Please help me, need to buy a computer

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steve321
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Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by steve321 »

I need to buy a computer (I think it'll be a laptop); it's embarrassing to say but it will be the first time I buy and set one up myself. The one I am using was bought with the assistance of a family member who got it running for me (I cant rely on them any longer for help). But it is getting a bit old.

I would like to order one online, I think perhaps a Dell

Questions:
- Do you think Dell is a good choice, or Apple is better? (apart from the brand, am I getting anything more valuable with Apple? I'd probably have to learn a new system though). Also I am saving a copy of my stuff in an external disk drive (Toshiba). Will it be compatible with all sorts of computer brands?

- When I buy it online, does it arrive already equipped with everything so that I can use it immediately, or do I have to install anything, like an operating system (sorry about the language but I am totally ignorant in this field)? If so what do I have to buy exactly, besides the computer, in order to have everything I need?

- What about Antivirus, do you get it separately?

- Is Amazon a good place to buy it? If there are any BH in the UK reading this, is there an online seller in the Uk that you would recommend instead?

Any other things I should think about?

Thanks!
Success does not bring happiness. In fact, happiness IS success. | 'There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.' Oscar Wilde
chinchin
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by chinchin »

Apple vs PC should be decided based on what operating system (OS) you need. If you want Windows, buy a PC. Determine what programs you need and what OS they run on. If you're using Windows now, it's probably easier to stick with it.

Most retailers will sell a PC with Windows pre installed. All Macs sold by Apple come with MacOS installed.
adamthesmythe
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by adamthesmythe »

1. Unless there is some specific software you need, choose Apple or PC depending on what you are accustomed to.

2. You must go out of your way to buy a computer WITHOUT an operating system installed.

3. (Virtually) any computer you buy will have a considerable amount of software already installed (much of it referred to as crapware). You may need help removing things. But probably you can leave it alone.

4. Dell is not a bad choice. I have bought several from them. Reliability has been pretty good and when I needed warranty service it was efficient.
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steve321
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by steve321 »

Thanks for the replies so far! So in practice just purchasing a computer will be enough, nothing else needed to make it function, right? What about antivirus, does it come with the computer too?

So it looks like I'll go for a PC, Dell should do as HP was more fragile I remember. Would you agree?

On the subject of 'crapware' :wink: I guess that includes Word and Excel? That's all I use basically.

And on the subject of the OS, I know there are different types of Windows, like XP or some Windows followed by dates (sorry, I'am as ignorant as that). Do all computers come with the latest Windows version then?
Success does not bring happiness. In fact, happiness IS success. | 'There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.' Oscar Wilde
softmax
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by softmax »

steve321 wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 1:30 pm Thanks for the replies so far! So in practice just purchasing a computer will be enough, nothing else needed to make it function, right? What about antivirus, does it come with the computer too?

So it looks like I'll go for a PC, Dell should do as HP was more fragile I remember. Would you agree?

On the subject of 'crapware' :wink: I guess that includes Word and Excel? That's all I use basically.

And on the subject of the OS, I know there are different types of Windows, like XP or some Windows followed by dates (sorry, I'am as ignorant as that). Do all computers come with the latest Windows version then?
Word and Excel are not crapware -- you need to buy from Microsoft separately (likely through Office365 subscription).

Antivirus software is not very necessary for modern PCs (Windows come with its own defender), unless you deal with lots of suspicious websites/emails.
wallygator
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by wallygator »

Hi,

I owned a company for 20 years and used a PC for one year passed it to #2 and next year to number #3. I then threw it out. Went to Mac 14 years ago and will never go back. Dell and most comes loaded with crap so you get them cheap because all the add ons are being subsidized by the add ons. I can't believe Microsoft is in business.....

I am A BSEE and spent many dozens of hours helping folks turn off all the crap running in the background on PC's. Mcaffe found a virus Norton has detected something.....

Since Mac no spyware and no Malware needed. If you aren't an engineer or MBA and don't use Excel or Word on an hourly basis spend the extra $100-$200 and have a computer for 10 years or a lot more..

