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How do I run sfc /scannow to check system files ?

by KenB

If sfc /scannow is used at the command prompt it will check on the Windows System Files.

It also checks the Dynamic Link Library ( .dll )
It can correct corrupt / missing / changed System Files.

This is useful for correcting problems with the system but be aware that any changes you have made to default system settings [ in Explorer.exe for instance ] will revert to the default settings.


For VISTA and Win7 the method is the same:

Start > Run ……..type in …..cmd …….DO NOT hit ENTER at this point

NOTE – XP is different. After typing cmd simply hit ENTER to get to the command prompt.

Now right click on ……cmd.exe ……that appears at the top of the panel on the left of your screen.

Click on Run as Administrator

Win 8 and 8.1 users would need to open the SEARCH option > type “cmd” > right click on “Command Prompt” and click on “Run as Administrator

At the prompt type sfc /scannow NOTE – there is a space after “sfc”

[This is the same for all systems]

Run SFC /scannow

The scan will take a little while to complete.

run sfc /scannow  2


If the scan did not fix all problem files then run it again.


It is possible to scan the system without making changes.
This option will just verify the files and will not correct any errors found.

If you want to do this type in – sfc /verifyonly > ENTER


How to see the sfc scan results.

To do this you will need to open an Elevated Command Prompt [ Run as Administrator ]
XP users just need to use the cmd > ENTER method.

The command below needs to be copied and pasted at the command prompt:

findstr /c:”[SR]” %windir%\Logs\CBS\CBS.log >”%userprofile%\Desktop\sfclog.txt

The normal Paste options ( CTRL + V ) may not work at the command prompt.

There is a small black icon in the top left corner of the screen:

run sfc /scannow 3


Right click on the black icon > EDIT > PASTE

The text file will be created on your desktop.
The contents will look something like this:

2012-02-17 11:27:40, Info CSI 00000006 [SR] Verifying 100 (0x00000064) components
2012-02-17 11:27:40, Info CSI 00000007 [SR] Beginning Verify and Repair transaction
2012-02-17 11:27:46, Info CSI 00000009 [SR] Verify complete
2012-02-17 11:27:47, Info CSI 0000000a [SR] Verifying 100 (0x00000064) components
2012-02-17 11:27:47, Info CSI 0000000b [SR] Beginning Verify and Repair transaction
2012-02-17 11:27:55, Info CSI 0000000d [SR] Verify complete
2012-02-17 11:27:55, Info CSI 0000000e [SR] Verifying 100 (0x00000064) components
2012-02-17 11:27:55, Info CSI 0000000f [SR] Beginning Verify and Repair transaction
2012-02-17 11:27:58, Info CSI 00000011 [SR] Verify complete
2012-02-17 11:27:58, Info CSI 00000012 [SR] Verifying 100 (0x00000064) components
2012-02-17 11:27:58, Info CSI 00000013 [SR] Beginning Verify and Repair transactio

If you need more information on how to run sfc /scannow please ask on the Free PC Help website – click here

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Hard Drive HDD

Which Hard Drive do I have?

Tutorial written by KenB

There are 3 types of hard-drive. (SSD which is relatively new is not covered in this tutorial).

The 2 HDDs featured are, at the time of writing, by far the most common.

  • [color=red]PATA[/color] – commonly known as [color=blue]IDE ( Integrated Drive Electronics )[/color]
  • [color=green]SATA[/color] ( Serial Advanced Technology Attachment ).

Sata Hard Drive  - Serial advanced Technology Attachment

IDE ( shown above ) is an older technology. It was first introduced into PCs in about 1986.

It is probably easiest to identify the hard drive by the cable. An IDE cable is broad ( 80 wires ) and grey.

IDE Cable

The newer hard drives transfer data faster than the older IDE drives.
The connections are different: ( see below )

Faster IDE Cable

The cable for this drive is much smaller than the older IDE cable.

Sata Cable

In a new future we shall see a propagation of the SSD Hard Drives that allow Operating systems to load faster. So stay tuned for a part 2 of “Which Hard Drive do I have?”

If you require further information use the Free PC Help site – click here

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Inside My Desktop

What is Inside my Desktop Computer ?

Tutorial written by KenB

This is a BASIC guide if you are wondering “what is inside my desktop computer”. This is a very basic system – but they are all similar and this will be very good for you to answer the question: “What is inside my Desktop Computer?”

If you intend taking the panel off to have a look the first thing you should do is Switch off at the Wall Socket.
Once you have the panel off you should be able to identify some of the main components.
The Mother Board is the big (green in the photograph) circuit board that everything seems to be attached to in one way or another.

