Tips, Tricks, and Answers
The following articles are available for the 'Hardware' topic. Click the article''s title (shown in bold) to see the associated article.
Adjusting Mouse Click Sensitivity
Mouse not working as you expect? Here are a few things that may get things back to the way they should be.
Adjusting the Cursor Blink Rate
In Windows, the cursor indicates where you are about to type information using the keyboard. You can adjust how quickly that cursor blinks by using the steps described in this tip.
Adjusting the Mouse for Left-Handed Users
Since Windows is so customizable, it should come as no surprise that Microsoft has made accommodations for left-handed mouse users. This tip tells you how to configure your mouse for left-handed use.
Changing the MAC Address for a Network Adapter
MAC addresses are used to uniquely identify devices on your network, such as a network adapter. Here's how you can modify the preconfigured MAC address associated with a network adapter.
Checking for Faulty RAM
Although it's rare for RAM to go bad, it does happen. This tip tells you how to check for faulty RAM by using the Windows Memory Diagnostics Tool.
Choosing a Power Management Plan
Windows maintains a number of power management plans that define how long the various components of your system sit idle before being turned off. Here's how to pick the power management plan that is right for you.
Choosing How to Use Multiple Monitors
Do you have multiple monitors (or a projector) hooked up to your system? Here's how to utilize that second display device extremely easily.
Connecting a Bluetooth Device
If you're the proud owner of a Bluetooth device you probably want to get right to connecting it to your computer. This tip tells you how.
Connecting to an External Screen
Got a second monitor or projector you want to use with your Windows system? Here's how easy it is to take advantage of that external screen.
Creating a Custom Power Management Plan
Don't like the built-in power management plans that Windows provides? You can create your own to better fit your power needs.
Deleting a Power Management Plan
Windows allows you to create custom power management plans. When you no longer need a plan you previously defined, you can delete it by following the steps in this tip.
Determining If a Drive Should be Defragmented
Disk fragmentation is one of those things which, if severe, can adversely affect your system's performance. This tip explains a bit about fragmentation and how you can determine if a drive should be defragmented.
Determining the MAC Address for a Network Device
MAC addresses are used to uniquely identify devices attached to your network. If you need to figure out what MAC address a device is using (or what MAC addresses are in use on your network), you can use the technique described in this tip.
Disabling Automatic Driver Installation
Whenever you plug something into your computer, Windows dutifully tries to find and install the driver for your new device. If you don't like that behavior this tip tells you how to turn it off.
Estimating Battery Life
The battery in your laptop provides the power you need to even use the system. As you use your laptop, you may notice that it doesn't stay charged as long as it used to. Here's a tool you can use to help determine the life of your battery based on past performance.
Finding a Device Driver's Version
Device drivers are used to allow a hardware device to communicate effectively with Windows. You might need to know a device driver's version number so you can check to see if a newer driver is available from the device manufacturer. This tip explains how to locate that version number.
Freeing Up Disk Space by Deleting Old OS Files
I'm always looking for ways to free up disk space. Even with a 1 TB drive I want to be a "good disk citizen." If you're looking for a quick way to reclaim some space, this tip may be for you.
Generating a Power Efficiency Diagnostics Report
Your computer uses power to operate, and Windows has a great impact on how much power it uses. You can use a hidden Windows command to create a report that can show you how to configure Windows to use power more efficiently.
Improving Text Sharpness with ClearType
Ever notice that even with a fancy new monitor, text can still look a bit muddy on the screen. You can use ClearType technology to sharpen the text so it appears very crisp instead of muted.
Specifying How Clicking Works
Do you want to fundamentally change how Windows responds to mouse clicking? You can do so by following the steps outlined in this tip.
Updating a Device Driver
If you attach a new device to your computer or need to update a current device's driver, this tip provides the general guidelines to walk you through the process.
Using Powercfg to Change a Setting in the Current Power Scheme
The Powercfg utility allows you to control how power is used on your system. This tip shows you how to use this command-line utility to change a value in the current power scheme.
Using Powercfg to Change the Active Power Scheme
You can easily change which power scheme is active by using the SetActive switch. This tip shows you how.
Using Powercfg to Change the Name of a Power Scheme
The Powercfg utility allows you to control how power is used on your system. This tip shows you how to use the command-line utility to change the name of a power scheme.
Using Powercfg to Delete an Existing Power Scheme
You may have created a new power scheme for whatever reason, but when it has outlived its usefulness, you want to delete it. This tip shows you how.
Using Powercfg to Duplicate an Existing Power Scheme
The Powercfg utility allows you to control how power is used on your system. This tip shows you how to use the command-line utility to duplicate an existing power scheme.
Using Powercfg to Export and Import a Power Scheme
You can export to a file your power schemes and then import them later on. The only caveat is that you must be running as Administrator. This tip shows you how to export and import.
Using Powercfg to List Your Existing Power Schemes
Windows allows you to define different power schemes that control how your computer uses power. This tip shows you how to use the command-line Powercfg utility to list the power schemes that are in your current environment.
Using Powercfg to Query an Existing Power Scheme
This tip shows you how to use the command-line Powercfg utility to query a given power scheme from your current environment.
Using Two Monitors with Windows
Windows is great about letting you work on multiple things at the same time. Often, however, you end up with so many windows open on your desktop that it can become cumbersome to work among them. Using two monitors goes a long way towards alleviating this situation.
Wiping a Drive
Want to easily improve the security of your old data? Here's an addition to the venerable format command that can help.