How to prepare your computer to sell

Selling technology that you don’t use any more is a great way to earn a few quid or even to put money towards a newer version of what you are selling.

Sounds good right?

Well there are a couple of things that you should do before selling your PC…

In this guide I will be primarily focusing on Windows

You will need…

  • External storage device
  • Windows Installation media
  • Blank media to install Active Kill Disk on

1. Back up your data

It’s always a good idea to back up your data before performing any computer maintenance. Since you are selling your computer, you will need to back up all your data on to a separate storage device like a portable hard drive or a Flash drive. It’s important to make sure that you have enough storage space on your external device so that you can actually back up your data.

2. De-authorise licensed programs

De-authorising any licensed programs such as Adobe CC, Microsoft Office or your anti-virus program . Doing this will free up licences so that you can put it onto your new computer.

While I’m writing about licensed programs it might be worth mentioning to make sure you have the licence keys for programs you may have purchased. If you don’t have the licence files Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder is the program you need. According to their website…

“The Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder is a freeware utility that retrieves your Product Key (cd key) used to install windows from your registry”.

Magical Jelly Bean

3. Wipe your hard disk securely

This is the most important point. When selling your computer you don’t want your data on that PC and I’m not just talking about deleting your documents. There are loads of files that you won’t find in your Documents or on your desktop. These files will contain sensitive data such as your browsing history, saved passwords etc…

So what do I do?

You will need to securely wipe your hard drive. Restoring your computer to factory settings is often not enough as there is still a possibility of recovering deleted data. I’m not talking for all manufacturers because I have come across a couple of recovery partitions that have the option to securely wipe your data. Windows 10 has an option to do this too!

In IT we all have our preferences on what to use, so there may be people who disagree with me. I use Active Kill disk as a boot disk. In its free edition, it will securely wipe your hard disk in the One Pass Zeros method. According to Kill disk, this means that “the number of passes is fixed and cannot be changed. When the write head passes through a sector, it writes only zeros”. This will make it very hard to recover the data.

Like I said, we all have our preferences and it will be a crime not to mention some of the alternatives because they are very good as well…

Dban (Darik’s Boot and Nuke) is a great alternative.

4. Re-install Windows

The most important part is to re-install Windows. Now, this may not be worth it depending on the operating system that was originally on it. For example, if the original operating system was Windows Vista or even XP, it might be worth Installing Linux Mint or some variation of Linux. In some cases, it might be worth upgrading the computer to the latest version of Windows, but obviously, that costs and it’s not always the best solution, especially for older computers with older hardware.

5. Clean it!

When selling your electronic devices, it’s a good idea to clean the device so that it looks more presentable.

Check this out!

Other options

There are other options of course. I mean you don’t have to sell your computer with your hard drive!

Windows 7 dies next year! But what next? + Testing Windows XP and Vista

Many of you will remember when Windows XP was cut off years ago. Microsoft cut a great operating system from getting security updates and patches. Many people still used the system after that and they still use it today! Next year it will be the turn of Windows 7!

What does ending support mean?

Good question! It means that the system will no longer receive essential security updates and patches. I mean, Windows XP and Windows Vista no longer receive them even when security holes are found. This means that you are on your own when a hole is found. But even with this information people are still using Windows XP.

To be honest these systems are still usable if you’re not connected to the internet. For example, a couple of years ago they found that an Auto Repair Shop in Gdansk, Poland is still using a Commodore 64 to balance drive shafts! Impressive right?

Don’t forget about software support!

There are other things to consider too. Your favourite programs, programs that you might not even be considering such as Google Chrome will and have stopped supporting the System.

It’s likely that a couple of years from now, software vendors will too stop supporting Windows 7. To show you what that will look like and to see what still works and what doesn’t on Windows XP and Vista, I decided to do a little experiment with both systems to see whether the programs I regularly use are still supported.

Testing to see what still works on Windows XP and Vista

To test this I dug out two old installations disks containing Windows Vista and XP I had in the attic and I installed both systems in trial mode onto a VirtualBox which allowed me to run the system in a virtual environment. To make the test fair, I installed the latest updates on both builds.

Test 1 – Google Chrome

The Google Chrome installation was successful on both but it does come with the message “This computer will no longer receive Google Chrome Updates.”

