Linux on Dell Latitude 100L

Linux on the Dell Latitude 100L

Introduction:

I’ve had my Latitude for about 6 months and I’ve been pretty happy with
it. The hard drive has only been replaced once 4 months after I got it.
The motherboard lasted a good 5 months so it’s not too bad, as long as
you have a 4 year warranty. If I didn’t have a warranty I would have
hated it. It runs Linux pretty good. Only a few things have given me
trouble, and I have given my solutions to them below. Hopefully they
will be useful to you too.

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Spyware Prevention

Spyware Prevention

Let me first start by defining spyware as any program that does undesirable things to your computer. Spyware is also known as adware, malware, badware etc. I use the term spyware simply because it is used the most and most people understand it. Back in the early days of computer and the windows operating system the only thing you had to worry about was viruses. Now viruses are almost forgotten with the rampantness of spyware. It used to be all you needed was a good anti-virus software and you were protected, now you need a firewall, an anti-spyware program, an anti-virus program, a spam filter, and a pop-up blocker.

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Spyware Removal Guide

Spyware Removal guide

For those that don’t know, spyware is bad, spyware is really bad. It also has many different names. Like adware, malware, badware, trojans, worms, downloaders, junkware, etc. Whatever you call it it’s bad and you need to know how to get rid of it. The most common method people use to remove spyware is to download some software from Download.com and run that to remove the spyware. This method works ok most of the time but it usually takes much longer than I would ever want to spend on a computer. This spyware removal guide presents a much faster more effective way.
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Web Design Services

Cheap $199 website

Don’t know what you need to get a site going but know you need a site? 

Don’t worry I know and I’ll do it all for you.

A basic sites consists of:

  • A domain name (yourname.com) I will get you one for $10/year.
  • Some sort of content management system or E-commerce software. And a template to define the look and feel. I will create both for $199!
  • A computer to host your site. I will provide hosting for $20/month.
  • Submission to all major search engines. I’ll do it for free!
  • I can also do any kind of custom site, CMS, e-commerce you name it and I’ll do it for you. Just shoot me an e-mail or give me a call 208-899-6665 .

    {{email}}

    Installing/Upgrading Hardware

    Installing/upgrading hardware

    If I were to include all the information you needed to know to install a piece of hardware it would quickly eat up my web space quota. So I have included a review of the best book I have read on the the subject.



    Upgrading and Repairing Pcs

    This was one of the first books I read when I was first learning to work on computers and it was very informative and that was back when it was in it’s second edition. It is now in its 17th edition and is better than ever. New hardware is developed all the time so this book is updated every year so that you can be sure that the information in it is relevant to the hardware you are dealing with today and covers the latest developments.

    If you are just looking to install more RAM or upgrade your hard drive this book provides step by step instructions as well as detailed videos that show you how to install and remove every component that is in modern computers. If you want to upgrade but don’t know where to start this book will show you how to identify the hardware you have as well as upgrades that are compatible with your hardware.

    Since its beginning this book has been the “be all, end all” on hardware in personal computers. I highly recommend it.

    On-Site Computer Services

    Any kind of computer repair only $50 / hour

    The primary service I provide is spyware/Virus removal. If your computer is running slower than normal and you are suffering from all kinds of random pop-ups or you background keeps changing or you just want to make sure nobody is going to steal your credit card information. I can typically clean a computer of all it’s spyware in under 2 hours. So that means you can get your computer virus clean and insure it stays that way for just $100.

    Other services I offer include:

  • Home Network setup
  • Wireless Setup
  • DSL installation and Setup
  • Operating System reinstallation
  • Hardware installation and troubleshooting
  • Hardware upgrades
  • Just recently I have started offering web services. For just $5/month I can host create, host and maintain your business or personnal website. That means if you commit to using me for a year. I will build your whole website and then make any futrue changes to it that you desire. I will also do whatever is necessary that your website is one of the top 20 results on in internet searches relavent to your content. This website provides a good example of what I can do. If you are interested shoot me an e-mail {{email}}

    Starting a Computer Repair Business

    Starting a Computer Repair Business

    If you are like me you grew up always being interested in Computers. I was always reading thick computer books for fun and tinkering with all the computers we had at home and started collecting more and more until I had enough to setup my own home network. I felt like I could fix anything with the computer and I was not too far from the truth. Then it started, my friends and family and acquaintances started wanting help with their computer. Being the generous guy that I was I help them out and didn’t charge them anything. But then it started happening more and more and I thought about charging but had no idea how much
    or when or anything. If you feel like you are in the same place I might be able to help you start your computer repair business.

