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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in desktop computer essentials

Everything You Wanted to Know About Hard Disk Drives

What does a hard drive do?
Information storage is the hard drive’s main responsibility. Think the electronic version of the old office filing cabinet. Everything you keep on your computer is on a hard drive. Not just documents, emails, contacts, favorites pictures, music and videos. Your programs, your preferences, your printers, your settings, even your operating system—they’re all stored on your computer’s hard drive.

If your hard drive is damaged or fails, you can lose it all. This is the sad truth and unfortunately we still see this 10+ times per week. Which is why most smart people have a backup system. They get another hard drive and copy all their important files onto that.

 

How big of a hard drive do you need?
Everything that can be saved on a hard drive is measured in terms of its size. Text is very small, pictures are larger, music is even bigger, and video is the biggest of them all.

A hard drive is like a scale. It doesn’t know the difference between things that are on it; it only knows their size. But instead of kilograms, a hard drive measures things in terms of megabytes (MB), gigabytes (GB) and terabytes (TB.)

Roughly speaking, a megabyte is 1 million bytes, a gigabyte is 1 billion bytes, and a terabyte is 1 trillion bytes.

What does this mean for you?

If you need to transfer files between computers or a drive to back up just some of your files, you can get by with a smaller drive (such as a 500GB External Hard Drive).

If you want to back up your entire computer, or even several computers, or if you store a lot of video and audio files, you’ll want a larger drive (such as a 1TB or larger Network Attached Storeage System - NAS for short).

 

Will your drive work with a PC or a Mac?
Most Hard Drives PC Pitstop sell works with either a PC or a Mac. Some drives are already formatted to work with one or the other. But any drive can be reformatted to work with either type of computer.

IMPORTANT: If you reformat a drive, every single file on that drive is erased. So make sure you copy your files somewhere safe before you reformat.

It’s more difficult to use the same drive on both a PC and a Mac. The short answer is, they’re not really compatible. The more detailed answer is that, in a few specific circumstances, you can do a few specific things. 

What are the different types of hard drive connections?
There are four basic ways to connect your hard drive to your computer:

USB
This is the most common connection type. There’s no set-up at all. Just plug it in. The computer recognises the drive, and you’re able to read and save files almost instantly.

FireWire
Plug-and-play like USB, Firewire 800 is significantly faster, making it popular with those transferring video files.

SATA
This is the standard connection for internal hard drives. Offers the highest file transfer speeds of any format.

eSATA
A less common, high-performance connection most commonly found in PCs. An eSATA connection performs at speeds that most closely resemble an internal drive.

 

How important is hard drive speed?
When you start your computer, open a file, listen to a song, or do just about anything else, you use your hard drive. The discs inside the drive spin. The faster they spin, the more quickly your computer can find the file you want.

So a drive rated at 7,200 rpm will be faster than one rated at 5,400 rpm. What that means for your day-to-day use will vary. With external drives, you’ll hardly notice a difference. With internal drives, the difference will be slight with smaller files and applications, but will be obvious with larger files and applications - and all of this adds up.

Should you choose internal or external?
An internal drive provides built-in storage at top speeds. An external drive gives you greater flexibility and expanded storage whenever you need it.

Each choice has its benefits and drawbacks.

Internal drives have to be physically installed and configured by a PC Pitstop Trained Technician opening up your computer. But your files and programs are stored directly on your computer; they’re always there whenever you need them.

External drives are connected to your computer via plug-in cables. This lets you take files with you, transfer them to other computers, or instantly add storage to your computer or network without too many technical hurdles.

 

How much can I store?

Here are some averages to give an idea of what you can store on which size drive.

  Digital Music (MP3) Digital Photo's (JPG) Digital Video's (MP4)
500Gb 25,000 Songs 160,000 Photo's 500 Hours
1000Gb (1Tb) 50,000 Songs 320,000 Photo's 1000 Hours
2000Gb (2Tb) 100,000 Songs 640,000 Photo's 2000 Hours

 

 

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Posted by on in Repairs

 

Why do computers slow down?

A question that we get asked all the time here at PC Pitstop is why computers get slower over time. This can start to happen within a year after you get a new PC, but usually it happens in just a few short months.

Since we all use our computers for a whole range of different tasks and activities, there isn’t one single reason that pinpoints why this happens.

The thing is, when you first get a new computer and boot it up it works lightning fast. That’s because it doesn’t have anything on it except the bare bones operating system. 

Regardless of whether you have a PC or Mac, over time as you download files, install software, add printers and surf the Internet etc, your computer gets bloated with files that hog system resources.

