2009-12-03

Hard Disk Sentinel

Posted by Dhiya  
Tagged as:
7:50 PM

Overview

Hard Disk Sentinel (HDSentinel) is a multi-OS HDD/SSD monitoring and analysis application. Its goal is to find, test, diagnose and repair disk drive problems, report and display SSD and HDD health, performance degradations and failures. Hard Disk Sentinel gives complete textual description, tips and displays/reports the most comprehensive information about the hard disks and solid state disks inside the computer or in external enclosures (USB / e-SATA). Many different alerts and report options are available to ensure maximum safety of your valuable data.


The software monitors hard disk drive / HDD status, including health, temperature and all S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology, built in most hard disks and solid state disks today) values for each disks. Also it measures the disk transfer speed in real time which can be used as a benchmark or to detect possible hard disk failures, performance degradations.


HDSentinel is the perfect data protection solution: it can be effectively used to prevent HDD failure and SSD / HDD data loss because it has the most sensitive disk health rating system which is extremely sensitive to disk problems. This way even a small HDD problem can't be missed. The Professional version has scheduled and automatic (on-problem) disk backup options to prevent data loss caused by not only failure but by malware or accidental delete also.


How does Hard Disk Sentinel work?

HDD Sentinel runs in the background and verifies SSD / HDD health status by inspecting the SMART status of the disk(s). If an error is found or unexpected behaviour is detected, it warns the user about the current situation and also can perform appropriate actions (for example, start an automatic backup).


Usually, hard disk health status may slowly decline, from day to day. The SMART monitoring technology can predict HDD failure by examining the critical values of the disk drive. Compared to other software, Hard Disk Sentinel detects and reports every disk problem. It is much more sensitive to disk failures and can display better and more detailed information about hard disk expected life and the problems found (if any). This is a more sophisticated way to predict failures than the "traditional" method: checking S.M.A.R.T. attribute thresholds and values only. For more information, please read how S.M.A.R.T. works and why Hard Disk Sentinel is different.


The software displays the current hard disk temperature and logs maximum and average HDD temperatures. This may be used to check the maximum temperature under high hard disk load. For the importance of the hard disk operating temperature, see the F.A.Q. section. Please click here to see the list of features.


Do I need Hard Disk Sentinel?

If you are using a computer equipped with at least one hard disk or solid state disk and you want to ensure that your data will be available any time, then the answer is YES. Hard Disk Sentinel is especially designed to you if

· you are using more hard disks in your computer (IDE / Serial ATA (S-ATA, e-SATA) / SCSI / USB) or in an external enclosure (list of compatible hardware)

· you are using a mobile rack with a hard disk inside

· you are using notebook computer

· you are using server or desktop computers with high disk load

· you want to maximize system stability, HDD performance and overall integrity, receive HDD alert on high temperature or low health

· you do not want to lose your sensitive and valuable data, do not want to pay for HDD recovery


It is much better to avoid HDD failure than use HDD recovery. Be alerted and prevent HDD data loss with HDSentinel ! Be your HDD life healthy.


List of main features

Download and freely try Hard Disk Sentinel Software Now

Download HDD Software / download disk software


Solid State Disk (SSD) Support

Solid state disks do not contain any moving parts. Because of this, they may tolerate physical vibrations and shock better than hard disks. But they have other kind of problems: write cycles wear the electronic parts so lots of delete and write operations may also damage them. Wear leveling feature can help in this situation but the problem is not fully eliminated.


Current SSD technology also has another problem: solid state disks may "forget" data with time. To prevent this, periodic complete overwrites can refresh the storage device - but because of its nature this also reduces the lifetime of the solid state disk.


From the viewpoint of the computer and software, SSD devices act like hard disks. They support many features of hard disks, including S.M.A.R.T. and this allows Hard Disk Sentinel to detect and display health and lifetime also for solid state disks. This is true for most modern SSD devices from Intel, MTron, OCZ, Samsung, etc. Check the Solid State Disk Compatibility for more details.


Hard Disk Sentinel can detect and display SSD health also. This may help to identify when the SSD needs to be replaced to prevent data loss from it.


Further SSD support is constantly added to new versions. If you are using any type of solid state disks or hybrid disks, please use the Send test report to developer option. All reports help in future development to display solid state disk health of different type of SSDs also.

