should I buy a new computer?

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Re: should I buy a new computer?

Postby mbres60 » Thu Mar 22, 2012 10:05 am

cheesebreath- yes, after installing everything from my discs it would have given me a computer from 2008. then I would have a lot more updates.... windows including sp3, virus protection, etc. I don't think it is worth the time and if i have troubles I am computer illiterate and would not know how to proceed. I will sell it for the $120. I owe the tech guy $80 so he would write a check to me instead for $40.
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Re: should I buy a new computer?

Postby MathWizard » Thu Mar 22, 2012 12:39 pm

wjwhitney wrote:The range of solutions on this thread is stunning. It just goes to show that there are exceedingly wide variations among the Bogleheads. For some, dropping $600 or more for a problem that might be fixed for nothing is no big deal. For others, it's unthinkable. The opinions range from:

1. Fix the old one by buying new hard drive
2. Do a "system restore" (what I would try first)
3. Switch to linux (not likely for a person who has no computer savvy)
4. Switch to Mac (always get a few of these no matter what the question)
5. Buy new Windows 7 laptop
6. Buy new Windows 7 desktop

With the wide range of skills and opinions out there, it's almost impossible to get a "one size fits all" answer about a subject like this.


As the only person to suggest Linux I disagree with the statement "not likely for a person who has no computer savvy" .

I am no Linux evangalist, I use both Linux and MS Windows, my family uses Windows PCs, and I use Windows on my
laptop for presentations. To say that a person needs more computer "savvy" to use Linux for browsing the web compared
to Windows or a MAC OS is plainly incorrect.

I suggested the Linux LIVE USB or LIVE CD option only after the OP said the computer was used only for web browsing,
as a cheap solution, to getting a new computer, so let's look at the steps needed to do this from a computer which is
turned off and has the LIVE USB inserted to when the computer is shutdown after the web browsing is complete.

For web browsing fedora 16 you:
A) Press power button to start computer (same as for any IBM or MAC PC).
B) Login by clicking on name (Linuxuser is the default name with no password, like guest on an IBM PC).
C) Click on Applications in start tray, select Internet -> Firefox (Start tray in on top of screen by default in Fedora,
it's on the top on MACS, on the bottom on Windows)
The screen shot at: http://fedoraproject.org/w/uploads/e/e1 ... 4_Apps.png
looks very much like the screen on my Vista desktop, the task bar is just on top, rather than on the bottom.

D) Browser comes up, and you use it the same way as any other browser. FireFox is different than Internet Explorer
but so is Apple's Safari.
E) To logoff or shutdown, you;
Click on System menu and select Logoff or Shutdown. (Same as IBM PC, I think this is the same as MACs.)

How is the above procedure any harder that using MS Windows or a MAC?

I didn't know if the OP can contact someone (a University IT person?) who could supply a pre-created LIVE-CD ,
so I gave a way to create a LIVE-USB from a working computer.
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Re: should I buy a new computer?

Postby Norbert Schlenker » Thu Mar 22, 2012 1:01 pm

MathWizard,

Give it up. When it comes to computers, just as with investing, the vast majority of the population believes they need their hands held and will pay even ten times what is required to have that happen. It's somewhat astonishing to see it at Bogleheads, where the prevailing culture is "DIY is cheap, I know I can do it, I will have a better than average experience, and that's good enough" when it comes to money. Switch to the realm of computers and all of a sudden the very same individuals who, in investing, refuse to do anything because it is fashionable or smacks of insurance, turn into jelly.
Nothing can protect people who want to buy the Brooklyn Bridge.
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Re: should I buy a new computer?

Postby Eureka » Thu Mar 22, 2012 1:20 pm

mbres60 wrote:Dealmaster00- it doesn't trouble me to spend $80 on a hard drive. What troubles me is spending that and then all the time involved in putting windows xp sp 2 and all the other stuff that came on the computer. That is a lot of time and I would not know what to do if something goes wrong or it asks me to make a decision on something. Once I put EVERYTHING back on (including getting virus protection) I will have an up to date 2008 computer. Now more updates to make it 2012. Then in 2 years Microsoft stops updating xp. I also know what Macs cost. It is 2x as much as pcs if not a little more. People who have Macs love their computers. PC users never say that. (at least not that I have heard). Anyways....

Does anyone know if I press f8 and go into safe mode do you need to have windows? right now my hard drive is not in the computer so I can't just test it out. Also the repair guy is willing to buy my computer without a hard drive for $120. Sounds like a decent deal to me. Opinions?


