How Computer Memory Works

We thought today for #TechTipTuesday we would share a great little YouTube video from TedEd about how computer memory works.

We’re sure you’ve found your computer running slow at some point and someone says “why don’t you add some more memory!” and you’ve wondered if this will help or not.

Well now you know how RAM works and how more memory could help your computer run faster. Give Local Computer Help a call on 1300 883 831 to book in for your laptop or computer upgrade.

I’m still on Windows 7 – what should I do?

Need help to upgrade from Windows 7 to the latest Windows 10? Local Computer Help can assist. Simply call 1300 883 831 to book in a time to get up to date.

Microsoft Windows 7 – launched in 2009 – came to the end of its supported life on Tuesday. Despite Microsoft’s repeated warnings to Windows 7 users, there may still be a couple of hundred million users, many of them in businesses. What should people do next?

To begin with, Windows 7 will not stop working, it will just stop receiving security updates. Users will therefore be more vulnerable to malware attacks, particularly from “ransomware”. We saw how dangerous that can be when WannaCry took over unpatched PCs in the NHS and other places. It was so bad that Microsoft released a patch for XP, even though it was out of support.

There are reasons to be fearful, because of the way the malware industry works.

On the second Tuesday of every month, Microsoft releases security patches that should be installed automatically by Windows Update. The malware industry analyses these patches to find the holes, and then looks for ways to exploit them. A lot of the code in Windows 10 goes back to Windows 7 and earlier versions. As a result, some of the security holes in Windows 10 will also be present in Windows 7, but they won’t be patched.

Malware writers don’t normally target out-of-date operating systems, because they don’t usually have many users. In this case, as with XP, there could be millions of relatively easy targets.

The British government’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) told the BBC: “We would urge those using the software after the deadline to replace unsupported devices as soon as possible, to move sensitive data to a supported device and not to use them for tasks like accessing bank and other sensitive accounts.” That’s good advice.

You can read more about this topic with the full article at The Guardian.

Best VR headset in 2020

Check out this great read from Tom’s Guide to help you make a choice on the wide range of VR technology available to you.

The best VR headsets no longer require a PC or phone. You can just pick up a standalone VR headset and immerse yourself in new worlds, whether you want to fight Darth Vader in a light saber battle or explore places you’ve never been by watching 360 videos. 

We tested the most popular VR headsets available for gaming PCs, phones and consoles, as well as standalone models, to help you find the right device for you. 

Based on our reviews, the Oculus Quest is the best VR headset overall, because it lets you play the hottest VR games without being tethered to a PC. Plus, the Oculus Quest now offers hand tracking, so you can interact with content without having to use dedicated controllers.

While you can still buy VR headsets for phones, these have fallen out of favor. Devices like the Samsung Gear VR are best for older Galaxy phones only. If you’re on a budget we would recommend the $149 Oculus Go instead.

Here are the best VR headsets to buy now.

The best VR headsets you can buy today

1. Oculus Quest

The Oculus Quest is the best VR headset overall and the company’s second VR standalone headset, which means there’s not a wire in sight. Thanks to the integrated sensors and computer algorithms, you can walk around in your designated play space without worrying about running into a wall or a piece of furniture.

The system launched with 50 games, but is rapidly expanding its repertoire. The cherry on top is the casting ability, which lets you share your VR experience with others via smartphone or TV. 

Oculus’ Touch Controllers are still the best in the business. They’re comfortable and lightweight, which means no undue hand cramps during long sessions. And with the hand tracking feature, you can go controller-free with some titles.

Oculus is also really leaning into the social aspect of VR, launching cross-buy and multiplayer titles. Without a doubt, the Oculus Quest is the best VR headset. 

2. Oculus Rift S

The Oculus Rift S makes the best VR headset for PCs even better. This sleek headset sports a crisp 1280 x 1440 resolution (up from 1200 x 1080 for the original) as well as a speedy 80Hz refresh rate. Its one-pound design makes it comfortable to wear for hours of VR gaming, and it ditches the original Rift’s onboard headphones for surprisingly impressive integrated audio that comes right out of the headband.

The Rift S packs Oculus Insight tracking, which allows for room-scale tracking without the need for setting up any pesky external sensors. Oculus’ latest PC headset packs in the company’s excellent Touch Controllers, which make it easy to virtually climb mountains, battle with swords and create art in virtual reality.

The Rift S also benefits from what’s become a very impressive library of games on the Oculus store, including big hits like Beat Saber, Superhot, Job Simulator and Vader Immortal. Overall, the Oculus Rift S is the best VR headset for folks looking for a PC-based system that plays a huge library of great games for a decent price.

