Q&A: Do I need to replace a hard drive that fails the SMART Check?

bad-hard-driveQuestion from Eugene N.:  Rick, I have a 2 year old desktop computer that I fear might have a failing hard drive. I’m a professional photographer and I primarily use this PC for editing my photos.

Everything was working fine until late last night, but now every time I turn the computer on I get an error stating that the hard disk is in danger of failing and I need to run the hard disk test in system diagnostics.

When I run the disk test it says “SMART Check: FAILED”. Do you think I need to just go ahead and have the hard drive replaced or is there a way to fix this error?

I sprung for a 2 year extended warranty when I bought the PC, but I’m not sure it’ll cover the repair if it turns out to be a software problem. I’m not worried about losing any data though because I create a new system image after I download the photos from every shoot.

Rick’s answer:  [Continue Reading]

HP reverses course on their new third-party ink cartridge ban

hp-officejet-pro-8610A few days ago I wrote a post explaining how a new firmware update for some HP printers effectively banned the use of third-party printer cartridges.

Well, it appears that they received so many complaints that it prompted them to reconsider the move and even apologize for it in a post on their corporate blog.

Of course they worded the apology in a way that frames the issue as a “communications” problem, but the real problem is the ban itself in my opinion, not the way they chose to “communicate” with their customers about it. [Continue Reading]

Q&A: What all does a System Image back up?

Windows-10-logoQuestion from Olivene T.:  Rick, I spent a few minutes reading your post that explains how to create a System Image in Windows 10, but I’m a little confused.

What exactly is backed up when you create one. Thanks in advance for clearing this up for me.

Rick’s answer:  [Continue Reading]

Q&A: Is csrss.exe a virus?

microsoft-windowsQuestion from David K.:  My computer has Windows 7 and there is a file named csrss.exe running according to Task Manager. Actually, there are two of them. They are in system.

Some websites say this file is a virus, and others say it isn’t. How do I know?

Rick’s answer:  David, csrss.exe is a critical system file, not a virus. The filename is actually an acronym that stands for Client/Server Run-Time Subsystem.

It is perfectly normal to see this file listed in Task Manager (often twice) as it loads into memory every time Windows starts up. [Continue Reading]

Q&A: Can my wireless router be upgraded to make it an AC router?

tp-link-archer-c7-ac1750-routerQuestion from Rhonda P.:  I’ve heard that you can upgrade a router’s software to make it more up to date.

I have a Netgear RangeMax WNDR3700 that still works great and I was wondering if it can be upgraded to make it work like an “AC” router? That way I wouldn’t have to buy a new one.

Thanks for your help!

Rick’s answer: [Continue Reading]

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