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Tips 106-110: Revitalize Your PC




Revitalize your Windows PC

After about a year, Windows PCs typically develop a sort of electronic sclerosis, where apps take longer to launch, and everything seems more and more sluggish. If you don't mind opening your desktop or laptop, or paying someone to, adding a RAM can be a fast and cheap way to improve performance.

Another option is to reinstall the operating system. The process will take a few hours, but you'll recoup that in spades by gaining a faster, less buggy machine.

Bonus: Backing up your files before the reinstallation also ensures that you won't waste even more time someday when your hard drive crashes.


Put Your desktop in Your Pocket

Access files on your computer from your smartphone using apps and services such as Ovi File, Soonr and WebEx's PCNow. No more wasting time--or your client's time--having to go back to the office to get an important document.


Don't Lose Your Laptop To Overheating

Install a free app, such as Core Temp or MobileMeter, that monitors your laptop's internal temperature. Sure, your machine will automatically shut off it overheats, but by then, the damage can be done, such as a fried motherboard, which can take a week and several hundred dollars to replace--plus lost productivity.


Ditch The Crapware

Uninstall all of the superfluous software--sometimes called "crapware"--that comes with a new PC, particularly laptops. It bogs down performance. Better yet, if you're custom-ordering your machine, tell the vendor not to install it in the first place.


Power Up While Driving

Buy a power inverter, which converts your vehicle's electricity to the kind that laptops, cell phones and iPads can use. Then you can charge while you drive or, if someone else is behind the wheel, get some work done.

Power inverters are available from a wide variety of retailers, including Walmart and Office Depot. Prices start around $11 and increase based on features such as the number of devices the inverter can power simultaneously. But once you get into the 150-watt range, start considering a model that hard-wires to your vehicle's battery.

Tip: If you'll be using it in a rental car, be sure to ask for a vehicle that has a cigarette lighter or power port. Not all do.

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