Computer maintenance: replacing CMOS cell, part 0

Self-tutoring about computer maintenance: the tutor shares about diagnosing a fading CMOS cell on an aging computer.

We’ve run this Windows 7 computer as our main one since April 2010. Like often seems to happen with a Windows computer, or maybe with anything that lasts a long time, it seems to have gotten better with age. However, perhaps sometime last summer, it began to struggle. My regular readers have noticed posts about my investigation herein.

The computer started running fast even when idle. Then, it wouldn’t wake up after going to sleep. In the morning we’d have to try over and over again to start it. It always did, eventually. What was the problem?

The diagnostics would report an unspecified hardware change as the potential problem. They were right, it turns out, but what, in particular, was the cause?

Early in my research I read that the CMOS cell might need replacing. Typically they are not rechargeable in this context, so like the cell in a calculator or watch, they do die eventually.

Yet, a key symptom of CMOS cell retirement is that the computer doesn’t keep proper time. This one continued to, so I doubted the CMOS cell was fading.

The computer started up easier without any extras attached – USB drives, etc. I finally read that, when a computer is booting, the CMOS cell allows the BIOS to reach out and coordinate the loading of the drivers for the devices attached. A struggling CMOS cell may no longer be able facilitate a boot. I decided the CMOS cell must be dying, even if the computer still did keep proper time.

I looked up our model and discovered that, like many others, its CMOS cell is the CR2032. I opened up the computer, removed it (indeed, it was a CR2032), and replaced it with a fresh one.

This computer started up like it was new and has run perfectly since. I have high hopes we’ll get another eight years out of it:)

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

Windows, home computer use: command prompt file operations: xcopy

Maintaining a home computer requires frequent self-tutoring. The tutor shares.

This Windows 7 computer no longer performs the COPY command from the mouse, so I use the command prompt to copy files, etc.

Lately I’ve been backing up directories, which contain subdirectories and so on. (Directory can also be thought of as Folder.)

To copy an entire directory, including its subdirectories and the folders contained therein, I use the xcopy command:

xcopy source_directory destination_directory /e


xcopy source_directory destination_directory /s

With /e it copies the empty folders, but not with /s.

In my experience, assigning a destination directory is important, since xcopy doesn’t copy the enclosing directory itself, just its contents. So, for instance, if you want to copy the directory desktop0 to a backup called desktop0, you might key

xcopy the_source_path\desktop0 the_destination_path\desktop0 /e


  1. Although you can use the forward slash to navigate in Windows, it can’t (in my experience) be used in paths in Windows commands. Rather, the backslash must be. For instance, topdir\dir1\dir2 must be used, rather than topdir/dir1/dir2, within a file command such as xcopy. However, for switches such as /s or /e, the forward slash is used.
  2. You can’t use xcopy from within a directory you’re telling it to copy. I typically do it from the one above.


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

Home computer use, computer maintenance, Windows: disk management: how to use unallocated space on a storage device

Home computer use, for me, leads to constant self-tutoring. The tutor shares a video about Windows disk management that he was lucky to find.

My experience: On an external hard drive, if Windows calls a part of it “unallocated”, you can’t store there.

What if you need the unallocated space? One option is to extend the adjacent partition (assuming it’s functional) so that it annexes the unallocated space for use.

In this video, David shows how to extend a useful partition so that it overtakes the unallocated space, making it, too, available for storage.


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.

Windows 7: the blue screen with white bird near green branch

Trying to repair a computer this weekend has involved self-tutoring. The tutor mentions the beloved “blue screen with white bird near green branch.”

If you don’t know the screen mentioned in the title, you might be lucky. I’ve encountered it after the repair option from F8 during boot. However, it may not appear immediately after selecting the repair option. Rather, the user may have to wait well over half an hour before it appears.

Likewise, the blue screen with the white bird (near the green branch) may persist another 45 minutes – or longer – with no apparent action. However, it eventually can give way to the Startup Repair window. That process can persist for hours, then possibly offer choices, one of which may be System Restore.

That’s how I remember it, anyway.

With either of those screens (blue screen with white bird or Startup Repair), it’s best the user doesn’t hold their breath.


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