (.pst)” Highlight it (by clicking on it) and hit next
    3. Hit browse and find the location you wish to export it to (Presumably the “bu” folder on the desktop or the thumb drive)
    4. Name the file (buinboxdate) and click next and follow the instructions. Note if you want to back up the address book (called contacts) then make sure you have this highlighted with the box checked which says “include sub-folders”
    5. Hit “no encryption” and follow instructions.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Common Computer Tips

Computer Tips

The fewer programs you have on your computer the better it will run. Efficient programs are best. Windows 2000 and Office 2000 Premium are well written programs that will operate very well, even with older computers. Don’t load programs on your computer just because they are free. Don’t load any program you are not going to use. Just because you remove it does not mean that it is “GONE” from your computer. Most programs leave remnants and cause fragmentation of your hard drive. They may slow your computer, take up hard disk space, or potentially cause your computer to malfunction.

In our opinion AOL, McAfee and Norton are all examples of programs that are easy to load but very difficult to remove. Often we reformat a drive rather than try to remove programs like this. The same goes for a virus. You can spend hours trying to remove a virus and many times it re-emerges again. Spyware can be tricky as well. Some spyware actually provides you with unwanted “pop-ups.”

We prefer to remove the hard drive of the infected system, hook it up to a “jump drive”, remove your vital information, burn this information to a CD for your safekeeping, and then reformat (wipe out everything) the hard drive so that it is definitely “clean.” It is then your responsibility to scan your backed up data with anti-virus software before you access it or put it on your reloaded system.

Windows 2000 Passwords

We leave the password field blank. Don’t change the password and then forget it. Unlike Windows 98, you cannot just hit cancel to get by the password screen. If you lose the password you lose your ability to boot your computer. All your data will be lost.

We recommend you create a folder (and subfolders) on your desktop where you keep all of your data. This includes all your important files and data back ups. For example if you use Outlook, you should be exporting the important folders (include subfolders) into a “.pst” file in this folder. And if you are using quicken or QuickBooks make sure you are doing a back up into this folder. If you have any questions about this then call us. Having all of this critical data in one place makes it easy to locate and restore if needed.

Commercial Class vs. Consumer Class Machines

We specialize in the sales of commercial class computers. They are built with better components and are far easier to work on. Someone figured out at Dell, IBM, and Compaq that IT guys at big companies make big bucks and the quicker they can work on boxes the less it will cost them and the more likely Dell, IBM, or Compaq will be to sell these big companies their computers.

Additionally, commercial class machines rarely use proprietary components so replacement parts are much less expensive.

Internet Connection

We offer connections for $14.95 per month. This is a direct connection to the Internet and is guaranteed to be the fastest connection available for dial-up. We know it is the fastest for several reasons.

  1. We only put three pieces of information into your computer and do it manually. We enter the user name, the password, and the local dial-up number. There are no programs loaded onto your computer: nothing to keep track of you or your Internet travels. There is nothing going on in the back ground, slowing your computer down or tracking your moves.
  2. We never have, and never will send you any thing, ever, except an invoice by US mail.
  3. Our Data Center is the same one all the big companies use but our Internet servers are not overloaded. The big guys put 10,000 people each server whereas we put only about 1000.

There are several things that affect Internet speed. Some of which can do something about and some we cannot.

  1. Length of the phone line. The shorter, the better.
  2. Clean computer. Don’t load programs you don’t use.
  3. Good modem.
  4. Wiring in your house or your apartment. (You cannot do anything about this)
  5. Bell South (or local telephone company’s lines).
  6. Data Center (We use inflow that is located on Miami Blvd. On the border of Wake and Durham counties (so all phone calls into the data center are non-toll (free)).
  7. Internet traffic. (You cannot do anything about this)
  8. Computer server and traffic on the site you are visiting. If you are going to a site that many people are visiting it will be slow or if the site is on a slow server. Our servers are speedy.


We do not sell our computers with Antivirus software. We recommend either’s free AVG or’s PC-Cillin. If you do a Google search for PC-Cillin you will be directed to Trend Micro’s discount and you might get it for $39 instead $49. Don’t “Share” Information with any company for “marketing purposes”

Pop-Up Ad Blocker

Google is one of the best-written, efficient programs in the world. It is very powerful and very fast. Google allows a free download of its tool bar. We usually set the home page as Google. When you install the tool bar remember to click the box that says, “not advanced function,” because it asks you to share information with Google. You don’t want to share information with anyone for any reason.


You should do all critical updates on (non XP Home) computers. To do this go to the start menu and click on Windows updates. There will be three types: Critical, Windows, and drivers. The critical updates are the only ones you should do if everything on your computer is working properly. Again, any changes or additions to you computer could cause complications or slow it down.

Backing Up

There is a 100% chance that your hard drive will fail at some point. A back up copy of any information you care about should be stored in one location (a FOLDER) on your computer. You should know this location (desktop, C drive, D drive, etc.) You should copy this folder onto some form of external media (Floppy, CD, DVD, Camera Card, External Drive, Zip, Pen Drive) regularly and stored in a fireproof safe or “off-site.” When placing information in this FOLDER make sure you include your email and financial backups. For example an Outlook file (mail, addresses, etc.) needs to be exported from the “File” menu to a “.PST” file directed to this FOLDER. And “Quicken” or “QuickBooks” file backups must also be exported to this file. The reason for this is that the “data” files for these programs are stored in a location and format in the program file folder as opposed to the “My Documents” folder as most other personal files are stored. External Media is extremely inexpensive. You can purchase a 512 Megabyte “camera media card” for less than $30 after rebates and a card reader for less than $10. This way, if you have a digital camera, then you have extra media to store pictures until they get copied to your computer. When you use one of these drives they simply appear as another drive on your computer and you can “drag and drop” to copy files. Make sure that you are not just copying “short cuts” which is what happens when you drag and drop a program.


