So, at this point, I had a usable computer. Since I was pretty burned out by the hours I spent working on it already, I didn’t want to dive right back in and started using it a bit more. Besides, I didn’t know I wasn’t done yet (aside from knowing I was missing a multi-card reader, which I need). There was also the fact that the hard drive cage was laying out on the floor and it was somewhat annoying. But that was stuff I was willing to deal with in the short term, as I wanted to get working on setting up the software in my newly built PC. After using it for a few days and discussing the project with friends and coworkers, I started thinking about things I could do to improve it.
So, earlier this year I decided that I would build a PC for the first time. Previously, I had only done component upgrades on prebuilt computers. This got me familiar with working inside a computer case, but I never had built one from scratch, so I had to figure out what is involved with choosing components, matching things together to make sure everything is compatible, and what it’s like to do all the subsequent tweaking and troubleshooting when the inevitable problems arise.
Super Users often find ourselves installing operating systems. Whether you run your own computer shop, manage an army of thousands of corporate workstations, or are just the tech-savvy friend everyone you know calls for help, you’ve probably had to install various flavors of Windows over and over again. Most of us have also spent a fair amount of time installing different Linux distros, running data recovery disks, and using various live CDs.
The problem that presents itself is managing all of the required disks. There are at least 6 common flavors of Windows 7 alone (Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate for both x86 and x64, plus Enterprise for you corporate types). Add in various distros of Linux and you start to see why some computer techs carry around whole folders of CDs.
I’ve been aware of Pendrive Linux for a while, which lets you setup a flash drive with multiboot Linux software, and can add a single Windows installation. But what if you wanted to have a single flash drive with all versions of Windows 7, as well as all the standard Linux boot disks? It took some work, but I decided to do this and the final result is impressive.
A recent question asked:
I’ve seen a couple of sites that use wwws in their domain, for example: wwws.mint.com and wwws.whitehouse.gov. I’m sure it has something to do with an extra layer of security. What does it mean and what is it used for? Why do only a handful of sites use it?
Filed under Browsers
The next time you’re taking a look at our Frequently Asked Questions list, you may notice some small changes:
A few months ago, we had some discussion on meta about whether home networking questions were within the scope of Super User. The community proposed via Super User Meta that we update the FAQ to more directly represent that home networking questions are allowed on Super User, and always have been – it just hadn’t been specifically mentioned in the FAQ.
In the course of this discussion, it was also agreed that we should include a statement to the effect of questions dealing with corporate networks and support being off-topic, as they are more appropriate for Server Fault.
After some editing and discussion, the following changes were decided upon:
- Adding to the “If you have a question about” section: personal and home computer networking
- Adding to the “question is not about” section: issues specific to corporate IT support and networks
Please note that these changes to the FAQ do not represent a change in policy for Super User — questions which were previously on-topic are still on-topic. We just changed the language to make the site’s policies more explicit.
Several people have already asked about the distinction of professional IT support and corporate networking. Increasingly, the line between “business” and “consumer” computers is blurring. Indeed, the definition of what constitutes a computer is itself a topic of debate.
To clarify: any question where the answer would be essentially the same whether you asked it about your workplace computer or home computer is perfectly valid on Super User. Data recovery, installing operating systems, connecting between computers, and so forth are all still welcome. The types of IT questions we discourage are things like volume licensing, active directory, business-grade routers, mass image deployment, and other issues which are irrelevant to non-corporate users. These are the sorts of thing we mean by “issues specific to corporate IT support”.
If you have any further questions, feel free to leave them in the comments on this post, and the Super User moderation team will respond to your queries. You can also reach us in the Ask a Moderator Chat Room.
Filed under Super User
It’s time for our Question of the Week. This time, Jacob Hayden asked:
While this sounds like a very subjective question, it gained quite some attention. Our long-term user William Hilsum added a great answer, explaining what virtualization even is, and how it became so useful these days.
Videos are everywhere. They come in quite a few different formats – all with their own advantages and disadvantages. Converting videos from one format to another is a very simple task, given the right tools. In this post, we will go through the most popular video codecs and the software you need to get the best results.
We return with a new Question of the Week, this time addressing Windows Updates. Lital maatuk asks,
I downloaded a lot of Windows updates in the automatic mode. Are they all necessary? Can I remove some of them? How do I know which ones are necessary?
Jens Erat, one of our newest users, gave a very detailed and well thought-out answer about the different types of Windows updates and their relative importance.
Filed under Question of the Week
I’m currently taking a college course called “The Evolution of Computing and Its Impacts on History”. Right now we’re learning about the very early days of computing machines – the Jacquard loom, the Babbage engines, and other non-electronic early computers. Our first assignment was to write about our personal computing history – our first computer, experiences with computers that influenced or changed our lives, etc. In my personal computing history, I mentioned my experiences with Super User and how this community has helped me to learn more about computers. Now I’d like to know more about your experiences with computers.
How did you come to love technology? Do you remember your first computer? What about the first time you used the internet? Submit your computer history as a blog post, or if you don’t have an account on the blog yet, send it in via email or as a Google Doc and we’ll get you set up. I’ll be posting my own essay soon as an example, but there’s no set format. Just tell us about your experiences with computers! If you have any questions, leave them in the comments.
For the last 10 years I have been fortunate enough to experience many perspectives on IT support. From the early days cutting my tech teeth on my own first computer running Windows 98 and then Windows 2000 and being too poor to pay somebody else to upgrade the system or repair it for me when my own (or my brother’s) stupidity or clumsiness crashed the thing, to being the on-site technical presence as an office assistant in a small not-for-profit, to getting my first “real” IT job for a large-ish not-for-profit doing end user support for 150 on-site users and another 50 remote users, to fixing computer problems for every Tom, Dick, and Harry who came to the service desk at a large electronics retailor, to the white-collar office jobs of the last few years; it has been an engaging, illuminating, educating, frustrating, and ultimately worthwhile pursuit.
While it’s not the most glamorous position nor the best paid, end-user IT support occurs at the confluence of two great passions of mine: people and computers, For me it is an incredibly fulfilling job.
But I’d be nowhere without my tools.
I assume every geek has a list like mine: a list of tools, utilities, tricks, gimmicks, black- and white-magik spells that allow you to tame the raging beasts threatening to consume users. Like others, probably, I don’t hold my list too tightly. If another tool does a better job, it may easily replace an existing tool. However, even if it does a better job, if it doesn’t work the way I want to work or need to work, whichever the case may be, an arguably superior product is not guaranteed inclusion in my toolbox. more »