Tuesday, September 11, 2012

3 stubborn PC problems you can fix

Ever notice how each PC has a personality of its own? Or maybe even multiple personalities? In the course of a week, your computer may act friendly, moody, and sometimes downright mean. However, don't take a hammer to your PC just yet. The following is a list of common symptoms and treatments to help even the most troublesome PCs. You don't even have to be a psychologist (at least not yet) to deal with your PC's neuroses. Windows 7 and Windows Vista usually manage this automatically, but overall you'll find that these tips work for all versions of Windows, from Windows 95 to Windows 7.

1. You keep getting a "your system is running low on virtual memory" message

Perhaps you're more than familiar with this scenario: You're working on your PC and notice performance getting gradually slower and slower. Programs become harder to open and close. You wait forever for Web pages to be displayed. And then, you get some serious-sounding "virtual memory is too low" message, like the one in the following graphic.

Don't worry: This message isn't as scary as it sounds.

Virtual memory low message

Virtual memory is the space your computer uses when it's short of RAM (Random Access Memory), which is the memory used when running programs like Microsoft Office Word or Microsoft Office PowerPoint.

So what can you do to correct this problem and prevent this message from coming up in the future? The following are some solutions to keep your computer from displaying the "virtual memory minimum is too low" message.

Solution 1: Bump up the virtual memory size on your computer

The first solution is to increase your computer's virtual memory settings. To do so, you first need to determine how much RAM you currently have.

Windows 7

Clearing the Automatically manage paging file size for all drives check box

Under Drive [Volume Label], click the drive that contains the paging file you want to change.

Click Custom size, type a new size in the Initial size (MB) or Maximum size (MB) box, click Set, and then click OK.

Note Increases in size usually don't require you to restart your computer for the changes to take effect, but if you decrease the size, you'll need to restart your computer. We recommend that you don't disable or delete the paging file.

If you're at work, contact your company's IT administrator before updating the memory on your computer. They may have some memory available and can help you install it. If you do need to purchase some more memory, stop by your local computer shop. You can probably buy memory from them, and they'll probably install it for you. Or, you can buy memory online.

2. Your windows slide off the desktop--and you can't grab them

We're all familiar with moving program windows around the desktop. You can click-and-hold the window's title bar to move it around. But what do you do when you accidentally move a window's title bar off the desktop so you can't grab it anymore? The window is stuck in that inconvenient position.

Solution: Use your keyboard to help move your window

The trick to moving these stubborn program windows is to use your keyboard.

Use your keyboard to move a window:

Accessing shortcut menu

Click Move.

Use your LEFT ARROW, RIGHT ARROW, UP ARROW, or DOWN ARROW keys to move the window so you can see its title bar on your screen.

After you move the window where you want it, press ENTER.

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