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Degunking Your PC Paperback – Mar 15 2005
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About the Author
Joli Ballew (Garland, TX) is a professional writer, technology trainer, and network consultant in the Dallas area. She is also a Microsoft Windows Expert Zone Columnist and Microsoft blogger. Some of her previous jobs include technical writing, education content consulting, PC technician, network administrator, high school algebra teacher, and MCSE instructor. She earned her MCSE, MCT, and A+ certifications in less than 14 months. She is the coauthor of Degunking Windows, and the author of Degunking Your Mac, Degunking Your PC, and Windows XP Professional: The Ultimate User's Guide, Second Edition, all published by Paraglyph Press.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Unlike the earlier Degunking books that I've seen, this starts off with a nice convenience. Four pages at the very start that summarise the major steps you can do. Lists are also given for various time limits under which you have to perform the tasks. Handy.
Some advice seems quite mundane. Like tips on how to best physically clean the PC. But then the skill set of readers can vary greatly.
Outside the PC, perhaps the most useful chapter for many is on making a wireless network, or connecting your PC to it. The authors carefully spell out the security precautions that you are strongly urged to perform. They stress that wireless can be far more insecure than wired. Heed this advice.
There's even a brief mention of HomePlug. Making a network via the power supply in your house. This is still pretty raw and the book compares it to where WiFi was in 2000 - "expensive, bleeding edge". But maybe that will not deter you.
Chapter List: Why Is My PC All Gunked Up?; Degunking Your PC; Physically Cleaning Your PC And Peripherals; Degunking And Configuring Your PC Work Area; Degunking Your Main PC Components; Degunking Your Peripherals; Untangling Your USB And FireWire Connections; Setting Up A Basic Network For Sharing Dial-Up Internet Connections; Moving To DSL Or Cable Internet; Creating Gunk-Free Wired Networks; Going Wireless While Staying Gunk-Less; Degunking Your Backup Strategy; Enhancing PC And Media Performance; Index
I think it's fair to say that if you've been around computers for any length of time, you probably know you should be doing a lot of the stuff in this book. PCs grow internal killer dust bunnies if not cleaned out occasionally (our kitchen PC grows new kittens). An attempt to unplug a device ends up becoming an exercise in tracing the Gordian knot of cables, with slicing through it not being a viable option. And, um, I really thought the plug for my Pocket PC cradle was *that* one, not the one that powered off my PC. If you follow the plans put forth in this book, you'll avoid much (if not all) of these issues. Ballew and Duntemann give you easy-to-follow tips on setting up a program to not only get your system cleaned up (hardware and software), but to keep it that way. They even help you justify getting rid of that ink-jet printer that hasn't worked in two years but you just haven't bothered to reclaim that desk space because you've ceased to notice it...
In some ways, this book seems to go a bit beyond straight degunking. When they talk about network degunking, you'll also get a fair amount of information on just what networking is, how it works, and what you need to know to make it all work. Long-time techies will already know much of that info, but this may be just what the newbie needs to move away from 56K dial-up to 5mb broadband. The style of writing is conversational and non-intimidating, so I think that people from just about all levels of background and experience should get something out of it.
For me, this is a highly recommended book. Now if I can sneak upstairs and start degunking my teenager's PC, I'll have made great strides...
Their twelve step degunking process covers cleaning your PC and peripheral equipment inside and out, unsnarling and labeling the cables that connect all the devices, overcoming the limitations of USB and Firewire devices, setting up and maintaining gunk-free networks (both wired and wireless), and setting up a shared Internet connection. There is also a good discussion of preventing data loss and how to properly backup data to external media.
The final portion of the book tells how to upgrade PC hardware: more RAM, adding home entertainment upgrades, and how to tweak computer performance. And since upgrading a computer often means that some hardware is cast aside, the book has an appendix that deals with responsibly recycling the items you no longer need (and making sure your personal information is not passed along).
Degunking Your PC for anyone who has a desire to better understand how PCs work, how to solve common hardware problems, how to install upgrades, and how to keep things running smoothly.
But just as important as HOW to do things, the book also tells you WHY and WHEN you should do things. If you have been reluctant to work on a computer yourself, this book should give you the confidence you have been lacking. And even if you have someone else handle things, you'll understand what has to be done and know whether the work is done right.