Archive for the ‘ pc troubleshooting ’ Category

Create a Multi-Bootable USB Drive with Linux and Windows

Unlike floppy disks and CD/DVDs, USB flash drives are portable, easier to use, and more reliable. If you are a long time Windows or Linux user, chances are there that you would have reinstalled the operating system several times. If you want to reinstall OS, you need a CD/DVD drive. But they are slow, unreliable and many laptops don’t even have a DVD drive. But with the use of a USB pen drive, you can now create a multiple installation USB key which has both Linux and Windows OSes. This means no more separate setup disks.

Update: The latest version of SARDU also supports creating multi bootable ISO or USB along with Windows 8.

Now I’m going to show you how to create a multi-OS setup USB key.

How to Install Multiple Operating Systems from a Single USB Stick

What you Need to Create a Multi-OS USB Drive:

1. SARDU

2. A USB pen drive – Preferably 8GB or more if you want more than two operating systems

3. The necessary ISO files

4. Internet connection (optional if you have all the necessary files)

SARDU is a really a versatile tool, using which you can create not just a OS setup drive but also make your pen drive an ultimate troubleshooter. Apart from operating system setup, you can create bootable antivirus, partition tools, password reset, password recovery, and much more, in a single pen drive. You can also create an ISO and make your own multi-utility DVD or BD.

To create a multi-operating system setup pen drive, follow these steps:

1. Extract Sardu.zip somewhere, preferably where there is a lot of disk space.

2. Open Sardu.exe. If you are using a 64-bit version of Windown open Sardu_x64.exe.

SARDU

Now, you will see that Sardu has a tabbed interface and different utilities are grouped under these tabs. All antivirus tools are grouped under Antivirus tab, partition and troubleshooting tools under Utility, Linux distros under Linux, Windows under Windowstab.

3. If you want to add an antivirus, click Antivirus tab and under that tab, click the desired antivirus. If you want to add any other tool under Utility, click Utility and click the corresponding button. If you want to add a Linux distro, click Linux tab and click the corresponding button of the desired Linux distro. Note that upon clicking these buttons, you will be prompted to download the file from internet. You need not search for these files on the internet as Sardu automatically does that for you (well, for most of the files). Clicking these buttons shows a popup window. Click Yes to add it to the download queue.

tabs

confirm download

4. Click the Downloader tab and click START. This will download all selected files.

start download

downloading

5. If you also want to add Windows to the mix, you must already have the ISO of the Windows version. If you have a licensed copy of Windows CD/DVD, you can make a legal backup of it. Place the ISO in /Sardu/ISO. (You need to rename the ISOs in a specific format. Hover the cursor on the buttons to know the specific file names).

Hover your cursor

6. Format your pen drive with FAT32 filesystem and insert to a USB port and click Search USB button in Sardu, then select the pen drive just under Select USB button.

search USB

7. To create a multi-boot USB key, click the icon that appears like the following image:

USB icon

You can also create a bootable ISO image by clicking the icon that appears like the following image:

make iso

In a few minutes, your multi-operating system setup USB key or ISO file will be ready.

success

Reboot your PC, enter the BIOS of your motherboard, and set it up to boot from USB. You may want to check the user manual of your motherboard for specific instructions.

Boot Menu

Live CD

To test your multi-bootable USB flash drive right under Windows, you can use Mobia Live CD.

Creating a multi-operating system setup USB flash drive is very easy using Sardu. It also lets you add lots more options. Do test yourself and provide your comments.

How to Recover Lost Files and Data

How to Recover Lost Files and Data

Each and every day, we save hundreds of files like photos, documents etc. to the hard disk in our PCs. We also delete some of them as they are not needed anymore. It also happens that we accidentally delete important files only to find that they are gone, forever. Almost all of us have faced the situation and moved on. But what if the file is so important that you absolutely need it?

If you lose your data, you can of course go to a data recovery service provider. But did you know that data recovery is most of the times very expensive? While approaching a professional for help is a good idea, there are certain things you can do yourselves to try to recover the lost data before deciding to spend a huge sum. Though your data is deleted, it is not actually erased from your hard disk, it is still there. But you have to know how to recover it. If you accidentally deleted important files, you can easily recover the deleted files.

There are many tools available to recover lost files. One of the most effective and powerful tools is a free file recovery software called Recuva. With this tool, you can recover lost files after they are accidentally deleted. You can recover files even in the event of an accidental disk format.

What you should do in an event of data loss

1. If you accidentally deleted something, ensure you don’t save anything on that drive. For example if you delete a photo from D:, don’t save anything to D:.

2. If you lose something from C:, you should not install the recovery software or any software on C:. You should also not save any file on C:. If you don’t want to increase the chances of losing the data (especially on C:), shut the system down immediately and connect the HDD to another PC where you can install Recuva to recover the data.

