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Jason's PC Passion


Main Parts of your Computer
Window Basics
About Us
Keeping it Clean
How to do things
Memory and Storage
PC Talk

On this page we will provide some tips that can improve the performance of your computer and give you ideas you can use with your system.

Click here for more on troubleshooting

Click HERE to view our Q&A. It may contain the answer you are looking for


Stop Pop-Up Spam Messages

Intended For
Windows XP
Windows 2000
In a new low, spammers are now abusing a seemingly-innocuous feature in Windows 2000 and Windows XP systems to place pop-up messages on systems with high-speed connections to the Internet.

The NET command is used to send such messages (e.g. net send * Hello World), and the messenger service (different than Windows Messenger) allows users to receive such text messages. By default, it is running and active on all Windows 2000 and Windows XP systems. Here's how to turn it off:

  1. Open the Services window (services.msc).
  2. Double-click the Messenger entry in the list.
  3. Click Stop to close the service.
  4. Select Disabled from the Startup type list to prevent it from loading automatically the next time Windows starts.
  5. Close the Services window when you're done.

Once it has been disabled, you will no-longer receive such messages. Note that many firewalls also prevent this type of data from reaching your computer in the first place, but it certainly can't hurt to turn off the service anyway.

    Top reasons for random, fatal crashes in Windows XP and Windows 2000

    Intended For
    Windows XP
    Windows 2000
    Have you been experiencing random crashes in Windows XP or Windows 2000, and you can't find any reason for them? Windows XP and Windows 2000 are both supposed to be (and typically are) much more stable than Windows 9x/Me, but there are still things that can bring down the entire system in a heartbeat, displaying the BSD (Blue Screen of Death) or simply restarting. Go over this checklist and see if any of these apply to you.
    • Power Supply - a bad (or insufficient) power supply is the most common cause for random crashes, especially if you have a lot of cards, drives, or fans, or have a dual-processor motherboard. A 350W or 400W power supply is recommended if you're experiencing this problem.

    • A mix of FAT32 and NTFS drives - If you have more than one hard disk, and there are different file systems on each one, try converting them all to NTFS.

    • Audio Card Drivers: - try removing your sound card, or at least uninstalling and then reinstalling the drivers.

    • USB Hub: - if you have a USB hub, try eliminating it and see if that solves the problem (especially if you have a USB-based Palm cradle and your system crashes every time you hotsync).

    • Overheating: - a computer will crash if the processor overheats. Make sure the CPU fan/fans are working, and that the processor temperature (read in the BIOS screen) is within normal limits. Make sure your computer case has adequate ventilation.

    • Bad memory: - a bad memory module can cause this problem. Try removing one of the modules (if applicable) to see if that solves the problem; rotate through all modules until you've found the culprit. Note that some computers require memory to be installed in pairs, so, for example, if you have four modules, you'll have to remove two (no more, no fewer) for this test.

    DLL Problems
    Everyone has received a "Couldn't find ****.dll..." pop-up message at some time.

    Errors caused by missing software components are among the most common problems experienced by Windows users. What happens is this: you run a program and receive a message:

    Cannot find the file xxxxxxxx.exe (or one of its components.)

    followed by:

    Error starting program. A required .DLL file xxxxxxxx.DLL was not found.

    You may remember that you recently uninstalled some software. What probably happened is that the application you uninstalled also made use of the software component that has gone missing, and its uninstaller removed it, not knowing that the component was also used by something else. This is the fault of the installation package. Unfortunately, this happens all too often. Knowing what to blame is not much help in sorting the problem out.


    A generic fix for any application that is reporting that a software component was not found is to reinstall the application. This will usually replace any missing components as well as put right any registry entries that might be contributing to the error.

    Sometimes this is easier said than done, perhaps because you no longer have the original disc or download from which you installed the application. In that case, if you're sure that uninstalling a program caused the problem, you could try reinstalling that program again, or using System Restore (if you're running Windows Me or XP) to roll back to a date before the problem occurred.

    There are a few software components that are used by such a large number of applications that they are often the cause of "missing DLL" problems. A quick fix can often be obtained by downloading a copy of the DLL from a web site. A web search should turn up a number of likely-looking locations. Unfortunately, some of these sites are becoming increasingly commercial.

    If you can't find what you're looking for, then try or


    IRQ's, DMA's, and Memory Addresses
    How to avoid conflicts and make things work

    Hardware conflicts within a system are one of the primary reasons why a computer ceases to function normally and throws the user into a living nightmare. The ability to resolve these conflicts is essential in keeping a computer operating properly. This page will attempt to explain what IRQ's, DMA's, and Memory Addresses are and their function within the computer.