Test 2 – Steam

Steam installed on both but failed to update on both too. Although the error messages don’t state it’s due to the fact that they are old not supported systems. But it’s kind of suspicious.

Test 3 – Spotify

Spotify was the first program in both systems that actually worked. But for a second there, I thought that it was no longer compatible with Windows Vista because I completely forgot that in this version of Windows you had to unlock certain executables in the properties. Once enabled the program launched.

Test 4 – Avast Free Anti-virus

Like Spotify, Avast Free Antivirus was successfully installed. It’s good that Anti-virus vendors are still supporting old systems but it doesn’t mean that Windows will get security patches. It means that the anti-virus program will get virus signature updates.

Test 5 – Microsoft Office 2016

Whilst Microsoft Office downloaded, it didn’t allow me to install it.


The five programs I tested were ones which I use often. As you can see, the majority of apps I use either couldn’t be installed or are no longer supported. The list goes on though, there are many more programs like this.

When support for Windows 7 ends on the 14th January next year it’s likely that in the coming year’s software vendors will stop supporting the older systems too. Although according to Chris Merriman from The Inquirer…

“For the first time, Microsoft has publicly stated that it will carry on supporting Windows 7, for users willing to pay. It did the same with Windows XP, but those deals tended to be done behind locked doors.”

Chris Merriman The Inquirer Available here…

The above statement is great news, especially for businesses who need time to test and get used to Windows 10.

So what next?

There are many options available for you to take but it’s important to remember that not all systems will be compatible with all hardware. In other words, it’s very wise to research before you upgrade!

Please note!

Before conducting any upgrades, remember to back up your data as upgrading will mean your hard disk getting wiped! If you don’t feel confident about performing the upgrade take your computer to a local PC Repair shop! I am not responsible for any damage caused!

Upgrade to Windows 10

The simplest option is to just upgrade to Windows 10. But even that may not be so easy. There are loads of things to consider before upgrading such as whether your hardware is compatible with the new system. For example, I tried to upgrade an old Dell Optiplex GX280 from Windows XP to Windows 10 back in its Insider Preview days but the processor simply did not support it. Luckily I found one on eBay that did and I was able to run Windows 10 Insider preview!

Upgrading my old Dell Optiplex GX280 to run Windows 10.

Upgrade to Linux

Linux is getting more and more publicity these days. It’s a series of Open source operating systems. Examples include Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Fedora and RedHat which was recently acquired by IBM but the list goes on. In fact, I decided to switch to Linux Mint myself! Find out how I did with using it for over 1 month…

There are many Linux flavours available but for some reason, I like Linux Mint most at the moment. In the background, I have also been testing Sparky Linux, which Like Ubuntu and Linux Mint is based on Debian.

Before I decided to make Linux Mint my everyday system, I tested it on a PC I had lying around and I came to like it.

Restoring a Dell Optiplex 380 with Linux Mint

Buy a new PC

The third and most costly option is to just buy a new PC right? Not necessarily! If you’re like me and you built your own it will be much easier to just buy a new system. On the other hand, you might have purchased a pre-built PC that was expensive and you might not want to be spending that much money again.

Unless you fancy buying a new PC, my advice would be that if your PC is slow and starting to show it’s age it might be worth buying a new PC, otherwise, whichever way you want to go, upgrading seems to be the way forward!

What are you planning to do when Microsoft ends support for Windows 7? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to like subscribe for more great content!

Install CloudReady on your PC

Neverware’s CloudReady is an Operating System (OS) which you can use to make your PC into a Chromebook. In this article, I will show you how you can do just that!

You might be thinking why would you need to do that? Well, the cloud seems to be the way forward and if you have an older computer you might find that it runs better on it.

While writing this article I will be upgrading a Small factor PC which I plan to use connected to my TV. The full video of the upgrade is available below…

Please Note…

I am not responsible for any damage caused to your PC. Your Flash drive and the hard disk inside your computer will be wiped. Please backup your data before you start!

You will need…

  • Flash Drive (8 or 16 GB)
  • Target computer

1. Download the CloudReady Home USB Maker

Available here:

2. Back up your data!

Both your USB drive and hard drive will be wiped making room for the installation!