1 comments:

2009-11-24

Home "WIFI" Network

Posted by Dhiya  
8:14 PM


You can use a wireless network to share Internet access, files, printers, and more. Or you can use it to surf the Web while you're sitting on your couch or in your yard. Plus, it's easier to install than you think.


There are 4 steps to creating a wireless network:


1.
Choose your wireless equipment
2.
Connect your wireless router
3.
Configure your wireless router
4.
Connect your computers


For Windows XP users, Windows XP Service Pack 2 is not required for wireless networking, but it does make things much easier. Service Pack 2 also helps protect you against hackers, worms, and other Internet intruders.


1.
Choose your wireless equipment
The first step is to make sure that you have the equipment you need. As you're looking for products in stores or on the Internet, you might notice that you can choose equipment that supports three different wireless networking technologies: 802.11a, 802.11b, and 802.11g. We recommend 802.11g, because it offers excellent performance and is compatible with almost everything.


Shopping list

Broadband Internet connection

Wireless router

A computer with built-in wireless networking support or a wireless network adapter


A wireless router
The router converts the signals coming across your Internet connection into a wireless broadcast, sort of like a cordless phone base station. Be sure to get a wireless router, and not a wireless access point.


A wireless network adapter
Network adapters wirelessly connect your computer to your wireless router. If you have a newer computer you may already have wireless capabilities built in. If this is the case, then you will not need a wireless network adapter. If you need to purchase an adapter for a desktop computer, buy a USB wireless network adapter. If you have a laptop, buy a PC card-based network adapter. Make sure that you have one adapter for every computer on your network.


Note: To make setup easy, choose a network adapter made by the same vendor that made your wireless router. For example, if you find a good price on a Linksys router, choose a Linksys network adapter to go with it. To make shopping even easier, buy a bundle, such as those available from D-Link, Netgear, Linksys, Microsoft, and Buffalo. If you have a desktop computer, make sure that you have an available USB port to plug the wireless network adapter into. If you don't have any open USB ports, buy a hub to add additional ports.


2.


Connect your wireless router
Since you'll be temporarily disconnected from the Internet, print these instructions before you go any further.


First, locate your cable modem or DSL modem and unplug it to turn it off.


Next, connect your wireless router to your modem. Your modem should stay connected directly to the Internet. Later, after you've hooked everything up, your computer will wirelessly connect to your router, and the router will send communications through your modem to the Internet.



Next, connect your router to your modem:


Note: The instructions below apply to a Linksys wireless router. The ports on your router may be labeled differently, and the images may look different on your router. Check the documentation that came with your equipment for additional assistance.



If you currently have your computer connected directly to your modem: Unplug the network cable from the back of your computer, and plug it into the port labeled Internet, WAN, or WLAN on the back of your router.



If you do not currently have a computer connected to the Internet: Plug one end of a network cable (included with your router) into your modem, and plug the other end of the network cable into the Internet, WAN, or WLAN port on your wireless router.



If you currently have your computer connected to a router: Unplug the network cable connected to the Internet, WAN, or WLAN port from your current router, and plug this end of the cable into the Internet, WAN, or WLAN port on your wireless router. Then, unplug any other network cables, and plug them into the available ports on your wireless router. You no longer need your original router, because your new wireless router replaces it.



Next, plug in and turn on your cable or DSL modem. Wait a few minutes to give it time to connect to the Internet, and then plug in and turn on your wireless router. After a minute, the Internet, WAN, or WLAN light on your wireless router should light up, indicating that it has successfully connected to your modem.


3.Configure your wireless router

Using the network cable that came with your wireless router, you should temporarily connect your computer to one of the open network ports on your wireless router (any port that isn't labeled Internet, WAN, or WLAN). If you need to, turn your computer on. It should automatically connect to your router.


Next, open Internet Explorer and type in the address to configure your router.
You might be prompted for a password. The address and password you use will vary depending on what type of router you have, so refer to the instructions included with your router.


As a quick reference, this table shows the default addresses, usernames, and passwords for some common router manufacturers.

Router
  Address
      Username
   Password
3Com
 http://192.168.1.1
     admin
   admin
D-Link
 http://192.168.0.1
     admin
*
Linksys
 http://192.168.1.1
     admin
   admin
Microsoft Broadband
 http://192.168.2.1
     admin
   admin
Netgear
 http://192.168.0.1
     admin
   password

Internet Explorer will show your router's configuration page. Most of the default settings should be fine, but you should configure three things:


1.
Your wireless network name, known as the SSID. This name identifies your network. You should choose something unique that none of your neighbors will be using.
2.
Wireless encryption (WEP) or Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA), which help protect your wireless network. For most routers, you will provide a passphrase that your router uses to generate several keys. Make sure your passphrase is unique and long (you don't need to memorize it).
3.
Your administrative password, which controls your wireless network. Just like any other password, it should not be a word that you can find in the dictionary, and it should be a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. Be sure you can remember this password, because you'll need it if you ever have to change your router's settings.


