Best products from r/techsupport
We found 699 comments on r/techsupport discussing the most recommended products. We ran sentiment analysis on each of these comments to determine how redditors feel about different products. We found 6,132 products and ranked them based on the amount of positive reactions they received. Here are the top 20.
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1. StarTech.com SATA to USB Cable - USB 3.0 to 2.5” SATA III Hard Drive Adapter - External Converter for SSD/HDD Data Transfer (USB3S2SAT3CB)
- QUICKLY ACCESS A SATA SSD OR HDD: By connecting to a SATA 2.5" SATA SSD or HDD using this SATA to USB cable--you can add storage, perform backups, create disk images, implement data recoveries, and transfer content to your laptop
- FAST TRANSFER SPEEDS WITH UASP: The SATA to USB adapter supports USB 3.0 data transfer speeds of 5Gbps, plus you can experience transfer speeds up to 70% faster than conventional USB 3.0 when connected to a computer that also supports UASP
- CONNECT FROM ANYWHERE: The hard drive USB adapter is a portable solution that tucks away nicely in a laptop bag with no external power required
- SAVE TIME: The hard drive transfer cable lets you easily swap between drives with no need to install the drive inside an enclosure--just plug and play
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2. ASUS RT-N66U Dual-Band Wireless-N900 Gigabit Router
- 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Concurrent Dual-Band Transmissions for Strong Signal Strength and Ultra-Fast Connection Rates up to 900Mbps
- Gigabit Ethernet Ports for the Fastest, Most Reliable Internet Performance
- Download Master for Wireless Data Storage and Access to Router-Connected USB Storage Devices
- Expanded Wireless Coverage with 3 Detachable High-Powered Antennas
- File Sharing, Printer Sharing, and 3G Sharing via Two Multi-Functional Built-in USB Ports
- ASUSWRT Dashboard UI for Easy Setup, Signal Monitoring, and Network Application Control
- WAN Ports - 1 x 10/100/1000M, LAN Ports - 4 x 10/100/1000M
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3. Intel Centrino Advanced N6205 Full/Half Height Brackets (62205ANHMWDTX1)
300 Mbps Wireless Transmission SpeedWi-Fi Adapter802.11nPCI Express
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4. TP-Link AV600 Powerline Ethernet Adapter - Plug&Play, Power Saving, Nano Powerline Adapter, Expand Home Network with Stable Connections (TL-PA4010 KIT)
- Fast speed: Wired connection with high speed data transfer rate, ideal for HD video or 3D video streaming and online gaming, up to 100Mbps
- Plug and Play: No new wires and no configuration required; Step 1: connect 1 adapter to your router. Step 2: plug in another Powerline adapter wherever you need wired internet service.
- Network expansion: The TL-PA4010 KIT transforms your home's existing electrical circuit into a high-speed network with no need for new wires or drilling and brings wired network to anywhere there is a power outlet(Up to 300 meters)
- Miniature design: Smaller than most Powerline adapters in the market, blends discreetly in front of any power outlet
- Power Saving Mode: TL-PA4010 KIT automatically switches from its "Working" mode to efficient "Power-Saving" mode when not in use, reducing energy consumption by up to 85%.
- Please note that powerline adapters must be deployed in sets of two or more
- Kindly Reminder: Powerline Adapters must be on the same electrical circuit for connectivity. Appliances and devices running on the same circuit may affect powerline performance.
- Compatible with all TP-Link Powerline Ethernet Adapters AV2000, AV1300, AV1200, AV1000, AV600, AV500, AV200. Please purchase TL-WPA4220 or TL-WPA4220KIT if you need Wi-Fi
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5. Edimax EW-7811Un 150Mbps 11n Wi-Fi USB Adapter, Nano Size Lets You Plug it and Forget it, Ideal for Raspberry Pi / Pi2, Supports Windows, Mac OS, Linux (Black/Gold)
- Supports 150 Mbps 802.11n Wireless data rate - the latest wireless standard. Permits users to have the farthest range with the widest coverage. (Up to 6 times the speed and 3 times the coverage of 802.11b.).
- Power Saving designed to support smart transmit power control and auto-idle state adjustment
- Supports WMM (Wi-Fi Multimedia) Standard so that you can let different types of data have higher priority. It would allows better streaming of real-time data such as Video, Music, Skype etc
- Includes multi-language EZmax setup wizard
- Spec Standards IEEE 802.11n; backward compatible with 802.11b/g Wi-Fi Certified. Security 64/128 bit WEP Encryption and WPA-PSK, WPA2-PSK security; WPS compatible IEEE 802.1X
- Port 1 x 2.0 USB Type A. Wireless Data Rates Up to 150 Mbps. Modulation OFDM: BPSK, QPSK, 16-QAM, 64-QAM, DSSS. Frequency Band 2.4GHz - 2.4835GHz. Antenna internal chip antenna
- Channels (FCC) 2.4GHz : 1~11. Power Input USB Port (Self-Powered). Dimensions 0.28" x 0.59" x 0.73". Temperature 0 -40 degree C (32-104 degree F). Humidity 10 ~ 90% Non-Condensing. System XP/Vista/Win7, Mac, Linux
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6. TP-Link Wireless N300 2T2R Access Point, 2.4Ghz 300Mbps, 802.11b/g/n, AP/Client/Bridge/Repeater, 2x 4dBi, Passive POE (TL-WA801ND),White
- 300Mbps wireless transmission rate, brings smooth wireless N experience
- Supports multiple operating modes: Access Point, Client, Universal/ WDS Repeater, Wireless Bridge
- Easily setup a WPA encrypted secure connection at a push of the QSS button
- Up to 30 meter (100 feet) Power over Ethernet capability for flexible deployment
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7. Sabrent USB External Stereo Sound Adapter for Windows and Mac. Plug and Play No Drivers Needed. (AU-MMSA)
- Connectors: USB Type-A, Stereo output jack, Mono microphone-input jack.
- Driverless for Windows 98SE/ME/2000/XP/Server 2003/Vista/7/8/Linux/Mac OSX.
- USB bus-powered, no external power required.
- Reverse Compliant with USB Audio Device Class Specification 1.0
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8. SANOXY A12940 SATA/PATA/IDE Drive to USB 2.0 Adapter Converter Cable
- Use your 2.5" / 3.5" IDE hard drive or SATA hard disc as an additional external hard drive. Connect your SATA / IDE device to your computer through a USB port. Compliant with USB 1.1 and 2.0 standards. Usb 2.0 interface for 480 MB/s high speed data transfer. Package includes USB to IDE / SATA cable adapter, SATA data cable, AC adapter, AC to IDE power converter, IDE to SATA and power cable
- Use your 2.5" / 3.5" IDE hard drive or SATA hard disc as an external hard drive
- 480 MB/s high speed transfer rate, 52x CD-ROM supported Key Product Features
- SANOXY SATA/IDE to USB 2.0 Adapter Supports 2.5-Inch, 3.5-Inch, 5.25-Inch Optical Hard Disk Drives
- Suggested Applications: 2.5" IDE Hard Disk / 3.5" IDE Hard Disk / SATA Hard Disk / CD/CD-RW ROM / DVD/DVD-RW ROM, and many other IDE/SATA Devices.
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9. TP-Link 5 Port 10/100 Mbps Fast Ethernet Switch | Desktop Ethernet Splitter | Ethernet Hub | Plug & Play | Fanless Quiet | Desktop Design | Green Technology | Unmanaged (TL-SF1005D),White
- PLUG-AND-PLAY - Easy setup with no configuration or no software needed
- ETHERNET SPLITTER Connectivity to your router or modem router for additional wired connections (laptop, gaming console, printer, etc.)
- 5 Port FAST ETHERNET - 5 10/100 Mbps auto-negotiation RJ45 ports greatly expand network capacity
- COST EFFECTIVE - Fanless Quiet Design, Desktop design
- RELIABLE - IEEE 802.3x flow control provides reliable data transfer
- UP to 68% Power Saving - Automatically adjusts power consumption according to the link status and cable length
- AUTO-NEGOTIATION - Supports Auto-MDI/MDIX, eliminating the need for crossover cables
- Unlimited 24/7 technical support for FREE
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10. Vantec CB-ISATAU2 SATA/IDE to USB 2.0 Adapter Supports 2.5-Inch, 3.5-Inch, 5.25-Inch Hard Disk Drives (Black)
- Easily Add Storage to Any System with USB
- Supports HDD Capacity Up to 2TB
- Transfer Rates Up to 480 Mbps with USB 2.0
- Hot-Swappable: Plug and Play without Rebooting
- Compatible Windows PC or Mac with Available USB 2.0 Port
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11. Sabrent USB 3.0 to SATA External Hard Drive Lay-Flat Docking Station for 2.5 or 3.5in HDD, SSD [Support UASP] (EC-DFLT)
- Supports all 2.5 and 3.5-inch SATA drives
- Connects via SuperSpeed USB 3.0 (up to 10x as fast as USB 2.0)
- UASP (USB Attached SCSI Protocol) support for even faster performance. UASP requires UASP capable host system
- Serial ATA bus up to 6Gbps Signal bandwidth for fast storage backups
- This Docking station comes with a free download of Acronis True Image for Sabrent software for easy cloning
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12. ASUS RT-N12 N300 WiFi Router 2T2R MIMO Technology, 4K HD Video Streaming, VoIP,Up to 300 Mbps,Black
- Multiple 3 in 1 Router/Access Point /Range Extender wireless modes
- 4 SSIDs help manage bandwidth allocation and access control
- Powerful Online Multi tasking, throughput up to 300Mbps
- 2 detachable 5dBi antennas for more powerful and wider coverage
- Operating Frequency: 2. 4 GHz
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13. Metro ED500 DataVac 500-Watt 120 volt 0.75-HP Electric Blower Duster
- Sturdy all-steel construction. Please note: This item is a blower, NOT a vaccuum.
