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Laptops All-in-One Desk Reference For Dummies

Laptops All-in-One Desk Reference For Dummies

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by Corey Sandler

10 BOOKS IN 1

at a Glance

Book I: Choosing the Best Laptop
Knowing What You Want, Getting What You Need
Touring a Modern Laptop
Microprocessors, Memory, and Operating Systems
Doing It Yourself versus Calling in the Cavalry
Book II: Setting Up Your Laptop
Installing or Upgrading an Operating System
Painting Flames on the Operating System: Customizing
Transferring Settings, E-mail, and Document
Managing Files, Folders, Extensions
Book III: Running Basic Windows Operations
Opening Windows
Using Built-in Windows Applications and Gadgets
Windows Maintenance Utilities
Honk, Honk! Windows Backup and Restore Utilities
Book IV: Using Common Applications
Writing Documents
Crunching Data with Spreadsheets
Presenting Yourself with PowerPoint Professionalism
Checking Your Calendar
Book V: Playing with Multimedia
Walking Through Windows Media Player
Feeling the Music, Seeing the Stream
Hamming It Up for the Webcam
Gaming with a Laptop
Book VI: Managing Your Power Supply
Using Your Power for Good Purposes
Replacing or Upgrading Your Power Source
Power-Management Utilities
Book VII: Upgrading Your Laptop
Adding RAM
Adding or Replacing a Drive: Internal, External, CD, or DVD
Changing Your Input and Output Options
Going External with Printer, Network, and Special Peripherals
Book VIII: Networking and Linking to the Internet 
Networking with Other Machines
Managing a Windows Network
Going Wireless
Spinning the Web
Exchanging E-mail, IMs, and Newsgroups
Communicating with VoIP
Book IX: Protecting Your Laptop
Traveling with a Laptop
Guarding Against Intruders
Book X: Troubleshooting Common Problems
Sweating the Hard(ware) Stuff
Knowing When Good Software Goes Bad

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Book Details
 Price
 2.50 USD
 Pages
 771 p
 File Size
 23,910 KB
 File Type
 PDF format
 ISBN
 978-0-470-14092-5
 Copyright   
 2008 by Wiley Publishing, Inc  

About the Author
Okay, I’ll admit it: I’ve got a strange biography. I’ve been a writer all my life.
My first semi-pro job was sports editor of my high school newspaper. (Go
Commodores!) After college I was a political reporter for daily newspapers in
Ohio and New York (I covered four national nominating conventions and two
Presidential campaigns) and a correspondent for The Associated Press. And
then, in 1983, I gave in to my inner geek and became the first Executive Editor
of PC Magazine, back in the days when most people asked, “What is a PC?”
These days I keep my feet planted in four arenas; that’s not an easy thing to
do if you think about it. I write books about computers, history, sports, and
travel. All told, I’ve written nearly 150 books and they’ve been translated into
more than a dozen languages.

For all of my professional life I’ve been a road warrior. I started out with a
notebook and a roll of dimes in my pocket. But by the early 1980s, I was one
of the first users of a portable computer. That first machine was the size of a
suitcase and each owner required an extension cord, an AC outlet, and a chiropractor.
A few years later, though, I had one of the first battery-powered
laptops, and in more than two decades I’ve almost never strayed more than
an hour from home without one.

In fact, it’s the laptop and the ability to connect to the world with or without
wires that allow me to live far away from the real world: My wife Janice and I
live at the end of a lane up from the beach on Nantucket Island, 30 miles out
to sea from Cape Cod in Massachusetts.

Introduction
Your basic, truly wondrous laptop computer — a device that can take
your dictation of the Great American Novel, balance your checkbook,
sing you a song, show you a movie, and allow you to communicate with practically
anyone in the world similarly equipped — weighs about six pounds.
Most wondrous of all, most new laptop computers don’t come with a full
instruction manual. (Not that those delivered with older machines were all
that good.) From the very moment of the first personal computer’s birth, it’s
always been a fact that the hardware was great, the software was amazing,
and the manuals were awful. (The fact that they called the impenetrable
prose “documentation” should have been a hint.)

It was for that very reason that the entire computer book–publishing industry,
including the For Dummies series, was born. We professional writers
thank the engineers every time we produce another book that translates
Geekspeak to terms the rest of us can understand.

