How To Remove a Computer Password on Windows 7, 8, and 10

This article can be extremely useful if you or one of your customers forgets there Windows password.   Removing a password on Windows 10 can be tricky.  Some of the Windows 10 laptops have security built into the motherboard which makes it much tougher to remove the password by CD or USB.

With Windows 7 and 8 it is very simple to remove your password.  I use a program called Spotmau Bootsuite.  All that you have to do is insert the spotmau boot disk and boot to the CD.  Once inside the control panel for Spotmau you can remove passwords from any of the local accounts including Administrator.

The way to get around this problem is to remove the hard drive from the windows 10 computer and hook it up to an older tower of laptop and then it will allow you to run spotmau to remove the passwords.

In my opinion the spotmau works much better and is much more reliable than the PCunlocker.  The only times spotmau has failed me is when I can’t find the disk or when its scratched.

If you are looking for other tips to speed up a slow Windows 10 computer check out our best Microsoft Windows 10 tips.

How to automatically bypass Windows login screen every time you turn on your computer? Is there any way I can get into Windows admin account without changing its password you’ve forgotten?

Here in this post we’re going to provide you the complete guide to bypass Windows 10 / 8 / 7 local administrator password. Regain access to your computer without having to reset your Windows password.

Option 1: Automatically Bypass Windows Local Administrator Password

If you can remember the local administrator password, you can configure your computer to automatically bypass Windows 10 / 8 / 7 login screen and log into your specified account. Here’s how:

Press the Windows logo key + R at the same time to open the Run dialog. Type netplwiz and hit Enter.

In the User Accounts window that pops up,  select a local administrator user from the list, and then uncheck the option ” Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer“. Click Apply.

 

Now, every time you turn on or restart your computer, Windows will automatically bypass the login screen and sign into your local administrator account without asking you to enter password.

Option 2: Bypass Windows Local Administrator Password That You’ve Forgotten

Couldn’t log into Windows after forgetting the administrator password? If you simply reset the password using a password-reset disk, you’re sure to lose all logins and credentials saved in your Outlook application, Web browsers or other programs. To avoid data loss, you can bypass Windows 10 / 8 / 7 local administrator password with PCUnlocker. Follow these steps:

First off, you need to create a PCUnlocker Live CD/USB using another PC with Internet connection. Download the PCUnlocker .zip archive and extract its contents to a local folder.

Download the free burning app ISO2Disc and install it. Launch this program and then click the Browse button to locate the ISO file you’ve extracted at above step. You can choose to burn it to a CD or USB flash drive.

Now, insert your burned CD or USB drive into the target computer that you’re trying to bypass administrator password on. To boot with the CD/USB, you have to press an indicated key to access the Boot Options Menu, select your PCUnlocker boot media and press Enter.

After loading WinRE environment from the CD/USB drive, you’ll see a screen that shows all local accounts existing in your Windows installation. Just click the Options button at the bottom left corner, and select the Bypass Windows Password option.

Click OK to confirm you’re going to temporarily bypass Windows authentication subsystem the next time you boot your computer.

Now the password bypass is ready.  Find the rest of the article at www.techworm.net

Also to learn more keyboard shortcuts for Windows 10, more tips and tricks to improve the speed of Windows 10, and other computer advice on Windows 7 and older computers check out our other articles.

 

What Are the Best and Worst Gaming Laptop Brands of 2018

Gaming laptops are becoming more and more popular.  As a matter of fact, I have many customers that purchase gaming laptop or desktops to use in a business setting.  They do this strictly for performance and it has worked very well.

The key here is dual hard drives.  You want to run your operating system off of a SSD (solid state drive).   Then all files will be stored on a separate internal hard drive.

I was amazed the first time I was called out to set up one of these gaming computers as an office computer.  With a booth time between 5-15 seconds and a reboot time that is also 5-20 seconds you can’t go wrong.  I found this article with the best and worst brands of gaming laptops and I completely agree with there findings.  Check it out below.