3. Playstation VR

The PlayStation VR is the best VR headset for consoles, and it features one of the best VR game libraries we’ve seen. Sony’s stylish and cozy headset already offers exclusive heavy hitters like Batman: Arkham VR and Star Wars Battlefront: Rogue One X-Wing Mission, as well as established VR hits such as Eve: Valkyrie and Job Simulator.

In our full review, we praised the PlayStation VR’s ease of use, intuitive Move controllers and impressive publisher support. If you already have a PS4, PlayStation VR is far and away the most affordable high-end VR option out there — heck, you can get the console and the headset for the price of an HTC Vive. The PS VR has a lower lens resolution compared with those of the Vive or the Rift, but depending on the game, the PS VR can deliver a 120-hertz refresh rate — one of the highest available.

When you aren’t playing games in VR, you can watch movies. The headset has a Cinematic mode that allows you to watch movies and TV in a theater-like setup at 120 Hz. We suggest you try it out with a 4K Blu-ray movie. PS VR also has a Social Screen so people who aren’t wearing a headset can still watch the action.

4. Oculus Go

For an affordable $149, the Oculus Go is one of the best VR headsets because it cuts the cord and preserves your smartphone’s battery life. This standalone VR headset is teeming with intriguing apps and games. In our testing, we appreciated the clear detail, lovely color and immersive spatial audio.

As evidenced by its game-heavy library, the Go is still very much a headset for those looking to fight virtual baddies. But thanks to Facebook’s influence, Go has a larger focus on entertainment and social. For instance, you can use Oculus Rooms to create your own virtual apartment, where you can invite up to three friends to join and play games, watch movies on Netflix or Hulu or share your own 360-degree videos.

Aside from cutting the cord, the major differences between the Go and the Oculus Rift is the built-in speakers and microphones, the higher resolution lenses and a built-in Qualcomm processor. The Go is outfitted with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 CPU with a 5.5-inch, 2560 x 1440 WQHD fast-switch LCD display. That translates into 1280 x 1440 per eye, which is better than the 1080 x 1200 per eye (2160 x 1200) of the Rift and Vive.

What you don’t get from the Oculus Go is six degrees of freedom, so you can’t dodge or duck in games. However, the Go offers a lot of apps and games at over 1,000 and counting.

5. HTC Vive

One of the best VR headsets for PC use, the HTC Vive stands out for a number of key features, including room-tracking capability right out of the box. With the Oculus Rift, you have to pay $59 extra for that level of immersion. HTC also gives you the ability to access your phone while in VR as well as the pass-through camera, which delivers a peek at the real world when necessary.

The Vive has also debuted a number of innovative accessories, including the Vive Trackers, which let you bring real-world items, like a tennis racket, into the virtual plane. The $299 TPCast add-on lets you take the Vive totally wireless, eliminating the nagging fear of tripping over that 6-foot cable tethering you to your laptop or desktop. If you’re looking for more immersive audio, check out HTC’s $99 Deluxe Audio Strap, which adds a pair of adjustable headphones.

The Vive is still trying to catch up with Oculus in terms of content, but its 375-plus games and apps aren’t t too shabby. In addition to letting you purchase individual apps and titles, HTC has its Viveport subscription service. Starting at $6.99 per month, Viveport allows you to pick five games or apps from a curated list of content to use each month. 

6. Valve Index

The best controls and tracking in VR Check AmazonGreat build qualitySmartly designed controllersFuture expansion optionsNo charging cable in the boxHeavy

Valve ought to know a thing or two about gaming experiences, and the company’s experience working with HTC and its work on Lighthouse tracking technology have all fed into the Index. From the moment you wear the headset, you can appreciate the high-quality construction, built-in ear speakers, and comfortable cushions, although it is noticeably heavier than other VR headsets on the market.

The controllers are one of the highlights. Since they strap onto your hand, you don’t need to keep a grip on them at all times, plus they’re customizable to your own hand shape and include pressure-sensitive controls, adding extra immersive potential to games that support it. The display is an LCD panel which offers a range of refresh rates to suit your computer’s processing power, plus it offers images just as high-res and sharp as its rivals. There’s also a pair of cameras and a USB expansion slot on the front, which can theoretically allow the Index to be upgraded in the future without needing to replace the whole headset.

The headset can suffer from technical problems, is heavy to wear, and for some unfathomable reason there’s no included USB-C cable to charge up the components, but don’t let this put you off the benefits the Index will have for your in-game enjoyment.