The exact steps you follow to configure these settings will vary depending on the type of router you have. After each configuration setting, be sure to click Save Settings, Apply, or OK to save your changes.


Now, you should disconnect the network cable from your computer.




4.Connect your computers
If your computer does not have wireless network support built in, plug your network adapter into your USB port, and place the antenna on top of your computer (in the case of a desktop computer), or insert the network adapter into an empty PC card slot (in the case of a laptop). Windows XP will automatically detect the new adapter, and may prompt you to insert the CD that came with your adapter. The on-screen instructions will guide you through the configuration process.


Note: The steps below only apply if you're using Windows XP Service Pack 2. If you're running Windows XP and you don't have Service Pack 2 yet, plug your computer into your wireless router and download and install Windows XP Service Pack 2.
Windows XP should show an icon with a notification that says it has found a wireless network.

Follow these steps to connect your computer to your wireless network:


1.
Right-click the wireless network icon in the lower-right corner of your screen, and then click View Available Wireless Networks. If you run into any problems, consult the documentation that came with your network adapter. Don't be afraid to call their tech support.


2.
The Wireless Network Connection window should appear and you should see your wireless network listed with the network name you chose. If you don't see your network, click Refresh network list in the upper-left corner. Click your network, and then click Connect in the lower-right corner.



3.
Windows XP prompts you to enter a key. Type the encryption key that you wrote down earlier in both the Network key and Confirm network key boxes, and then click Connect.


4.
Windows XP will show its progress as it connects to your network. After you're connected, you can now close the Wireless Network Connection window. You're done.


Note: If the Wireless Network Connection window continues to show Acquiring Network Address, you may have mistyped the encryption key.

0 comments:

2009-11-22

How to Connect Two Computers without a Router

Posted by Dhiya  
6:36 PM

Let’s assume you have two computers at home and you want to connect them together so that you can easily share an internet connection between the two machines or transfer photos, music and other files from one computer to another. How do you do this?

Connect Two Computers Directly

There are two options – you can either buy a router or, if you are looking for something more simple and don’t want to spend money on new networking hardware, you can connect the two computers using a commonly-available cable. The latter method doesn’t involve any complicated network settings and you will still be able to share files, internet connection, and even printers between computers.
Things you need:
To set up this basic wired home network, all you need is an inexpensive Ethernet crossover cable and the other requirement is that network cards* (also known as LAN or Ethernet cards) should be installed on each of you computers.
[*] This should not be an issue because network cards are available on most newer machines by default but if you are working with a very old computer, you can either attach an internal LAN card to your computer’s motherboard or go for a USB Network adapter that will turn a USB port into an Ethernet (RJ45) port.
Ethernet Cables for Connecting Computers
Also see: How to Identify Computer Cables and Connectors
An Ethernet crossover cable looks like a standard Ethernet cable but the internal wiring is a little different. You can purchase crossover cables at Amazon.com or from your local computer store. If you have trouble finding them, you can purchase an inexpensive crossover adaptor and that will let you use any standard Ethernet cable as a crossover cable.