What is Inside My Desktop Computer
The SATA cable ( shown here as a red cable ) is used to connect the Motherboard to the Hard Drive.
The Hard Drive is where all of your data ( files, photos, etc ) are stored.

What is Inside My Computer Cooling Fan

You should notice 2 large fans.
Some of your hardware gets very hot. If it gets too hot your system can be damaged. These fans are used to help to keep the inside of the case at a reasonable temperature so that the components can operate normally.

These fans are dusty. If yours are similar it is a good idea to keep them dust free. They are more efficient this way.
Also make sure that the case vents are clear from dust too.


What is Inside My Computer DvD Drive
It is worth pointing out that your system may not have SATA cables if it is an older computer.
If it doesn’t then it will have IDE Cables ( or a combination as this one has ). IDE cables are broad grey cables that are used to transmit data.

What is Inside My Desktop Computer PC Slots
The photograph above shows 3 PCI slots.
These are used to connect things like Sound Cards, Network Cards and some older Video Cards to the motherboard.

What is Inside my Computer IDE Hard Drive
The photograph above shows a Hard Drive. This particular one uses an IDE cable. It is an older style hard drive as the newer ones tend to use SATA cables exclusively.

What is Inside my Computer Hard Drive Connections
This photo shows the connections in a little more detail.
A Molex (power) Connector [ first photo ] is connected to the pins on the right side.
The Jumper must be set in the correct position for the drive to work correctly.

SATA drives do not use a jumper.

If you require further information use the Free PC Help site – click here

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Mini ITX Motherboard – written by KenB

This is a very small form factor for a motherboard.
The board itself measures just 170mm x 170mm [ 6.7inches x 6.7 inches ]

The form factor was developed by VIA Technologies in 2001. It is a little smaller than Micro ATX.
The 4 mounting holes are the same pitch as the Micro ATX boards so they are compatible with the cases that are used for ATX boards.
The EPIA 5000 (fanless 533 MHz Eden processor) and EPIA 800 (800 MHz C3) were the first commercially available ITX boards.
The boards are very low power and produce very little noise.

Mini-ITX do not have a standard defined for the PSU ( Power Supply Unit ).
The boards do use a conventional 20(4) way ATX standard connector .
This is usually connected to a DC > DC Converter which is then connected to an external power source.
Some boards have the DC > DC Converter built in.

A Mini ITX motherboard

mini ITX motherboard



If you want smaller there is a Pico-ITX motherboard available.
This measures just 10 × 7.2 cm (3.9 × 2.8 in)


mini ITX motherboard 2

If you want more information on Pico-ITX boards ….

click here

Ask on the Free PC Help website if you need more information – click here

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Install Software computer without Disk Drive

Tutorial written by PlasticNev

How to install software to a computer without a disk drive……

How to install a disked program, driver or other software, including the operating system, on to a computer, netbook, or similar that has no disk drive, using a memory stick or flash drive.
In windows XP. (Vista and Windows7 is similar)

To do this we do need a computer that does have a disk drive either CD or CD/DVD drive fitted.
Start up that computer first with the netbook or similar also ready.

Next is to have a flash drive, pen drive, memory stick or whatever name it has, they are all the same thing for this purpose. Make sure there are no files already on it, store them if needed and delete, or better, reformat the flash drive.

Install software computer without disk drive

The next thing is to plug the drive (memory stick) into the computer with a disk drive if not already done so, and make sure it is truly empty.

Once that has been done the next thing is to insert the software disk into the disk drive, the computer will recognise there is a disk and start to open the content, with some software a small window may open stating it is initialising installation, don’t worry about that it will go in a few seconds, this will be followed by a window telling you what the software is, and with the usual buttons to click if it were being installed, and will also have a cancel button. It is that button we need to click to close and stop the installation. It can be done at a later time if installation is required on that computer also.

We then need to click on the main “Start” button – bottom left, then click on “My Computer” or “Computer” if Win 7 or Win 8.
The disk drive should be there and also show the disk contents. Right click on the drive, do not double click, that will re start the attempt to install, right click only.

From the menu that opens, choose “Open”, do not choose play or run for the same reason as above.
The window should then show various files or folders all with different names, some software disks will have many folders and some, especially just driver software, may only have one folder.
Go to the “Edit” button top left and choose “Select all” All files and folders should then be highlighted.
In the left pane choose “Copy Selected Items”, a list should open, so scroll down to the flash drive, it should show as “Removable disk (G:)” the (G:) may be any other letter from “D” onwards depending on what other drives are installed.

