Tech Talk #23 – Apr 16, 2016

The whole Windows 10 upgrade is pretty cool because it leaves all your files and programs alone while upgrading Windows. Think of it as picking up your whole house and everything in it, replacing all the floors, and then putting everything back the way it was.


But what if your pre-Windows10 computer was a little bit unstable? Maybe as a result of previous malware attacks, an iffy hard drive, installing and deleting programs over the years, or that time you let someone else use your computer and it just hasn’t been the same since?


When the original Windows installation is a bit wobbly, then the upgraded Windows10 installation may be a bit wobbly, too.


Sometimes the best way to restore stability to your system is to back up all your data, figure out where your installation CDs are, and then format your hard drive and re-install Windows. Back when I worked on the corporate side of IT, we called this “repaving” a computer. It’s also known as a bare metal install.


But I don’t have a Windows 10 DVD, you say. After you do an upgrade to Windows 10, you can download your copy of Windows 10 and copy it to a DVD or a USB drive to use for a clean install. This way you won’t have to install your original Windows version and then upgrade to Windows 10 again.


Microsoft offers the (not very creatively named) Media Creation Tool which helps you make a Windows 10 DVD or USB for your computer. Google “media creation tool for Windows 10” to find where to get your copy of the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool.



Taking care of your laptop

Here are a few tips to get the most life from your laptop:

  1. Only use your laptop on a smooth, hard surface. Pillows, blankets, or even your lap, can block the air vents on your laptop and trap heat inside. Overheating the processor in your laptop is a major cause of laptop failure.
  2. Turn your laptop off or put it to sleep before putting it your bag. It takes a couple of seconds for the hard drive to shut down properly, and it can suffer damage from bumps and movement while shutting down. Make sure your laptop is completely off or asleep before picking it up and dropping it your bag.
  3. Don’t leave your laptop plugged in all the time. Even while using your laptop at a desk full time, try to unplug it and use it until it needs to be plugged in again at least once a week. Your battery will last longer.
  4. Shut down your laptop every couple of days. Many of your laptop’s normal maintenance tasks happen during the shutdown and startup process, like clearing caches and short-term memory and installing updates.
  5. Backup, backup, backup. Storage may be cheap, but your pictures, music, and documents are not. Get an external hard drive and set up your laptop to back up to it at least once a week.




“If you’re not failing 90% of the time, then you’re probably not working on sufficiently challenging problems.” — Alan Kay, American computer scientist, former Apple Fellow, Disney Fellow, and current president of Viewpoints Research Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to children, learning, and advanced software development.


Do you have a computer or technology question? Greg Cunningham has been providing Tehachapi with on-site PC and network services since 2007. Email Greg at                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

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