Connect Computers with an Ethernet Crossover Cable

Before connecting the two computers with a physical cable, make sure that both machine are using the same workgroup*. Here is step-by-step guide that explains how you can change the workgroup of your computers.
Changing workgroup in Windows XP – From the Start menu, right-click “My Computer.” Select Properties in the drop-down menu, and then select the second tab that says “Computer Name” from the System Properties window. Now click the “Change…” button, enter a unique Workgroup name and reboot your computer.
1. My Computer - Properties 2. Change Workgroup Name 3. Save Workgroup Name and Reboot
Changing workgroup in Windows 7 or VistaOpen the Control Panel, type “Workgroup” in the search box, and select the entry that says “Change Workgroup Name.” Click the “Change…” button, enter a Workgroup name and restart the computer. Windows 7 users can skip one step; simply type “Workgroup” in the search box in the start menu, and select the first entry, then proceed as above.
1. Search Workgroup  from Control Panel 2. Change  Workgroup - Vista or Windows 7 3. Assign Workgroup Name
Now that the workgroups are same for both computers, connect the two computers together using the Ethernet crossover cable. Simply plug-in one end of the crossover cable into the network adapter of Computer A and connect the other end of the cable to the network adapter of Computer B.
Windows will automatically recognize the new network, and you can now easily view files and folder that the other computer has shared. Simply open Networks from the Start Menu (or the Control Panel), and you should see the other computer by its name. You can then browse any shared files on the other computer, and can even utilize shared printers.
Troubleshooting If you do not see the other computer under Networks, you probably have a prompt at the top of your Network window saying that Network discovery is turned off (screenshots below). Select “Turn on Network Discovery and File Sharing.” In the next prompt, select “No, make the network I am connected to a private network.” Now you should see the other computer on the home network.
1. Turn on network discovery 2. Turn Off  File Sharing for Public Networks
[*] While it is possible to share files between two computers connected with a crossover cable without making them part of the same workgroup, the method will only work if both computers have this network set as a private network, and may still cause problems. It is therefore advisable to have both computers on the same workgroup before sharing files and printers.

Share an Internet Connection Between Two Computers

There are scenarios where you may want to share the same internet connection between two computers. For instance:
Situation A - You have setup a Wi-Fi network at home but your old desktop computer doesn’t have a wireless network card. In that case, you can use the laptop to connect to the internet wirelessly and then share that same connection with the desktop over a crossover Ethernet cable.
Situation B You have a netbook with a built-in cellular data connection. You can share that connection with any another computer at home through the crossover Ethernet cable.
Situation CYou use a (slow) Wireless USB modem with your laptop computer while your desktop is connected to an ADSL Broadband line and there’s no router at home. For any bandwidth intensive tasks, like when you want to backup photos from your laptop to an online service, you can connect the laptop to the desktop and things will happen much faster.
OK, let’s look at the steps required for sharing an Internet connection.
First, if you only wish to share internet connection and not files, both computers need not belong to the same workgroup. All you need to do is to connect the two computers with the Ethernet crossover cable, and then turn on Internet connection sharing in the computer that already has an Internet connection. The instructions vary for different versions of Windows:
For Windows XPSelect “Network and Internet Connections” from the Control Panel and click “Network Connections.”
1. Network and Internet  Connections 2. Change Network  Connection Properties 3. Allow Internet  Connection Sharing
Right-click on the network connection you wish to share (the one connected to the internet), select Properties, click on the “Advanced” tab, and then check the box that says “Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection.” Click OK, and the second computer that you have connected to this computer with the Crossover Cable should have internet access now.
For Windows 7 and VistaOpen Control Panel, enter “network connections” in the search box on the top right and select “View Network Connections.”
Vista - Share internet  connection 1 Vista-7 - Share  Internet Connection 2 Vista-7 - Share  Internet connection 3
Right-click on the network connection you wish to share (this must be the one connected to the internet) and select Properties. Select the "Sharing" tab and then check the option that says “Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection.” Click OK, and the other computer you have connected to this Windows 7 or Vista computer should have internet access now.

1 comments:

2009-10-25

Google Earth க்கு சவால் விடும் ISRO வின் BHUVAN தளம்

Posted by Dhiya  
Tagged as:
4:04 PM

Google Earth க்கு சவால் விடும் ISRO வின் BHUVAN தளம்

http://bhuvan.nrsc.gov.in/ தளத்தில் பதிவிறக்கம் செய்யலாம்

0 comments:

Google Profile - Google's New feature

Posted by Dhiya  
Tagged as:
4:00 PM

Google profile

A Google profile is simply how you present yourself on Google products to other Google users. It allows you to control how you appear on Google and tell others a bit more about who you are. With a Google profile, you can easily share your web content on one central location. You can include, for example, links to your blog, online photos, and other profiles such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and more. You have control over what others see.

You can also allow people to find you more easily by enabling your profile to be searched by your name. Simply set your existing profile to show your full name publicly.

