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Frequently Asked Questions

Many people come into the store to ask for advice about their computer and how to use it. To make life a little easier we have compiled many of the most common queries on this page. If we do not have the answer for you here please do not hesitate to to contact us.

COMPONENTS
When Do I need a new PC?
What is RAM?
What is a CPU or Processor?
What types of processor is there?
What is a hard drive?
What is a mouse?
What kinds of keyboards are there?
What is a parallel Port?
What is a USB Port?  
What is a COM Port?
What is a Motherboard?
What is a Sound Card?
What is the difference between internal and external components?  
What does SCSI mean? 

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Click Here for Operational Questions listed below
Should I turn off my computer when I am done using it or can I leave it on?
If I add more Random Access Memory (RAM) To My Computer, Will It Run Faster?

How does a computer write information to the hard drive?
How can I make my computer go faster?
What is a modem and why do I need one?
How can I protect my computer from power surges?
How do I start up my PC?
How do I shut down my PC?
What is a Warm Boot?What is a Cold Boot?
What do I do if my program freezes?
What are Directories and Folders?
Why can’t I use my software straight out of the box?
Why do I need to backup my computer?
How do I keep from getting a computer virus?
What is the "Blue Screen of Death"?
How do I download files?
How do I install software?

 

When Do I need a new PC?
The general rule of thumb is if the computer is meeting all your current needs and you plan not to increase your usage or features demanded then there really isn't any reason to upgrade. We would recommend that you get it sertviced and cleaned internally as this will help maintain its life. Make use of Folders $10 check up.

However, if your computer needs repair or is slow for some of the programs you are running it may be better to simply upgrade your system all together. This decision has many factors if you really are not in the position to replace your PC then the decision is easy, repair it…However, brinbg it in and we can give you an idea what we can do and how much it is likely to cost.

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What does RAM mean?
RAM stands for Random Access Memory and is the area where the computer stores information being processed. It is your working memory. It looks like a thin rectangular microchip and are usually installed in pairs. RAM is measured in megabytes which is the equivalent of one million (1,048,576) bytes. A byte equals one unit of information. When you turn on the computer and double click on your favorite game or program the contents (information) is temporarily stored in RAM, meaning it is now ready for use and appears on your computer screen. Your program will remain in RAM until you exit (close) the program. Also every thing is removed from RAM when you turnoff the computer, so make sure you save it to your hard drive before closing your application and or shutting off the computer.

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What is a CPU or processor?
The CPU (central processing unit) is actually an integrated circuit containing millions of transistors. CPU or often termed the Microprocessor is where all the action begins. Its function is to execute programs stored in the main memory by fetching their instructions, examining them, and then executing them one after another. It is the brain of your computer. Just like the brain controls your body, the CPU essentially controls and directs all the functions of your computer.

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What type of processors are there?
There are primarily two main manufacturers of consumer based CPU's - Intel and AMD-Advanced Micro Devices. In the past AMD was considered better for graphics and gaming where intel was a mathematical brain. However, Intel is now being favoured by gaming and hasthe march on AMD at the high end. However, this could change. These days processors are getting faster and faster. The latest innovation is manufacturing two processors in one, and evn four in one.. This is called dualcore or quadcore. This simply means the processor having more than the one core will run at much faster speeds.

There are other lesser known manufacturers include IBM (old Cyrix cpu), Motorola (now Freescale) and a few others CPU architectures but it is best to keep to the big two.
 

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What is a Hard Drive?
The hard drive is an internal storage device which holds programs and data used by your computer. Its your main library.It is a box about the size of a VHS video cassette containing magnetically coated disks. These disks can hold massive amounts of information. Hard drives are used to store your software programs and information created from them. Imagine it being a giant filing cabinet inside of your computer, holding all your information.

These days you can purchase external hard drives that provide additional storage externally from your computer and can be used as a backup in case your computers internal hard drive has a problem.

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What is a mouse? 
A mouse is a handheld device for moving the pointer around the screen. The use of the mouse allows the user to point at and click on various icons for programs and data files rather than having to type in commands to copy files, open programs, etc. .

The standard PC mouse consists of two buttons, each of which functions differently in Windows. A single click of the left button on an icon selects the item, a double click (clicking twice in rapid succession) will open the file or program, and a single click of the right button will open a pop-up menu offering choices relative to the item clicked.

These days most come include a roller between the two buttons for easy scrolling up and down in the window which is especially helpful when surfing the Internet. In addition to the traditional mouse, there are touchpads, large and small trackballs, and graphics tablets. Touchpads are most often found on laptop computers. You can purchase a mouse that operates with a wireless link or wired to the USB port.

