Unless you can think of a clever way to store them, user manuals are kind of a hassle to keep around. When you find yourself in need of one, however, Central Manuals lets you find and download them for free in the PDF format.
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Instruction manuals aren't much help if you can't lay your hands on them when an appliance suddenly does something untoward. Lifehacker reader Jess opts for a straightforward approach: storing manuals as PDFs within Lifehacker favourite Evernote.
Redditor TophatMcMonocle has a humorous but useful suggestion for ensuring that you learn your new tech products inside and out: keep those manuals in the bathroom, where you're desperate for something to read.
Given that manufacturers generally make newer manuals available online and there are online communities dedicated to fill in the gaps for companies that don't, storing actual paper manuals often seems like a waste of time. But can you actually make the leap to throwing them out?
Find the manual for your product online at OwnerIQ, a site that catalogs thousands of manuals for consumer devices and offers forums for discussing their features and quirks. OwnerIQ goes a step beyond previously reviewed SafeManuals by providing not only manuals, but also extended on-site information about your products. You can use the site without registration to quickly locate manuals and accompanying literature for products you own. Registration adds the ability to ask questions in the product forums and create a profile of all your devices and manuals. Additionally, if there's a recall or update for any product you've added to your profile, OwnerIQ will send you an email notification. After a Google search with filetype:pdf fails, OwnerIQ might be a key next stop in any hunt for how stuff works. Owner IQ
Assembling furniture from IKEA can be a challenge in itself, but doubly so if you've disassembled it for storage and then try and rebuild it later, having long ago thrown the manual in the recycling bin. The IKEAFANS Forum comes to the rescue, offering PDF versions of manuals for furniture from the ubiquitous Swedish megastore. You need to register to access the library, but this is a pain-free process. Like previously mentioned SafeManuals and ReplacementDocs, this is one to bookmark for when the vital paperwork goes missing. (Thanks Sean!)
You already know how to find replacement video game manuals, but what about user guides for everything else? If you're stuck without a manual for that gadget you scored on Craiglist, search for the PDF at SafeManuals. With an archive covering 3,627 brands and housing 883,542 manuals, there's a good chance you'll find what you're looking for. How do you find gadget and appliance manuals online—besides hitting up Google? Let us know in the comments. SafeManuals
You can find some great deals buying video games used and secondhand, but there's often the trade-off of not getting a manual or the original maps and cheat sheets with your disc—annoying with some games, near-deal-breakers for others, (I'm looking at you, StarTropics.) ReplacementDocs has over 1,000 manuals and reference guides available for games of all kinds, and helpful users are adding to that number. Use the search box to find your game's pages, or browse around by platform. It's somewhat hit and miss, with a lean toward involved role playing games, but a great place to look before throwing up your hands and giving up on navigating that unbeatable level. ReplacementDocs