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French Version

Personal computers, need personal attention!

This week I was reminded of the "typical" glitches you would expect your PC to display, every six months or so.

This week I was reminded of the "typical" glitches you would expect your PC to display, every six months or so.
For a start, everything has slowed down, some applications have begun to crash and all sorts of messages pop-up telling me "system low on memory", "insufficient memory", etc.

It's quite discomforting when you can't go on using your PC.

There are, naturally, obvious technical reasons why these things happen. For a start, the configuration of your operating system is the main reason. At some point in time, while using your computer, you accidentally altered certain Windows components, or maybe even deleted them. You may have also installed applications that automatically re-arrange Windows resources and memory allocation. In general, these changes in your system are born out of extensive use and are typical problems every user faces.

I also couldn't help but notice that the Internet was also becoming slow on my PC! That is another obvious symptom of un-optimized system resources.

Isn't it enough that the Internet demands a fast processor; a lot of RAM, and those demands are increasing everyday as it incorporates more "heavy" components? Add to that the inept performance of your computer and you get a painfully slow online surfing experience.

In addition to memory malfunctions, it's always somehow related to your hard disk performance. Like any storage room in your house, it turns into a mess after extensive "shelving" and little maintenance.

In any case, I needed a quick fix like any other computer user. Apparently, it's not that quick.

For a start, one of the first things you can do is reinstall your operating system. That may take around half an hour or so, but it lays the basis for an inefficient "rebuilding process". Next, you should run the diagnostic Windows system tools like Disk Defragmenter, Disk Clean-up and Scan Disk and try to solve some of your PC problems.

Then comes the memory test, which might be best done through actual use of your computer. If the problems persist, then you have one of two options. Either you "delve" into the world of memory management and learn the ins and outs of manually managing your computer's RAM, or you do what everyone else does: buy more RAM! If your PC still doesn't have 128MB RAM, then I suggest you upgrade the RAM first, then test the computer.

As for the Internet, well, it has a way of being slow then fast, the slow again! There's little you can do in 'system requirements', but a lot you can do through some neat tricks.

These tricks are applied to using shareware or freeware applications that boost your download speeds by "tweaking" your TCP/IP settings, which regulate the communications protocol that your PC uses to connect to the Internet. Then, you've got download accelerators that attempt to speed up the download process by finding faster mirror servers and even downloading the same file simultaneously from multiple servers. They also let you schedule downloads.

Looking at all these fixes may put you off a bit, but you can always send your PC back to the shop or dealer and ask that these changes be made for you. However, if you really want to be in control of your computer, and have the ability to trouble-shoot such slowdowns or "insufficient memory" messages in the future, you better acquaint yourself with these tools and tricks. After all, it is called a "personal computer"!

Zeid Nasser
The Star

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