May 2010

avatar

BIOS Fear

Ask the Doctor LogoAre there any benefits to flashing or updating a PC’s BIOS? Are there any dangers to my machine by doing this?

—Andrew Wilson

Read the Doctor's answer after the jump.

avatar

Alcohol and Nude Parts

Ask the Doctor LogoIs it OK to use alcohol to wipe clean an Athlon CPU without a heat spreader?

—Avery Sio

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

avatar

Upgrading Advice

Ask the Doctor LogoI’m trying to decide whether to upgrade from Windows XP Professional to Windows 7 Professional. While I’m no hardcore techie, I can follow directions well and I built my own system a couple of years ago with the thought of having a system ready for a future OS upgrade. My system is an Asus P5E Deluxe, an Intel Core 2 Quad Q6700 at 2.66GHz, and 4GB of DDR3. I have Windows XP installed on a 150GB Western Digital Raptor, as well as a 500GB secondary drive.

Although I have some programs installed on the C: drive (ones I can reinstall), most of my programs have been installed on the secondary drive.

I have plenty of room on the C: drive to partition and install Win7, but I’m thinking about buying an SSD to install Windows 7 on. I use Adobe Photoshop CS4 and Painter 11, as well as Adobe Premiere Elements 8, and I think I would benefit from installing 64-bit Windows 7 and adding 4GB to 8GB more RAM.

I’m really unsure as to how to go about this and not sure I really want to—I’ve read a number of posts on different forums and it seems to me there are mixed feelings about the upgrade.

Also, since my programs are installed on a drive other than my OS drive, if I make a change by partitioning or installing Win7 on a new separate OS drive, would I be able to use the programs already installed on the D: drive without reinstalling them?

—Tom Helinski

Read the Doctor's advice for Tom after the jump.

avatar

Do I Have a Bigger Issue Here?

Ask the Doctor LogoMy PC has an Intel 2.4GHz Core 2 Quad Q6600, an EVGA 750i FTW motherboard, and two sticks of GSkill DDR2 with timings of 5-5-5-15 2T at 1,066MHz. Two weeks ago, I started getting random lockups and blue screens. After a lot of work, it turns out to be the RAM, which is producing errors in Memtest. However, in testing it I have found that I am getting errors in unlinked mode, at 800MHz, undervolting, overvolting, and moving the RAM around. The only time I don’t get errors is when I run just one stick of RAM. Is this actually a RAM problem or do I have a bigger issue?

—Tyler Cook

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

avatar

Which Port?

Ask the Doctor LogoThanks to Maximum PC’s past advice, I have a new rig with an ATI Radeon HD 5870 graphics card. It has dual DVI, HDMI, and DisplayPort connections. I use my rig for photography and video editing. I have a 24-inch Dell monitor with all of the above ports. Which is the best one to use and why?

—Preetham Grandhi

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

avatar

Holy Shrinking Free Space, Batman!

Ask the Doctor LogoThe hard drive in my recently built computer keeps filling up without explanation. I am running 64-bit Windows 7, an Intel Core i7-920, an MSI X58 PRO-E motherboard, 6GB of DDR3, and a Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 TB hard drive. I have 625.1GB free out of 931GB. When I came home a couple days ago, I found that I had only 17KB free on my hard drive. I restarted my computer to find that the levels of free space had returned to normal. I then locked my computer and went out for a meal. When I came back, I found I only had 234.7GB free. Every time I shut down the computer, the level of free space goes to normal, but then decreases rapidly whenever my computer is on.

I ran WinDirStat to try to figure out what the problem was; it showed that the largest chunk of used space—157GB!—was being used by a file called cputime.xml in C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\PC Tools\Monitor.

—Joseph Koo

Read the Doctor's advice for Joseph after the jump.