What to do when a second hard drive bricks your PC

Mahenthiran K installed a second hard drive into his PC. The computer should still boot from the original drive, but it doesn’t boot at all.

When you install a second hard drive in a PC, it shouldn't get in the way of the original drive’s boot process. Of course, there’s often a big gap between what should happen and what does happen.

Let’s see if we can fix this problem.

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USB 3.0 speed: real and imagined

This story has been updated.
When Don Stovicek set out to buy a fast USB 3.0 flash drive, he discovered that the advertised speeds fell well below even USB 2.0’s official capabilities.

The now-aging USB 2.0 standard can theoretically transfer data at a very high 480 megabits per second (mbps), or 60 megabytes per second (MBps). That’s impressive, but not as much as the newer USB 3.0, which can handle up to 5gbps (640MBps)—over ten times as fast as the 2.0 maximum.

Why is it that the current crop of USB 3.0 flash drives don't deliver full USB 3.0 speed? Most of them max out—according to manufacturer specifications—at 100MBps (800mbps) or less. In a casual search, I only found one, the Mushkin Enhanced Ventura Plus, that advertised a read speed of 200MBps (1.6gbps). That’s still less than half USB 3.0's maximum.

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How to stream media from your PC to your HDTV over WiFi

Nik keeps his PC downstairs. But he wants to watch videos stored on that PC on an HDTV that’s upstairs. What’s the simplest way to do that?

There’s actually an open standard for sharing media files across a home network. It’s called the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA), and you probably already have everything you need to use it.

First, some definitions: The device that sends the stream—such as a PC—is the DLNA server. The device that receives the stream—such as an HDTV or something connected to the TV—is the DLNA renderer (I really hate that term; player or receiver would be much friendlier). Both devices must be on the same network.

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Don't use the same external drive for backup and storage

Marios Papadopoulos stores media files on a 1TB external hard drive. He asked about using the same drive for backup.

Technically speaking, there's no reason why you couldn't use the same hard drive for backing up your internal drive and storing overflow data that don't fit on your internal drive. But doing so is a really bad idea.

[Have a tech question? Ask PCWorld Contributing Editor Lincoln Spector. Send your query to answer@pcworld.com.]

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Top 10 fixes for common PC problems: The best of PCWorld's Answer Line

I’ve been answering questions from PCWorld readers since 1997, and I think I’ve read about every problem that Windows and PC hardware can provide.

But some questions pop up over and over again. Others rarely come up, but nevertheless involve important issues that every user needs to know about. Still, others are unanswerable, and the only advice I can give is to have a professional look at the PC.

Here are 10 Answer Line articles from the last two years that every Windows user should read.

6. Is one antivirus program really better than two?

one antivirus program is better than two

Arcticsid made the mistake of installing one antivirus program on a new PC that already had another.

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You've fallen for a scam! Now what?

Cybercriminals tricked Fred into giving away sensitive information. Now he wants to know how “to mitigate this situation?”

Don’t feel bad. We all make stupid mistakes. But with these sorts of mistakes, you have to act fast to avoid disaster.

What you need to do depends on how you were tricked. Did you give them your email password? Your bank and/or credit card numbers? Your passwords for Facebook, Twitter, or other social media sites? Did they remotely access your PC, or trick you into installing software?

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Troubleshoot a dead Internet connection

Kathy Hintz wants to know why a friend can’t get an Internet connection.

I hate network problems. They’re the worst. When they happen in my house, I tend to use a vocabulary that would shock Quentin Tarantino.

A wide variety of problems can block Internet (and local network) communications. Your first job is to find the cause. Follow these steps in this order, and you should at least figure out what is the causing the problem.

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