Which Gaming Laptops are the Best and Which are the Worst

Choosing the right notebook is hard, but selecting the perfect gaming laptop is even more challenging. In addition to specs like the processor, graphics card and storage drives, you need to consider the special sauce that each manufacturer adds to its systems in the form of design, software, keyboards and even warranty coverage.

When you’re potentially investing more than $1,000, the brand matters as much as the specs and features.

In order to help you choose wisely, we’ve evaluated the top nine gaming laptop brands and given each a score on a 100-point scale. In order to determine the winners and losers, we rated them on eight different criteria: Design, Review Scores, Keyboards, Displays, Software, Innovation, Warranty and Customization/Selection Options.

Due to its consistently high review scores, beautiful displays, willingness to innovate and wealth of configuration options, Dell/Alienware earned first place. MSI took second place, thanks to a diverse lineup of laptops, powerful specs and impressive mechanical keyboards. Razer rounded out the top three, due to its sleek designs and useful software.

 See how all the best (and worst) gaming laptop brands fared below.

  • Alienware / Dell (90/100)

    Our top-rated brand, Alienware/Dell, has the best-looking laptops with the strongest keyboards and displays on the market. The company also offers some of the most customizable systems around and provides helpful utilities that enable you to play your best.

    MSI (85/100)

    Always the first or one of the first to implement new technologies, MSI has a huge selection of innovative and powerful laptops. The company’s strong designs, snappy keyboards and helpful software make it a leader in the gaming space. MSI is also the only company that offers free accidental-damage protection on its laptops.

    Razer (81/100)

    We love Razer’s sleek designs, beautiful screens and innovative ideas, and its Synapse software is among the best first-party utilities in the business. However, Razer’s shallow keyboards and limited laptop selection hold it back.

    Asus (78/100)

    Asus has some of the most powerful gaming laptops on the market, and many are great values for the money. The company is also quick to implement new technologies like Nvidia’s Max-Q standard for low-profile gaming laptops and AMD’s Ryzen processors. However, Asus’ design, keyboard and screen are all good, but not industry-leading.

    Acer (76/100)

    Acer’s strengths are in its responsive keyboards and its innovative ideas (21-inch, curved-screen laptops, anyone?) but its flaws are just as obvious. Its warranty service is lackluster, and the company’s preloaded software doesn’t stand out.

    These were the five best gaming laptops.  Check out the five worst gaming laptops here:  Engadget’s best and worst gaming laptops

     

How to Google Like a Boss

We thought these tips might help you all Google Like a Boss.  Brought to you by Cleburne PC Repair

How to Fix a Computer

I got a kick out of this infographic.  Believe it or not turning your computer off and then back on can help many problems.  Another quick fix can be unplugging the device and plugging it back in 30 seconds later.  This works particularly well with network equipment such as routers, dsl boxes, etc.

When the problem takes more than this simple fix give us a call at Cleburne PC Repair
at 254-479-8006.  We offer computer repair in Burleson, TX as well as the surrounding areas in Johnson County.

How Hackers Exploit You

How Hackers Exploit You
This excellent infographic is brought to you by the great folks at Cleburne PC Repair.  If you need a computer repair in Burleson, TX or the surrounding areas give us a call at (254) 479-8006.  We can help you with your computer repair in Cleburne, Alvarado, Joshua, Godley, Mansfield, and Rio Vista also.
From Visually.

Top Windows 10 Shortcuts

We found this list of Windows 10 shortcuts that we wanted to share with our customers.  At Cleburne PC Repair we offer computer repair in Cleburne, TX and across Johnson County. Call us at (254) 479-8006 for help with your next computer repair in Burleson, Alvarado, Rio Vista, Mansfield, Joshua, and Godley.