- Includes air pin-pointer, air concentrator nozzle, air -flare nozzle, micro-cleaning tool kit
- More effective than canned air and safer than canned air
- 500 watt motor, .75 HP, 4.5 amps, 70 CFM air flow
- 120 volt (not for use in 220 or 230-volt current).
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14. ARRIS SURFboard SB6121 4x4 DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem -Retail Packaging-Black
- Compatible with Time Warner Cable, Charter, Cox, Cablevision, and more
- Not compatible with Verizon FiOS or AT&T U-verse, no longer approved by Comcast Xfinity
- Requires Cable Iternet Service, if not sure your provider is CABLE call them to confirm
- BROWN BOX models NOT VALID for this item when sold as New, should report to Amazon immediately and RETURN to Seller
- Wired modem only, does NOT include WIFI Router or VOIP Telephone adapter. Gigabit Ethernet port to connect to computer or Router for fast downloads.
- Internet speeds based on your Cable providers service - up to 172 Mbps download and 131 Mbps upload. 4 Download and 4 Upload Channels.
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15. TP-Link TL-WDN4800 N900 Dual Band Wireless PCI Express Adapter with
- Party Essentials super fun quality plastic 7 inch neon party/salad bowls
- Each package includes 20 colorful party bowls; 5 each of neon pink, neon blue, neon green and neon orange
- Classic styling; hand washable; reusable; disposable; combine them with neon plates, cups and cutlery for a bright and bold party table
- Ideal for catering, food service, picnics, weddings, buffets, family reunions and everyday use
- From dinnerware, cutlery and cups to serve ware, table covers and more, Party Essentials is the perfect choice for beautifully and affordably entertaining family and friends
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16. AGPtek SATA/PATA/IDE Drive to USB 2.0 Adapter Converter Cable for Hard Drive Disk HDD 2.5" 3.5" with External AC Power Adapter
- ◆ USB 2.0 to 2.5" 3.5" IDE SATA HDD Hard Drive Converter Adapter Cable + AC Power Adapter, Supports SATA Hard Disk / ATA/ATAPI CD-ROM/R/RW DVD-ROM (based on ATAPI spec.) External power adapter included, for power up the 5V/12V IDE/ATAPI devices usage.
- ◆Use your 2.5" / 3.5" IDE hard drive or SATA hard disc as an external hard drive. Connect your ide to usb adapter to your computer through a USB port. 480 MB/s high speed transfer rate (USB 2.0 specification), limit depend on the IDE device/SATA device and the driver.
- ◆ Connect to the IDE device using USB interface and SATA device too. USB 2.0 standard, 480M bps full speed.
- ◆ AGPtEK sata to usb adapter can be easily connected to the IDE device / SATA device and make the hard disk device more portable.
- ◆ This usb sata ide adapter is easy to use and plug & play, no drivers needed.
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17. ASUS (RT-N16) Wireless-N 300 Maximum Performance single band Gaming Router: Fast Gigabit Ethernet, support USB-Hard Drive and Printer and Open source DDWRT
Powerful CPU provides a high-performance throughput up to 300MbpsMost widespread application with 2 USB2.0 ports : All-in-1 printer server and FTP files sharingOperating Frequency: 2.4 GHz; Interface: 5 Gigabit ports (1 x WAN / 4 x LAN)Graphical Network Map and Multiple SSID (guest SSID)Ultra-fast a...
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18. Drobo Beyond Raid 4-Bay USB 2.0/FireWire 800 SATA 6GB/S Storage Array with Drobo PC Backup DR04DD10
- Mix n match drive capacities
- Hot expandable up to 16TB
- Enhanced USB 2.0 performance
- FireWire 800 (FireWire 400 compatible)
- Redundant data protection
- FireWire 800 (FireWire 400 compatible)
- Enhanced USB 2.0 performance
- Redundant data protection
- Hot expandable up to 16TB
- Mix n match drive capacities
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19. TP-Link N300 Wi-Fi Range Extender (TL-WA850RE)
- Range Extender mode boosts wireless signal to previously unreachable or hard-to-wire areas flawlessly
- Miniature size and wall-mounted design make it easy to deploy and move flexibly
- Easily expand wireless coverage at a push of Range Extender button
- Ethernet port allows the Extender to function as a wireless adapter to connect wired devices, Compatible with other 802.11n/g/b products
- Tether App allows easy access and management using any mobile device, LED Control function includes a Night Mode for peaceful sleep
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20. Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260 plus Bluetooth Adapter (7260HMWDTX1)
Delivers dramatically faster Wi-Fi speeds (up to 867 Mbps1) than 802.11n, more capacity for more users (extended channel bonding 80MHz), broader coverage, and better battery life.Dual-mode Bluetooth 4.0 connects to the newest low-energy Bluetooth products, as well as your familiar devices, such as h...
I also bought a 128GB flash drive to keep some common repair program on and it has saved me a lot of time and trouble.
Put it all in a small backpack and you have a nice repair kit on the go!
Software! I use these weekly and it saves me a lot of time and trouble. I am open to suggestions on what you can also use, and would recommend using google for tutorials if you need help :)
If anyone else has suggestions on programs/tools to use i'm all ears. I've been doing repairs for the past 6-10 years (personally and for business) and these are the best things i've found so far. You can never have too much info/tools though :)
And make sure you upvote everyone else who is giving you ideas/suggestions. A community that grows together knows more :)
You are good at this troubleshooting, gold star to you sir!
You're getting there, but basically you just need to be more careful in future not to remove the drivers, but uninstall the device itself (because how are you going to get the drivers again without a connection)
Right, you need to get the drivers somehow. Do any of your friends have a WiFi USB dongle you could borrow? It's basically a wireless network card on the end of a USB. You can pick one up for pretty cheap on Amazon, and I would recommend this one:
Invest in one of these, they are lifesavers for situations exactly like these. I have about 5 lol.
If you can find a friend who has one, or get one yourself, install the driver that comes with it on CD and plug it in. You should get a WiFi connection right away under something like 'Wifi 2' in your network settings.
Go back into Device Manager and under the Unknown Devices section you should find some devices there, that are not recognised because of the lack of drivers.
Right click on each of them and click Update Driver Software, and then click Search automatically on the popped up window.
Let it do its thing, and it may take a few minutes. Windows 10 happens to be fantastic at searching for drivers, and it should find the drivers you need no bother at all!
Best of luck :)
Some things I do:
I'll update if I think of anything else.
Where I previously worked, all the techs were equipped with the following before going out in the field:
We also experimented with carrying compressed air cans but that stuff gets used too much. Where I currently work, we use this electronics duster/blower and even though it is quite loud, it works really well.
Most of it (except for the spart parts of switch, router, power supply, ethernet card and USB wireless card) fit into a tool bag. I don't think I forgot anything. If I remember, I'll add it to the list.
Looks like it's been a few weeks since this thread, but here's an update:
I hooked it up the way you suggested and it works great. The box they installed for the modem and all the wires is pretty small and there are only two outlets there so I took out the switch and just plugged four of the 6 ethernet cables directly into the router. Two of the rooms don't need internet at the current time anyway. Now my issue is that since the router is in the basement, the wifi isn't great on the main floor or even upstairs (which is two floors away). I bought one of those wifi range extenders that plug into the wall, and it works okay, but I'm thinking I might get better results by using a second router. I can get a second one that matches my first on Amazon for about $18 refurbished, which is about $10 less than I paid for that extender in the first place.
What's the difference between using a wireless access point and a second router? I know that the second router takes a bit of configuring, but it'd be worth it to also have a few extra wired ports there in the living room. That would be nice so that I can plug a gaming system or Roku box straight into it, and still have a lot of signal strength in the living room and upstairs.
>Thank you so much! I hope you don't mind me asking a bunch of dumb questions but these are the last ones I promise!
>>This is how the linked extender should work
>You mean the extender I linked right? The photos I put on the original post?
Upon closer inspection, i was wrong about the one you linked, and it is actually the first type of extender i described. They do work, but if there is already a lot of traffic in the air, this type will make things worse (really, adding wireless signals can never make congestion better).
This would be the second type, and putting one of these into Access Point mode is what I would recommend.
> I calculated the length of the ethernet cable I need to get it from the router to the room. And it's at about 50 feet, does that cross the limit of ethernet cable length you were telling me about?
The limit for 100mbps is 100 meters, so 50 feet is well within range.
Connecting the Wireless Access Point with a cable instead of wirelessly will actually improve the speed of communication between the Access Point and your router.
>are there different kinds of ethernet cable? What is the best one to use? Or is there just a standard ethernet cable?
There are several standards for cables. Cat5e is the most common, and it can reliably support speeds much much faster than the speeds your devices function at.
I've actually never seen the white connector on that cable before, and I'm sorry that I have no idea what that cable is called. If the cable doesn't need to be that long, I would definitely ask for a replacement.
Access Points are better than a repeater, but they need to be wired - either you'll have to do ethernet cable run or use powerline adapters (that make use of house wiring) to connect your router to AP unit.
There are 3 in 1 units that can act as either an AP, repeater, router. So maybe get one of those and keep your options open. Something like an Asus RT-N12 or similar.
Then if you can run an ethernet cable from your router to the AP unit, that would be best. But I'm guessing you can't/won't do this, or you would have run a cable already to the bedroom.