In addition, there are many other things that contribute to a slowdown. Here is the most common issues we find:

1. Hard Drive Corruption

The hard drive is the electronic equivalent of the old office filing cabinet. It's really is an amazing piece of technology that has helped propelled our world forward into the information age. A typical computer can hold anywhere from 150,000 - 300,000 high quality photographs or over a million documents or books.

All of this information is tightly packed ingeniously onto a disk and into a tiny enclosure, which looks suprisingly similar to that of the old record player. The information is stored in magnetic form on top of the disk and this is where the complexity starts to become its own undoing.

The problem is, corruption can occur from power surges (power spikes), brown outs (power dips), static electricity (from carpet, clothes and other fabrics), solar flares, cosmic radiation, vibration, bumps, knocks, computer viruses, software errors and even the layer on the magnetic disk changing over time.

 

2. RAM

Not having enough RAM is like not having a big enough table to work on. You can only have so many items on the table before it get clutted and full. The computer does its best to keep going without crashing - moving things around - but to do so - it slows down even further. Solution - the more RAM the better! RAM is cheap these days and the more you got - the more the computer will be able to use as a super fast temporary storage place.

 3. Spyware, Viruses and Unnecessary Software

These programs all need attention - they run in the background and all want to steal a little bit of time from the CPU/Processor (Think information pump).
This all stacks on top of each other and adds up very quickly. Typically we remove 500+ pieces of spyware and virus related programs on EVERY computer we service (our record is over 20,000!). PC Pitstop have an award winning and unique 5 stage process that removes all spyware, viruses and nasties that even the best AntiVirus protection leaves behind.

4. System and Software Updates

If you are updating your software regularly, this will take up space and more system resources - contributing to the slow down even further. Interestingly enough, if you were to wipe the computer in year 3 and put all the original software back on - it would be as fast as the day you brought it. However this is not exactly secure or feasible way to run your computer. Updates are mostly security and bug fixes that go a long way to protect your computer.

 

5. Mechanical Hard Drives Slow Down With Age

If you have a standard hard drive (not SSD) your hard drive will slow down and fail over time. Being mechanical - this is the nature of their design and cannot be avoided without upgrading to a Solid State Hard Drive (SSD). Solid state hard drives are reasonably new and more expensive than their mechanical counterparts but wow - they work really really fast. I MEAN REALLY REALLY REALLY FAST. For the single most impressive upgrade you can do for your computer - get a SSD Hard Drive. You will love the difference and never look back.

Now I have painted a picture of why computers slow down - how do you fix a slow computer?

Easy - just like your car goes in for a 10,000Km service - your computer also needs regular tuning up as well. For power users and businesses - minimum every 6 months and for the rest of us - every 12 months. This is what the big department stores will not and do not want to tell you. It is in their best interest for you to get annoyed with your computer to the point of frustration within 18 months - that you go out and buy another one.

 

A tuneup finds and fixes problems, spots bigger problems (before they occur and cost you more time and money), removes virus and spyware infections, scans and repairs your hard disk, installs necessary security updates and is also a perfect time for you to engage a PC Pitstop Trained Technician to ask any questions that have been niggeling at you or to fix other issues that you have been putting off.

Your computer is an investment - and for most of us - a very important tool we use every day. It pays to be proactive with your investments - instead of waiting for the day when everything grinds to a halt and you have lost some or all of your important data. Unfortunately we still see this every day.

SO - drop in and book in for your routine computer tuneup at PC Pitstop - 10 Bellbowrie Street Port Macquarie - 02 65 841551.

PC Pitstop Port Macquarie Business Awards

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Keyboard Shortcuts for the Modern User

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PC Pitstop iphone and smartphone repairs

PC Pitstop iPhone Repairs    Smart Device Repairs

Dropped or damaged your

smart device - iPhone, iPad
or Samsung Device? 
Most repairs same day!

Get a quote >>   |   Learn More >>

 

PC Pitstop Computer Repairs

PC Pitstop Workshop Repairs   Workshop Repairs


We locate the issues & 

determine the best way
to fix them. Most repairs
completed within 24 hours

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PC Pitstop Computer Tune-ups 

PC Pitstop Computer Tune Ups   Computer Tuneups


Over time you will notice your 

computer slowing down. Time
to book your computer for its
yearly service and tuneup.

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 PC Pitstop Business Support

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PC Pitstop provide reliable

small business solutions so
you can focus on delivering
exceptional customer service!

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 PC Pitstop Virus and Spyware Removal

PC Pitstop Virus & Spyware Removal  Virus & Spyware removal


Most computers are home
to hundreds of viruses and 
information stealing bugs.
Stay protected & up to date.