7. Pansonite 3D VR Glasses

Best cheap VR headset Check AmazonCompatible with a number of smartphonesLightweight, comfortable designAR/VR supportNo remoteSome light leakage

The Pansonite is as close as you can get to a high-end virtual-reality headset without paying an exorbitant price. It features a cloth design in front, similar to Google’s Daydream, along with an adjustable plastic headband that’s reminiscent of the PlayStation VR. Pansonite’s headset also packs built-in headphones with an aux input — which is great if your phone still sports a headphone jack or if you have an adapter on hand — and a dial on top for adjusting the focus.

In front, the headset features a small flap for holding your phone in place, leaving the camera uncovered for any AR-based mobile apps. Despite all that open space, the Pansonite manages to block out almost all external light for a pretty immersive experience.

Playing Roller Coaster VR on this headset was exhilarating, and this 360-degree shark experience was a blast. Even this fan-created Star Wars VR video on YouTube was fun to watch through the Pansonite. Nothing about the headset detracted from any of these experiences, making the Pansonite one of the best overall VR headsets at this price.

How we test and rate VR headsets

There are a number of factors we consider when reviewing virtual-reality headsets, such as setup; design and comfort; interface; controllers and accessories; and content selection.

We also evaluate each device’s respective controllers, head tracking and interfaces, to see how easy it will be for the average user to jump in and start playing.

Setup: The first step in reviewing any virtual-reality headset is setup. For PC and console-powered devices, we examine how much space is needed to use the headset and any bundled accessories. For mobile VR headsets, we focus on software installation time and how securely the phone fits into its enclosure.

Comfort: A product can look great but still be uncomfortable to use. Aside from testing out all the various content, we spend at least 30 minutes wearing each headset. We test to make sure any embedded air vents are keeping things cool. And if it does get sweaty, we see how well the face guard wicks away moisture. We also weigh the headsets, because even the lightest gadget can feel heavy after long periods of use. Finally, we test how adjustable the head straps are and how secure they feel.

Interface: As the de facto face of your virtual experience, the interface is vitally important. We test how responsive and intuitive the home page and subsequent menus are, as well as test special features, like voice commands and gesture control.

Controllers: Whether it’s a traditional gamepad or something more elaborate, like the Rift’s Touch Controllers, we’re checking to see if the input devices are ergonomically designed; after all, no one wants hand cramps. We also test tracking and responsiveness in a number of games.

Games and content: Hardware without great software is just an expensive paperweight.  We not only examine the size of a device’s library but also scour the listings and test out some of the higher-end apps and titles. At this point, a good library should feature a number of games, apps, movies and other experiences.

Top 5 FREE Antivirus Software in 2020

There are so many choices with antivirus software on the market – which one do you choose?! Here’s a great article from Robert Bateman at Safety Detectives reviewing some of your best, and free, choices for antivirus in 2020.

Need more help? Local Computer Help can assist with choosing the right free or paid antivirus for your needs.

Some free antiviruses out there are actually malware designed to steal your private information. This is especially true for Windows because with so many users around the world, it’s the most popular target for viruses and other dangerous malware. That’s why it’s important that you don’t fall victim to one of these common scams and only download legitimate programs with a history of high-quality performance.

But with cybercrime rates on the rise, there are only a few free Windows antivirus applications available which actually offer decent PC protection. I’ve tested over 80 antivirus solutions to bring you a handful of free Windows antiviruses that are better than the rest.

While there is no such thing as a “free antivirus” with zero limitations, these 5 brands each offer a free plan which will help protect your PC. They are often pretty basic, but many are worth trying, and some are much better than Windows Defender — the default protection included with Windows.

Here’s a summary of best free Windows antiviruses for 2020:

  1. Avira: Overall #1 free antivirus for Windows for most users in 2020. Great technology which provides reliable antivirus and anti-malware protection.
  2. Panda: Exceptional antivirus technology, there are some nice extra features, and it comes with a free VPN!
  3. Sophos: The best free plan for families. Great interface with parental controls (up to 3 devices).
  4. AVG: Decent antivirus protection with a safe browsing extension.
  5. Avast: Comes with many extra features. But it has a lot of ads.

Lenovo launches new Gaming Gear

Lenovo is taking gaming seriously with its announcement of more than a half dozen new pieces of hardware at CES 2020.

Check out this great article by Finder.com to learn more.

Don’t hesitate to call Local Computer Help to help you build a new gaming computer or upgrade your current rig to play the latest games.

First up is the Lenovo Legion Y740S. For a 15.6-inch laptop targeted towards gamers, Lenovo has made several bizarre choices. For no clear reason, the operating system of choice is Windows 10 Pro and, even more surprisingly, the Y740S doesn’t come with high-end graphics baked in.

The laptop comes equipped with 9th generation Intel processors, can be configured to pack either 16 or 32GBs of DDR4 memory and gives you the choice of having either a 4K or FHD display.