3. Insert your flash drive and start the USB Maker

4. Select your Architecture

5. Click next until the installer asks to choose Installation Media

For some reason Sandisk Flash drives are not recommended by CloudReady

6. Select your installation Media

Click next to start the installation. It might take time depending on your network connection.

7. Insert your USB drive into your PC and boot from it

Depending on your computer, you may have to enable boot from USB in the BIOS.

Installing CloudReady will wipe your Hard Drive!

8. Once your live USB boots install CloudReady…

  1. Have a play with the live version to see if you like it. If you do continue the steps below…
  2. Click the clock in on the bar, in the right-hand corner.
  3. Select Install Cloud Ready
  4. A window will appear asking you whether you want to install. This will wipe your hard drive. if you want to continue, select “Erase Hard Drive & Install CloudReady.”
  5. You might get asked once more to make sure that you want to install the OS
  6. Wait for the installation to finish.

9. Enjoy CloudReady!

Check this out!

What is Windows God Mode and why it is useful

In this article, I will talk about a hidden feature in Windows known as God Mode. I will start by explaining what God Mode is, why it’s useful and how to enable it.

So what is God Mode?

This is where you might be thinking “Wow there’s a cool hidden feature that gives you special rights and lets you unlock cool stuff”. Unfortunately, that’s not what God Mode is all about. God Mode is a special folder that contains most Windows administrator, management, tools and settings. You might be thinking that that’s boring and what’s the point?

God Mode provides a clear, easy scroll interface so you don’t need to search for the tools by searching the start menu. It includes over 200 tools at the click of a button. According to Anu Passary from Tech Times “The hidden tweak, which not many know about, was available for Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 and still works for Windows 10”.  That is great news but you may still be thinking “What’s the point when we still have the Control Panel”. Well, In my humble opinion, Its layout makes it much easier to find settings which is essential when you’re in a hurry.

How do I enable it?

  • Make sure that you are an Administrator
  • Go to your Desktop
  • Right-click, Go to New > New Folder
  • Call the new folder: “GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}”
  • Press Enter
Windows God Mode

Check this out!

Dell Optiplex 380 Restoration

Should we be encrypting our portable storage devices?

One of my friends purchased a Flash Drive to transfer work between computers. She asked me if her data will be secure on it and thought It would be a great idea to write an article explaining this query…

Those who follow me might know that I’m not a big fan of using flash drives as there is so much that could go wrong with them. However, on this occasion the flash drive was being used for what it was designed for, to transfer data.

My friend who prefers not to be named is a Windows user, I recommended to use BitLocker which is a great tool built into certain versions of Windows including Windows 7 Ultimate & Enterprise, Windows 8.1 Pro & Enterprise and Windows 10 Pro.

There are many other free options available if you aren’t a Windows User such as FileVault on Mac or VeraCrypt which works on Windows, Mac and Linux.

Here is a great article by Aurel George Proorocu on how to use BitLocker to encrypt your flash drive…

So why is it a good idea to encrypt out portable storage devices?

If we take flash drives into consideration, these are tiny devices that are easy to lose and if you store confidential data on it, it will almost certainly mean that your data is compromised, I mean, anyone can gain access to your data. It might be for good reasons such as trying to give the flash drive back to you or it could be for bad reasons and it’s impossible to determine what the person that finds the flash drive will do unless you know them.

To answer my friend’s question, I recommended using BitLocker as she wasn’t going to use it as an everyday device for storing data. It was just to be used for a week or two. According to Sam Wiltshire from Ontrack…

“Hardware encryption is safer than software encryption because the encryption process is separate from the rest of the machine. This makes it much harder to intercept or break”.

Sam Wiltshire, 12th September 2017. Full Article is available here

In other words, if you are planning to use your flash drive as a permanent device, you will be better off with a flash drive that supports hardware-based encryption. There are plenty of these on the market but they do come at a price. A great example of such device is the Corsair Padlock Flash drive but a 16 GB stick does cost around £39.99. But Using software-based encryption is still better than nothing!

So do we encrypt our portable storage devices?

At the end of the day, the choice is yours. Your data will be more secure if you encrypt your drive. If the data is confidential, your USB drive should be encrypted. If it’s not, it’s still worth encrypting but it’s just an option.

