Every computer collects dust over time. When the computer is running, it creates a field of static electricity, which in turn attracts clumps of dust and hair. These cluttering particles can easily collect around your processor, power supply, and case fans, and can block airflow and lead to overheating. This is why an important part of taking care of a computer is making sure that it’s clean.
To that end, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide on how to clean your computer hardware and peripherals to make your rig look as good as new. We took a 4-year-old computer and thoroughly cleaned it using a few household supplies. All it took was a little bit of patience and a few hours and we managed to get some impressive results. Follow along below to achieve the same cleanliness Zen with your own machine.
Learn how to properly clean your PC after the jump.
Anyone who tried to install their upgrade version of Windows 7 to a fresh drive was treated to a cruel wake up call. Not when they installed the OS, not even after they installed all their applications, but when the time came to activate. The deal with upgrade media is simple, an existing, and activated copy of Windows must exist on the hard drive prior to installation, or be prepared to start over. To make matters worse, the activation warning doesn't even give you a phone number to call and appeal you're case. The good news is you’re not dead in the water, that is, as long as you're comfortable making a few simple registry edits.
This guide will give you tips on all the upgrading scenarios, and even teach you how to use your upgrade DVD to perform a clean install on a fresh system with no prior OS. We show you how to turn the tables on the dreaded activation error code 0xC004F061: "The Software Licensing Service determined that this specified product key can only be used for upgrade, not for clean installations."
For a lot of Maximum PC readers, the fuss over Windows 7 launch week might seem a little unwarranted—after all, many of you have been happily running Windows 7 for months now, so what’s so exciting about a retail launch? In fact, if you’re in that boat, the launch poses more of a hassle than anything else, since your free RC version of Windows 7 is closer than ever to shutting down. And when it does, you can't even do an upgrade install of Windows 7, you have to either re-install Windows Vista first, or buy a standalone version of Windows 7.
Or do you? Even though Microsoft’s official stance is that you can’t upgrade from the Release Candidate to the RTM/Retail version of Windows 7, it’s actually possible to do so using a quick, easy hack. This means that you can use the cheaper upgrade version of Windows 7, and do a "Custom Upgrade" to get a clean install. Or, if you don't mind the risk of additional headaches down the line, you can do an in-place upgrade from Windows 7 RC to RTM.
Read on to find out how to do it in 7 simple steps.
Got your hands on Windows 7? Excellent. It's time to install this bad boy. But you want to make sure you're installing it right. Our no-nonsense install guide shows you the right way to install Windows 7 and tells you exactly what you should do the moment your install completes.
So after reading our review of Windows 7, you’re ready to take the plunge and upgrade to Microsoft's new OS. You’ve read our upgrade guide, decided whether you want 32- or 64-bit Windows 7, and bought your retail box. But what if you want to install Windows 7 on a netbook or other computer without an optical drive? Fortunately, you’re not out of luck, because Windows 7 (and Vista, for that matter) can be installed from a USB storage key. Not only does installing from a USB key remove the need for a DVD drive, the install time is also greatly reduced – we shaved off minutes from the total install time. Our step-by-step guide will have you rocking the new version of Windows in no time!
Regardless of the operating system you are using, data loss is inevitable. Sooner or later, it will happen to you—the only question is how much data you will lose. Although RAID can act as an insurance policy for hardware failures, it was never designed to serve as a backup and will not perform this task well at all. Human error is always the greatest concern since important files can be accidentally overwritten or deleted at careless moments. It is easy to fall behind on your backups or get complacent; without recent backups you have no recovery strategy. This guide will help you automate your backups on your Linux rig so you will always have your files up to date.
Your PC’s hard drive is probably packed to the platter’s edge with hundreds of ripped DVD videos, gigabytes of digital photos from your camera, and tens of thousands of songs. And that’s not even counting the high-definition digital video from your last family vacation that you’re still planning to unload. But with terabytes of media just gathering dust on your desktop PC, you risk losing years of aggregated files when your hard drive inevitably gives out (don’t even think about backing it all up to the cloud). Our solution: Keep all your data backed up on a Windows Home Sever. More than just a generic NAS box, Windows Home Server maintains backups, streams media files, and works as a file share across your home network. And the best part is that you can build one yourself—we’ll show you how!
A bootable USB key is a convenient way to install operating systems on netbooks without optical drives, or carrying around a Live OS with you at all times. It especially makes sense if you're installing software on a machine that otherwise has no need for an optical drive, such as a Windows Home Server. Here’s a definitive guide to making a bootable USB key with either Vista or Windows 7 in just 9 steps.
Microsoft has a penchant for hiding some of the strongest, most versatile tools for managing their operating system in places you’d never find by yourself. Given that the average computer user is pretty dumb, this makes sense
—some of the tools can easily screw up your computer pretty badly. But you, Maximum PC reader, are not one of the clueless masses, so we’re going to trust you with this: The Local Group Policy Editor.
In this article, we’ll show you how to use the Local Group Policy Editor to tweak every aspect of your PC. We’ll also show you how to use Multiple Local Group Policy Objects on a Windows Vista or 7 computer to create different policies for different user accounts, allowing you to create an account just for guests, or for the kids.
Web applications are quickly gaining popularity over desktop programs for day-to-day tasks like email and calendar management, but you have to run a web browser and be tethered to an Internet connection to take advantage of these services. Luckily for you, both Google Chrome and Firefox actually offer the ability to turn these web apps into desktop applications.