If you've been writing reviews on Google Maps, creating articles on Google Knol, sharing Google Reader items, or adding books to your Google Book Search library, you may already have a profile

Follow this link,
Google profile


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2009-09-07

Mm

Posted by Dhiya  
Tagged as:
2:00 PM

0 comments:

Cyanide & Happiness- Waiting for the Bus

Posted by Dhiya  
Tagged as:
1:29 PM

0 comments:

Posted by Dhiya  
Tagged as:
11:45 AM


New Trends in ICTs Development Making Life Easier for End-users

From the time of machine code programming and mechanical adding machines through vacuum-based systems to very large integrated circuits and very high level programming languages, the main trend and focus has been the same over time – empowerment of the end-user. Recent developments have seen this initiative even improve further with several advancements being made on how we perceive the computer in the workplace.

The shift from command-driven to Graphics User Interfaces (GUIs)

In the past, the end-user was required to literally understand the command set of many software packages in the market like Dbase III+, Lotus 123, and WordPerfect 5.1. Operating systems such as MS-DOS made extensive use of the command prompt. MS-DOS had a host of both internal and external commands that the end-user was required to master in order to use the computer competently. Their syntaxes, switches, parameters and the like had to be understood. This sidelined many with the urge to use the computer but the inability to master the intricacies of software use. With the advent of Windows and Windows-based software, the user was given more flexibility and power to make maximum use of the computer. This saw many end-users begin to appreciate computers in the workplace because easy to use GUIs demystified them. All that end-users needed to know were the icons and menus to initiate processes and suddenly they would be involved in initiating complex processes such as linear and multiple regressions, document merging, spell-checking and so on at the mere click of a mouse button, giving them control over otherwise mysterious processes.

The GUI has removed the need to know the underlying command sets needed to achieve a task by providing an interface that is user friendly and easy to learn. The interface uses normal English to request users for information that would be required to complete a complex task. Now end-users need to only master a few basic processes to invoke very complex instruction sets that perform highly complex operations. The banker, for instance, no longer needs to master let alone know COBOL to input customer transactions! This is easily achieved now through a user-friendly window form thereby reducing time consumed in punching out data sequences!


The emergence of Object-Oriented Programming (OOP)

From the days of machine to high level languages, programming has seen significant developments all geared towards enabling the end-users achieve targets in the shortest time possible – especially in these times of highly capitalistic and competitive economies where time is money. By moving from binary notations to mnemonics and finally to object oriented programming where users only need to drag and drop pre-written self-contained, reusable components, software design is no longer entirely the preserve of specialists – it has come closer to end-users. A computer operator can now use such objects to enhance the performance of application software in the workplace through customisable tasks made possible by macros. Talk of Rapid Application Development (RAD) come home to roost!

By quickly glancing at the source code of a program, one can easily make head and tail of the concept being developed – thanks to very high level programming languages. The end user no longer needs to spend hours coding sub-routines and functions that are part of a very lengthy and tedious procedural activity, they only need to conceptualise the problem at hand and communicate this appropriately to the computer and leave the tedious work to the Control unit.


The birth of mobile computing

Gone are the days when end-users could not conceptualise finalising an important project proposal without going to the office - because that was where the computer was! With the advent of laptops, mobile phones, wireless networks, and so on, company targets can still be achieved even when people are separated by geographical boundaries from their workplace. This has given the term ‘office’ a new meaning. The concept of the home office has been made a reality and now the corporate manager can still compile his reports in time and watch his favourite TV show at the same time. This concept of enhancing mobility has greatly empowered the end-user. With wireless communication, executives can get on-the-minute updates on stock trends and country profiles of prospective investing grounds long before their planes touch ground on their way to an investors’ meeting. This is made possible via internet connectivity.

The emergence of new information technology infrastructures

Computing is no longer looked at in isolation. The present day end-user perceives a computer in a different perspective. The mention of a computer brings to mind inter-connectivity and remote accessibility of pooled resources. This concept of networking has been there for sometime and the terms LAN, WAN, CAN and MAN are common. Now a new concept in this area promises even greater collaboration and networking – the new IT technologies take the concept of networking a level further by combining several systems together to come up with a collection of interlinked heterogeneous systems. Points Of Sale (POS), PDAs, cellular phones, LANS and mobile computing devices all operating on varying transmission protocols are inter-linked together with the sole objective of placing information at the end-users’ palm. The end-user can now request for ambulance services by filling out and sending an online form that is relayed to a hospital database or emergency mobile unit that dispatches the nearest assistance within a fraction of time. In the comfort of a home PC the end-user can shop on-line without a problem – a process that involves collaborative linkages with his bank, the supermarket, ISPs and security agencies that ensure a clean transaction is facilitated.

The arrival of the Internet.

