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New computer or phone? Here’s what to do

By Eric Geier (Our Founder & Owner)

Originally published by Cox Media Group on 12/14/20

It’s the time of the year to buy gadgets.

One thing COVID-19 has taught us is how much technology can help us communicate and carry on in life even when we’re distant. So, it might be a good time to upgrade. If you’re thinking about it, here are some tips on what to do when you get that new computer, smartphone, or tablet: Consider calling in a professional tech: An in-home tech can give you one-on-one assistance.

Questions can be asked and answered much more thoroughly and safely than in a store environment. If you haven’t already made the purchase, a tech can make suggestions and then help with setting it up. A tech can usually set up the new one very close to the old one to make the transition smoother.

A tech can transfer your files, install programs or apps, and make setting changes so you’re more comfortable. They can also ensure your new purchase is protected and your data is secured. In the end, the investment of calling in a tech can certainly pay off. It could save the headache of the initial setup and then maybe prevent a disaster in the future if you aren’t properly protected.

Don’t buy too cheap: You can find new tablets as cheap as $50 and full computers or laptops as cheap as $200, but you get what you pay for. These cheaper tablets and computer usually have very low disk space, processors, and other components, so they’ll be much slower and won’t last as long.

They can actually be quite aggravating instead of fun or useful.

I usually suggest budgeting for at least $500 - 600 for a new computer tower and about $150 - 200 additional if you need a new monitor, keyboard and mouse. If this is out of your price range, I suggest buying a good refurbished computer from a trusted source for $250 – 350.

Ensure you have good malware protection: Even though a computer is new, it’s definitely still susceptible to viruses and malware.

Actually, I’d say it’s even more susceptible, as you’ll likely be trying to download new programs and getting it setup. Thus, right away I suggest installing any antivirus or malware protection you’ve already been using. You can see my recommendations of security solutions at https://www.

Enable automatic backups: If you have documents, photos or other data on your computer or devices that you wouldn’t want to lose, you need to back them up. Computers can certainly get viruses or crash, and sometimes a tech can’t retrieve your data. Mobile devices can also break or be stolen.

You can back up your data to an external USB hard drive or backup to the cloud or internet.

It’s good to actually do both in case one fails.

If you only choose one method, I suggest online backup since the data is safe from local theft or disasters. You can also see my backup recommendations at https:// recommendations.

Properly dispose of your old devices: You don’t want to just put your old computer out on the curb. I recommend pulling out the hard drive from inside.

You should either properly wipe the data off of the hard drive or physically damage it so the data cannot be recovered by anyone else that gets a hold of it. Perhaps save the hard drive for when you want to take out some aggression, and then take a hammer and/or drill to it.

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