Home computer use: some practical experience with HP Notebook

For me, home computer use means self-tutoring. The tutor shares some experience with the HP Notebook.

When I can’t use the desktop, I often use a Notebook by HP, purchased last May, which runs Windows 10.

I had some problems with the HP Notebook early on, and had to restore it once. I was fearful it wouldn’t succeed, but it did, and worked better afterwards. We have our tensions sometimes, this HP Notebook and I, but they seem less and less.

Today, while I was watching a video on YouTube, the computer suddenly shut down. It turned back on, the screen telling me a problem had happened. It tried to start Windows, but was unsuccessful, so restarted, then tried again. As I recall, it still failed to start Windows, so restarted again.

A different screen appeared, telling me that Windows had failed to start the last time. It offered me two choices:

  1. an advanced system repair, or something similarly named, or
  2. try starting Windows again.

The last time I did a system repair, or restore, or what it might be called, it took a long time. “What can I lose,” I decided, “from just trying to start Windows one last time?” Therefore, that’s the option I chose – to attempt, once more, to restart Windows.

The computer did what I asked, and it worked: Windows did start successfully. A couple of minutes later I logged in like normal.

Although Windows was up and running, I didn’t assume all was well. A question mark icon called the HP Support Assistant is on the task bar. I clicked it, then Troubleshooting and Fixes, lower left on the HP Support Assistant screen.

Across the centre are two options I was happy to see: Performance Tune-up Check and Operating System Check. I first chose Performance Tune-up Check. As I recall, I had to give it permission to run. Then it offered me several checkbox choices, including System File Checker. “Great,” I thought. “That’s exactly what I need.”

When I chose to run System File Checker, I was warned that it could take an additional 30 minutes. I chose it anyway, and though it did take awhile, I could still watch videos, use Excel, etc, while it ran. It just worked in the background.

Eventually the Performance Tune-up Check, including the System File Checker, finished running and reported no problems. Next I clicked Operating System Check. It ran in the background as well. Later on, I looked back and found it had finished, reporting no issues.


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Microsoft Word 2016: putting .pdfs and .docx files into a single file

Home computer use can mean self-tutoring. The tutor mentions how to assemble .docx files and .pdf files into a single one.

I was posed the problem of assembling .pdf files with .docx ones into a single file. It can be done on Word 2016:

  1. Copy and paste the .docx files into a single new blank document.
  2. Now, click the Insert tab (just right of the Home one).
  3. Perhaps near the right, select Object, then Create from File, then Browse…
  4. Select the .pdf you want, then click Open. It’s similar to attaching one to an email.

The steps above are as I recall doing, anyway.



Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Windows 10: wireless driver update

Home computer use can mean self-tutoring. The tutor shares an experience with Windows 10, updating a driver.

Suddenly, our Windows 10 computer wouldn’t connect to the wireless network. Each time my wife tried, the computer said something to the effect that it had encountered an error, so had to restart.

I hooked up an ethernet cable to the computer. Then, it connected to the internet fine. She used it that way.

I read somewhere (likely at Stack Exchange) that 90% of the time, computer problems result from driver problems. I suspected that a driver update was needed. I went into the device manager, clicked the Network adapters icon, then right-clicked the Wi-Fi adapter. A drop-down menu appeared; I clicked Update driver, then the Search automatically option. Next, I received the message that, indeed, the driver was updating. Within a few seconds it told me to restart the computer for the change to take effect. I did so.

After restarting the computer, I could connect to the wireless network and everything works fine now: I’m uploading without the ethernet cable connected.


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Home computer use: Windows 7 sleep modes

As a computer user, I’m constantly self-tutoring. The tutor shares about Windows 7 sleep modes.

I find my Windows 7 computer sometimes a bit groggy after it’s been idle for a while. This morning I began investigating it, and learned about sleep, hibernate, and hybrid sleep.

When a Windows 7 computer is left idle, it likely goes to sleep to save energy (and wear). How deep its sleep is determined by power options. Apparently, a computer can sleep, hibernate or hybrid sleep. The way I understand the three:

  • Sleep: open documents stored to RAM, but most processes suspended until user returns.
  • Hibernate: open documents stored to disk, then computer shuts off: power to RAM ceases.
  • Hybrid sleep: idle computer stores open documents to disk. Theoretically, the open documents are meant to be kept in RAM as well.

When a computer goes into hibernation, but is awakened, the previous state must be loaded from disk to RAM before it’s ready. This extra step can take extra time, apparently. However, hibernation offers extra protection against document loss due to power loss.






Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Windows 7: Am I running in Safe Mode?

