and other free webmails

Consider my comment at webmail is one to consider.

the webmail (not pc client program) in myopera was pretty good. It was part of the whole myopera community. It went “out of business” as of 3/1/2014. Ie tomorrow 😉 However the developers created; It is also a whole community. When i load their pages and watch the websites go buy in the lower left of firefox, i do not see many other sites go by besides In fact i just double checked now, and the ONLY website i saw go by was Their servers are located in Iceland for, among other things, their commitment to free speech. It appears on first glance very open source mindset friendly.

Their vivaldi mail is a hosted roundcube program. I have found roundcube only meh. But free as in freedom is a big plus. Altho this is just a first impression, i dont really “know” the community.

The tech world is changing. There use to be “free as in beer” and “free as in freedom”. Now there’s also “free as in build a profile on you and sell it for ad targeting”.

Some other notes:

vivaldi does not (currently) require a cell phone to register. They require an alternate email which they use for “forgot password” retrieval. gmail and yahoo both require a cell phone these days. is another “very free” email. It is very Ad HEAVY. From a couple hours surfing, it has mixed reviews. Gmx has the advantage that it does not (currently) require a cell phone nor even an alternate email address to register. Their “forgot password” retrieval is based on a security question.

Windows ClipBoard Viewer

When you cut and paste, what you cut is stored in the windows “clipboard”.  You can cut and paste (or copy and paste) using the Edit -> Cut (or Edit -> Copy) and Edit -> Paste menu options in nearly all programs.  Or you can cut (or copy) and paste using the Ctrl-X (or Ctrl-C) and Ctrl-V keyboard shortcuts.  As you probably know, “cut” deletes the old one, whereas “copy” preserves the old one.

Either way, this “clipboard”  which stores your cut (or copy) is normally invisible.

On Windows XP there was a way to view it.  You had to run the program "clipbrd" (file: clipbrd.exe) and because it was in the C:\WINXP\system32 or C:\Windows\system32 folder you could run this by using Start->Run and typing clipbrd into the box.

Windows Vista and Windows 7 do not contain the clipbrd program file.

But, you can copy the file from a Windows XP system and just place it in your Windows Vista or Windows 7 C:\Windows\system32 folder and it should just work.


Hi-End Desktop PC Comparisons

click to go directly to comparison table Loading

In Jan 2014, we’re talking 4g Intel i7 processor (or equivalent AMD processor, but probably not). These CPUs should last 6-8 years (so until 2018-2020) and i would not expect to reach that grind-to-a-halt state until 8-10 years (2022).

With Intel Core i7, you want to watch the socket. More likely to get an upgrade processor in the future that fits that socket, rather than a whole new mother board.

Today 4GB is enuf to run widows 7 adequately. It doubles every 2 years, so

  • 2014: 4GB
  • 2016: 8GB
  • 2018: 16GB
  • 2020: 32GB
  • 2022: 64GB
  • 2024: 128GB

You dont need all that memory now, but you want to be able to upgade to it, so you want the motherboard and chipset to support it.

Also you want to make sure your memory is taking advantage of dual channel, then means 2 (or 4) memory cards, 1 (or 2) in each channel.

If you’re going hi-end, you want a large SSD. 256GB are available, even 512GB. I even saw one ~700GB. And now 1TB.

For flexibility, get 2 x 5.25inch bays. That way you dont have to swap disks if you’re copying. Many PCs these days come with only DVD-writers, maybe blu-ray reader-only. Eventually, you are probably going to want a blu-ray reader, and/or writer. This is a $100-$200 upgrade plus installation now. If you want to watch blu-ray movies now, the upgrade has to be now. If you want to wait, the upgrade will be $50-$100 plus installation.

USB 3.0 is getting more popular. Almost everything in existance is USB 2.0 right now. So get USB 3.0. At least 4 ports. There’s a faster version of 3.0 coming out very soon (out already? Jan 2014?), but even today’s USB 3.0 is 10x USB 2.0.

You want *ALL* SATA III ports, no SATA II.

The 11 Places I shop:

  • TigerDirect
  • newegg
  • Best Buy
  • Walmart
  • Staples
  • OfficMax
  • OfficeDepot
  • CDW
  • Beach Audio
  • b h photo video?

Here are the choices available from different vendors in this price range for this performance. Note date of price check for each PC listed.