    IRQ'S (Interrupt Request) Lines

    IRQ's are hotlines to the main computer (CPU) that allow devices connected to the computer to signal the CPU that they need immediate attention. .

    Not all devices require IRQ lines, which is good news because in modern (post IBM XT) computers, we only have 16 of them. Of those, 3 are already dedicated to the main system board itself - the system timer, keyboard, and memory parity error signal. That leaves only 13 for all the other devices connected to your computer.   This is why IRQ conflicts are probably the #1 problem faced by computer users when they add hardware to their computer.

    Its a general rule for  ISA-type systems (the standard computer architecture used in most IBM compatible systems) that IRQ lines CANNOT by shared with multiple devices except under special circumstances. For this reason, a good understanding of what IRQ's are assigned to what devices is essential in avoiding conflicts. The table below is a general outline for standard IRQ assignments.

    IRQ DEVICE USED in AT, 386, 486, and Pentium Computers
    0 System Timer
    1 Keyboard Controller
    2 Tied to IRQs 8-15
    3 COM 2
    4 COM 1
    5 LPT2 or Sound Card
    6 Floppy Diskette Controller
    7 LPT 1
    8 Real Time Clock
    9 Substitutes for IRQ 2
    10 Not Assigned
    11 Not Assigned
    12 PS/2 Mouse Port
    13 NPU (Numerical Processing Unit)
    14 Primary Hard Disk Controller
    15 Secondary Hard Disk Controller


    Depending on the computer's configuration, add-in devices such as SCSI controllers, sound cards, modems, cd-roms, etc. will want an IRQ line that is already used by another device, and thus we have what is commonly referred to as an IRQ Conflict.

    The most common IRQ conflicts seem to be between two COM ports, generally a mouse and modem conflict that ends up freezing the mouse whenever the modem is activated. The table below explains each IRQ and the most common devices each may use.


    Devices used and potential conflicts

    0 This IRQ is used within the system board for system timing. If a conflict arises with this IRQ chances are the system board is bad, use a diagnostic program to determine if this is the case.
    1 This IRQ is assigned to the keyboard. Its never available to other add-in cards. Again if this is the problem, its most likely a problem with the system board.
    2 This IRQ was assigned to older EGA video cards. Beware, IRQ 9 uses IRQ to communicate with the CPU, therefore this IRQ should only be used under extreme circumstances.
    3 This IRQ is assigned to the serial ports: COM 2, and COM 4. Avoid setting other devices to this IRQ since mice, modems, and other devices are set to use this IRQ.
    4 This IRQ is assigned to the serial ports: COM 1, and COM 3. Remember IRQ lines for the most part cannot be shared, so generally you can't have devices on COM 1 and COM 3 that are both active and working.
    5 This IRQ is assigned to a secondary printer port LPT2, but in the absence of a second printer port, it is used primarily for sound cards, or as an alternative IRQ for the COM ports.
    6 This IRQ is assigned to the diskette controller. Few if any devices leave this IRQ as an option, since most systems have a floppy drive built into them.
    7 This IRQ is assigned to the first parallel port LPT1, its also made available to other add-in cards, but should not be used for anything except the printer port to avoid conflicts.
    8 This IRQ is reserved for the internal real-time clock. This line is never available to other add-in cards. If there is a conflict here, its an indication of a motherboard problem.
    9 This IRQ uses IRQ 2 to talk to the CPU, so it has a high priority. Its generally used for network cards.
    10 This IRQ is left open for network cards, sound cards, SCSI host adapters.
    11 This IRQ is a common one for SCSI host adapters, but can also be used for a variety of other devices.
    12 This IRQ is used for the PS/2 style mouse port included on many motherboards. If the PS/2 mouse port is enabled in the system's setup program, and you're using a PS/2 connection mouse, don't use this port for anything else, otherwise its an available one.
    13 This IRQ is reserved for the Numeric Processing Unit (math coprocessor) It is never available for anything else.
    14 This IRQ is assigned to the primary hard drive interface
    15 This IRQ is assigned to the secondary hard drive interface.



    DMA Channels

    Plug and Play systems may make their own choices about many DMA assignments. Under Windows 95, the only place to make PnP resource assignments many be under the specific device's Resource tab within Device Manager in the System Properties of the Control Panel. The table below shows the most common settings for Direct Memory Access (DMA) channels.