So that leaves you with Powerline Adapters. Get a kit from a place with a good return policy in case it's not compatible with your home wiring. Then if all good, just connect your router and AP with it, and you're good to go. Something like this powerline kit should be good enough. Though you can get units with gigabit ethernet or passthrough if you lack wall outlets.
WD Black (3.5"): https://www.amazon.com/Black-Performance-Desktop-Hard-Drive/dp/B00FJRS6FU/ref=pd_sbs_147_1/138-2200904-9500565?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B00FJRS6FU&pd_rd_r=aebe322f-1268-4416-bcf4-344f1483f9ff&pd_rd_w=k3Ban&pd_rd_wg=Hpesb&pf_rd_p=43281256-7633-49c8-b909-7ffd7d8cb21e&pf_rd_r=60ABZBZ0F3H18EK9F8XE&psc=1&refRID=60ABZBZ0F3H18EK9F8XE
Looks like Amazon also has some drive enclosures if you don't actually want to crack yours open. This one looks like it could even be easily replaced if you wanted to switch up the drive down the road! https://www.amazon.com/Sabrent-External-Lay-Flat-Docking-EC-DFLT/dp/B00LS5NFQ2/ref=sr_1_5?keywords=external+hard+drive+enclosure+3.5&qid=1567645642&s=electronics&sr=1-5
Otherwise that WD_ Black that you found seems like a good option too and at a reasonable price point for a 2TB drive. The DIY solution using the links in this post would be roughly $40 more to get the same 2TB capacity. But I guess the benefit of the DIY is that you could switch out the drive at any time and the enclosure is compatible with both 2.5 and 3.5 HDDs/SSDs... I may have to buy one of those for personal use lol.
Are you using the external drives with a laptop or desktop?
I don't know that there is an official "proper" way to back up data from a hard drive after a failed update/install. In this case, you have several options available. You can use something like a Linux Live distro to read the files on the drive and copy over anything important to an external hard drive or usb/thumb drive. You could also remove the hard drive completely and put it in another computer to copy files over or use a SATA/USB device like this to hook the hard drive up to another computer/laptop via USB: https://www.amazon.com/Vantec-CB-ISATAU2-Supports-2-5-Inch-5-25-Inch/dp/B000J01I1G/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1485921299&amp;sr=8-6&amp;keywords=sata+usb+adapter
As far as doing a fresh install, that part should be relatively easy. You can download Windows 10 and either install it to a USB or burn the ISO to a DVD using Microsoft's Media Creation Tool: https://www.google.com/#q=windows+10+media+creation+tool
As far as reformatting, Windows 10 will give you an option to do that on install. I think by default it just asks if you want to save files or do something else and you can pick to format. I usually just delete/format then tell it to install when that window comes up during install.
As far as backing up data after everything is set up - a good online backup and a local backup are pretty standard and usually easy to set up. Even using Windows you can schedule file backups to either remote networked drives or just other hard drives attached.
RAID setups are pretty popular as well, just note that Mirrored raid is more for protection against drive failure (hard drive crapping out) than it is for data protection as data is written to both drives at the same time RAID 1.
Hopefully this helps you out a bit.
You could try powerline ethernet adapter like this:
If the plug where your room is and the plug where the router is are in the same circuit, it should work great, if not it may be hit or miss.
Other than that you next best bet is to try to improve your wifi with a better access point.
Something like this will be better than most ISP provided routers
Or something like this should really cover a lot of area
You don't need an enclosure, but you will need a power cable. You could improvise if you have a spare power supply lying around, but it sounds like that's unlikely. Your best bet is probably getting something like this.
Do not trust that drive as far as you can comfortably spit a rat, though. Just get what you can off it and discard it. Depending on how important the data is, if you can find a circuit board for exactly the same model disk (eBay can sometimes help here) that might help it hold together longer and/or let you get more data off the disk. They are usually pretty east to swap.
I've been using ASUS RT-N56U and been happy with it.
They also have a newer model ASUS RT-N66U
> Is there a way to quickly connect the HDD to my laptop,
You'll need something like an external enclosure or a SATA to USB adapter to be able to connect it to your laptop. The enclosure/docking station I listed is a bit overkill as it works with both 2.5" and 3.5" disk drives. You can save almost half the price if you get a dedicated 2.5" OR 3.5" dedicated enclosure.
> permanently delete the already deleted files, then disconnect it and put it back where he had it?
Assuming you can get the HDD connected to your laptop, the free version of CCeaner has the capability to permanently remove those "deleted" files that still reside on the drive. Here's a youtube video showing how it's done (sorry the guy is a little hard to understand, but I think you'll get the idea). Good luck and feel free to ask questions should you have any.
You can go cheap on the opening tools without being penalized.
Laptops and the like aren't cars - they don't require tons of force but you DO need the right bits and/or shims to get them open without stripping heads or damaging plastics.
Something similar to this which has a bunch of bits, magnetized pickup, and "guitar" style plastic pry tools should do fine.
A portable multimeter is always useful, I like the ones that fold in on themselves so you can throw them in a bag.
Get some Cat5e clips, put them in a ziploc, and throw them in your bag along with a crimping tool, needle nose pliers, and wire stripper. You will be surprised how often you need to re-crimp a cable or make a new one on-site.
Note - if you don't know how to make a cable, definitely practice that first!
Get an ethernet/phone continuity tester. You don't need a Fluke CableIQ (they're nice though!) but a basic continuity tester will let you (laboriously) trace any ethernet jacks that need tracing. And you can test those cables you just made or just fixed.
I have one basically identical to this and I've used it for over 10 years now I think. Money well spent.
As mentioned before, something to read a drive(s).
Any multi sd-card reader will do but instead of a dock you may want something like this since it is more portable. Yet another thing I've had for over 5 years and used countless times.
TL;DR - but made it through the first 3 paragraphs.
From that, I can say for certain that the drive is dead - the fact your system slows to a crawl once it is connected is a good identifier of this.
Now, I have had some luck in the past with the following steps:
The details behind this method is that when you freeze the drive, the components constrict slightly, providing some buffer space for the heads to move along the drive without contact. If this does not work for you, then your only option is to send it in for professional recovery. My method here is fairly "safe" from doing further damage to the drive, since, you know, the details behind the method.
BE CAREFUL the paper towel and air tight sealed bag is a must or you will get moisture in the drive during freezing - and this will mess it up good.
ALTERNATIVE (and you must be really good, and very precise)
Find another drive of the EXACT make and model of the drive that has failed. Dismantle it and swap the platters (alignment of the platters must be exact, and be careful not to damage the heads) The dead drive's platters with the good drive's components will allow you to recover the data - in fact, you can leave it like this since it's basically a new drive. This is essentially how professional data recovery is done (although they pull the platters and mount them on a special machine to read the raw data and recompile it)
> "My current router/modem is the Motorola Surfboard SBG6580."
Normally I'd recommend getting rid of this and getting separate devices (a standalone modem and a standalone Wi-Fi Router,.. something in the $150+ range like an ASUS or Apple Airport Extreme. The "combo" devices that ISP's hand out are usually "crap in a box".
However.. a lot is going to depend on the construction/architecture of your apartment. Normally I'd say a good quality Router can broadcast over 2000 ft with no problems at all (I live in an old "meat locker/refridgeration" building... and my Apple Airport Extreme signal reaches outside and almost to the Intersection about 500ft away)
BUT... if your apartment has metal in the walls or other things that might block the signal... then even the best Router isn't gonna penetrate that very consistently.
You also want to understand that different devices are gonna show different signal strength depending on a wide range of factors:
So yeah... there's lots to consider.
I actually do all the VPN's for the county in VA that I work for. I highly recommend GnatBox if you are going to purchase any hardware. We replaced all of our Cisco ASA's and PIX's with these, we have site-to-site connections with the DMV and State Police and they require a fairly hefty piece of hardware before they will all anything into their systems.
We run GB-2100 class hardware in most of the government buildings but for the offsite we have GB-250e or GB-820 if you have more than 50 users.
Super easy to setup and a breeze for VPNs, either point-to-point or mobile.
Also points for Hamachi and Teamviewer VPN
EDIT: Have to throw this in, for my personal use, I have an Asus RT-N16 that I have the Toastman Tomato VPN firmware loaded on it. With this, you can turn on the PPTP Server and do a quick setup, which really isn't all that hard with a bit o' Google help, and then setup a PPTP dial-up connection on your home PC and "tunnel" into your work network on demand. I can elaborate further if you are interested. This would be your cheapest hardware solution, around $100 US.
Get yourself a Hard Drive Transfer Kit, this little guy has saved me more times than I care to remember! It allows you to plug any HDD (IDE or SATA), into a USB port on any PC, and transfer files as needed. Now the HDD has to be functional for this to work, but it's great for situations just like you are in, best $20 I ever spent!
I suggest doing a virus scan that's completely outside of Windows. That way any malware that might be there will have less chance to execute and interfere with the scan. It's also useful just as a second opinion.
When finished, click on the app menu (same one as step 3) and tell it to restart. When prompted, remove the flash drive / DVD and then press enter.
These are NOT complete, step-by-step instructions. They're only enough to sort of convey the general idea, so some of these may require a little trial & error or Googling. If this is new to you, try it on your own machine first before doing it on hers. VirtualBox is a free program for using virtual machines, and you could use that for practice.
Keep in mind that no work or settings will be saved while booted from the flash drive. Everything is kept in RAM unless you save to a disk. Linux doesn't get installed to her machine unless you deliberately run the installer program.
good news, there's a thing called a 'powerline adapter' that will allow you to use the copper wiring in your house as a lan cable
I've used these in the past and they're excellent for your situation.If you ever need more than one port up in your room you can buy a switch to connect to this thing.
