Windows 7 Remote Desktop

If your PC is in a corporate environment, your IT helpdesk might be able to use Windows Remote Desktop or a similar system to gain access to your computer. You might consider it slightly disconcerting to see the pointer moving around the screen apparently on its own, but this is a good way for an organization to provide support and reduce overall costs.

Before beginning a remote help session, make sure that your PC is on. If you want to set up a remote desktop connection to another PC, you can access Remote Desktop by typing remote in the Start menu search box and selecting Remote Desktop Connection from the results that appear.

The PC you want to connect to must be on your network or virtual private network (VPN), and you will need to know its name on the system to connect. Some organizations use Remote Desktop across the Internet to provide support for customers, although others may use Remote Assistance.

The target PC will also need to be configured to receive Remote Desktop connections. These settings can be found in Control Panel by clicking System And Security, clicking System, and then clicking the Advanced System Settings link. The options to allow remote connections can be found on the Remote tab of the dialog box that appears.

You might need to allow Remote Desktop through your firewall. You can access Windows Firewall settings from the Control Panel by clicking System And Security, and then clicking Windows Firewall. Click Allow A Program Or Feature Through Windows Firewall to allow Remote Desktop.

If Remote Desktop is unable to verify the identity of the computer when you try to connect to a remote PC, a warning appears. This will happen if Windows suspects that connecting to this PC could pose a security risk to your system.

Once connected, the person who initiated the Remote Desktop connection has full access to your PC to remotely diagnose any problems.


Third-party firewalls can block Remote Desktop or Windows Remote Assistance attempts to connect to your PC. You can temporarily disable the firewall to allow connection if required. If you are using the Windows 7 built-in firewall, it is already correctly configured for remote help and won’t give you any problems.

By default, most routers allow a Remote Desktop connection across the Internet. If you cannot connect, however, you may have to log in to your router and change certain router settings, such as opening a connection port or permitting Remote Desktop. You should consult your router manual or help document for details on how to do this.

Source of Information :  Microsoft Press - Troubleshooting Windows 7 Inside Out

PROFESSIONS IN COMPUTER SCIENCE

What, then, do computer scientists do? There are many professions for people with degrees and with a background in computer science. Consider a few of the most common professional jobs.


Programmer
A computer scientist’s natural activity is in front of a computer, writing a program, so of course it stands to reason that his or her general job title is programmer. While the basic concepts of programming never change, two programmers can have jobs that are very different from each other. Writing a computer game, for example, is different than writing tax-preparation software. Two broad subcategories of programming are applications and systems. An applications programmer writes programs directly for users. Someone who helped create Microsoft Word is an applications programmer. A systems programmer writes programs that operate computers behind the scenes. For example, a systems programmer would create the software that directs traffic around the Internet. Even within these categories, programmers have different specialized knowledge. A programmer writing software for a bank needs some knowledge of finance, while one developing software to display molecules needs some background in chemistry. It should be noted that while “programmer” is still in use as a general term, it has fallen out of favor as a job title. This is because the work of developing software involves creating specifications and designs; that is, it’s now more than just programming. In response, a new term has arisen to reflect the total process: software engineer.


Software Engineer
A software engineer is involved in all stages of software development, from initial meeting with prospective clients to installing updates to a program years after it was first developed. In truth, most programmers are actually software engineers since it would be difficult for anyone to do a good job of writing a program if they haven’t been involved in the early stages of design. The term “software engineer” arose not only to better reflect a total process, which includes programming, as we noted above, but also because of the growing importance of correct software in the computer industry. Computers are increasingly involved in our lives, and are often critical to what we do, so software failure could be catastrophic. Consider a construction analogy in which a 100-story tower has been designed and tested by someone who was called a “builder.” If you worked there, you’d no doubt prefer that the building were designed by a “structural engineer”—someone who rigorously tested the design in accordance with accepted principles. Similarly, an astronaut boarding a space shuttle doesn’t want to rely on a computer program written by a mere “programmer” to bring the craft safely back home, but instead wants the software written by a “software engineer.” Again, these activities imply that a formal, proven process was used to create the software. It gives a greater assurance that the software is free of serious defects.


