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This material is archived primarily from Email tips distributed to my own home computer friends here in Ocala, dated 2015-2017. Updates to this material are scheduled for CY 2018.

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Considering a Notebook Computer for Mobility and Preparedness

Frequent questions:

· If I get a new computer, should I consider a notebook?

· How can I transfer my files to a new computer?

· How can I access my information and contacts if I’m away?

· What can I do to ensure computer access in case of travel or emergency?

More and more households are now migrating from desktop computers to more portable notebook (or “laptop”) computers and computing devices.

Mobility is a big factor. You can use a notebook computer anyplace at home and still have Internet access with WiFi. You can use it at club meetings, in waiting areas, while attending classes, and even in hospital or rehabilitation facilities.

Large desktops or “towers” still serve best for most people as “primary” home computers. Desktops are more expandable and can be upgraded in ways that notebooks cannot. But it makes a lot of sense to have a notebook or mobile device for mobility and unexpected needs.

Following are some tips and suggestions if you are thinking about this.

· Here in you can find a good refurbished notebook computer for as little as $300-400, with Windows 7 or 10 installed. I’ve found good deals on notebooks through the local computer shop that I use.

· I suggest also getting a wireless mouse and perhaps a cooling pad as accessories.

· There are several different ways to backup the files, documents or pictures you have on computer. You can use an external hard drive, flash drive, or other storage device to transfer or copy from one computer to another.

· If you use an online backup program or storage service - “the cloud” – you can access your files with any device at any location where Internet access is available. This means that with a notebook computer you can prepare in advance for summer travel, visits to family, hospital or rehabilitation periods, flexible mobility at home, and so on.

Here in our 55+ communities we’re accustomed to making advance arrangements for handling practical tasks in event of emergencies.

Computer users who use online access to manage finances, check balances, pay bills or the like may wish to consider these additional suggestions.

It may be helpful to discuss such things with your spouse or with a loved one designated to help you out in unforeseen situations. This may become especially important in planning for periods of convalescence.

· Determine which websites you need to access online for financial or household management.

· Assemble a list of steps and log-in information your spouse or designated helper will need to assist you if necessary you in such matters, or to perform such tasks for you.

· Commit your computer password and primary email password to memory, and arrange for your spouse or designated helper to have or retrieve that info, if and when necessary.

· Organize your computer files for manageable retrieval and transfer to your notebook in event of lengthy periods away from home.

If you plan to handle household matters remotely away from home using a secondary computer, be sure to install the software that you will need in order to access important documets – e.g.:

· Adobe Acrobat Reader

· Microsoft Office or Open Office

· Quicken, Quickbooks, Turbotax or the like

· Anti-virus / anti-malware software

Also important - secure your notebook as well as any other home computer:

· Computers used outside the home should always be passworded. Assign a password to any computer User Account that has Administrative status (ability to install software or make system changes

· Safeguard your password information in a way that ensures you can retrieve it in the event of mishap or memory loss. Also consider how your spouse or designated helper may need to retrieve it in an emergency

· Keep in mind that providing computer access and password information merits to a person should not be done willy nilly.

Give computer preparedness a degree of attention comparable to storm preparedness, powers of attorney, advance care matters or the like. This can greatly facilitate things for you, loved ones and other helpers in the long run.