Almost all functions that you can do with a mouse can be replaced with keyboard commands. If you have problems using a mouse or tend to type on the keyboard a lot, keyboard commands will save you time. For example, the copy command is usually ctrl-c and paste is usually ctrl-v. The "Start" button can be accessed by pressing the "Windows" button on the Windows keyboard.

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What kind of keyboards are there?
The standard microcomputer keyboard consists of 104 keys arranged in the standard typewriter  layout. A separate numeric keypad is at the right side of the keyboard and can be turned on or off by pressing the "Num Lock" key. When on, the keys act like the keys of an adding machine or calculator; when off, the keys act like the arrow keys for moving the cursor around the screen.

Special ergonomic keyboards are available where the keyboard is split in the middle and the keys are rotated outward to reduce the risk of repetitive stress injury caused by prolonged keyboarding. Some keyboards include touchpads to remove the need of a separate mouse. Inaddition soft rollup keyboards are available that are great for taking away on trips and you prefer a main keyboad when using a laptop or a small notebook.

Keyboards come in all shapes, sizes, functionality and price. Some are specifically designed for gamers as shown in the image and wired or wireless linked.

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What is a Parallel Port?
A parallel port is also referred to as the printer port since that is usually the device that plugs into it. Many other peripherals have been created to use the parallel port including external CD-ROM drives and ZIP drives.

While plugging these devices into the parallel port makes them extremely easy to set up, the speed is not as fast as the newer USB ports. The parallel port is easily identified by its 25 holes.  (See letter "C" in the diagram) 

 

 

       A. PS/2 Mouse Port
       B.  USB Port
       C. Parallel (Printer) Port
       D. Game Stick Port
       E. Keyboard Port
       F. USB Port 
       G. Serial Port
       H. Video (Monitor) Port
       I. Audio Line Out (Speakers)
       J. Microphone

       K. Audio Line In

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What is a USB Port?
USB stands for Universal Serial Bus and is a common component on new computers. The port looks like a flat slot and there are usually two of them together. Up to 127 devices can be chained together and attached to the computer. You can purchase a USB hub that allows you to plug in to one of these ports and increase the number of ports available. Many new computer peripherals (digital cameras, scanners, speakers) come with USB adapters that allow the user to plug the unit into the computer and use it immediately without having to install expansion cards inside the computer and make manual adjustments to the computer settings.(See letters "B" & "F" in the diagram above.)

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What is a COM Port?
A COM Port stands for communications port and is also referred to as a Serial Port. Most computers have at least four COM ports internally which modems or other internal peripherals use. Every computer has at least one and usually two external COM ports for physically attaching external peripheral devices, such as external modems, scanners, and digital cameras. The COM port has nine pins. (See letter "G" in the diagram above.)

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What is a Motherboard?
This board sits inside of your computer case, it is what many of your other computer devices plug into. It is called "main" or "mother" board because most of your computer's devices (CPU, Memory Chips, Video Card and Modem) plug directly into it. If the processor is the brain the motherboard is the spine of the computer. Devices such as the ones mentioned above plug directly unto the motherboard via expansion slots. All signals used by the computer are processed by the motherboard. Memory chips, the central processor, expansion boards and cables to disk drives all attach to the motherboard.

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What is a Sound Card?
A sound card is an expansion card that is required in order to hear sounds from a CD-ROM or any audio file. The sound card converts computers signals into sound. This signal is sent to speakers or headphones that might be connected to the device at the time. When you play your favorite game or are listening to your favorite music CD-ROM, the sound is being generated from the sound card. There are three sound card standards. A

1. Adlib: 8 bit sound which is very basic sound
2. Soundblaster: 16 bit and above that produces CD quality sound
3. Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI): Produces sounds like an actual musical instrument.

Most decent sound cards can at least duplicate the first two standards. Anything below this ability should not be touched.

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The difference between internal and external components?
Internal components are devices that are either built-in to the motherboard of the computer, added in on an expansion card, or a device attached to the motherboard by way of ribbon cables inside the cabinet. External devices are added to the computer system by plugging them into one of the ports on the back of the computer. Sound cards are always internal devices and scanners are always external devices, while modems and CD-ROM drives can be either internal or external. Modems are sometimes easier to use if they are external because you can physically turn them off to reset them. In New Zealand with our very variable quality broadband this ability is an advantage.


What does SCSI mean?
SCSI (pronounced "scuz-zy") stands for Small Computer System Interface. This interface is most often used for connecting CD-ROM drives and scanners to the computer but can also be used for hard disks when a faster data access is required.

 

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