Home » Hardware


Scroll lock on laptop

Scroll lock is an obscure key that has mostly outlived its usefulness. Size-constrained laptops often omit the key, layering it with some other key combination that you generate by pressing the FN key plus a second key that varies. Here’s how to get scroll lock on a laptop when your keyboard doesn’t have the key.

Usually to get scroll lock to toggle, use the FN key and a combination of a second key, often C, K, S, or even F12. You can also use the Windows on screen keyboard.

Read More »Scroll lock on laptop

Floppy drive pinout

You probably came here looking for the standard 34 pin floppy drive pinout, as used on most PCs. However, the PC floppy drive pinout was derived from a standard created by shugart in the 1970s, and More than one version of that pinout exists today. So let’s talk about the common floppy drive pinout, and the variance that you might see in your retro adventures.

Read More »Floppy drive pinout

How to tell which PCI express slot I have

If you want to upgrade your PC, you need to make sure you have room to plug them in. Many upgrades, including GPUs, plug into PCI Express slots. Here’s how to tell which PCI Express slot you have, so you know your options.

You can identify your PCI Express cards visually (x1 slots are 1 inch long and x16 are 3.5 inches long), or using the command line from within Windows or Linux. The command line is more reliable and helps you identify an x4 or x8 slot with an x16 connector.

Read More »How to tell which PCI express slot I have

How to tell what motherboard you have

Your motherboard determines how much you can upgrade your PC. It also determines what upgrades will and won’t work in your PC. Here’s how to tell what motherboard you have, possibly without even opening your computer.

You can check which motherboard you have by running a WMI command in Windows, dmidecode in Linux, or looking for visual cues on the motherboard itself.

Read More »How to tell what motherboard you have

Why is it so hard to find computer parts?

Back in July, I went to Micro Center to get a video card for my son. The selection wasn’t great. They had a few $50 cards. They had three $110 cards. Not three different ones. Three GT 1030s. Total. And nothing else under $2,500. And they didn’t have a ton of those either. Other parts were less scarce, but not what I’m used to. So why is it so hard to find computer parts?

Read More »Why is it so hard to find computer parts?