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I'm a Tech Guy for over 30 Years Knowledge of Computers, Networks, PC Gadgets. This site is to be used to share some of my knowledge and reviews
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Recover Windows 8 or 10 Key From Bios

From an elevated command prompt, run:

wmic path SoftwareLicensingService get OA3xOriginalProductKey

 

Should return a BIOS CD key (8.x & 10 only).  It will not return which version it is for.

Another option is to download a utility that will do this.

Follow this LINK to download

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Why RAID Is Important

All my servers I build have RAID. Mostly RAID 1. My main multimedia machine at home has 5 drives. 4 of them are set to RAID 1. Well one of these drives died recently. The 8 year old drive (almost to the day) on one of my RAID 1 sets is dead. I have 1000’s of videos,pictures and music that I don’t want to spend days or more to replace so this is why I implemented RAID. I took out the failed drive. Replaced it with a new drive and started the Intel Raid  software to rebuild. All up and running fine. For home and  small servers I implement the RAID option on the ASUS Motherboard. Its called BIOS RAID. If you search all the IT people say don’t use BIOS RAID. Well I have used BIOS RAID for over 12 years and NEVER had an issue!! Sure the RAID rebuild is slower compared to hardware RAID but the nice thing I like with BIOS RAID 1 is I can take one of the drives if say the MB died and can read from any PC. Lets see you do this with a RAID 5 controller set. NOT! I have had a client many years ago that had RAID 5 and this happened. If the controller dies you are SOL. Luckily they had a good backup. It took me 3 days to get everything going as before. This is why I will never implement RAID 5. I only do RAID 1 and RAID 10.

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Windows 10 1803 Problems

There seems to be some people having issues with the new Windows 10 1803. I have upgraded 4 of my PCs and my one Laptop is on insider and has had it for about a month before release. I have not had any issues that some people have had. I don’t use Chrome that often so won’t have that issue. Don’t use a microphone so can’t relate on that. Have not gotten any BSOD. Most of my PCs are running ASUS MBs. I have a used Dell PC and a Lenovo Laptop. Maybe I am one of the lucky ones or maybe its hardware related with drivers etc. Any how here is a link of issues that people have been having with Windows 1803.

Windows 10 1803 Issues

 

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M.2 Controller Comparison

So as I am starting to create pricing sheets for PCs I sell and starting to include 8th gen Intel CPUs and I started to look at the different options for the motherboards. One of the major options is the M.2 slots. Looking at the various ASUS MBs with M.2 there are a different versions of the controllers speeds. This is also compared to the M.2 SSD drive versions. I looked for a chart that compared this but have not found one. The drives all specify MB/s. The controller like to specify Gbps or just architecture. So for me and others I have created a chart that explains the differences.

In my chart I compare speed of the Gbps, M.2 controller, controller name, Max MB/s and example of ASUS MBs. The basis is to prevent you spend a large amount of money on a high end NVMe drive and install it in a low price MB that has a limited M.2 controller.

There are other controllers and different speeds (m.1, U.2 etc) but these are the most common now. I have included SATA drives and controllers to give a comparison of the old SATA vs SSD.

Gbps Max MB/s Drive Example Drive Max Speed Controller Name ASUS Ex MB Models
3 Gbps 375 MB/s WD Blue 500GB SATA 108 MB/s SATA II 3 All
6 Gbps 750 MB/s WD Black 4TB SATA 175 MB/s SATA III 6 All new
10 Gbps 1250 MB/s WD Blue M.2 560 MB/s M.2 PCIe x2 (socket 2) H310M-C
20 Gbps 2500 MB/s WD Black PCIe M.2 2050 MB/s M.2 PCIe x4 (socket 3) B250M-C
32 Gbps 4000 MB/s WD Black NVMe M.2 3400 MB/s M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 H370M-PLUS

B360M-C

I included Western Digital Drives because they are common with all different configurations. There are also Samsung drives and others that would be similar. Some have faster speeds than the WD but it gives you an idea with max MB/s options. If you look the SATA 3 and 6 are rated at faster speeds than the drives but the limit of spinning drives vs SSDs you can see why the future will be all SSDs. Once the price is better. It takes time. I remember the first SSD was like $1000 for say 20GB now you can get 128GB for under $100. Also you can  see that SATA III can handle SSDs speeds. Thats some of the lower SSDs say M.2 SATA. Also why all the SATA SSDs have a max of 5XX MB/s even though theoretically its 750MB/s with all the overhead etc it won’t get there.