In Laptops All-In-One Desk Reference For Dummies you find news you can use.
It’s not my goal to teach you how to make your own laptop computer from
a pile of sand and iron filings, and you’re not going to learn how to write a
software program to manage the countdown sequence of the space shuttle.
This easy-to-use, truly impressive all-in-one book weighs a shade under
three pounds. It contains just about everything you need to know to select,
set up, start up, and fix up a laptop computer.

About This Book
Each of the ten mini-books deals with a particular subject. One more
thing you do not need, then: A week’s worth of uninterrupted time to plow
through several hundred pages in sequence, from start to end — this book
is a reference tool which can be read front to back, back to front, middle to
the outsides, or with a direct dive into the page that matters most to you.
Check out our handy and quite dandy index.

How to Use This Book
If you’ve read one For Dummies book . . . well, you’ve not used them all, but
you have some idea of how each author tries to present particular types of
information and instructions in a particular way. You can call them conventions,
or styles or things-that-are-always-shown-in-the-same-way. Here are a few of them.

Technical terms
The first time that a new technical term is used in a particular mini-book or
an extended section of the book, you’ll see it marked in italics just like this.
This should help you quickly scan a page if you’re looking for laptop features
and thingies like USB port or webcams.

Web sites
Whenever I can, I’ll refer you to Internet web sites that have information or
utilities of other nifty things. You’ll recognize them by either of two sets of
letters: www.dummies.com is the most common form, indicating it is located
on the World Wide Web.
http://microsoft.com may be a company that does its own thing, without
regard to convention, or it may actually be a location on the Internet but not
officially on the Web. I know this sounds like a distinction without a difference
. . . and it probably is. Just recognize that the http:// part indicates that
this is an Internet address.
Oh, and one more thing: I’ve tried as best I could to avoid ending a sentence
with a Web address but sometimes it will happen. Ignore the period that may
have been appended by the typesetter; it is not part of the address. The same
thing goes for addresses that span two lines of the book; enter the whole
address and ignore any hyphenations that may have snuck into the name.

What You Absolutely Need
One of the beauties of a laptop is that all the basics are in one box: the computer,
its memory, the microprocessor, a screen, and a built-in mouse or
other pointing devices.
So, you need one of those.
You need an operating system, which manages the hardware and interprets
the demands of the software. This book concentrates on the two most popular
modern versions: Windows XP and Windows Vista.
And you need to have some nifty software. Again, I concentrate on the most
common options here: Microsoft Word for word processing, Microsoft Excel
for spreadsheets, Outlook Express for e-mail, and Microsoft PowerPoint for presentations.
At one time it seemed to make a difference to the marketing department to
call basic machines laptop computers and the smallest devices notebooks.
Even further back, a class of machines called portable computers was just
barely moveable from one place to another. Today, at least for your purposes
in this book, I make no distinction between laptops and slightly smaller notebooks.
If you use a different brand or type of office program, fear not. The basic concepts
are the same, and this book helps you get a handle on them all.

What You’ll Probably Also Want
It’s not essential that you have an Internet connection for your laptop, but
I’m not going to lie to you, either: You’ll want one. Here’s why:
✦ An Internet link allows you to easily register, update, and fix problems
with your operating system and its software.
✦ Having access to the Internet allows you to download (that means bring
from somewhere else to your machine) today’s newspaper, tomorrow’s
airline reservations, and all the music and video and stuff that’s out there
on the World Wide Web. You can’t Google or perform any other kind of
nifty search for information you never knew you needed without a
connection to the Internet.
✦ A link to the Internet is required to send and receive e-mail, instant
messages (IMs), and (did you know you could do this?) use your laptop
as your own personal telephone system.

