A software developer asked me about a website called Download More RAM. I don’t think he heard my other coworkers snicker. He asked if it was a security issue, while missing the even more important question: Can you download RAM? I said it’s best not to visit the site, and spared him the history lesson.
Downloading RAM isn’t possible because RAM is physical hardware–computer chips on a circuit board. You can only download software. But still, the sites remain.
The symptom: If you install more than 512 MB of RAM in a system running Windows 9x (that’s any version of Windows 95, 98, 98SE, or ME), you get weird out of memory errors. Here’s how to get around those memory limitations to make Windows 95 and Windows 98 work with 2 GB of RAM.
The culprit is a bug in Windows 9x’s disk cache. The solution is to limit the cache to use 512MB of memory, or less, which is a good thing to do anyway.
Here’s a good question. Should you migrate Windows 7 to SSD or install fresh? And what about Windows 10? This is likely to be controversial and everyone has an opinion. I’ll weigh the pros and cons of each, as a guy who knows a little about optimizing Windows, and who has been using SSDs since 2009.
Cleaning the Windows registry is a popular and controversial topic. Many pundits tell you never to do it. When I wrote a book about Windows back in 1999, I dedicated most of one chapter to the topic. But today the pundits have a point. Most registry cleaning utilities do much more harm than good. I don’t recommend you clean your registry, per se, but I do recommend you maintain it.
I don’t want to dismiss the concept completely out of hand. There’s a difference between a bad idea and a bad implementation. Registry cleaning and maintenance is a victim of bad implementation. But that doesn’t mean it was a bad idea. So let’s talk about how to get the benefit while minimizing the drawbacks.
I’ve seen a lot of gimmicky hacks to speed up Firefox, and you probably have too. But chances are Firefox ran just fine when you started, then it slowed down over time. Here’s my collection of tips to restore Firefox’s performance if Firefox is slow.
After upgrading to Windows 10, when I unhibernated my laptop the next morning, my wifi connection didn’t work. The connection dropped and I couldn’t reconnect. Forgetting the network and reconnecting didn’t help. Any time I tried to reconnect to my wireless network, I’d get the message that Windows 10 can’t connect to this network.
Sometimes you have to manually add a TCP/IP printer in Windows 10. For example, I have an older HP Laserjet 4100 with a Jetdirect network card in it that I use to print from all of my PCs over my local area network (LAN). Getting Windows 10 to print to it isn’t difficult but it’s hardly intuitive.
If you have your network printer already set up but just need to change its IP address, I covered that here. If you want to share a locally attached printer with other computers on your network, you can do that too.
Printing straight to the TCP/IP address of the printer is convenient. It means you don’t have to have another computer on when you want to print.
A few years ago, Microsoft quietly released a security tool called EMET–the Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit. EMET is now in version 4.0, and it’s probably the best security tool you’ve never heard of. And that’s a real shame.
Modern versions of Windows and modern CPUs include several security-enhancing technologies that aren’t necessarily switched on by default. EMET is a wrapper that forces software to use these technologies, even if they weren’t designed from the get-go to use them. The idea, then, is that if a badly behaving data file tries to exploit a traditional vulnerability in one of these programs, EMET steps in and shuts it down. A real-world example would be if you visit a web page that’s playing a malicious Flash video, or that contains a malicious Acrobat PDF. The malicious data loads, starts to execute, and the minute it misbehaves, EMET slams the browser tab shut. You won’t know right away what happened, but your computer didn’t get infected, either. Read more
I’ve made a career of that. One of my desktop PCs at work (arguably the more important one) is old enough that I ought to be preparing to send it off to second grade. And for a few years I administered a server farm that was in a similar state. They finally started upgrading the hardware as I was walking out the door. (I might have stayed longer if they’d done that sooner.) And at home, I ran with out-of-date computer equipment for about a decade, just this summer buying something current. Buying something current is very nice, but not always practical.
So of course I’ll comment on a few of Lifehacker’s points.