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Understanding  PC

Posted on 2003-02-24
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Hey All,

Surely you will able to help me with this. Before I put my questions, I just want to let you know that I don't have any prior knowledge or experience with hardware. I have not even open my CPU box before. So kindly answer me with patience and in detail so that I can understand this. I have just started reading some articles about this CPU. My basic aim contacting you experts and posting my this question and other bunch of questions would be to understand How this CPU works and to make my own PC and also updating my current PC.

Lets first talk to updating my current CPU..(WIN 98 OS, 96 Mb RAM - I don't know rest details.. so need help to figure out)
It is extremely extremely slow.. I have not treated it nicely(downloaded lot of applications....) It has some virusus in it.. which May be causing lot of problems and also -- I got it assembled for a local computer store.. and I had no knowledge and I was dumb.. so surely they fooled me with duplicate or lower end parts.. so I want to fix it myself, upgrade it and become knowledgeable now..

1) My first question is -- to Make my own PC-- should I be deciding first which OS (win98 or NT) would I be loading. I am asking this question because -- I have WIN98 system right now and I want to update it to WIN NT. Now will my everything in this CPU work (like my Modem, Video Card, Sound Card etc.) with WIN NT also or are they only WIN 98 compatible? Reason for my shifting ot WIN NT is -- I have lost WIN98 CD .. and I still have WINNT CD.. So whenever I install any device (like Cable Modem to USB port) and i try to install drivers.. It asks for WIN98 SE CD (which I dont have) so I want to update everything to WINNT but want to know what can stop working and go wrong..

2).  I want to know what Processor it has.. and whats its speed.. I went to 'MY COMPUTERS' and it showed me 'Intel Pentium 3 processor. I dont know it is correct or not.. and it doesnt show speed..I restarted my computer and enter into SETUP details (BIOS DETAILS).. I saw on the screen -- CPU Internal Core Speed -- 450 Mhz.. (Is it the processor speed..)?  So what In understood is I have Intel Pentium 3 processor -- 450 Mhz.. is it supposed to be extremely slow?
If I buy a new Processor from COMPUSA, I guess I have to see if my motherboard supports that or not.. so

3) How should I know what Motherboard I have? Can I see it on Screen? or do I have to open my Box..? (I dont have any manuals on this box)

4) Once I know what Motherboard I have, How should I know the compatible Processor..

5). If I know the compatible processor, and I get it from COMPUSA, and somehow install it.. say for example (Intel Pentium 4 2 Ghz), do I need to do any settings (BIOS setting or something..)? I mean I install it, connect it to power and my Monitor, now what is the next step..

6). This Virus (which is ruining my computer).. Okay I can get some antivirus and clean it).. But since it has been long that this Virus is sitting in my computer.. or it has done enough damage.. The way I know is -- My computer acts strangely at times.. Font size changes by itself.. It will just stop responding.. etc etc..
Now I want to get rid of damage done on my computer.. should I replace my hard drive and everything should be okay?
I guess Virus usually sits on hard drive and damages files etc.. so I thought of replacing my hard drive altogether..


i think I will have to ask next questions as a followup and then I will raise some more new questions to understand this all because I know its too much for a starters...

I will appreciate reply pls..

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Question by:irodov
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15 Comments
 
LVL 63

Accepted Solution

by:
SysExpert earned 200 total points
ID: 8010480
Viruses and other stuff are probably causing the slowdown.

Try my cleanup







 I would run the Start-windows update to make sure that you have the newest updates.

In addition Cleanup the startup stuff. In win98/Win ME/Win XP -  Do a Start - Run - msconfig, startup Tab , or for win95 , NT or win2k,
Download the Startup COP a free pcmag utility from
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,4149,2097,00.asp
 Run it and it will show you everything that is listed in all the possible startup
places, and allow you to disable things one at a time until the problem is eliminated.
 A lot of probelms are caused by excess old baggage - programs that have not been properly  un-installed. Startup Cop will eliminate leftovers and un-wanted programs that you no longer want.
Older Antivirus programs and Norton Utilities have been known to cause problems
try disabling them also !