Windows 10 introduced some new shortcuts to take full advantage of the operating system’s features and interface. Here are some of the highlights:

Windows 10 Shortcuts

Windows 10 Shortcuts

Improved window management

Snap a window left / right: Windows key + Arrow key left / right
Snap a window to a quadrant: Windows key + Up or Down (after moving left or right)

Create new virtual desktop: Windows key + Ctrl + D
Close current virtual desktop: Windows key + Ctrl + F4
Cycle through desktops to the left / right: Windows key + Ctrl + Left / Right
Minimize all windows in the background except active window: Windows key + Home
Open Task View interface (to see all the virtual desktops you have running): Windows key + Tab


More Windows 10 shortcuts

Open Windows 10 Action Center: Windows key + A
Open Windows Settings: Windows key + I
Open Taskbar program (1, 2, 3…): Windows key + Number (“1” opens the first program pinned in the taskbar, and so on).
Open Start button context menu: Windows key + X

Open the Game DVR recorder: Windows key + G
Start recording current activity on screen: Windows key + Alt + G
Stop recording: Windows key + Alt + R
Open Cortana for voice input: Windows key + Q
Open Cortana for text input: Windows key + S

Take a Screenshot

Take a screenshot and save it to the Pictures folder: Windows key + PrtSc
Grab screenshot of the whole screen and save it to the clipboard: PrtSc
Grab screenshot of the current window and save it to the clipboard: Alt + PrtSc
Optional For more advanced functionality, Windows 10 comes with a built-in utility called Snipping Tool. You can also use a third party app like Monosnap.

New Windows 10 Command Prompt Shortcuts

Highlight text to the left of cursor: Shift + Left
Highlight text to the right of cursor: Shift + Right
Copy selected text to clipboard: Ctrl + C
Paste text from clipboard into command prompt: Ctrl + V
Select all text after prompt: Ctrl + A

Old but Good Windows Shortcuts

Open the Task Manager: Ctrl + Shift + Esc
Open the Run dialog box: Windows key + R
Minimize all windows: Windows key + M
Restore minimized windows on the desktop: Windows key + Shift + M
Maximize window: Windows key + Up arrow
Minimize window: Windows key + Down arrow
Zoom in or out using Magnifier: Windows key + Plus sign (+) / Minus sign (-)
Close the active window, or exit the active app: Alt + F4
Display properties for the selected item: Alt + Enter
Switch to recent window: Alt + Tab
Rename the selected item: F2
Search for a file or folder: F3
Display the address bar list in the File Explorer: F4
Refresh the active window: F5
Activate the menu bar in the active window: F10
Lock your PC: Windows key + L

This list found at: http://www.techspot.com/guides/1145-software-shortcuts/

40 Incredibly Useful Computer Tips & Keyboard Shortcuts

Expect to see shortcut keys like Ctrl + Alt + Del and Alt + F4? Nah. This is a list of no common sense and little-known computer tips you will actually use.
Google Chrome

1. To open Chrome’s built-in task manager: Press Shift + Esc. Extremely useful when Chrome freezes.

2. To remove specific suggestion: Select the suggestion, then press Shift + Delete. Go and delete your how to shave my embarrassing searches now.

3. To drag multiple tabs to a new window: Press Ctrl + Click on tabs you want to move. Do the same to move multiple tabs to an existing window.

Any Browsers

5. To access your address bar directly: Press F6 or Ctrl + L.

6. To access blocked web page: Go to Google Translate, paste the URL, select source language as other language, select destination language as the web page’s language, click Translate. Free web proxy.

7. To close a tab: Middle click on it.

8. To view articles with slideshows or multiple pages: Press Print or Ctrl + P.

9. To open all web pages of a bookmark folder: Middle click on the folder.

10. To reset to the default Window size of your web page after zooming: Press Ctrl + 0.

11. To highlight text in a web page:  Click on the starting point, then press Shift + Click on the ending point. No more mouse dragging especially long text highlights.

12. To fit more bookmarks: Remove all text. Only the favicon is visible now.

13. You can undo send your mail in Gmail. Turn it on now just in case!

14. When researching products, type [product name] vs to compare with their rival products.
Windows

15. To open Task Manager directly with one hand: Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc. You’re welcome.

16. To minimize every open windows except yours: Shake your active window. Do the same to maximize all windows. You sneaky Microsoft.

