There are lots of tips and advice out there on the internet about how to tweak the performance of your PC. Some of them have some useful tips, but the vast majority are of very little use, either because they are for the wrong operating system, or they don’t apply to your setup, or because they’re just plain wrong. When someone brings a PC to me and says its too slow, before I advise them to upgrade it (and that is always an option) I have a quick look for several things that are the leading cause of slow PC performance. Over 90% of the time carrying out the various steps detailed below results in a substantial improvement and a happy PC user.
I was asked to investigate why some video capture utility which is part of the software package for the Quizdom Tablet wasn’t loading correctly on a particular laptop. Investigation revealed that quizdom used the XviD codec and installs it as part of its setup routine. The laptop in question already had a video codec installed that was capable of decoding XviD videos, and this prior codec had a higher merit than the XviD native codec installed by quizdom. Disabling XviD support in this codec proved to be the solution. Anyone with the standalone MPC-HC codecs or ffdshow installed may come across this problem
Like many people I use a TomTom sat nav, and I’m a big fan of the speed camera database provided by PocketGPSWorld. It is also possible to download some nice alerts from PGPSW, but I find the beeps are rather annoying, and the maximum speed supported is 70, which is fine for the UK, but isn’t very helpful for maps of Europe. As a result I have mashed together an alternative set that I think are much nicer. Get them from the downloads page. They work for both UK and Euro maps. The Euro ones go up to 130. Both sets have a nicer voice (female) and a nicer alert beep. By all means try them out. They install and operate exactly the same as the ones offered by PGPSW, if you need help installing them have a look there.
One of the best things about the Internet is that one can find almost anything. Sadly, there are some things that can’t be found (at the time of writing). Below is my personal list that I’m hoping to eventually find…
For a while I’ve used the podcast manager Juice. I’ve been very happy for a while, but the other day it suddenly stopped running for no obvious reason. Uninstalling and reinstalling didn’t resolve the issue, but after some digging I discovered the uninstallation process wasn’t deleting the settings file. On Windows XP this is located in C:\Documents and Settings\Application Data and is a folder called iPodder (not Juice!). Deleting this folder and then reinstalling Juice restored it to its former glory.
Further to my post yesterday, I discovered, via Nigel Dessau’s blog (closed by AMD since this article was published), that ATI will be releasing a fix for this issue in the Catalyst 10.2 (February 2010) release. This is fantastic news, thank you ATI!
Just a quick update on a previous post about problems with BBC HD in Windows 7 Media Center when using ATI video cards.
I recently had a problem with 2 PCs which appeared to be configured identically, but whilst one would play a FLV downloaded from youtube, the other would fail. Some other FLVs played OK on both systems. After much further investigation I discovered that the activeX version of flash player on 1 of the PC’s was up-to-date, but on the other was not.
This issue has now been fixed by a driver update from ati. For more info see the latest article on the issue
I’ve been suffering from audio distortion issues when playing back movies on my recently rebuilt HTPC. After much testing I discovered a solution – disabling (in my case by uninstalling) the gigabyte dynamic energy saver utility. I am not sure if this tool only causes problems because of my specific configuration of codecs, but it certainly did cause problems across a range of hardware and media players. Disabling it immediately resolved the problem.