Systems Analyst
A systems analyst makes decisions when whole systems must be introduced, upgraded, or replaced. If a chain of grocery stores determines that its current inventory control system is inadequate, for instance, a systems analyst— or team of analysts—would decide what the best solution is, taking into account all the costs involved, including purchasing new hardware, developing new software, training employees to use the new system, and so on. The best solution for the grocery store chain could involve replacing all the computers at the checkout counters or writing new software for the existing hardware. You can see in the above example that the term “system” encompasses not only computers and software, but everything that interacts with them, including the people who use them. A good systems analyst must take the skills, needs, and wants of other employees into account when making decisions. Note that many people with the title “systems analyst” do not analyze systems exclusively, especially in smaller organizations. They are also involved in the development of the software once the system plan has been approved. Thus, systems analysts are often software engineers as well.


System Manager
Once a new system is in place, someone must ensure that it continues to work. A person responsible for maintaining an existing computer system is a system manager. He or she monitors the hardware and software, and, if the needed use of the system outstrips its capacity, prioritizes requests. The system manager also supervises day-to-day tasks with the system, such as the replacement or repair of malfunctioning equipment, and is involved in the same kind of high-level decisions as systems analysts. At some organizations, both roles may be combined into one position, which is given an omnibus title such as “information technology manager.”


Network Manager
A network is a set of computers connected together so they can share data. A network manager is a kind of system manager who specializes in network operations: keeping the network operational, connecting new computers to the network as new employees are hired, upgrading the networking technology as needs change, and performing similar tasks. This position is fraught with peril, because at many offices all work must cease when the network is “down,” or nonoperational.


Researcher
A computer science researcher is involved in formal investigation of the computer science field, which is a little different than research in other sciences. A researcher in chemistry, for example, might mix several chemicals together as an experiment, observe the results, determine the properties of the existing compound, and compare this result with the result that was expected—the hypothesis. A computer science researcher, in contrast, does not generally conduct experiments. Since it is exactly known how a computer will interpret a given instruction or set of instructions, the researcher will know, or can test, whether a given idea will work before it is actually implemented as a program. Indeed, much research can be done without using a computer at all.

Research in this field can be practical or theoretical. Practical research has a known application already, such as an improvement for an existing process; for instance, a method to search Web pages faster or better. Theoretical research is meant to advance the discipline, without a specific practical goal in mind. Of course, today’s theoretical solution may turn out to have practical ramifications tomorrow. At one time, most research in computer science was performed at colleges and universities by faculty members whose salaries were at least partially funded by grants from government and private research organizations. Further research came from candidates for doctoral degrees whose research topics related to their faculty mentor. While academic research still takes place, an increasing amount of research is done by private companies. Because the software industry is so lucrative, market forces can often drive research faster than academic concerns. While an exceptional computer science department in a university might have an annual research budget of $5 million, Microsoft (the world’s largest software company) has an annual research budget of over $5 billion.


Teacher
Like all disciplines, computer science needs people in the current generation to teach those from the next generation, to pass along the accumulated knowledge and experience of the field. At one time, most teachers of computer science were college professors. Now, computer science is often taught in high school as well. And because the industry is advancing so fast and there’s a need to teach workers who are already in the field, companies employ teachers as well. Commonly, they give seminars to keep a company’s employees up-to-date with the latest technologies.


Chief Information Officer
Not many people have the title Chief Information Officer, but that this title even exists is testament to the importance of computing in the business world. A Chief Information Officer, or CIO, is at the highest level of management, involved with all the central decisions affecting the company. This constitutes a historical change in modern companies. Before there were CIOs, computing was considered an appendage of business, rather than an integral part of it. Like a services department, it was called when something specific was needed. Now, of course, computers help guide a company’s direction. Information technology can no longer be considered an afterthought, after the strategic plans have been made. The use of technology must be part of the plans themselves. Chief Information Officers come from a variety of backgrounds, but tend to have education and experience both in computer science and business.

Source of Information : Broadway-Computer Science Made Simple 2010

Using the Internet to Find Solutions to Problems

You’re never alone as long as you have an Internet connection. Whatever problem you face with your computer, you’re almost certainly not the first person to encounter it. A great many websites exist to help with computer problems, and technical experts can be very generous about sharing solutions to problems they’ve encountered.