IMHO Wally
alfaspider
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by alfaspider »

I would consider avoiding Apple for now (or waiting). The issue is that Apple is looking to ditch Intel processors in favor of homegrown processors. That means that MacOs software coming out 5 years from now may not be compatible with a Mac bought today.

Dell is fine, as are most manufacturers. In laptops, build quality and ergonomics can be more important than tech specs. I'd try to do some touch and feel in-store before committing to one.

Regarding bloatware on Windows: look for computers that have Windows "Signature Edition." It is a no-bloatware version of windows. I'd also note that Windows has its own built-in antivirus now. Norton and Mcafee got so bloated over the years that I would consider them to be tantamount to viruses themselves. There are some better lightweight antiviruses out there, but windows itself has gotten reasonably good. Regardless of anti-virus software, the best way to avoid viruses is to stay away from dodgy websites and avoid clicking any banner ads, popups, or on unsolicited emails.
Last edited by alfaspider on Wed Sep 09, 2020 1:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
bob60014
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by bob60014 »

First you need to determine as to what are you going to use this computer for? Is it basic things like Emails, video chats and web surfing or elaborate Excel spreadsheets or video/photo processing?
jadedfalcons
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by jadedfalcons »

As a side note, given that you don't appear to be terribly comfortable with computers, make sure you get a touchscreen unit. My father can't double click a mouse to save his life but give him something with a touchscreen and he's golden.

In past experience, Dell has been perfectly fine, though I do like the Microsoft Surface line better.
lazydavid
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by lazydavid »

Dell and HP are both fine, as are Lenovo and Microsoft. In the consumer space, Asus and Acer also make decent machines.

Any modern PC laptop will generally come with Windows 10, and usually also with a trial of Office365, which you can activate by subscribing.

Windows Defender is free and built into Windows, and is actually one of the better Antivirus solutions out there. I don't recommend most people get a 3rd party AV.
musicmom
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by musicmom »

If you have the option, we love buying our computers from Costco.
They include an extra year of warranty at no charge.
bondsr4me
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by bondsr4me »

If you live close to an Apple store, consider buying an Apple computer.
You find out which stores are open by going to the Apple home page.
At the bottom, there is a link to find a store.
You can go to the store and the Apple people will help you choose something that is compatible with your needs.
You can run Outlook, Word and Excel on Apple hardware.
With Apple, you do not need virus/malware software, although there is a free version available from Malwarebytes.
I have been using a MacBookPro and other Apple devices since 2006 and have NEVER had a virus or malware affect any of my Apple devices.
If you use an iPhone, iWatch or iPad, all the Apple devices sync very well with each other.
IMHO, you cannot get anything better than that.

Good luck with your choices.
Last edited by bondsr4me on Wed Sep 09, 2020 2:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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steve321
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by steve321 »

bob60014 wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 1:51 pm First you need to determine as to what are you going to use this computer for? Is it basic things like Emails, video chats and web surfing or elaborate Excel spreadsheets or video/photo processing?
It's basic things like Emails, video chats and web surfing (including youtube videos, Amazon Prime videos etc) and (very) occasional Excel spreadsheets. Some printing of pdf documents. Will write documents in Word and perhaps save in pdf. That's all.
Ah, occasionally I film myself when exercising to check my technique, but could do that with a smart phone.
Success does not bring happiness. In fact, happiness IS success. | 'There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.' Oscar Wilde
BlueCable
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by BlueCable »

What is your budget?
GreenLawn
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by GreenLawn »

If you aren't familiar with computers, your best bet is find someone to assist you. Not familiar with the UK, but in America there are computer clubs or entry level classes, often associated with libraries or senior centers, that offer assistance.

Best advice I ever ran across for computer novices is to buy the OS that the person helping you is familiar with. A guy at work struggled with computers and was told Apple computers are easier to use so he bought one of those for his personal use. He was confused how to use it and asked for some assistance from me. As a Windows guy myself, I wasn't about to learn the Mac way of doing things for this one off, so he was on his own. But his iMac sure was pretty :happy
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bligh
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by bligh »

steve321 wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 12:36 pm I need to buy a computer (I think it'll be a laptop); it's embarrassing to say but it will be the first time I buy and set one up myself. The one I am using was bought with the assistance of a family member who got it running for me (I cant rely on them any longer for help). But it is getting a bit old.