Heres a link to amazon for one i recommend:
Heres a link to a youtube video futher describing how these things work:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ywQeJCa3jl8
You mentioned your house may not have the proper electrical wiring/layout in order for one of these to work. In my experience that's rarely the case, but it is possible. Amazon has an excellent return policy though. If you buy one of these and it turns out it doesn't work due to your homes electrical layout, you can always return it free of charge and be in the same boat you're in now.
that one is ancient.
and no, you would need to configure it as such with the same settings but a different wireless channel, or disable the FIOS wifi.
put it into AP mode
put it into Bridge mode.
The Ubiquiti's are great if you want to us multiple and have your devices switch to the strongest signal seamlessly. i would recommend a POE injector for the EnGenius but its not required. a POE injector allows you to have the power supply up near the main router and only run an ethernet cable to the unit. the Ubiquiti MUST use an injector, but it comes with an injector.
the Asus and Apple units will be the most user friendly to install and set up.
Personally, I've pretty much stopped using canned air for dusting unless I have to, as I was sick and tired of sneezing and dusting all of MY equipment after I finished with customer equipment (also, it's pretty gross when you think of what that stuff is). Personally, I think water is a bad choice. A single drop gets where it doesn't belong and you potentially release the magic smoke.
My professional opinion is vacuums/cleaner wipes are the way to go.
For the vacuum, you don't want to use your home vacuum, as the air going through the tubes generates static electricity, and static+computers=bad. Metro Vacuums has a line called DataVac that are ESD safe. I own the middle option both at work and at home.
Low volume - http://amzn.com/B001J4ZOAW
Medium volume - http://amzn.com/B00MU2DE36
High volume (This one can use HEPA filters that can block toner particles, a must if you plan on cleaning laser printers/copers. The other units can't filter the tiny particles, and the supposedly make their way into the motor and chew stuff up, and aren't good to breathe either) - http://amzn.com/B000RMQJBK
I also use generic electronics cleaner wipes (like these: http://amzn.com/B004GCUJWM) to get all the smudgy stuff off of laptops. For the really grody ones, clorox wipes. I just don't hit the screen, and I usually follow up with an electronics wipe, as the clorox wipes leave streaks.
edit: I know the vacs aren't cheap, but canned air is freaking expensive too. At $3 a can, the ROI is pretty short on these vacs if you do much work on computers. I always clean any computer/server that comes across my workbench, as it just makes working on them easier, and improves customer satisfaction. I think of it like taking your car into the dealership for an oil change and finding out they washed and vacuumed it. It's just pleasant, and it takes less than 5 minutes.
Beep codes mean there is most likely a hardware issue, this website here supposedly can help you identify where the start looking https://www.acerrepairblog.us/aspire-5920g/phoenix-bios-beep-codes.html
Honestly with a laptop that old there is bound to be some part of the board or memory giving out. The good news is that it sounds like the hard drive could still be perfectly fine. You can buy something like this https://www.amazon.com/StarTech-SATA-Drive-Adapter-Cable/dp/B00HJZJI84/ref=sr_1_3 that can take your hard drive and mount it on someone else's PC to recover data.
What router do you currently have? I know that the Asus RT-N66U is probably some of the most robust routers (that thing can take a lot!), but, you could improve the performance of your current router by using DD-WRT.
The Linksys E3200 is also rather robust and should be able to handle simultaneous tasks over ethernet. The Wi-Fi capabilities are OK, and you can take some of the load from the 2.4 GHz band to 5 GHz if you have an iPhone 5.
The Linksys E2500 is probably the most basic you can get with how many devices you want to handle, but Ethernet is slower (no gigabit) and Wi-Fi has less TX power (which you can adjust with the right Firmware).
If you have any more questions, just ask!
There are some nice routers having price drops, but I would still recommend the ASUS RT-N66U
Feature-rich stock firmware, strong 2.4ghz channel, good hardware, flashable with dd-wrt and other 3rd party firmware.
Yea, it's not 802.11ac, but most devices still only have 802.11n adapters and I would wait for the 2nd wave of 802.11ac routers to fully cycle in before considering. There's a 802.11ac verison for $20-30 more that's just as solid.
LOL, I love that you admit you need to recover porno. I have clients dance around this all the time. "Can you backup this folder... but don't look in it please"
ANYWAY, If you only other computer is a laptop you will need an adapter to connect a desktop hard drive to your laptop. This is my favorite. If you have USB 3.0 on your laptop then this may be a better option.
Once you have it hooked up you should be able to copy onto/off it like a flash drive. If not, you may need to use some recovery tools. Recuva is free, but somewhat limited. Use it and see what you can get.
If you still can't get anything, you can use GetDataBac as a trial to see if it can find anything for you. If the demo finds stuff you want you will need to buy the full edition so you can copy it all onto your hard drive. You want the NTFS version BTW, it should be $79.
You should get the USB adapter regardless. That is a handy tool to have. Just get a universal one, then you can connect pretty much anything by USB (laptop or desktop hard drive, CD drive, even a floppy disk drive)
If they didn't delete the windows partition or format it, then bringing it up as an external drive on another Windows system should work. Everything should be accessible, although you may need to take ownership of the directories you need access to.
I like to use Rich Copy or Roadkil's Unstoppable Copier for this kind of thing because it retains the file metadata (modified date, etc) but can drop the security information so you don't have issues with it on the machine your copying to.
If these guys did format or delete the partition then you'll need a data recovery tool. Bootmed, like most other Linux based rescue CDs, uses TestDisk and PhotoRec for data recovery. Bootmed is designed for users who aren't familiar with Linux, so it's supposed to be a bit easier to work with, which is the only reason I recommend it. Ubuntu, GParted, etc all have these tools too.
EDIT: The thing with Bootmed or some other Live CD is you can use it right now with the drive in place. These all have File Explorers too, so if there's a readable NTFS partition, you'll be able to see your files and copy them to an external drive (even though it's not Windows). As long as you can download a live CD image (ISO) and burn it to a CD (as a disc image - please ask if you don't know what this means), you can work on it as soon as the CD is burned. No waiting to get an adapter.
Go with # 3 definitely. As others have mentioned you need to remove the drive, which should be fairly simple. The details will be different but it'll be something like what you see at 2:25 on this youtube video.
Next you'll need a IDE or SATA to USB adapter. This one on Amazon is a good one. There are other styles, some that include a case for the laptop drive (the above video shows him using a case style don't pay any attention to that part of the video). For a one time transfer the linked one is all you need.
This youtube video does a pretty good job of explaining how to connect things and access the files. The instructions for a laptop drive start at about 5:20. One thing not mentioned is that the files are most likely under the USERS directory. Under that directory will be her user name, under that will be the folders for pictures, documents, etc.
Your router might have two types of connectors at the back: One for ethernet (RJ45), one for phone (marked with the phone sign). If you plug in your phone into the designated phone plug, it's not a VoIP phone! If you only have ethernet ports, it's a VoIP phone.
If you don't have a VoIP phone and don't need one, look into cheap DECT phones. You can move your router now and have one extension of the DECT phone where your phone is currently located. It's the cheapest solution.
If you already have a VoIP phone, you can extend your network. Move the router and use e.g. powerline adapters to make the connection to the VoIP phone in another room. The powerline adapters transmit the network information via the electric cables in the wall. There will be a slight increase in latency, but VoIP has that anyway. There are proprietary wireless VoIP phones as well that work for specific router models. Check your ISP's homepage if you are interested or call them.
The solution /u/jeffrey_f suggested is viable as well, but only for VoIP phones! However it has the downsides of high cost of purchase and upkeep. In addition the latency will increase. If you don't need another router there to plug in additional devices, I would not purchase one.
Edit: /u/AizenStarcraft suggestion is a VoIP to analogue converter. You can't use that, since you'd need to run a cable.
Yeah I download a lot of movies/shows so I definitely wouldn't want to go all the way down to a 128/256 GB SSD, since that's about the most I could afford with a SSD. Rather save up to replace this laptop.
Are 5400 RPM drives preferred over 7200? I was always under the impression 7200 was better with its faster speeds (at least before SSDs came out)
As for the Seagate Hybrid. Am I understanding the tech correctly? Its basically an 8 GB SSD with a 1 TB traditional HD. And the OS would go on the SSD part while everything else goes on the traditional side?
Do you have any resources on replacing the HD? I was planning on buying this cable:
and then cloning my current drive and then its just swapping the two? but how exactly does it know to put the OS on the SSD portion?
Thanks again for all your help, I really appreciate it.
1 Cloning is the way to go as there is no real evidence a clean install of windows is better. however it's a lot more time consuming.
2 on HDD, delete recycling bin and as many files/unused programs as possible. Then long degrag drive using degraggler
3 use this guide if windows doesn't recognize ur new SSD.
4 Follow this guide using Macrium Reflect to clone HDD to SSD. Here is a step by step video
If you have a laptop and only space for one drive you'll need to clone to the SSD while it's external and need a USB to SATA cable, enclosure etc. An enclosure might be a better choice if later you plan on using the HDD for external storage. The cable is a better choice if you plan on doing this often, for friends.
Edit: Reddit has been a total bust for computer support for me. I just condensed 15+hrs of research and execution into a few simple steps, links included, and it's downvoted. Now I know why so few people are willing to help here
If all you're looking for is an internet connection but can't run a cable across the house a Powerline adapter works pretty well, as long as they're on the same circuit.
I have these: TP-Link AV200 Nano Powerline Adapter Starter Kit, up to 200Mbps (TL-PA2010KIT) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AWRUIY4/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_WHrGzbAM87XEE
Alternatively, a cheap USB adapter would be nice, I have used this one before: Edimax EW-7811Un 150Mbps 11n Wi-Fi USB Adapter, Nano Size Lets You Plug it and Forget it, Ideal for Raspberry Pi / Pi2, Supports Windows, Mac OS, Linux (Black/Gold) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003MTTJOY/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_OJrGzbXJTB3PB
Ps sorry about the links, I'm on mobile...
