A Hard Drive Crash Strikes Fear Into Computer Owners
The phrase hard drive crash strikes fear into the hearts of all computer users. A drive crash is an unexpected and unwanted event in which the computer's hard drive stops working. Hard drives that crash are not likely to resume functioning in the future. Hard drives that crash usually do so catastrophically. The crashed hard drive is often useless after these horrible events. All permanent data on the computer is stored on the hard drive. That is why drive crashes are such terrifying events.
What would cause a hard drive to crash? There are many reasons, although the unfortunate computer owner might never know which reason caused the crash. One reason is mechanical failure. The hard drive is one of the few moving parts in the computer. Nearly everything else is circuits and chips. Hard drives contain several horizontal magnetic platters supported by a vertical axis or spindle. These platters spin at amazing speeds while the computer is active. Read-write heads of the hard drive float over these platters, reading or writing data to the magnetic platters. A mechanical drive crash might be caused by the motor wearing out. An extreme bump or jolt might also cause the read-write heads to impact the surfaces of the platters.
Electrical events can also cause a hard drive to crash. The computer's power supply converts regular household current into tiny currents and voltages suitable for the delicate computer components. An electrical spike, such as a nearby lightning strike with one of Virginia Beach's many storms, can cause a hard drive to fail. Electrical surges are likely to cause many computer components to fail, in addition to the hard drive crashing. All computers should have surge protection devices, and should be turned off and unplugged during electrical storms.
When hard drives crash, the data they store are almost always destroyed too. There are specialty companies which might be able to recover the data. However, this is too expensive for the home user. It is best to keep multiple, up to date backups. Have all your installation disks together, and a list of websites from which you have downloaded software. Preparation and vigilance are the best tools against the chaos caused by a hard drive crash.
If you have never heard of external video cards, you are not alone. This new concept is only recently becoming common knowledge. Video cards, also called graphics cards, graphics accelerators, and other names, normally sit snugly inside the computer case. The purpose of video cards is to interpret the graphics signals from the computer and display them on a monitor. New external graphics cards are being developed, and there are good reasons why they must exist outside the computer's case.
Specialty 3D graphics accelerator cards have grown very powerful over the past several years. They are essentially graphics computers tucked inside the computer case. These internal video cards perform the highly intensive graphics calculations for games and graphics editing, leaving the main CPU to do other work. Some of these graphics cards have grown so powerful that they are more powerful than some of the early computers! Unfortunately this means that 3D graphics cards need lots of power, lots of room, and lots of cooling fans.
One solution is to move the next generation of massive video cards outside the computer case as external graphics cards. These external cards would sit outside the case in their own enclosure, much like an external hard drive. The external video enclosure would have its own power supply and cooling fan. This would greatly decrease the strain on the computer's power supply, and also remove a great deal of heat from the computer case. The external video card would enable many computer users to upgrade to the hottest graphics card without buying a new computer. An extra bonus is that laptop users should be able to connect their same external video card to their portable and use it to boost the video performance.
These external graphics cards are expected to connect to the computer via the PCI External or PCIe specification. Video cards inside the case have a direct connection to the motherboard. External video accelerators would need to connect via a cable. External components have traditionally been slower due to limitations of cable data transfer rates. If that problem can be solved, expect a whole range of awesome external video cards to enter the market soon.
Computer memory is very important. If you remember whaaayyy back in the 1990's during the time of 486 computers, a snail speed personal information machine was normal. Waiting for every action of a 486 electronic brain could take from 3 to 5 minutes. Nowadays, the PC remembrance available on the market can jack-up speeds of every mouse action to milliseconds. This results in sky-rocketing speeds for thinking machine applications, enabling them to load even faster than the regular blink of a electronic brain screen.
PC applications, however, can create an imbalance in the machines speeds. High speed applications may tire out the equipment if the PC's available thought processor is insufficient to run the installed application. The result is equipment failure. Often times, one can observe low performance from pop-up windows that warn the user of a low virtual recall. This virtual recollection is like a swap file. A swap file is a special file in the hard disk that functions like a Random Access Memory or RAM. Swap files and virtual memories are like special caches that are the last defense from the threat of the PC shutting down.