Table of Contents
Introduction..................................................................1
About This Book...............................................................................................1
How to Use This Book .....................................................................................1
Technical terms ......................................................................................2
Web sites .................................................................................................2
What You Absolutely Need .............................................................................2
What You’ll Probably Also Want.....................................................................3
What You May Want.........................................................................................3
What You Don’t Need.......................................................................................4
Icons Used in This Book..................................................................................4
How This Book Is Organized...........................................................................5
Book I: Choosing the Best Laptop ........................................................5
Book II: Setting Up Your Laptop............................................................5
Book III: Running Basic Windows Operations.....................................5
Book IV: Using Common Applications .................................................5
Book V: Playing with Multimedia..........................................................6
Book VI: Managing Your Power Supply................................................6
Book VII: Upgrading Your Laptop.........................................................6
Book VIII: Networking and Linking to the Internet.............................6
Book IX: Protecting Your Laptop ..........................................................6
Book X: Troubleshooting Common Problems ....................................6
Book I: Choosing the Best Laptop ...................................7
Chapter 1: Knowing What You Want, Getting What You Need . . . . . . .9
Figuring Out What You Really Need...............................................................9
Squeezing the Goods into Your Lap(top) ...................................................11
Approaching a Laptop Purchase..................................................................13
Buying a package..................................................................................14
Configuring your own .........................................................................14
Plugging into a custom machine ........................................................16
Chapter 2: Touring a Modern Laptop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17
Flipping Your Lid ...........................................................................................17
Saving Your Box Top......................................................................................18
Getting to the Bottom of the Box .................................................................20
Top of the bottom box .........................................................................21
Bottom of the bottom box...................................................................30
Sides of the bottom box ......................................................................33
Back of the bottom box .......................................................................38
Chapter 3: Microprocessors, Memory, and Operating Systems . . . . .41
Feeling the Need for Speed ...........................................................................42
Macromanaging the microprocessor.................................................42
Taking a walk down memory lane ......................................................45
Bossing your machine: The operating system ................................45
Running with the Biggest Operating System Dogs ....................................48
Chapter 4: Doing It Yourself versus Calling in the Cavalry . . . . . . . . .49
Daring to Fix Your Own Laptop ....................................................................49
Hard times for hard drives ..................................................................50
Seedy CDs and dud DVDs....................................................................50
Feeling powerless at a time of need...................................................51
Senator, I Do Not Recall That Incident ........................................................53
Drive, He Said .................................................................................................53
Calling the Experts to Your Aid ....................................................................54
Passing the buck...................................................................................55
Buying factory warranty services ......................................................56
Going to a third-party warranty..........................................................58
Explaining Repairs ........................................................................................59
Calling in the Special Forces.........................................................................60
Expanded or deluxe warranties..........................................................61
Refurbished, remanufactured, or open box......................................62
Accident and theft insurance..............................................................63
Book II: Setting Up Your Laptop...................................65
Chapter 1: Installing or Upgrading an Operating System . . . . . . . . . . .67
Clearing Up Windows ....................................................................................67
Keeping the Windows Update Closed .........................................................69
Windows XP ..........................................................................................70
Windows Vista ......................................................................................71
Seeing the Windows Experience ..................................................................71
Rating your Experience .......................................................................72
Going inside the numbers ..................................................................74
Checking your machine’s scores........................................................75
Upgrading to Windows XP ............................................................................76
Hoping to upgrade your OS.................................................................76
Safety first: The upgrade rules ...........................................................77
Updating your laptop’s BIOS...............................................................78
Running the Windows XP Upgrade Advisor......................................79
Taking final steps before upgrading...................................................80
Installing Windows XP ...................................................................................80
Making a clean installation of Windows XP ......................................81
Installing XP as a second operating system......................................81
Performing a parallel installation.......................................................82
Seeing to a Windows Vista Upgrade ............................................................82
Upgrading editions of Windows Vista ...............................................83
Sizing up computer words...................................................................84
Speeding to a graphic processor .......................................................84
Verifying your machine’s capabilities................................................85
Installing Windows Vista ...............................................................................87
Doing first things first ..........................................................................88
Gathering the essentials ......................................................................89
Oops, I Did It Again: Vista Installation Problems .......................................89
Missing product key.............................................................................90
Problem copying files ..........................................................................90
Blue (or black) screen of death ..........................................................90
Error message mid-installation...........................................................91
Losing power mid-installation ............................................................91
Failed program or piece of hardware ................................................92
Uninstalling Windows Vista ..........................................................................92
Activating and Registrating...........................................................................93
Reinstalling Windows on the same computer ..................................94
Checking your Windows activation status........................................95
Obtaining a new product key..............................................................95
Registering your software ...................................................................96
Updating Windows Over Time......................................................................96
Automatic updating ............................................................................96
Microsoft Update................................................................................100
Opening the door to Update .............................................................102
Losing Support .............................................................................................102
Chapter 2: Painting Flames on the Operating System:
Customizing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .105
Making New Screen Resolutions ................................................................105
Picking a pretty palette......................................................................106
Displaying the graphics control screen...........................................107
Clarifying your view with ClearType................................................108
Themes Like New or Old Times .................................................................110
Securing a Screen Saver ..............................................................................111