The major search engines are extremely good at recognizing search queries and providing relevant results. Searching for network driver for dell laptop, for instance, brings up a whole page of results, all offering appropriate drivers to download. Sometimes, however, your search entry is more imprecise and returns too many results. This means you might not immediately find the information you need. In these instances, there are some simple search techniques you can use in all the major search engines to improve the results you get.

• Searching “in quotes” Putting text into double inverted commas (as in “text”) is a useful way to make certain that the search engine treats the text inside the quotes as a string and not as separate words.

• Adding a plus (+) or minus (–) sign Adding a plus (+) or minus ( –) in front of a word or phrase will ensure that term definitely is or is not in the search results. For instance, if you are searching for a driver for specific hardware but don’t want search results advertising the item, adding –shop could help filter consumer sites from the search results.

• AND, OR, and NOT These are other terms you can use in search entries to tailor your results (although I find the plus [+] and minus [–] signs easier to use). For example, if you are looking for a driver and know the name of your hardware but not the name of the generic driver you need, you might search for connexant OR dynamode BT878a driver (where BT878a is the name of your hardware). Adding the qualifiers linked with OR narrows the search more than just searching for BT878a.

Of course, you first need to know what to search for when trying to find a solution to a problem. Try to pick up clues from the information provided by anti-virus or anti-malware software, the Windows event log, or a Windows or other software error message. If you notice a code or the name of a program, virus, or service, write it down right away. You never know when that onscreen message might disappear accidentally or otherwise.

Try not to use irrelevant words in your search terms; keep things short and to the point. If your search item includes characters like periods or forward slashes (common in virus names), enclose the term in quotes, for example “Win32.Gattman.A”.

Finally, use plus (+) signs before specific terms to ensure that they appear in the search results. For example, the search phrase +”win32.Gattman.A” +”windows 7” +remove provides only results that include the terms win32.Gattman.A and Windows 7 and remove.

Source of Information :  Microsoft Press - Troubleshooting Windows 7 Inside Out

Creating a Windows Pre-Installation Environment Startup Disc

1. You first need to create a startup disc for the Windows Pre-Installation Environment (WinPE). To do this, run the Windows 7 AIK installer and select Windows AIK Setup.

2. When the Windows 7 AIK is installed, select Microsoft Windows AIK from the Start menu, right-click Deployment Tools Command Prompt, and select Run As Administrator.

3. In the command prompt window that appears, type C: and press Enter. Then type cd .\Program Files\Windows AIK\Tools, and press Enter again to access the AIK folder.

4. Use the Copype.cmd script, changing the arguments as necessary to match the locations for your WinPE files and the desired destination folder. (Valid versions include 32-bit [x86] or 64-bit [x64]. Other supported types are amd64 and ia64.) Type copype.cmd x86 C:\winpe_x86 or copype.cmd x64 C:\winpe_x64, and press Enter.

5. The command in step 4 creates a folder structure in a new folder. Next, to copy the base WinPE image to this folder structure, type copy C:\winpe_x86\winpe.wim C:\winpe_x86\ISO\sources\bot.wim, and press Enter.

6. Next, you need to add disk boot files to the files you have created in steps 4 and 5, ready for burning to a CD or DVD.
a. Type dism /Mount-wim /Winfile:C:\winpe_x86\ISO\sources\boot.wim / index:1 /MountDir:C:\winpe_x86\mount, and press Enter.
b. Type copy C:\winpe_x86\ISO\bootmgr C:\winpe_x86\mount, and press Enter.
c. Type mkdir C:\winpe_x86\mount\boot, and press Enter.
d. Type xcopy /cherky C:\winpe_x86\ISO\boot C:\winpe_x86\mount\boot, and press Enter.

7. Add the ImageX disc image creation program to the folder by typing copy “C:\Program Files\Windows AIK\Tools\x86\ImageX.exe” C:\winpe_x86\mount, and pressing Enter.

