The History of the Laptop – An Infographic

From workstation replacement to high end gaming systems, today laptops are doing what desktops couldn’t a few years ago. How did the personal computer evolve from filling up an entire room to the space on your lap?

Tek Squad traces the evolution of this ubiquitous computing device with this infographic.

 

IT Support Infographic -HarvardTech

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Are PC’s a thing of the past?

I know you are thinking the same, everybody is! The latest era of mobile phones and tablet devices are pushing out the common household pc out of the door. This is because technology is advancing rapidly there are new gadgets and features coming out regularly and people are moving on from the what was once the best thing since sliced bread, the desktop computer.

The latest laptop sales are up 80% of computer sales but believe it or not 90% of households in America have a desktop computer. But how often do they get used is the real million dollar question. In the past couple of years technology has advanced at an incredible rate and with it so have computers, there are no longer fat, bulky and slow desktops sat in the corner of the living room. We now have smaller more portable and faster computers in which is better for everyone.

desktop computer

Desktop computers are widely used by gamers and many office companies; this is because the needs they are trying to achieve are perfectly suited for a desktop computer. Little things such as the battery life, with a laptop you have to estimate how long before your power dies. Which for gamers is a pain, with office jobs you don’t really need to be portable and what is the point in paying a higher price for the same specifications?

Laptops are vastly becoming the favourite along with smartphones and tablets. The most
It makes sense; you wouldn’t dress as if you were in the 80’s because it is out of date and old fashioned. Same goes with desktops, they were once the future and the same will famous tablet has to be Apple’s Ipad. Last year in the last quarter Apple generated $36billion in revenue and 100 million ipads were sold to contribute to that revenue. Yes, laptops and tablets may cost more and be more expensive to maintain but when the company which is producing them is generating these amount of figures then it is clear as crystal that the desktop computer is now a thing of the past.

Tek Squad are experts in maintaining and repairing all types of systems, from the old desktop right down to the latest apple mac laptop our skills vary. No matter what is popular at the minute, someone will invent something better or a new version of your laptop/computer will be released and your machine will be a thing of the past also.

Contact us for more information.

5 Tips to boost computer/laptop performance

boost computer performance

Remove Malware – This is the main common cause of your computer running slow, Malware can sit in your computer undetected clogging your system. They can also bring with them viruses and other malicious software which can harm your computer or laptop. The solution to this is to install a good anti-virus and run scans frequently.

Install a faster hard drive – If your computer is taking time to load basic programs, then it is recommended to upgrade your hard drive. Things to take notice of when it comes to a hard drive are the RPMs, transfer rate and the cache size. Now obviously if your hard drive has low numbers it will tend to load applications and programs a lot slower, so investing in a faster drive can improve your systems performance. SSDs (Solid State Drives) seem to be coming a lot more popular now instead of the hard disks, this is due to the response of the load time which is a lot quicker. They are, however, limited as they have only so many read/write cycles. Meaning it’ll need replacing at some point.

A general computer clean up – This should really be the first thing you do if your PC or laptop is running slow. Remove any unwanted files, folders, apps and programs which you do not need or use. Also if you have and internal email program try deleting all your junk emails and spam just to clear some room. Web browsers are another unconsidered form of junk, most browsers come with extensions and plugins installed which you do not need and is clogging up your ram and hard drive. Again remove any unwanted browser add ons as they can also carry with them malware.

• Disk Defragmentation and Compression – This process is a brilliant way to boost your systems performance if you have a windows system it will defrag your hard disk automatically but there is a range of different software which can do the job also. Compression is just as good as defragmentation as this is the process of compressing all the files on your hard disk to make some space on the hard drive.

• Improving your DNS – Most people complain of slow internet, this could be because of the router they are using or because of the DNS settings. To improve your connectivity speed try changing your DNS look up server, adding a faster DNS server will deliver your commands you want to your IP Address which will boost your overall connectivity speeds.

