Refresh Your Windows 8 PC for Faster PC Performance

At many occasions, your Windows 8 PC might start performing abruptly and hangs at the same screen. However, unlike other Windows previous OS versions, Windows 8 will allow you to automatically repair system and make it as fresh as you used it the very first time. Refresh Your PC is another addition to great features of Windows 8 that lets you improve system performance and speed up PC without affecting the stored files on the hard drive.

Refresh PC will reinstall all the applications from scratch that you've already installed on your PC while ensuring that no data or applications will be lost after completing the action. Refresh PC will place a copy of stored files and applications at special place to prevent unwanted things from deleting your important files and damaging the installed applications. Refresh PC will keep ensure the following things to your PC during ongoing Refresh PC operation:
  • Any customization or personal settings will not be deleted or modified
  • PC settings or modified system parameters will be restored to defaults
  • The only applications will remain intact which were installed from the Windows store. Though, you'll lose any or all the applications that weren't installed from the Microsoft store.
Though, It’s always recommend to have your latest backup copy created before refreshing PC to make sure that you will not going to lose your important stuff when disaster strikes. However, you still have option to recover data, just in case you lost it anyhow.

How to refresh your Windows 8 PC?
  • Press 'Windows + Q' to open all apps with search bar at the top left corner and type Change PC settings. Choose the Settings tab just below the App.
  • Click on the general tab and choose to Get Started  from the “Refresh your PC without affecting your files” option.
  • On the next screen, you may able to see that what will open when you start refreshing your PC like files & personalization settings, PC settings etc. See the image below for your reference:

  • Click on Next button. Your PC will restart and might take few minutes to complete the requested action.

Once the PC is successfully refreshed, you will able to feel the difference in system performance and any freezing issues completely removed.

How to monitor a Mac OS hard drive?

This article will shed some light upon free ways available to monitor several activities on the Macintosh HD and its several volumes. We shall also be taking the help of non-Apple utilities to take care of some of the drive issues.  
  • S.M.A.R.T - This comes in-built with every Mac model and is child's play to view the overall status of the health of the hard drive. To view S.M.A.R.T, go through Application<Utilities<Disk Utilities, select the main hard drive (Seagate 100.00 GB HD). Else, you can also select the hard drive displayed with icons to generate SMART status. One you choose a hard drive, click on the “Info” button, or hit the keyboard command which is “CMD+I”. Another window appears displaying the related S.M.A.R.T information. A positive SMART status brings relief to a Mac user; otherwise a failing status is a sign of concern i.e. hard drive failure.  
  • Temperature: - I bet, this activity might be on the least priority in normal room conditions. Ever wondered about those Mac users sitting with their Macs in places like Paraguay or some other place which are quite hot and humid. This is where the need for monitoring the hard drive temperature is most needed. Since, disk utility doesn't give you facility to manually monitor the hard drive temperature; there is no. of paid apps that can do it for you.  Temperature Gauge: - Available at $10, proved to be of great help when you need to analyze the rise & fall of your Mac hard drives.
  • Verify Disk: - This is the field of disk utility and it perfects in it by running a full scan of the Macintosh HD, finding logical faults and bringing up to the user. If the Mac volumes are suffering from damaged directory structure, Invalid Tree Nodes, and bad blocks then anyhow the disk utility will let the user know. Though disk utility is built to repair any kind of logical corruption some major errors & directory corruption may be beyond the repair of Disk Utility. Moreover, if the hard drive has got few or more bad blocks then disk utility won't let you find them. To overcome this limitation of the disk utility, take the help of a 3rd party tool like 'Stellar Drive Monitor' which is equipped to scan the entire hard drive and locate all the bad sectors one-by-one. As soon as you realize the Mac disk is infected with bad blocks, immediately take necessary action by using a hard drive clone utility to image the drive and save it to a safer location. The imaging utility will ascertain that it copies all the data from the good sectors, leaving behind the bad ones. This way you can save all that data residing on the Mac OS X hard drive that contain bad blocks. 
Conclusion: - It is always good to ensure Mac hard drive safety with the help of Macs own disk utility as well as a non – Apple tool. Though such tools are not available for free but spending few bucks on buying these tools rather than spending on a hard drive repair is left to the users to decide.

How to repair Start-up Disk in Mac OS X?

Indeed your Mac has a start-up volume which is also called by the term boot drive. This boot drive holds the crucial Mac OS X information which is required to start the Mac machine. It is a healthy practice to segregate your entire hard drive into several logical volumes and make one of them as Mac start-up disk by installing the version of OS X on it. Every time you hit the power button to start the Mac, the OS X information is loaded from this boot drive which navigates you through the desktop. The Mac is guaranteed to come in a deadlock if this boot drive gets corrupted either logically or physically.