If you had used this free software and an external hard drive to back up your computer regularly, you could restore an image of your operating system, programs and all data in an hour or less: http://www.macrium.com/reflectfree.aspx Windows 7 (finally) has a built-in imaging program, but I still prefer Macrium. (If your old computer has only low-speed USB ports -- and some of the very early XP ones do -- the backup and recovery process will take much longer, but it's a passive activity.)

Safe Mode is a Windows mode that loads only basic items, so, yes, you need Windows to run it.
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Re: should I buy a new computer?

Postby Random Musings » Thu Mar 22, 2012 1:54 pm

Never had any problems with Microsoft Windows - my prior two computers lasted ten years each (with one upgrade to XP and doubling the RAM on the second one).

If you can fix it first (cheaply), I'd go that route first. And if you are going to buy one, one thought (if you are thinking Mac) would be instead of buying a MAC, how about buying a Windows based PC and using the remainder to buy an iPad2 (either new or remanufactured)?

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Re: should I buy a new computer?

Postby GregLee » Thu Mar 22, 2012 3:15 pm

MathWizard wrote:I suggested the Linux LIVE USB or LIVE CD option only after the OP said the computer was used only for web browsing,
as a cheap solution, to getting a new computer, so let's look at the steps needed to do this from a computer which is
turned off and has the LIVE USB inserted to when the computer is shutdown after the web browsing is complete.

For web browsing fedora 16 you: ...

It's a good idea to use a LIVE Linux system, I think. But then, what do I know? I've been using Linux ever since it was first made public, not only because it's free, but because it's fun.

I shouldn't go off on a tangent, but I tried Fedora 16 for a week, and thought it was rather ugly. I'm using Ubuntu 12.04 now, and my desktop looks very stylish.
Greg, retired 8/10.
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Re: should I buy a new computer?

Postby Eureka » Thu Mar 22, 2012 3:54 pm

GregLee wrote:
MathWizard wrote:I suggested the Linux LIVE USB or LIVE CD option only after the OP said the computer was used only for web browsing,
as a cheap solution, to getting a new computer, so let's look at the steps needed to do this from a computer which is
turned off and has the LIVE USB inserted to when the computer is shutdown after the web browsing is complete.

For web browsing fedora 16 you: ...

It's a good idea to use a LIVE Linux system, I think. But then, what do I know? I've been using Linux ever since it was first made public, not only because it's free, but because it's fun.

I shouldn't go off on a tangent, but I tried Fedora 16 for a week, and thought it was rather ugly. I'm using Ubuntu 12.04 now, and my desktop looks very stylish.


I have used a couple Linux live CDs, including Puppy Linux. I also experimented with a full installation of Ubuntu.

My chief frustration with Linux is the spotty support on Wi-Fi cards. My 2005 Toshiba laptop's card supported Linux natively, but the card in my 2011 Toshiba made by the same company does not. I plugged an old Belkin USB Wi-Fi client into my new laptop to get it to connect.

I have read about the NDISwrapper workaround, but it's pretty confusing, even though I consider myself a fairly knowledgeable computer user. I would love to hear of any other solutions from Linux fans -- or at least a simple explanation of how to make NDISwrapper work.
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Re: should I buy a new computer?

Postby MathWizard » Thu Mar 22, 2012 4:13 pm

GregLee wrote:
MathWizard wrote:I suggested the Linux LIVE USB or LIVE CD option only after the OP said the computer was used only for web browsing,
as a cheap solution, to getting a new computer, so let's look at the steps needed to do this from a computer which is
turned off and has the LIVE USB inserted to when the computer is shutdown after the web browsing is complete.

For web browsing fedora 16 you: ...

It's a good idea to use a LIVE Linux system, I think. But then, what do I know? I've been using Linux ever since it was first made public, not only because it's free, but because it's fun.

I shouldn't go off on a tangent, but I tried Fedora 16 for a week, and thought it was rather ugly. I'm using Ubuntu 12.04 now, and my desktop looks very stylish.


I'm not recommending any particular UNIX flavor.
The reason for using Fedora 16 was that it was first on the list of the Live USB Creator.
The main reason for using that solution is that all steps are either

point and click
or
select a menu option

All of which are very familiar to a user of any modern PC, as well as using a
browser.
And still I get "Linux is too hard for most people". Sigh.

I really believe that people in this forum are easily navigating much more difficult issues.

The LIVE USB has the nice feature of persistent memory so that one can save bookmarks, photos, etc.
and I gave that option primarily because I could supply a Windows application to create the LIVE USB.

Had I met the OP in person, I'd have given the OP a LIVE-DVD . This has the nice feature that
you can't get a persistent virus because you are running from a non-writable disk. A virus could load
itself into memory during a session, but when you shutdown the computer nothing can be saved, so
by restarting the computer the virus goes away.
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Re: should I buy a new computer?