Lenovo BoostStation

Lenovo also dropped its Legion BoostStation, an external graphics enclosure and companion to the Y740S for on-the-go gamers. The eGPU will start at US$249.99, with the price increasing if you opt to go for the box bundled with an Nvidia GeForce RTX2060 or AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT. Unfortunately, there’s no indication of Australian pricing or availability yet for either.

Alongside its laptop launch, the brand announced a range of new gaming monitors.

Lenovo Legion Y25-25

Adopting the Lenovo Legion branding, the Y25-25 Gaming Monitor is a 24.5-inch Full HD IPS display with a “near-edgeless” look. The panel has a brightness of up to 400 nits and features a relatively high 240Hz refresh rate. The monitor’s stand allows you to tilt, lift, pivot and swivel the display, letting you adjust the panel so it’s just right for you. The monitor should hit shelves around the middle of this year.

To attract the crowd of gamers who appreciate a curved monitor, Lenovo announced two new displays with a curvature of 1500R – one of the most aggressive curvatures available on the market today.

The first of the two is the 31.5-inch G32qc Gaming Monitor. The 2560×1440 (QHD) panel has a 4ms response time and a 144Hz refresh rate, which should be fast enough for most gamers. The G27c Gaming Monitor is second on the list, featuring a 27-inch panel and AMD Radeon FreeSync technology to reduce screen tearing. Like its larger sibling, the G27c has a response time of 4ms, but it has a slightly higher refresh rate, reaching up to 165Hz.

Lenovo’s curved monitors are expected to become available in March 2020. No Australian pricing or timeline has been announced yet.

Lenovo also showed off its new wireless RGB gaming peripherals: a mouse with up to 200 hours of battery life and a membrane keyboard.

How to Fix a Laptop Key that has Fallen Off

Local Computer Help helps customer with this sort of issue every week. Some times we can reattach the key, in a similar fashion as described in this nice little article by Computer Hope, or in many instances we will need to replace your laptop keyboard for you. This process requires the laptop to be disassembled to be completed.

Note: This page is a general reference guide and may not apply to your laptop, as your laptop may have a different keyboard key design.

Fixing a loose keycap

Laptop keycap, key pad, and key retainer

Unlike a desktop key, each key on a laptop keyboard may have three components: the keycap, key pad, and the key retainer, as shown in the picture.

If the keycap is loose but still attached to the laptop, it can often be fixed by pressing down on the keycap. If the keycap re-attaches, you should hear a snap while pressing the key down. If this does not fix the issue, we suggest removing the key so it can be re-attached. The re-attachment process is detailed below.

Fixing a broken keycap

Note

If a key, keycap, key pad, or retainer is physically broken or missing, it must be replaced.

If you’re having difficulty putting a key back onto the laptop, follow the steps below. If you’re trying to fix the spacebar, skip to the spacebar steps.

  1. Start by first inserting the key retainer into the laptop. If you have a key pad, we suggest inserting it after the retainer is set in place to make things easier. Once the retainer is inserted, it should lie flat and be able to flex (shown in the image below).
Laptop keyboard key retainer

Tip

If you’re not sure what direction the laptop key retainer goes, check the orientation of the metal hooks on the base of the keyboard. These metal hooks help determine the orientation of the key retainer laid into them, as the retainer should align with the hooks.

  1. Insert the key pad into the retainer.
  2. Once the above two steps are completed, position the key cap over the retainer in the proper orientation and press down lightly. The key should snap onto the retainer. If the key does not look right, try pressing down on all corners of the key to make sure all clips are snapped into place. Once snapped in, test the key and see if it works again.

Spacebar key steps

Unlike the other keys on the keyboard, the spacebar requires additional steps to get it back on properly. The image below shows the spacebar removed from a laptop. Before the spacebar keycap can be placed back onto the laptop, there is a bar (shown below) that must be removed by inserting your flathead screwdriver beneath it and gently pulling upward.

Laptop spacebar key

Once this bar is removed, place the new spacebar on the laptop. Be mindful that it is properly oriented over the retainers, and push down to snap it back into place.

Key still doesn’t work after fixing or replacing

If the key still doesn’t work after putting it back on or replacing the keycap, key pad, or key retainer, the circuit board for the keyboard may not be working. In the case of a problem with the circuit board, you need to replace the entire keyboard, including the circuit board, to fix the problem.

To replace the entire keyboard, contact the laptop manufacturer to see if you can purchase one directly from them. If the manufacturer will not sell a replacement keyboard to you, take your laptop to a computer repair shop.

YouTube was originally a dating site and more fun facts!

In fact, many of us sign up to get notified directly when a new video appears that might interest us, showing just how much YouTube has become a part of our digital lives.