There are a number of things to bear in mind when encrypting your drive…

  • You will need a recovery option if you forget your Password. BitLocker gives you a recovery key.
  • It can take time for you to log-in to the drive

What do you think about encrypting your flash drive? Let us know in the comments!

Check this out!

Photo of the Huawei Watch GT

Huawei Watch GT – Review

In a time where everyone seems to be concerned about their fitness and the battery life of their devices, Huawei released the Watch GT. I was lucky enough to get my hands of this watch with my mobile phone contract.

So what is the Huawei watch GT and what does it have to offer?

The Huawei watch GT is a smartwatch running on Huawei’s own operating system. They claim that the watch can last for up to 2 weeks. This is great news, I used to own a Fitbit Blaze and a Samsung Gear Fit Pro and none of these devices lasted that long!

The watch itself seems to be more of a fitness watch with many useful features such as the Huawei TruSeen™ heart rate monitor which they claim “provides a more efficient and accurate real-time personal measurement of your heart-rate”. They also claim that it uses a “self-learning algorithm and innovative sensors”.

The watch has a ceramic bezel design, a stainless steel shell and DLC Coating. The screen itself is Amoled which looks amazing!

It also features precise location which they claim, supports “3 Satellite Positioning Systems” including GPS, GLONASS and Galileo.

According to Huawei, the watch “provides coaching in introductory to advanced running courses to assist you in real-time while also providing guidance training”. It supports a wide variety of sports such as swimming which they don’t advise if you have the leather rubber band. It offers professional cycling assessments and if you’re into climbing, it features a barometer, compass and altitude tool.

The watch also features Huawei TruSleep™ 2.0 which they claim was produced “in a joint-study with Harvard Medical School.  They claim “identifies common sleep-related issues and provides more than 200 potential suggestions to help you sleep better.

The watch is great for counting steps, your sedentary status and monitoring peak intense activities. It provides notifications for most messages, phone calls, alarms and set reminders.


Dimensions: 46.5 mm x 46.5 mm x 10.6 mm
Build: Stainless Steel frame, ceramic back
Display: 1.39in AMOLED display
Bluetooth: 4.2, LE
Sensors: Accelerometer, gyro, heart rate, barometer, compass
Battery: Non-removable Li-Ion 420 mAh battery –
14-30 day battery life
Compatible with:Android 4.4 or later
iOS 9.0 or later

So what do I think after using it?

I think that this watch has the potential to be a great fitness watch. Sadly, you can’t add any other apps on it as you can with Wear OS and Apple Watch. However, it’s great as a fitness watch. I would definitely recommend it! To be honest, it was hard to find any other disadvantages because the watch is excellent. Below are what I found to be the advantages and disadvantages of this watch…


  • Cool looking design
  • AMOLED Display
  • Advanced Fitness Tracking
  • TruSleep™ 2.0 Sleep tracking
  • TruSeen™ heart rate monitor
  • Notifications
  • Amazing battery life
  • Great price


  • No app store or possibility to download more apps
  • You are restricted to the watch faces that are built-in
  • No Contactless payments

The verdict

I would definitely recommend this watch to a friend looking to buy a fitness watch. If on the other hand, you are looking for a general smartwatch, I would recommend an Apple Watch if your an iPhone user and a WearOS watch if you’re an Android user. I made this decision based on the fact that you can’t download apps or customise the watch, which are the features you might want from a general use SmartWatch. This watch is in fact just like a Fitbit. I do however hope that Huawei changes this and adds support for other apps and features.

5 Ways to modernise your old computer

As with many things, computers age. The trouble is when it starts to slow down. In this article, I will explain what components you can easily upgrade to modernise your PC.

Here are 5 ways to modernise your PC…

Please be aware…

This material is an indication on how you might go about upgrading your computer. I am NOT responsible for any damage caused to your device. If you don’t feel comfortable doing any of these tasks take your device to a computer repair shop.

If you are comfortable, Remember to back up your data and files!

1. Upgrade your storage device

Hard drive upgrade

Many new PC’s come with Solid State Drives (SSD’s) instead of Hard Disk Drives (HDD’s). Picture a turntable, you have a spinning record and a handle that reads the data, essentially that’s what a hard drive is and when it starts to get full it will write data where ever it can find space. This will slow down performance because the handle will need to travel further to read data. SSD’s don’t have a spinning disk, it’s literally a chip, making it a lot faster. This is why I recommend upgrading your HDD to an SSD. If you have the space, you can even keep your current hard drive as a secondary storage device.

