Practical Computer Hardware and Software Advice

computer hardware

Practical Computer Hardware and Software Advice

In today’s digital world, we rely on technology for nearly every aspect of our lives. Computers have become an integral part of what we do on a daily basis. Keeping both your computer software and hardware in top condition is crucial to making your life more comfortable and productive. Read the following tips in order to diagnose computer software and hardware problems yourself. In this way, you can avoid paying for costly computer repair.

Protect Your Computer With These Simple Steps:

  • Be sure to only use the latest version of any software product, when possible. Older versions often contain bugs and incompatibilities that are fixed in newer versions of the software. Choose programs that have undergone rigorous software testing to eliminate bugs. Popular programs used are Visual Studio test edition, or Jazz, which are both used to greatly improve the software quality through different types of testing and management. Proper software testing can prevent many headaches further down the line. Note that programs whose version number ends in “A” for “Alpha”, “B” for “Beta” or “RC” for “Release Candidate” are not final versions and should be used with caution. Replace these versions with a final release as soon as one becomes available.
  • Keep your operating system up to date. New updates are released for Windows, Macintosh and Unix systems on a near-daily basis. These “patches” can not only fix bugs, but also close security holes that could otherwise make you vulnerable to hackers and identity thieves. Your computer’s operating system should have an “Automatic Updates” feature. If present, be sure to turn it on. It is usually most convenient to set this feature to perform updates during a time when you are unlikely to be using the computer, such as very late at night. Of course, the computer needs to be on and connected to the Internet in order to perform these updates.
  • Run an antivirus program. One popular and free antivirus application is Avast. Other popular Antivirus suites include AVG, Norton and McAfee. These programs must be manually run frequently or set to scan the computer automatically. Do not set them to scan when the system is performing updates. Be sure to keep the antivirus engine and definitions up to date. These definitions are the result of countless hours of software testing by the antivirus program’s manufacturer. Without the latest definitions, the program will not be able to detect the latest viruses and worms. A large percentage of computer repair orders involve machines where there is no problem with the computer hardware, only the computer software.
  • Run a malware removal program. These software packages remove malicious code such as spyware, keyloggers and backdoor software that can allow hackers to compromise your computer, steal data, commit identity theft or use your computer for illegal activity. Just like an antivirus program, the program’s scanning engine and definitions files must be kept up to date and scanning must be done frequently. Making sure you follow this advice should keep you safe from having to use potentially expensive computer forensic software to diagnose and fix problems.
  • If you don’t do all of the above your computer could easily be slowed down with viruses, malware, keyloggers and hackers may even have full control of your machine. If the above steps do not work and your computer is already been infected you may want to consider formatting your hard drive and re-installing the operating system or buy a cheap refurbished computer from a company that provides after sales support to help keep your computer secure.

Which Laptop Suppliers Offer The Best Support?

Customer support in the technology industry is notoriously bad. Everyone has heard the horror stories of sitting on hold for hours on end, elevator music playing in the background, waiting for the static-riddled sound of a representative asking barely-relevant questions. Worse still are the stories of pressing buttons on a menu until that dreaded cheery, automated voice fills the complainer’s ears and offers them no way to talk to an actual human being. If you’re not the most tech-savvy person yourself, it’s absolutely vital to know customer support is always there to help in the event of a technology crisis. Picking the right vendor can help.

Number One: Apple
As much as there is to be said about Apple’s exorbitantly priced goods, there’s one area where they unquestionably excel, and that’s support. There’s been a study of the top customer service in companies all across industries, and not only was Apple the only laptop and PC supplier that made the list, it took the number one spot. The next heavily PC-centered company to make the list was Google, weighing in at number four. Apple’s “Genius Bars” offer more than a posh name after all: They lead the tech industry — in fact, industry in general — in customer service satisfaction.

Number Two: Lenovo (IBM)
In PC World’s comprehensive study of customer service and satisfaction, few laptop or computer suppliers won out. In fact, no companies ended up positive reviews for their desktop support. In the laptop category, however, both Apple and Lenovo earned a positive mention. Apple’s mention is unsurprising given that they’ve already proven their place as the king of customer service, but Lenovo deserves its shout-out, too. In a world where few tech companies satisfy customers with their support, customers need a place to turn.

Number Three: Independent Tech Support Providers
So few PC companies provide truly good support that it may be time to look elsewhere. Independent tech support companies like FireDog, Geek Squad and SupportSpace may require a bit of cash, but they can service any kind of computer, even the old or unconventional, and provide service a thousand times better than traditional tech support. If you really need heavy-duty support, independent providers win every time.

