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How to Make a DIY Computer Repair Kit

How to Make a DIY Computer Repair Kit


    If you’re like me you are the “de-facto computer repair person” for your family and friends. With the ubiquity of laptops nowadays, it is easier for your friends and family to bring their computer to you. But there are still times where making a house call is still necessary.

    The thought of going outside the friendly confines of your home to make a repair can seem daunting. What if they don’t have the correct screwdriver in case you have to open the box? What if they don’t have the software needed to fix any problems that have arisen? There are a lot of “what-ifs” when dealing with someone else’s computer — especially if they aren’t as savvy.

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    For that reason, I have created a DIY computer repair kit — a first aid kit for ailing computers, if you will. Here’s what you’ll need to make one:

    A Multi-Head Screwdriver

    If you have to open the box to see what is going on inside the guts of the computer, having a multi-head screwdriver is the best way to go. You’ll often have different screws for each layer of the case, so having one screwdriver that the head can be switched out saves you time (and space) in your computer repair kit. It’s ideal if you can get one with a ratcheting head; it makes tight spaces easier to deal with.

    Bonus tip: Leave the heads on a strong magnet (if you have an old speaker that works best) overnight and that will magnetize them. Never lose a screw again!

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    A Ubuntu Live CD

    Sometimes a computer simply will not boot into the operating system. Having a Ubuntu live CD allows you to discern if the operating system is compromised or if the hard drive has crashed — or is about to crash. Having an operating system on a CD also lets you do a back up if the hard drive is getting ready to die, because (let’s face it) your family more than likely has not backed up their data the way they should.

    A Flash Drive with Antivirus Software

    A good assumption going into a computer repair is that your family member has virus or spyware on their machine. Having a flash drive with some form of antivirus software in your computer repair kit ensures you’re prepared for this. I download and update Windows Security Essentials on a flash drive that I have no other data on. Viruses can “leak” onto a flash drive, so I try my best not to use the toolkit flash drive in my production machine.

    A Can of Air

    Reality check: PC’s get dusty.

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    Sometimes there is a blanket of dust on the parts inside that trap in heat and can cause static to build up. Anytime I open up a PC I clean it out with a can of air. It’s important to use a can of air and not a vacuum because vacuums create static, which can cause all sorts of problems.

    Spare Parts

    If you have an old hard drive lying around consider packing it in your toolkit. Sometimes testing different hardware will give you a better understanding about what is going on and how to solve it. Be careful with RAM though; putting the wrong kind of RAM in a PC can damage the motherboard. In my toolkit I have a spare hard drive, a few sticks of RAM, and an old CD drive. That way, if I need to I can swap out the old pieces of hardware and see if that solves the problem. We’ve told you in the past how to repair a keyboard, but having one of those in your computer repair kit also can be a good idea.

    Conclusion

    Of course, the best maintenance is preventative maintenance. Take the opportunity to talk to your family about good PC habits. Remind them about security issues and to change passwords. Show them how to back up data correctly so they don’t lose their important documents or precious photos. Showing them how to do these things will save them and you a lot of stress in the long run.

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    That said, you never know when you’re going to have to make a house call. Being prepared is a good way to save you stress and any headaches that may accompany a house call.

    (Photo credit: Computer Repair via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on September 25, 2019

    7 Best Project Management Apps to Boost Productivity

    7 Best Project Management Apps to Boost Productivity

    Project management doesn’t need to be a complicated thing, not if you have apps that make things a whole lot simpler. When you have project management apps, you can take care of your team, tasks and deadlines, without even being in the office. You don’t even have to spend a lot of money to get most of the apps you might need.

    Here are the 7 best project management apps to super boost your team’s productivity:

    1. Basecamp

      It’s probably the most well-known project management app out there. It allows you to organize projects that act as a central location for everything and contains such things as to-do lists, notes, events, files, and much more.

      It is user-friendly, and has a free 30-day trial period. After that, the plan is $99 per month.

      Find out more about Basecamp here.

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      2. Asana

        If you are looking for something that is not difficult to use, check out Asana. This is a great task management app that can be used for managing projects as well.

        In a nutshell, Asana helps you create and share task lists with your team. The app is simple but smart enough and has got a lot of integrations. Teams with up to 15 members can use Asana for free. Teams with 15 members and up can choose plans that range from $10.99 per month.

        Find out more about Asana here.

        3. Casual

          This is a unique app that offers a different way of doing things. On Casual, you plan your tasks just by drawing them as a flowchart. The neat thing is that Casual helps you visualize and track dependencies between tasks.

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          This app is incredibly intuitive and works great for personal projects, as well as for organizing projects for small teams. You can try it for free, and if you don’t like it, there is no obligation to pay for anything.

          Find out more about Casual here.

          4. Trello

            This app is incredibly user-friendly, and is based on Kanban boards. It actually works like a virtual whiteboard with post-it-notes.

            Trello is great for organizing your to-do lists, ideas, and is very easy to use. You can create several boards to use for various projects, and it’s free of cost. Trello is available to iOS and Android users as well.

            Find out more about Trello here.

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            5. OmniPlan

              This is an awesome app for iPhone and iPad users. If you love Gantt charts, this is definitely an app that you can get a lot out of.

              You start out by creating a simple project outline. Then you can use the app to help you through every step of the project until its completion.

              A standard plan for iOS costs just $99.99, and the pro plan is only $199.99.

              Find out more about OmniPlan here.

              6. Podio

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                This is a great app for medium and large-sized teams working on projects. The special point about Podio is that there are additional features such as CRM and social intranet.

                There are four different packages: Free, which is free for up to five employees and five external users; Basic, which is $9 per month per employee; Plus, which is $14 per month per employee, and Premium, which is $24 per month per employee.

                Find out more about Podio here.

                7. Microsoft Project

                  This is one of the most commonly-used project management apps. However, it is also one of the most difficult apps to use. It does have a lot of features that are popular with project managers, which is why we have chosen to include in on this list. You can customize reports, track burn rates, and stay on track until projects are complete.

                  The basic plan starts with $7 per month, which allows you project team members to collaborate in the cloud, via web browser or mobile.

                  Find out more about Microsoft Project here.

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                  Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

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