Click on the Removable disk and then click “Copy”. Another small window should open showing the progress of the copy process, this may take some time depending on the size of the files and folders to be copied.
Once the copy is finished. Click the “Safely remove hardware which should be on the bottom right of your task bar, when it says it is safe to remove, unplug the flash drive from that computer, it is now ready to be plugged into your netbook or other disk driveless computer.

In some cases, the computer may recognise that it is an installation when the drive is plugged in, but that is rare, it usually opens a window with various choices. You need to choose “Open folder to view files”
In amongst those files, you may have noticed earlier there will be one that suggests it is the installer, that is the file to now double click. The installation should now start.

If you need more information on how to Install Software Computer without Disk Drive please ask on the Free PC Help site – click here

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  Internet Explorer – Reset or Restore Advanced Settings

This tutorial was written by maynardvdm


How to Reset or Restore Adanced Settings in Internet Explorer.

You need to access Internet Options. Here’s how :

In your Internet Explorer Browser Click Tools and then click on Internet Options, like this:

[ In Win 8 type Internet Options into the Search Box then click on “Settings” ]




Then click on the “Advanced” tab – see below:




Then you can choose either Restore Advanced Settings or Reset depending on your situation.

WarningReset will delete all temporary files, disable all browser add-ons and reset all changed settings.

Restore Advanced Settings resets Internet Explorer options to their default settings

(as they were when you first installed Internet Explorer).

If you need more information please ask on the Free PC Help website – click here

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Take Ownership of a File or Folder – written by KenB


How to Take Ownership of a File or Folder – the simple way.

This guide was written for Vista. The method is the same for Win7 – the boxes may look a little different.

Before you read on – you are advised to make a backup of your Registry.
The process below makes changes to the Registry and it is always good practice to make a backup.
I have never heard of any problems with the TakeOwnership software – but it does no harm to be careful.

Click on the link below:
How do I backup the Registry?

To continue …..

If you are unlucky, you may experience the problem of not being able to access; save; change or move a file or folder.
The access permissions may have been altered.
This can sometimes happen if you move data from a hard drive to a CD then to a hard drive again.
Sometimes there is just no logical explanation.

Taking ownership of a file or folder in Win7 can be a complicated process.
There is, however, a small piece of software that makes this a lot easier.

Download the software from here:
Click here to download

You will see this download box:

Take ownership of a file or folder


Click on OPEN.

Take Ownership of a file or folder


Then click on “Install TakeOwnership.reg”
The software makes changes to your Registry.
Before it installs you will see this message:

Take Ownership of a file or folder


Click on “RUN“.

When the software is installed all you need to do to take ownership of a File or Folder is to Right Click on it.
You will see something like this:

Take Ownership of a file or folder


Click on “Take Ownership” and you are done.

If you need more information please use the Free PC Help website – click here or buy email database for chaper databases.

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Post Beeps  machine will not boot – written by KenB

Machine will Not Boot – I Get No POST Beeps


If you have a laptop I am afraid that this tutorial is not going to be of use to you.

If your machine will not boot ( you get no post beeps ) and you DON’T get the Blue Screen of Death it is most probably a hardware problem.
If you are getting a STOP error ( BSOD ) then post the problem and error in the appropriate forum.

Unfortunately there are numerous pieces of hardware inside your case and any one could be causing the problem.
To identify which one is at fault do the following:

1. Switch off at the wall.
This ensures that there is no power getting to the motherboard from the Power Supply Unit.

Leave the plug in the wall socket
This keeps the earth ( ground ) connection from your motherboard connected via the house ring-main circuit.

2. Disconnect the printer / monitor and any other external devices.
We are checking the system’s hardware and it is important that ALL devices are disconnected.

3. Take the Side Panel off. ( You may need a screwdriver to do this )

4. It is advisable to wear an anti-static wrist strap when working inside the case.
If you have not got one then ground yourself by touching the bare metal case.
Your system is still connected to earth ( ground ) so there should not be a problem with static.

5. You now need to remove ALL cards that are connected to the motherboard.
Take out the RAM Modules.

Post Beeps







To do this you will need to release the locking levers – shown here.

Push them away from the module.
The RAM module will be released and you can remove it.

Remove the Video Card ( if you have one ).
Some systems have on-board video. This means that the Display Adapter is a permanent attachment on the Motherboard.
The cable ( wire ) from the monitor was attached to the Display Adapter ( Video Card ). You should have removed this earlier.
You may need to take one small screw out that holds the card in place.

Post beeps VideoCard

The screw will be located as shown by the arrow.

