Computer Guide

Is Ethernet better than USB?
by George Skarbek - 12 September 2006

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Q: I have two questions that I hope you can answer. Is Ethernet better than USB as the shop said for my ADSL modem? The other question that that my internet connection was 256 Kbps (in the contract), but now when I placed the cursor on the “2 computers” Internet connection icon, it says that the speed is 100 Mbps. How is that possible?

A:There is very little difference between connecting via USB or Ethernet. The theoretical speed of your Ethernet is probably 100 Mbps while the maximum speed of a USB 2 connection is 480 Mbps. However, this is just of academic interest as a 256 Kbps Internet connection is the equivalent or 0.25 Mbps or a fraction of one precent of whichever connection you use, so there will be no difference in performance.  Your choice may be limited to the number of free ports of each type that you wish to keep.

As for the second question, the 100 Mbps refers to the maximum speed of the port and not to the device that is attached to it.

Q: A local well known computer company will build me a computer to the following specs. I do not do any gaming and only require a reliable reasonably fast machine for Word, Excel, Email and Internet surfing. In your opinion am I on the right track? [Specs and price removed from the question]
A: This looks quite good value and the specs are OK. One item that you may consider is to install a second hard drive depending on your reliability needs. I recommend this to my clients in order to automate the backups onto the other drive. 

Also with two drives, by moving the swap file onto the other physical drive you will gain a very slight improvement in performance as the read / write heads on both drives can operate simultaneously. This is done from Control Panel, System, Advanced, Performance, Settings, Advanced, Virtual Memory and after making the changes ensure that you click on Set and then ignore the dire warning. After a reboot the very large swapfile will be on the other partition. Next day look in the root directory of drive C: to ensure that the old swapfile is gone. This hidden file is called pagefile.sys and it will have yesterday's date and if it exists, it can be safely removed. If you feel that this is too complicated then your dealer can set this up.

Note that you will still need to burn regular, possibly weekly, CD/DVDs or use a USB drive for off-site backups to cover the event of fire or theft of the computer.

Q: I am running Windows ME.  Recently whilst idly watching my virus checker at work I noticed that it spent a long time on a directory: "RESTORE/TEMP".  Using Explorer, I find that under "RESTORE" there are 4 sub-directories (folders), one is called "ARCHIVE", while another is called "TEMP".  In "ARCHIVE" there are 104 files, ranging in dates over several years, mostly of 1025kb size and with a two digit numerical extension.  In "TEMP" there are 23,092 files ranging from 1 to 1654kb, but with many of 10kb size, nearly all with the extension "CPY", and seem to be in bunches of about 100 files for a given "random" date, going back years but ranging up to quite recently.  My questions: What are they and what is the difference HERE between "ARCHIVE" and "TEMP"?   Are they important?   Can I simply delete them all or do I have to retain at least some of the more recent date bunches?   Finally, is there any simple way to delete 20 odd thousand files if they are unnecessary?

A: I am over 99% sure that all the files in the TEMP folder are junk files and can safely be deleted. To be on the safe side sort them by type and have a look at file that may mean something Use Windows Explorer to sort and then you can delete these in one hit by pressing Ctrl + a to select all and then press Delete. All this is done from the Details view in Windows Explorer.

The Archive folder is something that was created by some program and it could be the anti-virus software and the contents can probably be deleted. The CPY extension is most likely a remnant of copying documents using a scanner.

To identify what program is associated with what file extension, you should visit one of the many Internet sites providing this information. One such site is


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