Update and run 2 good, updated antivirus program- Norton, McAffee etc.
 
 Then run SFC from the Start-run command, and have it fix any broken files.

ALso check into getting driver updates for ALL of your hardware, BIOS, VGA, motherboard etc.

Do a Defrag of all partitions from SAFE mode !

Make sure that each partition has at least 15% free space.

Check your swap file settings.

You may try doing a scanreg /fix from a DOS prompt.

You may try doing a scanreg /restore from a DOS prompt
and select a registry date from before the problem started.

 Check the IE version and try to do a repair from the add/remove in the Control panel - choosing remove  gives you a repair option.


 these are some tools that will benefit anyone trying to solve problems.
                                         http://support.microsoft.com/support/windows/tools/98Tools.asp
                        http://support.microsoft.com/support/tshoot/tshooterlist.asp?TPR=w98&SD=SO&LN=EN-US
http://support.microsoft.com/isapi/support/apgts/apgts.dll

In Internet Explorer, go to Tools>Internet Options, click the Settings button, then the View Objects button and remove everything except the CV3 class file.

Now click the Advanced tab and check the box that says "disable script debugger"

Go to Start>Run, type msconfig, click the startup tab and uncheck Machine Debug Manager.

   I hope this helps
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LVL 63

Expert Comment

by:SysExpert
ID: 8010486
ALso for viruses

You may need a free web based antivirus, since newer viruses disable the local antivirus program !

http://housecall.antivirus.com/pc_housecall/

Norton Web Services  
Go to this page and click on Scan for Viruses
http://security2.norton.com/ssc/vc_about.asp?langid=us&venid=sym&plfid=22&pkj=RKNYPJUIYCZRWEJGSSK

http://www.pcpitstop.com/pcpitstop/diskhealth.asp  remote diagnostics free web antivirus free antivirus

It needs to download a few file so be patient.

I hope this helps !
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LVL 63

Expert Comment

by:SysExpert
ID: 8010487
ALso for viruses

You may need a free web based antivirus, since newer viruses disable the local antivirus program !

http://housecall.antivirus.com/pc_housecall/

Norton Web Services  
Go to this page and click on Scan for Viruses
http://security2.norton.com/ssc/vc_about.asp?langid=us&venid=sym&plfid=22&pkj=RKNYPJUIYCZRWEJGSSK

http://www.pcpitstop.com/pcpitstop/diskhealth.asp  remote diagnostics free web antivirus free antivirus

It needs to download a few file so be patient.

I hope this helps !
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Expert Comment

by:SHONNER
ID: 8011586
1) You should be deciding first what you want to do with your new computer.  Then decide what programs you need to do those things.  Then find the OS that will run those programs.  Then find hardware that will work with that OS.  You can still buy Windows98SE from stores like Frys Electronics if you don't have it.

2) Extremely slow?  What are you comparing your system to?  The fastest CPU your motherboard can use is probably a PIII-500MHz one.

3) Without the book, you have to open the thing and look for a brand name of some kind (in big letters) on the motherboard.  On a corner somewhere you will also see a version number of some kind to learn the model number.  Go to the company's site and download the manual.

4) See manual.

5) See manual for jumper or auto settings.

6) Find a clean hard drive to boot from or install Windows on.  Do not trust ANY of your floppy disks.  Boot from Windows CD to install OS.  Then install anti-virus.  Then install your infected drive as drive D: and remove all viruses from it.  Then scan each floppy disk for viruses if you get around to it.
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LVL 13

Assisted Solution

by:magarity
magarity earned 200 total points
ID: 8012531
"I have WIN98 system right now and I want to update it to WIN NT"

Are you sure you mean NT?  Perhaps you are thinking of 2000 or XP.  NT was good for servers back in the day, but putting it on a workstation now is a terrible idea.  Lousy graphics and sound support, no USB support, etc, etc.  I hope you mean 2000.