17. To freeze Task Manager: Hold Ctrl key. Useful for inspecting specific processes.

18. To capture the exact steps you take and document it nicely: Search psr to open Problem Steps Recorder. Try it now and you’ll be amazed.

19. To take a screenshot of the active window only: Press Alt + Print Screen. Bye Snipping Tool.

20. To delete one word at a time: Press Ctrl + Backspace.

21. To open applications on the taskbar: Press Windows key + Sequence number of the application. Do the same to minimize/maximize it.

22. To paste text without formatting: Press Ctrl + Shift + V.

23. To rename a file: Press F2. Works for multiple file too, which will append “(1), (2), etc.” at the end.

24. Open your Calculator and select View. Calculate your mortgage payment, fuel economy, vehicle lease payment, and more.

Read the full story: http://carlcheo.com/computer-tips-and-tricks

7 Hidden Windows 10 Tips and Tricks

Check out these great Windows 10 Tips & Tricks

Top 10 computer mistakes beginners make

Below we’ve listed the top 10 mistakes we find beginner computer users making and how you can avoid falling into the same mistakes.

1. Not backing up important files

One of the biggest mistakes anyone can make is not backing up important information. Today, there are so many different methods of backing up your information that there is no longer any excuse for not backing up your information. Make sure to backup all important information before it is too late.

2. Clicking Next or Ok without reading

Everyone has become more impatient thanks to the instant gratification we all enjoy every day on the Internet. However, because of this impatience it is not uncommon for new users to click Ok or Next without reading what they are agreeing to and not making sure there are no check boxes still checked. Make sure you read every prompt before agreeing, or you may be agreeing to install new browser toolbars, a program you didn’t intend to install, or other crapware.

3. Not saving work

While working on a document either offline or online make sure that the program is automatically saving your work. If a program does not automatically save your work, you need to make sure you are saving your work every 10-15 minutes. If the computer loses power, Internet connection, or the program crashes everything is lost that hasn’t been saved.
Turning off the computer improperly

With more users learning on Smartphones and Tablets before learning the computer, not all new users are familiar with the proper method to shut down (turn off) a computer. When you are done with a computer and want to turn it off make sure to save any work, close open programs, and shut down the computer properly.

4. Opening e-mail attachments

A common method of getting infected with a computer virus or malware is from opening e-mail attachments. Be extremely cautious and doubtful on all e-mail attachments you receive including any e-mail attachments you receive from friends, family, and co-workers. One of the most common tactics malicious users use to send viruses is from people you know to gain a false sense of trust.

5. Phishing

As computers become more secure, and users get more tech savvy, many malicious individuals have moved to attacking people using phishing tactics. Make sure you are aware of how phishing works and how you can make sure you do not become a victim of identity theft.

6. Spam

Almost all spam today is distributed by infected computers or malicious users. Replying to these spam messages will not unsubscribe you from any list and usually is never looked at or received. In some cases, a spammer may even use your reply as a verification that an e-mail works and send you more spam or share your e-mail address with other spammers. If you get spam, just delete it from your inbox.

7. Chain mail

You should also never forward your friends and family chain mail. If you find an e-mail hard to believe, make sure it is true before you forward the myth or rumor to anyone else.

8. Downloading and installing bad software

Today, the most common ways a computer gets infected with viruses, malware, and other crapware is from downloading and installing bad software on the computer. Always be cautious of free software and who is providing you with the free software. To subsidize costs many developers include other bundled programs or toolbars, and if you are not careful, you may install them during the install. As mentioned earlier, always be sure to read what the program is doing during the install.

Unfortunately, reading is also not always enough and sites offering free things like cursors, fonts, wallpaper, emotions, and other small downloads may be bundled with other bad software. When downloading anything, keep the below suggestions in mind.

Where are you getting the download?

There are malicious people who download valid copies of a popular download, modify the file with malicious software, and then upload the file with the same name. Make sure you are downloading from the developer’s web page or a reputable company.