EDIT: I just followed your links, sounds like you are already looking at USB adapters and not internal cards. Sorry.
I like these: http://www.amazon.com/Edimax-EW-7811Un-150Mbps-Raspberry-Supports/dp/B003MTTJOY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1419545144&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=usb+wifi
Better make sure that model doesn't use a hardware whitelist for the WiFi/BT card. I'm pretty sure it does.
If so, you will need to either modify the BIOS (risky) or modify the firmware on your new wireless card (also risky).
I'd recommend a tiny USB wireless adapter.
The best solution for using WiFi on your desktop would probably be to get a PCI wireless card, like this one.
If you aren't comfortable adding a PCI card, or don't have any space for one, you can get a USB wireless adapter, such as this one.
Finally, if you want a better solution that's not running a long cable, buy power line adapters. You plug one into a socket near the router and connect it via Ethernet to the router, then you plug another one in beside your PC and run Ethernet from it to your PC. It uses the wiring in the house to carry data, and is often better than WiFi.
Personally, I would go with the power line adapters then the PCI wireless card.
I've got one of these Edimax mini USB Wifi's and it works real good. It is showing < $10 and if you look at the "Other Sellers on Amazon" to the right, you will see several listed for < $10 with free shipping. This little guy works great. His antenna is obviously small, so the range isn't ideal for all situations. I personally was quite surprised at the range and never noticed the lack of a full antenna in my use of it. Your perspective may vary.
This other product has an actual antenna and is ~$5 with free shipping all day long. I can't attest to its quality though.
Either one, on one of the many cheap similar "mini USB wifi" adapters, should get you by for awhile, if nothing else.
I would pay attention to what you buy however. A lot of the newer SATA-USB adapters are made for USB 3.0 and are listed as being "optimized" for SSD drives and only have a single USB 3.0 connector. What this means is that if you don't plug the adapter into a USB 3.0 port (usually blue, but they are sometimes not marked as such) then your hard drive won't be able to draw the necessary power to spin the drives and read/write data.
The older models (like the one I use) got around this by using two USB 2.0 cables, one for power and date and one for strictly power. If you're not sure if you have USB 3.0 capable ports, I would make sure you look for something like this that has a separate power supply, just to be safe. If you think plugging in SATA drives is something you'll be doing fairly often, I would consider even splurging for a docking station (similar to this one) to make life easier for you.
Dude. Go for the ethernet through power lines adapter first(btw this is more commonly called a powerline adapter).
This one has 500 mbps, which is considerably higher bandwidth than wifi. It will also give you lower latency, and a generally more stable connection. Take it from me, I have had some TERRIBLE experiences with wifi repeaters. Powerline ftw.
Or you could go all out and get the best of both worlds. Buy one of these, another router, and a powerline adapter. Then what you do is you set it up downstairs (where you normally have your router), and have it go, modem -> ethernet switch -> old router. Then plug one end of the powerline adapter into the switch.
Then plug in the powerline adapter into the wall upstairs where you want wifi. Plug in your new router to it. Set the SSID (the wifi name of your router), as the same name as the router you have downstairs. BAM. You now have STRONG wifi anywhere in the house. Devices will automatically connect to the router with the stronger signal. It will only appear as one wifi network on phones, tablets, etc.
Okay thank you for the clarification. I found this on amazon which appears to have good reviews. It might be a decent option to pick up 2 as a low-budget way to get a start on boosting my network? Then I could see if it works better for what I need and if so, then I would be willing to maybe upgrade and get better AP's before I just dive right in and find myself in over my head.
I have read all of your post (including updates) as well as everyone's comments, and although I am neither as technically skilled nor as experienced as you, I do believe you and I are having the same issue.
The utterly strange part is that you have employed a TP-Link brand smart switch, and I have employed a TP-Link Ethernet power-line adapter. I sure hope there isn't some correlation here, because this adapter has been one of the best things I've ever purchased. I guess I'll start some testing on my own end to see if I can reproduce the issue without this product in service. Like you, I've tested the CPU, GPU, RAM, and power supply to no avail, and it would seem that drivers have not caused my issue either.
I hope we can figure this out.
I use a Asus n66u with merlin firmware its been rock solid for me. I like ASUS routers but Apple routers are also rock solid products too
AC is new wireless that will improve on the 5GHZ signal and AC is able to go through concert walls and such better and offer better speeds in a LAN (i think), but you will pay a premium for that.
Asus N66U- http://www.amazon.com/RT-N66U-Dual-Band-Wireless-N900-Gigabit-Router/dp/B006QB1RPY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1408222428&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=asus+n66u
Asus n68u - http://www.amazon.com/RT-AC68U-Wireless-AC1900-Dual-Band-Gigabit-Router/dp/B00FB45SI4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1408222403&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=asus+n68u
For internet package, get the best internet-only you can afford (based on actual price and not some "deal" or "promo" pricing). If you do find a good deal/promo pricing, get a recording where a CSR tells you that you will be locked in at this price for X months. If they try to hike the price up on you, play back the recording. If you are out of the promo pricing period and they try to hike up prices even higher than non-promo pricing, you can threaten to leave but you don't really have any fallback if they just say OK and don't transfer you to retention. Based on all the terribad customer support on some ISPs, I'd just record any conversation you have with them.
Don't rent any hardware from them. Pick up this modem if needed, and any name brand router (remember you don't need a dual band router if you don't have any devices that can talk on the 5GHz band).
Monoprice has good and cheap cables, but anything with high enough ratings will be fine. You'll need Cat5e Ethernet cabling if you want gigabit, but you really should be running 5e/6 even if you don't have gigabit NICs.
For router security, WPA2 on (WPA if no WPA2) with a non-dictionary password, WPS off. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES USE WEP.
If you're going to end up buying new hardware, I'd suggest going with Powerline ethernet, unless you really want to buy a new router/wireless bridge. It will be be less clutter, cheaper, and more reliable (than cheap wireless bridge alternatives).
Out of the box Wireless Bridge capable routers, you could get something like this TP-LINK.
I'd suggest any Asus router, and flash tomato on it. Something cheap like this N-12 would do. I like the asus routers because they are unbrickable; perfect for messing about with the firmware.
If the hard drive is still functional, then yes, it'll basically act like an external hard drive. There are a few variables (partition type), but it is likely to work. Make sure to get a good adaptor. One like this should do just fine.
Small update: Ordered a Motorola SB6141 modem, to replace the standard Comcast All-in-One. Was leaning at saving $10-20 but figured with the VoIP and potentially cranking up our bandwidth in the future, it was worth the extra cash.
My only issue now is resolving the WiFi/networking aspect, since we have lots of traffic (VoIP and file sharing) I'm not sure if going with a cheaper WiFi router is a good option, I was looking at the ASUS RT-N12 to save some cash. Thoughts?
I'll also recommend this. Either the SB6141 that /u/Demache linked to, which I've heard great things about, or the one I recently purchased and installed, the SB6121, which is currently $17.72 cheaper, but it only gets 172Mbps down vs 343Mbps on the SB6141.
As far as routers go, I've been using a WZR-D1800H that I bought refurbished last year with 0 problems. (other than bricking it myself. Note: DD-WRT is NOT stable on this router. I would highly recommend sticking with the stock firmware if you buy this.) When I did the research last year it seemed like this router was the best bang for your buck when it comes to being future proof, having high throughput, and reliability.
I'll be up front, that is not good news. What I'm about to tell you is actually my least favorite part of my job. It sounds to me like your external drive's controller board is fine, but your hard disk might be failing.
If you are comfortable enough and have another drive that will fit for testing, swap another drive in there and try to read it. If you get nothing, your controller is fucked and you should get one of these and back up its contents ASAP.
There's also a chance that it's been formatted RAW. In this case, if you're okay with rolling the dice, you can attempt to clean it with diskpart, format it and go back over it with Recuva or Shadow Explorer to help you retrieve your files. Do so at your own risk! But it is important to know that when you format a disk, you aren't deleting the data. You're telling the drive that it is okay to write over any data on the disk. So don't write anything to it and you will be fine.
Barring that, you may need to seek out advanced data recovery services. A platter transfer might be necessary and is best left to a data recovery specialist. This can be very costly.
There's an unfortunate final option, which is that there is no Sata to USB converter inside the drive and it goes straight to USB. Straight to data recovery.
Edited because Amazon puts all that extra shit in your clipboard when you share from the site.
Awesome, thanks. Out of curiosity, do you know what kind of speed I will need with/in the switch to not slow me down too much?
I get something like 24Mb/s. Would a cheap splitter cause a bottleneck? Or will they all cover that?
I was looking at something like this:
>at least getting some compressed gas dusters and blowing out the enclosure.
Please don't use the "canned air" name or suggestion, as it implies incorrectly that these gas dusters have "air" in them. They don't, and for the most part, are not that great anyways.
Remember kids, "canned air" is not air, and in fact, are not even close to air. Older ones are propane and butane(have some still, last forever, not good in enclosed spaces or around sparks or flames of any kind, anywhere near), newer ones are usually fluorocarbons instead, but they will still burn.
This is something I suggest to all when I see it. If you want something that you can use safely in any environment, I suggest you get one of these blowers. While it seems pricey at first, consider that a pack of new Gas dusters, with fluorocarbons, which last much less than hydrocarbons did, will run you about $25, and will only last a few time uses each can, and can only be used in short busts because of the nature of the way they pack all that in there(might cause frostbite too if used too long), blowers like this one will cost you one time, and work hundreds of times, with no use on the time limit you have with them, and best of all, they won't cause frostbite.