So how do you go about upgrading your storage device?

Before upgrading your storage device back up your data!

Well, to start with you need to purchase the SSD. There are many great SSD’s on the market. Here’s an example of a good bargain SSD that I use in my rig…

In terms of storage space, I don’t recommend anything below 240 GB simply because Windows tends to use up quite a lot of storage space, not forgetting applications and temp files before you know it your SSD will be full.

I have used 120 GB SSD’s as my main storage device and from experience, I will tell you that it’s simply not enough and you need a secondary storage device. It took a week to get full of program and temp files.

On the other hand if you are planning to put in a second storage device like your old hard drives, you can store your file directory and some program files on that drive, just don’t expect the performance of a SSD.

You will need…

  • The new storage device
  • A copy of the installation media for your system

Here is a great guide by Michael Crider from How-To Geek on how to peform the upgrade:

2. Upgrade your RAM

RAM Upgrade

As software evolves over time it becomes more resource hungry, in most cases it means that it requires more RAM to function properly. For example, about 10 years ago, 2 GB of RAM was considered average and 4 GB was amazing. In today’s standards, 2 GB will give you low performance, the computer will only be good for browsing the internet on Edge or Internet Explorer. There are Windows 10 Ultrabooks that come with 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage space, I had one myself and from experience I will tell you that it was great to use as a note taking device with OneNote, but browsers like Chrome would struggle – a lot, that’s not speaking for all devices of a similar spec. By today’s standards, 8 GB seems to be the average.

How do you go about upgrading your RAM?

RAM upgrades can be tricky because you need to make sure the RAM is compatible with your system. CPU-Z is a great tool which will give you an indication of what type of RAM you might need.

Here is a great article by Thomas Ryan from PCWorld explaining how to go about upgrading your RAM

3. Upgrade your Operating System

Over time new operating systems come into existence meaning that many software manufacturers/developers will be aiming at the newer systems. A great example of this is Windows XP, there are still many computers out in the wild running on Windows XP, which if they are not connected to the internet shouldn’t be an issue but the trouble is that not many of the mainstream apps work on thy system anymore. Speaking about Windows XP, I am shocked to see that many companies still use Windows XP! Just the other day I went into a takeaway and I was looking at the menu screen which was a standard computer monitor and before my eyes, I saw it reboot and the Windows XP logo appeared – in 2019!

Have you experienced Widows XP or even Vista in the wild recently? Let us know in the comments!

Regardless Windows XP “was” a great system, I learned on it back in the day so to me it will always have a special place in my heart. Enough sobbing though. This article is about upgrading your PC!

I will be specifically writing about Windows machines. Before you even consider upgrading your operating system, make sure you have a back up of your files! I can’t stress this enough! To upgrade your operating system you will need the installation media and a license.

Here is a great article by Ed Bott from ZDNet explaining how to install and upgrade Windows.

4. Upgrade your graphics card

Graphics Card

If you’re a gamer, you might want to upgrade your graphics card (GPU) to a newer model so that you can play the latest games. There might be other reasons too. I remember that back in the day, I had to purchase a basic GPU so that videos, basic games and the Windows 7 Aero theme worked. This was on my ancient Dell Optiplex GX280 which was running on 2 GB RAM, Intel Pentium 4 and originally on Windows XP but That’s another story!

Here is a great guide by Ollie Green from Help Desk Geek on how to install your new graphics card.

5. Update your case

This can be a more difficult one but if the style is important to you why don’t you upgrade your case! Just make sure that you put enough research into your computer model and the cases available on the market. I have come across many computers, specifically slim lined ones that have custom sized motherboards and components.

5 Ways to back up your data

Backing up your data is important as you never know when your device might go wrong. Here are 5 recommended ways to back up your data…

1. Cloud Storage

Cloud storage is one of the most popular back up solutions. With cloud storage, you don’t have to worry about losing your device or it becoming corrupt. Cloud storage providers usually take great care in making sure that your data is backed up. For example, if one of their servers fails you wouldn’t even know about it.