With the development of the Internet, the so-called information superhighway, the end-user can not only communicate cost-effectively, but he can engage in hi-Tec teleconferencing where persons are pooled together in board meetings in virtual space. Technologies like Usenet, Internet Relay Charts (IRC) and e-mails have made communication so cheap and effective thereby transforming the world into a global village. With the use of very user-friendly GUIs, users can navigate through hypertext with ease obtaining very valuable information about the world in their living rooms. The internet has allowed organisations and corporations to start thinking beyond their offices and local markets – it has broken geographical boundaries allowing greater collaboration, communication, bi-lateral and multi-lateral trade. At the end of the day the end-user gains the power of communication in a way never imagined before. Gone are the days of unreliable snail-mails that took ages and were more costly and often times plagued by theft.

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2009-08-29

How to save your files and your sanity

Posted by Dhiya  
Tagged as:
3:58 PM


How to save your files and your sanity

Even before you save a single document on your computer, your hard disk is bristling with files.

Your operating system – Windows – consists of hundreds of files placed in a tree of folders at installation time. Similarly, every application installed on your computer – whether it's a word processor, spreadsheet, Internet browser, game, graphics editor or anything else – consists of one or more files occupying their own folders.

Once you start working, surfing or playing you adds to these hundreds, possibly thousands, of files, until your hard disk is awash with files.

No wonder, then, that a file occasionally goes astray. It's easy to forget what name you've given a document, or which folder you placed it in.

No need to despair. In fact, it's pretty hard to lose a file completely unless you delete it (even then you can often recover it) or copy another file with the same name over the top of it. Windows comes with an effective file snifferdog and, in addition, you can do a lot of things yourself to prevent files going astray in the first place.

Computing Rule #1

Most files go missing because you fail to pay attention when you're saving them, or because you saved them so long ago they've become no more than a faint echo in your memory banks.

For computing newcomers, noticing exactly what you do when you save a file is crucial. And really, it's very simple to do. It comes back to the number one computing rule for beginners: read the screen!

From observing many new users in action, my guess is the first dozen times most people save a file their heart rate accelerates, their eyes glaze over, and they're reduced to a state where they hit buttons and pray.

There's really no need for this level of terror, because sitting in front of you – in the file save dialog box you use to save a file – is all the information you need.

The Save dialog box

When you click the Save icon in a program, a Save As dialog box appears. The dialog box can take on various forms, but most programs use the standard Windows 95/98 dialog box with slight variations.

Take a close look at the dialog box shown here (click the picture to see a full-size version). This is a dialog box from Microsoft Word 2000 and, while it has a couple of new features, most of what you see here is what you'll find in most Save dialog boxes whether in a Microsoft product or a product from any other developer:

  • A File Name box where you type the file name.
  • A Save As Type box where you can choose the format in which to save the file.

For instance, a graphics program will let you save graphics files as bitmaps (BMPs), or GIFs or JPGs (used on the Internet), as well as in many other formats. You choose which format you want from the Save As Type box when you save the file.

Similarly, a Save dialog box for a word processing program will let you save your documents in native or default format, or as plain text, as HTML, or in a variety of other word processing formats. 'Native' or 'default' means the program's own preferred style. Microsoft Word 97, for example, saves files by default in Word 97 format. It also lets you save files in Word 95 format, Word 2 format, Word formats for the Macintosh, WordPerfect format, and so on.

  • A Save In box at the top of the dialog box, where you select the folder and drive in which to save the file.
  • Additional folder management icons. To the right of the Save In box there are several icons which let you quickly move to the folder above the one you're currently in, create a new folder, and switch between list and detail views of your files. Some programs, such as Microsoft Office, add additional icons and buttons for added flexibility and power, but you'll always find these standard components.
  • A Save or OK button (they're equivalent in this context), and a Cancel button which you use to wriggle out of saving a file. Some dialog boxes have additional buttons, such as an Options button.
  • This Save dialog box also features a series of shortcut buttons down the left-hand side. These buttons let you quickly jump to frequently used folders where you save your documents, such as the My Documents folder or the Desktop. These shortcut buttons are new in Microsoft Office 2000.

While there are many variants on the Save and Save As dialog boxes – such as WordPerfect's supercharged dialogs – the features mentioned above are almost universal. Get accustomed to looking for them.

Save it

When it comes to saving a file, take the time to read the dialog box. First, choose where you want to store your document – this is the key to not losing your file in the first place.

