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How to Speed Up Your Laptop

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A new laptop is usually a fast one, but most computers tend to slow down over time. The more you use your laptop, the more bloated it becomes, as a result of thousands of files that keep guzzling your system resources. With that said, you might be looking for ways you can make your new HP or Acer work faster and I came up with a few of these that might be exactly what you need.

Disable startup programs

We’ve all been there – you turn on your laptop and it takes ages for it to start up Windows and allow you to use programs. The real reason why this happens is because the more programs you install, the slower your laptop becomes. However, you don’t have to uninstall any of them in order to make sure your laptop boots in a more timely fashion. Instead, all you need to do is disable some programs from starting during boot-up. The easiest way to do it is to use the CTRL + SHIFT + ESC shortcut key, switch to the startup tab and disable programs you don’t want to run at startup.

Uninstall programs you don’t use

This one is pretty straightforward. Chances are there are a number of programs in your laptop that you simply no longer use. In fact, if you’re like most PC owners, there are some programs you never even opened. No matter how tiny these things may be, having them installed on your laptop just slows things down. This is why it’s a good idea to go through a list of programs on your laptop every once in a while and uninstall everything you no longer have any use of. To uninstall programs from your laptop, click Control Panel and find Add or Remove programs.

Install more RAM memory

Just like adding an SSD will help your laptop perform faster, adding more RAM memory will do the same. Of course, you first need to know how much RAM you already have and whether upgrading it is an option. If the answer is yes, all you need to do is buy a RAM memory module and insert it into your laptop. Most laptop models have an access panel at the bottom and that’s where you’ll be able to find latching sockets. Just make sure your laptop is turned off and unplugged when inserting your new RAM module. If installing more RAM memory doesn’t get the job done, chances are there’s something wrong with your hardware and turning to experts who offer laptop repairs is recommended.

Use the Disk Cleanup tool

We talked about how too many programs can hurt your laptop’s performance but there’s much more that can slow things down. Belonging to this list are a number of files that can be deleted without actually affecting your laptop’s functionality. While deleting them manually can be risky, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing, there’s a tool that can delete all these files for you and using it is a much better idea. The Disk Cleanup tool, which is a part of Windows, can search for these files and delete them for you. To access this tool, click All Programs in your Start bar and click on Disk Cleanup under System Tools.

Defragment your hard drive

Another important thing to do if you want your laptop to run its best is to defragment files on your hard drive. Defragmenting or consolidating your files is a maintenance task and helps improve your laptop’s performance. What’s important to know is that defragmenting your hard drive may take a while and in case you have an energy-saving feature on your laptop, disabling it before you start might be a good idea. Ideally, you should be able to run your defrag overnight. Another option is to instruct your laptop to run the procedure automatically on a regular basis. To perform it manually, click on Disk Defragmenter tool in the Administrative Tools window.

Upgrade to SSD

Upgrading to SSD is one of the most foolproof ways to speed up your laptop. SSD performs much faster than HDD and doing an upgrade shouldn’t be tough. However, the most important thing you need to do is make sure your laptop is SSD compatible. That should help avoid buying an SSD only to discover that your laptop doesn’t support it. Inserting a new drive into your laptop involves finding the right slot for it and using a magnetic screwdriver to install the screws that’ll hold the drive. In case you’re not sure how to do it, it’s better to have professionals get the job done for you.

Perform a virus check

Of course, there’s always a chance your laptop is infected with a virus and that’s what causing it to perform slower than it usually does. In case you suspect this is the issue, consider getting a good piece of antivirus software and using it to detect the virus. If you invest in a good software, it’ll identify the virus and remove it for you. Most antivirus software will perform regular checks but make sure you do it manually from time to time as well. Also, don’t forget to upgrade your antivirus software whenever possible.

Over to you

Have all these things in mind and there should be nothing stopping you from speeding your laptop up. Even once you’ve done it, don’t forget to perform regular maintenance on your laptop and have it repaired as soon as you identify a hardware issue.

 

Bily Bum is an electrical engineer, tech, and gaming fan with 15 years of experience in the technology world. He is also a contributor on site Technivorz.

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Business and Finance

How to choose an accounting firm for your business?

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Tax laws undergo changes and additions every year. All these changes tend to confuse businesses, trying to find what each change means for them. It is the role of accountant firms to keep track of all these changes in the tax laws. And thus, rescue businesses from getting trapped in financial hassles and tax liabilities. Accounting firms expertise in managing day to day accounts and advising companies on complex financial matters.

