Tutorials posted so far:
Formatting a dard drive:
Understanding digital audio formatsYash, Teh Cool person wrote:In the event of a virus that has sucessfully trashed your system, or any other unfortunate event, you hard drive will need to be wiped clean in order to get rid of whatever is causing the damage. This is a useful guide on understanding what reformatting is, and how to do it.
When installing a hard disk drive (commonly called a hard drive) for the first time, attempting to remove errors from your drive, getting rid of a nasty virus, or even cleaning a hard drive because you are selling or donating your computer -- those are just a few of the many reasons why one might consider formatting their hard drive.
Format actually means to prepare a storage medium, usually a disk, for reading and writing. When you format a disk, the operating system erases all bookkeeping information on the disk, tests the disk to make sure all sectors are reliable, marks bad sectors (that is, those that are scratched or otherwise damaged), and creates internal address tables that it later uses to locate information. You must format a disk (floppy or hard disk) before you can use it.
When you take a disk that has been formatted and run it through the format process again, it is referred to, logically, as "reformatting".
Back it Up!
Before the format process, you want to make sure that if your goal is hard drive recovery, you back up as much personal data and information from your hard drive as you need. In some instances where a virus has caused serious system damage, this may not be possible, but if your format is planned ahead of time you certainly can copy and archive data off your hard drive before you start the format process.
How to Format
If you purchased your computer from systems vendor such as a Dell , HP Compaq or Gateway system, you most likely will have a set-up or a restore-and-recovery CD (also referred to as a master CD) which came with the system. If this is the type of system you use, then a format is an easy process as the master CD will format the hard drive, reinstall your Windows operating system, and install any software and programs which came with the system. If you no longer have your master set-up CD, you should contact the manufacturer to get a replacement.
If you aren't using this type of mass-market system, then a hard drive format will consist of you formatting the hard drive manually, installing your Windows OS from CD, then installing your software programs and hardware drivers. Before you begin the formatting process, it is important to make sure you have all your driver CDs located, Windows CD and your software CDs to ensure a smooth set-up.
It's also important to know about your operating system before you format. For example, if you're going to be reinstalling Windows 98 or Windows Me then you should have a Windows 98 or ME start-up disk to complete the procedure. In this instance, you would restart the system with the start-up floppy in the drive. Upon system boot, you will choose to have CD-ROM support. Once the files load you can then choose to run the format command on your main drive (usually C drive). If you are using Windows 2000 or Windows XP, the Windows installation process offers "format your hard drive" as an option. Here you would ensure your computer is set to boot from CD-ROM (a setting in your system BIOS), insert the Windows CD and restart the computer. From there you will be on your way to reformatting.
Does Formatting Really erase All Data?
It's important to remember that "format" and "delete" do not mean erase! Reformatting a disk does not erase the data on the disk, only the address tables. The good news is that if you accidentally reformat a hard disk, a computer specialist should be able to recover most or all the data that was on the disk. The bad news is that for any business or corporation that is planning to donate old computers to charity, this could pose a security risk if that computer disk drive contained confidential business information. Remember Ã¢â‚¬â€ just because you may donate the computer to charity that doesn't mean an honest person will end up with it. While that shouldn't deter you from recycling old computers in this way, it should be an incentive to ensure all business data has been completely wiped from the hard drive. Never just delete the files and assume they are gone because you can't see them on the hard drive. Businesses should at the very least run the format command to erase the hard drive. The safest method to completely remove data is to overwrite the disk. You can do this yourself, although it is quite time consuming. To overwrite the disk would mean to format, then fill the disk completely with data, and format again. The easiest way to do this is to use a software program that will overwrite the disk for you. Most of these programs, which are often referred to as "Data Dump" software, will meet even the strict deletion requirements of the U.S. military. As an added bonus, a few good data dump programs can be freely downloaded from the Internet.
How to use Safe ModeYash, The bringer of Tutorials wrote:You may listen to music on your computer, but have you ever wondered how it works? And also, does it confuse you when people talk about "file formats" and "codecs"?
I've found a guide that answers those questions and more in a simple and easy to understand format. Once again, this is not my work, merely information that should be shared.
Hundreds of file formats exist for recording and playing digital sound and music files. While many of these file formats are software dependant Ã¢â‚¬â€ for example a Creative Labs Music File is a .cmf Ã¢â‚¬â€ there are several well-known and widely supported file formats. While different operating systems have different popular music file formats, we'll mainly focus on those that are most commonly used on Windows-based PCs.
Many different digital audio formats and different software are used to create, store and manipulate these files, the good news for consumers is that there is also a wide range of devices and products available that support multiple formats. Should you not have the correct device for playing a particular file, you can also look for software conversion tools that will convert one file type to another. Because some audio files are open standards and some are proprietary, chances are we'll be seeing a wide variety of digital audio formats for some time to come.
File Format and Codec
An audio file format and audio codec (compressor/decompressor) are two very different things. Audio codecs are the libraries that are executed in multimedia players. The audio codec is actually a computer program that compresses or decompresses digital audio data according to the audio file format specifications. For example, the WAV audio file format is usually coded in the OCM format, as are the popular Macintosh AIFF audio files.
