>> Scratching your head trying to figure out how to keep your desktop and your laptop in sync? Here's an idea, throw away the desktop. Or at least properly recycle it please. I'm Tom Merritt, Editor from CNET.com. On this edition of Insider Secrets, I'll show you how to use a laptop dock so you can use one computer for everything.
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Here's how it works. I've got my dock set up here, I close my computer, wait for it to go to sleep and pull it off and head off to whatever mind numbing meeting I have to go to next. When I'm done, I put the laptop back on the dock, open it up and wake it up. But before you run out and plop down 70 or 100 dollars on a new laptop dock, here's a few considerations for you. Consider a universal docking station. Your laptop manufacturer likely makes a laptop dock made specifically for your brand of laptop, but it's gonna be expensive. You could save a few bucks by going with a third party universal dock. Some laptops like this one, have a proprietary connector. Make sure the dock you get will work with the laptop you have. Get everything you need. At the very least you'll want ports for a mouse and keyboard, monitor and network connection. You might also want a jack for headphones or speakers, USB ports for other peripherals and any other ports for other peripherals you use like printers. Work out your budget. Docking stations vary in prices from as little as 30 bucks on up to several hundred dollars. Determine exactly what types of ports you absolutely have to have and don't get distracted by unnecessary features. Security. You can find docking stations with electronic undocking features, which means you have to put in a password to have it removed or physical locks that actually attach to your laptop. Once you've picked your dock, it's time for the easy part. Installing it. Shut off your laptop. While many docks allow you to pull your laptop off while it's still powered on, like I did earlier, the first time you install it, it's best to turn everything off. Now look for the connector. It could be a USB cable or a proprietary connector like on this laptop. Now plug your laptop into the dock. Pay attention to the guide pins that line up with your laptop's connector. You'll hear a click when the connection is made. Plug in the docking station's power cord. Attach your peripherals. And turn on your laptop. Your computer may or may not prompt you to add new hardware. If it does, just follow the instructions. That's it for this Insider Secret. I'm Tom Merritt for CNET.com and remember, don't throw your desktop into a trash can, recycle it.
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