If you are starting your own business, you must be considering consulting an accountant firm for your finances. You don’t know when you’ll need them, and it is totally normal. Right now, you’re focused on transforming your idea into a settled business. And while you do that, we’ll take you through some essential tips on how to choose an accounting firm for your business.

Experience in the field

Several people have CPA credentials and can perform an audit for your business. But the critical factor is who has worked in your specific industry. A person or a firm which has dedicated years in handling nuances of your sector knows what will work best for you. They will be able to offer solutions for your problems more quickly and thus, manage your finances better. A sector like technology has companies with massive and complex accounting structure and investors having high expectations.

Similarly, some accounting firms have thorough expertise in the audit. But your company requires immediate assistance in taxation. Hence, it is essential to talk to the CPA about their proficiency in your sector and knowledge in different tax laws.

How much do they charge?

A fee is a vital aspect to consider when hiring an accounting firm. It is obvious that different firms charge differently. Large firms, like Deloitte, will charge massive numerations in comparison to a boutique accounting firm in your city. The fees also depend on the kind of assignment they are getting. There are firms which set special rates for every task while others offer a full year service and charge for the same. The prices per job depend on the task they get like preparing profit and loss statement, personal income tax filing or collecting a statement of net worth.

 Some accountants write bills on hourly services. If that is the case, then you need to know the standard hourly rates and if these rates change often.

How important is the location?

Before the dawn of technology, having an accountant near me was important. But now, the boundaries of communication and collaboration have shrunk significantly. As technology advances, working with firms abroad through cloud-based technology is just as simple and effective as working face-to-face. There are cloud accounting features that allow you and your accountant to work on your finances and taxations using real-time data. It diminishes the confinement of location and thus, allows better search of services for your needs.

But the decision still lies in your hands. Your decision will be based on your finances and how to handle them. Honestly, while technology allows collaboration through the internet, there are certain situations which require face-to-face intervention.

Opt for a certified or chartered accountant

Several countries have governing bodies that check qualifications and maintain high accounting standards. In different countries, accountants are known with different names like Certified Public Accountants or Chartered Accountants. CPAs or CAs are highly qualified individuals who have completed degree-level studies with professional internship programs.

Hiring a certified or chartered account makes sure you get the right service and financial advice. Their qualification adds value to your business. It means to make sure your company grows from the word “Go!” you must hire a professional accounting firm from the start. Several tax preparation firms employ and train preparers to help clients through income tax filing. But when it comes to catering to more significant accounting needs, you’ll be better off with firms employing CPAs.

Can they grow with you?

When you invest in a business, you make it clear that you’re ready to enter the big leagues and with zest. To make this happen without any glitches, you need to have a CPA firm that has the human resources and expertise. Your CPA must stick with you to see you grow from a start-up to IPO or exit phase. There are countless things to consider: does the firm have the expertise to stick with you, does it has the staff for the job, or they are facing their acquisition? If any of this is true, you’ll have to go through the whole process of finding a new firm once again.

It might fine at the moment when you’re working with an accountant for small business. But once you start growing, you can’t waste time on finding a new CPA when you should be focusing on your business.

The team assigned to you

When you hire a firm to do an audit, you are buying the communication style of the team undertaking the service. An experienced team doing the audit will save you resources when they utilize their expertise and tools at hand. You need to ask the firm questions on who will be handling your case and if they will be a part of the meeting. Ask them about their previous experiences with other clients and how the following team works on-field. You must be sure that the team you are assigned is the best one.

Converse with government and business entities

Several countries stress on small businesses since they boost a significant share of their economies. To help small businesses grow, the government rolls out plans, packages, and assistance. If you are a small business owner, you can use this assistance and network of business entities to get an accountant.

Conclusion

Whichever accounting firm you choose for your business, remember that they will have access to your sensitive data. So, do your research and take your time to finalize one. Talk with your fellow business associates to get a picture of how accountant firms deal with clients. And since you have the power of the internet in your hand, use social media to dig in deeper. Trust is key!

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How to Advocate For Yourself as a Woman at Work

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For women in particular, the office can be a difficult place to navigate. In an effort to appear easygoing and likable, it’s sometimes easier to stay quiet instead of advocating for yourself or your needs. 