Changing your screen saver..............................................................112
Creating your own screen saver.......................................................113
Deleting a screen saver......................................................................114
Customizing the Tiny Picture on Your User Account..............................114
Hanging Wallpaper on the Desktop............................................................115
Seeking Sidebars, Gadgets, and Doodads .................................................116
Opening and closing a Sidebar .........................................................116
Hiding and seeking with Sidebar ......................................................117
Adding a gadget ..................................................................................118
Detaching a gadget.............................................................................119
Mousing Around...........................................................................................119
Configuring your pointer...................................................................120
Advanced mousing.............................................................................122
Chapter 3: Transferring Settings, E-mail, and Documents . . . . . . . .123
Giving Your Laptop a Personality Transplant ..........................................123
Using Windows Easy Transfer ....................................................................124
Revving up your transfer...................................................................125
Revealing the secret beauty of a settings transfer.........................128
Windows XP Files and Settings Transfer Wizard......................................129
Exporting Outlook Express or Windows Mail Contacts ..........................130
POP3.....................................................................................................131
IMAP ....................................................................................................131
Exporting Address Books or Business Cards ...........................................132
Exporting and importing with Outlook Express.............................133
Exporting and importing with Windows Mail.................................133
Exporting saved mail and mail folders ............................................134
Chapter 4: Managing Files, Folders, Extensions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .135
Opening an Electronic Filing Cabinet ........................................................135
Rocking the Files ..........................................................................................136
Naming your files................................................................................137
Decoding hidden filename extensions.............................................138
Exposing those hidden filename extensions...................................140
Changing a filename association ......................................................141
Putting Everything in Its Place: Making and Using Folders ....................144
Exploring Pre-Assigned Folders: The Big Three.......................................145
My Computer ......................................................................................145
My Documents....................................................................................146
My Network Places.............................................................................146
Digging into a Folder....................................................................................149
Seeing what you see ..........................................................................149
Giving your folder a makeover ........................................................150
Renaming your folder or file .............................................................151
Moving on up .....................................................................................152
Being Wary of the Metadata........................................................................152
Book III: Running Basic Windows Operations ..............155
Chapter 1: Opening Windows . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .157
Deconstructing Windows............................................................................158
Uncovering Your Desktop ...........................................................................159
Working with Desktop Icons .......................................................................161
Adding, removing, and moving ........................................................161
Hiding desktop icons .........................................................................164
Exploring the Taskbar..................................................................................166
Managing the taskbar display...........................................................166
The taskbar, left to right ....................................................................166
Adding a toolbar to the taskbar .......................................................168
Feeling smart with the Start button .................................................168
Going out to launch............................................................................171
Making the most of the middle.........................................................173
Notifying your intentions ..................................................................176
Chapter 2: Using Built-in Windows Applications and Gadgets . . . .177
Inspecting Your Gadgets .............................................................................177
Configuring the Sidebar.....................................................................179
Getting more Gadgets ........................................................................182
Sweating the Small Stuff: Text Editors ......................................................183
Notepad ...............................................................................................185
WordPad ..............................................................................................190
Manipulating Images ...................................................................................197
Paint .....................................................................................................198
Windows Photo Gallery .....................................................................205
Who Knows Where the Time Goes?...........................................................208
Chapter 3: Windows Maintenance Utilities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .211
Maintaining Windows and Applications ...................................................212
Taking Inventory ..........................................................................................214
Device Manager: Poking under the hood ........................................216
Dealing with device drivers ..............................................................219
Checking Your Hard Disk for Errors...........................................................223
CHKDSK ..............................................................................................223
Selecting a testing level .....................................................................224
Managing Your Disk Drives .........................................................................225
Keeping a clean drive.........................................................................228
Your hard disk’s fragmented mind ...................................................233
Using Third-Party Maintenance Programs................................................241
Chapter 4: Honk, Honk! Windows Backup and
Restore Utilities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .243
Backing Up Before You Go Go.....................................................................243
Choosing files for backup..................................................................244
Choosing frequencies for backup.....................................................244
Backing up manually..........................................................................245
Using an Automated Windows XP Backup Program................................246
Adding Microsoft’s backup to Windows XP Home Edition ...........246
Running Windows Backup.................................................................248
Curing Some Evils with System Restore....................................................251
Using System Restore ........................................................................252
Knowing System Restore best practices .........................................253
When good intentions go bad...........................................................254
Restoring your system settings........................................................254
Book IV: Using Common Applications .........................257
Chapter 1: Writing Documents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .259
Processing Words No Matter the Program ...............................................259
Knowing What Elements to Expect............................................................260
Starting a Document ....................................................................................263
Tapping into templates......................................................................264
Formatting a Document...............................................................................266
Setting margins ...................................................................................266
Choosing point sizes..........................................................................267
Assigning line spacing .......................................................................268
Inserting a symbol .............................................................................270
Inserting a special character ............................................................271
Selecting text in the body of a document........................................271
Moving sentences, paragraphs, or graphics...................................272
Undoing mistakes ...............................................................................273
Applying styles and themes..............................................................273
Applying a theme................................................................................274
