These questions have been selected by the community as high-quality posts with generalized answers to questions which come up frequently on Super User. They are more canonical answers which can apply to many different variations on a topic.

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27
votes
4answers
3k views

Are CPUs more stable with one or more cores disabled?

I was reading this article, and I couldn't help noticing this: ...7003.38 MHz, with two CPU cores enabled and hyper-threading disabled. Does disabling some CPU cores & disabling ...
110
votes
3answers
152k views

Where can I download Windows 7 (legally from Microsoft)?

I just bought a serial for Windows 7 on-line from the Microsoft store (the most painful shopping experience EVER!). I selected that I wanted to download my version of Windows 7 after purchase. After ...
55
votes
8answers
19k views

Why does Windows only show about 3.5 GB of my more than 4 GB of RAM?

I recently upgraded my computer's RAM to 4 GB. My 32-bit Windows installation shows only 3574 MB of the memory. How can I make Windows use the full amount of RAM?
75
votes
1answer
99k views

What is port forwarding and what is it used for?

There are a lot of questions on 'port forwarding' but there doesn't seem to be one that clearly states what it is and what it's used for. So: What is Port Forwarding? What is it used for, and why ...
244
votes
16answers
177k views

How can I remove malicious spyware, malware, viruses or rootkits from my PC?

What should I do if my Windows computer seems to be infected with a virus or malware? What are the symptoms of an infection? What should I do after noticing an infection? What can I do to get rid of ...
155
votes
7answers
176k views

What are PATH and other environment variables, and how can I set or use them?

Questions about setting environment variables the PATH are very common here, and in most cases the answers are very similar to each other. In the future it would be nice to have a good Q/A for ...
82
votes
9answers
243k views

What can I do if I forgot my Windows 7 password?

I got a brand new Windows 7 machine, installed the operating system, created one account and forgot its password. What can I do? There is no external CD, the operating system is loaded from somewhere ...
33
votes
9answers
84k views

How do I determine which graphics card I'm using?

I recently read this answer on Gaming.SE, which made me realize that I actually have no idea how to tell which graphics card I have in my PC. Where can I find this information?
5
votes
7answers
17k views

Why do applications “need to close” or “stop working”, and what can I do about it?

While I use a application, the following error message appears (depending on the version of Windows): Windows XP [application name] has encountered a problem and needs to close. We are sorry for ...
19
votes
2answers
555 views

How do I identify hardware I am unfamiliar with on my computer?

How would I go about identifying a port, card or connector on my system which I am unfamiliar with? Where would I find information on what these parts are? What would be the steps I would take in ...
3
votes
1answer
194 views

Why does my computer beep when I turn it on? What are these beep codes?

Due to the amount of beep codes a PC can give, there are many questions on Super User about beep codes! I'm hoping this post will help to provide a community answer about all (dare I say all?) beep ...
17
votes
2answers
2k views

How do I recover lost/inacessible data from my storage device?

What steps can I take to try to recover lost or inaccessible data from any storage device? Answers: This applies to any main storage devices; eg. internal/external hard drive, USB stick, Flash ...
54
votes
8answers
72k views

Install Windows 7 from USB flash drive

I have an ISO image of the Windows 7 installation DVD, but I can't burn it to CD or DVD. I have an empty flash drive with plenty of space. Is there any way I can put the ISO image on it and install ...
23
votes
6answers
56k views

How to choose a UPS / calculate power for a new PC

Seven years ago a friend gave me a Liebert PowerSure 250 UPS and it has done well for whatever (home) PC and monitor I've plugged into it over the years. I've just ordered a new PC with the Intel core ...
41
votes
2answers
6k views

How do I diagnose not being able to reach a specific website as an end user?

If I can generally reach web pages on the Internet but can't reach a specific one, how do I troubleshoot what the cause is as an end user? This question was a Super User Question of the Week. ...
176
votes
19answers
54k views

How can I visualize the file system usage on Windows?

How can I visualize which folders and files are taking up all of the space on my hard drive? I'm getting some conflicting reports on the size of hard drive contents. Namely what is and isn't there ...
17
votes
3answers
17k views

How do I troubleshoot hardware issues related to a computer freeze/crash?

What are some common guidelines and issues related to hardware being the issue of a computer crash? What should I look for and how do I troubleshoot these problems? What are some tools that are ...
37
votes
4answers
2k views

How do I troubleshoot when I have no clue where to start?

I am looking for hints, tips and answers on how to get started on troubleshooting when: The problem is intermittent The problem could lie literally anywhere - operating system; free source software; ...
19
votes
5answers
31k views

Where should I find drivers for my laptop if it didn't come with a driver disk?

I had to reformat my machine because I had a virus. My machine did not come with a driver disk. How can I install drivers after having reinstalled windows?
80
votes
1answer
9k views

Windows 7 and Vista Activation FAQ: How do language, version, 64-bit or 32-bit, and source affect ability to install and transfer Windows licenses?

We get a lot of questions on Super User about Windows activation and licensing. This question is an attempt to answer the most common questions in one place with a canonical answer. When ...
49
votes
5answers
7k views

What is the difference between Windows 8 and Windows RT?

I was reading the specs about MS Surface and saw that there are two Models offered. One with Windows RT and one with Windows 8 Pro. I'm wondering what's the difference between those two OS?
47
votes
8answers
82k views

HDMI vs Component vs VGA vs DVI vs DisplayPort

What are the pros and cons of each of these different display adapters and cables? From what I can understand, HDMI offers the ability to send audio along the same cable as well as the ability to do ...
3
votes
3answers
5k views

I don't have a touchscreen. How can I do gestures on my Windows 8 laptop's touchpad?

I just got a new Windows 8 laptop, but it doesn't have a touchscreen, and it seems like a lot of the gestures are designed for touchscreens, and not current mice & touchpads. Is there a way to use ...
20
votes
1answer
6k views

How to Diagnose a Pre-Operating System Load or Hardware Issue

How can I find out if my problem is hardware based? If it is, how can I figure out what component is to blame How can I fix other pre-operating system issues? As an aside, what are all of these ...
14
votes
3answers
3k views

What should a person know before assembling their first computer?

For people who are setting out to build a computer for the first time, there's a lot of information on this site about how to choose an appropriate set of components. But after searching for a while, ...
6
votes
1answer
406 views

How can I tell which versions of Windows 8 a program will work on?

I've heard that there are two versions of Windows 8, and that some programs will only work on certain versions. What are the different versions of Windows 8, and how can I tell whether a particular ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

How do I recover or “undelete” files that I accidentally deleted?

I've accidentally deleted some really important files on my machine, and I'm looking to find out how to recover them. Using the Trash bins "restore" isn't an option, as the files aren't there (mostly ...
4
votes
3answers
3k views

How can I know I'm buying a heatsink that will work with my CPU?

How can I find out what CPU heatsink and fan will work for my system? If a system is shutting down after being used extensively for gaming or other intensive activities, I would assume it is over ...
59
votes
5answers
6k views

What do I need to consider when buying hardware to meet my needs?

I'm looking to build a new computer from the ground up. I'm not sure what to look out for and need guidance and help on how to pick the hardware needed to construct my new rig. How do I know what to ...
4
votes
4answers
2k views

How do computers boot?

How does a computer boot and how does this differ for Windows, Linux and other OSes?
24
votes
4answers
7k views

Is there a product key finder for a PC?

How can I find the product keys for my Windows operating system and software installed, like Office, Adobe Creative Suite, and other software which requires an activation key?