I feel this is just an intermediate. The norm will be M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 and the next faster SSDs will be beyond these. We will see what the future holds.

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Computer Electronics

When I went to College my major was Computer Electronics Engineering. The last year was geared to my TR. This is a project you build that is computer related. My TR (which won the TR of the year) was a remote control device over the phone to control devices. This was 1991. There were no Arduino, Raspberry pi etc. It was created with a limited CPU, RAM, EEprom, analog to digital device, telephone chip that can interpreted. I had at the time a new device that I could record my voice digitally and could just send a command to the device to play the recording depending on the address. I think this part made me win the award. There were other students that were building similar devices but no other had the voice part. The voice part helped the person on the call to control the device to hear “Press 1 to turn on device 1” etc. The others basically had to guess what the state of the device or had a high or low beep to tell the person what the state of the device. The biggest learning part at the time is this is how computers were built at the time. The programming of the device was all assembly. The issue back then was you do the program, send to an eeprom. Put the eeprom in the socket and hope for the best. This was the back bone of how computers were made.

Now you can do this with different hardware and software over the Internet in a very short time. I know because I built an Arduino with a wired shield to connect to the Internet. Connect a light to the Arduino and with a little website I could remote in from anywhere to connect to the Internet and control the Internet. I did not have the voice but did not need this since I had a website that told me the state of the device. It took me maybe 2 hours to create the program and get the website and Arduino going. It took me 4 months to get the TR project going in 1991. This is the differences of how computer tech has gotten better over the years!!

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Change IDE To AHCI Mode For Windows 10

Found this at the following post.

Basically follow these steps:

  1. Right-click the Windows Start Menu. Choose Command Prompt (Admin).
  2. Type this command and press ENTER: bcdedit /set {current} safeboot minimal
  3. Restart the computer and enter BIOS Setup (the key to press varies between systems).
  4. Change the SATA Operation mode to AHCI from either IDE or RAID (again, the language varies).
  5. Save changes and exit Setup and Windows will automatically boot to Safe Mode.
  6. Right-click the Windows Start Menu once more. Choose Command Prompt (Admin).
  7. Type this command and press ENTER: bcdedit /deletevalue {current} safeboot
  8. Reboot once more and Windows will automatically start with AHCI drivers enabled.
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Command To Disable Automatic Repair On Windows 10

Client PC will start the Automatic Repair on boot, fails and then restarts and does it again.

From this link describes how to stop the automatic repair. Basically you need to a elevated command prompt and type the following:

bcdedit /set {default} recoveryenabled No

Reboot and then it might give you a blue screen of death but with info that might narrow it down to what the cause of it is. In my case after running ADWCleaner it started the auto repair. Stopped the auto repair and the screen pointed to a corrupt or missing AVG file.

Found out how to remove it and started up OK.

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Firefox better than Chrome

I have used Firefox since version 1. Was not a big fan of Internet Explorer. When I had major issues of IE in XP and 7 and could not fix but Firefox was fine I really switch. What I really like of Firefox is its customize and its great add-ons. When IE was the dominating browser I still used FF. When Chrome is now the dominating browser I still use FF. I have used IE,FF,Chrome,Edge,Opera and Safari. I have not truly ran each for a long time other than IE and FF BUT what I feel and like and rely on in FF. Chrome may be the dominating browser but there is something with it I don’t like. One of the major issues with Chrome is the memory hog with many tabs. Chrome tries to make it more stable with separate memory tabs but for a PC with limited memory will not work. It may be more reliability with if one page crashes it does not affect the others BUT over the several years of being on the Internet I have rarely had pages crash. Sure in the early years they were more prevalent but lately they are fine. I don’t go to bad sites and I use ESET for Any AV and usually blocks bad sites.