Tutoring home computer use, you face all kinds of questions. The tutor shares an answer to “How can I tell if I’m running in Safe Mode?”

My wife pointed out, and I agree, that our desktop has appeared different lately. She asked if we are running in Safe Mode.

I restarted the computer in Safe Mode, and noticed the words

Safe Mode

in the bottom left corner. I next did a normal restart: the words Safe Mode were gone.

Therefore, from my experience, the way to know if you’re in Safe Mode is to look to the bottom left of the desktop: if in Safe Mode, the words

Safe Mode

will be there.


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Windows 7: turning computer off from the keyboard

Tutoring computer usage, this shortcut might be important. The tutor tells how to shut down using a keyboard shortcut.

In yesterday’s post I mention my old screen failing by going black. Since I could only see the desktop for 2 seconds at a time, I needed a way to turn off the computer that didn’t use the mouse.

I have two Windows 7 computers. On one, the shortcut to shutdown is Window Key (the four-paned banner, next to Alt), then right arrow twice, then Enter. On the other one, it’s simply Window Key, right arrow, Enter.



Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Dedicated video memory (Adapter RAM): how to see it with OpenGL Extensions Viewer (realtech)

The tutor tells one way to find how much dedicated video memory your system has. This article describes his experience with Windows 7.

In my February 19 post I discuss the difference between adapter RAM (aka dedicated RAM, vRAM, discrete RAM) vs total video memory. I mention therein that, in my (limited) experience, it seems that adapter RAM can be more meaningful in deciding a system’s capability towards a given graphics application.

My son wanted to use Blender at home, so I had to install it. Looking at its requirements, it needs, among other things, compatibility with OpenGL 2.1 and 512MB RAM.

I watched this video about installing Blender; it pointed me to the program OpenGL Extensions Viewer by realtech. (I believe you can find it here.)

After downloading and installing OpenGL Extensions Viewer, it seems to open automatically. If not, then keying OpenGL in the search box will reveal a choice with a pink icon that says GLview; it’s the one to pick. Then, go to Summary: you’ll see Adapter RAM listed:)



Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Windows: file system links: soft (symbolic) links

The tutor continues about file system links in Windows.

In yesterday’s post I began about file system links, emphasizing hard links. Today I’ll continue, this time with soft, or symbolic, ones.

Apparently, Windows refers to soft links as symbolic links or symlinks. A file can be opened from its symbolic link, but the user can see the file resides elsewhere. In the Command Prompt, a symbolic link is labeled <SYMLINK>, while in Windows Explorer, it appears as type .symlink.

To construct a symbolic link in Windows, first open the Command Prompt, which you may have to run as administrator. The command might look like

mklink c:\the_direc\the_link_name c:\other_direc\the_file_name

I tested a web page opening a script at both a hard link and a symbolic one. The hard one runs, but the soft one doesn’t.

Source: www.howtogeek.com

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Windows: hard links

The tutor begins about links in file systems.

In a file system, a link is the appearance of a resource in one location, when it’s actually somewhere else. The user finds the resource at the link; from there, the operating system delivers the resource.

With a hard link, the resource appears to be located at the link, even to another program.

A use for a hard link might be as follows: Let’s imagine you’ve a web page that runs a script. You save the script file at c:\scripts\script_file. However, you want the page to find the script in its own directory, which might be c:\html. You make a hard link in c:\html that points to c:\scripts\script_file. You might call the link c:\html\the_script_link.

With the Windows Command Prompt, the command would be

mklink /h c:\html\the_script_link c:\scripts\script_file

Note the forward slash in front of the h, while the file system itself, being Windows, uses backslashes.



Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Home computer use: Windows 7: task manager, audiodg.exe, and AudioSrv

The tutor shares some experience about investigating a computer that is running fast.

When no-one is using a computer, and it’s not meant to be doing anything in particular, it might be expected to be idle. Sometimes, however, the Windows 7 computer I use runs fast anyway.

Today I opened the Task Manager from the Search box in the Windows Start menu. In the Performance pane I clicked Resource Monitor. The CPU pane lists the programs using CPU resources, in descending order.

A program called audiodg.exe figured prominently; I looked it up and found it to be associated with the Windows Audio service. At the time, no audio was playing. Perhaps, however, a memory leak can happen with it.

To stop audiodg.exe from using resources when no audio is being used, a suggestion I inferred from Microsoft is to restart the Windows Audio service (AudioSrv). In the Resource Monitor, below the CPU pane, the Services pane can be selected. Within, AudioSrv can be selected, then right-clicked, revealing Restart Service as an option. It seems to have worked for me.




Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.