To recover your lost files, follow the steps below;

1. Install Recuva and open it. Click on the Welcome Wizard.

2. The next window gives you the option to choose from different file types. Choose the one you want. For example, if you want to recover a picture, select Pictures. If you want to recover all file types, select Other and click Next.

Recuva1

3. The next window asks where you want to recover the file from, like My Documents, removable drive hard disk etc. and click Next.

Recuva2

4. In the next window, select Enable Deep Scan and select Start.

Recuva3

5. After the scan completes, Recuva lists all the found files. Select the ones you want to recover and click Recover.

Recuva4

Do note that Recuva can even recover deleted files from a pen drive or a memory card. Recovering lost files is as easy as it gets, provided you have not modified the partition in any way. Give it a try and most probably, you will recover your lost data.

How to Partition a Hard Disk

When you assemble a new PC, one of the first things you do would be to partition your hard disk so that you can install operating system on the first drive and save your music and video collection on another.  Creating partitions has many benefits. While I’m not a big fan of keeping lots of partitions, having three disk partitions is more than enough in my opinion.

Though you can use fdisk and other similar tools to partition your hard disk, my take would be to install the operating system first and then create partitions. So how would you partition a hard disk?

How to Partition a Hard Disk

Though Windows has a built-in tool to create partitions, there is a much better and advanced alternative called Easeus Partition Master to perform various disk related operations. Above all it’s free.

What You Need to Partition a Hard Disk:

  • A Windows OS (already installed)
  • Easeus Partition Master Home Edition

Download the free partition manager and install it. Open the partition manager and follow the instructions given below to create a new partition.

The main window shows all the existing partitions. As you have just installed the OS on a new partition, there would be one partition.

1. Right-click the partition (C:) and select Resize/Move partition.

Easeus Partition Master

2. In the next window, move the slider on the right side to the left till you needed and click OK.

New Partition

3. Right-click the newly created unallocated partition and and Create partition.

Create Partition

4. Enter a partition label (some name you wish).

Dump

5. Click OK.

6. Click Apply.

See how easy it is to create a partition?

Now, if you have more than one partition, you may want to create the new partition either before or after the existing partition. If you want to create it before the partition (left), move the slider on the left to the right until needed and follow the steps 3-6. If you want to create the new partition on the right, move the slider on the right side to left until needed  (as shown in the figure below) and follow steps 3-6.

Creating a new partition is very simple and won’t even take a few minutes.

While there may be hundreds of reasons to have more than one partition in a hard drive, I don’t see any any reason to have just one huge partition. Nowadays, most of the laptops come with just one big partition and the engineers don’t even care to create at least two partitions. Having more than one partition helps you store your data in a more logical manner. You can keep  your music and video rips in one partition and dump everything else in another so that you can access the files easily. Even if your C: drive crashes, which is more likely than the other partitions, your files of the other partitions will be safe.

Have a look at this video to see how easy it is t o partition a hard disk.

If you want to increase  the size of C: drive or any other partition, see How to Increase the Size of C Drive.

Make Your PC Run Faster as Ever

When you install Windows Operating System anew, your system feels snappy. But over time, you find it very difficult to use the same computer. A few months later, you have to wait a few seconds even for opening My Computer. You also find that your PC becomes unresponsive for whatever you do.

But what happened to your PC? It was fast when you freshly installed the OS! The reason for the slowdown cannot be attributed to any single cause. If you want to speed up your PC, you have to consider all pointers explained here.

Make Your PC Run Faster as Ever

Clean up the Junk: Most of the applications that we use create temporary files. But when you close the application, these temp files don’t get deleted. When you have lots of files in your C drive, it can greatly slow down your PC. Use CCleaner clean up unnecessary files from your system.

Defrag the Harddrive: Whenever you store a file, Windows doesn’t store it in a contiguous manner. It places files wherever there is space. Over time, your hard disk gets cluttered with files and that results in slow performance. Periodically defragging your hard disk will certainly improve system responsiveness. While you can use the defragment utility that comes with Windows, I would suggest Defragger for its ease of use.

Use Updated Antivirus: Apart from the potential security risks, viuses and spyware often cause system slowdown. Always use updated antivirus and antispyware and regularly scan your system for malware. Some crooks are also trying to get fake antivirus software installed on your PCs to scam you. These apps can also slow your computer to a crawl. Use Malwarebytes’ Antimalware to remove fake antivirus and other rogueware.

Disable Unnecessary Start-up Items: This is one of the first things I do. When you install an application, it is automatically added to the list of start-up applications. Though it’s not true for most of the software, many of them will load on every restart. You can instruct Windows not to load these apps on each restart by opening the System Configuration Utility by trying msconfig at the Run window. Select “Startup” tab and uncheck the items that you don’t want to load on startup. Select “Services” tab, select “Hide All Microsoft Services” and uncheck the unnecessary services. Ensure that you don’t uncheck the entries that points to your antivirus. Upon restart, you will find that you have saved lots of valuable RAM.