OK. I see on the TP-Link page you sent an illustration that helped clear things up for me.
One unit plugged in next to the router, connected by an Ethnernet cable.
One unit plugged in next to where I want better wifi, connected to "any device" with an Ethernet cable.
Now... what would that "any device" be? Is that the AP? I'm guessing AP means access point. OK! Is that one of these things, Ubiquiti Networks Unifi 802.11ac Dual-Radio PRO Access Point (UAP-AC-PRO-US)?
You've already replaced the modem, and you're still getting random disconnects.. What else is left to replace? Yes, the router. Just about any Asus router has got to be better then any Belkin router. I've used the RT-N12 and the RT-N16, which I have now, with good luck, up to 60Mbps, streaming Amazon Prime, downloading from some torrents, and gaming all at the same time.
I'd recommend you take it somewhere than can take the drive out and back it up, so you can access the files. Or you could pick up a sata to usb adapter and do it yourself, but you'd likely have to order one from Amazon, or MAYBE pick one up at Best Buy. Amazon
You could also create a bootable Linux flash drive, and back the files up through Linux. Here's a guide to that.
I would play it safe--if you're concerned about data, before doing anything with the laptop, pull the HDD out, assure it has no liquid and keep it in a warm dry space for a little while. Then use a SATA -> USB connector to back the files up to another computer before attempting to power it on inside a potentially wet/damaged laptop.
As for the laptop itself, I'd look into potentially disassembling it as much as you can (look for guides on this and be very careful of thin, breakable cables), and wiping down components that you see beer on carefully, with 91% isopropyl alcohol and a lint/dust free cloth or q-tip. Beer is yeasty and sticky, so you'll want to get it off any components. Isopropyl alcohol as pure as possible is my go-to for component cleaning because it's generally safe on plastics and dries very quickly from electrical components.
Yes, we have 3-pin plugs over here.
Here is the same make/model as I had but with US plug type. (via Amazon.com)
Shop around as you may find them cheaper elsewhere, but Amazon is pretty good with its prices for most things.
The easiest solution:
return the new modem to comcast, as well as the old one
Save your parents $10 a month on rental fees, and ensure that they don't have an open wifi network run by and visible to Comcast in their home.
Yeah you're totally good man, just wait and see if you can pick up a sata cable or buy one https://www.amazon.com/StarTech-SATA-Drive-Adapter-Cable/dp/B00HJZJI84 and then reset it on a friends PC. You could also save yourself that headache and just format a USB drive to boot into and then boot from the USB drive!
Yes and no. That one wouldn't work but there are products like it that have the 22-pin sata connections that HDD and SSDs use. Also make sure to get a USB 3.0 or 3.1 model.
They also make enclosures that fit 2.5" (laptop size) drives so that you can turn them into portable hard drives.
Let's see I should have the one that i bought in my amaz history...
Yep. It's out of stock now. But here's a similar one.
Out of curiosity what are you using it for?
Stuff like this is why I like to purchase my own router. Cable companies either want to charge you a rental fee or force you to be a hotspot to pay for the router.
Good routers are very reasonably priced. For example:
SB6121 SURFboard DOCSIS 3.0
Edit: Well that was a cable modem. Let's post some routers instead. Thanks /u/A_Water_Fountain
or something cheaper:
Likely the audio chip got shorted out someway or another then. If you're cheap you can get USB audio for like $7.
Ideally imo you'll want an external audio card as it'll sound a lot better than $7 audio. $38 for a sound blaster card which would sound a lot better than the USB audio.
Sorry for your loss. As the other user mentioned for the PC you should be Able to remove the hard drive from it , (generally located for easy access by removing a few screws on the underside of the laptop.) A USB to Sata adapter cable would make this a simple process, you simply plug the hard drive into the sata adapter and the usb into another PC. It essentially enables you to read the drive like a flash drive. This will only work providing the drive isn’t encrypted, by encrypted I don’t mean the windows password, I mean something like BitLocker. But it’s certainly worth a shot. Good luck.
Can you recommend a router? or should pretty much any do?
i've been looking at these four, I like the bufalo because of the dd wrt, and i like the asus because you can change out the antanae
I just don't know what the specs mean or how they compare
You can quite likely find disassembly instructions online for one, and for two, draw a map of the laptop on a piece of paper, then tape the screws you remove to that map. Layer by layer.
Lastly, consider getting this rather than cans of compressed air. It costs about as much as 4-7 cans, but it'll last forever and it's also great for blowing up air mattresses and other fun stuff.
What router do you have? I would start by replacing it with a higher quality model that supports DD-WRT (like the Asus N16).
If you're looking for 100% reliability, go wired. Run some CAT6 in-wall or along baseboards to each room. This works best when you both usually play games at a static location like your own desk, not just anywhere.
As far as a top class router at an awesome price I would recommend this. We use them in all our businesses we support. I can't mention a time the router actually had to be reset for any internet issues where it wasn't the ISP's fault.
Don't use driver tools like "Driver Talent" or any such "helpful driver software". They are all full of it, and either don't work or don't install the correct drivers. Did your card come with any driver disk (old school)? I have done some searching for you and can't find any official drivers for it. I would highly recommend to just buy a new wifi card. This is the one I have in my system. I know it's more on the pricey side, but this one I just put into a friends PC I built. I did find this driver, if you want to keep trying.
You said it was "an Xfinity router", so they should be replacing it.
Other than that, it's really a matter of personal preference. I personally don't get anything under $50 (too many bad experiences), and tend to get a $100-ish device. I like Asus and I like sales. So this one : http://www.amazon.com/RT-N66U-Dual-Band-Wireless-N900-Gigabit-Router/dp/B006QB1RPY at Amazon seems a pretty good deal. But again, there are as many opinions on what constitutes a "good router" as there are people on this forum.
Basically any PCIe wifi adapter will work. I'd get something like this
It has more features than you need, but still isn't that expensive at $35
If you just want the bare minimum at $16
Assuming you don't live a densely populated area where lots of people will have their own networks, or your router is close to your computer then the second will be perfectly fine. The first will provide a bit more future proofing such as being able to connect to 5ghz networks.
The way I do it is I remove the hard drive from the computer (you should be able to Google "<computer type/model> harddrive removal" and find documentation for it), then you would need the appropriate usb cables to connect that computer to another. Once it's connected, it'll act like an external harddrive, from there you just copy it to the computer you're on.
The cables vary depending on the type of harddrive (laptop/desktop), but something like this bundle is cheap and has them all: http://www.amazon.com/Drive-Adapter-Converter-Optical-External/dp/B001OORMVQ
So basically you're turning the harddrive into an external harddrive temporarily so you can access/copy the files from the user account. Make sense? Happy to answer more questions.
Here are some links for the product in the above comment for different countries:
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I tend to prefer these:
This is the one I own. Albeit I have it modified with Tomato and love it (another story for another day):
Anything with an internal antenna will usually have inferior reception.
As for setting up. Make sure to lock down your wireless network or you leave your internet and your devices exposed to the world. Make sure to password protect your wireless (WPA). I also use MAC Address filtering. In plain terms it allows only approved devices, by you, to connect to the wireless even if they have your password.
You've got two real options:
First is a switch like this for like ten bucks
This technically puts you on whatever network the campus' router is putting you on. They could keep everything isolated on a per port basis... or they could have you networked to internal resources... or even to the entire dorm. You could probably tell by opening up network places and seeing if anything pops up.
Second is a router. I'd say get a wireless one and then you'd be able to share your own wireless SSID to your phones/tablets/laptops or whatever. For 30$ you can get this Asus one. I like Asus because it's pretty easy to configure their stuff and you're able to use it as an AP, Repeater, Router or a plain old switch if you want to.
I'd suggest a router so you'll have your own firewall and you'll be able to setup your own wireless network in your dorm.
After a lot of google searching and a phone call to comcast WE have fixed the problem! My wireless wifi card doesn't work well with windows 10. I downloaded a new driver(for windows 7) and now it works. Oh btw I have a [tl-wdn4800] (http://www.amazon.com/TP-LINK-TL-WDN4800-Wireless-Express-Low-profile/dp/B007GMPZ0A) but this is what it looked like before the driver and after the driver Thanks for the help! EDIT the before and after are backwards
Probably just need what’s called a WiFi extender or booster it boosts your signal for your wireless devices. I do have one more solution for you. It’s called a TP-Link adapter. You might not understand what that is so I’ll explain. You get a package of them with two boxes they boxes have a Ethernet port on them. One of the boxes goes in the room with the router and a cable going to it with it plugged in. Now the second box you can put anywhere in your house or garage if it’s on the same circuit board this second box can be plugged in anywhere in your house and garage and it goes into a outlet and you can use a small cable to any device that way. It sends the internet through the power lines in your house. And you can buy more boxes for other rooms in your house.
Here’s what I’m using so i can vouch for this product and this brand it’s amazing I have one in my router room another in-my bedroom.
In a nut shell this gives you wired internet to any room or place in your house or garage without a long cable or feeding it under your house or below or stuff like that.
External storage is a stop-gap measure at best; as is cloud storage. But you're in luck, because the 2013 MacBook Pro is easy to upgrade with a larger hard drive or SSD. (Some newer models can't be upgraded.)
Ok cool thought that woudl be the case as some motherboards have a second fan for CPU for cases of aftermarket coolers.
For removing dust I use an air compressor if you don't have access to one you could try one of the following:
Whatever you use make sure it has a plastic end too protect your machine from ESD.
Do you know how to replace the thermal paste?
