Almost ten years ago, traveling with a laptop across international lines was much easier than now. With a number hardware compatibility issues resolved, there are new challenges that has to be considered such as protecting your files and even just crossing international borders.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that custom officials will take you aside every time to check the contents of your SSD or hard drive. However, this could happen from time to time and for this reason, you should be prepared.
Encrypting your files is not the way to go as this might arouse suspicion among officials. Instead, copy your sensitive files to media that you keep at home or even in its encrypted form into the cloud. After this, you can wipe them off your internal hard disk completely.
Of course, apart from this, the files that you will need during your travel should be backed up in the cloud just in case you lose your laptop or something goes wrong.
Another thing to keep in mind is that if you wish to stay for a long time in another country, you might have to pay duty tax to use your laptop when you are there.
There are a couple of ways by which you can determine the fees involved: one, search for ‘duty tax’ and the name of the country or even try the Duty Calculator which is free to use for the first time.
One last thing: different countries have different electric outlets and voltages. For this, you should purchase an international plug adapter for as much as $10. There are universal adapters for as much as $30 and even have a USB port.
Having said that, most laptops can handle voltages varying 100 to 220, and so that shouldn’t be that much of a problem to deal with.
Most people think of getting a new PC during the holidays.
But what about the old one that is still working? Don’t throw it out just yet since there are a number of uses that are available when it comes to older PCs.
That said, here are 3 ways to use older PCs that shouldn’t be disposed off just yet:
#1: Home Theater PC
Even though this is considered a good idea by many, very few people actually go through with it. Using it in your living room can not only allow you to play games and downloaded files, watch DVDs and Blu-Ray Discs as well as watch videos and stream music as well. Best part: you can do this on a big screen as well.
#2: Kids PC
Rather than giving away your PC or tablet, why not turn it into a Kids PC that they can use to learn how to use. With the amount of focus on technology, it’s never too early to learn.
For this, there are a number of lightweight operating systems available that you can use instead of Windows.
#3: Web server
You can use an old PC to learn how website truly work and this is by running a web server. If you have a WordPress blog, then you can save almost $100 a year by running it yourself.
Of course, if this is a high traffic blog, then you might be in trouble but otherwise it shouldn’t be a problem. This is because your internet connection might be too slow.
It’s common knowledge that batteries don’t last forever. However, in maintaining your laptop battery carefully, you can still carry a sufficient charge until you are absolutely ready to move on to purchasing a new laptop for your daily computing needs.
Of course, this may take some effort which means that will turn out to be more of a hassle than it should be worth.
So let’s begin with a practical but less effective method. Now, let’s say that you are at home and are running the battery on AC power. Of course, you wouldn’t need the battery then. So, if you think your laptop is going to stay plugged in for a week or so, turn off the PC and remove the battery.
Of course, when you’re on the road, then you might need the battery. In this situation, you can plug it back in but also remembering to charge it before going on your trip.
Keep in mind that you should never insert a battery when the laptop is turned on. Always make sure it is turned off before you do this.
For the best results, never charge it above 80 percent but ensure that the power doesn’t fall below 20 percent. To ensure this, always keep an eye on the battery when it’s charging as you work on AC power.
As soon as it hits 80 percent, ensure that you turn off your system and remove the battery. Not very differently, when using the battery on the road, remove it if it goes below 20 percent. As a result, do not start up your system until you have access to AC power.
If you own a Windows PC, there is a list of software that are must-haves and without which, it will be useless to have one in the first place.
Keeping this in mind, here are 4 types of software that you must have on your PC:
Probably the biggest mistake you can make is connecting to the internet without any protection, in the form of an antivirus. It’s like leaving your front door open while on vacation with a sign saying ‘Expensive stuff inside. No one is home.” That said, there are a number of free antivirus programs that you can use to protect your data in the background. Best part: a number of them are free of cost.