Once a PC user encounters such warnings from their pop-up windows, it is advised that an upgrade be done immediately. Using a machine with a low recollection will be futile or useless because it may result in one of two things: (1) the equipment will suddenly crash in the middle of a running program or (2) it will abnormally restart without warning to the anguish of the user.
It is a good thing that retention chips are continuously being upgraded to accommodate the required revival speeds of the latest data storage such as cd and dvd disks. The speed of PC storage is called clock speed and is measured in frequency or Hertz. The latest speed available for PC enhancement is about 400 MHz. That is exponentially beyond the speed of old 486 machines.
Also, the latest configurations in most machines require the use of separate recall chips for the microprocessor and the output requirement of the PC, most notably, its video output. Aligned with the current high video profile games available, computer memory chips are now being hardwired to serve specific outputs of the equipment.
What is a CPU? According to Tech Terms:"CPU Stands for "Central Processing Unit." The CPU is the primary component of a computer that processes instructions. It runs the operating system and applications, constantly receiving input from the user or active software programs. It processes the data and produces output, which may stored by an application or displayed on the screen. The CPU contains at least one processor, which is the actual chip inside the CPU that performs calculations."
CPU upgrades are a popular way to increase the speed of your personal computer. The CPU, or central processing unit, is the main chip or brain of the computer. It performs all the calculations needed to run the programs. The only exceptions might be any calculations performed by accelerator cards such as graphics cards. Upgrading the CPU might seem to be the ideal way to increase the performance of a PC. However, there are a couple things you must know before you decide on a CPU upgrade.
Some companies offer a CPU upgrade card. This is essentially a small motherboard with a faster CPU that plugs into an open expansion card slot. This type of upgraded CPU takes over most of the motherboard functions. However, the speed between the CPU's upgrade card and the rest of the computer is limited by the speed of the expansion slot.
These card and chip upgrades can be expensive, costing up to half the cost of a basic new computer. Furthermore, a fan and heat sink might be needed to get rid of the heat of the new CPU. It might be more cost effective to simply buy a new computer. That way, you will have speedy new peripherals to complement your fast new CPU upgrades.
A common plot of Hollywood thrillers is the “Don’t Answer the Phone” device. In this kind of movie, the babysitter is aware that there is a maniac about to come to kill her or the children. The big moment comes when she gets a phone call from the police who say “The calls are coming from inside the house!” Pretty scary stuff.
But we have a modern day version of “the maniac is inside the house”. The maniacs are actually hiding in the house but not in the closet, not in the basement, not in the attic but in the computer! And it isn’t just happening to an occasional unfortunate victim. These kinds of crimes are happening to thousands of people every day, people like you and me. It’s called cyber crime and it’s an epidemic that law enforcement is putting all the skill and detective work they can muster to try to control.
When you hear a phrase like “cyber crime”, it makes you think of Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator as a heartless android out to create chaos. But cyber criminals are far more elusive than Arnold. More recently it's becoming known as "the dark web" where hackers hangout doing lord knows what. They could be any one in your neighborhood or halfway around the world. They don’t need a key to your back door or a tunnel under your house to get in. Cyber criminals can take up residence inside our computers and quietly commit crimes as we sit there enjoying our YouTube selections or messaging with Aunt Edna.
The problem is not that our legal system has not done a good job of defining crimes committed using the internet as crimes. The legal community has all the laws on the books that they need to stop these criminals. The problem comes with finding the criminals and even know when a crime is being committed. But despite the elusive nature of cyber criminals, some of the kinds of crimes that can be committed directly over the internet are pretty scary including…
* Identity theft.
* Embezzling hundreds, maybe thousands from your bank account.
* Hijacking an elderly person's Social Security checks.
* Cyber seduction of youth and even children.