Don’t install download manager

Many sites suggest or require you to install an installer or a download manager before allowing you to download a program you may be interested in downloading. These tools almost always cause your computer more problems and may even have malware or other spyware. Avoid any site claiming anything must be installed first before you can continue with your download.

9. Avoid advertisements on download pages

To help make money and pay for the bandwidth costs of supplying free the software, the final download page may have ads. Watch out for anything that looks like advertisements on the download page. Many advertisers try to trick viewers into clicking an ad with phrases like “Download Now”, “Start Download”, or “Continue” and that ad may open a separate download.

Cancel or deny any automatic download

Some sites may automatically try start a download or give the appearance that something needs to be installed or updated before the site or video can be seen. Never accept or install anything from any site unless you know what is downloading.
Not keeping operating system and software up-to-date

The evolution of computers and the software that computer’s use is always evolving. After a program is released bugs and security threats are almost always discovered by other users. Installing the latest updates for a program makes sure everything runs smooth and if security fixes are found fix those problems, so your data is kept secure.

10. Keep a computer on a surge protector or UPS

If you plug your desktop computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone into a wall outlet consider using a surge protector instead. A surge protector can help keep your computer protected during an electrical storm and make sure that nothing is damaged if a surge travels over your power lines.

Also, if you are using a desktop computer we highly recommend also using a UPS on your computer. Although these can be more expensive, a UPS protects your computer from a surge, brown out, and keeps the computer running if the power goes out for a minute or two.
Buying incompatible hardware or peripherals

Computers are becoming more diversified with Chrome books, hybrid computers, laptops, smartphones, and tablets. Although all of these devices are considered computers, not all hardware is compatible with every type of computer. Also, this is true with Apple computers vs. PC computers, and PC computers running Windows or Linux, which are all running different operating systems.

Before purchasing hardware or upgrading older hardware make sure its compatible with your computer, operating system, and meets the system requirements.

This post was found at: http://www.computerhope.com/tips/tip220.htm

9 Key Things to Know Before You Buy a New Computer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buying a computer is no easy task, and with the cost of many of the machines out on the market today, you want to make sure you’re making the right purchase so you don’t blow your money on something that stops meeting your demands within a year. Not all machines are created equal, and unless you’re pretty familiar with computer hardware, you might have a hard time determining just how unequal they are. Of course, not all computer users’ needs are equal, so you might not need certain things included in a computer, especially not if those features are pushing up the price.

This guide should help you get a better understanding of what all the components of the computer will mean for you and make it easier to decide what you want, need, and which elements to prioritize. That way, you’ll be better equipped to get the right computer for you, and to avoid spending any more money than you must.
1. Desktop or Laptop?

This is probably one of the simplest choices to make, and one that can have a big impact on the overall cost of your computer, including expenses that might not come right at the time of the purchase. In general, if a laptop and desktop are boasting all of the same performance specs, the desktop will be cheaper. It might not make sense, since it’s a bigger piece of hardware, but the ability to cram a lot of components into a small space and the need for a battery is what ups the price of the laptop — notice the premium paid for Apple’s thinner devices.

If you plan on having a steady workstation and don’t need to run around with your for-all-purposes device, consider getting a desktop and saving yourself some money, or spending what your budget allows and getting a computer with higher specs. An added benefit of a desktop is that it’s easier to keep cool, since there is more room for powerful fans, which will help the machine have a longer lifetime and maintain optimum performance levels. Additionally, it’s easier to change out parts and upgrade components in a desktop, which will keep your machine from falling behind the constantly increasing demands of the digital world.

If you often need your computer on the go, the choice is simple: laptop. If your need for portability is only occasional and you don’t need much more than a browser or word processor, you may be able to find a cheap tablet or netbook to do the job, and could potentially afford it with the money you save by getting a desktop as your primary computer. Keep in mind that you’ll still have to buy a monitor if one doesn’t come as a bundle with the desktop.

(Note on laptop screens: If you’re planning to use your laptop for mostly work, consider a matte screen, which will have less glare and be easier on the eyes. If your laptop will be a media device, a normal glossy LCD screen should do the job.)

