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Hot Southern Night

Ask the Doctor LogoI recently had a number of issues with my PC. It seemed that my keyboard was sluggish, if not unresponsive. I also experienced some unusually slow hard drive response times now and then, and there have been times when my computer wouldn’t even boot (the BIOS doesn’t even recognize that my RAID 0 stripe is set up when I reboot). However, if I shut down the PC for a few minutes and then reboot, everything works fine.

I decided to give the insides a thorough dusting, and I discovered there was quite a large dust bunny lodged in my south-bridge chip fan, most likely preventing it from spinning. Since I’ve removed that dust bunny, I haven’t noticed any of the previously described issues with my computer. Could my problems really have been caused by the south-bridge fan not spinning? Could an overheated south-bridge chip cause issues like that, and eventually cripple a computer? I want to believe the answer is yes, but am I getting my hopes up? The system is an EVGA 680i LT board with a 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo, 4GB of RAM, and 64-bit Windows 7.

—McKenna Spaeth

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Multiplier Math

Ask the Doctor LogoI built a computer a month ago that’s running Windows XP on a 2.6GHz Pentium 4 CPU. For some reason the computer thinks it is 1.3GHz. I’ve tried to change it in the BIOS but it will only let me overclock it to 1.54GHz.

—Daichi Tang

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Microsoft Security: Essential?

Ask the Doctor LogoAfter reading the Ultimate Malware Removal Guide, I have a question: Do you recommend using SuperAntiSpyware, Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware, and an antivirus program like Norton Internet Security, or is Microsoft Security Essentials a good enough antivirus/spyware/malware solution on its own?

—David Boerner

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Free Backup?

Ask the Doctor LogoI have Windows Vista on my desktop computer and I’m stuck on what to do about backing up my more than 500GB of videos and music. I’ve read that external is the way to go, but I’m a little iffy because of expense and the fact that the backup drive can crash. DVDs are not a bad idea, but it takes forever to back up that much data. I use these files every day and want easy access to them. The most reliable method, plus easiest to access, would be an online site, but that costs a lot of money. Please help me make a decision so I can install Windows 7 worry-free.

—Tony Fugate

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Eject! Eject!

Ask the Doctor LogoIs it necessary to eject a USB flash drive, or can I just yank it out? They’re called flash drives, so shouldn’t they be like SWAT teams or something: Get in and get out, job done?

—Jamie Mack

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WHS Hardware Support

Ask the Doctor LogoI’m really hoping you can help me with a Windows Home Server build. I’m using an Asus A8N-SLI Premium motherboard with an AMD Athlon x2 4400+ CPU at 2.2GHz, 1GB Corsair RAM, a 500W Apevia PSU, and an EVGA 8800 GTS videocard, with a 500GB SATA drive.

I downloaded the Home Server Evaluation copy from Microsoft three different times and installed it three times, wiping the drive each time and starting from scratch. Each time it took more than 12 hours to install the OS, and when it finally did, the CPU was running maxed out and extremely laggy. Installing Nvidia’s chipset drivers made no difference, either. Please help! I’m about to purchase a new mobo and CPU but I’m not sure if that’s the problem.

—Gary

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Delayed Write

Ask the Doctor LogoI have a Gigabyte 8KNXP Rev 1 motherboards that gave up the ghost. It had a RAID 0 array of two Maxtor DiamondMax 10 drives on the Gigabyte board’s onboard IT8212F RAID controller.

I replaced the dead motherboard with an EVGA nForce680i SLI board. Not wanting to risk the loss of 150GB of data from the last four years, I bought an IDE RAID controller card with the same IT8212F chipset and reinstalled XP SP2.

When I access the RAID drive, I can read the directories and even open the folders within. Yet, Windows XP will give me a balloon in the lower right-hand corner saying: “Windows – Delayed Write failed. Windows was unable to save all the data for the file G:\xxx. The data has been lost. This error may be caused by a failure of your computer hardware or network connection. Please try to save this file elsewhere.”

How might I ensure that I can save my data from this drive without risking permanent data loss?

—Paul Andrew

Read the Doctor's answer for Paul after the jump.