File System Fundamentals

File Cabinet (File System Analogy)A computer, contrary to popular opinion, does not actually have a mind of its own.

It is an entity devoted entirely to following the instructions that it is given, whether they be perfect or flawed. (Hint: It’s usually the flawed instructions — or faulty hardware — that lead us to believe that computers are sentient and out to get us.)

As you may imagine, it takes quite a few instructions, all put together, for a computer to function. The more functions it can perform, the more instructions are necessary. By the time you have an operating system installed with a few programs running on it — well, that’s quite a few instructions right there already.

Have you ever wondered how your computer knows where to find all of the instructions that it needs to be able to function? Maybe stop and think about that the next time it takes an extra millisecond for a program to load. It could be much worse!

All of that instructional data is stored somewhere, otherwise it would be lost from memory the first time the computer is turned off.

How is all of that data saved, so that it can be quickly found again when it’s needed?

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Command Line Basics for Windows and Linux

Command Line TerminalToday’s subject is, by popular demand, a continuation of last week’s introduction to the command line.

The conversation that I’m calling “popular demand” went something like this:

Mom: You left me hanging! That’s the first time I’ve ever brought the command post up in my life, and now I don’t know what to do with it!

Me: …do you mean the command prompt?

Mom: Yes! That’s what I mean!

So now that you have your command line open (or know how to re-open it), let’s make use of it.

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How to Clean Your Computer Hardware Safely (and Thoroughly!)

cleaning suppliesIt is now officially the last week of spring — until next year. Have you finished your spring cleaning yet?

More specifically, have you cleaned your PC yet, or did you just clean around it, not entirely sure how to go about cleaning its various surfaces safely?

It turns out that computers are not quite as easy to break as one might initially believe, so pull out your dust blaster, clean cloths and a paintbrush; let’s get to work.

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How to Uninstall Programs In Windows 7

cd-in-caseAs time goes by and bigger and better comes along, we have a habit of leaving behind the old… and forgetting about it as we welcome the new.

It’s not that we mean to, but it usually ends up happening, and technology is the best example that I know of.

This phenomenon (which can hardly be called a phenomenon, because it is neither new nor remarkable) is very noticeable in regards to electronic hardware (especially phones).

It is not so noticeable as it pertains to software, and that’s why we’re going to discuss it today.

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How to Determine If You’re Running 32-bit or 64-bit Windows

bitsIn the process of obtaining new Windows software, you’re often confronted with two daunting options: 32-bit and 64-bit.

Ultimately, only one option or the other may actually work on your computer, as the version of Windows itself is either 32-bit or 64-bit.

Determining which Windows version that you have installed is a simple matter.

Determining which Windows version that you can install is another matter entirely.

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Artha, The Open Thesaurus (Dictionary) for Both Windows and Linux

Artha Thesaurus LogoOftentimes, while in the middle of a conversation, there will be a word that I want to use because it fits the context perfectly, and yet I am unable to remember the word.

It hovers there, right on the edge of my consciousness, taunting me. Usually it comes to me a few minutes — or hours — later when I no longer need it.

It would be nice to have a dictionary in my head, but the next best option is to have one on my computer. For this I use Artha.

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How to Customize the Windows 7 Taskbar and Start Menu Properties

CustomizeIt’s driving me nuts.

Don’t get me wrong; I like having my most-often-used programs clearly visible on my Taskbar, where they are always just a single click away from deployment.

It’s the after-deployment part that’s the problem.

It’s the part where the open programs look identical to the closed programs, and multiple instances of the same program get collapsed under one icon, and I can’t tell what’s going on!

It must be stopped.

Thankfully (for the sake of my sanity), the fix is very simple.

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Personalizing Windows 7 (Desktop Photos, Themes, & More)

PersonalizeMaybe you like the default Window 7 desktop background.

It is pretty… For a day or two. After that, I’m ready for a change.

I like to entertain myself by putting puppy photos on my desktop, since I’m not allowed to have a real puppy. (My brother’s dog would object. I still wonder why she has any say in the matter.)

The ability to change the desktop background, window colors, sounds, icons, pointers, screen savers, and more, are all parts of the personalization experience.

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