Cover image for PC Hacks

Book description

Intel-and AMD-powered PCs--which account for more than 90% of all personal computers--are powerful and expandable, and operating systems like Windows and Linux do a great job of running well on this hardware. But to maintain maximum stability and predictability, these operating systems don't push the hardware to its limits. That doesn't mean you can't. PC Hacks shows PC users like you how to get the most out of your hardware and software to make your PC experience more satisfying than ever. You don't need another collection of simple tips and command-clicks; you need PC Hacks, where you'll find proven techniques for enhancing performance and preventing problems with your PC hardware. This step-by-step, hack-by-hack guide, with invaluable tips and tricks throughout, will get you hacking the system board, CPU, BIOS, peripherals and operating system--everything but the unhackable power supply! In PC Hacks, Jim Aspinwall, the Windows Helpdesk columnist and feature editor for CNET.COM and author of three books on PC maintenance, delivers basic to advanced hacks for overclocking CPU and video cards, tweaking RAM timing, selecting the best performing components, and much more. He includes suggestions for reusing an old PC to off-load work from newer systems as well as ways to prevent security hacks. He also offers many tips for avoiding common mistakes--and for getting the system back up and running if something does go wrong. PC Hacks combines of the bestselling Hacks series style with the world's most popular computing hardware. Presented in a clear and direct format and covering both Windows and Linux operating systems, PC Hacks ensure that you'll hack and tweak your way to the best performance possible out of your trusty PC.