    DMA Channel

    Devices commonly assigned

    0 Assigned internal to the system board, you shouldn't be able to use it.
    1 No specific assignment, although its usually used for sound cards, or SCSI host adapters.
    2 Assigned to the diskette drives.
    3 No specific assignment, although its again a common choice for sound cards, network interface cards, or SCSI host adapters.
    4 No specific assignment
    5 No specific assignment, however Sound Blaster-type cards generally use this DMA channel
    6 No specific assignment
    7 No specific assignment



    I/O Addresses

    Within the computer's memory map, certain memory addresses are generally used for certain things. Listed below you will see the common I/O addresses with problems, and what hardware should be assigned to what address. These addresses are in hexadecimal format.


    I/O Address Common Device using Address
    130h Used for SCSI host adapters
    140h Used for SCSI host adapters
    170h Secondary IDE Interface
    1F0h Primary IDE Interface
    220h Typically used for Sound Blaster-type sound cards
    240h An alternate address for sound cards
    278h Assigned to LPT2 or LPT3 and generally used with IRQ 5
    280h Network Interface cards or the Aria Synthesizer
    2A0h An alternate address for NIC cards or the Aria Synthesizer
    2E8h Assigned to COM 4 and used with IRQ 3
    2F8h Assigned to COM 2 and used with IRQ 3
    300h Another Network Interface Card choice
    320h A good place for a Network card, unless there is a SCSI host adapter or MIDI device
    330h A common place for the SCSI host adapters
    340h Another good alternative for the SCSI host adapter
    360h A Network card choice, but beware of the first parallel printer port, this could be a conflict.
    378h The first parallel printer port (LPT 1) in color systems, commonly used with IRQ 7.
    3BCh The first parallel printer port (LPT1) in monochrome systems, beware you may have problem assigning this address to a printer port in Windows 95.
    3E8h Assigned to COM 3 and used with IRQ 4
    3F8h Assigned to COM 1 and used with IRQ 4


    After the installation of most hardware, if the system starts to freeze or the additional device does not operate properly, its probably caused by a conflict with the IRQ, DMA, or I/O address regions of the new card.

    With a thorough understanding of which devices use which system resources, generally a solution can be worked out to allow the new device to work properly.


         Each time the computer boots up the computer must past the POST. The following is the procedure of the POST:

    1. The first step of POST is the testing of the Power Supply to ensure that it is turned on and that it releases its reset signal.
    2. CPU must exit the reset status mode and thereafter be able to execute instructions.
    3. BIOS must be have readable.
    4. BIOS checksum must be valid, meaning that it must be readable.
    5. CMOS be accessible for reading.
    6. CMOS checksum must be valid, meaning that it must be readable.
    7. CPU must be able to read all forms of memory such as the memory controller, memory bus, and memory module.
    8. The first 64KB of memory must be operational and have the capability to be read and written to and from, and capable of containing the POST code.
    9. I/O bus / controller must be accessible.
    10. I/O bus must be able to write / read from the video subsystem and be able to read all video RAM..

    If the computer does not pass any of the above tests your computer will receive an irregular POST. An irregular POST is a beep code which is different from the standard which can be either no beeps at all or a combination of different beeps indicating what is causing the computer not to past the POST.

    BIOS Error Beep Codes

    BIOS means Basic Input Output System. BIOS is actually firmware, the software that is programmed into a ROM (Read-Only Memory) chip built onto the motherboard of a computer. BIOS is what makes the system run an initial Power-On Self-Test of the computer, initialize circuits, load the boot program from the boot disk, and then handle low-level I/O to peripheral controllers such as keyboard and display.

    1 short beep

    Normal POST - system is ok
    2 short beeps POST Error - error code shown on screen
    No beep Power supply or system board problem
    Continuous beep Power supply, system board, or keyboard problem
    Repeating short beeps Power supply or system board problem
    1 long, 1 short beep System board problem
    1 long, 2 short beeps Display adapter problem (MDA, CGA)
    1 long, 3 short beeps Enhanced  Graphics Adapter (EGA)
    3 long beeps 3270 keyboard card