Table Notes:


choice number
OS (home/pro 32/64bit)
memory pre nstalled
max memory
mem type, speed
mem slots total
disk size
disk rpm
disk SATA speed (II 3Gb/s, III 6Gb/s
disk SSD
disk 3.5 bays total
disk 2.5 bays total
optical drive / 5.25 bays
optical drive (blu-ray rd/wr? / dvd-wr?)
5.25 bays total
usb 3.0
usb 3.0 – front
usb 3.0 – rear
usb 3.0 – top
usb 2.0
usb 2.0 – front
usb 2.0 – rear
usb 2.0 – top
ports slots net power
pci slots
sata ports
Ethernet RJ45 100Mbps or Gigabit 1000Mbps
power supply
Small Form Factor (SFF)?


List of Intel Chipsets <>



    The difference between 3rd Generation and 2nd Generation intel processors is not that great:

    Feature 2nd Generation 3rd Generation
    Graphics HD 2000 HD 2500
    Graphics HD 4000
    Mem Speed 1333MHz 1600MHz 20% faster

    Store Notes

    2/12/2014: BestBuy had no 4G Core i7 by HP (they had 3G Core i7, 4g Core i5, and Xeon, but not 4G Core i7)

    Example Decision :


    item plce price + shipping note shipping time

    Product variations :

    prod id processor memory form factor os other os
    e1z89ut i74770 4gb tower win 7 pro 64bit win 8 64bit
    e1z??ut i545?? 4gb tower win 7 pro 64bit win 8 64bit
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    f4k11ut i74770 4gb tower win 7 pro 64bit win 8.1 64bit
    f4k13ut i74770 4gb tower win 8.1 pro 64bit win 7 64bit
    f4k93ut i74770 4gb sff win 7 pro 64bit win 8.1 64bit
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    g5r??ut i74770 4gb tower win 7 pro 64bit win 8.1 update 1 (i guess) 64bit
    g5r46ut i74790 4gb tower win 7 pro 64bit win 8.1 update 1 (i guess) 64bit
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    j6d??ut i74770 4gb tower win 7 pro 64bit win 8.1 update 2? 64bit
    j6d83ut i74790 4gb sff win 7 pro 64bit win 8.1 update 2? 64bit
    j6d87ut i74790 4gb tower win 7 pro 64bit win 8.1 update 2? 64bit
    j6d89ut i54590 4gb tower win 7 pro 64bit win 8.1 update 2? 64bit


    Disk Doctor–Advanced Hard Disk Drive Repair

    What’s wrong with your hard disk drive?

    If it’s not fixable at home, and it’s probably not, i trust Disk Doctor enuf to try them.  See below.  But first, some background material.

    An excellent introductory video on hard drives is “Hard Drive Click of Death Explanation and Live Demonstration” on youtube. (If that ever disappears, i have it saved locally.)
    There are several possibilities of what’s wrong with your disk.
    The main components of a hard drive are a pc board (In this case, “pc” means “printed circuit” as in “printed circuit board” rather than “Personal Computer” which is more common). The pc board (also called “pcb” for short) is the “brains” of the drive. This pc board is also the thing that talks to the rest of the computer.

    The drive has platters, magnetic wonders which contain billions of bits information arranged in concentric circles. This platter spins at high speeds. 5400 rpms. 7200 rpms. even 10,000 rpms.

    The drive also has a “head” which scans across the spinning platters and reads the bits of information. The head floats on a laminar sheet of air that’s billionths of an inch thick.  Ie, really, really tiny.

    NOTE: If you ever hear new noises coming from your drive, BACKUP IMMEDIATELY.  It is going to fail soon.  You dont know who much time you have.

    So what could be wrong?

    1. The head that reads the platter might have physically broken.  This is the most common reason.  This results in a repetitive clicking sound.
    2. The motor that spins the platters might have broken.  If you put your head close to the drive, you can hear the platters spin up to speed.  It sounds like a whirring sound which gets higher and higher pitched as the drive spin gains speed.  If you dont hear that, it could be the motor (or the pc board failing to give the motor the right instructions to spin up).
    3. The pc board may have broken in various ways.  There’s a ROM chip on it that contains firmware and initialization data for this particular drive, including the map of bad sectors.
    4. If you hear a clatter in your drive, it’s likely your platters are vibrating. Stop the drive and restart it. Tho sometimes this resolves itself harmlessly without restarting.  But it is time to BACK UP YOUR DATA if you hear this.  Trouble with the motor that spins the platters can also sound similar to clatter.  Also the bearings that ease the friction between the moving parts can wear and sound like grinding, which is also similar to a clatter.

    How to fix these things at home.