Why You Should Buy From A Computer shop Rather Than Online

The Internet can be a good resource to find much information. However, when it comes to buying a computer, below are just some of the many reasons why it is best to go to a local computer shop for that purpose.

1. Online prices are not always less expensive. Local companies know how to compete in their business niche. They are aware of pricing structures and usually apply similar sales to their own stock. When you factor in shipping charges and the hassle of repairs or returning a computer online, buying locally is actually a lot less expensive.

2. Better customer service. Local shops usually hire people with much better knowledge about the brands and products they sell. They also take the time to understand what type of product you are looking. By interacting with you, they can adapt your requirements and present a number of choices that suits your specific needs. This type of service is just not possible from any online store.

3. Best market selection. Computing devices are intricate machines, which means there are a plethora of issues that can arise during manufacturing. Local computer shop owners make it their business to know in advance about the many device defects on the market. In fact, this is why they hand-pick which ones they will carry. These shops are aware that selling defective merchandise is not going to go well with customers.

4.Buying online lacks the added bonus of a human being to interact with. Therefore, you really don’t know what you are buying when you make a purchase online. There is always a chance that the item could be defective or that it doesn’t suit your needs.

5. Computers should be experienced in person. There is nothing like being able to see and touch an item before buying it. These technical devices require human interaction. Only in person can you see how it works, experience the touch of the keyboard, and determine which one is best for you.

6. The fine print is often buried, if there at all. Web sites are set up to attract sales. Because of this, they do not always display details about returning unsuitable or defective merchandise. Not to mention, returning a computer simply because you do not like the way it works may be prohibited entirely. In most cases, you will have to spend time packing it up properly and pay costly shipping charges with insurance, to ensure that it arrives safely. Even less rare is there any opportunity to arrange for repairs in an online computer shop.

7. Return shipping and handling costs. While some vendors may offer free shipping and handling, many do not. Even so, saving on shipping and handling costs comes with a price. If there is anything wrong with the computer, you will need to arrange to return it on your own, if that is even possible. The risk involved in buying from an online shop is not worth the hassle when you factor in:

  • Unfavorable or lack of return policy
  • Return shipping charges
  • Unknown waiting time
  • Loss of use during shipping time
  • Lack of repair support
  • Possibility of loss during shipment

An online computer shop is concerned with one thing: sales. During and after the sale, they cannot accommodate customers the way that a local store can. Because of this, it is always better to make computer purchases at local computer shops.

Where To Find Quality Computing Essentials

usb drive

For individuals who spend a significant portion of their time on their home or office computer, having the appropriate computing essentials necessary to create a fully functioning office is essential. This can include printers, printer paper and ink cartridges as well as a variety of cables, splitters, USB drives and other tools. Having the capability to print documents, wire peripheral machines and accessories and maintain a consistent wireless or wired Internet connection all contribute to the functionality of the home office. A key aspect of creating an office environment that contains all the elements needed by the user is to find the ideal place to purchase these essentials without breaking the bank.

For most consumers, the ideal place to purchase computing essentials is online. Many retail stores that sell electronics, devices and computing peripherals charge significantly more for average items than websites that make those same products available. In many cases, these stores are banking on the fact that the consumer is not aware of how inexpensive the products are elsewhere as well as their desire for instant gratification. By spending some time shopping and comparing prices online, consumers can almost always find the products that they need at a significantly cheaper rate, even after shipping costs. Additionally, the amount of product selection provided by websites which sell computing essentials is exponentially larger than that of the average retailer.

There are some specific items that are much more expensive in retail stores than they are on the Internet, while other items are easier to purchase in person due to a lack of price difference or a weight difference that would affect shipping. Consumers who are looking for ink cartridges for a printer, CAT5, HDMI, USB or other cables, splitters, hubs, modems and routers can almost always find the peripherals they are looking for at a more reasonable price by shopping online. Sales are often available, and many online tech retailers even provide coupon codes for additional savings.

In contrast, printer paper and software do not need to be ordered on the Internet. Printer paper can be purchased at a reasonable cost at most office supply stores, and many tech retailers will only ship paper in reams, a quantity that far exceeds the needs of the average consumer. Paper is also heavy, which can significantly alter shipping cost if it is determined by weight. Programmes can also be purchased in stores for immediate access. Since the company that manufactures them typically sets the price of said software, a retailer is not able to alter that price. Therefore, the cost would be the same whether the programme was shipped to the consumer or purchased in a store. However, if a consumer does not feel the need to have a hard copy of the software, some developers have taken to offering digital downloads to consumers at reduced prices. This can save the consumer money while also providing nearly instant programme access.