Creating formatted lists.....................................................................275
Running a tab ......................................................................................276
Finding and replacing text.................................................................278
Characters gone wild(card) ..............................................................282
Advancing Your Microsoft Office 2007 Functions ....................................284
Formatting Files in Word 2007 ....................................................................285
Open XML file formats ......................................................................285
Converting Word 2007 files ...............................................................286
Controlling Microsoft Word from the Keyboard ......................................286
Finding key combos ...........................................................................293
General keyboard shortcuts .............................................................295
Chapter 2: Crunching Data with Spreadsheets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .299
Starting the Incredible What-If Machine ...................................................299
Spreading out an Excel 2007 Sheet ............................................................301
Working the books .............................................................................301
Counting on simple formulas............................................................302
Showing compunction with functions .............................................302
Entering data in a cell ........................................................................305
Printing Excel Spreadsheets .......................................................................305
Introducing New File Formats of Excel 2007.............................................306
Taking Excel Shortcuts ................................................................................307
Chapter 3: Presenting Yourself with PowerPoint
Professionalism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .313
Pointing out Your Power Spots ..................................................................313
Designing and Refining a PowerPoint Presentation.................................315
Structuring a presentation ................................................................315
Adapting the Normal template .........................................................317
Copying a slide to use as a template ...............................................317
Applying a new layout to an existing slide......................................317
Themes like an attractive presentation...........................................318
Rearranging slides..............................................................................319
Adding and formatting text ...............................................................319
Checking spelling ..............................................................................320
Adding clip art to a slide ...................................................................321
Adding SmartArt graphics.................................................................323
Setting smooth (or flashy) transitions ...........................................324
Going out on the Web from PowerPoint..........................................325
Naming and saving a presentation...................................................326
Putting on at the Ritz ...................................................................................328
Testing in Slide Show view ................................................................328
Preparing for external projectors or screens .................................329
Rehearsing the show..........................................................................330
Packaging for distribution.................................................................330
Presenting New PowerPoint 2007 Features ..............................................331
Amping Presenter view......................................................................332
Pumping up security .........................................................................332
Taking PowerPoint Shortcuts .....................................................................333
Chapter 4: Checking Your Calendar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .345
Picking a Calendar........................................................................................345
Windows Calendar .............................................................................346
Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 Calendar .........................................350
Making Contact.............................................................................................350
Importing contacts into your Windows Contacts ..........................352
Exporting address information from Windows Contacts..............354
Going Old School with Address Book .......................................................354
Importing contacts into your Windows XP Address Book............355
Exporting contacts from your Windows XP Address Book ..........356
Watching It Fly ..............................................................................................356
Book V: Playing with Multimedia ...............................359
Chapter 1: Walking Through Windows Media Player . . . . . . . . . . . .361
Sounding Out Windows Media Player .......................................................362
Playing an audio or video file ...........................................................363
Rocking the CD or DVD hardware ....................................................366
Controlling a CD with WMP...............................................................367
Controlling a DVD with WMP ............................................................368
Standard file types for WMP .............................................................369
Setting Windows Media Player as default program .......................370
Menus, tabs, and classical music .....................................................371
Rip It Good ....................................................................................................372
Managing Rights ...........................................................................................375
Microsoft Digital Rights Management..............................................375
Rights management for downloaded content.................................376
Chapter 2: Feeling the Music, Seeing the Stream . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .377
What You See Is What You’ve Got ..............................................................378
Working Around Audio Insufficiencies ......................................................378
Rounding out with a sound card ......................................................379
Speaking of a USB sound device.......................................................380
Adding Capture Software ............................................................................380
Plugging into External Speakers and Headphones ..................................381
Poring Over Streaming Media.....................................................................382
Pointing to ‘casting ............................................................................383
Knowing the nuts and volts of streaming........................................383
Chapter 3: Hamming It Up for the Webcam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .387
Casting about for Hardware .......................................................................388
Camera Assistant Software .........................................................................388
Preview ................................................................................................388
Effects ..................................................................................................389
Properties............................................................................................389
Settings ................................................................................................390
Upgrading Your Laptop to Add a Webcam................................................392
Chapter 4: Gaming with a Laptop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .395
Stuffing a Wild Laptop .................................................................................395
Extreme processors for laptops .......................................................398
An extreme gaming laptop ................................................................399
Book VI: Managing Your Power Supply .......................403
Chapter 1: Using Your Power for Good Purposes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .405
Adapting to AC ............................................................................................406
Electrical cord.....................................................................................406
Permanently attached cord ..............................................................407
Adapter proper ...................................................................................408
Depending on a Battery...............................................................................409
Taking it easy on your battery..........................................................410
Charging it up......................................................................................412
Treating your battery kindly.............................................................413
Finding Hidden Batteries ............................................................................414
Real-time clock ...................................................................................414
Backup battery ..................................................................................415
Chapter 2: Replacing or Upgrading Your Power Source . . . . . . . . . .417
Measuring Battery Capacity and Power....................................................417
Battery wattage or amperage ...........................................................418
Battery weight ....................................................................................418
Replacing the Battery..................................................................................419