But when you spend 40 hours per week in the same place, you want to make sure you’re comfortable. This means learning to avoid conflict and advocate for yourself by asking for a raise or promotion when you want to. 

Communication is key to navigating tricky office situations. It’s important to learn to speak calmly, carefully and with purpose. Rehearsing your input ahead of time can help you be prepared for any meeting, and being direct with your wants can also help you get what you deserve.

Check out this infographic on how to self-advocate in the office.

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What a Trademark Is & How to Register One in the USA

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Feeling a bit confused by trademark registration? You’re not alone. Whether you’re a small business owner, a solo entrepreneur, or part of a growing start-up, it’d be worth your while to learn about trademarks now rather than later. In the end, it probably isn’t as confusing as you think and it could even help out your brand in the future.

Below you’ll find some information about trademarks and the registration process as well as how to keep tabs on your trademark.

What’s a Trademark?

A trademark can be a mark that represents your business. It’s a form of intellectual property that can take the form of a brand name, logo, design mark, or expression. A telltale sign of a trademark is a superscript TM symbol right after a brand name or logo. This is how it looks: ™.

A trademark can belong to a business or a personal brand that is run by just one individual. You see trademarks regularly on the packaging, websites, or corporate documents. Those two little letters let you know that this is a piece of intellectual property, something that the brand invested in because they believed in what they were doing.

The Importance of Securing a Trademark

If you’re serious about your business, then it’s in your best interest to secure a trademark. The same applies to anything related to your business.

If you went through the administrative struggle of setting up your business, creating a brand with a unique selling point, designing a logo, and attracting valuable talent, wouldn’t you want to protect your intellectual property? That’s why a trademark is important.

A registered trademark can include your company name, slogan, specific services, and/or logo. The peace of mind that comes with having a trademark, as well as the clout that it gives your business, is worth the investment.

It’s easy for smaller businesses to write it off as something that’s nice to have but not necessary. This attitude could end up biting them later on as they are leaving their companies open to infringement. They say that mimicry is the greatest form of flattery but as a business person, you don’t want anyone trying to operate under the guise of being your company.

If others were to pass off their goods and services as yours, what kind of effect would that have on your clients? You would probably lose their trust or, at the very least, confuse them. Consistency is key in business and that means keeping a regular brand image in your marketing, products, and interactions with customers. Infringement can seriously mess that up.

That’s where a registered trademark can help. With a registered trademark, you have the power to take legal action against anyone who tries to use your business name as their own. It can be the difference between securing your reputation with customers and becoming just another muddied small brand in a saturated market.

Registering a Trademark

When you decide to apply for a USA trademark, you’ll need to do so by adhering to the legal process set forth by the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO). You can hire an attorney to represent you or you can go about the process on your own.

Before you can register a trademark, you should be able to precisely identify your business’s purpose, including the nature of its products and services. You should also be sure that the name you’re choosing to apply with is not already in use by another entity. Mistakes such as these can delay the application process, which is why some businesses choose to hire an attorney.

Once you have decided which name(s), logo(s), and/or service(s) you wish to trademark and you’ve checked the USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Search System, you can review the registration timelines and fees. Timelines will vary depending on what kind of company you are and where you’re filing from.

Fortunately, all of this is laid out on the USPTO’s website. As for fees, the initial trademark filing fee ranges from $225 to $400 depending on the class of goods. You’ll also be required to make your payment at the time of filing so come prepared. The application can be done online too.

If your business is not located in the United States, then your application process is going to vary. First of all, you will need the support of a U.S trademark attorney to serve as your representative to the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. These applicants will probably need to show additional documentation and they have the choice of using the Madrid Protocol (an international trademark system that includes the U.S.) or an attorney to file.

Things to Remember

This may be a lot of information but it’s important and it’s better to learn it now than discover it later the hard way. Now that you know more about how the trademark registration process works, there are a few more details that you should keep in mind.

Once the application procedure is complete and you have had your trademark approved, you can set your focus on monitoring your trademark from time to time. You don’t have to check on it every day but a monthly review will let you know if anyone is trying to register your trademark as their own.

By searching through the USPTO’s trademark database, you can see the company names that are currently going through the trademark application procedure. New names that enter this database can be disputed for 30 days, including yours when you file. This means that checking the database every month will help you keep ahead of any infringement risks.

Hopefully, these tips helped to clarify trademark registration and its importance a bit more.

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