But beyond knowing it’s popular, free, and international, not too many people know just how influential YouTube is, nor do they know how it came to be the behemoth it is today.

Below you will find some facts and figures about YouTube that will help demonstrate how much of an impact this social video site has had on our culture and society, and it will make you think a little bit more about the massive community that exists behind the website we all know and love so much.

1. YouTube Was Originally Designed to Be a Dating Site

For most of us, YouTube just appeared on the internet one day, and we simply started using it. But that YouTube launched the way it did actually represents a pretty big shift in the original purpose of the site.

Most people don’t know the original concept for the site was for it to be a dating platform.

The idea was that people would send in videos of themselves, describing who they were, their interests, likes, dislikes, etc., and then viewers who shared those interests could respond with a video of their own.

However, shortly after launching this idea, co-founders Jawed Karim, Steve Chen, and Chad Hurley found out that people didn’t really want to upload videos of themselves for a dating website. It was too personal, and, perhaps, just a little too creepy for most singles’ tastes. The slogan they invented, “Tune in, Hook up,” probably didn’t help things much either.

To get people into the idea, Karim, Chen, and Hurley went to Craigslist to try and find people to post videos (a move even they know was questionable), and they even offered women $20 if they loaded up a video. But practically no one participated, calling into question the viability of the website these three had begun building.

Knowing they were onto something but realizing dating wasn’t the answer, the three co-founders decided to switch the focus of the site so that anyone could upload a video to the internet. In removing these restrictions, people became more interested.

The first video, “Me at the Zoo,” which was posted by Karim, went up in 2005, and from there, the site quickly took off and became the internet institution it is today.

Here are 13 more fun facts about YouTube you may not know about from a great website called Broadband Search.

Want to learn more about using YouTube? Local Computer Help can provide you training and support.

Top 5 technology related items invented in Australia

In celebration to the just passed Australia Day we did some Googling and discovered 5 technology related items that were actually invented in Australia!

Google Maps

Google Maps was created by a pair of Denmark-born but Sydney-based developers.

Brothers Lars and Jens Rasmussen co-founded a startup mapping company in early 2003 called Where 2 Technologies. A year later, they sold that company to Google, which would later turn it into Google Maps.

The brothers were awarded for making major gains in the information and communications technology field, according to The Sydney Morning Herald. Their work positioned Australia “as a global leader in online services,” according to the paper.

The Ultrasound

Calling it the CAL echoscope, researchers David Robinson and George Kossoff built the first ultrasound scanner in 1961.

The pair worked at the Ultrasonic Research Group of the Commonwealth Acoustic Laboratories, and in May 1962, Robinson and Kossoff recorded Australia’s first ultrasound image. The discovery “helped establish the reputation of the Sydney group at the forefront of research in ultrasound,” according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

While similar technology was used in other machines around the world, Robinson and Kossoff’s device and its successors produced images of equal or better quality.

Wi-Fi

In the 1990s, a research team of Australian inventors created a technology for the high-speed wireless delivery of data between devices over a network. Today this technology is more commonly known as the basis for “Wi-Fi.”

The team made up of John O’Sullivan, Terence Percival, Graham Daniels, Diethelm Ostry and John Deane developed the technology that made the wireless LAN just as fast as its cable contemporaries.

The Pacemaker

In 1926, Dr. Mark C. Lidwill invented the earliest model of the pacemaker while working at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney, Australia.

The early versions of the technology were complicated and difficult to use, but the invention was streamlined overtime and is commonly used in medical practice today.

Lidwell’s invention isn’t the only major medical device and research to come from the country. Australian inventors also created the cochlear implant – or bionic ear, and the Gardasil and Cervarix vaccinations that protect against certain types of cancer-causing HPV.

Black Box Flight Recorder

Australian scientist David Warren is best known for inventing the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder, also known as “the black box.”

Warren invented the world’s first black box flight recorder in 1953 while working at the Aeronautical Research Laboratory. Warren and his team spent years developing the technology, which has been installed in commercial aircraft as a result of mandatory aviation guidelines.

The technology has been credited with recording critical information to make flights safer, and it has proven integral to investigations into aviation accidents.

When it comes to air travel, Australian inventors have also been credited with creating the inflatable aircraft escape slide.

How to replace a broken laptop screen

We came across this nifty little article from PC World about repairing your broken laptop screen. If your laptop’s LCD screen is cracked, black, or otherwise broken, it doesn’t mean your notebook’s a paperweight!

Before you replace your laptop screen

Before doing anything, give your laptop a full look-over and inspection to ensure the screen really needs replacement. If the graphics card on the motherboard is dead, for instance, you may be wasting your time and effort on replacing a perfectly good screen. Additionally, if the laptop has been recently dropped or otherwise possibly physically harmed, you’ll want to double-check for other damage as well.