There are many sites that debate what is the best browser. Here is one that prefer FF over Chrome from Lifehacker

Amendment:

Again I still FF over any browser.  I have used Edge (better security over IE but crappy in compatibility). Chrome I just hate the interface. Maybe I have not reviewed it more but the how  the favorites,add in, etc sucks  compared to FF. I use to complain how Chrome was a memory hog but lately I see FF taking close to a gig of mem on start. Sorry I use 16GB PCs for most of my sites so I don’t care and NEVER had an issue with FF taking lots of memory.

 

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Chkdsk Uses All Available Memory

For Windows 7 and 2008R2 (Have not checked on Windows 10). When you run chkdsk /r on a drive it will use all the available memory. Thats fine if you are running Windows 7 and thats the only app you need running but on a Windows 2008R2 server and you need to run a chkdsk while others are accessing the server this can be a pain. I found on the web that if you have 8GB or more memory then running the 32bit version of chkdsk will limit its use to less than 4GB. The 32-Bit version of chkdsk is found in the following location:

C:\Windows\SysWOW64\chkdsk.exe

Run this and it will help the memory hog!

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Smartwatch Review

I just want to say that I am no expert on smartphone watches. This is my review of what I have used and see what is out there.

So the first thing in buying a smartwatch is basically what phone you have. If you have an iPhone then you have to get an IOS phone compatible. If its an Android phone then you need to get an Android compatible watch. Some of the watches are compatible with both platforms. They are limited.

So I have an iPhone. I have started because I started with the Apple platform before. Got ipods etc before an iPhone. When my kids, wife, and I started using the iPhone I started and likely will never change to Android.

I am a tech guy that deals with all  iPhones, Android phones, Blackberry phones. The main thing that I like iPhones  over all the others as a tech person is I know where all the settings are!!! Android like to change locations for settings for say email config etc. It is a nightmare on finding certain locations of where everything is. For the iPhone I basically go to settings  and go from there.

The major benefit for Android is that they are very customized. The major disadvantage is they are custom to vulnerable for spyware/virus.

The major for IOS is they are very common knowable and more secure with their scrutiny of apps. The disadvantage is they are not custom able and very formation (which for someone that needs to check/change settings is an advantage).

I started out with a flip phone. Then a sort of smart phone Nokia. I then went to Blackberry because of the keyboard and convenience. When the iPhone came out the major thing that changed my mine was the browser. Before the iPhone the browser was crap on any phone before this. The iPhone was very close to true websites. Getting use to a none keyboard and going to a screen keyboard took sometime but was not that bad. When iPhone introduced apps and good apps it was a no brainer. iPhone was really first (One of the only first for Apple to produce something first. Mostly repeat and do better (hello ipod).

Back to the watches. I started off with a Pebble. Why? Because my reason for a smartwatch was to notify emails, SMS etc. I did not care if I could start a conversion with the watch. Don’t really care about health monitoring. I attach my phone with a clip  to my belt. I maybe old fashion I don’t know but the reason I do is if I have a pocket that I put my phone in (pant, shirt etc) I am afraid it would drop or get squished.

A notification  on  my wrist is so much faster and (safer) than grabbing my  phone from a clip on my belt and trying to look at it to see if its junk mail or a true emergency.

So that the Pebble  obsolete (wish it was not. The true first pioneer companies that started the smartwatch) is over (Fitbit a good company on there own BUT started a smart watch MUCH more expensive ) bought them out it has not been the same.

My last Pebble I bought ($250) I lost. Went on amazon.ca and found the same watch for $79. So I got it. Never looked back.

So now there is a new company that if/when my existing Pebble smartwatch gives up the ghost I will very consider ( If they are still around!!!)

Its called Weloop. Here is the following  link.

The watch reminds me of Pebble  with the simplicity and battery life. The largest factor for this smartwatch is its $150 to buy AND THE BATTERY LIFE IS 30 DAYS!!!!. My Pebble will get 4-5 days. The iWatch will get 2 days if you are lucky and don’t use it!!!!

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