Sound of door closing isn't computer failure

HELPDESK

Plugged In

October 04, 2007|By BILL HUSTED | BILL HUSTED,The Atlanta Journal Constitution

Almost daily (sometimes more than once) I hear a clunking noise when I am on the Internet using AOL. It sounds like a metal clunking noise and almost seems to vibrate a little. It never happens at any other time when I am on the computer, just when I am online. It happens at various times, while reading e-mail, writing e-mail or doing research on the Internet.

- Vivian Kinsel

That's not a problem, it's a feature. When someone on your AOL buddy list logs off there is the sound effect of a door slamming. You'd be surprised at how often I get this question, by the way.

I need a laptop to take with me on an extended vacation to Hot Springs Village, Ark. ... I know nothing about laptops so I need a recommendation for the amount of RAM I need, whether I need a two-hour or four-hour battery, if batteries are rechargeable.

- Sheila Egan

First the batteries: What you need depends on how you plan to use your laptop. For instance, I seldom operate my laptop using battery power. I take it on trips with me but plug it in at the condo or hotel. So battery life isn't important. But if you envision using it outside a lot, or in areas where there is no AC outlet, then the longer-lived batteries would be the way to go. Any battery used in a laptop will be rechargeable. Generally the best batteries are lithium ion.

As for RAM, get 2 gigabytes if you can afford it and no less than 1 gigabyte.

Almost any brand is going to be fine. To be honest, most buy parts (circuit boards, hard disks, chips) from the same suppliers. So get a name brand but it doesn't much matter which one.

For most basic uses, any processor in a new laptop is going to be fine. So get a machine that fits your budget.

One note: Shoot for a hard disk with 120 gigabytes, and don't go any smaller than 80 gigabytes.

We recently had our computer worked on and the technician strongly recommended we keep the computer on, all the time, and only turn the monitor off. It is the computer that the whole family uses and it is used most days. What do you recommend?

- Chris Englemann

You'll be fine either way. I turn my computer off when I go to sleep at night, or when I'm away for the day. Turning it off means fewer chances of a hacker breaking in and cuts the chance of damage from a fast-brewing storm.

bhusted@ajc.com

Bill Husted writes for The Atlanta Journal Constitution.

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