* Unauthorized access to your financial information which they can sell to other cyber criminals.
* The downloading of computer viruses and other destructive software that can damage your computer.
* Cyber terrorism.
Amazingly, most of this kind of crime can be happening inside your computer without you ever knowing it is there. The key to success for cyber criminals are these little programs sometimes called “spybots”. A spybot is a tiny program that can take up residence in your computer by hiding in your internet system with cookies and other content that you download when you are surfing the web, playing games, or you just hit a certain dark web website. These programs can then capture and record your keystrokes and send them back to the cyber criminal who can capture your secure information from that data. Or they can watch your cyber surfing and learn where you go to help cyber criminals figure out better ways to commit their crimes.
Cyber crime is something we hope our law enforcement professionals will eventually learn how to stop. But because cyber criminals can be anywhere in the world, stay on the run and even change electronic locations of their “headquarters” without ever betraying their physical location or who they are, it’s a amazingly difficult job for our law enforcement professionals to learn how to find these criminals and to capture them and put them away.
Protect Yourself from The Dark Web
We can help by being ever vigilant about our computers. There are programs we can install that can “lock the front door” of our computers. The two top names in this kind of software are Norton and McAfee but there are dozens more that can do the job just as well, like our preferred vendor Malware Bytes. The good news is that these programs can simultaneously watch our emails, monitor for spybots and keep our computer clean of viruses and other internet surprises that can cause so much damage.
So just as we work with neighborhood watch and put locks on our doors even though there are police in our neighborhoods, we have to view cyber crime as a problem that everybody has to work together to stop. By making sure your computer is protected, you take one more victim out of the cycle. And that helps everybody in our quest for a safer internet.
In the early days of the Internet, spam was little more than an irritating nuisance. However, like every other aspect of the Internet, spam has evolved to become something far more nefarious in nature.
To understand just how big a problem spam has become, it will help to realize the sheer volume of unsolicited junk mail is sent out every day. More than 50% of all the trillions of email that is mailed out is spam.
This spam clogs up and wastes bandwidth, especially with the recent advent of image-based spam. It places a huge strain on servers and wastes a huge amount of time and money to deliver millions upon millions of unsolicited emails to the inboxes of recipients.
Mass Mailing Viruses
Aside from constantly inundating your inbox with unwanted email, spammers now also pose grave threats to the health of your computer
One of these new dangerous aspects of spam are that illicit senders can now manipulate your email addresses, and make it seem to the rest of the world that the spam that is sent is coming from your personal computer or domain. This may result in your service provider blocking your Internet connection, or terminating your account. And all of it can be done without any knowledge on your part. It can easily be made to seem that you are an actor in a malicious mail campaign when in fact you are an unwitting actor at best.
Email is the most common vehicle of choice for spreading viruses, and for hackers to get into your computer system. There is an increasing amount of this type of spam being mailed out of late. These small programs can be used in myriad harmful ways, including crashing your own system, crashing that of the parties you email or keystroke logging to gather your personal information.
Another insidious tactic that the spammers employ is called "Phishing." It involves the spammer sending out junk email that is specifically designed to look like it is from a reputable, legitimate source such as a reputable company like ebay or paypal. This spam utilizes the company's logo and official graphics.
The purpose of this type of spam is to get your personal and financial information. Often it will fraudulently send you to web sites where this information regarding email, finances, bank accounts or other personal info is gathered and used in illegal ways. Very often, the spammers will combine methods, spamming their victims with virus-laden software, phishing and other schemes that take spam to a whole new level of illicit, criminal activity.
A 2006 study by Consumer Reports estimated that in two years, Americans spent more than $7 billion on repairs and parts replacement resulting from viruses, malware and spyware. This does not take into account the cost to the Internet Providers who have to pay for all the bandwidth taken up by the spammers junk, or the cost in time, money and productivity to businesses that have to sort through all the spam.
Spam is no longer harmless, silly, or simply annoying. It is increasingly harmful and we need to protect against it.