PC Troubleshooting Advice Column
Computers don't always work the way we want them to, so from time to time I like to spend a few moments answering a few of the many tech-support questions I receive from readers. Why they choose me, a complete stranger who runs a website entirely unrelated to computer support and has heretofore expressed neither the willingness nor the ability to answer any technological questions, I do not know. But this does little to change that these people need help, and I'll be goddamned if I leave them out in the cold just because of their stubborn refusal to adhere to logic.
So this week I'll be helping readers out with a few of their basic computer-related questions. You're welcome!


PC Helpdesk
Hello, I recently bought another 1gb stick of ram for my computer to bring it from 1gb to 2gb. However when the new stick is inserted the computer wont boot. When I say that it wont boot I mean that the fans all come on, and the power light comes on, but the computer doesn't beep to enter bios and the screen stays in standby etc. I put the ram in the slots mentioned in the motherboard manual, 1st and 3rd slot. I also tried them in 1st and 2nd slots. Neither worked. Please help.
Thanks for writing in Mark! I see this problem a lot. What you are going to want to do is to defragment your RAM. Pieces of RAM shuttle a lot of data, and sometimes small portions of data can get trapped between nodes, causing a pile-up of bits and bites.

Imagine a freeway during rush hour traffic. Suddenly, a driver is shot. He then has a heart attack, spins out of control, and is now blocking all traffic with his dead body. Drivers could pass if they really wanted to, but who wants to drive over a corpse? That's right: Nobody.

The same thing happens with memory. Since no data can get through, the memory sends a message to your hard drive that says "GLITCH OUT BAD ORDER" causing the PC to refuse any further requests. This can even happen in new sticks of RAM (as you are experiencing) and it is definitely the reason your PC will not boot.

Luckily for you, defragmenting your RAM is simple! Do a hard reset of your computer, and as it starts up, hold down the "ALT" and "~" keys while continuously pressing "DELETE". This will boot your BIOS into safety mode. Then look for a setting that says "Memorys" or "Computer Memory Area". Then, all you need to do is select the "Memory Module " option and let it do its thing. Depending on size, RAM can take anywhere from eight minutes to 12 hours, but after it has completed your RAM will be faster than ever.


Crysis Glitch
So I installed crysis pc and played about 1 hour and blue-screen with yellow letters came on 1 milisecond (i am unable to read it) and my computer restarts...i have never encountered this problem ...only on crysis after 1 hour...whats the problem?
- Andi
A friend of mine was actually having this same problem a few months ago. It actually turned out his Microsoft Keyboard was the problem (USB latency issues which bongled the CMOS) and he solved it by buying a higher quality elite gaming keyboard. But I understand that not everyone has the money for this, so here are a few FREE ways you can try to get the old girl running smoothly again.

Clean The Registry

Type "regedit" in the "run" box and the registry will appear. If you see any bugs, viruses, or items you don't recognize, delete them.

Drape a Wet Towel Over the PC

These problems are sometimes caused by static buildup in the home. The moist towel will cause this to dissipate. Alternatively, you can rub some dryer sheets over the case, or put a (very small!) cup of water in the bottom of it.

Increase the voltage on your CPU and RAM

This can easily be done in the BIOS. I usually just double the voltage until the problem goes away, but use your best judgement!

Press "Ctrl+P" on your keyboard

If the PC doesn't print, your printer driver is likely bonked! Buy a new printer.

Clean Spyware

Spyware is the leading cause of PC problems. Look through your program files for any folders that look like they might be spywares. Then right click and make these folders "read-only" this will make sure the spyware can't get out of them.


Glitchy Game
I have been facing this problem with my brand new HP pc for a while now. The symptoms are the video and audio loops(sticks) for 2-3 seconds every couple of minutes. Once a while though the screen flashes and i have to shut it down manually with the power button. I dont have any warranty with HP and since I am a student dont have the option to give it for repairing for 2-3 weeks in hp repair.

If you can assure me that the problem is definitely just the graphics card, to buy a new one and maybe replace it with the help of an expert on our own. What are ur suggestions to my problem?
- Tad
Well Tad, first let me say congrats on the purchase of your new HP computer! HP is a great brand and the PC should serve you well in the many years to come. There are two possible issues you are likely facing depending on your system configuration. Check them out:

1. If Your PC Has a CPU

If your HP is one of the models that comes with a CPU (AKA processor), this is likely the problem. Many modern CPU-utilizing computers experience issues such as yours due to the fact that our modern power outlets just aren't built to withstand the enormous draw that a CPU places on them. This causes glitches and flashes like the ones you describe. The only solution is to search on ebay or craigslist for an older computer which does not rely on a CPU. I use a Compaq Presario from 2001 myself, and I find that in most cases it performs even better than a modern PC. It's worth a shot.

2. Non CPU Version

If you are already using one of the HPs which does not come with a processor, your videocard is the problem. This sort of thing is hard to diagnose, but we can give it a shot. First, take the card out of the computer and rub the metal contact area clean with a moist towelette or piece of felt. Then put the video card in. Make sure not to put it in upside down (don't laugh, I've seen it before) or it won't work properly.

If you still get the problem, try taking the card out again and filling the slot on the motherboard with a thin bead of conductive thermal paste. If you don't have thermal paste, a bit of household oil (WD-40) should do the trick nearly as well. Then reseat the card. This should help ensure all the electrons get where they're supposed to be.

Good luck.

Thank you very much, and if you happen to have any more tech-support questions that need answering you can feel free to email me personally at bogglefanatic@hotmail.com.

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