Postby Sidney » Thu Mar 22, 2012 4:19 pm

LIVE-DVD


Everyone should have one of these. More than once I have used this (or a bootable flash drive) to rescue data from a computer that would not boot. Sometimes when the system won't boot, the HD isn't completely toast and you can pull all your data off with another OS. Cheaper than those data recovery services.
I always wanted to be a procrastinator.
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Re: should I buy a new computer?

Postby clevername » Thu Mar 22, 2012 10:18 pm

Another perspective on Live Linux CD sessions:

Live sessions have their benefits but it can get...clunky. Plus you have to install flash and other add ons manually each time you boot. Also, good luck installing your printer drivers and ever printing anything. There are huge benefits to using it sometimes but I can't imagine using it for my primary computing needs.

Just buy a new desktop for $400, throw your old hard drive in a bonfire, and forget about it.
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Re: should I buy a new computer?

Postby daytona084 » Thu Mar 22, 2012 10:41 pm

MathWizard wrote:
wjwhitney wrote:The range of solutions on this thread is stunning. It just goes to show that there are exceedingly wide variations among the Bogleheads. For some, dropping $600 or more for a problem that might be fixed for nothing is no big deal. For others, it's unthinkable. The opinions range from:

1. Fix the old one by buying new hard drive
2. Do a "system restore" (what I would try first)
3. Switch to linux (not likely for a person who has no computer savvy)
4. Switch to Mac (always get a few of these no matter what the question)
5. Buy new Windows 7 laptop
6. Buy new Windows 7 desktop

With the wide range of skills and opinions out there, it's almost impossible to get a "one size fits all" answer about a subject like this.


As the only person to suggest Linux I disagree with the statement "not likely for a person who has no computer savvy" .

I am no Linux evangalist, I use both Linux and MS Windows, my family uses Windows PCs, and I use Windows on my
laptop for presentations. To say that a person needs more computer "savvy" to use Linux for browsing the web compared
to Windows or a MAC OS is plainly incorrect.

I suggested the Linux LIVE USB or LIVE CD option only after the OP said the computer was used only for web browsing,
as a cheap solution, to getting a new computer, so let's look at the steps needed to do this from a computer which is
turned off and has the LIVE USB inserted to when the computer is shutdown after the web browsing is complete.

For web browsing fedora 16 you:
A) Press power button to start computer (same as for any IBM or MAC PC).
B) Login by clicking on name (Linuxuser is the default name with no password, like guest on an IBM PC).
C) Click on Applications in start tray, select Internet -> Firefox (Start tray in on top of screen by default in Fedora,
it's on the top on MACS, on the bottom on Windows)
The screen shot at: http://fedoraproject.org/w/uploads/e/e1 ... 4_Apps.png
looks very much like the screen on my Vista desktop, the task bar is just on top, rather than on the bottom.

D) Browser comes up, and you use it the same way as any other browser. FireFox is different than Internet Explorer
but so is Apple's Safari.
E) To logoff or shutdown, you;
Click on System menu and select Logoff or Shutdown. (Same as IBM PC, I think this is the same as MACs.)

How is the above procedure any harder that using MS Windows or a MAC?

I didn't know if the OP can contact someone (a University IT person?) who could supply a pre-created LIVE-CD ,
so I gave a way to create a LIVE-USB from a working computer.


Well, I created a linux boot CD complete with browser, open office, and all that stuff. The OS failed to detect and utilize my wireless network card. I'm pretty computer savvy (way more than the OP), but jumping through the hoops required to get linux to work with my hardware is more than I choose to do.
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Re: should I buy a new computer?

Postby Eureka » Fri Mar 23, 2012 4:21 am

wjwhitney wrote:Well, I created a linux boot CD complete with browser, open office, and all that stuff. The OS failed to detect and utilize my wireless network card. I'm pretty computer savvy (way more than the OP), but jumping through the hoops required to get linux to work with my hardware is more than I choose to do.


As I mentioned before, this can be a big hassle with Linux. I have found a few lists of Linux-compatible USB Wi-Fi clients, but I can't seem to find a good one right now. One list included my old Belkin F5D7050 dongle, which, ironically, I had bought for my 2005 Toshiba laptop because that computer's built-in card did not initially support WPA2 encryption (a new driver was issued about a year later that did support WPA2). This same Belkin USB device worked fine on my Windows 7 64-bit laptop booted from a Puppy Linux live CD. The latest versions of Puppy allow you to save log-in information and preferences to a flash drive, so everything is automatic the second time you boot up.

Alas, I'm afraid Linux will remain an "enthusiast" OS in the consumer market, perhaps mainly because it's hard for anyone to make money from it.
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