To ensure the graphics card is functioning, you can plug a desktop monitor or TV into the laptop, as most have a standard blue VGA monitor and/or a HDMI output. If the picture looks good on an external display, your graphics card is likely good and the screen is at fault. If you don’t get any picture, keep in mind some laptops require you to press certain function keys on the laptop to activate external display output. If you do that and video still doesn’t display, your graphics card and/or motherboard is likely broken, rather than your screen.

If the laptop outputs to another display successfully, use the computer for a while to ensure the keyboard and other laptop components appear to be functioning normally. 

Before you replace your laptop’s LCD, here are the caveats to the general steps that follow. This is not meant to be a guide for ultrabooks, two-in-ones, tablets, Macbooks, or other, more specialized notebooks, however. It’s more for average, run-of-the-mill laptops. But even then the general steps I discuss do not work for all such laptops. Some will require a different process and/or more work to replace the screen, such as accessing the motherboard by opening the main case of the laptop.

Finding a replacement laptop screen

Because of that crucial caveat, before buying a new LCD, it may be a good idea to try to remove the damaged screen first, to ensure you can perform the replacement. If, after following the first few steps the process looks different for your laptop, I recommend scouring Google and YouTube or finding a repair professional for further help on your exact laptop brand and model.

Finding a replacement LCD is typically easy—and you don’t have to pay the crazy prices the manufacturer usually wants. Just search eBay, Amazon, or Google with your laptop model number and the words LCD screen. You’ll find most regular screens can be had for as low as $80 to $150. If you aren’t finding anything, try other identification numbers from the laptop label or documentation. Some vendors have one or two different sets of identification numbers that could serve as your model number.

When shopping for the LCD, most sellers will alert you to compare the specs and placement of the video cable on the back of their screen to your current screen. This is another reason to crack open the laptop bezel before ordering a replacement. However from my own experience, if the seller says the screen is compatible with your exact laptop model, it usually works.

How to fix your broken laptop screen

Before starting, ensure you have the proper tools. Here’s what works for most laptops:

  • Table or other flat working area: You’ll need a spot to sit (or stand, if that’s your thing) with a flat area to work on your laptop. This gives you a reason to clean off that messy dining-room table or desk.
  • Small-head magnetic philips screwdriver: Not small like a mini screwdriver from an eyeglass repair kit, but I’d say between that size and a mid-sized screwdriver would work. If you don’t have a magnetic-head screwdriver, try to find a magnet big enough to magnetize the driver head. This helps the screws stick to the head, making it much easier to remove and replace the screws without cursing as they fall all over the place.
  • Safety pin or needle: This is for removing the cover stickers that are hiding the screws on your laptop’s surrounding cover, called the bezel.
  • Plastic putty knife or other thin object: This is optional, to aid in prying apart the screen bezel from the case. Personally, my finger nails usually do the trick. If you do use another object, ensure it’s thin enough but not so sharp that it will leave scrapes or other evidence of prying.
  • Small bowl or other container: This is for stashing the small screws—and keeping them safe from curious cats and children.

These general steps work for most laptops:

