NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article
Did You Know?
by Bob Elgines, CRCC Editor, June 2001
(click to email author)

Audio or sound problems?
Double click on the little Speaker Icon located on the right Task-Bar! Up pops an Audio Mixer allowing you to set all level inputs and the volume output. Make sure they are set between mid and full range. Some programs will set the Wave level to zero and all of sudden your sound doesn't work. Also you can go to Options, then Properties and select record. Here you can adjust record levels and what to record from such as CD, Mike, etc., by selecting which one is active.

How much Memory or RAM (Random Access Memory) is needed? This depends on your OS (Operating System). See Chart below:


MS DOS640 KB to 1 MB1980
Win 2.02 to 4 MB1990(?)
Win 3.14 to 8 MB1992
Win 3.118 to 16 MB1993
Win 95a8 to 16 MB1995
Win 95b&c16 to 32 MB1996-7
Win 9832 to 64 MB1998
Win 98SE64 to 128 MB1999
Win Me 128 to 256 MB2000
Win 2000256 MB and up!2000

Is there something wrong with this picture. Yes, the new OS can do more, but less of the old routines. Also programmers have gotten very sloppy, and of course that is why more errors are generated. Their feelings are properly, "Well Memory is cheap, who cares!".

What speed CD-ROM should I buy?

Well this is a good question since most CD disks operate lower than 16X (1X is the original speed of an Audio CD of 150 bits/sec of data transfer, therefore a 2X is 300 bits/sec, etc.). The biggest problem today is the delay in the Start Time in reading data from a CD. If you time it, most take 8 to 9 seconds to start, if it is longer than 10 seconds problems will occur with programs and windows trying to transfer data. It can destroy a CD-R disk while you are recording by letting your CD-R (Recorder) Read Buffer go dry ( or empty), because with an empty buffer your CD-R will quit writing and then you just produced a coaster (bad CD). So anything above a 16X doesn't mean much, just a sales thing, but you need a Multi-Read CD-ROM or DVD that will read all types of CDs, CD-Rs, CD-RWs (Read/Write CD-Rs).

How do you read what version of DirectX that is installed in your system, and how much memory is on your video (or display) card used to drive your monitor?

These are some questions asked when installing certain types of programs. For Windows '98, go to Start/Run and type in DXDIAG, then click on OK. Here you can find out all kinds of information. Don't you wish you knew this before you purchased your machine. The latest DirectX Driver is version 7 (seven). Click on the DISPLAY tab and read your Video Card memory. You should have at least 2 MB, some new programs require 4 MB minimum. Of course you can have more and what this means is larger blocks of video can be transferred with out interrupts giving you better looking video output and larger screen operation.

How do I get rid of those icons on the right task bar? Most of these icons have a little program running in the back ground and use up valuable memory resources. The Speaker & Monitor icon do not use up any memory resources, but most of the others do. To get rid of them temporarily do a right mouse click and select Close, but to get rid of them for good in Windows '98 go to Start then Run. Type in MSCONFIG and click on OK. Now go to the tab on top and click on Start-Up. This brings up a list of all those icons plus. Do not uncheck the following four items: Taskbar Display Controls, ScanRegistry, SystemTray, and LoadPowerProfile. After un- checking the ones you don't want to come up on startup, click on Apply, then OK. You can restart windows now or wait until later. If you use a CD- R this is very important. Also if you are going to defrag your hard drive these items should be turn off ( or closed) or the Defrag Program will keep starting over and over and never complete the job.

Author is Bob Elgines of the Colorado River Computer Club user group located in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. Email is: elginesz@redrivernet.com You are welcome to use this article, please notify Bob, thank you! There is no restriction against any non-profit group using the article as long as it is kept in context, with proper credit given to the author. This article is brought to you by the Editorial Committee of the Association of Personal Computer User Groups (APCUG), an International organization to which this user group belongs.

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