Audio Formats can be broken down into three main categories. Uncompressed formats, lossless compression formats, and lossy compression.
Uncompressed audio formats (often referred to as PCM formats) are just as the name suggests Ã¢â‚¬â€ formats that use no compression. This means all the data is available, at the risk of large file sizes. A WAV audio file is an example of an uncompressed audio file.
Lossless compression applies compression to an uncompressed audio file, but it doesn;t lose information or degrade the quality of the digital audio file. The WMA audio file format uses lossless compression.
Lossy compression will result in some loss of data as the compression algorithm eliminates redundant or unnecessary information Ã¢â‚¬â€ basically it tosses what it sees as irrelevant information. Lossy compression has become popular online because of its small file size, it is easier to transmit over the Internet. MP3 and Real Audio files uses a lossy compression.
Common Windows-compatible Audio Formats
MP3 is the name of the file extension and also the name of the type of file for MPEG, audio layer 3. Layer 3 is one of three coding schemes (layer 1, layer 2 and layer 3) for the compression of audio signals. Layer 3 uses perceptual audio coding and psychoacoustic compression to remove all superfluous information (more specifically, the redundant and irrelevant parts of a sound signal. The stuff the human ear doesn't hear anyway). It also adds a MDCT (Modified Discrete Cosine Transform) that implements a filter bank, increasing the frequency resolution 18 times higher than that of layer 2. The result in real terms is layer 3 shrinks the original sound data from a CD (with a bit rate of 1411.2 kilobits per one second of stereo music) by a factor of 12 (down to 112-128kbps) without sacrificing sound quality.
WMA - Windows Media Audio (.wma)
Short for Windows Media Audio, WMA is a Microsoft file format for encoding digital audio files similar to MP3 though can compress files at a higher rate than MP3. WMA files, which use the ".wma" file extension, can be of any size compressed to match many different connection speeds, or bandwidths.
WAV is the format used for storing sound in files developed jointly by Microsoft and IBM. Support for WAV files was built into Windows 95 making it the de facto standard for sound on PCs. WAV sound files end with a .wav extension and can be played by nearly all Windows applications that support sound.
Real Audio (.ra .ram .rm)
Real Audio is a proprietary format, and is used for streaming audio that enables you to play digital audio files in real-time. To use this type of file you must have RealPlayer (for Windows or Mac), which you can download for free. Real Audio was developed by RealNetworks.
MIDI - Musical Instrument Digital Interface (.mid)
Short for musical instrument digital interface, MIDI is a standard adopted by the electronic music industry for controlling devices, such as synthesizers and sound cards, that emit music. At minimum, a MIDI representation of a sound includes values for the note's pitch, length, and volume. It can also include additional characteristics, such as attack and delay time.
Ogg is an audio compression format, comparable to other formats used to store and play digital music, but differs in that it is free, open and unpatented. It uses Vorbis, a specific audio compression scheme that's designed to be contained in Ogg.
Converting Audio Formats
With a slew of software applications available today, consumers can convert one digital audio file format to virtually any other. many of the programs available today offer standard burning or converting tools to enable consumers to create CDs on their computer which can be played in home or car stereos. Usually these tools will convert or burn uncompressed WAV PCM, compressed WAV , MP3, and Ogg Vorbis.
This is what Yash posted So far, any other tutorials are welcome. If you want one placed here, PM it to me and I'll decide if it goes here.Yash wrote:This is yet another installment of useful, if not critical, information for your computer. I did not write this guide, and obviously, this guide will not work if you do not use windows.
Safe Mode is a diagnostic mode of Windows which loads only the bare essentials to give a usable desktop. It is not intended to be a working environment. In fact, many programs will not run in Safe Mode, and with some older computers not all drives are available (often the CD drive is unavailable). If possible, make sure that whatever programs you intend to use in Safe Mode (like spyware or virus scanners) are installed and updated.
However, Safe Mode is a good environment in which to run a complete virus scan or junkware scan, especially if the computer is very compromised. NOD32, SpySweeper, Ad-Aware, Spybot, and ESET-NOD32 AntiVirus will all run scans in Safe Mode. Viruses, spyware, or other malicious processes that run in the background in a full-mode load of Windows are not running in Safe Mode, so they can be removed more easily.
To get your computer into Safe Mode you must first shut it down. Find the F8 on your keyboard and get your finger ready to press it. Power on the computer and tap the F8 key every second or two, but not too fast or you will get a keyboard error. The trick is to catch it before you see Windows start to load. When you succeed, then you will see a "boot menu" of white text on black background something like this:
You can use the arrow keys on the keyboard to select the Safe Mode option. On older systems you may have to key in a number that corresponds to this choice.
You may have another warning box to click OK on which warns you that you are in this special, diagnostic mode of Windows. Windows ME opens a "Help and Support" page that you may have to close to get to your desktop.
Once you are in Safe Mode you will see that the desktop looks different. That is because Safe Mode uses very low-level video settings. You should still be able to get in to Start Menu and run programs like SpySweeper, NOD32, Spybot, Ad-Aware and the like. When you are done with your scans, simply shut down and restart. Windows should start normally.