Tip & How-To about Acer Aspire One Netbook 8.9" Notebook

Laptop symptoms

Have you used and abused your LAPTOP and now you have problems that will drive you insane and spend hours uphours of talking with tech people? Well hopefully these tips and trickswill help you get a more stable, faster, and even a efficient workingcomputer running again.

1. Your Wi-Fi network is now dog-slow.
If it's not a networkoutage, you likely have interference. Try relocating your router toshield it from disruptions such as microwave use or calls from acordless phone. Or you may be on a crowded channel. Change the channelvia your router's configuration page; look for a 'Channel' section andtry 1, 6, or 11. See "How to Improve Your Wi-Fi Network's Performance"for more ideas.

2. Your display looks terrible. Check display settings byright-clicking the desktop; choose Properties in XP or Personalize inVista, then Settings. If you can't increase resolution and colorquality, click Advanced, Adapter. If Standard VGA Adapter or anothergeneric adapter is listed, download a driver specific to your PC (seeHow to Reinstall Windows XP for details on doing this). If your adapteris there, try a prior driver version. In XP, click Properties, Driver,Roll Back Driver; in Vista, open the Personalization Control Panel,choose Display Settings, Advanced Settings, Properties, and clickDriver, Roll Back Driver.

3. Your printer is spewing out garbage. A cancelled printjob may not have cleared properly from the printer's memory. Turn theprinter off for a minute, then back on. While you're waiting, go toStart, Printers and Faxes in XP, or Start, Printers in Vista, to deleteanything in the print queue. If the problem continues, download andreinstall the driver.

4. Your default printer is no longer the default. Some apps, like Microsoft Onenote,install faux-printer-like devices as output options, and some will alsounhelpfully make them the default for all print jobs. Select Start,Run, type control printers, and press . Right-click theprinter you prefer, and click Set as Default Printer.

5. You see daily, consistent error messages citing memory problems.To check if bad RAM is actually the trouble, download the freeMemTest86 and stick it on a boot disk; then run the full battery oftests.

6. Your PC starts up too slowly. Click Start, Run and type msconfig.Then click the Startup tab to see all of the apps that load at startup.Uncheck anything you don't want to start at boot-up--but uncheckprograms one at a time, as you need many of these apps to run your PC.(For more on pruning safely, see How to Make Windows Start Up Faster.)

7. Videos play sans audio or image.Your codecs are probably out of date. Get multiple updates via a freepack such as the ACE Mega CodecS Pack or the K-Lite Codec Pack.

8. You broke a key off your keyboard. Ifpart of the key mechanism is broken, consider scavenging an unused key(, perhaps) and use its mechanism with your broken key(Apple's tutorial at PowerBook G4: Keycap Replacement will walk youthrough the procedure--it should work for almost any keyboard).Replacement keyboards for laptops can usually be found on eBay for $40or less; many step-by-step guides show how to do the job, such as theone for a Toshiba laptop keyboard at Laptoka.com's page, How to removeand replace laptop keyboard yourself.

9. You bent a pin on one of your PC's ports or cables.Using pliers will probably make things worse, but the tip of alarge-diameter mechanical pencil will fit most pins. Just slip it overthe bent pin to straighten it out.

10. Folders show only large icons.Change the default in Windows Explorer by setting the right view on anyfolder, and then click Tools, Folder Options. Click the View tab, thenApply to All Folders (Apply to Folders in Vista).

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