Mining Other Sources of Power..................................................................422
Adding a second internal battery.....................................................422
Adding an external battery ...............................................................423
Adapting to Plane and Car ..........................................................................423
Powering up in the air........................................................................423
Powering up down on the ground....................................................424
Chapter 3: Power-Management Utilities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .425
Using Power-Management Utilities ............................................................425
Charging up Your Battery Options.............................................................427
Advanced Power Settings ...........................................................................427
Book VII: Upgrading Your Laptop ...............................429
Chapter 1: Adding RAM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .431
Knowing How Much Is Enough...................................................................431
Defining your terms ...........................................................................432
The odd numbers of computer math...............................................433
Using Your Brain When Buying Memory...................................................435
Knowing where to go .........................................................................437
Checking up on your memory ..........................................................437
Cramming Some RAM in a Laptop .............................................................439
Removing a memory module............................................................440
Installing a module into an empty socket .......................................440
Going post-installation.......................................................................442
Flashing for ReadyBoost Memory..............................................................443
Using ReadyBoost ........................................................................................444
Chapter 2: Adding or Replacing a Drive:
Internal, External, CD, or DVD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .447
Going Tiny, Laptop Style .............................................................................448
Making ‘em small................................................................................449
Making ‘em efficient ...........................................................................450
Making ‘em sturdy..............................................................................450
Hiring, Firing, and Wiring ............................................................................451
Replacing a Laptop Hard Drive ..................................................................451
Installing a plug-in drive ....................................................................453
Using a generic drive ........................................................................454
Taking a quick leap into jumpers .....................................................455
Configuring the BIOS and the Drive...........................................................456
Super-sizing Simply with External Drives .................................................457
Giving Your Optical Drive a New Look ......................................................458
Chapter 3: Changing Your Input and Output Options . . . . . . . . . . . . . .459
Survival of the Fittest: USB Adaptations ...................................................459
Adding USB 2.0 ports .........................................................................460
Changing a USB 1.0 port to 2.0..........................................................460
Adding a USB hub...............................................................................460
Converting from one USB to serial or parallel................................461
Using older mice and keyboards......................................................462
Playing with FireWire...................................................................................462
Pushing SATA out of the Box.......................................................................463
Chapter 4: Going External with Printer, Network,
and Special Peripherals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .465
Connecting to a Printer ...............................................................................466
Connecting to a Scanner .............................................................................467
Faxing from Your Lap...................................................................................468
Adding an External Mouse or Keyboard ...................................................469
Knowing Which Network You’re With .......................................................470
Book VIII: Networking and Linking to the Internet.......473
Chapter 1: Networking with Other Machines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .475
Dissecting Network Components ..............................................................476
Taking a quick trip into the ether(net) ............................................476
Hubs, switches, and routers .............................................................479
Hello, Operator? Modem Madness ............................................................481
Types of modems ...............................................................................481
Testing your speed.............................................................................488
Chapter 2: Managing a Windows Network . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .491
Speaking of Networking ..............................................................................491
Networking Soft(ware)ly ............................................................................492
Identifying Computers to Each Other........................................................494
Setting or changing a workgroup name under Windows XP.........495
Setting or changing a workgroup name under Windows Vista.....496
Visiting Windows Vista Network Center ...................................................497
Ch . . . ch . . . changes in Windows Vista..........................................498
Setting the network location type ....................................................499
Changing file and printer sharing options ......................................499
Joining a Workgroup ....................................................................................501
Your Laptop’s Name and Address, Mac ....................................................502
Naming computers in Windows Vista..............................................503
Naming computers in Windows XP..................................................504
Finding your laptop’s IP address in Windows Vista.......................505
Finding your laptop’s IP address in Windows XP...........................506
Playing Nice, Sharing a Folder....................................................................506
Sharing a folder under Windows Vista ............................................506
Notifying other users of changes to sharing settings....................508
Sharing files in Windows Vista with the Public folder...................508
Assigning permission levels to users...............................................509
Sharing a folder under Windows XP ................................................509
Accessing Another Computer on a Local Network..................................510
Viewing a Windows Vista network ...................................................510
Viewing a Windows XP network .......................................................511
Mapping a Folder .........................................................................................512
Mapping in Windows Vista................................................................512
Mapping in Windows XP....................................................................513
Sharing Devices and Internet Connections...............................................514
Sharing a printer.................................................................................514
Sharing an Internet connection ........................................................516
Automated Network Diagnostics ...............................................................519
Chapter 3: Going Wireless . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .521
Doing What with a Wireless Network? ......................................................522
Expanding your home or office facilities.........................................522
Becoming a road warrior...................................................................522
Visiting business clients ....................................................................523
Seeing Hot Spots...........................................................................................524
Working a WiFi Network .............................................................................527
Does Your Laptop Do WiFi? ........................................................................531
Disabling the Original WiFi Adapter ..........................................................532
Building a Wireless Network.......................................................................533
Setting up a WiFi router .....................................................................533
Improving the range of your WiFi network .....................................538
Setting up a Wireless Network in Windows ..............................................541
Windows Vista wireless wizardry.....................................................542
Windows XP wireless wizardry.........................................................545
Using proprietary wireless configuration tools..............................547
Cutting the Wires Other Ways ....................................................................550
Linking to the Web with a cell phone modem ................................551
Bluetooth wireless communication .................................................552
Older tech: Infrared systems ............................................................553
On the horizon: Wireless USB ...........................................................554
