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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 Your shiny new desktop PC could be outdated within 6 months time.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 May 25, 2020

    10 Best Task List Apps to Boost Productivity in 2020

    10 Best Task List Apps to Boost Productivity in 2020

    Organizational drag is anything that eats up time and keeps people from getting things done in time. Companies that wish to boost productivity do so by creating more efficient processes.

    This also applies to individuals, freelancers, and entrepreneurs. Whether you work alone or as part of a team, it is important to use the right tools to boost productivity, and having an accessible and easily manageable task list can go a long way.

    Here is a list of the top ten productivity apps that you can use to achieve more.

    1. ToDoist

      ToDoist is an awesome to-do task list app that is used by over 10 million people. To use the app, you just have to write down all the activities that you plan to do. The software will then interpret these activities and categorize the tasks accordingly.

      For instance, if you create a task to go for lunch at noon with a friend, the app will automatically categorize this task as a meeting and will send you a reminder at the right time.

      However, this app is more than a personal activity planner. You can use it to plan activities for the entire team. It is also good for planning entire projects, discussing details about the project, and monitoring the deadlines.

      The basic functionality is free, but you can unlock premium features for $36 or $60 a year for full access.

      Available on iOS and Android

      2. monday.com

        This productivity app lets you manage your workflows and tasks. It is a great tool for creating a task list and helping you have a clear view of your work and the status of each task.

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        The app is a bit similar to a spreadsheet. However, it looks much nicer, and it allows you to toggle between multiple views. It gives you alerts and notifications, and it allows you to attach files as well as communicate with colleagues.

        The features of Monday.com include a task board that can be customized to manage due date, hours spent, task status, and much more. Users can upload and attach files, make comments, mention members of their team, and more. It can also be integrated into Google Drive, Slack, GitHub, Jira, Dropbox, and many other platforms.

        If you have problems setting it up, you can contact the customer via email or phone.

        Available on iOS and Android

        3. CloudApp

          CloudApp is a great app for boosting productivity. It offers highly intuitive communication, which can help you save up to 56 hours a week. Your only problem will be deciding how you can utilize all the extra time.

          Whether you are talking with a customer, colleague, or client, this app has all the features you need. With GIFs, screenshots, and image annotation, you no longer have to write lengthy emails. Instead, you can show people what you want them to do.

          The app has over 3 million users. It has proven quite reliable when it comes to helping users to boost productivity. You can opt for the free version or you can opt for a $9 a month upgrade to access premium features.

          Available on iOS

          4. Quip

            If you are working closely with members of your team, Quip is a great app for team activities. The platform combines spreadsheets, documents, slides, and chat. Its main strength is that it comes with a suite of Live Apps. You can use them to increase the functionality of Quip.

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            Moreover, you will waste less time by being able to streamline the use of various tools. Quip is one of the most adaptable productivity apps in the world.

            There are options to use connected tools to track time, manage work, and much more. Some of the integrations of Quip are Dropbox, Github, Slack, Salesforce, and much more. The app costs just $30 a month for 5 users.

            Available on iOS and Android

            5. Trello

              Trello is an app that makes managing projects an easy task. This is made possible by the app’s Kanban philosophy. It is a visual and intuitive platform.

              Users can break huge tasks into small chunks, making it useful for creating a task list. This is made possible by creating cards for each task. The cards can be organized into different columns, which are representative of various stages of the project. Once a task is complete, a card is moved from one column to the next.

              The app is free but it comes with a premium plan with $9.99 a month.

              Available on iOS and Android

              6. Focus Keeper

                This app is perfect for those who wish to improve their work habits and minimize distractions while maintaining focus on current tasks. Focus Keeper is based on the Pomodoro technique. This method utilizes timeboxing to ensure each task is complete.

                This is more than a task list app. If you wish to understand how you work best, the app delivers a suite of tools that you can use to set up your workday. It tracks your hours, analyzes, checks interruptions, and much more. Some of the integrations of Focus Keeper are Trello, Asana, Todoist, Basecamp, Outlook, Google Keep, and many others.

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                The app costs $2.99 a month for those who wish to access premium features. It is accessible on Linux, iOS, Android, web, macOS, and Windows.

                Available on iOS and Android

                7. Quire

                  This app is designed as a professional and personal to-do task list manager. The app has a very efficient and optimized design due to the developers’ philosophy on visual task management. It allows you to easily get updates and work with your teammates.

                  The app also allows users to customize and choose templates based on their preferences. It is easy to use, but it helps you get things done. The app is currently free.

                  Available on iOS and Android

                  8. Asana

                    This Kanban-style app is quite popular. It helps you visually organize your tasks. With this app, you can set deadlines, tasks, assignees, and visualize your workflow. It is quite popular and used by many people.

                    The app features a sleek clutter-free design and comes with several integrations. As a result, it can be adapted to a wide range of projects. The app costs $9.99 a month.

                    Available on iOS and Android

                    9. Toggl

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                      You can use this simple time tracker to help boost your team’s productivity. It works on different devices across several platforms, and it comes with numerous friendly reminders to ensure that you remember to keep it on. It usually sends you a report once you complete a task to help you make improvements next time.

                      The app is free and those who wish to access premium features pay $9 a month.

                      Available on iOS and Android

                      10. Omni Focus

                        This app is considered the gold standard of the to-do apps. Omni Focus delivers a huge number of features that can be used to sort, prioritize, and plan tasks. It features several ways to categorize tasks such as location, energy needed, and priority.

                        It is only available on Apple devices and it costs $39.99 for the standard package.

                        Available on iOS

                        Summary

                        All the apps above are great for boosting productivity. However, you will need to pick one that best suits your needs. Try a number of them out before you decide to settle on one.

                        More Tools for Productivity

                        Featured photo credit: Bram Naus via unsplash.com

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