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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 August 21, 2018

    18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools (2018 Updated)

    18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools (2018 Updated)

    No one can dispute the countless benefits technology has brought us. It’s undoubtedly allowed us to connect, perform, improve and leverage our resources beyond what was once imaginable.

    If you’re not taking advantage of one of the hundreds of time management apps and tools out there, you’re definitely missing a trick.

    But with so many apps to choose from, how do you know which ones to use? Well, this will depend on your needs, but we’ve put together a list of 18 of the very best time management apps that can help you with the most common time management challenges.

    Let’s dive straight into the list…

    1. Rescue Time — Use your time wisely

      If you have doubts that you’re using your time sensibly, this app will send you weekly reports to indicate what things are stealing your time. You may be shocked to discover how much time you’re actually wasting.

      Download Rescue Time

      2. Remember The Milk — Keep on top of all your tasks

        If you’re struggling to manage everything you have to do, and you work with many different devices, then this is the app for you. It’s a great free tool which is compatible with your mobile, computer, Gmail, Outlook, etc. It helps you to manage your tasks easily, and reminds you of them – wherever you are.

        Download Remember the Milk

        3. Focus Booster – Boost motivation to complete tasks

          This app is based on the principles of the Pomodoro Technique, and is aimed at individuals who procrastinate and feel overwhelmed by tasks. It’s designed to enhance your focus and remove any anxiety you might have with time pressures.

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          Download Focus Booster

          4. Toggl – Keep track of time spent on projects and tasks

            This is a great alternative to time-sheets, if you need to track how much time you spend on different projects. Effective time management starts with being clear on exactly how much time you actually spend on your projects and tasks, and then through analysis, working out how you can manage them more effectively.

            Download Toggl

            5. Dropbox — Store and send large files easily

              There are many apps that allow you to transfer content from your computer to other devices – but Dropbox is free and easier to use than the others. With the Dropbox app, you can even access and share important files on the go.

              Download Dropbox

              6. Evernote — Keep all your notes in one place

                Evernote is a free productivity tool that allows you to capture all your ideas, thoughts and images in many different ways (e.g., with voice, notes or images).  You can even record your meetings, interviews, speeches and ideas, create lists, add voice or text attachments, and share your files with friends. You can also sync Remember The Milk with Evernote to really optimize your time.

                Download Evernote

                7. Mind42 — Focus on tasks at hand with mind mapping

                  Mind mapping is a great productivity technique, and Mind42 is the best free mind mapping app currently available. It helps you to become more organized by focusing your thoughts – thereby gaining clarity on what needs to be done.

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                  Download Mind42

                  8. SyncBackFree — Back up and sync your files effortlessly

                    This free software allows you to back up, restore and synchronize your files easily. It not only saves you time now – but also in the future. If you have never backed up your files before, you should definitely take a look at this pivotal tool.

                    Download SnycBackFree

                    9. MyLifeOrganized (MLO) — Manage your to-do lists effectively

                      Check this out if you find it difficult to manage all your tasks, to work with your to-do lists, and to organize your goals. This task management system helps you to target what you should be focusing on to reach your objectives. It automatically generates to-do lists, with priority actions for your immediate attention so that you can track your progress methodically.

                      Download MyLifeOrganized (MLO)

                      10. 1Password — Have all your passwords remembered

                        This app allows you to keep all your passwords in one encrypted database, protected by one password. This saves you time when you forget your passwords and need to retrieve them. It also allows you to use various passwords for different accounts so you don’t compromise on security.

                        Download 1Password

                        11. Pocket — Keep your eye on the ball

                          When you’re surfing the web, it’s easy to get distracted by enticing and fascinating websites. Use this tool to save your ‘finds’ to access and read later on at a convenient time which will not impact on your immediate work.

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                          Download Pocket

                          12. Focus@Will — Boost your attention span

                            This amazing app combines neuroscience and music to boost your productivity. According to the developers, it’s possible to increase your attention span by up to 400%! Ideal for those who find it difficult to focus while studying, working or reading.

                            Download Focus@Will

                            13. Launchy — Interact with your computer in a smart way

                              This small and simple tool allows you to launch your documents, project files, folders, and bookmarks with just a few keystrokes. This makes life so much easier as you don’t need to go through the start menu to access what you want.

                              Download Launchy

                              14. Forest — Boost your focus by growing a forest

                                This unique and fun app helps you stay focused and on-track. The concept is simple: whenever you want to focus, plant a virtual tree. If you stay focused, the tree will grow. If you lose focus, the tree will die. As the app’s name implies, you can grow multiple trees to create a virtual forest!

                                Download Forest

                                15. Trello — Track your projects in a highly visual way

                                  This is a hugely popular app that you may already be familiar with. It works by allowing you to create cards for tasks that you need to complete. Each card moves across the Trello board (which is typically broken into columns such as To Do, In Progress, and Completed) as your start, work on and complete the associated task.

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                                  Download Trello

                                  16. Wunderlist — Digitalize your to-do lists

                                    Purchased by Microsoft in 2015, Wunderlist is an easy to use, feature-packed to-do list app. From planning a holiday, to sharing a shopping list with a partner, or managing multiple work projects, Wunderlist will keep you on top of all your tasks.

                                    Download Wunderlist

                                    17. TimeTree — Have a shared calendar with your family

                                      This app allows families or teams to share multiple calendars and appointments. So, whether you’re planning a party, or run a local sports team, Time Tree can keep everyone up-to-date with all current and upcoming activities and events.

                                      Download Time Tree

                                      18. Todoist — Capture and order all your tasks and activities easily

                                        Todoist is close to being the ultimate digital to-do list. It’s available via browsers and apps, and lets you schedule all your tasks and activities. Each item can be flagged for priority as well as given a due date. There is also a neat option to add notes to any of your tasks.

                                        Download Todoist

                                        The above list covers what we consider to be the very best time management apps and tools. And the good news is – that many of them are completely free of charge! So, what are you waiting for? Select the ones that will be the most valuable to you – and begin boosting your productivity now!

                                        Oh, and one more thing… Take a look at a couple of our other articles that will help further streamline your time management:

                                        40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone and 20 Quick Tips For Better Time Management

                                        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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