Then yes, you would benefit from a upgrade.
I'd recommend this. http://www.amazon.com/TP-LINK-TL-WDN4800-Wireless-Express-Low-profile/dp/B007GMPZ0A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1419112389&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=tp-link+pci+5ghz
I can help you check if it will work.
I'd recommend getting an external USB to sATA adapter like this model:
I have some variation of this which is very helpful however this does require plugging the drive into a different PC. To mitigate this boot the PC off a live Ubuntu disk (DVD or USB) and use the file manager built in to copy files to another external drive like a flash drive.
Pull the drive out of the laptop, boot the PC to the live ubuntu image, connect the drive it to the adapter, plug it into the PC, and pull files via the file manager. You can then use built in disk tools to format the drive ready for reinstall. You don't need to DBAN it but could if you wanted to. A single format is probably fine.
Once done, with all files on a new drive, shutdown and unplug then use the media creation tool to get a current installation media for Windows. If you are using Windows 7 it might be complicated to find media.
Ok, so an update.
-Latest drivers have made no difference
-Deleting the drivers under Device Manager and reinstalling did not work
-Speakers worked for a little bit, while the headsets did not, but now speakers are full of static like the headset again
-Device Manager lists Realtek High Definition Audio AND AMD High Definition Audio Device
I'm at a bit of a loss on what to do. I would like to fix this so we can spend time together over the holidays, but I ordered a USB sound device as well, just in case we can't fix this. Any more ideas?
Edit: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IRVQ0F8?psc=1&amp;redirect=true&amp;ref_=od_aui_detailpages00 is the device I purchased. One additional note as well:
-Using the "test" feature for speakers works fine-there is no static in that regard.
You can buy your own modem, if you'd like. If you'll use it for a least a year you probably break even versus the lease costs for the one they "gave" you.
The modem I have is an SB6141. I've had zero issues with it.
The SB6121 is a little cheaper and quite similar; it has a lower (but still high) speed cap.
The router I have is an Asus RT-N66U. It's 802.11N, not AC, but I've been happy with it. I don't have devices that support AC yet anyway.
I use something like this because I constantly need to plug internal drives into various computers and don't like to go through the time of putting it into an external hd case. If you don't think you'll need to use the adapter in the future though, a case works great and then you have the added bonus of having a new external HD floating around.
Something like [this] (http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B000J01I1G/ref=pd_aw_sim_147_of_6?ie=UTF8&amp;dpID=41mJqEr4cwL&amp;dpSrc=sims&amp;preST=_SL500_SR100%2C100_&amp;refRID=1SXCC5CFDNMP4W2JXVN7) should work.
As for a gift, I'd rather you make a donation to a worthwhile charity such as a local food bank, animal shelter, or tech education program.
Solutions I'd recommend.
sounds like only one line has the filter on the port itself, so your best bet is too extend your wireless using this product, http://www.amazon.com/TP-LINK-Wi-Fi-Range-Extender-TL-WA850RE/dp/B00E98O7GC, but if you after a wired connection you could just run powerline, otherwise your other option is to replace the router with a better unit, i know thats not what you asked but hopefully i have given you a few options.
Yep, agree with the other guy. You’ll need an adapter so your computer can read the drive.
Plug the weird looking end into the drive carefully, ensure it’s straight on there and not at an angle. Plug the rectangular end into the computer and open windows explorer. The files should be there on the left side navigation pane. Windows will give it a drive letter like D: or E:
it is possible to short out the ports my best suggestion would be to pickup a USB to 3.5mm converter off amazon for like 3 bucks and use it
I have used this one many time and it has worked quit well
Depends on if your old laptop hard drive has IDE or SATA interface. If they are both SATA it should be easy and quick.
If your old laptop has an IDE interface, go and order one of these and then use it to connect to your new computer.
That should be the fastest. But transferring anything other than save data across computers is screwed now days. If you don't understand any of these steps, use Google. Good luck.
No. Not saying that. You won't be able to boot from that drive, but you should be able to mount it. You have a few options: put a different drive in the iMac and install your 10.4, or acquire 10.5, and install that. Get one of these http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B001OORMVQ/ref=mp_s_a_1?qid=1312802147&amp;sr=8-1 and hook up your old drive externally via USB. The drive will still mount, as long as there's nothing wrong with it. Copy your stuff and wipe that drive.
Otherwise if you have a windows PC, get something like "Mac drive" and hook it up over USB using the bridge I linked on amazon. Either way, you're good to go. Let me know how it turns out
You will not need to buy another Windows license, as the one you have is tied to the BIOS of the laptop. But, it's a good idea to link it to a MS account just in case.
To clone the HDD to the SSD you can use Macrium Reflect which is free. It's a simple straight forward process. You will need a USB to SATA adapter, or an enclosure, to do this.
Cloning is fine and seems to be the route you want to take as you mention you do not want to re-install all your programs, settings, etc. The only drawback is it's not a fresh/clean install.
Could be that your CPU is dead. It would allow the laptop to show a power light but never actually turn on in any way.
Just get a basic external sata connector and take the hard drive out of the laptop, connect it to a different computer and transfer the files. Something like thisshould work perfectly fine.
Interesting. Of course the manufacturer of your laptop put the USB ports right next to each other... wouldn't that just be the most illogical thing to do...?
It probably was connecting to a network using the built in wireless card in your laptop and it's nothing to concern yourself with.
This is kind of a weird situation but ultimately I'd recommend buying a new wireless adapter. You can try uninstalling the old driver for your USB wireless card in Device Manager on your desktop PC and then shutting down the PC, rebooting it with the USB device in and hoping it works, but I think you'd be surprised at how much of a hardware bottleneck a USB wireless adapter is. If you do look into one, here's used listings for my person PCI wireless card for $18.00 from the same seller I bought mine from.
50 Mbps is a great connection, congrats.
Your two TVs: connect them with ethernet cables if you can. Wired is better.
You don't give a budget but, if you can afford the Apple Airport Extreme (either the new Gen 6, or the recent Generation 5), that will fill your needs nicely.
If not apple: Asus, and get the RT n56U at a minumum.
A lot of IT professionals use the Apple Airport Extreme at home, the reason being they don't want to have to deal with network hassles. It just works.
None of these routers is cheap, but, with a 50Mbps connection, a cheap router is not going to be able to keep up.
I'll suggest that you get them separate, mainly for two big reasons in my head:
belowsomewhere around here, combo units typically aren't as reliable (in my experience as well) and will lack features.
I suggest getting the SB6121, which supports DOCSIS 3.0, something important that you'll need to keep in mind when purchasing modems so that you'll get the most bandwidth out of your connection. Then pick out a router that you like.
If you are set on picking out a combined router/modem combo (again, not advised), here are key words you'll want to find (they're usually promoted somewhere on the box in big letters):
That is easily the best product I have ever purchased.
You could update and get something like http://www.amazon.com/TP-LINK-Wireless-Express-Adapter-TL-WDN4800/dp/B007GMPZ0A/ref=sr_1_5?s=pc&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1464989349&amp;sr=1-5&amp;keywords=5+ghz+wireless+adapter
and run the 5 ghz.
If you already on 2.5 ghz it could be that you have some interference on there but you never know either if the wireless router supports 2.5 and or 5 ghz.
I would report the issue to your land lord too because it could be there equipment and if you paying for it, might as well look at their end of it as well.
The closest thing that you're going to find is powerline ethernet. You can run a signal through the electrical wiring. It's not going to be the same speeds, but it may be moderately better than your wireless connection. I don't have EXTENSIVE experience with them, but I know that they work and I've given them out to a few clients who experience similar issues.
Something like this.
EDIT: See this response. It's important to note that you may have issues with this type of device and they are not entirely reliable. If it were me, I'd go wired if at all possible.
Does the speed drop during certain parts of the day? For instance, the speed is fine in the morning, but in the evening it's extremely slow. This would most likely be because you're sharing a node with everyone in the apartment.
Next question is, do you have a Docsis 3.0 modem? Unless you also utilize a Concast phone system, I highly recommend you purchase your own modem and notify them of it. Then send back the one you're renting for $7 bucks a month.
quick question would you say either of these are good choices to get? i mean do they have good specs at first glance?
should i go for more expensive? will these break down in like 3 days cause of the cost?
If running cable isn't an option, power line network adapters might be a solution. They communicate using electric wiring.
The catch is the performance is dependent on how your home is wired. I got my parents a pair of these and they work great, but your milage may vary: http://www.amazon.com/TP-LINK-TL-PA4010KIT-Powerline-Adapter-Starter/dp/B00AWRUICG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1422637832&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=tp-link+powerline
Latency isn't as good as ethernet, but tends to be better (and more consistent) than wireless in my experience with them.
(Not sure what country you're in, but they make different models for different types of electric outlets.)
Still using USB, but I would suggest just temporally pulling out the drive and using a SATA to USB. Your computer will see the hard drive like a USB drive and you will be able to pull everything off in one go.
Here's a link. Only $9 and super handy to have around:
First of all, you need to get a USB 3 dock to get good speeds: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LS5NFQ2/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_dQosybY4Q9SNW
USB 2 can only handle up to 40MB/s and on many computers doesn't get more than about 25MB/s. USB 3 can handle the full speed of the hard drive and will be a much better experience.
And yes, you will be able to access the drive just fine, and be able to reformat it to use as a storage drive .
Not sure if you're talking about this one, but I found one that looks good on Amazon, here
If you want something a bit more... sturdy, there's one here as well.
If the system won't POST with the IDE drives then it has nothing to do with Windows. The best solution, if you just need the data off, is to leave them removed from the system and get an IDE-to-USB converter like this one, boot from the SSD, and then pull the data off each drive as if it was just an external drive (because it is, that's all externals are).