    1. There are two things you can do that require removing the pc board from the drive.  This one is is the easy one.  CAREFULY unscrew the screws (usually torx) that keep the green pc board fastened to the drive.  If your screw driver slips and you scratch the pc board you’ve probably ruined it.  The pc board is usually on the “bottom”.  CAREFULLY pull off the pc board.  There are several “contacts” small, usually oval, pads of metal that contact other parts of the drive.  The pads can be on the drive side or the pc board side.  Get a new pencil eraser, that’s clean.  Rub it on the contact pads to rub off corrosion.  Reassemble the pc boards.  This helps occasionally.
    2. I have heard negative recommendations about putting your drive in the freezer.  It is said that if the drive has air exchange with the outside, condensation will form on the platter.  A water condensation droplet is ginormous compared to the head “fly height”.  But if the drive is sealed, then you’re safe, and you can take advantage of the different temperatures which can change the way the electronics work, and physically shrink the dimensions of components, and you might get lucky and it might work.  Unfortunately, I dont know how to tell if the drive is sealed.
    3. Other than freezing, you can power up the drive, hold it in your hand, and spin it violently in a plane parallel with the platters. This might un-stick the motor or make the head pass a problematic spot.  DONT DROP THE DRIVE if you attempt this.
    4. The other possibility is to buy an identical drive, and swap the pc boards. And when i say identical i mean really, really identical. The main part number, the sub-part number, all those funny character codes on the drive, front and back. And try to get drives that were made in the same month. So, as i said, really identical. I guess these drive manufacturers are always tweaking things. However, from what i hear (i have not personally confirmed) drives made in the last decade, ie most drives, have a ROM which stores parameters specifically tuned to this physical drive, ie compensating for any physical variances which have appeared on this particular unit. Including the map of bad sectors. So they say if you swap the pc board, you have to move the ROM from the old drive’s pc board to the new pc board. This involves heat to un-solder the two ROMs and heat to solder the old ROM into the new board.
      • (Calling it a ROM chip is a bit misleading, cuz ROM stands for Read-Only Memory, and this memory is written to, because the drive updates it. That means it’s programmable, or PROM.  However, since it’s programmable from the pc board it is likely an EEPROM, or Electrically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory chip.  Regardless….)
      • It’s also called a BIOS chip. How can you identify the HDD PCB’s BIOS?  All of the chips with 8 pins (4 pins on each sides) labeled 25P05VP、25P10VP、25F512、25F1024、25F1024AN、SST25VF512、SST25VF010, eg. are BIOS chips. There are not many 8-pin chips on the PCB, so they are easier to find than they could be.  [There may be other types of BIOS chips not listed here.]
      • If there is no 8-pin BIOS chip on the PCB, it is likely the BIOS is integrated on the Main Chip IC, or Controller. (“IC” stands for “Integrated Circuit”.) It is more complex to exchange the Main Chip IC than exchange the BIOS. If you plan to try this, it would be wise to attempt it several times on the PCB of a different HDD, one who’s data you can afford to lose.  Practice makes perfect.  But at this point you might want to hire a(n expensive) company.
      • I can not vouch for the videos below, but it found them interesting as background:
      • Why Control Board Swaps don’t work anymore   by Gillware Data Recovery
      • DIY: Repair Hard Drive PCB. How to swap circuit board ROM chip.  by Donor Drives

    Disk Doctor

    I called Disk Doctor

    They are expensive.  $450-$850 if it is NOT a mechanical problem.  $850-$1600 if it IS a mechanical problem.

    It all hinges on: Do they have to open the drive and work on the motor, head or platters?  If so, they need to use their (expensive) clean room.  That costs big bucks.

    If they only need to work on the pc board, then it’s cheaper.  Not cheap, but cheap-er.

    They have a free diagnostic service.  Then they will tell you what price range you’re at.

    And if you decide not to do it, you CAN get your hard drive back.  Perhaps to consider other options, or perhaps to wait until later when you can afford the fix.

    But as far as i can tell from a phone call, they can be trusted.  I talked to a technician, twice.

    He explained that the ROM BIOS chip contains the firmware, the map of bad sectors or blocks, and tuning data for the drive.

    He explained that the first thing the drive does when it powers up is read a special sector to initialize itself.  That data must match what’s in the ROM.  If not, then the pc board never initializes.  And you can often hear a clicking sound.

    The pc board both controls the reading off the platter, and also talks to the computer. It must be healthy and speaking the right language for the PC to recognize the drive.  But does the pc board need that first disk read before it can talk to the PC.  Yes, the tech assured me.