  1. Ensure the laptop is unplugged from the AC adapter. Remove the laptop battery as well.
  2. Find the round cover stickers that are hiding the screws on the screen bezel, the case surrounding the screen. These stickers are usually on the bottom of the bezel, near the screen hinges, when you have the screen opened. You should find one on each side of the screen.
  3. Use a sharp, pointy object—like an opened safety pin or needle—to help remove the cover stickers without damaging them. Stick it between the edge of the cover and bezel, and then pry the sticker away. Once removed, place the covers in a safe spot, with the sticky side up to help ensure there’s enough stickiness when you place them back on.
  4. Use your screwdriver to remove the now-exposed screws. Remember: righty-tighty, lefty-loosey. Some screws are easy to remove; others, not so much. But moving the screen into just the right position usually exposes the screws enough for removal.
  5. Carefully start prying the screen bezel away from the back side of the screen case. Work a fingernail or other thin, prying object into the crack around the outside of the screen. The bezel is usually secured to the back case with plastic snaps, so give it some force while prying—but not too brutish. You’ll hear the unsnapping of the fasteners when prying.
  6. Once you’ve unsnapped the screen bezel, it may or may not be easy to remove. If not, it’s likely stuck around the screen hinges. Moving the screen position up or down, with some gentle force if necessary, should free it fully.
  7. Once the bezel is fully removed, you’ll find the LCD secured to a metal trim frame on the left and right sides. Remove the two screws (one on each side, on the top) holding the trim frame pieces to the back screen case. Now, you should be able to lift the LCD (with the trim frame pieces attached) slightly away from the back screen case.
  8. On each of the trim frames’ sides, remove any screws that are securing it to the LCD. Most laptops have three screws on each side; however, the smaller laptop I photographed here doesn’t have these screws—the LCD is actually secured to the trim frame pieces by tape on each side.
  9. Now you should be able to set the LCD face-down onto the keyboard. Be careful not to put excessive force on the video cable attached to the back of the LCD.
  10. Disconnect the video cable from the back of the LCD. Though the laptop I photographed here has the connector on the very bottom, most laptops have the connector near the center. If so, keep in mind that the portion of the cable running down the screen is usually stuck on the back of the screen with some mild adhesive. Just gently pull the cables away from the screen. You usually must remove tape that’s securing the video connector to the back of the screen as well. When you get to the point of actually pulling the video cable out of the screen connector, it should unplug with little force.
  11. Once you’ve fully removed the broken LCD, simply place the new one face-down like you did the old one. Reattach the video cable to the connector and place the cables and any tape just like they were for the old one.
  12. Set the new screen up in the side trim frame pieces, then re-secure it like the old one was: usually three screws in each side of the trim frame pieces, and then a screw on top of each to secure it to the back screen case.
  13. When you get to the point of putting the bezel back on, just line it up and push/squeeze the bezel back into the snaps of the rear screen case. Before replacing the bezel screws, ensure the bezel is fully snapped in place and no crack exists around the edges of the screen case. Lastly, use that safely pin or needle to reattach the sticky screw covers.

If all went well, you now should have a shiny new working laptop screen. Put the battery back in and test it out!

Alternatively you can call Local Computer Help on 1300 883 831 and our friendly expert technicians can help fix your damaged laptop screen (and any other laptop issues) for you!

Have you tried these best PC games of 2019?

Looking for something to do during the school holidays – if you’re lucky enough to still be on holidays. Check out some of these great games from yesteryear for you to get gaming on with this great read from Den of Geek on some of the best PC games of 2019!

Need help building a gaming computer? Give us a call on 1300 883 831 and we can build you a rig that suits your style and budget.

Due to a relative lack of high-profile releases, many of the best PC games of 2019 came from indie developers and other surprising sources. As a result, the games on this list are truly unique. From detective games that are secretly elaborate psych tests to a puzzle game that plays by its own rules, the best PC titles of the year offered an experiences we didn’t expect but absolutely loved.

As an added bonus, you can run most of this year’s best games on even the humblest of gaming PCs. One of them was even first released 15 years ago…

Here are 10 of the best PC games of 2019 in alphabetical order:

Best PC Games 2019 - Baba is You

Baba Is You

March 13 | Hempuli Oy

Most great puzzle games are defined by a series of rules that help govern the experience. In Baba Is You, though, the rules are anything but defined. Actually, you’re able to change them by simply interacting with a few key blocks in each level that not only change the layout of the level but can alter how you win the game.

It sounds strange, and it is. However, the ability to manipulate what can and can’t be done in each level makes Baba Is You is one of the cleverest, most inventive, and downright challenging puzzle games in recent memory. There’s nothing else quite like it.

Best PC Games 2019 - Disco Elysium

Disco Elysium

October 15 | ZA/UM

One part isometric RPG in the style of Baldur’s Gate and one part gritty detective adventure, Disco Elysium combines genres and ideas that we never knew we wanted to see on the same plate. Yet, we can’t help but go back for more. 

Disco Elysium‘s “urban fantasy” setting is a compelling enough reason to give this game a look, but the real draw here is Disco Elysium‘s deep RPG mechanics. Not only are the game’s playable characters fully-customizable, but Disco Elysium asks you to determine what kind of cop you’re going to be in this rough world. It may be easy to position yourself as a righteous lawman, but the moral line in this dark universe may be too tough to see. For the intelligent ways it evolves the idea of discovering who you are in a video game through your actions and decisions, Disco Elysium deserves to be experienced. 

Best PC Games 2019 - Hades

Hades

December 2018 Early Access | Supergiant Games

Supergiant Games, the studio behind  Transistor and Bastion, has always done things a little differently, and Hades is no exception. After all, it’s not every day that you play as the prince of the underworld as he tries to escape to Mt. Olympus with help from the gods.

Based largely on feedback its developers received from their other projects, Hades is a brilliant isometric action title that combines the best of role-playing and dungeon crawling. This addictive roguelike will have you carefully considering how you upgrade your character as you work towards the seemingly impossible. It highlights why Supergiant Games is one of the best in the industry when it comes to simple, refined, and ultimately clever PC gaming experiences. 

