Sometimes we give tips around here and sometimes we get them. Take this great bit of advice from a reader:

One tip you should remind your readers about – just happened to me and I’m sure it could happen to many others. I just opened up a USB stick, just so happens that this one is ADATA C008, and put it in so I could copy some files.  It would not load.  Never used it before and I bought this much too long ago to return.  These came in a 2 pack and thankfully the other loaded okay and I was able to use it. The Tip:  Always check your devices before you need to use them otherwise in an emergency you could be up a creek without the paddle.

That’s excellent advice. All too often we’ll buy something and just set it aside without checking it out and by the time we open it any warranty or return period has already passed.

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It’s a great idea to quickly check memory cards or USB drives when you receive them.  It’s also a great idea to try out flashlights and lanterns, even if you don’t plan to use them for awhile.

If you buy a tablet, MP3 player or other electronic device, charge it and give it a quick test drive. Even if it’s something you’ve purchased for a gift, it’s important to give it a try. You don’t want someone opening it on Christmas morning or their birthday months after you bought it, only to find it was damaged in shipping and won’t boot up.

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Another important thing to check is to make sure you have the activation code for software. Even if you don’t plan on using it for months. And for goodness sake, hold on to that documentation. Don’t put your new program away and not save the activation code along with it.

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Another thing to test out is cords. Whether they are power cords or transfer cables. Plug those babies in when you buy them and make sure that they work.

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If they don’t, you’ll want to make sure to get your money back or a replacement while you are still in the return period.

Don’t leave your electronics sitting in a box for months on end. Check to make sure they work. Thanks for the excellent advice!

~ Cynthia