As for the virus, simply reformatting is not sufficient.  Many of them hide in strange places in the boot record.  Do a complete scan and repair BEFORE trying to upgrade the OS.
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Author Comment

by:irodov
ID: 8012759
Magarity:

Okay since you explained me.. I would mean WIN 2000.. But getting WIN 2000 from stores like COMPUSA would surely be very costly.. am i right.. how to people get WIN 2O00 for home purposes?

and now since I have win 98 on my system.. so if i upgrade it to win 2000, will my all components work (like modem, sound card etc..) is it correct to do this? because as I understand win 2000 is based on NT Technology.. but if i upgrade it to WIN XP..(since it is based on WIN 98 tech), so probably everything will work.. guide me pls..


As Shonner mentioned in first point.. so for building PC.. I should be deciding OS First.. well.. I am trying to build a test system.. so dont want anything fancy.. just want to learn and be confident that "OK ! I build this system and I can see some version of windows coming up".. so whats the cheapest version of windows available? maximum, I will dial in to go to internet.. or may be do something with MS WORD...

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LVL 3

Assisted Solution

by:galloglass
galloglass earned 200 total points
ID: 8012796
Irodov,

You could try a complete OS installation:

1. Run the LOW-LEVEL format program that came with your hard disk or download the software from your drive manufacturer's website. A warning though, running the low-level format program will ERASE EVERYTHING (including all virus traces) in your hard drive PERMANENTLY.

2. Insert the Windows 2000 or XP CD in your CDROM drive and it will give you the option to partition and format your drive before installing the OS.

'Microsoft is retiring the NT platform in phases and there are changes in product availability and support'.

I really do not know what they mean by the last phrase but it sure sounds NT is going far away to a distant world where it will just fade away.

If I were you, go for Windows 2000. It is much more stable than XP. =)
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LVL 24

Assisted Solution

by:SunBow
SunBow earned 200 total points
ID: 8012820
> 1) My first question is -- to Make my own PC

You must answer the level of attention you should give. I think you are thinking about being techno ET technician type who repairs chips, and that that is too much hands on, low level for you, so I think you best move up a notch, to be one who just adds/swaps boards and drives.

Will your equipment work? Maybe not, going from Win9x to NT has it that way. This is what makes NT what it is, denying some HW their little cheats at building speed by bypassing OS. But considering age, there ought to be enough new drivers around to get them to work.

> 2).  I want to know what Processor it has..

Mine usually display at startup.

> CPU Internal Core Speed -- 450 Mhz.. (Is it the processor speed..)?  

yes. 450 is about average for anything you want to do. Which is what?

> 4) Once I know what Motherboard I have, How should I know the compatible Processor..

Don't bother. This I think only waste your time. The range of processor, of cpu is very few, the boards do not cover a large speed variation. Maybe four different ones. maybe a 25% or a 33% change variation option available.

> for example (Intel Pentium 4 2 Ghz), do I need to do any settings (BIOS setting or something..)?

4b) no such thing. You are not talking here simple four times speed (over 400%) which the clock cannot handle. This also involves changes to memory which is not only little old RAM, but there are more different kinds of ram (physically) to use every few upgrade steps to a CPU.

> 5) and I get it from COMPUSA, and somehow install it.. say for example (Intel Pentium 4 2 Ghz),

As before, I suggest: Give it up. While this reads almost like ad for single supplier, I'll take it as mere example of collection of them. Plain & simple, do not ever consider swapping a CPU.

> 6) .. Font size changes by itself.. It will just stop responding..