#2: Malware scanner
Let’s accept the fact that an antivirus isn’t perfect at all. So, for your PC’s safety, it is a good idea to get a malware scanner to add a second layer of protection. One such option is Malware Bytes Anti-Malware. Scan your drive without fail every week or so.
#3: Backup program
A number of people don’t care about backup programs until they lose all their files due to a crash. There are a number of backup programs that are available online and for completely free of cost.
Almost everything that we do these days has to do with browsing. While Windows offer Internet Explorer, there are a couple of other options such as Maxthon, Firefox and notably, Chrome that are free of cost and have been designed to enhance your browsing experience greatly.
Just because you have files on your PC, that doesn’t mean it is stuck and cannot be accessed on the go.
No matter where you are, there are a remote desktop solutions that you can use to access your files. Here are 3 of these solutions:
#1: Remote desktop
Remote desktop software such as TeamViewer allows you to access applications on your desktop over the internet. This software will work with tablets and phones too.
Set up a remote desktop server using TeamViewer as it is cross-platform, free of cost and is easy to use as well. Make sure you set it up for unattended access!
#2: Remote file access
You can TeamViewer too so as to access all your files no matter where you are. Select file transfer when you are connecting to a remote PC and you can access files either from your phone or your PC depending on where the files are located. Since the iPhone, iPad and Android apps have file transfer, you can download files from your PC to your tablet or smartphone too.
#3: Using Documents in the Cloud
Users can upload documents to Microsoft’s OneDrive, which is completely free of cost, and then use OfficeOnline to edit these documents. OneDrive has been integrated into Windows 8.1 and is also free for download for other versions of Windows too.
Take note that while Office for iPad will allow you to edit your documents easily, the same isn’t true for Office for Mobile since you would need to register with Office365.
Just recently, Bittorrent released Sync 1.4, an peer-to-peer sharing app, that make sharing files and folders with others rather easy.
Now, if you aren’t familiar with Sync 1.4, here are 3 ways by which you can share files across your devices:
Placing your photos on Google, Microsoft and Facebook and so on and so forth is easier when using this app. First, create a folder with a name of your choice and then add it to Sync 1.4 as well by selecting the Select folder and Add folder options. Make sure that whoever you share this with also has Sync 1.4 on their device.
If you don’t use Spotify or Google Drive for your music, Sync 1.4 can come in handy as well. Create a new folder and add it to Sync. Hover the mouse pointer over the shared folder and select QR Code. Leave it open.
Now download VLC from Google Play and open Sync from your Android phone. Go to Settings and Advanced and uncheck the Simple mode. Scan for the QR mode that was left open earlier while also adding the folder on your PC to your Android phone. From here on, any music you drop into that folder will also be available on your phone.
You can also set up a basic messaging system using Sync where you can share files, messages as well as documents too. For this, start a folder titled “[Your Name] Inbox”. Add that folder to Sync and share it with friends and family. Just remember that whoever you share your inbox with will have complete access to its contents. In order to avoid this, you can create a number of folders for different people or use OpenPGP to encrypt these messages.
There are a number of ways by which you can use your desktop optimally but if you ask users, almost everyone of them will give you different answers.
Despite this, let’s look at 3 of the most common ways by which you can keep your desktop as clean as possible:
#1: The Taskbar
It’s best for you to hide the taskbar so that it appears only when you truly need it. For this, move the mouse pointer to the bottom of the taskbar and right-click to get the Properties window. Select the ‘Auto-hide the taskbar’ option accordingly and click Apply and OK.
#2: Files and shortcuts
First and foremost, all the shortcuts that you have on your desktop aren’t needed at all. You are better off pinning them to the task bar. As for files that cannot be categorized, create a junk folder where you can store these files too. After that, delete these files so that you can get a cleaner desktop.
#3: Recycle Bin
Not only can you clear up your desktop but hiding all icons from view by going to View>Show desktop icons but also clear up space by eliminating files from the Recycle Bin. First, you have to right-click a file and select Delete. Once this is done, then you can visit the Recycle Bin through File Explorer and Empty Recycle Bin as always.