I would like to order one online, I think perhaps a Dell

Questions:
- Do you think Dell is a good choice, or Apple is better? (apart from the brand, am I getting anything more valuable with Apple? I'd probably have to learn a new system though). Also I am saving a copy of my stuff in an external disk drive (Toshiba). Will it be compatible with all sorts of computer brands?

- When I buy it online, does it arrive already equipped with everything so that I can use it immediately, or do I have to install anything, like an operating system (sorry about the language but I am totally ignorant in this field)? If so what do I have to buy exactly, besides the computer, in order to have everything I need?

- What about Antivirus, do you get it separately?

- Is Amazon a good place to buy it? If there are any BH in the UK reading this, is there an online seller in the Uk that you would recommend instead?

Any other things I should think about?

Thanks!
1) If you have an apple store near you, I recommend Apple Macs for the service. If you are asking this question, it is safe to assume you are not tech savvy. If you have any issue you can just make an appointment at the Genius bar and take it to the store to have it fixed. It is a real pain dealing with the support for other computer manufacturers and you have to do a bunch of boxing and shipping and tracking and labeling.

1.5) The Genius bar guys would likely be able to help you migrate your stuff from your old PC or the external disk drive you have onto your new Mac.

2) As long as it has MacOS or Windows pre-installed on it, yes you will be able to just start it up without doing anything special. I recommend getting an "All-in-one" type computer (like the Apple iMac) where there is nothing to wire or connect up.

3) I do not use Anitvirus on mac. I have been using Macs since 2007 and have never had any issues. Just make sure you only download and run software from reputable companies, or solely from the Apple App Store where everything is pre-vetted.

4) Amazon is a perfectly good place to buy
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Watty
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by Watty »

steve321 wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 12:36 pm I need to buy a computer ...... But it is getting a bit old.
How old is your PC and what is the problem with your computer now?

I you go into your file explorer and right click "this computer" then select "properties" it will tell you what operating system you have(like Windows 10) and how much installed memory you have.

One thing you will run into if you are looking for a modest price PC, especially a Laptop, is that at least in the US they are in short supply because so many people are either working from home or students are taking classes from home because of the pandemic. The factories and the supply chain for making PCs has also been impacted by the pandemic and there are some supply shortages too. In the US would be lucky to find one at a good price and many models may be out of stock.

Now it not really a good time to buy a new computer if you do not really need to. I'm normally a big proponent of going on and replacing old hardware but right now if it is just running slow I would suggest replacing your hard drive with a solid state drive(SSD) and maybe adding more memory to your old PC if you have less than 8GB of memory. That could make your current PC last a few(maybe five(???)) more years until it is a better time to replace it.

A solid state drive is basically a huge memory chip where everything is quickly available. A traditional hard disk drive has a round platter inside it that spins around so that when you want some information off if it the computer has to wait until the platter spins around to put the needed information in the right position to read the data you want. That is why a solid state drive is so much faster. The prices on solid state drives have really come down and they are real affordable now.

A huge advantage of this is that it would be exactly the same so you would not need to reconfigure it or learn a lot of new stuff but it would be lots faster.

If you can add more memory to your PC that will also help a lot, but you are not always able to add more memory. For example you might be able to go from 4 GB to 8 GB.

A computer store should be able to do these upgrades for a reasonable cost. In the US there is a large electronics store called Best By that can do things like this but I do not know if they are in the UK.

Be sure to backup your computer and all your data before you take it into a computer store.

If your computer is acting a bit odd then you should back up your data right now just in case it dies.
Last edited by Watty on Wed Sep 09, 2020 4:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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GerryL
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by GerryL »

I just got a new computer last week and am gradually getting it set up the way I want it. I opted for an HP all-in-one to replace my 10-year-old HP all-in-one. I ordered it directly from HP and, despite warnings about delays, it arrived in less than a week.