The Very First Laptop Computer

As we know in today’s world laptops are taking over especially with businessmen. We can do almost anything on today’s laptop and the super advanced technology; it makes you think what the first ever laptop was like? I am going to tell you…

The first ever laptop computer was the EPSON HX-20 which was announced in 1981 but wasn’t put on the market until two years later in 1983. It was generally known as the first ever handheld portable computer system. The best way to describe the EPSON HX-20 is that it was the size of an a4 piece of paper with a screen smaller than most mobile phone screens in today’s world, which allowed around 4 lines of 3-6 words per line. It had the feature of rechargeable batteries and a full keyboard (maybe not as many buttons as we have today). So it has all the features of a desktop but you can take it wherever you want with you. Naturally it didn’t have any WiFi or internet connections as the internet wasn’t a mainstream thing back then.

Now don’t expect any major super-fast specifications as this was built in the 80s where a 0.5 MHz processor was renowned as “super quick”.  The HC-20 weighed roughly 4lbs which compared to the laptops we have today is like an elephant. It ran off two Hitachi 6301 CPUs which ran at 0.6 MHz!! Wait it gets worse… It had installed into it 16KB of RAM, you heard it 16KB and it could run upto a maximum of 32KB. In laptops in the modern world they have upto 1TB of storage memory in the Hard Drive, back then the HC-20 had a cassette tape which stored memory just like the tapes we used to have in our cars and radios. We’re not finished there though, it also had installed a built in printer. This was like no printer we have today it was more like a receipt printer like you see on tills in shops or when you get a bus ticket.

As you can see the specifications compared to today’s are very antique and very very slow but back then it was like a brand new apple mac. To prove that, the EPSON HX-20 was priced at a hefty $795 and don’t forget this was back in 1983 where this amount of money meant a whole lot more than it does today. So next time you are looking to buy a laptop and you are worrying about the price for the performance, just remember the first ever laptop.

Solution to Your Computer or Laptop Overheating

Every time we get a computer or a laptop at our workshop, the first thing that pops into our heads is the chance of overheating of the system. This is mainly habit due to the fact that the most common cause we get of computers and laptops breaking is all down to overheating of the CPU. Now as you may know the CPU is the brain of your system and therefore is the most valuable and needs protecting the most out of all the components of your laptop or PC.

Why do laptops and computers overheat?

Nine times out of ten the main reason why a computer system over heats is that there is a hindrance with the cooling system. Mainly it is dust that has clogged up the fan which means it cannot circulate air out of the vents causing warm air to circulate inside and around the main hardware components, which therefore leads to overheating. Another indicator is if your computer or laptop is making a loud noise, this could be a stray SATA or IDE cable which is getting jammed with the fan.

Laptops tend to overheat a lot faster than your standard computer, mainly due to the fact that a laptop is more compact and the components are more close together generating more heat. So bear in mind, if you are ever thinking about building your own laptop then it is crucial to have an excellent ventilation system.

How to stop your computer/laptop from overheating

It is simple, owning a computer is just like owning a home, car or pet it will need looking after. Some people under estimate the importance of keeping your motherboard components clean. Over time there will be a gather of dirt and dust which is ready to clog your ventilation and therefor damaging possible a thousand pounds worth of hardware (depending on the laptop/computer). It isn’t worth it for a fifteen minute job of simply opening your system and removing all the dust and dirt from the fan.

Another way I have found what works when preventing the computer from overheating is too check the power settings, this could help you save a lot of battery life and therefore you will be using less heat.

So if you have any questions or are looking for solutions to the above problems, then tek squad are here to help repair them!

The History of Microsoft Windows Operating Systems

MS-DOS

The very first Microsoft operating was released in August 1981, that’s right back to the typewriter days! Bill Gates and Paul Allen released “MS-DOS” which is the abbreviation of Microsoft Disk Operating Systems just 6 years after forming Microsoft. It was supported by the x86 platforms and could run of just 1MB of memory! The design was very basic it had just a command line interface where you could type in various different commands.

Microsoft Windows

Windows 1.0


After MS DOS, the next Windows operating system to be shipped out by Microsoft was Windows 1.0. This was released in 1985 just 2 years after it was announced. Windows 1.0 at the time was a more user friendly interface, instead of typing MS-DOS commands users were now able to use the mouse and click different “windows” as quoted by Bill Gates to navigate around the operating system. This operating system was the first to also release programs already installed which are still on the very latest operating systems today, such as Paint, Calculator and Notepad!