    IBM POST Diagnostic Code Descriptions


    100 - 199

    System Board
    200 - 299 Memory
    300 - 399 Keyboard
    400 - 499 Monochrome Display
    500 - 599 Color/Graphics Display
    600 - 699 Floppy-disk drive and/or Adapter
    700 - 799 Math Coprocessor
    900 - 999 Parallel Printer Port
    1000 - 1099 Alternate Printer Adapter
    1100 - 1299 Asynchronous Communication Device, Adapter, or Port
    1300 - 1399 Game Port
    1400 - 1499 Color/Graphics Printer
    1500 - 1599 Synchronous Communication Device, Adapter, or Port
    1700 - 1799 Hard Drive and/or Adapter
    1800 - 1899 Expansion Unit (XT)
    2000 - 2199 Bisynchronous Communication Adapter
    2400 - 2599 EGA system-board Video (MCA)
    3000 - 3199 LAN Adapter
    4800 - 4999 Internal Modem
    7000 - 7099 Phoenix BIOS Chips
    7300 - 7399 3.5" Disk Drive
    8900 - 8999 MIDI Adapter
    11200 - 11299 SCSI Adapter
    21000 - 21099 SCSI Fixed Disk and Controller
    21500 - 21599 SCSI CD-ROM System



    AMI BIOS Beep Codes


    1 Short Beep One beep is good! Everything is ok, that is if you see things on the screen. If you don't see anything, check your monitor and video card first. Is everything connected? If they seem fine, your motherboard has some bad chips on it. First reset the SIMM's and reboot. If it does the same thing, one of the memory chips on the motherboard are bad, and you most likely need to get another motherboard since these chips are soldered on. 
    2 Short Beeps  Your computer has memory problems. First check video. If video is working, you'll see an error message. If not, you have a parity error in your first 64K of memory. First check your SIMM's. Reseat them and reboot. If this doesn't do it, the memory chips may be bad. You can try switching the first and second banks memory chips. First banks are the memory banks that your CPU finds its first 64K of base memory in. You'll need to consult your manual to see which bank is first. If all your memory tests good, you probably need to buy another motherboard. 
    3 Short Beeps Basically the same thing as 2 beeps. Follow that diagnosis above. 
    4 Short Beeps Basically the same thing as 2 beeps. Follow that diagnosis above. It could also be a bad timer 
    5 Short Beeps Your motherboard is complaining. Try reseating the memory and rebooting. If that doesn't help, you should consider another motherboard. You could probably get away with just replacing the CPU, but that's not too cost-effective. Its just time to upgrade! 
    6 Short Beeps The chip on your motherboard that controls your keyboard (A20 gate) isn't working. First try another keyboard. If it doesn't help, reseat the chip that controls the keyboard, if it isn't soldered in. If it still beeps, replace the chip if possible. Replace the motherboard if it is soldered in. 
    7 Short Beeps Your CPU broke overnight. Its no good. Either replace the CPU, or buy another motherboard. 
    8 Short Beeps Your video card isn't working. Make sure it is seated well in the bus. If it still beeps, either the whole card is bad or the memory on it is. Best bet is to install another video card. 
    9 Short Beeps Your BIOS is bad. Reseat or Replace the BIOS. 
    10 Short Beeps Your problem lies deep inside the CMOS. All chips associated with the CMOS will likely have to be replaced. Your best bet is to get a new motherboard.
    11 Short Beeps Your problem is in the Cache Memory chips on the motherboard. Reseat or Replace these chips.
    1 Long, 3 Short Beeps You've probably just added memory to the motherboard since this is a conventional or extended memory failure. Generally this is caused by a memory chip that is not seated properly. Reseat the memory chips.
    1 Long, 8 Short Beeps Display / retrace test failed. Reseat the video card.


    Phoenix BIOS Beep Codes

    These audio codes are a little more detailed then the AMI codes. This BIOS emits three sets of beeps. For example, 1 -pause- 3 -pause 3 -pause. This is a 1-3-3 combo and each set of beeps is separated by a brief pause. Listen to this sequence of sounds, count them, and reboot and count again if you have to.