Power Strips do not offer great power surge protection. It is best to get a device called a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) that “conditions” the electricity on its way to yours system. The battery back up function of a UPS is nice to have but not the purpose of its $39 purchase price.

Advantage Computer 919-461-8507 - If you have any questions about any of these hints you should call!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

How to speed up an old computer

There is a very simple way to make sure that one's computer runs fast regardless of its age. Use it for what it is needed for and nothing more. Don't have a super hyped up machine if all it is going to be used for is to look at email and dirty pictures. Any computer made after 1999 or so would be able to handle that with ease, as well as writing documents, PowerPoint presentations, Quickbooks, and many other programs all at once.

It is very simple: Don't load programs that are not going to be used.

I installed a wireless router the other day and it said that I needed to install the software on the CD first. I tested this by not doing so, and what do you know: It worked!!!

Many products will come with installation Cd's that don't in fact have the drivers on them but instead just superfluous software that runs in the background reminding you that you have their product. Almost every time, all one needs is the driver.

Just like how these "malware" programs run in the background, so too do the programs that one uses on a daily or weekly basis. Whenever a program prompts for a shortcut on the desktop or quick launch bar think about whether they would be used or not. If not, don't let the computer make the shortcuts. Also it is a good idea to disable most things in the start up tab under msconfig.

Viruses will kill a computer and wipe out all of the files if it is not protected by a trustworthy anti-virus. So many people ask me why their computer stops working or crashes or gets horribly slow AFTER installing anti-virus. The answer is always this: they chose the wrong anti-virus. Without exception the best anti-virus program for the past 4 years has been AVG. It even has a free edition that works just as well as the paid for version. It updates daily and when prompted, is a small program that works in the background with out slowing down the computer, and catches alot more than what the others would catch. In 1994 Norton began to be the biggest most effective antivirus software. It was displaced around 2001 or so by McAffee. Now both those programs have lost their effectiveness. They do not catch the REAL viruses, they slow down the computer and they are almost impossible to remove completely. They have in fact become malware themselves. AVG working in unison with Spybot and AdAware is what so many computer guru's have been recommending for the past 5 years.

Finally, if all of this does not speed up the computer that is currently running slower than sap dripping up a tree in the arctic in slow motion, then the best choice is a clean slate and wipe the hard drive out and reinstall the operating system. Back up the information that is needed and just bite the bullet and it will be like a brand new machine.

I guarantee it.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Finally up!!

After being in business in the computer resell/repair industry since 1995, our website is finally up! Took long enough but time is something that we don't have alot of. Oh well.

The purpose of these first few blog entries is to educate the public across the world about misinformation in computer sales.

First of all, try Windows Vista at your own risk!! It is not only slower than XP but every other operating system out there. The fastest o/s is the oldest; they just keep getting slower because of all the bells and whistles. I'm not saying go back to Win3.1, but know what you need to run the operating system.
windows 98 requires .016GB ram (16MB) and .225 GB (255MB) free hard drive space.
windows 2000 requires .032GB ram (32MB) and .650 GB (650MB) free hard drive space.
windows XP requires .128GB ram (128MB) and 1.5 GB free hard drive space.
whereas, windows VISTA requires 1GB ram and 15 GB free hard drive space!!!

That's 8 times what XP requires!!

Okay, fine, Technology got much better and faster in the past 5 years right?
Not really, not compared to the 8 years before that certainly. A refurbished machine having the basic minimum requirements running XP will run circles around a Vista machine with its minimum system requirements. In the past 5 years the biggest advance in computers as in graphics and data transfer rate in cables. CABLES. yes we knew about the graphics part. But other than that the next big advance was in the cables? You see, processor speeds got so fast that the cables carrying the data had to be upgraded just to see the difference in speed. USB was replaced by USB2.0, IDE replaced by SATA, USB2.0 so soon be replaced by eSATA after Firewire had its 2 year battle with USB. Hard drives were not keeping up either, from 7200RPM we went up to 15000RPM.

All operating systems become more reliable over time. Service packs come out and increase the reliability of the system. When an operating system is new it is still incredibly unstable. Thankfully XP has become a very stable machine (assuming that one knows how to protect their system from viruses). Vista is the biggest target for virus programmers. Also it will crash alot more often until at least Service Pack 2 comes out.

DRIVERS!!!! How did Vista over look the incompatibility with other operating systems and hardware. Vista does not have half the working drivers that it needs. And those that it does have work so slow due to the speed required to run the operating system. Don't believe me, just try to print from a Vista machine to a networked printer on a XP machine. it takes about a minute to print! THAT IS NOT FASTER!

In short all of the hype about Vista (which is quickly dieing away) is just to make you think that technology continued with its exponential advancements that we saw in the 90's, in fact it died down considerably. we were able to go from one processor to 2, something we had in servers for years anyway, build bigger operating systems whose only purpose is to show you pretty graphics and make you think that you made a good investment.

Like I said, try Vista with your own risk!