Windows 2.0

The Windows 2.0 operating system was released at a pinnacle time for Microsoft as this was their latest operating system when they became the world’s largest software company based on their sales figures. This operating was a more advanced to the previous 1.0 version, it was designed with improved graphics, multiple windows and keyboard shortcuts to make working a whole lot faster. The birth of control panel was also implemented with Windows 2.0.

Windows 3.0

This version of the windows operating system was designed with more technical elements put into place. Features such as File Manager, Print Manager and Program manager and also for the very first time you could customize the colour of your interface through 16 different colours. Windows 3.0 was programmed to be compatible to the latest processors and memory making it run a lot faster.

Windows NT

This was a strange move by Microsoft as this was an operating system which they had started from scratch, some say it was more of an experiment for office environments and it would prove crucial to the continued advanced products by Microsoft.

Windows 95

This was introduced by Microsoft as the whole new online world of Internet and emailing was born. Windows 95 was a 32bit operating system which had built in internet support and various other internet capabilities. It was able to run of a maximum 8MB of RAM, available in a CD-ROM format and also was available in 12 different languages.

Windows 98

Windows 98 was to be the last operating system based on MS-DOS, the main improvement was the ability to run and close programs more quickly and also capabilities with reading DVD disks and USB devices.

Windows XP

At the time in 2001 when first release little did Microsoft know that this operating system would be one of its best selling products in the coming years. The speed was as quick as it has been, the security awareness to protect the system from corrupt attachments and viruses, digital programs such as windows media player and movie maker. This at the time was the best piece of software around and it was compiled with 45 MILLION lines of code!

Windows Vista

Personally this isn’t my favourite windows operating system; I find it takes up a lot of memory. The best thing about Windows Vista is it’s more advanced security settings, since released in 2006 it was known at the time as the strongest security system yet. The biggest improvement with this OS is again the security and the improved graphics for the digital programs.

Windows 7

At the end of the late 2000s a new era of wireless connection started becoming popular, people could go and sit in a café which has wifi and browse the internet. Microsoft decided that they would program an updated version of windows XP which would benefit users who use wireless internet frequently. Fun fact; before it’s release Windows 7 was tested by around 9 million beta testers!

Windows 8

Finally, the latest operating system which looks like something from the future. Windows 8 was released late last year and many people were excited to see what Microsoft had to offer. Many people found that the windows 8 operating system was mainly designed for touch screen devices and not as effective on a desktop. The security was not as effective as let’s say vista, maybe that is something Microsoft will work on for the next operating system?

Windows 8.1

For the release of Windows 8.1, Microsoft went back to it’s roots and gave everybody back the start button that had been missing. They also updated all security features.

Prevent Overheating – Top Tips

Overheating can be a problem in laptops and can be down to any number of reasons. We’re going to discuss the most common reasons and what you can do to safeguard against them.

Why is Overheating such a problem? The act of overheating can be quite damaging to your computer if left unchecked. These days most computers have a safeguard against this and will automatically shut down if they start getting too hot. This can be a nuisance as they will usually shut down without ay hint of warning, sometimes costing you your afternoons work.

The reason why it will shut down is because overheating can affect your computer’s Central Processing Unit (CPU). This is the brain of your computer and does all the “thinking” for your computer whilst your Rand Access Memory (RAM) does the doing and your Hard Drive Disk (HDD) does the remembering.

If the CPU was to overheat, this could cause damage to it which would then stop your whole computer working. The term “Central” in CPU shows exactly how important this is. Imagine if your brain was to suddenly stop working, that is as important to us as the CPU is to a computer.

Overheating can usually occur if the vents of a computer become blocked, usually by a build up of dust. To prevent this happening you can use a dust cloth or ear buds to clean the external vents. If the dust build up is particularly bad, then you may have to open up your computer to clean the dust from the internal vents. As it’s harder to use ear buds and cloths inside your laptop or computer, I’d recommend using a can of compressed air. This will clear off all the dust that have attached themselves to the components of your computer.

TOP TIP: To prevent the CPU fan from turning when using the can of compressed air, pop a wooden pencil in there to stop the rotars turning. Don’t use a metal pen as this could be carrying static electricity and cause damage to your CPU.