8. Next, create the boot configuration data (BCD) file for the disc. Type the following commands, pressing Enter after each one.
a. Del c:\winpe_x86\mount\boot\BCD
b. Bcdedit /createstore c:\winpe_x86\mount\boot\BCD
c. Bcdedit /store c:\winpe_x86\mount\boot\BCD -create {bootmgr} /d “Boot Manager”
d. Bcdedit /store c:\winpe_x86\mount\boot\BCD -set {bootmgr} device boot
e. Bcdedit /store c:\winpe_x86\mount\boot\BCD -create /d “WINPE” -application osloader

9. The command in step 8e returns a GUID value. Type the following commands, substituting the GUID value returned by step 8e for {GUID}. The GUID should look similar to {21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30309D} but will contain different numbers and letters. Press Enter on your keyboard after each step.
a. Bcdedit /store c:\winpe_x86\mount\boot\BCD -set {GUID} osdevice boot
b. Bcdedit /store c:\winpe_x86\mount\boot\BCD -set {GUID} device boot
c. Bcdedit /store c:\winpe_x86\mount\boot\BCD -set {GUID} path \ windows\system32\winload.exe
d. Bcdedit /store c:\winpe_x86\mount\boot\BCD -set {GUID} systemroot \ windows
e. Bcdedit /store c:\winpe_x86\mount\boot\BCD -set {GUID} winpe yes
f. Bcdedit /store c:\winpe_x86\mount\boot\BCD -displayorder {GUID} -addlast

10. Finally, create an ISO disc image that you can burn to a CD or DVD. Type oscdimg
–n –m –o –bC:\winpe_x86\etfsboot.com C:\winpe_x86\mount C:\winpe_x86\
winpe_x86.iso, and press Enter.

For Intel Itanium–based architecture, replace etfsboot.com with efisys.bin. If you are building an ISO to an AMD Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) ISO instead, type oscdimg.exe –bC:\winpe-x64-efi\efisys.bin –pEF –u1 –udfver102 C:\winpe-x64-efi\ISO x64-efi-winpe.iso, and press Enter.

11. You will now have an ISO file in the C:\winpe_x86 folder that you can double-click to start Windows Disc Image Burner.

Source of Information :  Microsoft Press - Troubleshooting Windows 7 Inside Out

Creating a Slipstreamed Install DVD

Slipstreaming is the process of integrating a service pack into the original installation DVD. You might want to do this for a couple of reasons. First, a slipstreamed installation DVD is useful when you need to reinstall Windows or install it on a new PC. A slipstreamed version of the software is far better updated than the original install. You may also want to create a slipstreamed installation DVD if you want to use System File Checker as mentioned previously. The installation DVD you use with System File Checker must include the service pack that matches the one installed on your PC. If it doesn’t, some operating system files will not match, and System File Checker will abort with an error.

Sadly, creating a slipstreamed service pack installation DVD for Windows 7 isn’t as simple as it is for Windows XP. With Windows XP, you simply copy the contents of your Windows XP installation disc to your hard drive and use an /integrate switch with the service pack to build it into the file structure. Then you burn back to a bootable DVD. This procedure changed with Windows Vista, and while you can still slipstream, it’s a significantly more complex process. Here, however, I’ll describe how to do it step by step.


What You Will Need
Before beginning the slipstream procedure, gather the following items.
• A spare hard disk or partition on which you can install a fresh copy of Windows 7.

• The Windows 7 Automated Installation Kit (AIK), which you can download for free from http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=6
96dd665-9f76-4177-a811-39c26d3b3b34 or by searching the Microsoft website for Windows 7 AIK. You will need approximately 1.5 GB of free disk space to install the Windows AIK on your PC.

• A blank CD or DVD.

• Software for creating an ISO file such as UltraISO, (available from www.ezbsystems.com/ultraiso) or WinISO (available from www.winiso.com). You might be able to download a free trial version of the software, which will be fine for a quick job.

Source of Information :  Microsoft Press - Troubleshooting Windows 7 Inside Out

Windows 7 Core Operating System Files

Windows 7 some of these folders contain files for specific functions. For example, the ehome folder includes Windows Media Center files and the Fonts folder stores Windows fonts.

A few of these folders contain core operating system files, and it’s worth focusing on these folders, because this is where file corruptions are most likely to occur.

X:\Windows\Boot. This folder contains files necessary for starting Windows 7.

