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Old 10-06-2003, 07:50 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Learning more than the basic's

I did a search in the computer forum, looking for threads regarding computer learning, but found nothing.
Was wondering if any of you might know or recommend any books that a person might get that would help in using the computer. My focus would be to find out how to delve deeper into the working's of the computer. I have read such book's as "XP for Dummies" and while they tell you some thing's, they seem to leave out a lot. I'd appreciate any recommendations ya'll would have. I'm not looking for certification, just knowledge. Thanks
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Old 10-06-2003, 08:14 AM   #2 (permalink)
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While I can't think of any good books off the top of my head, I do know that a significant part of this community is computer savvy and some of us even have degrees in the subject. So, why don't you just ask us?

What specifically are you interested in learning about? Do you want to know how the hardware in your computer works... or maybe a particular program...? or how programs are made...? Ask away, friend. I'll be glad to answer anything.
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Old 10-06-2003, 09:06 AM   #3 (permalink)
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One of the most specfic thing's I was trying to find out was what do all of the programs do that are listed in the startup menu in XP.
Some of the names are very cryptic and I was just trying to figure out what they did and were they required. I know different computer mfg. put their own programs in the system as well as the MS ones for XP and I was just curious.
I thought maybe there was a book or article that might explain some of this.
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Old 10-06-2003, 09:55 AM   #4 (permalink)
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santafe... look for some books on MS certification. I'm not 100% sure about the XP certification, but 2000 and NT4 both had sections describing what and how those programs operated.
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Old 10-06-2003, 10:13 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Ah yes. I hate these things. Lots of different software companies want their programs to be running when you boot your computer. Usually, there's no reason for this unless the program is doing something nefarious behind your back. For instance, certain software likes to startup when you boot your machine and record what websites you visit and silently reports that information back to the home base. Other programs just sit there taking up memory and cpu cycles for no good purpose.

In general, things in your startup menu are bad. They hog resources, they make booting take longer, they might be doing bad things. A few exceptions to this are things are firewall programs, virus scanners, and programs that actually do something useful when they run in the background. Also, you should be suspicious of things with cryptic names because they might be something very nasty like a trojan horse.

Here's a tip. Right click on a suspicious item in your startup menu and click properties. From this dialog click "Find target". Now you should be viewing the folder where the target program lives. From here you can look for readme.txt files or other info that might tell you what this program is, and why it's running. If it doesn't sound useful, you can put the shortcut in the recycle bin. If it turns out later you wanted that startup program, you can just undelete it.

Do you have any startup programs in particular you're worried about? You can always ask, what does program xxxxxxxxx do? I'm sure someone here would know if what it does.
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Old 10-06-2003, 12:38 PM   #6 (permalink)
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You may want to look at some of the following topics:

-- Understanding computer hardware (ie: bus speed, BIOS setup, interrupts, DMA, IDE, SCSI, etc.) - "build you own computer" books might help

-- Look up some resources about MS-DOS batch files; others might laugh but if you want to get a good idea of what you can do to automate file system tasks, this is the first place to start

-- Understanding how MS-DOS, Windows 9x, NT, 2000, and XP handle memory usage

-- Windows system file such as DRV (old), SYS, and DLL - why do they exist and when are they used?

-- The Windows registry: why it's dangerous to mess with but perfectly safe if you know what you're doing; removing installed programs from the registry

Good luck and ask questions.
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Old 10-07-2003, 12:29 AM   #7 (permalink)
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If you're just looking for information on the services then might I suggest this...

http://blkviper.com/WinXP/servicecfg.htm

It's a pretty comprehensive list of default services that are installed in Windows XP. If you can't find something on there (and there were many I couldn't) you can always google them. I found my anti-virus software and some other stuff that way.

You can use that page and your services manager (start---run----services.msc) to figure out what all that junk is and if you don't trust it you can disable it from there as well.

Hope that helps
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Last edited by guthmund; 10-07-2003 at 12:40 AM..
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Old 10-07-2003, 06:06 AM   #8 (permalink)
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O'Reilly books has an interesting alternative to buying technical books, which we use here at the office. You subscribe to their online 'library' and have access to literally hundreds of titles in downloadable form. These are the same books they have in print.

Alas I dont know what it costs, our company enrolled us all on it.

Anyway the details are http://safari.oreilly.com/

Hope this helps.
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Old 10-07-2003, 01:44 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I've always found the following link very handy for figuring out what to do with those cryptic startup progs:
http://answersthatwork.com/Tasklist_pages/tasklist.htm

And to remove them from starting up, execute msconfig and go to the last tab. Uncheck the progs you don't want to run.

Oh and do yourself a favor and download The latest Ad-Aware and SpyBot Search & Destroy.

Feel free to PM or post if any of this is unclear to you.

As to your question about learning about computers, most computer savvy people will NOT tell you they learned from a book or class. Most of them learned from personal experiance; fucking around with their comp and asking people that already know. That's really most of the fun of working on/with computers, the 'AHA!' moments.
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Last edited by RelaX; 10-07-2003 at 01:52 PM..
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Old 10-08-2003, 11:27 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Thanks for all the suggestions. This will be very helpful. It will take me a while to look at the different sites, links and to check out the recomendations. I'm certainly glad that this help is available from the on-line community. If I find some thing's that I can't seem to figure out, I know that I can ask and someone will try to help. Thanks again.
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Old 10-08-2003, 12:01 PM   #11 (permalink)
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If you're lucky enough to get TechTV, start watching that. 'Call for Help' covers basic knowledge, and 'The Screensavers' goes beyond. They also have other specialized shows for games and other tech.
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Old 10-08-2003, 02:39 PM   #12 (permalink)
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http://www.howstuffworks.com
Great informative site that covers a lot about computers. Very in depth, also covers binary, computer programming, etc.
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Old 10-08-2003, 03:01 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Originally posted by soccerchamp76
http://www.howstuffworks.com
Great informative site that covers a lot about computers. Very in depth, also covers binary, computer programming, etc.
Yeah this site is great it has about 50 guides to just computer things alone and then plus the other stuff it has.
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