Chapter 4: Spinning the Web . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .555
Cruising the Web ..........................................................................................555
Discerning the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Internet..............................557
Getting on the Internet ................................................................................558
Choosing a browser ...........................................................................559
Finding Your Way on the Web.....................................................................561
Can I have your address? ..................................................................562
Links and recent pages ......................................................................563
Searching the web ..............................................................................568
Dealing with pesky pop-ups ..............................................................573
My favorite back pages......................................................................576
Keeping tab of multiple Web pages..................................................578
Feeding your browser........................................................................580
Taking Internet Explorer 7 Shortcuts ........................................................580
Chapter 5: Exchanging E-mail, IMs, and Newsgroups . . . . . . . . . . . .587
Fielding Microsoft’s Triple Play..................................................................588
Bypassing Microsoft...........................................................................589
Getting ready for e-mail .....................................................................589
Using Windows Mail or Outlook Express ..................................................592
Adding an account in Windows Mail or Outlook Express.............593
Reading e-mail messages and replying............................................594
Creating and sending e-mail messages............................................596
Requesting a receipt for sent messages ..........................................598
Deleting messages..............................................................................599
Setting other special IMAP features ................................................600
Junk and other modern annoyances ...............................................601
Adding a newsgroup account ...........................................................603
Feeling Safe with Windows Mail and Windows Live Security.................604
Setting the junk e-mail filter .............................................................604
Fighting phishing ................................................................................605
Setting security zones........................................................................607
Blocking unwanted messages: POP accounts.................................608
Windows Mail and Windows Live Enhancements....................................609
Using Windows Live ...........................................................................610
Sending photo e-mails........................................................................611
Adding RSS feeds to your Inbox .......................................................614
Adding a signature to messages ......................................................615
Minding Your E-mail Manners ....................................................................618
Snagging Web-based E-mail Programs.......................................................620
Letting Your Fingers Do IMing ....................................................................621
The eyes of a nation are upon you...................................................622
Instant messaging programs.............................................................623
Chapter 6: Communicating with VoIP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .625
Rocking the Laptop Telephony ..................................................................626
Cutting the Cord...........................................................................................627
Deciding POTS is the pits ..................................................................629
Finding VoIP services.........................................................................631
Getting to VoIP at Home or Work ...............................................................631
Getting Quality VoIP.....................................................................................633
Troubleshooting .................................................................................633
TestMyVoip..........................................................................................633
Equipping a Laptop for VoIP .......................................................................635
Traveling with a telephone adapter.................................................635
Setting up a softphone on your laptop............................................635
Softphone (IP) telephone ..................................................................636
Book IX: Protecting Your Laptop.................................637
Chapter 1: Traveling with a Laptop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .639
Keeping It to Yourself ..................................................................................640
Carrying a laptop the smarter way .................................................640
Locking the hardware ........................................................................642
Beefing up your password.................................................................644
Locking the software..........................................................................645
Encrypting the Disk .....................................................................................651
Microsoft’s built-in encryption utilities ...........................................651
Software-based encryption programs .............................................653
Hardware-based disk encryption .....................................................654
Adding the Sys Key utility .................................................................655
Keeping Panic in Check(list).......................................................................657
Chapter 2: Guarding Against Intruders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .659
Breaking and Entry, Laptop-Style...............................................................659
Being Neighborly with a Firewall ...............................................................661
Hardware firewalls..............................................................................663
Software firewalls ...............................................................................663
Explaining how firewalls work ..........................................................664
Windows Firewall ...............................................................................664
Enabling a third-party firewall ..........................................................667
Getting Your Antivirus Vaccine ..................................................................669
Field guide to computer diseases ....................................................670
Typing your antivirus ........................................................................672
Enjoying a Visit from Antispam and Antispyware....................................673
Winning at spy versus spyware........................................................674
Canning spam .....................................................................................674
Security? Suite! .............................................................................................675
Symantec and Norton products .......................................................676
McAfee Total Protection....................................................................678
Windows Live OneCare......................................................................678
System Maintenance Suites ........................................................................679
Book X: Troubleshooting Common Problems .................683
Chapter 1: Sweating the Hard(ware) Stuff . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .685
Giving Your Laptop a Physical....................................................................686
Memory modules................................................................................686
Power problems..................................................................................687
When an LCD won’t display ..............................................................688
External devices causing internal problems...................................689
Devising a Solution with Device Manager.................................................689
Opening Device Manager...................................................................690
Viewing the status of a device ..........................................................691
Sorting the display of devices ..........................................................692
Driver: Follow That Laptop.........................................................................693
Repairing or updating a driver .........................................................693
Manually updating drivers ................................................................694
Restoring a driver to a previous version.........................................695
Running a diagnostics program........................................................696
Chapter 2: Knowing When Good Software Goes Bad . . . . . . . . . . . . .699
Bringing Big Problems via Tiny Changes ..................................................700
Taking your first tack: Undo changes ..............................................700
Taking your second tack: System Restore ......................................701
Calling for Help with Remote Assistance ..................................................705
Powering up on your platform..........................................................705
Sending a Remote Assistance invitation .........................................707
Playing Doctor with Microsoft Office Diagnostics ...................................708
Searching for Meaning in Software Error Codes ......................................709
Index........................................................................711





