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#FridayFive: 5 reasons to choose a local computer store over a chain

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Large chain stores can be good and handy if you’re on a lookout for a cheap piece of tech. But there are some of the elements to your purchase that can end up costing you money, time and effort at the end. So, here are some things you might be missing when you prefer a chain store to your local computer shop:

1. Personal service

When you get a computer or a printer at a chain store or a supermarket you usually just pay for it at the counter and off you go, sometimes the sales person at the till doesn’t even now anything about the product in the box. And if you do need a special assistance or a quick set up guide it usually comes at a price at a large shop. Your local computer store will make sure you know what to do with the item when you take it out of the box & will help you get your head around it. We even can show you how to put the inks in the printer the first time around.

2. On-the-spot warranty service

When you need to bring your computer in for repair bigger shops usually send them off to the warranty centre where you will be waiting for weeks to get an answer from. We have a workshop full of engineers right on the premises and we’re also EPSON and TOSHIBA certified to carry out repairs on the spot. And while bigger repairs can take a bit more time during a busy season sometimes we can fix minor problems the same day (something like an iPhone repair for example).

3. Always on-hand IT support

Don’t know what a strange message on your Desktop says? Don’t know how to change the ink on your printer or it’s not printing right? The mouse on your laptop just suddenly stopped working? Our customers call us with these queries all the time and we always have time to guide them through. Would you expect this sort of service from your big-chain shop?

4. Same people, each time

Can’t remember who you talked to when you were buying your computer the last time? it could get confusing when you get to a large shop and the assistants that work shifts change around. In MicroPro our customers know our faces and we know their. We call each other by the name and we learn what you like and most importantly what you understand. We avoid any complicated jargon and use simple words to explain technology if you don’t happen to be savvy. But you know, we can get nerdy too if you’re into that sort of thing.

5. We’ll tailor the products to you

Did you know that we custom-build computers? This is especially popular with schools, but if you’re after a special high-specification computer that you just can’t find off the shelf – we’re your guys. You could also be eyeing a specific laptop but just want to add more RAM or Hard Drive space to it – we can do it there and then with no hassle at all.

Bonus: did you know that we’re dog-friendly? Yes, you don’t have to leave your pooch outside when you visit us, we love dogs and allow them in freely as we’re dog people ourselves.

Cloud Storage: why, where & how?

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Have you ever heard of the Cloud? We bet you have at this stage heard about cloud technology, cloud services & cloud storage. What the word “cloud” refers to in this context is the storage & services on the Internet – which mean that you can save your files on the Internet, access them wherever and whenever you like and use everything from your computer to your smart MP3 player to do so.

In this article we’d like to introduce you to Cloud storage. Why should you save your files in the cloud and not on your trusty 1TB external Hard Drive? Well, we like to repeat over and over that you should backup your files twice. It’s not going to do any harm if you save the most important files on your external HDD and in a “cloud” folder.

Here are some pros to cloud storage:

  • Accessibility – you can save your files on your computer & then open them on your phone, laptop or tablet even if you’re away from the laptop.
  • Shareability – share your files with whomever you like easily by providing a secure link. If you have party photos or important work files that are too large to send by email for example.
  • Safety – your external hard drive or computer can give up any time – it can suddenly stop working or it can actually be physically damaged (dropped). Sometimes it’s hard to extract data from the damaged drive. If you save it in the cloud – you can just open all your files on a different computer

And there are many more advantages to this. You have to believe us when we say that one of the most common requests come examination season is “My computer stopped working and my entire thesis is on it, I haven’t saved it anywhere else, please get it”. So, here are 5 of our most preferred services that would help you avoid stress over such request.

1. GOOGLE DRIVE 

If you have a Gmail account (just a Gmail email address) you already have a 15GB of free storage on the Google Drive that’s connected to your Gmail address. You can easily find it, just see the picture below.

Google Drive on Gmail MicroPro COmputers TutorialGoogle Drive is extremely easy to use – just click on the “New” button in the folder and choose if you want to upload a file or a whole folder from your computer. It’s a great place to have your photos backed up on your Android device and it even works with iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod).

In addition to storage you can also create a Word, Excel and PowerPoint files and share them with other people – and all of the people can work on these files at the same time. It’s super handy for club schedules, big written projects etc.

And if you’re after to more than 15GB storage you can pay a monthly fee for quite a good deal on 500Gb or 1TB storage – you can save all of your files then.

2. DROPBOX 

You’re possibly more familiar with Dropbox if you have heard of the storage in the “cloud” before. Dropbox is an inexpensive and simple cloud storage solution that gives you an option to upload your files (2GB of free storage) and share it with other people by sending a simple link.

It works in pretty much the same way that Google Drive does, however if you run a business and need several people to be able to share files using a single folder it would probably be the best option for you – it’s also one of the cheapest for this kind of sharing option.

3. ONEDRIVE

Possibly the best of the online “cloud” storage options out there at the moment, simply because it’s…. unlimited (potentially)! There’s a bit of a catch in this deal though, you’d have to sign up as one of the first people to try this feature (provided you’re an existent Office 365 subscriber). Think of it: your videos, photos, Word & Excel files, presentations & music all available at any time on any of your devices. Want to show a wedding video to all of your friends? You can do so on your phone, your laptop and any other device – provided you have Internet (3G or 4G will do as well). How cool is this? Don’t have Office 365? We’ve got a great deal going on it at the moment at just €99 – and you’re getting a 1TB guaranteed storage with it as it is (which is the same price as Drive or Dropbox).

4. MEGA

This service is not as widely known. However, one of reasons we’ve included it in here is because you get a free 50GB storage with Mega. There’s no trial period – it’s a guaranteed 50GB storage online that you can access any time. It’s handy of you have to send a large amount of information to someone. The rest of the plans are a little more expensive than the previous we have mentions, but, this service provides an excellent speed for the file transfer – if that’s your thing. So, if you’re looking to transfer large files fast – Mega is the service for you.

5. iCLOUD

This is a standard backup service for your iOS device. You can sync files easily between your iPhone, iPad & MacBook. You get 5GB free with your iOS profile and then you can expand to more plans that can only be purchased through the Apple store. It’s handy if you are an Apple addict as you can see your pictures & music synched without you even connecting your devices together (that moment is popularly illustrated in the latest Cameron Diaz movie “Sex Tape”). However, we found that other services above provide a more competitive pricing for larger storage.

A little extra, and one of our favourites when we need to share a simple file with someone – WeTransfer. It’s quick, easy and allows you share just one file with a few people. No need to sign up to anything, pay a fee or store a file. It will keep your file for 14 days after which the link will expire.

How safe is Cloud storage? “Very” – is the easiest answer here. Cloud storage have come the long way since its inception and it’s been around for a while. Your files will be protected by the latest advances in file encryption that are hard to decode. However, we do encourage for you to choose your password wisely. You can read our blog post about passwords and how to maintain a safe password here.