Get a quote >>   |   Learn More >>

 PC Pitstop Home and Business Onsite Support

PC Pitstop onsite Home and Business Support    Onsite Support


PC Pitstop can provide you
with onsite assistance in your
home or office at time that suits
you. Most areas only $99/hour

Get a quote >>   |   Learn More >>

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PC Pitstop Computer Manual & Service Planner :: Making IT Easy for YOU

manual-planner

We are so excited to finally have our PC Pitstop Computer Manual & Service Planner in store for everyone who receives any service from PC Pitstop! So many of you have been wanting something like this and it will definately make life easier for a lot of businesses and families! We've been working on this handy guide for 12mths and it's jammed packed with over 30years experience in computer repairs, computer builds and everything in between.

It features an entire section dedicated to Customer Care Guides - 22 simple 'How-To' guides for navigating your computer, your devices and the internet. The Preventative Maintainence Schedule at the back of the booklet details exactly what service is recommended for your computer at various points in it's life and can even be stamp certified that you were looked after by a PC Pitstop Trained Technician.

We love providing extra value and this Manual is the perfect tech-education and tracking tool for all our customers!

Pick yours up after your next service today.

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Avoiding Moisture & Corrosion for Your Computers Can Save You Hundreds

It is true that salt air will corrode hardware and electronics especially near the ocean/coast.

Whether you prefer a laptop or a desktop your PC is affected by its environment. While overly dry conditions can cause static electricity in your computer's components, excessively humid conditions can cause faster corrosion and internal damage. If your environment is especially humid you should take precautions to protect your computer from malfunction due to moisture. Take note of the general level of humidity and follow these simple steps to stop damage.

  1. Install a dehumidifier in your home or office. Dehumidifiers remove some of the moisture in the air so it's safer to use your desktop, laptop or tablet PC. When using a dehumidifier remember to empty out the reservoir regularly to ensure that the machine works efficiently. Small 'Hippos' or 'Damp Rid' devices may work for some, others may need to invest in domestic or commercial stand-alone models.
  2. Situate your computer in an area of the home or office with a controlled temperature. Avoid using your computer in humid areas such as a hot tub room, sauna or the bathroom. Condensation from the humidity can affect the internal components of your computer causing corrosion or sudden malfunction.
  3. Keep your computer stationary whenever possible. One way humidity builds up in your computer is when you experience sudden temperature changes. For instance, going from the cold winter air to a warm office could cause condensation. Transport your computer as little as possible and always use an insulated case to protect it from extreme temperatures if you must travel with it.
  4. Wipe your computer down quickly if you notice moisture on the outside of the case. Use a clean towel to remove outer moisture before it has time to seep into the computer through the keyboard or vents. For this very reason, avoid positioning your computer near windows or external doors.


*Iron rust is red/brown, aluminium rust is white, copper corrosion is blue/green.*

photo 1

photo 2

pcpitstop moisture cure

 

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Take advantage of the instant asset tax write-off

computer-present

(Written by David Markus for SMART COMPANY)

We have until January 1 to install new PCs, printers, storage systems and servers, update a firewall or invest in a large TV for displaying charts on the office wall.

If your business is turning over less than $2 million you can claim an instant asset tax write-off on goods up to the value of $6500 in one year. After January 1 this will only apply to goods up to $1000 in value.

With Windows XP going end of life in April 2014 you would have to have rocks in your head not to replace every Windows XP PC in your business before New Year’s Eve. Note the device needs to be installed by then so don’t wait for the last minute. There are some fantastic new devices on the market that offer the full power of a PC in a tiny form factor and it is a great time to invest in a new device. If you are in a design industry there will not be a better time to upgrade any out-of-date workstations with high speed, high end systems.

Let’s just look across an SME doing under $2 million in turnover and consider some of the bits of technology or infrastructure you are likely to have that do cost over $1000 and could be replaced if they are going to require that soon in any case.

Let’s start at the front door and work our way through the office:

  • Signage
  • Security system
  • Electronic door locks
  • CCTV for video surveillance
  • Phone system
  • Servers
  • Routers and switches
  • Firewall
  • PCs (especially those with windows XP)
  • Printers
  • TVs or digital displays
  • Office furniture
  • Carpet or other floor covering
  • Lighting
  • Kitchen whitegoods like a new fridge or coffee machine

Of course you can argue that many of these things will cost under $1000 each and so there is no rush to run out and spend money. That is fair enough but if you need some larger ticket items, now is a great time to be buying things up to the threshold to get the immediate benefit of the depreciation this year. How many items can you think of that I left off the list?

Now this is not purely technology advice, but it will apply to plenty of things in your office. Do expect some delays in delivery and some job queues with companies getting busy finishing off projects or closing of production runs in the factory by the end of December, so don’t wait for the last minute to order whatever it is that you need.