Best PC Games 2019 - Islanders

Islanders

April 4 |  GrizzlyGames

We all need a break from high octane AAA games once in a while, and Islanders may prove to be one of the best breaks from the same old same old released in 2019. Combining elements of SimCity, Tetris, and other city builders, Islanders gives you a small collection of buildings and has you build the best settlement possible.

Be warned that this an almost cruelly addictive game. Islanders masters the art of “easy to learn, tough to master” like few other city builders ever have. Its puzzle-like mechanics ensure nobody feels overwhelmed while its surprisingly deep late game will thrill genre enthusiasts. It’s the kind of game you lose hours to while the more technologically demanding games on your powerful gaming PC go untouched. 

Best PC Games 2019 - Risk Of Rain 2

Risk of Rain 2

March 28 | Hopoo Games

The original Risk of Rain is one of the best roguelike games ever made. Defined by its simple looks and accessible action gameplay, developer Hopoo Games took a tremendous…err…risk in converting the game to 3D, but Risk of Rain 2 manages to brilliantly re-imagine the incredible original.

Risk of Rain 2 features everything that made the original so notable, including unique characters, skills, and weapons, while addinga third dimension that greatly enhances the fundamental appeal of the original experience. It’s quite simply one of the best multiplayer games of the year and a tragically underrated expansion of the roguelike genre and its many compelling trappings. 

Best PC Games 2019 - Slay the Spire

Slay the Spire

January 23 | Mega Crit Games

This is a bit of a cheat considering that Slay the Spire has been in early access for quite some time, but the game’s official release was in January. As a roguelike deck builder, Slay the Spire is a unique experience. Even if it had more competition, though, we’d have a tough time imagining a game that can equal its brilliant strategy gameplay.

Slay the Spire has you maneuver through a series of branching levels as you try to build the best deck of cards possible and defeat all who stand in your way. This insanely addictive game is simply one of the best games on Steam and the type of game you can recommend to anyone who has a few (dozen) hours to burn.

Best PC Games 2019 - Sunless Skies

Sunless Skies

January 31 | Failbetter Games

It’s a bit too easy to describe Sunless Skies as a Gothic horror sci-fi version of The Oregon Trail on a massive scale, but that description does a fairly good job of capturing just what makes this game so compelling. Sunless Skies takes what made Sunless Sea such a fascinating take on the role-playing/strategy genre and amplifies nearly all of it.

This is a game of discovery in which you must make some difficult choices and rely on the aid of some potentially unsavory characters in order to have a chance of surviving the horrors that lurk in the skies. Whether you see the best of what the game has to offer depends on how much you’re willing to sacrifice.  

Teamfight Tactics

June 2019 | Riot Games

2019 saw the rise of the auto-battler genre, with a few different competing for the top crown. While Hearthstone and DOTA‘s takes on the auto-battler concept are certainly worth your time, it’s the League of Legends-themed Teamfight Tactics that ends up being the best overall example of the genre.

Like other auto-battler games, Teamfight Tactics benefits from a simple, yet deep, core gameplay design that sees you draft units and strategically arrange them on a board in order to see if they can beat an opposing army. However, Teamfight Tactics separates itself with a brilliant item system, clever units, and constant updates from Riot Games that have kept the title’s meta fresh as new tactics constantly emerge. 

They Are Billions

June 18 | Numantian Games

Available via Steam’s Early Access program since 2018, They Are Billions finally received its official release this year. Along with the full release comes a new story campaign, new technology, and more. However, the draw of They Are Billions remains the same as it ever was.

With its horde mode-like gameplay and expansive base-building options, They Are Billions is one of the most exciting and addictive real-time strategy titles of the last decade. It forces you to think on your feet while also planning ahead in order to survive some of the most daunting, zombie-filled strategy scenarios imaginable. More often than not, the thrill doesn’t come from “winning” (which many will find to be a nearly impossible prospect) but in finding a way to hold out just a little longer. 

World of Warcraft Classic

August 27 | Blizzard

World of Warcraft is hardly a new game, and that’s especially true of this Classic edition, restores the game to its original vanilla state and 2004 glory. World of Warcraft Classic was certainly one of the most anticipated games of 2019 and arguably of the last few years. As it turns out, the hype was worth it. 

Whether you simply long to relive your memories of first playing World of Warcraft or you want to see what the game was like before 15 years’ worth of expansions and updates, WoW Classic shows why World of Warcraft is considered to be one of the best games ever made. More than a nostalgia trip, WoW Classic is an epic adventure that rewards its most dedicated players with a grand-scale RPG that leaves even the largest modern titles feeling thin.