It's good to understand what programs you regularly use and will want to get installed on your new machine. Most new machines lack a disk drive, so you need to know where to download the programs you have already purchased. (In my case, I have Office 2013 and have no desire to switch to the Windows 365 subscription model. The MSFT web site indicated that was doable, but I had to dig deep to find that information.) I made a list to make sure I included little-used programs.

Fairly easy to transfer your files from your old computer using a thumb drive or external hard drive.

For me the difficulty has been getting my printer to work with the new computer. Still have not been successful installing the appropriate driver for the old (8 years?) printer to work with the new computer. Most newer devices are Plug & Play, so you may not run into this problem if you use a newer printer or other devices.

PS Loving the new computer as it is much faster and way quieter than the old one. But for now I have to keep the old one hooked up to the printer and use "slipper net" to do any printing.
acegolfer
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by acegolfer »

steve321 wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 1:30 pm On the subject of 'crapware' :wink: I guess that includes Word and Excel? That's all I use basically.
Do you already have a Microsoft Office license? If not, it's not cheap. There are cheaper and even free alternatives, if you don't need all the Office features.
acegolfer
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by acegolfer »

steve321 wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 2:09 pm
bob60014 wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 1:51 pm First you need to determine as to what are you going to use this computer for? Is it basic things like Emails, video chats and web surfing or elaborate Excel spreadsheets or video/photo processing?
It's basic things like Emails, video chats and web surfing (including youtube videos, Amazon Prime videos etc) and (very) occasional Excel spreadsheets. Some printing of pdf documents. Will write documents in Word and perhaps save in pdf. That's all.
Ah, occasionally I film myself when exercising to check my technique, but could do that with a smart phone.
All those can be done in the web without paying extra for the software. Research chromebooks. It's not for everyone but if it fits your needs, then it has a lot of benefits such as low cost, no virus, instant on, long battery life, light weight, fanless, etc.
AlphaC
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by AlphaC »

I am quite surprised that there is not a lively discussion here of Chromebook as an option.
  • They are quite a bit less expensive compared to PCs and Macs.
    They update themselves automatically, and can run without a separate antivirus product.
    If you only use Word and Excel, you could use the Google equivalents (Google Docs and Google Sheets). Those programs are able to import/export the Microsoft Office formats.
    In fact, you can also use Word and Excel on the Chromebook, there are free basic versions of each from Microsoft.
    If you have a personal Microsoft Office 365 account (annual subscription required) you can use Word and Excel from almost any browser on almost any machine.
I use Windows 10 version 1909, and Office 2010 on a very old Lenovo Thinkpad. It works very well. But every month I experience some pain and effort with Microsoft's updates.

By contrast, I just turn on my 1-year old ASUS Chromebook and get to work. It recognizes my laser printer, and our printer/scanner/copier. It recognizes thumb drives. It has two USB-C ports, two USB-A ports, and a speaker/microphone jack. It has a built in camera and works fine with Zoom. We have not had a single problem with it since the first moment we turned it on.

You might very well find that you can do everything you want with a Chromebook out of the box without adding any additional software, thus saving money and avoiding frustration.
Every major manufacturer, including Dell, Lenovo, and Google (but not Apple) makes a Chromebook.
inbox788
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by inbox788 »

AlphaC wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 4:37 pmI am quite surprised that there is not a lively discussion here of Chromebook as an option.
Chromebooks are good choices, but if you're going to open it up, there are linux and ChromeOS/ChromiumOS options for many older systems.

You could try live USB versions like CloudReady https://www.neverware.com/freedownload# ... on-install


OP, how much personal data do you have on your current computer? Will it fit on a 8GB, 32GB or 128GB flash drive?

https://www.amazon.com/Sandisk-128GB-Fl ... B00P8XQPY4
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sk2101
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by sk2101 »

If you are not tech savvy, an Apple computer is a better choice vs. a PC. Sure, it will require you to learn a new O/S but Apple is a much simpler interface.