What To Look For In A Quality Laptop and Computer


Shopping for new technology is a time when careful consideration should be taken. Electronics are not cheap, and having the expectation that the cheapest PC available is made with high-quality parts that will not fall into disrepair is a sure recipe for disappointment. However, these types of quality cheap laptops do exist if you find the right supplier.

Consumers who are looking to purchase a desktop or laptop to use in their home or office are the least likely to need a machine with high-quality specifications. When the device is used mainly to pay bills, send and read emails and track important documents, a large hard drive and lots of Rams are not needed. The system will not need much processing power in order to complete these tasks.

Individuals who are looking for a PC that will allow them to store music, video and photos, as well as stream various types of media, will want a machine that has at least 2GB of RAM accompanied by a 500GB hard drive. This will allow an effective amount of storage space for the user’s media collection and ensure smooth streaming.

However, if you need computers for a work setting, such as a factory or warehouse, then the typical computers and laptops you find in high street shops and online are not going to be good enough and be able to survive in these kinds of settings. Therefore to find a quality computer display which is made especially for this kind of industrial use, you will need use products such as an LCD touchscreen monitor. This type of technology is great for a wide range of applications, from military to retail use, and are designed to suit your requirements.

Finally, consumers who need a PC that can run resource intensive applications such as graphic design programmes, video editing software and graphically heavy games will need a system with some of the best specifications available on the market. It is recommended that tasks like the aforementioned be performed on devices with at least 4GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive to ensure optimum function.

As logic dictates, the cost of these computers increases depending on the amount of additional hardware that is installed in the machine. While PCs that have less RAM and a smaller hard drive can be relatively inexpensive, consumers looking to purchase a device for graphic intensive work should be prepared to make a significant investment. When seeking out a computer or laptop for purchase, the quality can be determined in a few simple steps:

First, the consumer should look for a system that is manufactured by a known brand. Established brands tend to have better warranties and customer support as well as more effective proprietary software.

After that, the specs of the PC should be examined in order to make sure that it is suitable for the consumer’s needs. Some specialised applications also require separate hardware for it to work. Software on image analysis, for instance, need a camera with high technical capabilities to input proper data. Finally, before purchasing a computer, the consumer should ask if a sample machine is available in order to determine how intuitive the system is and if they will feel comfortable using it. These are the primary steps in finding a quality computing device.


Laptops with the best battery life

As much as today’s laptop are now built with better features and higher specs, one of the features that most consumer’s look out for is the battery life. Laptops with higher specs tend to die out faster as it is heavily reliant on their battery. So it’s important to find the right balance between a good battery life and a good spec. To help you find a laptop with a good battery life, we’ve gathered some relevant links below that can help with your search. Whether you are an Apple user or a window user, we’ve found some of the best laptops with great battery life. Find out more from the articles below.

The best battery life laptops of 2017

The battery may be a laptop’s most critical feature. That’s what makes it a laptop, after all, and not just a semi-portable replacement for a desktop PC. If you’re a frequent traveler, you know the crushing feeling of having to close a laptop mid-movie or mid-meeting because you just couldn’t find a power port on that airplane or in that conference room. Let us fix that for you.

Bear in mind that the following laptops were selected primarily based on their ability to last for hours and hours between charges—not just more than the 8 hours we define as the minimum for all-day life, but more than 10 hours. We’ve included laptops that have optional high-capacity internal batteries you can buy at the time of purchase, but not aftermarket or physically separate extended batteries … Read more at

Laptop with the Longest Battery Life

No matter how stacked its specs are, a laptop is useless if it can’t hold a charge. Fortunately, there are plenty of notebooks that go the distance. Using our Laptop Mag Battery Test, which involves continuous Web surfing over Wi-Fi at 100 nits of brightness, we’ve identified the longest-lasting notebooks on the market. We’re talking more than 10 hours of endurance, which should more than suffice for that cross-country fight, a long day of meetings or multiple, back-to-back classes.

If you want a truly fantastic keyboard, durable chassis and strong performance, look no further than the ThinkPad T460. Unlike its slim sibling, the T460s, the T460 makes room for an optional extended battery that gives this 14-inch laptop up to 17 hours of endurance (with its non-touch display). A durable, MIL-SPEC-tested chassis helps this long-lasting business notebook stand up to the rigors of all-day business travel … Read more at

Top 13 Laptops with the Longest Battery Life


Best and worst laptop brands

When buying a laptop or desktop. It’s ideal to educate yourself a bit about the brand and how well they are doing with their products and services. Laptop brands fluctuate every year. The leading brand is currently Apple which has been on top for the last six years. The next best brand is Dell who have improved their products over the past two years. Let’s take a look at the following brands in details.