Table of Contents

  1. PC Hacks
    1. SPECIAL OFFER: Upgrade this ebook with O’Reilly
    2. Credits
      1. About the Author
      2. Contributors
      3. Acknowledgments
    3. Preface
      1. Why PC Hacks?
      2. How to Use This Book
      3. How This Book Is Organized
      4. Conventions
      5. Using Code Examples
      6. Disclaimer
      7. How to Contact O'Reilly
      8. Got a Hack?
    4. 1. Basic System Board Hacks
      1. Introduction: Hacks #1-10
      2. Hack #1. Lock Others Out of Your Computer
      3. Hack #2. Bypass the BIOS Password
      4. Hack #3. Recover a BIOS That Won't Boot
      5. Hack #4. Boot Faster
      6. Hack #5. Display a Boot-Time Graphic
      7. Hack #6. Configure Boot Device Order
      8. Hack #7. Set Your Clock Back
      9. Hack #8. Avoid the Legacy USB Option
      10. Hack #9. Hack an Unhackable BIOS
      11. Hack #10. Upgrade Your Flash BIOS
    5. 2. Basic System Board Setup
      1. Introduction: Hacks #11-18
      2. Hack #11. Step Away from the Legacy Device
      3. Hack #12. Manage Devices
        1. 2.3.1. Improving Your Odds with Plug and Play
        2. 2.3.2. Unnatural Resources
        3. 2.3.3. Logically Speaking
      4. Hack #13. Configure Serial Ports
      5. Hack #14. Configure Parallel Ports
      6. Hack #15. Configure Sound Cards
      7. Hack #16. Configure SCSI Host Adapters
        1. 2.7.1. IEEE-1394
      8. Hack #17. Configure Network Cards
      9. Hack #18. Reeducate Plug and Play
    6. 3. CPU Hacks
      1. Hacks #19-29
        1. 3.1.1. The Great CPU Performance Race
      2. Hack #19. Get More Power
      3. Hack #20. Identify Your CPU
      4. Hack #21. Which CPUs Are Hackable?
        1. 3.4.1. Intel CPUs
        2. 3.4.2. AMD CPUs
      5. Hack #22. Which System Boards Are Hackable?
      6. Hack #23. Determine Your CPU Speed
      7. Hack #24. Keep It Cool
      8. Hack #25. Control CPU Clock Speed from the BIOS
      9. Hack #26. As Goes Voltage, So Goes Speed
      10. Hack #27. Set the CPU Multiplier
      11. Hack #28. Unlock Your CPU Multiplier
      12. Hack #29. Check the Vents
    7. 4. Memory Hacks
      1. Introduction: Hacks #30-39
      2. Hack #30. Install More RAM
      3. Hack #31. Recognize Memory Limitations
      4. Hack #32. Install the RAM Your Operating System Needs
      5. Hack #33. Tame the Windows 95 and 98 Cache
      6. Hack #34. Manage the Paging File
        1. 4.6.1. Windows 95, 98, 98SE, Me
        2. 4.6.2. Windows NT, 2000, XP, 2003
        3. 4.6.3. Hacking the Hack
      7. Hack #35. Manage Windows System Resources
        1. 4.7.1. How Systems Resource Use and Tracking Changed Under Windows Me
      8. Hack #36. Force Windows 98 and Me to Swap Less
      9. Hack #37. Pin the Kernel in RAM
      10. Hack #38. Speed Up Your RAM
      11. Hack #39. Enable Memory Interleave for Via Chipsets
    8. 5. Disk Hacks
      1. Introduction: Hacks #40-57
      2. Hack #40. Partition and Format Wisely
        1. 5.2.1. The Different Partition Types
        2. 5.2.2. The Different Filesystems
      3. Hack #41. Determine Your Filesystem
      4. Hack #42. Create a New Partition with NT, 2000, XP, and 2003
        1. 5.4.1. Partitioning During Windows Setup
      5. Hack #43. Create a New Partition with PartitionMagic
      6. Hack #44. Merge Partitions with PartitionMagic
      7. Hack #45. Convert FAT to NTFS
        1. 5.7.1. Hacking the Hack
      8. Hack #46. Create or Delete NTFS Partitions from the Recovery Console
      9. Hack #47. Fix the Master Boot Record on FAT Partitions
      10. Hack #48. Fix the Master Boot Record on NTFS Partitions
      11. Hack #49. Fix the Partition Boot Sector on NTFS Partitions
      12. Hack #50. Fix GRUB or LILO Boot Problems
      13. Hack #51. Format Your Disk
        1. 5.13.1. Logical Drive Assignments Under DOS
      14. Hack #52. Change Logical Drive Letters
      15. Hack #53. Restore DOS Bootability
      16. Hack #54. Rescue a Blown 2000 or XP Installation
      17. Hack #55. Fix the Windows 95 File-Caching Bug
      18. Hack #56. Avoid the Delayed-Write-Caching Blues
      19. Hack #57. Detect Drive Failure Before It Happens
        1. 5.19.1. Hacking the Hack
    9. 6. Disk Drive Performance Hacks
      1. Introduction: Hacks #58-67
      2. Hack #58. Choose the Fastest Hard Drive
      3. Hack #59. Use an 80-Wire Cable
      4. Hack #60. Upgrade Your IDE Interface
      5. Hack #61. Kick It Up a Notch with Serial ATA
      6. Hack #62. Get the Fastest IDE Driver for Intel Chipsets
      7. Hack #63. Get the Fastest IDE Driver for Via Chipsets
      8. Hack #64. Speed It Up with RAID
      9. Hack #65. Speed Up DOS with SMARTDRV
      10. Hack #66. Speed Up Windows with VCACHE
      11. Hack #67. Linux's Drive Performance Booster
    10. 7. Video Hacks
      1. Introduction: Hacks #68-74
      2. Hack #68. Get off the PCI Bus
      3. Hack #69. Upgrade from Built-in Video
      4. Hack #70. Don't Expect Much from AGP Aperture Size
      5. Hack #71. Choose the Correct AGP Mode
      6. Hack #72. Overclock Your nVidia Adapter
      7. Hack #73. Overclock Your ATI Radeon
      8. Hack #74. Overclock Anything
    11. 8. I/O Device Hacks
      1. Introduction: Hacks #75-84
      2. Basic PC Configuration Rules
        1. 8.2.1. The Bad Old Days
        2. 8.2.2. Toward a Modern Bus: VESA, PCI, AGP, and Beyond
        3. 8.2.3. I/O Speed
      3. Hack #75. Let Windows Tell You About I/O Card Conflicts
        1. 8.3.1. Avoid I/O Address 300h
        2. 8.3.2. Use an I/O Address with Enough Room
      4. Hack #76. Break the Rules with LPT Ports
      5. Hack #77. Break the Rules with COM Ports
      6. Hack #78. Rewire Your COM Ports
      7. Hack #79. Boost COM Port Performance
      8. Hack #80. New Uses for an Old Port
      9. Hack #81. Use USB for Peer-to-Peer Networking
      10. Hack #82. Get the Most out of USB
        1. 8.10.1. Use USB-Powered Hubs for Stability
      11. Hack #83. Install the Driver Before You Install the Hardware
      12. Hack #84. Please Continue Anyway
    12. 9. Boot-Up Hacks
      1. Introduction: Hacks #85-94
      2. Hack #85. Make a Bare Disk Bootable
        1. 9.2.1. Partitioning Quick Steps with FDISK
        2. 9.2.2. Formatting
      3. Hack #86. Configure a Multiboot System
        1. 9.3.1. The Hardware Solution
      4. Hack #87. Multiboot with Third-Party Utilities
        1. 9.4.1. Plan Ahead
        2. 9.4.2. Adding a New Operating System with PartitionMagic
        3. 9.4.3. Adding a New Operating System with System Commander
      5. Hack #88. Speed up Operating System Installation and Maintenance
      6. Hack #89. Access NTFS Files from Other Operating Systems
      7. Hack #90. Give Your XP Installation Access to the Recovery Console
      8. Hack #91. Hack the Windows 95/98/Me DOS Startup
        1. 9.8.1. A Typical MSDOS.SYS File
        2. 9.8.2. The Details of MSDOS.SYS
        3. 9.8.3. The "Junk" at the End of the MSDOS.SYS File
      9. Hack #92. Hack the MS-DOS Configuration File
      10. Hack #93. Hack the MS-DOS Startup File
      11. Hack #94. Hack the Windows NT/2000/XP Boot Loader
        1. 9.11.1. BOOT.INI Contents
        2. 9.11.2. Editing BOOT.INI with a Text Editor
        3. 9.11.3. ARC Disk and Partition Syntax for BIOS Drives
        4. 9.11.4. ARC Disk and Partition Syntax for Non-BIOS Drives
        5. 9.11.5. Booting Linux
        6. 9.11.6. Booting DOS or Windows 9x-Me
    13. 10. Configuring a New PC
      1. Introduction: Hacks #95-100
      2. Hack #95. Clone Your Hard Disk
      3. Hack #96. Move Applications and Settings from One PC to Another
        1. 10.3.1. Aloha Bob's PC Relocator
      4. Hack #97. Protect Your PC from Viruses
        1. 10.4.1. Paying for Virus Protection
      5. Hack #98. Protect Your PC from Malware
      6. Hack #99. Surround Yourself with a Firewall
        1. 10.6.1. Hardware Firewalls
        2. 10.6.2. Software Firewalls
      7. Hack #100. Do Your Backups
    14. About the Author
    15. Colophon
    16. SPECIAL OFFER: Upgrade this ebook with O’Reilly