I'm with what /u/Wokuworld said with regard to the TAP adapters. So. Many. Virtual. Adapters.
As /u/tapharoot the one DNS setting is incorrect however everything appears to be fine.
As you said the issue only occurs on wireless yet all other wireless devices are fine I'd suggest drivers but you've tried those too. Your easiest bet would be to buy something like a small edimax wifi adapter such as this one: https://amzn.com/B003MTTJOY
Is there any chance you can get the exact name of your wireless card? you can simply go to the maker's website and try updating your drivers.
Also I'd like to know the motherboard, its hard to tell now whether you have a dedicated wireless card, or you're using one thats built into your motherboard.
As for my recommendations you should definitley stay on rj45 if you plan on doing any fps games or anything that require low ping, but if you need a replacement if wifi is the only option, you can go for this or this (depending how much gain from the antennae you need).
I can start explaining now what the issues might be and just blast your with 10 or more options you have now. Most easy is is to just get an wifi extender to boost your signal in your house. That way you don't need to fight around with usb dongels or wifi settings.
But that's just a solution for your house.
As others said wireless N card will be better.
Also I realize wired Ethernet may not be possible But power line networking is usually very reliable. You could try a Powerline Kit like this one they are pretty cheap. I've been gaming on the AV500 kit for nearly 2 years and absolutely zero issues.
Just to clarify, there are two kinds of devices: those combos that are both a cable or DSL router as well as a "broadband router" in a single device. Sometimes an ISP will give you a device which is both and you have to disable the router portion (leaving the modem functionality) so you can use your own router. You might have known that, just wanted to make sure it's established. You didn't say if this was for home, enterprise or how many people would be using it at once and/or ifit would be in use 24/7 or or only certain times. I'm assuming your service isn't over 1 gigabyte in which case the Asus RT-N16 (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00387G6R8/) is my favorite. Four gigE ports, to USB ports should they be needed, and it can run tomato/openwrt/ddwrt alternate firmware. In fact when I bought a second one in February it came with DD-WRT pre-loaded. At $83US I think it's a good deal. Disadvantage is that it pre-dates 802.11ac (it's just N for wifi).
You'll certainly need to buy something.
Here's one possible solution: First, purchase this DAC, this y-splitter, and two 3.5mm cables. Connect the y-splitter to the PS4 headset jack. Connect the DAC and headset to your PC. Use one cable to connect the green port on the y-splitter to the red port on the DAC; use the other to connect the green port on the DAC to the red port on the y-splitter.
Follow these instructions or something similar to "listen" to your mic. Select the USB audio output in step 4. This will send it to the PS4's input. Do the same thing to "listen" to your USB DAC's mic input. Select the headset in step 4. This will send the PS4 audio to your headset.
If you have any questions, feel free to comment.
Would this be something that would help me? I appreciate your help by the way.
From what I understand, you're getting WiFi from the AT&T store and want to boost that signal Into the rest of your home?
I don't know if that's legal or not but you get WiFi Extenders that plug into your wall and Can be configured on its webpage to connect to a certain WiFi network and Repeat it. Perhaps this or something similar could help
It's no problem at all. :) There's nothing to worry about compatibility wise, just be sure to keep the receipt as USB WiFi adapters usually have an unnecessarily high mark-up in retail stores. When you install the USB adapter, make sure to go to your Device Manager and disable your onboard wireless NIC to prevent any conflicts.
Once you determine if it is indeed the onboard WiFi/NIC that's causing the issue, I would return the USB adapter and purchase an internal NIC with an external SMA antenna for better connectivity, such as this, or if you want to use a hardwired connection, this.
It's an optical port, which means it uses light instead of electricity to send the signal. There are converters for those, but they tend to be more expensive than just getting a sound card.
You can get a cheap usb sound card pretty easily. Here's one for less than $7.
Yes and since it's a 3.5" drive the OP will probably need a power adapter as well. These are usually included. I have something like this that works well http://amzn.to/2ljFl9i for temporary use.
Newer Motorola Arris SURFboard's are probably the best modems out there. DOCSIS 3.0, compatible with pretty much every ISP (Comcast).
Link to Modem
This is what I am looking at. One of the Q&A says that it creates another ssid, but can name it the same as the original router and my devices will pick the strongest signal. Does that sound accurate.
Do you want to use wifi or lan connections ?
Also where are you located ?
If EU i would recommend a Fritz!Box Router, if not this one is not to bad but expensive.
Give some more information, and also what you are willing to spend, i will give you some more suggestions :)
Thanks for the suggestion. Have you heard anything about Ethernet over power? My friend recommended this: https://www.amazon.com/TP-Link-Powerline-ethernet-Adapter-TL-PA4010KIT/dp/B00AWRUICG/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1540143000&amp;sr=8-3&amp;keywords=powerline+ethernet
I'm not 100% sure I've understood this correctly, but I'm presuming that:
The Razer headset only has a single 3.5mm jack (rather than a separate jack for mic and headset speakers) and the speaker part has broken, but the mic still works. you want to use the mic from the headset, but have sound come through some earbuds.
I'm also going to presume (for some reason) you only have 1 3.5mm input on your laptop/pc/whatever.
If that's the case, the easiest solution is probably to get something like this
if you have 2 3.5mm inputs on your laptop/pc/whatever then putting the razer into the microphone socket, and earbuds into the speaker socket should work fine (you might need to change some settings in the OS, depending on what OS you have)
i checked that modem, and it actually supports docsis 2. That being said, regardless of whether Comcast is moving your area to docsis 3.0 or not, i would say your trusty old modem is reaching end of life.
I would suggest calling them, and asking if they sent the notification because they're moving to docsis 3.0... if they are moving I'd say get a motorola surfboard http://www.amazon.com/ARRIS-Motorola-SB6121-SURFboard-DOCSIS/dp/B004XC6GJ0/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1405542886&amp;sr=1-1&amp;keywords=motorola+surfboard+docsis+3.0 and see what happends from there.
If you are still not getting proper speeds, then you KNOW your modem is good, and you will have a better time harassing them, and perhaps there is an issue with the wiring to your house.
NOTE: it could also be the wiring IN your house.. to figure this out, I would try finding the cable (coax) connection that is closest to the comcast entry point of your house, and boot the modem up there and run a speed test. I've had this trouble before with comcast, and ended up needing to have my modem in a different room, because the signal was too weak at the original location.
Thanks for the suggestions, I've been looking at this TP-link PCI Express card (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007GMPZ0A) but I'm really worried about signal strenght. Been looking at USB adapters where you plug them into a USB and place on your desk (TRENDnet, etc) but those doesn't seem to be that popular in Denmark (where I live) and I can't get them shipped from the US or UK, or if its possible it would cost the double.
Budget is not that bad, as long as it isn't absurd.
EDIT: I ordered the TP-LINK TL-WDN4800, gonna test it out, hopefully it works out.
Yes. That works great. Or if you want to go the external route, get one of these IDE or SATA to USB adapters.
You'll need something like this USB - SATA adapter. It will allow you to connect that drive to another computer as if it were a big external drive. This is a great thing to have in your bag of tricks, along with an extra mouse and keyboard.
ASUS Black Knight router would work fine with your ISP's modem for what you're requirements are. It's not exactly the top of the line anymore, but it works great for my home wireless/ wired network with a desktop, a couple laptops, IP cameras, phones, Roku, Chromecast, etc. It also is dual band wireless so you can run a few devices at 2.4GHz band and a few on the 5GHz band so you don't have dropping issues due to too many devices using the same wireless frequency.
It's slightly more than a cheapo Linksys/ Belkin/ Cisco or Netgear, but I've had way less issues with my Asus router than I've had with over my 5 Linksys/ Netgear branded routers.
I have heard nothing but good things about this router and I (and several other people I know) have this one and I haven't had any issues with it. Definitely upgrade the firmware though if you get the second one, the new interface is much better.
Plug in the external drive and open up disk management (open the start menu and type in disk management) and see if anything other than the hard drive in your laptop is showing up...For example, you may see that it lists three disks, one of which would be your C: drive, another would be your DVD drive, and the third would be the external drive. If you see the external drive, but it doesn't have a drive letter associated with it, then that means that somehow or another your partition was deleted...your data should still be there though. It may be easiest if you post a picture of what you see when you open up disk management if you are uncertain as to whether or not the drive is there. If your portable hard drive doesn't show up in disk management, see below. If your drive does show up in disk management, report back, and I or someone else may be able to help you retrieve your data.
I had a portable WD drive die on me before, but it turned out to be a bad connection between the usb port and the hard drive itself. If you are otherwise unable to get the drive working, carefully remove the plastic shell to get the drive out. Once you have the bare drive out, you can then plug it into your laptop using something like this or if you have a desktop, you can just plug it in to one of the internal connections. Assuming that your problem exists somewhere in between the usb connection and the drive itself, this will allow you to retrieve your data.
If all else fails, or if you would rather not mess with this, you may consider taking it to a shop (or a computer savvy friend) to have it diagnosed. Though it wouldn't be free, it is likely that they would be able to help you, and it would save you from buying a special adapter just to test your drive.
Wow, the power Ethernet adapters sound appealing. Didn't know that made those. Can I get some links to some good ones.
Also for the wifi access points I found this one. We have 400Mbs down. But in the back bedrooms we only will be using phones and tablets.
A cheaply or incorrectly made adapter could send too much power to the drive. This happened recently with faulty USB-C cables, which resulted in phones being fried. Just select one based on good reviews, and you should be alright. This one looks almost identical to the on I purchased at Tigerdirect ~10 years ago, which has worked great.