What to look for when buying a used computer

Buying a used computer that potentially has a lot of life left in it can be a good thing, especially if financially you can’t afford anew system.  Choosing the right computer for you can be a daunting task given the many different sources of used systems.  All I can say is “Let the buyer beware” when dealing with unscrupulous companies/people that are more than willing to pass off electronic garbage as a good used computer.  Also there are a number of people out there that install pirated software on the systems they sell so be aware of that as well.  See my blog post on Software Piracy.

First and foremost please do your research when you are choosing your computer.  Look up the brand and model number of the computer you’re looking at and check out what it’s supposed to come with and what the person is selling it with.  For instance if the model number you look up indicates it’s an older system then that system should not have Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 when it originally came with Windows Vista unless it has a proper COA (Certificate Of Authenticity) attached to the system.  If this same person has a number of systems for sale and the majority of them come with Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 than you can bet that they have in fact used pirated software. Another red flag is when they offer full office and streaming TV on all of their systems.  These types of people you need to stay clear of. Then there are the ones on sites like Kijiji that are selling an older computer but are asking a high price for it. Once again do your research and find out how much the computer is really worth then counter offer accordingly. 

Next, when you’re looking at the system check its condition.  Some companies will off a grading system of A, B, or C.  “A” being the best condition with very few if any scratches or damage but will cost a little more. Then there is the “B” condition which will have minor scratches or visible signs of wear, you can get some good deals on these.  Next check the fans for dust and dirt, if it’s been looked after or properly serviced there won’t be any.  If it’s a desktop open it up and look inside and if there is a lot of dust then you may want to pass on it as the constant heat build up from the dust will shorten the life of the system.  While you have the desktop open look at the capacitors in it, if any of them are broken open or bulging then it won’t last long and not worth buying.  With laptops you can’t really open them up easily so you’re taking a chance. Once again look at it carefully and look for signs of dust in the fan port or of it being dropped. 

Of course if you buy from a reputable dealer it takes most of the guess work out of buying a used system giving you a good system that should last a number of years.  But be aware that you cannot predict how long a used system will last but they can still be a good alternative to a new system.

How to Use the Microsoft Sniping Tool

Taking a screen shot is much easier than it used to be with the help of the Microsoft Snipping Tool.  You used to have to Press ALT+PRINT SCREEN. Important: The text you see on your keyboard might be PrtSc, PrtScn, or PrntScrn. Then paste it in a Microsoft Word.

First decide what it is you want to take a screen shot of then open the snipping tool while that screen is still open.

To open the Snipping Tool click on the search bar (where it says Type Here To Search) on your task bar and type Snipping Tool

Then click on Snipping Tool Desktop App

A small window will open up that looks like this

At this point you can either click on Mode which gives you a few options or you can just click New.  The screen will go kind of a transparent white with a large cross hair on it.  Now you can left click and drag the cross hair over the screen you want to capture.  When completed left click on File then Save As and you can give it a file name and direct it to whatever folder you want it in.  When you click Save it will save it as a picture file (jpeg).  

Now you can go and have fun making screen captures the easy way…lol.

 

 

Microsoft Word Resume Hacks

This well written guest post is by Betsy VandeBeld of HR Consulting and touches on the proper use of Microsoft Word for something important like a Resume.

Microsoft Word Resume Hacks

As a Recruiter and Professional Resume Writer, there are some resume formatting mistakes that I see over and over again, and that give me the same feeling that fingernails on a chalkboard do… For everyone’s sake (especially yours if you want a job), please let me help you!

Tabs
The first formatting error that gets under my skin is the improper use of tabs. Let me show you:

Team Leader, Weld Industries      2007 – 2015
Pipe Fitter, Weld Inc                  2006 – 2007
Grinder, Weld Co                               2002 – 2006

The above example used spaces to “right justify” the years of employment; note how they don’t line up! And guess what, you can try to line them up as perfect as you can with spaces, but they will not open up on another computer the same way and they will always, ALWAYS not line up.

Tabs Fixed!
Microsoft Word has this awesome feature called “tabs” that will always, ALWAYS make your work line up! First, get rid of all the spaces you’re using to create “the look” and then highlight the area of text you want to use the tabs in.  Simply go to “Paragraph”, click the little arrow button for more options, and then in the lower left corner of the window a button called “tabs” shows up (click it). Once in tabs, choose your tab stop position (I like 16.5), choose”right justify” (if that’s the look you’re going for), and click “okay”. And you’re done!

You would use the skills-based resume style if you have not specifically held similar positions to the one you are applying for, but still have the experience and talents the employer is looking for.

Page Breaks

This next issue can usually be hidden by applicants, but if the resume is opened on a computer with different settings than yours it can really make your resume look messy and unprofessional.

For instance, if you’ve fit all of your resume education and highlighted skills on the first page, clicked “enter” a few times to go to the next page, and then continue with your resume you could be adding excess breaks in the page.  This will cause information on the second page to be pushed down (this will also affect subsequent pages if your document is longer than 2 pages).

Page Breaks Fixed

When you are ready to make a clear break from your cover letter to resume, or first page of your resume to your second page, click and hold “ctrl” and then hit “enter”.  No matter where you are on the page, this makes a clean page break.

Format Painter Hack

Once you discover this tool, you’ll be using it all the time!

Let’s say you’ve nicely formatted the title “Education” with a different font, size, bold, etc and now you want the rest of the titles in your document to match.  There’s no need to highlight the title and choose each formatting option for each title.  Instead, either click “Format Painter” once for a one time use, or double click to keep the feature on, and then highlight the text you want to paint!  The “Format Painter” option can be found under “Home” and close to the left-hand side of the options bar.

Pre-Made Templates

Don’t sell these templates short!  Many people have spent a lot of time developing nicely formatted and organized resume templates for everyone to use.  If you’re not sure where to start or are maybe not that familiar with Word, these templates can save you considerable time!

If you would like to view template options, go to “File”, “New”, and search “resume”.

resume-2-1616792-1920x1440

That’s it!  What are your favourite Microsoft Word formatting hacks and short-cuts?  Comment below or send me a message!
And if you would like professional help with writing your own resume or cover letter, please contact me for a free quote.

Windows 10

By now most of you have heard about Windows 10, some of you have even upgraded to it. The benefit of upgrading now is that it’s free for 1 year after that you will have to pay for it. Lately I have often been asked for my thoughts and opinions on it, so here’s my opinion on Windows 10.

If you have a system that came with Windows 8, I would immediately upgrade to Windows 10 as it’s a far better improvement from Windows 8 or even Windows 8.1. On the other hand if you have an older system I would make sure it is compatible with Windows 10 before you go ahead and upgrade it as there have been some known compatibility issues. During the process of upgrading the software will check your system for compatibility before continuing, make sure it is compatible before continuing the upgrade. The only issues I’ve had so far is my laptop was no longer able to print to my wireless printer which wasn’t a big deal as I was able to uninstall the printer then reinstall it and it worked.
So let’s say you decided to go ahead with the upgrade and everything went smoothly, please tell me you backed up your data before you upgraded, if you really don’t like Windows 10 than Microsoft has given you the option of rolling back the upgrade. Unfortunately that option is only good for 30 gays from the time you upgraded. I personally think Microsoft should leave that option in there even after the 1 month period.

So after all is said and done my true opinion is that I like Windows 10. I like the start menu on it and I like how you can customize that start menu. Once again I think if you have a Windows 8 system I would do the upgrade to a better product. If you do upgrade I hope you enjoy it.