Do keep in mind that I’m talking about services other than Windows’ own services. Disabling Windows services won’t get you so far and if you don’t know what you are disabling, you might even see your PC behave weirdly.

Repair Disk Errors: If you find that your system has suddenly become very slow, chances are there that your hard disk may have developed bad sectors. At the command prompt, type chkdsk and press enter. This should let you know of any disk errors. Go to the HDD’s manufacturer’s website and download the repair utility. For example, if you have a Seagate harddisk, you can download Seagate Seatools.

Increase C Drive Space: We all have the habit of saving everything in the desktop and My Documents. This leads to less space in C drive. But for the PC to work fast, it needs more space in C drive. If you are not able to get more space even after cleaning up your PC, increase the size of C drive.

Monitor CPU Temperature: All modern processors are capable of throttling if they get too hot to prevent permanent damage. If it gets too hot, the CPU will reduce / throttle its clock speed to stay on as well as stay stale. If your CPU throttles, you can clearly see preformance degradation during gaming or even during browsing. HWMonitor is an excellent tool to monitor the temperature of CPU, GPU and so on. If your hardware gets too hot, provide more airflow or reinstall it.

Check if your PSU is Faulty: After all these tips fail to make your system fast as before, try replacing the PSU. I have seen in many instances faulty PSUs corrupt HDDs and make the whole system horribly slow.

I hope I have covered all the important tips to help you troubleshoot PC slowdowns yourselves. While it’s right that overclocking can make a PC run faster, it won’t be a solution for a PC that is sluggish now but used to be fast before.  But what about those “PC Boosters”? In my opinion, they are useless. If you want to really speed up your PC, manually do the things explained above. Feel free to provide your suggestions in the comment section.

How to Increase the Size of C Drive

How many times have you been intimidated by the notification that says “You are running out of disk space on Local Disc (C:)…”? If you are a computer user, you would have seen the notification several times.

You have tried everything—right from uninstalling unnecessary software to clearing unwanted and junk files and you still aren’t able to get some free space.

How to Increase the Size of C Drive

We all know that the operating system and its associated files are almost always installed on the C drive. We are also very much used to installing everything on C drive which slowly drains the free space on C drive. Over time, it’s congested with lots of files which we are not able to remove for unknown reasons.

If you are getting the “No free disk space” error message, it’s time to increase the space of C: drive.

What you need:

Easeus Partition Master Home Edition

Easeus Partition Master is a free and basic utility to manage your partitions. What it can do for you is it can take away some space from the next partition and merge it with C drive, effectively increasing its free space.

To increase space in C drive, follow the steps below:

  • Install Easeus Partition Master and open it.

In the main window, you will see all the available partitions.

  • Right-click the partition which is immediately next to C: (Ensure it has free space to spare) and click Resize/Move Partition.

Easeus

  • Move the slider from left to right until needed and click OK.

easeus_modify

Now, you will get an unallocated space as shown below.

unallocated space

  • Right-Click partition C and click Resize/Move Partition.
  • In the resulting window, move the slider until end (to the right) and click OK.

Increase drive C space

  • Click Apply.
  • Click Yes in the next window.

Apply changes to partition C

Once the process is over, you will have the C: drive expanded. To confirm that, go to My Computer and check the disk space of C:.

Note: To make it work, ensure you have enough free space in the immediate next partition of C drive.

Get Rid of the Conflicting Driver and Reinstall It

You purchased a brand new graphic card and enthusiastically installed it only to find weird issues. After installing your new hardware, you are not able to install a new driver, even if you are able to, your system hangs at restart and it even crashes (BSOD) and restarts for infinite times. You are perplexed and wondering what had really happened. Not only you, but thousands of people also experience the same kind of issue everywhere. 99% of the times, the problem is with the old driver installation.

If you are facing driver issues, don’t fret. Here I’m going to walk you through the steps for resolving it. There is a nice utility called Driver Sweeper which can help you in resolving driver conflicts.

How to Reinstall Conflicting Driver

To remove old video drivers and install afresh, you need the following

Driver Sweeper

Your New Video Driver

The process of cleaning your old driver is pretty simple. First, install the latest version of Driver Sweeper. Then, use the default uninstaller that came with the old driver. It can be found under Add/Remove Programs in Control Panel.

Add/Remve Programs

Uninstall the driver manually

Once you uninstall the old driver, reboot your system in Safe Mode.

  • Once you are in Windows Safe Mode, run Driver Sweeper.
  • Select an option (this depends on what you want to clean, like AMD, Nvidia Display etc.)

Analyze

  • Click Analyse.
  • The next window shows all persistent files that weren’t removed during uninstallation of the driver which is possibly causing the issue.

clean

  • Select all files and select the button Clean.

Now all traces of the old installation are removed. Now, restart your system normally and install the new driver.

Now that you have removed all traces of the old driver installation and installed afresh.

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