If you have thoroughly cleaned your computer and still have trouble with overheating, then your heat sink could be faulty. This could need replacing. If you’re having trouble with an overheating laptop, feel free to give us a call for more advice.

Password Storage Tools

In this day and age people have what seems like hundreds of passwords. One for their computer, one for their tablet and one for their phone. And then one for Facebook, one for Twitter, Hotmail, Gmail, work etc. It can all get a bit much if you’re constantly having to remember which email addresses go with which password.

It’s also not prudent to simply reuse the same password for everything. Imagine, if someone cracked one of your passwords, they’re going to try that password for every other account you have. That’s not a good thing to happen as they’ll be able to access everything.

There are some great programs out there that can keep track of your passwords for you, and you only need to know one password. Programs such as LastPass also offer a great password generation addition to their site so you can create some powerful passwords for all your critical accounts.

You can also create an extra secure password for LastPass and even use two factor authentication for your passwords with LastPass. This adds an extra step, in effect two passwords, that are required to gain access to a program or website. LastPass will store one and you will have to remember the other.

They offer this because there is no truly bulletproof software out there. For every genius trying to create uncrackable software, there are other genius’ dedicated to cracking that software. Two Factor authentication will protect you if your LastPass is ever compromised.

So, the choice is up to you if you want to use password storage tools or not. But I’d recommend if you do, then make sure to use two factor authentication.

What’s the Difference between a Quick and a Full format?

It’s one that can crop up at any time. For instance you could find yourself with an old computer that’s running slow that you just want the hard drive from. Or you could discover an old USB drive that you no longer need the data for. This is also good to know if by some unfortunate chance your USB drive was to corrupt.

Before we discuss the long and short of it (or the quick and full of it), lets take a look at what exactly a format is. First, low-level formatting is essentially dividing up your hard drive or USB into separate spaces. Your computer will essentially ring fence a part of your hard drive and be able to access it when needed.

Secondly, high-level formatting is the writing of a file system to your hard drive disk. For example when you’re installing an Operating system, the Windows (or Mac OSX, Linux) files will be written to the boot sector first, with empty space being written across the rest of the disk.

So now we know what formatting is, lets take a look at quick and full formats. A quick format will write 0s over the existing file system structure, basically overwriting and deleting your Windows installation. A full format, however, will write zeros to the full disk. As there is much more of a surface area to be covered, it naturally takes longer for a full format. So if you’re keeping your hard drive I’d recommend a quick format if you need to format at all.

If you’re giving your hard drive away though, for instance if you’re selling your computer, then it’s best to give your hard drive a full format. Otherwise there could still be some recoverable data of yours on the computer’s hard drive.

So, if you’re keeping your hard drive or computer, a quick format is fine. If, however, you’re giving your computer away, best to give it a full format just in case.

New Computer This Christmas? Stay Safe With These Top Tips

So you’ve started the new year with a new computer. Lucky you, but if you want to make the most of your computer then you need to make sure to look after it. Here are some basic tips to help you keep your computer secure and running smoothly.

Turn On Automatic Updates

I know this will get on the nerves of every computer user, none more so than Windows users. Windows are always releasing updates and they can take a while to install sometimes. What you want to be able to do is have these updates install automatically. This will help keep your computer not only up to date with the latest software, but it can help tighten up security too.

Find an Antivirus & Update it Daily

Security is a big business these days so no doubt your computer will already come with an antivirus trial installed. The good news is that you don’t have to stick with this antivirus and can remove it. Usually the antivirus pre-installed isn’t the best, they’ve just paid the computer manufacturer to be there. So once you’ve uninstalled it you find a new antivirus. Which program you choose is completely up to you, but I do recommend having one and updating it daily.

Remove Unused Software

This ties in with the last point a little bit. When computers are released, other tech companies pay these computer manufacturers to have their software pre-installed on the models that get shipped out. It is just another form of advertising and is often referred to as “bloatware”, because it bloats up your system when you don’t need it. Removing this software will not only free up system resources, but if you open an old version of one of these programs accidentally, you could have a security issue.

So stay safe with these tips and get the most from your new computer.