    Like most things in life to get anything out of it you first have to put something into it. You can’t expect to start a business without putting any effort or capital into it. So you might have to spend a little money on marketing and promotion. I would say the first part about making your business is making it look like a business. The best way to do that is by making some business cards. I don’t know why but somehow a little piece of paper with your name and number on it and maybe a little eye candy has a way of making people take you seriously. After you have a business card print out a thousand or so (after all you are
    serious about this, right?)

    Continue reading Starting a Computer Repair Business

    Windows XP Won’t Boot

    Windows XP won’t boot

    If you’ve worked with windows for 2 minutes you’ve probably been exposed to the Blue Screen of Death or BsD. Usually Blue Screens are rather harmless and go away after a reboot. But when they don’t, when they stick around and keep reoccurring after every reboot, then you have problems. The first thing you should do is try to boot into safe mode. You can do this by pressing F8 after you hear your computer beep while it is booting up. If it boots into safe mode all is well and good and you just have a start-up program gumming up your computer. (See my Spyware Removal Guide for information on how to manage start-up entries.) If safe mode generates the same blue screen you have more work ahead of you.

    If you can’t boot into Windows XP, not even into safe mode, and you’re getting a message like, “unmountable boot volume” on the blue screen they a simple chkdsk might fix the problem. The tricky part is booting your computer so you can run chkdsk. The easiest way to do that is to use a windows installation CD. To do boot off of a CD you first need to configure your BIOS to look for an Operating System on the CD before it tries the hard drive. Usually this is done by pressing ‘del’, ‘F2’, or some other key to enter setup and adjusting the boot priority so that the CDROM is first. When Windows setup finally loads (it takes several minutes) all you have to do is press ‘r’ to enter the recovery console.

    Sometimes it will prompt you for the administrator’s password. Most people I encounter don’t know this or think they don’t have one. See the Password Recovery Guide to find out how you can reset your administrator password.

    Once you are in the recovery console you will be greeted with a friendly command prompt. The first thing you are going to want to try is chkdsk. Simply typing “chkdsk” should scan your hard drive and fix any problems it finds. Sometimes it is necessary to use “chkdsk /p” and if you want to be really thorough and have several hours to burn you can use “chkdsk /r” that causes it to do a surface scan of the disk. If chkdsk get’s hung up for more than an hour, as in the percent complete doesn’t change for a long time, there is most likely something physically wrong with your hard drive it will have to be replaced. Once chkdsk complete restart the computer by typing “exit” and see if windows will boot now.

    If windows still doesn’t boot go back to the recovery console and run “fixboot.” fixboot will copy certain files needed for your hard drive to boot onto your hard this will fix the problem if your computer was complaining about a missing ntldr or something like that. If fixboot doesn’t fix the problem then you should try fixmbr. fixmbr recreates the master boot record of your drive, it usually is only needed if you installed some other boot loader like grub and you want to revert back to using just Windows XP. However sometimes the master bot record becomes corrupt and it is necessary to restore it using fixmbr.

    If you are getting black screens with messages like “Windows could not start beacuse following file is missing or corrupt \windows\system32\config\system” then you have a registry problem. Also if you are getting Blue screens with the stop 0x0000007E or similar messages then you might be able to fix by restoring your registry using the recovery console. Microsoft wrote a very nice article on how to do this called How to recover from a corrupted registry that prevents Windows XP from starting It involves booting in to the recovery console as described above and copying the registry files from a backup.

    If windows still does not boot after using all the above methods then you’ll probably need to reinstall it. There are basically two ways to do this, a repair install or a new install. A repair install is usually preferred because it does not reset your settings or programs, the registry remains intact for the most part and when it is finished your computer will work just like it did before. With a new install windows will be like a blank slate and you probably have to reinstall most of the programs that were previously installed. Both of these can be done without loosing any information. To do a repair install you need the same edition of Windows XP that is installed on the computer. So if you have Windows XP Home you need the Windows XP Home disc or the repair install will not be an option for you.

    If you are still getting blue screens or other errors after doing a reinstall of windows I would verify the integrity of my hard drive. There are many ways of doing this and most hard drive manufactures provide diagnostic software on their website. OEMs such as Dell have their own diagnostic software that they ship with their systems. However, there is an option that works with any system and any hard drive, that is the Ultimate Boot CD or UBCD. You can download it at the ultimate boot cd website.

    If at this point you are sure your hard drive is functional and windows XP still does not boot you will need to reinstall windows.