X:\Windows\Help. The Windows 7 help files are located in the Help folder. If you cannot start Help, these files might be corrupt or missing.

X:\Windows\inf. Windows uses the INF files in this folder when installing hardware and software drivers.

X:\Windows\System32. This folder contains the guts of Windows 7. All the main Windows components are located here. If you have a problem with a Windows file, it is likely located in this folder.

The following files are commonly located within the X:\Windows\System32 folder sub-structure.

ActiveX Files (*.ocx) ActiveX is a programming framework that software authors use to design reusable components to be shared across applications. Sometimes these controls are shared across programs from different software houses, and in older software, there might be incompatibilities with various versions of the .ocx files. For example, one program might require a specific version of the file, but another program needs a different version. Windows 7 is much better at handling these conflicts than previous versions of Windows; however, such conflicts can still occur.

Applications Applications are the main programs that comprise Windows 7. If you are trying to launch a built-in Windows feature and it cannot be found, the associated application file might be missing from the Applications folder.

Application Extensions (*.dll) Dynamic Link Library (.dll) files are shared library files. Like .ocx files, .dll files are program and Windows components that can be shared across software applications. Occasionally, Windows becomes unresponsive because a .dll file is corrupt or is an incorrect version that is not supported by the program or feature trying to access it.

As with .ocx files, Windows 7 is much better than previous versions of Windows at handling .dll file conflicts, but issues with these files can still occur. Windows 7 includes more .dll files than any other type of file.

Control Panel Item (*.cpl) Windows 7 launches .cpl files when you access features in Control Panel. If an item cannot be found, the associated .cpl file might be missing or corrupt.

Device Driver (*.drv). The Device Driver folder contains certain Windows 7 software and hardware drivers. These files can occasionally become corrupt.

Boot. The Boot folder contains the programs required to start Windows. If these files are deleted or become corrupt, Windows will not start.

Drivers and DriverStore. These folders contain all of the software drivers for your hardware. You can back up these folders and restore them manually if an event such as a driver malfunction or faulty driver upgrade causes problems with Windows 7.

Microsoft Common Console Document. The Microsoft Management Console (MMC) programs are stored in this folder. If you cannot start an MMC item, the program file might be corrupt or missing from this folder.

VBScript Script File (*.vbs). Visual Basic VBScript scripts can be a target for virus writers. Some VBScript scripts are stored in the main Windows 7 folders.

X:\Windows\winsxs Earlier, I discussed side-by-side compatibility protection for different versions of .dll, .ocx, and other files in Windows 7. Windows stores and organizes compatible duplicate versions of files in the winsxs folder. This folder is usually very large and even bigger than the System32 folder.

X:\Users\AppData. In each user’s folder is a subfolder named AppData. Application-specific files and settings are stored in this folder.

The AppData folder is hidden by default, so you will need to change the default setting to show hidden files to see the folder contents.


Windows 7 Security and Policy Folders
Windows security and other policies that control login, software, and user behavior and permissions are stored in the following folders.
• X:\Windows\Security
• X:\Windows\ServiceProfiles


The Windows 7 Registry
The registry is a database that contains configuration options and settings for Windows and your installed programs. There is one registry folder named NTUSER.DAT for each user. You can see one hidden registry file and can make all of them visible by showing hidden and operating system files.


Personalization Folders
The main folders containing wallpapers and other personalization options are:
• X:\Windows\Globalization
• X:\Windows\Media
• X:\Windows\Resources
• X:\Windows\Web


Windows 7 Logs
Several folders contain Windows 7 logs. You can normally access these logs through Control Panel and Microsoft Management Console. You can also access the logs manually if you can’t get Windows 7 to start. You can find the logs in the following folders.
• X:\Windows\debug
• X:\Windows\diagnostics
• X:\Windows\LiveKernelReports
• X:\Windows\Logs
• X:\Windows\ModemLogs


Temporary Files Stores
You can delete all the contents in several Windows 7 folders if you suspect they are causing problems.
• X:\Windows\Downloaded Program Files. Windows does not usually use this folder, so it will normally be empty anyway.