Another way of clearing up space is limiting the amount of files that your Recycle Bin can hold – say, for example: 2 GB. The only thing you need to watch out for is deleting files that exceed that size.
Without a doubt, a wireless network has become integral to both PC as well as mobile users. However, with portable devices such as tablets, smartphones and even laptops, there are times when you won’t get reception from certain parts of your home.
So, here are 3 ways by which you can get rid of those dead spots and extend the coverage of your Wi-Fi network:
#1: Pick the best location
Probably the most important aspect of getting the best Wi-Fi reach is all about location. In this case, it is the location of your wireless access point, which in turn, is located in your wireless router too. For this, make sure that the location of your wireless AP is in the center of your home. Preferably, placing it on an open shelf will be better than placing it on the ground.
#2: Upgrade your Wi-Fi Router’s Antenna
While there are a number of strategies that can extend your Wi-Fi reach, after a point, you’ll have to spend some money for it. One such strategy involves purchasing an upgradeable antenna such as the Asus RT series or Linksys WRT1900AC, you can swap your router’s antenna for higher gain. Of course, if your router has an internal antenna, this strategy won’t work.
#3: Add a Wi-Fi range extender
Instead of replacing your wireless router altogether, it’s a good idea to install a Wi-Fi range extender. This device picks up the signal and rebroadcasts it to improve your network coverage. It should be pointed out that they work best when equidistant between the client or clients that you are trying to reach as well as primary wireless access point.
There are a number of PC and Windows questions that seem to never go away, no matter how many years you have spent using a PC and Windows.
And even if there are a number of people who might have never faced these problems, reading about them can go a long way in helping you fix these issues if and when they crop up.
That said, here are 3 common PC and Windows issues that users face:
#1: Secure browsing
Totally secure browsing will never be a reality. Crooks, government and the corporations will alway try capture your information. However, there are a number of tricks that you can try in order to be as safe as possible. In fact, two ways to do this is to use your browser’s private browsing mode and a few add-ons for additional security.
#2: Blue Screen of Death
So you’re working on something important and suddenly, you’re faced with the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD). Unfortunately, you have no option but to restart your computer and start over with your work. Of course, if this happens too often, then there’s something important that needs fixing. This might require you to speak to someone competent enough to fix the issue.
#3: Deleted files
Files have this habit of disappearing. Of course, this can turn out to be a problem if you’ve forgotten to backup your data previously. They have a funny way of hiding in your Recycle Bin and empty sectors of your hard drive. This is even if you have deleted them.
One of the biggest advantages of learning how to reinstall Windows 8 is that you can eliminate all kinds of malware, bloatware and deal with a number of system problems in one go.
Of course, you don’t have to reinstall Windows 8 in order to get it to run smoothly. However, if your PC is slowing down due to context menu items, startup programs and a buildup of junk, then carrying out this procedure is advisable.
That said, here are 3 ways to reinstall Windows 8:
#1: Refresh or Reset Your PC Option
There are two features that one can first try where both of them involve performing a Windows install in the background either by installing Windows fresh from the recovery files on your system or Windows installation disc or USB drive. One difference is that the Refresh your PC option keeps your personal files while the Reset your PC option removes it completely.
#2: Manufacturer’s Recovery Partition or Discs
Yet again, there are two options that can be used that involves either a recovery partition or discs that are provided by the manufacturer. For the former, you’ll have to press a key when your system is booting to access the recovery partition. As for the disc, you can insert it in your computer’s optical drive. You’ll have a fresh Windows-like system once you’re done with the instructions.
#3: Windows Installation Media
While a fresh install isn’t possible with the recovery tools provided by your manufacturer, a Windows installation disc will do the trick. If you’ve built your own PC, then you should put the Windows disc that you would have got to use. Or else, download the Windows 8 or 8.1 installation media from Windows.