Is buying a refurbished computer a good idea?

refurbI’m often asked if buying a refurbished computer instead of a new one is a wise move, and I believe it is for several reasons:

1 – It saves you money. Opting for a refurb instead of a new PC can save you anywhere from 20% to 80% off of what it would cost you to buy a new computer.

2 – The quality and reliability of refurbished PCs are guaranteed by the manufacturer. Most computers aren’t returned because they are defective. They are actually returned due to either buyer remorse or the inability of the user to learn how to use it correctly.

3 – The systems that are indeed returned due to a real problem are repaired, cleaned and thoroughly tested before being put up for re-sale. In fact, statistics show that your chance of receiving a defective refurbished unit is actually less than receiving a defective new one because of the extra stress tests the refurbs are subjected to. [Continue Reading]

Review: Pawtec External USB 3.0 Aluminum 8X DVD-RW Optical Drive

pawtec-external-usb-aluminum-dvd-driveMany new laptops now come without an optical drive built-in, and that’s fine if you no longer have a need to play music or movies from DVDs, install software that’s distributed on discs, or back up your data onto blank writable DVDs.

But what if you still need access to an optical drive on occasion?

The easiest way to solve this problem is to purchase an inexpensive external USB optical drive. Just like external USB hard drives, these drives simply plug into an open USB port, allowing you to do everything you could do with an internal optical drive without the burden of the extra weight.

I recently had the opportunity to check out the Pawtec External USB 3.0 Aluminum 8X DVD-RW Optical Drive, and I really like it. [Continue Reading]

Q&A: What should I do about a burning smell that’s coming from the bottom of my laptop?

toshiba-satellite-c55-b5202Question from Burinna F.:  Hi Rick. I have a question about my Toshiba Satellite C55-B5202 laptop. I bought it about 6 weeks ago and everything was fine until last night. All of a sudden I started smelling a strong burning smell coming from the bottom of the computer.

Everything seems to be working fine other than the awful smell. No part of the case feels any hotter than it should be, and the air expelled by the fan feels relatively cool to the touch.

Do you think I can safely ignore the smell and keep using the laptop without causing any damage to it?

Rick’s answer:  [Continue Reading]

Clean out and speed up Windows with CCleaner

ccleaner-logoI love free software that helps me complete my daily tasks and keep my PC running fast and smooth, and one of my absolute favorites is CCleaner from Piriform, a great company that produces some of the best software out there, free or otherwise.

CCleaner is like a maid for the file system of your Windows PC or Mac, keeping it clear of clutter such as temporary files, recent documents, cookies, obsolete form data, download history…in fact most any “leftovers” that tend to build up and clutter up your hard drive and slow down your system.[Continue Reading]

How to force your web browser to reload a page from the site’s server instead of the local cache

ctrl-f5-key-combinationHave you ever clicked “Refresh” to load the latest version of a web page and received the exact same info even though you knew the page had been updated?

This happens to me all the time, especially when viewing a news website or checking out a busy blog with lot of entries on the first page. [Continue Reading]

Here’s a sure-fire way to save up to 60% on laptops and tablets every day at Amazon!

dell-xps-13ult-7144slvRegular readers of this blog know that Amazon has some of the best deals anywhere on laptop computers and tablets, and I try to highlight as many of them here as I possibly can.

But did you know that there’s an easy way to get discounts of up to 60% or more on laptops every single day? What’s more, you won’t have to go searching for them!

The secret to finding these awesome deals isn’t really a secret at all. In fact, Amazon links to these special deals right from the home page. Still, few people even know they exist. [Continue Reading]

Q&A: Can I install Ubuntu Linux on my laptop without using the optical drive?

ubuntu-logoQuestion from Terry G.:  Rick, I have an older Dell laptop with Windows XP installed. I want to take your advice and replace Windows with Ubuntu Linux, but I have a problem. The Dell’s DVD drive is broken and no longer works.

My question is how can I install Ubuntu on my laptop without using a Linux installation disc?

Rick’s answer:  [Continue Reading]

Q&A: Is there a way to delete the Facebook Messenger app from my iPad?

facebook-messenger-app-logoQuestion from Pat M.:  Rick, is there a way to delete Facebook Messenger from my iPad?

Rick’s answer:  There sure is Pat. Lots of folks are ditching the official Facebook Messenger app and switching to third party messaging apps instead.

My preferred method of completely eradicating the Facebook Messenger app from an iOS device is below. Please give it a try and let me know if it works for you.

Follow these steps to remove the Facebook Messenger app from your iPad: [Continue Reading]