As others mentioned, Chromebooks are a great choice if it you just have basic needs.
Last edited by sk2101 on Wed Sep 09, 2020 5:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.
000
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by 000 »

Could put linux on your current computer. Runs great on old hardware.
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steve321
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by steve321 »

inbox788 wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 5:27 pm

OP, how much personal data do you have on your current computer? Will it fit on a 8GB, 32GB or 128GB flash drive?

https://www.amazon.com/Sandisk-128GB-Fl ... B00P8XQPY4
I have an externat disk drive on which I saved everything, it says that 631 GB are free from a total of 931 so I guess I have 300 GB(?) That includes pictures and some videos.
In fact it's a disk drive from 2015; hope they last(?)
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by steve321 »

000 wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 5:33 pm Could put linux on your current computer. Runs great on old hardware.
on an old Dell? And how would I do that? I can buy it online?
Success does not bring happiness. In fact, happiness IS success. | 'There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.' Oscar Wilde
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by steve321 »

BlueCable wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 2:21 pm What is your budget?
It's not really limited. However I don't want to was money, so the simplest, cheapest and safest thing that does the job will do!
Success does not bring happiness. In fact, happiness IS success. | 'There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.' Oscar Wilde
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by steve321 »

AlphaC wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 4:37 pm I am quite surprised that there is not a lively discussion here of Chromebook as an option.
  • They are quite a bit less expensive compared to PCs and Macs.
    They update themselves automatically, and can run without a separate antivirus product.
    If you only use Word and Excel, you could use the Google equivalents (Google Docs and Google Sheets). Those programs are able to import/export the Microsoft Office formats.
    In fact, you can also use Word and Excel on the Chromebook, there are free basic versions of each from Microsoft.
    If you have a personal Microsoft Office 365 account (annual subscription required) you can use Word and Excel from almost any browser on almost any machine.
I use Windows 10 version 1909, and Office 2010 on a very old Lenovo Thinkpad. It works very well. But every month I experience some pain and effort with Microsoft's updates.

By contrast, I just turn on my 1-year old ASUS Chromebook and get to work. It recognizes my laser printer, and our printer/scanner/copier. It recognizes thumb drives. It has two USB-C ports, two USB-A ports, and a speaker/microphone jack. It has a built in camera and works fine with Zoom. We have not had a single problem with it since the first moment we turned it on.

You might very well find that you can do everything you want with a Chromebook out of the box without adding any additional software, thus saving money and avoiding frustration.
Every major manufacturer, including Dell, Lenovo, and Google (but not Apple) makes a Chromebook.
thanks! Has never heard of them! Googled it and they seem cheaper and light (which is an advantage). I've just seen that Google Docs is free right? So this will save me money as I don't have to buy Word.

Can I connect them to my Toshiba external disk drive?

will it be safe to access my bank and brokerage account online?

Perhaps a silly question : will I need to use Chrome or can I use Firefox and other browsers?
Last edited by steve321 on Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by steve321 »

steve321 wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 2:09 pm
bob60014 wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 1:51 pm First you need to determine as to what are you going to use this computer for? Is it basic things like Emails, video chats and web surfing or elaborate Excel spreadsheets or video/photo processing?
It's basic things like Emails, video chats and web surfing (including youtube videos, Amazon Prime videos etc) and (very) occasional Excel spreadsheets. Some printing of pdf documents. Will write documents in Word and perhaps save in pdf. That's all.
Ah, occasionally I film myself when exercising to check my technique, but could do that with a smart phone.
In addition to these points I forgot a very important one (and relevant to this Forum). I will need to safely access my bank and brokerage accounts online (that's one of the reasons why I mentioned antivirus)
Success does not bring happiness. In fact, happiness IS success. | 'There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.' Oscar Wilde
000
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by 000 »

steve321 wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:02 pm
000 wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 5:33 pm Could put linux on your current computer. Runs great on old hardware.
on an old Dell? And how would I do that? I can buy it online?
There are various free distros.

Debian
Fedora

A lightweight package manager like XFCE could be used.
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steve321
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by steve321 »

000 wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:14 pm
steve321 wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:02 pm
000 wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 5:33 pm Could put linux on your current computer. Runs great on old hardware.
on an old Dell? And how would I do that? I can buy it online?
There are various free distros.