Data is secured in a secure locationLimited free storage space
Data is accessible from anywhere as long as you are connected to the internet You need access to the internet unless your files are stored locally too.
Data SecurityThe site might close meaning you will have to download all your data
Auto back up (Not all providers have this option, you may need to enable it)

2. Portable hard drives

One of the most common methods of backing up your data is to save it to an external or portable hard drive. There are many benefits of using portable hard drives such as speedy file transfer, especially compared to cloud storage.

Fast data transfer Hard drives can fail resulting in data loss. I always recommend backing up your external hard drives to another drive
Easy to use Portable hard drives can be expensive

Here’s a cheap way to make your own external drive:

3. Burn it to a DVD

This is quiet an old solution but it still works providing you have a CD/DVD burner and a lot of physical storage space for storing your CD’s.

It’s a good secondary storage location Blank CD’s/DVD’s only have a small amount of storage space.
Smaller failure risks Time-consuming
Many new laptops and desktops aren’t equipped with CD/DVD burners
CD’s/DVD’s can easily get damaged causing file corruptions and data loss.

4. Use a NAS device

NAS stands for Network Attached Storage and it’s technically a server which you can either purchase or build. The huge advantage of owning a NAS server is that you can access your files from more than one device at the same time.

You can back up more than one device at the same timeExpensive
Depending on the device, you can usually set up automatic backups. Hard drives can still fail

5. USB Sticks

USB Sticks are funny devices, they aren’t actually designed for data backups, instead, they are designed to transfer data from one PC to another. However, you can still use them as back up devices.

Fast file transfer especially with USB 3.0Easily lost, unless encrypted it could mean that your data is compromised when lost.
Affordable, you can actually pick one up from as little as £3.50.Have a limited life, USB Sticks have a limited life span, meaning that when it loses it’s charge it can just die.

Ditched Windows 10 for Linux Mint – 1 Month on

There is a lot of talk about people ditching Windows for some variation of Linux but not many seem to have written a review of the switch after a month. In this article, I hope to help out my fellow noobs who are also considering to move to Linux Mint.

So why did I even consider the Switch?

To begin with, I was fed up of Windows being Windows. It was constantly updated at the most inconvenient times and the size of the operating system compared to Linux distributions. Linux Mint is also free and according to Lifewire “Linux Has Many More Free Applications”.

Linux is also considered to be safer compared to Windows. The Ubuntu website actually states “Anti-virus software does exist for Linux, but you probably don’t need to use it. Viruses that affect Linux are still very rare. Some argue that this is because Linux is not as widely used as other operating systems, so no one writes viruses for it. Others argue that Linux is intrinsically more secure, and security problems that viruses could make use off are fixed very quickly”. Like Ubuntu, Linux Mint has a huge and extremely helpful community which are always willing to help out.

But the main reason that I decided to switch to Linux Mint is the clean and professional interface.

Did I have any problems learning to use the system?

The simple answer is no. I have used Ubuntu many times in the past so I was familiar with Linux to begin with. I actually found Linux Mint easier to navigate compared to Ubuntu.

The Linux Mint Software Manager makes it easy to download the common apps and if the app isn’t listed a quick google search helped me install it within a few clicks. In terms of noticeable differences, the only difference I found apart from the interface were the fonts that programs used.

What about the software I used on Windows?

Yes, there were a couple of sacrifices but I managed to get up and running with alternatives fast. Here are some of the alternatives I used…

Microsoft OfficeWPS Office and Office Online
Photoshop Gimp

The truth of the matter is that there are tons of alternatives for just about any task you can do in Windows – That’s what I found anyway.

It’s important to remember that there is a huge number of software distributors who distribute Linux versions of their programs. A great example is the web browser Firefox and text editor Brackets. Steam is also available! If you require a specific program which is available on Windows, Wine enables you to install it. But that’s a story for another day!

Is Linux Mint a keeper?

Yes, I would definitely say so! I feel more comfortable using Linux Mint compared to any other Linux distro’s I used. I have been testing another Debian based distro called Sparky Linux which I also like and will certainly review soon. But for now, especially as a beginner I will be keeping to Linux Mint.

Do you have any recommendations for new users? Comment below!