To select where to save your file, click the little arrow at the right of the Save In box to move through folders, drives and the desktop. You can also double-click on folders in the folder and file list to open them. Practice moving about so you get to know your way around.

Once you've chosen where you're going to store your file, choose a name for the file and type it into the File Name: box. If you want to select a different file type from the usual one your program uses, select that from the dropdown list provided.

Then, click OK or Save and you're done.

When you go to open a file, the Open dialog box will look pretty familiar. Use the Look In: or Directories: section to locate the folder where the file was saved, make sure you've chosen the correct file type to display, and then select the file from the list displayed and click OK or Open.

If you take enough care in this process, you'll rarely lose a file.

Preventative measures

Apart from taking things slowly and carefully when you're saving files, you can use a variety of preventative measures to ensure you know where your files are lurking.

The first way is to get your folders organised. My esteemed colleague, David Flynn, who is the personification of organisation (I am in awe of this fella, who even has a classification system for his pencils) has a very neat way of doing this.

He has one folder, called Docs, where he stores all his documents. They don't all go in higgledypiggledy, of course. He creates sub-folders within this single Docs folder where he stores different types of documents.

Sound familiar? If you're using Windows 98 or later you'll already have a My Documents folder created for you and conveniently located on the Desktop (in Windows XP it's hidden away, but you can always drag a shortcut to the folder onto your Desktop). Windows 98, Me and XP also make the My Documents folder easy to access from most standard dialogs. Microsoft probably swiped this idea from my friend David.

The advantages to this system are obvious: there's only one folder (and its contents) you need to search to find any document you create and, when it comes to backing up your documents, you can do it by specifying that one folder.

This makes a lot of sense, and if you have any degree of organisation, I urge you to follow in Mr Flynn's steps and take advantage of the My Documents folder (or create your own if you're using Windows 95).

Strategies for file slobs

Not all of us are so organisationally blessed. Despite good intentions, the file slobs among us end up with files all over the place – in our carefully created Docs folder, on our Desktop, in whatever folder a program uses as its default folder, all over the place. Sometimes this is deliberate, at other times we simply go with the flow, and end up with a document maelstrom.

If you belong to the latter group of people and have files stashed all over the place, you can still increase your chances of keeping track of files by using consistent file naming conventions.

Strangely enough, this was probably easier in the days of DOS and Windows 3.1, when we were restricted to files with a maximum of eight characters in the filename and a three-character extension. This rigidity had a payoff in forcing us to work out strict naming conventions that made it possible to identify the file contents.

With the generous long filenames introduced in Windows 95, it's much easier to get into trouble. You might find yourself naming one file 'Letter to Mary about the problems we're facing in inventory control', and then later sending another letter to Mary about the same subject, but calling it 'Stock tracking probs'. When it comes time to find all the correspondence dealing with your inventory control woes, you may well find you've developed a file tracking problem into the bargain.

Try to keep some consistency in your file naming, and you'll drastically reduce the chances of losing track of a file.

Saving and Saving As

What's the difference between the Save option and the Save As option found on most file menus?

The Save As option is used the first time you save a file. It lets you choose a filename and location for the document you're saving.

The Save option saves a document you've previously saved, writing directly over (and obliterating) the earlier version. Basically, it's like updating the saved copy of a document. When you Save a file, you normally won't be presented with a dialog box.

However, there's an exception. The first time you save any file, whether you use the Save or Save As options, you'll be presented with the Save As dialog box, so you can initially give the file a name. In this case, the two commands are identical.

You can also use the Save As option to make a copy of an existing document. Say, for example, you've finished writing a report and saved it on your hard disk. You can use the Save As command to make a copy of this document in a different location, such as on a floppy disk, or with a different name.

When you use Save As in this manner, it's important to keep track of which file you're working on so you don't end up editing the document on floppy and leaving your original out-of-date. One way to ensure you don't edit the wrong version is to change the name of the copy of the document.

For instance, say you create a budget using Microsoft Excel and save it on your hard disk with the name Budget for 2000. You can create a copy on a floppy disk by placing a floppy in the drive, opening the File Menu and choosing Save As. In the Save As dialog, click the down-arrow beside the Save In box and select your floppy drive from the list. In the File Name box, instead of keeping the name Budget for 2000, type something like Budget for 2000 on Floppy. Then click the Save button and close the worksheet. If you want to make more changes to your original, you'll be able to recognise it immediately by its name.

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