    The tech confirmed that most of the time the problem is with the head.  That means opening the drive, using the clean room, and $$$$ 🙁

    And he explained to me that they can measure various currents at the drive interface (without opening the drive, ie without incurring the clean room cost) and tell what is wrong with the drive.

    I trust them enuf to give them a try.  If they can successfully restore a couple drives for me, i would trust them fully, but i havent gathered that data yet.

    Can you put a boot drive into a different computer?

    February 18, 2014

    Here is an excellent answer to this question i found online.


    Posted 19 June 2008 – 10:54 PM

    If you remove a hard drive ( in this case, the boot drive that has the operating system, applications, and all the other stuff in it) from one computer and install it on another computer, will it work?



    Posted 20 June 2008 – 02:36 AM

    Yes, it CAN work…but may not or you might run into some challenges.

    There are a few caveats, however. As first noted, you will have to deal with the driver issue. If the computer has different equipment (which is rather likely unless you talking about two identical computers such as maybe where one has a problem and the second is a replacement and you want to swap drives and then will send the other one back), then they will use different drivers. This can potentially result in a system crash (and maybe BSOD) upon boot-up in many cases as the drivers will be different enough. To deal with this, you should first uninstall ALL drivers on the system while the drive is in the old computer. Then shutdown (do NOT reboot as that will go through the process of trying to reinstall drivers). Then move the drive to the new computer and boot it up. It should then use the Windows Hardware Wizard to try to load as many drivers as it can. You might then have to locate some drivers that don’t come standard with Windows and install them “manually”.

    The second caveat is activation. If the OS is one of Microsoft’s more modern OSs (i.e. Windows Vista or XP…and maybe even Windows 2000…don’t recall for sure on 2000), then it has an activation function/”feature”. Part of activation is that if Windows detects a significant change of hardware (which moving a drive from one computer to a new computer will DEFINITELY do), then it must be re-activated. Generally speaking, this is more of just a hassle/speedbump, but it can be a deal breaker. Technically, if the old computer has an OEM license for Windows, then I believe you are NOT permitted to move that OS to another computer per the EULA of Microsoft’s OEM OS license. Thus, you might have trouble activating it. If it is a retail or upgrade license, then you should not have any problems strickly(sic) speaking and it should be just a matter of jumping through the hoops (which might be as simple as doing it online, but could mean having to call Microsoft and telling what is going one to get it activated). If it is a volume/site license Windows install, then you should have zero trouble with activation…same with older Windows OS such as Windows 98, 98se, and Me.

    The last caveat is a small one…drive connector compatibility…this all assumes that your new computer supports the type of hard drive that is in the older computer. If your old computer has an IDE drive and the new computer for some reason does NOT have any IDE connectors, then you might hit a road block (there are some adapters out there, but I have not always heard good things about them). The parallel issue is that if the old computer is old enough, then you might not be too keen on using an older (and potentially smaller) hard drive. Now, the way to pontential(sic) deal with both these items is to clone the drive to a brand spanking new hard drive (just make sure to uninstall the drivers BEFORE you clone it…and then use a bootable CD of the cloning software so that you don’t start up the driver reinstall process).



    I have performed this operation.


    I cloned (Using Macrium Reflect Technicians) a 4th-gen Intel Core-i5 HP ProDesk machine
    and tried to boot into a 1st-gen Intel Core-i5 Intel board machine.

    It didnt work, but i used Macrium Redeploy and then it DID work!

    Well, it booted.

    This was Windows 7.

    So upon booting, it auto-installed like 12 dirvers for the new hardware.


    Then I tried the exact reverse direction
    Disk from a 1st-gen Intel Core-i5 Intel board machine
    to a 4th-gen Intel Core-i5 HP ProDesk machine.

    Here Macrium Redeploy did not work.

    But I WAS able to boot into safe mode with networking.

    Windows 7 then proceeded to install a few drivers.
    I kept rebooting into safe mode with networking.
    It kept installing drivers.
    Including chipset driver.
    Until it was finished.

    Still blue screen’ed when trying to boot into regular mode (not safe mode).
    Error message was igdkmd64.sys;
    Which i looked up–hd graphics.
    Sure it’s the wrong one–these PCs are 3 generations apart. gen 1 and gen 4.
    So in safe mode I uninstalled the graphics driver
    And rebooted into safe mode.
    It then automatically installed the right graphics (display) driver.
    And then it booted in regular mode (not safe mode).
    It then auto-installed better HID mouse and keyboard drivers.
    And it was up and working.