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Should You Upgrade or Repair Your Computer?

Should You Upgrade or Repair Your Computer?

Technology develops at an incredible pace. Your shiny new desktop PC could be outdated within 6 months time. Those with a computer over the age of 2 years can fully expect it to start spluttering along as you try and do the simplest of things. However, all hope is not lost. New processors and graphics cards are all well and good, but most computer problems can be fixed by simple updates and a little maintenance. Even if you do need new parts, upgrading a computer has never been easier and so cheap.

Give It a Cleaning

Never underestimate what a good physical clean can do for a computer. Computers get full of dust and lint, and fans and vents can get clogged. If a computer is suffering from overheating, random shut-downs or noisy whirring, it may not need repairing as the culprit could simply be an abundance of dust. Use short bursts of compressed air to displace dust in hard to reach places and give the rest a wipe with lint-free, anti-static cloths. Of course, unplug the power and be very careful when cleaning delicate components.

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    Software Repair

    New computers are always much faster than old ones, and it’s not just because they have newer components. As a computer is used over time, new pieces of software are installed on it, hard drives get filled and it is running more and more processes each time you boot up. Schedule a regular virus scan to get rid of malware and adware, uninstall programs that are clogging up your desktop and disable rarely used software from booting at the start-up. Alternatively, a complete fresh install to a faulty operating system, while a drastic measure, will really get everything back to running smoothly (make sure you do a full back-up, though). You’d be surprised by how much performance can be gained from repairing an existing system.

    Hardware Repair

    If your computer still has performance problems after a software repair, then it could mean the issue is with your computers hardware. Unfortunately hardware can break, with the most common causes being overheating, liquid damage and impact related damage. All is not lost though, as hardware can be easily repaired or replaced by a computer repair technician.

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    Generally hardware repairs are priced based on the time taken to complete the job and the cost of the replacement part, if one is needed. Along with the expertise needed to successfully make hardware repairs, repair technicians will also be able to easily identify the exact issue with a broken computer.

    If the offending item of hardware is easy to identify (e.g. a broken CD drive), then you can always have a go at fixing it yourself; parts can be ordered online through the brand manufacturer. You can also find second hand parts on eBay, however buying straight from the manufacturer will ensure your new parts have a full warranty. Although fixing it yourself may work out cheaper, you do run the risk of doing further damage to your computer if it’s done incorrectly or haphazardly.

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    Upgrading

    Unfortunately, there is only so much that uninstalling and repairing can do. If you are still suffering from PC performance issues, a few bits may need upgrading. Fortunately, replacing and upgrading many computer components is very easy, and even technophobes should be able to manage it.

    Buying more RAM is perhaps the quickest and most efficient way to boost performance, and it is simply a case of opening up the case and slotting RAM into the motherboard. There are compatibility issues, so check what RAM you currently have before you buy some. If you’re a heavy downloader or you find that you keep running out of disk space, a new hard-drive is a practical upgrade, and external hard-drives can simply be plugged into a USB port. For gamers, a new graphics card may be a good upgrade and, while they can be a bit fiddly to fit, practical online help can guide you through the install.

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    Featured photo credit: Silver stethoscope lying down on an laptop, toned blue via Shutterstock and inline photo by Robert S. Donovan via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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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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