This is a great opportunity for businesses of all sizes to take advantage of and PC Pitstop can help you seize it! CALL TO ARRANGE A QUOTE FOR YOUR NEEDS TODAY :: 65 841 551

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Pick up an Ex Lease Desktop from PC Pitstop or PC Pitstop Online Store and tick a whole group of people of your list at once!

These sturdy, refurbished ex bank or ex government machines are great for:

  • a 2nd computer for the kids to do their homework
  • a beginners computer for nan and pop
  • a internet only computer for someone who enjoys surfing the web
  • or even for a small business POS computer

Without the bells and whistles, their specs suit those who don't like the fuss of the newest and latest.

-- Dual Core Processor
-- 80GB Hard Drive
-- 2GB RAM
-- DVD Reader/CD Burner
-- 8x USB Ports
-- Windows 7 Home Premium + Disk + License
-- HP Commercial Computer Quality. Almost Bullet Proof.

ex-lease-blog-pcpitstop-australia

>>> BUY HERE <<< OR IN STORE TODAY - Shop 13, 4 Bay St, Port Macquarie

AND IF YOU BUY AN EX LEASE 19" LCD SCREEN IN THE SAME TRANSACTION WE'LL THROW IN A KEYBOARD AND MOUSE, valued at $35 TO MAKE IT A COMBO

+

A 'DESKTOP CONNECTION GUIDE' TO MAKE PLUGGING IN AT HOME A CINCH!

**We're open until the day before Christmas, but don't leave it too late or you might miss out**

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[WASTING TIME AT WORK BECUASE YOUR TECHNOLOGY IS LETTING YOU DOWN?]

Improve productivity by upgarding to the PC Pitstop Business Workstation PC today!

 

WHAT's IT GOOD FOR?

PCP Bus Work Station 2

WHAT's THE SPECS?

PCP Bus Work Station 1

WHAT ELSE DO WE NEED?

PCP Bus Work Station 3

Call or call in Mon-Sat >>> Shop 13, 4 Bay St, PORT MACQUARIE

Or BUY IT ONLINE >>> www.pcpitstop.net.au

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Having a hard time with sorting out your bsuiness accounts this year?

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Well, our friends at Bit know how you feel. They've put together a pocket guide and HERE you can DOWNLOAD Part One of that guide. Whether you are a tradesperson, run a retail shop, or any other type of small business, this will certainly give you some food for thought.

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If your computer looks anything like the one on the left we can only assume you don't use it that much...perhaps as a paperweight more than anything??

pcpitstop before after desktop

Of course, looks are certainly not everything but BEIGE is a common determination of age and performance at first glance for most IT technicians these days.

If your computer is more than 5 years old...

Arrow-Right-icon Does it run slow? Do you forget what you opened a program for because it took so long to open?

Arrow-Right-icon Do people complain that they can't open documents you send them?

Arrow-Right-icon Is the back of the computer rusty or dusty?

Arrow-Right-icon Do you use your computer daily?

If you answered YES to all of these it is time for a new computer!

Arrow-Right-icon Do you have enough USB Ports for all your peripherals and devices?

Arrow-Right-icon Do you have recent backups of everything of precious documents and pictures?

Arrow-Right-icon Do you have trouble opening programs or loading new programs?

Arrow-Right-icon Do you run a business on this computer?

If you answered YES to all of these too, then the time for a new computer is NOW!

 

Bring your old computer into PC Pitstop and your Trained Technician can help you find the right replacement computer for you, transfer your data and talk you through your new machine. Plus, our Computer Manual & Service Planner - FREE with your new computer purchase - explains a myriad of questions you might have and tables a maintenance plan to keep you on track!

Your time is valuable, dont waste it waiting on sub-standard technology. We'll help you, your family or your business become more productive TODAY!

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Norton Internet Security
Stay safe with the very best anti-virus software. Do you bank online? Then you need Norton Internet Security!

Keyboard/Mouse Combo
Choose your style, shape and colour for greater comfort and flexibility.

Speakers
Enjoy music, movies and gaming on your desktop with a wide variety of speakers from simple to subwoofers.

USB Hub
4+ ports. Increase your USB ports to connect more devices and never have a lack of USB inputs.

Backing Up
Invest in back up hard drives and automated backing up software, to avoid the trauma of losing precious photos and data.

Moisture Kit
Protect your investment against component killing corrosion. Includes computer cover and damp absorber. A must for humid climates!

norton internet security 2013 laptop essential   pcpitstop keyboard mouse combo pcpitstop moisture cure  pcpitstop speakers 

Found this handy? Read last month's post 'PC Pitstop's Essential Laptop Accessories' and Follow us on Facebook!

 

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