The brand Apple remains as the best brand of all due to staying on top for the last seven years. They continue to improve and upgrade their software system over the years. Not only do they have a reliable product but they also provide an excellent warranty coverage and a face to face services in store and a live chat online. Regarding their product, they have been updating their systems with faster software and longer battery life.



Dell laptops are currently the best brand for Windows. Dell has been blasting out a variety of powerful laptops for the past months. Like Mac, they also provide a superb warranty for customers. In regards to pricing, their products are affordable too which is highly attractive to buyers. Currently, they have been making some major improvement on the release of their new notebook product called XPS 13. (more…)

Simple Care and Maintenance to Extend the Life of Your Computer Hardware

Caring for your computer hardware today will go a long way towards extending its life. I’d like to share with you some easy things you can do to keep your computer running in top form.

1. Many of the computer desks available today have a closed cabinet for you to place your computer in. Computers need circulating air to keep them from overheating. I recently replaced a video card that got too hot and blew some capacitors because it was in a closed cabinet. If possible try to put your computer out in the open and up off the ground. Also the environment should be moisture, smoke and dust free if possible.


2. I’m often asked if it’s better to leave a computer left on or shut it down when you’re done until the next time you need it. If you use your computer daily it’s best to leave it on. Every time you have to cold start your computer it causes stress to the electrical components.  Leaving your computer on is better for it but make sure you’re using the energy saving features that turn off your monitor and hard drives after a set amount of time. I don’t recommend the Windows hibernate feature though. Also insure your computer is plugged into a surge protector and that you’re using a firewall if you have a broadband connection. The Windows firewall is sufficient, Comodo’s free firewall is even better.

3. Dust inside the computer case can plug fans and coat components causing your computer to work extra hard and overheat. I worked on a computer recently that the fans were literally plugged with dust and debris.  The extra stress and heat caused three blown transistors right next to the processor and a fourth was bulging.  The life of this computer has been cut short due to too much dust. Once a year I make it a point to clean up the inside of my computers. I also clean the inside of every computer I fix. (more…)

How to Speed Up a Slow Computer

Having worked with computers for several years there’s one complaint I hear more than any other. The complaint is normally given to me as a question basically asking how someone can speed up their slow computer. Fortunately there are some things that anyone can easily do to speed up their computer.

One of the main reasons computers run slow is they don’t have enough memory (RAM). RAM is the memory that’s used every time you run a program on your computer. Some programs use very little RAM while others can use a lot of RAM. If your computer is short on RAM your computer will use virtual memory, which is very slow.


If your computer is more than 4 years old you may need more RAM unless you’ve already upgraded it. Also, companies often sell new computers with too little RAM so they can charge you to buy more later. I know, that’s not very nice of them! If you’re running an Operating System prior to Windows 2000, seriously consider buying a new computer since Microsoft is no longer supporting it with essential security patches. This includes Windows 95, 98 and ME (Millenium). If you’re running Windows 2000 or Windows XP you should have, at a minimum, 512MB of RAM. I recommend 1GB.

If you’re running Windows Vista you need at least 1GB and I recommend 2GB. Vista is a very memory hungry Operating System that still has a lot of bugs. As of this writing I’m still not recommending it to people buying new computers (but it’s getting harder to find new computers that come with Windows XP). (more…)

Guide to Choosing : Desktop or Laptop ?

Its a plain and simple fact that desktops are faster, more powerful, more easily expandable, and cheaper than laptops. But because laptops are infinitely more portable than desktops people still keep buying them.

If you are in the position of buying your first computer or are replacing your primary computer you should definitely get a desktop PC. Sure you could buy refurbished laptops under $500, or you can buy a brand new giant screened desktop that you can play video games on. The choice really is a simple one, but here are a few more reasons why you should get a desktop over a laptop.


Desktops really are cheaper. It doesn’t matter which laptop you choose, it will cost more than a desktop with the same specs. This is because laptops have to use less power so they don’t run out of battery after only 30 minutes. They also need to be smaller and weigh less. All of these extra requirements drive up the price of development and manufacturing which then gets passed on to us, the consumers.

Laptop PCs have a shorter lifespan than desktops. Its not just that laptops wear out faster than desktops, except for maybe the battery but then again desktops don’t have a battery like laptops, its that they aren’t as future proof. (more…)