2. Know the processor and what it means

The simplest way to explain the processor is that it’s the brain of the machine. If you want a fast computer that boots up programs in a flash, completes tasks as soon as you start them, and doesn’t keep you waiting, then you want the strongest processor available — and who doesn’t? You just have to know what you’re looking at when you see a processor’s details.

Basic: the short and simple of processors is in the number of cores and the speed (labeled in GHz or Gigahertz) of the processor. The speed of the chip will tell you how much data it can process in how much time, so the bigger the number, the better. The number of cores functions as a multiplier, as the processor is actually a stack of cores that each run at the listed speed (e.g. a single-core 2GHz processor is a lot slower than a four-core 2GHz processor).

Multiple cores can also help with multi-tasking, as each can be working on different tasks. If you don’t use a lot of programs at the same time, you may be content with just one or two cores and don’t need to fork out the extra cash to snag a few more. Make sure to ask how many cores are on the chip and what the clock speed is. Two computers might both say they have an Intel i5 chip, but the number of models that go into the group are many, and their speeds and core counts can be leagues apart.

Advanced: If you want to get into really nitty-gritty bits of the processor, check out the benchmark tests at CPUBenchmark. You can compare a number of different CPUs to see if you’re getting the best one, and even see if you’re getting the best for your money. Also, check out the L1, L2, and L3 cache sizes — these are the closest and fastest memory spaces to the CPU and the bigger they are, the better. You can also see how many threads the core has — again, the more, the merrier.

3. RAM isn’t just a type of goat
Just as the number of processor cores in a computer affects its speed and ability to multitask, the amount of Random Access Memory, or RAM, in a computer can affect just how much multitasking it can handle and how fast it will be. RAM is basically a small, extra-fast form of memory (like L1, L2, or L3 cache, but bigger and slower).

Basic: Nowadays most RAM is measured in gigabytes, and as is often the case, the more, the merrier. By having more RAM, your computer is able to keep more data close at hand, rather than having to go digging around through the slower hard drive for the information it needs. Of course, because RAM is smaller, there is only so much room for data. That’s why it’s useful to have more RAM if you want to keep multiple tasks going at the same time, and to be able to jump between them relatively quickly. If you’re also guilty of having too many web browser windows open at the same time, more RAM will make that a lot easier.

Advanced: There is, of course, a bit more to RAM than just the size of it. If you check out the specifics of the RAM in a computer and see that it’s DDR2-800, you can get a quick sense that this is a faster memory than one labeled DDR2-400, as that last number signifies how many millions of data transfers the RAM can make each second. RAM also has clock speeds, similar to processors, and the faster, the better. However, that speed is limited to the speed of your computer’s motherboard, so if you’re buying RAM separately from your computer, figure out the speed of your motherboard and don’t buy RAM that’s any faster — as it will probably cost you more for no reason — and don’t buy RAM any slower — as it will force your motherboard to run at the slower speed. One final number you can note is in the module name, where you may see something like PC3-8500, which indicates that the memory can transfer around 8,500MB per second — once again, the bigger, the better.

4. Hard drives aren’t hard choices
Every computer needs data storage, and though that is something RAM does, the majority of it will go onto your hard drive. There are typically a few different options you’ll need to consider in the search for a hard drive, but what it really comes down to is how you plan to use your computer.

Basic: If you plan to just have your computer and no peripherals, you may want to opt for the biggest hard drive you can (measured in gigabytes, or terabytes for extra large drives), since all of your files and programs will be stored on the computer. If you don’t plan to have many applications on your computer, and won’t store media on it, then you can opt for a smaller hard drive and save yourself some money. If you can handle a small hard drive but want to it be extra fast and you have the cash, consider going for a solid-state drive, or flash hard drive.

