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80,259 News Articles

The 30 biggest technology myths exposed

Fact or fiction: we decide

We've rounded up the 30 most common technology myths and misconceptions and explained why they are, in fact, fiction.

A 64-bit OS will make computing twice as fast as a 32-bit one

A 64-bit operating System (OS) (and programs) has the potential to be considerably faster than a 32-bit one. But that's in theory. In real world terms however, for any performance improvement, the applications must also be 64-bit compatible.

A 32-bit program will run fine on a 64-bit Windows, but you won't see any improvement in performance. A way in which a 32-bit program can benefit from a 64-bit OS is when the system has more than 3GB RAM, in which case the OS will be able to address the entire memory and make it available to the program if needed.

Generally, you need a 64-bit version of your program running on a 64-bit OS to harness the full capacity of your 64 bit CPU.

You always need to 'stop' a USB device before unplugging it

This is another of those statements that's valid only under certain conditions. The idea behind saying this is to ensure that the USB device is not unplugged while data is being read from or written to it.

Doing so would corrupt the file being transferred. But, if the device is idle, there is no need to go through the 'Safely Remove hardware' drill. Note that in Windows Vista however, if you have set a USB flash drive to act as a Ready Boost device, you will need to 'stop' the device before unplugging it.

For other devices such as keyboard, mouse, printers, scanners, etc, you can just unplug them provided they are not currently in use.

Switching off power without shutting down damages the PC

This must be one of the oldest debates about PCs. Many users still to this day believe that switching off power without shutting down will cause physical damage to their hard drives. We conducted an informal test. We ran 30 iterations of a test, turning off a pair of systems running Windows XP without first shutting down Windows. Each time documents were left open in Word, Outlook, and Quicken. After turning each PC back on, Symantec's Norton Disk Doctor and Windows disk checker found no errors. The applications suffered no problems as well. You will suffer data loss if data is being currently written (or if your work is not saved) while pressing the power button. However, if your computer hangs, and you are in a hurry to get it working, you need not be paranoid before pressing the reset button.

NEXT PAGE: Whether repeated on-off cycles and formatting hard drives can damage your PC

  1. We investigate if the most common 'Old Wives Tales' really are true
  2. 64-bit operating systems, unplugging a USB device and damaging your PC by not shutting down properly
  3. Can repeated on-off cycles and formatting hard drives damage your PC
  4. Even more technology tall tales
  5. Will CDs and DVDs really last forever?
  6. Gaming technology myths
  7. More gaming myths explored
  8. Does a 5:1 sound system really enhance the listening experience?
  9. We bust some of the most common digital photo myths
  10. Even more digital photography myths


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