Debian
Fedora

A lightweight package manager like XFCE could be used.
Thanks; is it easy and self-explanatory so I can do it myself from home?
Success does not bring happiness. In fact, happiness IS success. | 'There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.' Oscar Wilde
000
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by 000 »

steve321 wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:17 pm
000 wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:14 pm
steve321 wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:02 pm
000 wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 5:33 pm Could put linux on your current computer. Runs great on old hardware.
on an old Dell? And how would I do that? I can buy it online?
There are various free distros.

Debian
Fedora

A lightweight package manager like XFCE could be used.
Thanks; is it easy and self-explanatory so I can do it myself from home?
I found it easy but I have a high level of experience with software.

I don't think it will be "easy and self-explanatory" for most, but I mentioned it as an alternative for you.

If you are interested in going down this route I can try to find some links for you to do more reading.

Note that Windows programs like Office won't run on linux...
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by tibbitts »

steve321 wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 1:30 pm So it looks like I'll go for a PC, Dell should do as HP was more fragile I remember. Would you agree?
No. Each specific model is completely different in terms of "fragility." For example my latest Dell's case cracked within months of me buying it due to a design deficiency and my lack of realizing it needed super-careful handling. Picking the laptop up with one hand will crack the case. I've owned or used seven or eight other Dell models and none had that particular deficiency. Some had hinge issues, some had connector issues. I've had fewer HPs, but it's the same story with them: different models have different weaknesses, some models more than others. I'm sure each brand is the same in that regard.
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

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AlphaC wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 4:37 pm
By contrast, I just turn on my 1-year old ASUS Chromebook and get to work.
They are quite cheap on Amazon. I checked some reviews. Does yours have a tactile screen? Is that useful? (someone complained their Asus doesn't have it in the reveiws). Can you share a good model (there are several models, too much choice for me!).

Perhaps more importantly, what't the difference between a Chromebook and a PC (which is what I have basically always used)?
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

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000 wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:20 pm

If you are interested in going down this route I can try to find some links for you to do more reading.

If that is not too much trouble, then yes please. Might as well do some learning in the area - never done it in my life but it's never too late to start. :happy
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

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steve321 wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:02 pm
000 wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 5:33 pm Could put linux on your current computer. Runs great on old hardware.
on an old Dell? And how would I do that? I can buy it online?
Please don't get involved with Linux. Most of my career since 1995 was based on Linux, but there's just no reason for someone who doesn't use it for business or enjoy it as a hobby to get involved with the complexity and compatibility issues. There is no advantage to using Linux for the average computer user.
Last edited by tibbitts on Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

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tibbitts wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:23 pm
No. Each specific model is completely different in terms of "fragility." For example my latest Dell's case cracked within months of me buying it due to a design deficiency and my lack of realizing it needed super-careful handling.
right; then this complicates choice even more for me... Would you say a good plan is to check Reviews on say Amazon for each model?
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

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steve321 wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:28 pm
tibbitts wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:23 pm
No. Each specific model is completely different in terms of "fragility." For example my latest Dell's case cracked within months of me buying it due to a design deficiency and my lack of realizing it needed super-careful handling.
right; then this complicates choice even more for me... Would you say a good plan is to check Reviews on say Amazon for each model?
Yes, although keep in mind that except for glaring issues some "fragility" problems might not show up until after the unit is no longer for sale as a new product.
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by wander »

I switched to Ubuntu and 've liked it very much. It's not for everyone, but if you can, it works great. Free update and upgrade. No license fee is required. It is not running slow if I leave it on for weeks. I've missed the MS Office, but the built in Libre Office meets my needs. I think more people are using Google Chrome anyway, so Ubuntu seems to be a good choice. I heard Fedora is more stable because it is backed by a big company but I haven't used it.
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by 000 »

tibbitts wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:27 pm Please don't get involved with Linux. Most of my career since 1995 was based on Linux, but there's just no reason for someone who doesn't use it for business or enjoy it as a hobby to get involved with the complexity and compatibility issues. There is no advantage to using Linux for the average computer user.
If the OP already otherwise needs to buy a new computer, he could try it and if it doesn't work, go buy the new computer anyway.