• X:\Windows\Prefetch. Windows tracks what programs and files you frequently use and stores this information in the Prefetch folder to preload them when appropriate (for instance, when starting a program you run often). Sometimes the prefetch files can become corrupt. If you suspect this has happened, you can safely delete the contents of this folder. Windows will then rebuild the prefetch database.

• X:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution. This folder contains Windows Update configuration options and downloaded files. If Windows Update will not install updates, you can delete the contents of this folder to try to fix the problem.

• X:\Windows\Temp. This folder is the temporary files store. Its contents can be deleted at any time if you suspect one or more temporary files is causing a problem.

Source of Information :  Microsoft Press - Troubleshooting Windows 7 Inside Out

BootRec.exe

For anyone who’s missing the Recovery Console from Windows XP, fear not; it’s still in Windows 7, but in a different form. The new Bootrec.exe command is accessed from Command Prompt in System Recovery Options. This will allow you to perform various actions by adding command line switches.


Repairing the Boot Menu by Using BootRec
The boot menu is the list of operating systems that appears when Windows starts. You will not see this menu if you have only one operating system installed. It can become corrupt, however, and will need to be rebuilt. You can do this by typing bootrec /RebuildBcd into a Command Prompt window.

Sometimes this command won’t work, and you will need to delete the boot menu and rebuild it from scratch. To do this from Command Prompt in System Recovery Options, type the following commands, and Windows will rebuild and restore the boot menu.

Bcdedit /export c:BCD_Backup
c:
cd boot
attrib bcd –s –h –r
ren c:\boot\bcd bcd.old
bootrec /RebuildBcd

There are other useful switches for use with the BootRec command.

/FixMbr
This switch, used at bootrec /fixmbr, will repair the master boot record (MBR) in Windows 7.

/FixBoot
This option, used at bootrec /fixboot, will write a new boot sector to the system disk. This can be useful if the boot sector has become corrupt or damaged, perhaps by trying to install an earlier version of Windows on the disk.

/ScanOS
This option, used at bootrec /scanos, will scan your hard disks for any compatible operating systems that may not be viewable on the boot menu.

BCDEdit
This is a program used for maintaining, changing, and rebuilding the boot menu in Windows 7. You should not need to use BCDEdit to repair your copy of Windows 7, because the tools I have mentioned already should repair any problems. However, if you need to use this tool, you can find detailed instructions on the Microsoft support website at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc709667(WS.10).aspx.

When you are finished with Command Prompt in System Recovery Options, type exit to close the window.

Source of Information :  Microsoft Press - Troubleshooting Windows 7 Inside Out

Working with the Windows 7 Registry

The registry is a database where the settings for Windows and all of your installed software are kept. There is one copy of the registry for each user in hidden files called ntuser.dat located in the root of each user account folder on your Windows drive.

The Windows registry can be manually edited using Registry Editor. To open this panel, type registry in the Start menu search box, and then select Registry Editor from the search results that appear.

Occasionally, you may have to change or remove a setting in the Windows registry. You should always be very careful when you do this, because changing the wrong setting in the registry can cause Windows 7 to become unresponsive or unable to boot.

The registry is separated into five different sections.

• HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT You should not change these settings. They include essential
Windows system settings along with other things such as file associations.

• HKEY_CURRENT_USER These are the custom settings for the currently logged-in user. These will include settings for Windows and installed software. These are the most commonly changed settings.

• HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE This section is for general Windows and software settings. You may need to make changes in this section.

• HKEY_USERS This section is for general controls for user accounts; you will not need to change these settings.

• HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG These are additional settings related to your current configuration; you will not need to change these settings.


There are only two situations when you will really need to change or remove settings in the Windows registry.

• When you are following specific written instructions on dealing with a problem, or tweaking advanced (hidden) settings in Windows 7

• When you are removing settings left behind by an uninstalled program that are causing problems with Windows 7 or other programs

The most common things you will need to do are create a new setting or change an existing one. You can do this by navigating to the correct place in the registry (you may be following specific instructions from a website or manual, which will guide you to exactly the right place in the registry) and right-clicking either a blank space to create a new setting or an existing setting to change it.

Source of Information :  Microsoft Press - Troubleshooting Windows 7 Inside Out

What Are the Causes of Common Windows Problems?

