MyBroadband's Hardware and Software FAQ
Where can I update my drivers?
For motherboards, check out:
For graphics cards, have a look at:
For sound cards, see:
Asus (includes SupremeFX and Realtek Integrated Audio)
What is the correct procedure for installing new/uninstalling old drivers?
Start by removing the currently installed drivers. Head over to Control Panel -> Add/Remove Programs. After the drivers have been uninstalled, reboot the computer. Once the computer has been rebooted, install the new drivers and reboot if necessary.
After installing my new drivers, I'm having problems. What do I do?
Uninstall the drivers from Safe Mode. To do this, press F8 before the Windows logo appears and select Safe Mode from the list. Head over to Control Panel -> Add/Remove Programs and uninstall the driver from there. Once done, restart the computer and reinstall an older, trouble-free version of the drivers.
I'm getting IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL errors. What is wrong?
Most probably a driver conflict. Uninstall the most recent driver installed.
I'm getting BSODs, even on a clean install of Windows. What's wrong?
Make sure your RAM isn't faulty. Run Memtest86+ to confirm.
I'm getting all kinds of graphical anomalies in-game. What's wrong?
This is usually caused by an overheating graphics card. Make sure the card is within acceptable temperature levels by running RivaTuner.
My games are running slowly, even though I have a decent PC. What's wrong?
a) Install the latest drivers for your motherboard and graphics card.
b) Disable any programs running in the background, such as anti-virus scanners.
c) Check for overheating
Is anti-virus software really necessary?
Yes. Even if you only use your PC for general home usage, you'll probably need anti-virus software. If you are connected to the internet, you definitely need one.
How do I keep my computer from becoming infected by a virus/spyware?
a) Update Windows
b) Install a good anti-virus/anti-spyware package
c) Use common sense, don't just open any email attachment that happens to show up (as an example)
Do you have any recommendations for a good, free anti-virus program?
Have a look at AVG Free, Avast! Home and Panda (evaluation only). There are numerous threads about this on this forum.
And which paid anti-virus product should I use?
NOD32 is highly recommended, but definitely have a look at BitDefender, Kaspersky and AVG Professional.
Any good anti-spyware software?
I recommend Spybot Search & Destroy or AVG Anti-Spyware. Also have a look at Ad-Aware.
I'm building a new PC, how big should it's power supply be?
For a normal home PC which only runs games occasionally, a 300W-400W PSU should be fine. For a medium to high-end PC which runs games frequently, I'd recommend 450W-550W. For an ultra high-end gaming PC, 600W+.
Should I get a 32-bit or 64-bit operating system?
Unless you've got 4GB or more RAM it might be less hassle to stick to a 32-bit version, unless you've got drivers for all your hardware in which case you might as well install a 64-bit version.
My computer is overheating, what should I do?
Improving the ventilation by adding a few extra fans to the PC is usually the easiest way of lessening overheating problems. If your CPU is overheating you might want to remove the heatsink and fan, wipe off the thermal paste, apply new paste and reattach the heatsink and fan. If that doesn't help you might want to invest in some aftermarket cooling. A can of compressed air can also be used to remove dust from your computer, which might lessen the overheating.
What's the difference between IDE and SATA?
IDE is an older technology which uses a 40-pin ribbon cable to connect the hardware to your motherboard. SATA uses a thin serial cable to connect the hardware, usually hard drives, to your motherboard. IDE is marginally slower than SATA according to some benchmarks.
My PC is losing time, what should I do?
Replace the CMOS battery.
How do I clear the BIOS settings?
Either enable the CLR_CMOS (might be labeled differently) jumper on your motherboard, or unplug your PC and remove the CMOS battery for a few minutes.
But what does the CMOS battery even look like?
Should I use Internet Explorer?
No. Use Mozilla Firefox or Opera instead.
I'm connecting to my wireless router via WiFi. Should I enable encryption?
Definitely. Enable WPA2-PSK and use a long, secure password. You can enable encryption by browsing to http://your-router's-ip and editing the wireless security settings (or similar) page.
Which applications should I use to monitor my computer's temperatures/Which applications should I use to benchmark my computer?
carderne was kind enough to create a thread about that already.
The big question: Windows XP or Windows Vista?
There is no real easy answer to this. The usual answer given is that if you have the capable hardware and you need DirectX 10 desperately then there is no reason to not use Windows Vista.
How do I find the exact specifications and details about my PC?
Download and run a brilliant utility called System Information for Windows which will give you everything you need and more
Is there any way for me to update my Windows without being connected to the internet?
Windows Updates can be downloaded using Windows Catalog. If you don't want to use Windows Catalog, use AutoPatcher instead.
My computer won't play this video file. What's wrong?
You need codecs. The one I use is called the K-Lite Codec Pack which includes a bunch of codecs. You might also want to try VLC Media Player which features a host of codecs built-in.
I want to sell my old computer hardware. Where do I post?
Here. Please don't post threads advertising your hardware.
Which graphics card should I buy?
The one with the best performance within your budget. Have a look at the charts featured at Tom's Hardware to get a good idea of how each graphics card performs.
I need a product key, do you know anyone or any site where I might get it from?
No. This site does not promote piracy. Asking for "warez" might result in a ban.
Which online shops should I buy from?
The list of online shops is endless, but here are some of the more popular ones among the forumites:
The Prophecy Shop
Digital Addiction (owned by eitai2001, one of our forumites.)
Which download manager should I use within Firefox?
I personally use DownThemAll! but Flashgot seems to be another popular program.
Do you have any Windows Vista tweaks I should try to speed it up/improve my Windows Vista experience?
antowan was kind enough to create a thread about that already.
Is there a program I can use to sort out my corrupt hard drive?
Yes, have a look at SpinRite (highly recommended).
Do you have any firewall recommendations?
Have a look at Comodo and ZoneAlarm.
Which bootable CDs would you recommend?
Some of the more popular ones are Ultimate Boot CD, BartPE and Hiren's Boot CD.
I have 2 ADSL accounts. Can I use one for local traffic and one for international traffic at the same time?
Yes you can. Have a look at Routesentry, as discussed here.