For the vast majority of average computer users who only use a web browser and document program, there is no advantage to using Windows or Mac either...
steve321 wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:27 pm If that is not too much trouble, then yes please. Might as well do some learning in the area - never done it in my life but it's never too late to start. :happy
You can start poking around at the Debian site, which is probably better for an old computer than Ubuntu (based on Debian) or Fedora.
https://www.debian.org/CD/live/
https://www.debian.org/CD/faq/

The process itself is simple: you download a Live disk image file, burn it to a DVD, stick it in your computer, possibly move up DVD in the BIOS boot order, boot into the Live environment, see if things work, and then if you want click on the "install" button.

But any needed troubleshooting is the hard part. If you aren't familiar with the above terms, it may be quite a learning curve.

Also, you should make 2 backup copies of all your data before doing anything above.
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

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000 wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:45 pm

Also, you should make 2 backup copies of all your data before doing anything above.
I have one external disk, so I guess I should buy another? Also, I thought perhaps of saving at least the most important data on Google Drive. Is that a good plan? Is that safe and is it all right to stock confidential data?
I also put my pictures on Amazon in a space where you have unlimited storage for pics.
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by 000 »

steve321 wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 9:03 pm
000 wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:45 pm

Also, you should make 2 backup copies of all your data before doing anything above.
I have one external disk, so I guess I should buy another? Also, I thought perhaps of saving at least the most important data on Google Drive. Is that a good plan? Is that safe and is it all right to stock confidential data?
I also put my pictures on Amazon in a space where you have unlimited storage for pics.
Personally I do not store any of my data on such services.
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by solargod007 »

steve321 wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:28 pm
tibbitts wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:23 pm
No. Each specific model is completely different in terms of "fragility." For example my latest Dell's case cracked within months of me buying it due to a design deficiency and my lack of realizing it needed super-careful handling.
right; then this complicates choice even more for me... Would you say a good plan is to check Reviews on say Amazon for each model?
(1) I think Windows based PC (or a chromebook) will be more useful than Apple products for you.

(2) Also please check Acer/Asus in addition to DELL and other more "established" brands. Most of the time they have similar spec/performance and lower price.

(3) There are free ( and paid) Antivirus software available, if you want to feel secure. ( Google and see what the below sites recommend and you can use one of them).

(4) Some times, the companies (DELL, Lenovo, Acer,..) offer sale/discount on their site and you can compare it to Amazon/ (bestbuy or similar electronics store in UK)

(5) See these reviews:
https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/revi ... under-500/
(read the section how to shop for a cheap laptop in this NYTimes article as well: CPU, RAM/Memory, Storage capacity)

https://www.wired.com/gallery/best-cheap-laptops/

https://www.pcmag.com/picks/the-best-budget-laptops

https://www.cnet.com/news/best-laptop-u ... acer-more/
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

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I bought a Chromebook for my girlfriend. I'm good with computers, but I didn't want to deal with the maintenance hassle of Windows for someone who tends to click on anything that looks interesting on the internet. She has a separate computer just for financial websites (as do I), an old Windows laptop with updated Windows 10. I figured that's the easiest way to ensure security for someone who likes diving into rabbit holes on the net.

I set her up initially with Linux Mint on an old laptop, but she into games and there is a lot more available for the Chromebook. I don't like using Chromebooks myself, Linux and Windows are way more interesting to use for those of us who like to tinker.

I'm currently writing this using the Brave browser on a Linux Mint laptop I converted from Windows. My hard drive crashed and I couldn't find my Windows recovery disk so I downloaded Linux as a temporary fix, installed it on my new drive (SSD), and just kept using it. As a frugal person, I love free software and LibreOffice works great as an office suite for my minimal needs.
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by tibbitts »

000 wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:45 pm
If the OP already otherwise needs to buy a new computer, he could try it and if it doesn't work, go buy the new computer anyway.

For the 90% of average computer users who only use a web browser and document program, there is no advantage to using Windows or Mac either...
As you point out, maybe I missed it but I didn't see exactly why the OP feels a new computer is necessary. Was there some mention of this being a 2015 model? That's not very old, unless it was a very minimal configuration.

