16 PC mysteries solved!

Our digital detectives uncover the truth behind some of tech's most baffling questions.

By Alex Wawro, PC World |  Hardware, HDTV, PCs

USB 3.0 data transfers have a theoretical maximum speed of 5 gigabits per second, in contrast to the theoretical maximum speed of 460 megabits per second of USB 2.0. Though you probably won't obtain 5-gbps transfers during daily use, you should find that you can move files significantly faster via USB 3.0 than via USB 2.0.

Transferring data between USB 3.0 devices is also more efficient, because USB 3.0 permits simultaneous data transfers in both directions; USB 2.0 devices can transmit data in just one direction at a time. Of course, to take advantage of these upgrades you'll have to invest in new USB 3.0 devices and cables. Though USB 3.0 is backward-compatible and will work with all old USB 2.0 gear, you must buy a USB 3.0 cable if you want your new USB 3.0 devices to exchange data at full speed.

Why do I need administrator access for some tasks?

Why do I need administrator access for some tasks?

It's a security precaution. Windows requires you to have administrator access in order to modify or delete files, if doing so might affect other people who use the computer. This usually isn't a problem if you set up the PC yourself, since the primary account on any Windows machine is assigned administrator privileges by default; but if you need access to your PC's administrator account without a password (if you bought the PC used, for example) you could be in a pickle.

Normally, gaining administrator access in Windows when you don't know the password to the account entails either reinstalling Windows or using third-party software like the Offline NT & Password Editor to reset the password. PCWorld Contributing Editor Lincoln Spector has written about this issue extensively in his Answer Line column, and you can find his advice on using the Offline NT & Password Editor to gain administrator access.

Fun fact: A hidden administrator account on every Windows 7 PC has privileges that supersede any other user's--and disables all User Account Controls by default. To see it, you must first log in to your Windows 7 PC with an account that has administrator access. From there, right-click the Command Prompt application in your Applications folder and select Run As Administrator. Once the command prompt is open, type net user administrator /active:yes and press Enter. If the command executes successfully, you should be able to exit the Command Prompt, log out of your Windows account, and see the now-visible Administrator account. To cloak it again, follow the same process, changing the Command Prompt entry to read net user administrator /active:no.

Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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