Ed VanHoose is the Digital Communications Administrator/IT Manager for the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives
Reader Q & A
Last month I asked readers to submit interesting technical issues they wanted addressed. You sure didn’t disappoint me! I’ve picked out a few to answer that I think might be more universal so as many people as possible can benefit from the response.
However, please keep in mind that all situations are different. While this column can point you in the right direction, it in no way substitutes for a professional examining your computer. That said, here we go!
Question 1 comes from Doris who asks, “What should I do if I spilled a glass of water on my laptop?”
Oh no! This is probably one of the most common occurrences out there as far as physical damage goes. If this happens to you, don’t panic. There are some things you can do to possibly correct the problem.
First, turn it off! You don’t want water interacting with live power. We all know what kind of trouble that can cause.
Second, turn the laptop upside down. Turning the laptop over will stop the flow of water to the internal parts of the computer, as well as allow gravity to pull some of the water out.
Now that you have the laptop upside down, take out the battery. If there’s water on the battery dry it off and set it to the side. Leave the battery out of the computer for at least a day, maybe two.
Whatever you do, do NOT get out the hair dryer. The air coming from hair dryers is super-heated and could potentially compound the situation in two ways. You could inadvertently blow the water into areas not already wet, and you could melt some of the internal components. Instead, use a regular fan set to blow past the laptop, not directly onto it.
Finally, be prepared to leave your laptop sitting in this manner for at least 24 hours. In fact, I recommend 48 hours. If, after that amount of time the computer still won’t boot, seek a nearby IT professional.
Question 2 comes from Bob who asks, “Can hibernation cause an unstable environment that can ruin the hard disk? Should I stay away from it?”
Although there are several ways to manage power options within Windows and each of those options has sub-options, essentially we have two possibilities. One is “Sleep mode” and the other is “Hibernate.”
Sleep mode is basically a lower-power mode in which power to most of the components in your system are turned off. However, power to the system memory is maintained to retain its contents, so that when you return to full-power mode, the system can simply continue where it left off almost instantly.
Hibernation is completely different. When your computer hibernates, the entire contents of the system memory are dumped to a file on the hard drive before powering down the entire system. So, when you power back up, the system boots like a normal power-up, then the operating system writes that file back to memory so that the computer can basically continue where it left off.
So why would hibernation be bad? Well, usually it wouldn’t. However, should you be running software that writes information to the system registry (and if that’s happening, it’s probably malware anyway), and should that software be in the middle of doing that when you put your computer into hibernation, then you could encounter a problem. Your computer may restart with a half-modified registry, then the software may or may not restart, and it may end up causing your computer issues.
That’s quite a few “mays” though! In general, you have nothing to fear when using hibernation. It’s only when you combine hibernation with poorly written software that impacts the registry that you have a potential issue.
Bob also wrote asking how to re-enable hibernation on his computer.
If you want to re-enable hibernation on your computer visit: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/920730. There’s a handy little button about midway down the page that should do it for you. If that doesn’t work, they have pretty detailed instructions there too.
Thank you all for the questions. I am so sorry I don’t have the time or space to answer them all, but keep them coming! Who knows? Maybe yours will appear in a future issue! All questions I use are answered via e-mail as well.
Everybody has technical issues. Some are interesting. Some aren’t. If you have an interesting technical problem that you want answered in a future edition of Powered Up, please drop me an e-mail. (I might even answer some of the uninteresting ones too.)
Ed VanHoose is the Digital Communications Administrator/IT Manager for the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives in Springfield. He is a specialist in the IT field with over 12 years of experience working in leadership roles for technology based projects in Illinois and Missouri.