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Frequently Asked Questions

There are a lot of frequently asked questions, like "What is life?" and "Is there a God?".  We have what we think are good answers to these questions but we are not about to put them on this site of course due to political and personal reasons.  However we will share some of the world's best answers here.  Not all of them have to do with technology.  Beware! Some may be offensive.  That's a lie - but it made you want to read them didn't it?  So go ahead. The first one is our personal fav.

Q: How can you find the best answer to every question?
BTW: This is by far our best answer because it actually helps you answer other questions you might have.  Albeit the technique we outline here is not hard to understand, it is not the easiest thing to explain.  Hopefully we will be clear enough to convey the powerful concept so you can use it in your life.  We guarantee it works wonders on tough questions and is applicable to most questions a person runs into.
A: Here is what we like to do: Try to think about all answers to all questions as a continuum - having a best option and a worst option.  The trick is to consider the extremes of any answer in order to select your best option.  Sounds simple enough, right?  So let's try it out.  Think of something easy like "How much food should a person should eat?"  At one extreme you have: eating nothing.  At the other extreme you have: eat way too much.  Let's consider the first option: not eating anything.  Simple: You die by wasting away which is presumably not good!  Now consider overeating.  Done once in a while this is not that bad albeit there is the potential temporary discomfort, the inability to stand erect or to get back up if you fall down.  Over the long term, you gain weight which is tied to several not great medical conditions and other problems.  Clearly neither of these options is good - but one of them is fatal.  Thus the answer is fairly straight forward: it is better to eat too much than not at all.  Granted this is an unreal example and the right answer lies somewhere in between the spectrum from starving to gorging.  Looking at it as a continuum you can easily see which direction is worse and you can move from one extreme to the other to find the sweet spot (no pun intended).  Surprisingly almost all decisions can be looked at using this technique and in many cases this sheds some light on what the best answer is.  Try it out sometime.  Like right now: Should I try it or not?  Extreme 1 - don't try it period.  Extreme 2 - try it all the time.  Hmmm.  Only extreme 2 makes any sense in this case since extreme 1 means you change nothing and thus can't possibly benefit by using this method.  See. It really works!


Q: How can I make my really slow computer faster?
A: This is an easy one and the single most asked question we are asked.  Frankly answering this question here is going to lose us a lot of business but we are good guys.  Here goes: For any computer the answer is simply to reduce what is running.  Admittedly computers are built to run things and that is why we use them but this tends to get out of hand quickly.  Over time lots of software is loading whenever you start up your computer and the majority of it runs all the time - like when you are trying to surf the web.  To change what is running on a PC you simply run a program called "MSCONFIG".  BTW: MS stands for Microsoft and this is THE program for configuring a Microsoft computer.  How you start MSCONFIG can be different depending on a lot of factors.  We will show how to do it in the context of the most prevalent Operating System right now - Windows XP.  Here goes:

  1. Click on the Start button
  2. Click on the "Run..." option
  3. Type 'msconfig' (without the quotes)
  4. Press the Enter key

What you will see (if the above works) is a screen that says "System Configuration Utility" in the title bar.  Now click on the Tab that says "Startup".  Shazzam.  This tab shows you some (but not nearly all) of the programs that are being started when you turn on your PC.  Note: most evil software isn't going to be seen here because then you could easily get rid of it.  What you will see is a check box followed by a name, a command, and a location.  Each of the checked boxes is a program that is running at start up.  Remove the check mark and it won't start up (for the most part - there are always exceptions).  So to make your PC faster, to run less at Startup, disable programs here.  Admittedly this can be a little tricky because you have to know what you are looking at.  For example here is a screen shot from the machine I am typing on right now:

Note the first line says:
  atiptaxx    C:\Program Files\...\atiptaxx.exe   HKLM\SO...
What the heck is that? Sadly we know this like the back of our hands. Why of course that is the program that is used to manage the adapter settings if you have an ATI video card. We know this 'cause we've seen it so many times.  You could type in "atiptaxx" in Google to find out though.  And you would be inundated with crap - too much to wallow through.  So try this, on Google's search box, "atiptaxx site:liutilities.com".  This will restrict the Google search to just search the site: "www.liutilites.com".  Schmart huh? This is a site you can trust to not lead you astray, or worse, infect your PC while you are just trying to fix it.  Click on what shows up and it will give you a one or two sentence synopsis of what the heck atiptaxx really is and really does.  Truth is you can choose to leave this or not without causing great harm to your computer.  We would leave it for now and see if shutting off other programs takes care of the sssslooowwwwnnnneeeessss problem.  We would also keep track, on paper or otherwise, what we turn off so if things don't work well afterwards we can flip them back on again.
The idea then is to figure out what the programs are then to turn them off one by one.  And of course to see what the effect is you have to reboot your computer.  Don't be afraid when you see a meaningless message from msconfig after you reboot.  This is just a message letting you know that you just used MSCONFIG - the right answer is "No" I think. 

Okay.  The other tips really fast.  Delete files and defragment the drives.

And of course adding memory - a nearly painless upgrade which anyone who can brush their teeth can do - is always the best way to speed up a PC (did I say always?  YES). 

Just for fun make sure you have no output waiting to print out on a printer that doesn't exist or work.  This really dogs a PC down and is hard to find.  Just open the Printer control and make sure all printers show 0 things waiting to print.  Otherwise delete the print job and see your PC start running like normal.

I like to reset Internet Explorer back to it's default settings too - just for fun.  You also need to check the add-ins running in IE because these tend to get out of hand and soon you have a bunch of things and toolbars and things start to slooooow down to a crawl. 

Q: How can I get rid of a Blue (or black) Screen of Death?


A 1: Buy a Mac!  We are kidding - slightly.

A 2: Buy another computer and don't do the same things with it you did to the first one.  That is the simplest answer of course but it also costs money.  And anyone who knows anything about computers knows that buying the new computer is just the first step in the long series of steps to get a computer working the way you need it to.  Check out this PDF for our abbreviated steps to getting rid of the infamous BSOD.