Can we predict a Mac hard drive failure? Yes, with the help of Mac's own in built mechanism the users, like you and me can arrive to a conclusion whether the drive may fail in near future. Use S.M.A.R.T status to generate health report of the Mac OS X hard drive & volumes. Go to Application folder and find Utilities folder to double click and launch the 'Disk Utility' application. The disk utility first tab named 'First Aid' is dedicated to scan an attached hard drive to generate its health report. Unlike other volumes, the 'Repair Disk' won't be of any help in case you are selecting to check your Mac boot drive.

Remember, to repair, defrag, or clone your Mac Start-Up disk you need to arrange secondary bootable devices like a CD-DVD, an external hard drive or a USB. When you boot on Mac from another device say an external hard drive then your primary storage device acts as an secondary device and you could then clone, defrag or repair it. Same is the case with Disk Utility that will not allow you to repair your active boot disk. But yes, you can run verify disk test but again it is noted that disk utility does not handles the verification of start-up disk efficiently. In that sense its buggy.

How to proceed then? If you received a Mac Installation disk at the time of purchase then you need to start your Mac with this disk. Start your Mac & put the disk, now hold the 'C' key till the Apple screen appears. Navigate to the 2nd screen and bring down the menu. Go to the Utilities section > Disk Utilities, choose the troubled hard drive you want to repair from the left side panel & hit the disk repair option. Once the process gets over, restart the Mac, and check if the problem is resolved. If you are lacking the Mac start-up disk then you could purchase it from the App Store or from other vendors.

What if the matter remains unresolved? It is quite obvious for the Mac disk utility to struggle with the amount of logical damage done to the hard drive. In that case you must equip yourselves with a professional Mac disk repair utility. For the boot drive, you again can select the repair tool that comes with a bootable DVD to run your Mac & repair the hard drive with the software.

Steps to begin with:
  1. Insert the boot DVD delivered with the software package & restart,
  2. Without wasting a time, press the Option key when the Mac begins to start. This will bring in the Start-up Manager displaying you few options to select the boot. Select your boot DVD to begin.
  3. The DVD will launch the Mac volume repair application from where you can select your troubled hard drive and start with its repair. Once everything is done shut off the system and boot it normally.
The Mac volume repair utility is a good choice over the disk utility to create/repair a new hard drive structure, cure Invalid Node errors etc. The repair tool may cost you few bucks but it can further prevent a costly hard drive failure.

Have Missing or Deleted Partitions on Your Windows, Now recover it with Ease

Partitions on hard drive play the vital role in storing valuable data and successfully running the system. However, accidentally loosing or formatting a partition is a situation that everybody faces now and then and may get no clues on how to recover it back easily. Deleted partition will not only wipe all your files, but suddenly become invisible in the drive.

Though, these kinds of situations is not so bad as you might think and deleted partitions are relatively easy to recover if you do have access to few advanced or powerful recovery program like the Stellar Phoenix Partition Recovery, available for free download and test. This program works pretty well on any normal as well as large capacity hard drives (more than 2 TB) and claim to recover partitions of almost any file system that you're likely to have on your PC like FAT16, FAT 32, ex-FAT, NTFS, NTFS 5 etc.

This program offers several advanced utility like Disk Cloning, Imaging, and Drive Status which becomes necessary in case, if the drive goes bad and you needs to clone or take image of the entire drive and later recover data from it. Drive Status i.e., S.M.A.R.T is pretty smart in advising you about the current drive status weather it's bad sector or blocks and inform you about the possible failure causes.

Simple DIY (Do-It-Yourself) mode based software could make your data recovery hassle even easier. This program requires simple operation which is relatively similar to other recovery programs but gives you more advanced options to deeply scan the drive like RAW Recovery or Advance recovery and offers more accurate results.

Just plug the problem drive to another computer and start scanning the drive. Choose Search for Lost Volumes option to scan the drive for missing partitions. Most likely, this will list all the recent partitions got deleted or formatted and you can able to safely restore them in just 2 or 3 clicks.

Remember, recovery programs have certain limitations and there is no guarantee that all your lost partitions will be found and recovered easily. Though, you can increase the chances of successful recovery by taking some precautionary steps like avoid using the drive, perform data recovery on different computer, stop using stupid methods like freezing etc.

Off course, this program isn't like other free programs or partially free programs which offers limited sets of data recovery and later ask you to pay certain amount for full recovery. Instead, it guarantees you that all possible recoverable files will be listed in the preview pane can be recovered when purchase is made or you've upgraded it to premium. It offers you to save the recovered files to any FTP locations, compress, and mail or simply save it to the local storage location and later copy/move it where ever else you want.