PC Doctor March 7, 2012

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Dear PC Doctor,

I have a 2 gigabyte USB thumb drive that is messed up. There are some weird files on there that I just can't delete. I don't remember putting them on there since they don't actually open anything when I double click on them. How can I clean my thumb drive of these files?


Dear AJ,

Those weird files can be a big pain sometimes! If you happen to plug your thumb drive into more than one computer, particularly computers that run different operating systems (especially Mac computers) you'll end up with unnecessary files. While they don't usually take up much space at all, they can be very distracting.

When this happens to me, I like to reformat my thumb drive. This way you can start completely fresh, with no buggy files and no bad permission issues. After plugging the drive into a USB port, click Start, then Computer. You should see your drive listed in the “Devices with Removable Storage”. Important, important – be sure to backup first! Make sure you save the stuff you want to keep off the drive by backing it up on your computer. Next, right click the drive. In the menu, select “Format”. A new formatting window will pop up. In the drop-down menu for “File System” select “FAT32”. While we're at it, unclick the box labeled “Quick Format”. Leave the other settings at default and click Start! To make sure you're certain, a warning window box will appear. Click OK. The size of your drive will determine how long it will take to format your thumb drive. 

            PC Doctor

Dear PC Doctor,

What is the difference between DSL, Broadband and cable internet?


Dear Sharon,

Broadband is a term that describes all “high-speed” internet. Technically it's all internet connections that are faster than dialup or services that provide a higher bit-rate than a 56 kbit/s modem. Since it doesn't take much to be faster than dialup, Broadband doesn't always mean a speedy internet connection.

DSL or “Digital Subscriber Line” describes internet services offered over the wires of a local telephone network. (This is why you need to stick a filter on the connection between your phone line and your modem. If you don't, it could interfere with your phone line and your internet access.)

Cable internet simply is an internet service offered by a cable company as a package often along with cable television and a phone line. Depending on the company, the internet services may be offered via a variety of different connections. It's impossible to say if DSL or cable internet is faster since so there are so many different companies and different services available as well as the actual wiring that it travels across.

There is also another option available for internet service and that is satellite.  A satellite company will install a dish (approximately 2 by 3 feet) in a location with a clear view to the south, a modem and coaxial cables between the two.  If you want to have wireless in your home, you will need to purchase a wireless access point and install it on your own in most instances.  This option is ideal in rural areas if the other services mentioned are not available.  It is more expensive than the other options however.

            PC Doctor

Until next time… happy computing.