Advanced: The size of your drive is one thing. If it’s a disk drive, the spin speed is another. Naturally, the faster your hard drive disk is spinning, the quicker information can be gathered from it. So, between a 5400rpm drive and a 7200rpm drive, the second would be faster. If you can handle having only a few larger programs installed on your computer at a time, and plan to keep everything else stored on an external device, you can probably get a quick device with a solid-state drive to keep the computer zippy at all times, and still manage to stream high-quality media through a USB connection — some applications may even be able to run from an external hard drive. You’ll also want to pay attention to data transfer bandwidth. The higher, the better.

5. Check your peripherals
The peripherals on your computer are going to be pretty specific to your needs, so you’ll need to think about whether you’ll need them, and just how many of them you want. You may want ten USB ports but not have a care in the world about having a DVD drive. On the other hand, you may do everything online and just want as few holes in your machine as possible for soda to spill into and frazzle the circuitry.

USB: There is, thankfully, a standard that most computer peripherals opt to use, and it can be for anything from mouses and keyboards to hard drives and monitors — heck, you can even plug a guitar in via USB if you’ve found the right cord. A modern version of USB, called USB 3.0, is faster than its predecessors, but there’s an even newer version of USB, called USB Type-C, which offers gigabits of bandwidth and the ability to handle enough current to power a laptop. While USB Type-C will eventually become the single technology that you’ll use to connect all your devices, and is a good thing to have on a new machine, you’ll need to avoid off-brand cables that can fry your brand-new computer.

If you plan to transfer a lot of data, make sure you have a fast USB port— or a fast wireless network. An alternative for some major externals (like CD drives and hard drives) is to get a computer with an eSATA port, which will let you plug in those peripherals on the fly with high data transfer rates.

HDMI: If you’re going to use your machine for entertainment, you’ll probably want an HDMI output. This will allow you to connect it to most modern televisions for a high quality visual display, and it will also run the audio out if you’re planning to use the TV for sound.

SD slot: If you work a lot with photography, an SD slot can be a handy way to get the files from your camera over to your computer. For computers with small hard drives, an SD card can also function as a small, out-of-the-way addition to the computer’s overall memory. For the slightly more savvy users, SD cards can even be used to speed up the system.

Wi-Fi: if you plan to connect to a lot of networks a lot of places and want to do it wirelessly, you’re probably best off getting a built-in Wi-Fi receiver rather than working with some sort of external Wi-Fi device. If you’re running a desktop computer, you can probably get away with running an ethernet cable straight into the computer without being constantly annoyed by the need for a wire to get Internet.

Bluetooth: Just like Wi-Fi, you can get a built-in Bluetooth receiver with your computer, and that may be a smart move if you want to be a true wireless warrior. Whether it’s for sending audio to headphones or to a 7.1 channel surround sound set up that will keep your neighbors on their toes, Bluetooth is a handy way to make those connections easy and tangle-free. It may be worth it for these types of uses, otherwise, you can probably save yourself a few bucks by not seeking it out.

6. Mac OS, Windows, and Linux, oh my!
The short and simple of it is that you should probably stick with what you’re familiar with, as it can be hard to adjust to a new operating system unless you’re ready to put in the work. If you know what Linux is, you probably don’t need to read this section. If you don’t know what Linux is, you almost definitely don’t want it.

If you want an easy-to-use system that keeps most things basic for you, check out Mac. If you like a little bit more control of your computer’s nitty-gritty, you’ll probably have an easier time getting to do that on Windows. If you’re comfortable with an operating system, stay with it. However, it’s worth noting that not all software is available for every operating system; so, if you absolutely need Final Cut for that feature film you’re shooting on the weekend, don’t buy a Windows computer expecting it to run Mac-only software.
7. There’s more to graphics than a sticker on your computer
Lately, computer makers have been tagging stickers on their computers to boast about the AMD or NVIDIA graphics components they have included in their machines. Unfortunately, those mean thousands of different things, and it’s pretty hard to tell just what.

Basic: If you just want to know whether the card in the computer on the left is better than the one in the computer on the right, you can do a quick search on PassMark’s site for the graphics components in each. Some buzz words to be aware of are “integrated” and “dedicated.” The former is built into the computer’s processor and relies on the computer’s memory — typically this is a lower performance graphics component. A dedicated graphics card will include its own processor and memory, and will tend to be higher-performing — though a very old card might not best modern integrated graphics.

