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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 Your shiny new desktop PC could be outdated within 6 months time.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 February 15, 2019

    7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

    7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

    Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

    Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

    Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

    So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

    Joe’s Goals

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      Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

      Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

      Daytum

        Daytum

        is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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        Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

        Excel or Numbers

          If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

          What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

          Evernote

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            I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

            Evernote is free with a premium version available.

            Access or Bento

              If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

              Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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              You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

              Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

              All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

              Conclusion

              I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

              What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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