It’s very rare for Windows 7 to fail. Windows will fail on its own only if something disastrous happens, such as a power surge or a sudden reset while Windows is modifying a critical system file. Problems are more commonly caused by something outside of Windows, such as software, updates, and drivers. Physical hardware almost never causes problems in Windows.

A great many of the problems with Windows are caused by poorly written software or hardware drivers or by having too many devices or programs installed on or in your PC. In my experience, the most common problems within Windows are caused, in order, by:

1. Device drivers
2. Poorly written software
3. Poor security
4. BIOS corruption


The Domino Effect
Some problems can cause what is called a domino effect, where one event sets off a string of other events, so it’s always advisable to diagnose and repair problems as early as you can after they first appear. One unchecked problem can then lead to others, because a malfunctioning process, service, or driver can cause other programs or Windows functions to fail, since these processes, services, or drivers are often shared by several applications or Windows components. For instance, you might have a problem with Internet Explorer crashing repeatedly. This could be because a component Internet Explorer shares with another Windows program, such as Windows Explorer, is corrupt or because another program or process is causing it to crash. The point is that the source of a problem is not always obvious; a failing program may not be the root cause of the issue. In these cases, you can use more advanced diagnostic methods and tools to diagnose an issue.

Source of Information :  Microsoft Press - Troubleshooting Windows 7 Inside Out

Why Problems Occur with Windows

So many things can go wrong with Windows because every single PC is unique. It is highly unlikely, especially outside of a business space, that another PC exists with exactly the same hardware, installed software specification, and updates as yours. Your PC will contain a unique mix of software and hardware components, and there would be no way for any person or any company to ever test all of the possible combinations for stability. There are logo certification programs for Windows hardware and software, and a great many vendors do indeed put their products forward for testing by Microsoft. All that these tests prove, however, is that on a basic Windows system, they will be stable and not cause the system to crash. What can’t be tested is how a certain piece of software or hardware will interact with other software or hardware on your machine, some of which might not have been submitted for certification.


Keep Things Simple
The sheer number of software packages you have installed or the number of hardware devices you have plugged in can also cause problems on your computer. I always keep my Windows systems simple and uncomplicated. When it comes to hardware, I like multifunctional devices such as printer/scanner combinations, and I avoid unnecessary USB devices, such as USB attached speakers. Your PC already comes with audio out jacks that are perfectly good.

I also try to avoid installing all the software that comes with a new device. Wi-Fi adapters and printers are common culprits for loading your PC with bloatware. You may also find, if you have a new PC, that it came preloaded with lots of software that you don’t need and will never use. The software packages that come bundled with hardware devices broadly fall into the following categories.

• Trialware. Software that will expire after a period, normally 30 days. If you do not intend to buy the software after this time, you should uninstall it because it might, especially in the case of trial anti-virus software, leave programs and services running that can slow down Windows 7 or cause other problems.

• Dupliware. Programs that duplicate Windows features, such as Wi-Fi connection software, media players, or CD/DVD burners.

• Craplets. ‘Useful’ utilities that your PC supplier might have preloaded onto your computer. They are intended to simplify certain tasks, such as writing notes or accessing media files. They will always run when Windows launches at startup, although you will probably never use them.


Don’t Install Programs that Duplicate Features in Windows
Why would you want to install a software package that simply duplicates Windows functionality? By default, the operating system can burn CDs and DVDs (including audio discs and ISO image files), play media (video, TV, and audio), display photos and images, and much more.

Although a few Windows functionalities available in Windows Vista have been removed from Windows 7, such as the Calendar and Email software, a great many functions still exist. (Note that these programs have been moved to the excellent Microsoft Live Essentials Suite, which you can get from http://download.live.com.)

The more software you install on your PC, the more problems you invite. If at all possible, avoid having software packages installed that duplicate functionality that’s already in Windows. CD/DVD burning software is a good example. You should need these only if you have a Blu-Ray burner in your machine.

Source of Information :  Microsoft Press - Troubleshooting Windows 7 Inside Out

Incremental-only backup

The incremental-only approach to backup makes a single full backup copy and thereafter makes incremental backup copies to capture newly writ...