Advanced: If you’re looking into the specifics of graphics processors, you will have to think of them like their own pair of a processor and RAM. This is another case of the more, the merrier. Higher speed, higher capacity RAM in the graphics card will let it handle a more intense graphic load and do it quicker. This will allow for better, more fluid visuals. The card’s processor speed will be similarly important and can be looked at much the same as a computer’s processor. You can dig into the details and see how many shaders it has and what its core speed is, but in the end, it will probably be most valuable to check out a benchmark score that has evaluated its actual performance.

8. Oh, so you want to get into PC gaming?
To play the latest games with the graphics on high (or ultra) and keep a high frame-rate, you’ll be needing to look into a truly high-performance machine. Modern games take up a lot of space, so a big hard drive is a must if you plan on having more than one game installed at a time — you’ll want it to be a fast drive, too. Running those games also takes a lot of processing power, so a heavy-hitting processor will be important. You can do without too many cores in your processor if each is extra-fast, but if you’re planning to play your games and keep other programs open in the background, consider bumping up the core count.

Integrated graphics? Forget about it. Unless you want to sputter out low-quality visuals on the newest games, you’ll need a dedicated graphics card, and a good one at that. You can probably get by with something in the mid-range of graphics cards, but a high-end card is your best bet. Be sure to get plenty of VRAM on that card. When it comes down to making your choice, you’ll still probably be best consulting the benchmarks mentioned on the last page.

Thinking about anything other than Windows? Reconsider. Some games are made available for Mac and Linux, but there will be a great number of games unavailable to you if you aren’t running Windows — though there is the tricky option of dual-booting.

Thinking about a laptop? Reconsider again. As mentioned in the beginning, there is a premium to be paid for cramming high-end hardware into an extra small box, and a PC gaming rig requires a lot of high-end hardware. There are plenty of quality gaming laptops out there, but in most instances, they will be more expensive than an equal desktop. Then there’s the problem of overheating, which a laptop will be much more prone to do. An added benefit of going with a desktop is that you will be able to swap out components or add more when the games’ demands start to trump your computer — upgrading to a new graphics card is much easier in a desktop, and in some cases a second graphics card can be added to share the load. With a little careful shopping, you might be able to grab a gaming rig and a cheap netbook for the same price you would have paid for a gaming laptop.

9. Great, now how do we buy it?
One of the most important things to do when buying a new computer — as with any expensive purchase — is to be very patient. Technology evolves fast, and if you buy a new computer today, you might not have noticed a newer one was set for release tomorrow — and would have likely cost the same as the one you just bought, or made yours less expensive to buy. You could get into a logical loop that has you waiting indefinitely, but choosing the best time to pounce is key.

Check refresh cycles for products. If you know ‘Computer Maker A’ comes out with a new model around the same time every year, expect to get a discount on an old model just before a new one comes out, or wait until the new one is out so that you have the latest technology.

It can also be useful to get friendly with the computer maker’s website, as they often allow you to customize a computer rig with the components you want. On top of it all, you’re much more likely to stumble across an incredible sale if you shop regularly for a good stretch of time instead of just spending the better part of a day to make your pick and purchase it then and there. Also, don’t be afraid to spend a few more bucks to nudge up your computer’s specs – this can be helpful down the road, as it will ensure your computer can handle the more intensive tasks that will only start to show up months and years down the line. If you make the cheapest purchase, you might be looking at buying another new computer much sooner than you would otherwise.

One last tid-bit: go ahead and ask a salesperson to give you a deal. Maybe they won’t bump down the price of the computer, but if you’re going to need a mouse, a keyboard, a monitor, or any other device to go with your computer, see if they will cut off sales tax or give you some other discount for purchasing the items together. You will often be pleasantly surprised.

This article was originally found on: http://www.cheatsheet.com/technology/9-tips-for-picking-your-machine-computer-shopping-cheat-sheet.html/?a=viewall