I had goofy fonts on Win95, happened right after I started access to MSN, going for MS eMail. They started upgrading me, then asked for credit card for free access. I said "NO" quit, cancelled, exited. Immediately I got fonts=goofy, which I take to be incompleted upgrade. Just to say here, that not all problems indicate virus. The stop responding is even something Windoze can do on its own.

-------------------------------------------------------

Here is what I suggest you do:

a) decide OS. This can be simple choice of Win9x for flexibly friendly games, or NT family to benefit from security. Know that the newer OS-es are not only more expensive, but they are more vulnerable when networking.

b) decide applications. How many at a time? Programming/development vs games? The direction here is to identify parts of computer getting most use.

c) decide on parts to concentrate on for most effective use. Video and hard drive are IMO paramount. I suggest running a two drive system. Then in case like above there'd be ready capability to have one as 98 and other NT. Or one could be OS and other data. With budget go for writable CD and even DVD

d) Simplest best answer I think is to have someone near your neighborhood to put it together for you. Even from a store. They are real cheap these days, they've already figured out intricacies of parts such as matching of speed, they are findable - so if you have problem or question you have real human to ask.  One benefit is also drawback. Get system from storefront and you get SW bonus, including OS already loaded. Saves you. But some OEM now doing prebuilt install CD (no choice for you), including too much shareware you don't know how to use, whether to delete, or even if required; and worse: automatic update features that have built-in trojans to behave as spyware or worse, and between all of above doing it cheaply which may mean incease in crashes. For the latter I'd recommend buying own OS independently to regain control, except their are so many of them and they're more costly that way.

In sum,
>Understanding  PC

Try first to fit description of self of just how low in details you want or need to know. We'll none of us learn everything.
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:magarity
ID: 8012900
" because as I understand win 2000 is based on NT Technology.. but if i upgrade it to WIN XP..(since it is based on WIN 98 tech"

No, actually, Nt, 2000, and XP are all the same family.  Win95, 98, and ME are the same family.  It has ended with WinME.

I just prefer 2000 to XP because of the way it handles user accounts.  XP Home version is probably the best choice in terms of price.  Each new version will have its own drivers for your hardware, so that is not a worry.  XP has exceptionally good device driver support in general.

XP Home edition, upgrade version (which is what you need because you already have some older Windows, 98) retails for $99 while 2000 Pro upgrade retails for $199.  So I recommend XP Home for you in this case.
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LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:rickisme
ID: 8018729
Hi... DEFINATELY XP HOME VERSION... or the PRO version if you want the built-in backup utility.  For the best price;
www.PriceWatch.com then click on Software highlight at the top of the screen and make your choice from the choices that appear in the bottom box.  WHY:::U have NO experience with setting up software or hardware... and with 2000 you could probabally not even load it correctly let alone configure it to run properly.  (Not trying to sound ugly or putting you down in any way... 2000 just requires more advanced installation skills.)  I also suggest you get the full retail version XP with the SP1 update included... that will save you hours and hours of updating!  AND if you change your mind about building it yourself... the PriceWatch site also has complete systems at reasonable prices for what they are.  You will have a vast selection of performance and price!

God Bless, Rick
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LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:rickisme
ID: 8018794
Hi again... NOW the other issue... updateing your old system.  WHY... JUST GET A NEW ONE!  Honestly your upgrade can cost as much as a new system.  I recommend just cleaning the hard drive the way several have suggested and putting your money into something that will serve you better in the long run.  

If you do want to upgrade it... then first find out what motherboard you have... to do this... when your system starts the POST... you will see a BIOS ID given... use the "pause" key to stop this on the screen and write it down, be EXACT in your transfere of the BIOS ID.  Then you can go to www.motherboardsytems.com and there is a utility for entering the ID... this will identify you motherboard.
Go to the manufacturer of the board and download the setup manual and drivers etc.

With this info you can find the specifications on your board as to what the largest CPU is that can be used and how to configure it.  God Bless, Rick.
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by:SunBow
ID: 8367553
irodov?
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