One advantage of Windows is tied to the primary use being specifically MS Office, vs. some generic Office programs. Even with 365, for troubleshooting any obscure issues, the simplest platform is a MS browser running on a MS operating system.
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by 000 »

tibbitts wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 9:23 pm
000 wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:45 pm
If the OP already otherwise needs to buy a new computer, he could try it and if it doesn't work, go buy the new computer anyway.

For the 90% of average computer users who only use a web browser and document program, there is no advantage to using Windows or Mac either...
As you point out, maybe I missed it but I didn't see exactly why the OP feels a new computer is necessary. Was there some mention of this being a 2015 model? That's not very old, unless it was a very minimal configuration.

One advantage of Windows is tied to the primary use being specifically MS Office, vs. some generic Office programs. Even with 365, for troubleshooting any obscure issues, the simplest platform is a MS browser running on a MS operating system.
Good point.

OP, how old is this computer?

If it's not very old, a fresh install of Windows 10 could also be done. Maybe you can do it within your current install?

Or you could just buy a disk from a store or microsoft.com. But that will require similar steps as installing any other OS, including linux.
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by Watty »

tibbitts wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:27 pm Please don't get involved with Linux. Most of my career since 1995 was based on Linux, but there's just no reason for someone who doesn't use it for business or enjoy it as a hobby to get involved with the complexity and compatibility issues. There is no advantage to using Linux for the average computer user.
+1000

That is a non-starter.
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by tibbitts »

steve321 wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 9:03 pm
000 wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:45 pm

Also, you should make 2 backup copies of all your data before doing anything above.
I have one external disk, so I guess I should buy another? Also, I thought perhaps of saving at least the most important data on Google Drive. Is that a good plan? Is that safe and is it all right to stock confidential data?
I also put my pictures on Amazon in a space where you have unlimited storage for pics.
I only store my most critical documents on the cloud (Google Drive or whatever) now, but since I no longer have an office (outside my home), I've lost transparent access to offsite storage for one of my backup external drives. To some extent that should factor into whether to use the cloud vs. external drive backup. If you have very confidential data (what do you consider confidential?) you could encrypt it, the complexity and effectiveness of which varies with different cloud providers.
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by Watty »

000 wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 9:25 pm
tibbitts wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 9:23 pm
000 wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:45 pm
If the OP already otherwise needs to buy a new computer, he could try it and if it doesn't work, go buy the new computer anyway.

For the 90% of average computer users who only use a web browser and document program, there is no advantage to using Windows or Mac either...
As you point out, maybe I missed it but I didn't see exactly why the OP feels a new computer is necessary. Was there some mention of this being a 2015 model? That's not very old, unless it was a very minimal configuration.

One advantage of Windows is tied to the primary use being specifically MS Office, vs. some generic Office programs. Even with 365, for troubleshooting any obscure issues, the simplest platform is a MS browser running on a MS operating system.
Good point.

OP, how old is this computer?

If it's not very old, a fresh install of Windows 10 could also be done. Maybe you can do it within your current install?

Or you could just buy a disk from a store or microsoft.com. But that will require similar steps as installing any other OS, including linux.
About a year ago Microsoft added an easy way to do a "refresh"(Google this) where it will automatically do a fresh install. I just did thing on a laptop a few weeks ago and other than taking a long time to run it worked just fine. Do backup your computer first if you try this.

The problem is that it will set the computer up like it is new so it would need to be reconfigured and the software would need to be reinstalled. It sounded like the OP would have trouble with that.

In my prior post I suggested that putting in a SSD and maybe more memory might be enough if the computer is just slow.
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by 000 »

Watty wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 9:37 pm About a year ago Microsoft added an easy way to do a "refresh"(Google this) where it will automatically do a fresh install. I just did thing on a laptop a few weeks ago and other than taking a long time to run it worked just fine. Do backup your computer first if you try this.

The problem is that it will set the computer up like it is new so it would need to be reconfigured and the software would need to be reinstalled. It sounded like the OP would have trouble with that.

In my prior post I suggested that putting in a SSD and maybe more memory might be enough if the computer is just slow.
Is it now possible to upgrade from within Windows 8, 7, or older to Windows 10 without doing an external install from a disk?
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