    1-1-3 Your computer can't read the configuration info stored in the CMOS. Replace the motherboard. 
    1-1-4 Your BIOS needs to be replaced. 
    1-2-1 You have a bad timer chip on the motherboard. You need a new motherboard. 
    1-2-2 The motherboard is bad. 
    1-2-3 The motherboard is bad. 
    1-3-1 You'll need to replace the motherboard. 
    1-3-3 You'll need to replace the motherboard. 
    1-3-4  The motherboard is bad. 
    1-4-1 The motherboard is bad. 
    1-4-2  Some of your memory is bad. 
    2-_-_  Any combo of beeps after two means that some of your memory is bad, and unless you want to get real technical, you should probably have the guys in the lab coats test the memory for you. Take it to the shop. 
    3-1-_  One of the chips on your motherboard is broken. You'll likely need to get another board. 
    3-2-4 One of the chips on your motherboard that checks the keyboard is broken. You'll likely need to get another board. 
    3-3-4 Your computer can't find the video card. Is it there? If so, try swapping it with another one and see if it works. 
    3-4-_  Your video card isn't working. You'll need to replace it. 
    4-2-1 There's a bad chip on the motherboard. You need to buy another board. 
    4-2-2 First check the keyboard for problems. If nothing, you have a bad motherboard. 
    4-2-3  Same as 4-2-2. 
    4-2-4  One of the cards is bad. Try yanking out the cards one by one to isolate the culprit. Replace the bad one. The last possibility is to buy another motherboard. 
    4-3-1 Replace the motherboard. 
    4-3-2 See 4-3-1
    4-3-3 See 4-3-1
    4-3-4 Time of day clock failure. Try running the setup program that comes with the computer. Check the date and time. If that doesn't work, replace the battery. If that doesn't work, replace the power supply. You may have to replace the motherboard, but that is rare. 
    4-4-1 Your serial ports are acting up. Reseat, or replace, the I/O card. If the I/O is on the motherboard itself, disable them with a jumper (consult your manual to know which one) and then add an I/O card. 
    4-4-2 See 4-4-1, but this time is your Parallel port that's acting up.
    4-4-3 You math coprocessor is having problems. Run a test program to double-check it. If it is indeed bad, disable it, or replace it.
    Low 1-1-2 Your motherboard is having problems
    Low 1-1-3 This is an Extended CMOS RAM problem, check your motherboard battery, and motherboard.


    Click for more on BIOS


    How to delete Temporary Internet files, Cookies, and History Files

    Every time you open a browser to view a web page, order something online, or read your email in a web based viewer that information is stored on your computer for later use. Whether you are viewing the weather online, reading sports, catching up on the latest world news or viewing something a little more private, all that information is stored in your computer. Windows operating systems store all this material in what are called Temporary Internet Files or cache. Web pages may store bits of information about who you are when you visit web sites in files called cookies on your computer. Your web browser will store a list of web sites you've visited and places you've gone in a history file in your computer. Even if you are not online, programs will store histories of the files you've opened, played, or viewed.

    Generally there might not be any reason to worry about all these files in your computer, but what if you sell your computer and all that information is left for someone else to see. Maybe friends and relatives visit and use your computer and you dont want everyone to know what files you are running on your computer. Then you are going to want to know how to delete these files.

    Even if you are not worried about privacy on your computer, you may be surprised to realize how much hard drive space all this information takes up. If you are running out of drive space, you may want to delete these files.

    How can I delete these files?

    For Internet Explorer 5 and above, you can follow these directions to clear out temporary files and delete cookies.

    1) Open Internet Explorer and click on Tools
    2) Click on Internet Options
    3) On the General Tab, in the middle of the screen, click on Delete Files
    4) You may also want to check the box "Delete all offline content"
    5) Click on OK and wait for the hourglass icon to stop after it deletes the temporary internet files
    6) You can now click on Delete Cookies and click OK to delete cookies that websites have placed on your hard drive.

    To clear the Internet History in IE:

    1) Open Internet Explorer and click on Tools
    2) Click on Internet Options
    3) On the General Tab, in the middle of the screen, click on Clear History
    4) Click OK

    To clean up other temporary files on your computer in Windows 98 or higher:

    1) Click Start,  Programs (or All Programs), Accessories,  System Tools, Disk Cleanup
    2) Choose the correct drive usually C:\
    3) Check the boxes in the list and delete the files

    Are there programs to do this automatically?

    One of the first and still the best programs on the market to clear internet files, run history, cookies, and other files is Window Washer by Webroot Software. It even has a "bleach" feature to make sure that information cannot be read once its deleted. You can read more about Window Washer by clicking on the picture below:

    The other side of this problem is how do you recover an accidentally deleted file? Is it gone forever? Well the easy answer to that question is no, recovering it however may be more difficult unless you have special recovery software. One of the easiest pieces of software to recover important files is File-SaverFile-Saver can:

    • Instantly displays hundreds of deleted files from any drive on your computer

    • Provides full detail on each file, including filename, folder and last modified date

    • Allows you to quickly erase all confidential data, by wiping out all the hidden "undelete" data from your PC

    • Restore any file by back to the location of your choice, by clicking the 'Restore by Copying' button

    • Easily narrow down the results to just the file you want, using the built-in file and extension filter

    Jason * Perth* Australia * 6169
    Copyright of all documents and scripts belonging to this site by Jason's PC Passion.  2004. Most of the information contained on this site is copyrighted material. It is illegal to copy or redistribute this information in any way without our expressed written consent . This site is NOT responsible for any damage that the information on this site may cause to your system.