(Your Video Card may look different from the one shown)

6. Once you have removed the Video Card you need to remove any other cards too.
You could have a Network Interface Card ( NIC ) ; Sound Card ; Wireless Adapter etc that will need removing.

7. Next you need to remove the power connection(s) to the Hard Drive and the DVD CDROM.
Depending upon which type of Hard Drive you have you could have a Molex or a SATA Power Connector.

post beeps molex connection


8. Next – follow the data cables from the Hard Drive and DVD CDROM back to the motherboard and disconnect them.

9. You should leave ONLY the 20(4) way connection from the PSU connected.

post beeps 24 Way PSU connection

10. Once you have all cards and connections removed switch on at the wall.
Switch the computer on.
You should get POST beeps.
If you do this is good.
If you get NO Post Beeps go to 13. 

11. Now you need to put the cards back one at a time.
Start with the RAM. Put just one module back and try booting the machine.
You should still get POST beeps.
Shut down and switch off at the wall again.
If this is OK put in the other RAM module(s) and try booting again.

12. Repeat this process with each Card and Connection.
Do this one at a time – testing after each addition.
If the problem replicates – you have located the faulty hardware.

13. You will only get POST beeps if there is a small speaker connected from the motherboard.

If you do have a speaker connected and you are NOT getting any beeps they you either have a Power Supply Unit or Motherboard problem.

If you need a tutorial on Testing a Power Supply – click here

If you need more information please use the Free PC Help website – click here

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Reset Windows Password

Tutorial written by KenB

If you are reading this ( How do I Use my Password Reset Disk ? ) – hopefully you have not locked yourself out of your system. If you have, and you have produced a[b][color=blue] Password Reset Disk ,[/color][/b]( a Flash Drive ) then you can use it to reset your password and gain entry to you locked system.

If you have not produced a Password Reset Disk then you need to take a look at this tutorial first.
click here – Create a Password Reset Disk

This is how to use the Password Reset Disk.

Switch your system on and enter what you think is your password.
If it is wrong you will be prompted and see something like this:

Use my Password Reset

Reset Password

If you cannot remember your password – click on “[b][color=orange]Reset Password[/color][/b]”

Password Reset 2 (1)

Reset Password Stage 2

You will be prompted to insert your Memory Stick that holds the Password Reset File.
You will be told where the Memory Stick is located. You need to make no changes.

Password Reset 3

Reset Password Stage 3

You will be asked to type in a new password and to re-type it to confirm.
You can also add a password hint.

Password Reset 4

Reset Password Stage 4

You will then have re-set the password and be able to gain access to Windows and your files.

Password Reset 5

Reset Password Stage 5

You will be able to re-use the Reset Flash Drive ( if necessary ) without making any changes to it.

Details on [size=15][color=blue]How to Create a Password Reset Disk [/color][/size] can be found here:
[color=red]click here[/color]

If you require further information use the Free PC Help site – click here

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Tutorial written by Sho-Dan

Some users may want to disable or turn off Windows Defender because they are using a third party anti-malware real time protection program.

Leaving  real time protection enabled may create a conflict or interfere with the third party anti-malware program working correctly.

This software is installed by default in the Vista OS, it can not be uninstalled or remove (via Add/Remove) from the Vista OS. A better option would be to Disable it  instead.

Here is how to safely disable it in Windows Vista, there are two ways to stop it from auto starting when Windows is booted up.

A. How to disable the Windows Defender service completely:

1. Advanced

  • Go to Start > Run and type services.msc
  • Now look for the service named Windows Defender,
  • Double click to bring up the Properties window.
  • Click the “Stop” button and set the Startup type “Disabled”
  • Click Apply and then click OK.
  • Close Services/Local window

Re-enabling :

  • Re-visit Services > Windows Defender
  • Set the Startup type to Automatic
  • Click Apply then click Start
  • Click OK and then Close Services/Local window

It will not show up in Windows updates after the Stop/Disable method.


B. How to stop Windows Defender

2. Novice

  • Launch Windows Defender and go to Tools -> Options.
  • There will be a list of configuration options.
  • Scroll down to the end of the list to Administrator options.
  • Deselect the Use Windows Defender box and press the Save button.
  • Now you will receive a notification saying that “Windows Defender is turned off”.
  • Click on Close and you are done.

To re-enable  in Vista, run Windows Defender from Start Menu and turn it on again when prompted.

Defender 1

Defender 2

Defender 3


If UAC is turned on, you will need to confirm that you want to continue with the changes.

Windows XP users can uninstall Windows Defender in Control Panel > Add/Remove Programs.

Additional information is available on the Free pc help website – click here

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