Category Archives: Hardware

Testing your Memory

Not your memory, the computers…

It is a good idea to periodically check your systems memory for problems, or to use this tool to diagnose an issue and either identify the ram as the culprit or to eliminate it.

Click Start, or Search, and type mdsched.exe.  You can choose from two options.  Restart the system now and check the memory or check the memory the next time you reboot the system.  We prefer to get the process started now.  Close all programs, backup your data and run the test.

Watch the program process the test and look for any issues that are found.  If there are no issues with the ram then it is likely not the culprit of any issues and can be considered good.  In that case, test other hardware or software.  If there are issues with the ram, change it out with new chips and run the test again.  Running the test again will verify the new ram is good and the slot ram is placed in is also good.

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No Sound

After installing a new video card, (for this example an NVIDIA Quadro K620, 2 GB was used), the sound stopped working.  What happened?

Some computers automatically disable the on-board video card when a PCI-E card is installed.  Sometimes the sound stops too.  There are a few things you can do to resolve this issue.

First, restart the system and enter the bios, (Basic Input / Output System), by clicking the appropriate key.  For an HP system the key to tap is F-10, for a Dell system it is F-2.  If you are not sure how to access the bios, the key to press is typically displayed during boot-up and may be referred to as Setup.  Enter the bios and go to the Advanced menu.  Look for the on-board sound option and change the setting to Enable, (it may be set to Auto or Disabled).  Restart the system and the sound should be working.

You should also update the video cards driver by doing so through the Device Manager.  This may help with future issues.  Other things to try is to uninstall and then reinstall the sound card, update the sound card driver and try different sound ports to make sure it is not a hardware problem causing the issue.

Weak WiFi Signal

Your wifi antenna is most likely omni-directional, meaning it emits a signal equally in all directions.  The best position for the router is in the center of the home / office and as high as you can place it.  If you need to place the router near the edge of the home or office, then consider creating a directional antenna device.  All it takes is an empty tin can.

Empty the contents from a soda can or beer can.  Using a knife, carefully cut the bottom of the can off.  Next cut the top of the can nearly off, but leaving it uncut near the drinking spout.  Then cut the body of the can in half.  Spread the can apart and place it over the existing antenna and directing the signal to the desired areas.  The area behind the tin can will have a much weaker signal because the direction of the signal is being forced towards your desired area of the home or office.  Done.

Print Spooler Issue

When you try to print something nothing prints and / or the error message pops up stating the Print Spooler Service has stopped working and needs to be restarted.

To restart the Print Spooler Service, go to the Control Panel and click Administrative Tools and then select Services.  Scroll to Print Spooler Service.  Right click that item and select Start.  Leave the window open.  Try to print again.

If the printing is successful, close all windows and continue to print.  If not, look back at the Print Spooler Service to see if it is Stopped.  If it is, then the service may continue to start and then stop until your printer issue is resolved.

There are a few steps to take to resolve this issue.  First, try to uninstall and reinstall the Printer and the software.  This action will allow to the computer to reinstall the device and drivers as if it were new to the system.  You should consider visiting the manufacturers website for the latest drivers.  If that fails, then try a system restore to the point in time when the printer worked as expected.  Click the Search tool and type System Restore to begin the process.  Close all windows prior to starting the restore.

Finally, if the above fails to resolve the issue, it may be time for a new printer.



Print Queue

When you go to print something, nothing happens.  Everything seems to process normally, but nothing prints as expected.  Why?

There are several reasons why this happens.  Besides the obvious ones, is the printer turned on? Or, is there an indicator light active on the printer?  One of the more common causes are items “stuck” in the print queue.

Many times people will try to print a document more than once thinking that the Print command did not work.  The result is another item is listed in the queue.  The queue may be populated with items that will not print because of an error and need to be removed.

To clear the queue go to the Control Panel, Devices and Printers and double click your Printer.  Then click the link indicating how many documents are in queue.  The queue opens.  Click on Printer in the upper left corner and select to Cancel All Documents.  The list disappears, except, maybe, for one item.

If the last item does not clear within a minute or two, it may be stuck.  You can restart the computer, which usually will clear the queue.  However, a faster way to clear the queue is to open the folder and delete the items manually.

First, turn off the Print Spooler Service.  Go to the Control Panel, Administrative Tools and then click on Services.  Scroll down to Print Spooler, right click and select Stop.  Leave this window open.  Next, go to the path:  C:\Windows\System32\Spool|PRINTERS and delete all the files.  NOTE:  This action will delete all files for shared printers and computers using it.  Close the Explorer and return to the Service window.  Right click the Print Spooler again and select Start.

Close the windows and try to print again.

Improve your Wi-Fi – Change the Channel

Most Wifi routers have 11 channels to choose from. However, channels 1, 6 and 11 can run at the same time without overlapping. Many routers use channel 6 as the default and that could result in a diminished wireless experience if it is being interfered with by other nearby routers using the same channel.
Resolve this issue and improve your wireless performance by changing the channel. Find your routers IP address, (Start, Run and enter cmd. At the command prompt type ipconfig and press Enter. The default Gateway is the ip address you need). Enter that number, (usually looks like 192.168.x.x or 10.0.x.x), in a browser address bar. The username and password window may appear. Enter the information and get to the routers control panels. If you do not know the username and password, they are listed in the paperwork that came with the router, or you can google the information. For Netgear the default is admin and then password. For Linksys it may be just password in the password line. The admin is blank. For Belkin routers you need to click the Submit button only.
Once you have gained access to the router setup go to the wireless settings control panel and find the channel it is currently using. Change the channel and click save at the bottom of the screen. Exit the router control panel and try to reconnect. If you still have the same issues, reenter the router control panel and select another channel.