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What You May Want
Many laptop users have everything they need in the box as delivered from
the manufacturer. They learn to use the slightly cramped keyboard and the
downsized pointing device and can keep their files and programs within
the available space on the built-in hard drive.
That’s a worthy goal — especially for those who travel a great deal with a
laptop. Simplicity is a virtue, and it also helps prevent backaches, shoulder
strains, and lost objects.
But other users might need or want to replicate their desktop wherever they
are. Here are some of the things you may want to add:
✦ An external mouse or other pointing device that offers more control or
comfort than the built-in unit on a laptop
✦ An external hard drive to add a huge extra block of storage space
✦ An external CD or DVD drive or writer to upgrade your laptop’s facilities
✦ A video camera (often called a webcam) that can send an image of your
face along with your words
✦ A media reader to allow direct upload (or download) of images or music
to or from a digital camera or digital music device
✦ A set of more-robust speakers to give some oomph to the movie or
music you play
✦ An external monitor for use as a second display or an LCD projector to
put a presentation up on a silver screen
✦ An extra battery that sits beneath or alongside the laptop to solve the
problem of a very, very long airplane flight or travel in places where
electrical outlets are few and far between
What You Don’t Need
You don’t need these things to be qualified to read this book:
✦ Prior experience on the job
✦ Parental guidance
✦ An advanced degree in computer science (or an unadvanced degree, for
that matter)

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