Please help me, need to buy a computer

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steve321
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by steve321 »

Target2019 wrote: Fri Sep 11, 2020 8:28 am
acegolfer wrote: Fri Sep 11, 2020 6:31 am After AUE, the chromebook will not get updates. Imagine a 3-yr old smartphone getting no more updates. It's still functional but can be exposed to security threats. Personally, I may use EOL'ed chromebook for media consumption but I wouldn't use it for banking.

Sounds like Asus C302 model. It's one of the most popular ones from 3-4 years ago and it was on my short list when I was shopping for my kid earlier this year despite 2023 AUE. But I don't think it supports USI pen.

I use 2 sources when shopping for a chromebook
https://support.google.com/chrome/a/ans ... 0366?hl=en (AUE dates for all models)
https://zipso.net/chromebook-specs-comparison-table/ (spec charts for all models)
Octane score is the key benchmark for chromebook performance. I suggest you limit to at least 16,000 score for email/video/word/spreadsheet.
It is possible that Google will change their AUE (Auto Update Expiration) policy, say when more units are sold. But one should expect their device won't receive updates after the date. That has implications for the security of one's financials on that system.

You make good points and are thinking ahead for OP. It's obvious you have expereince with planning for the future in a device purchase.
just occurred to me: does the same apply to PCs? I am now afraid that my PC might not be safe for financials!
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by LadyGeek »

It's not the PC, but applications you use that make them safe. Your web browser is secure - as long as you keep your computer's software up-to-date.

Do you store sensitive financial data and documents on your PC? That's what needs to be encrypted. You can easily get a first line of defense by having a strong password when you log into your PC. Then, never, ever let anyone else access your PC.

(There are ways to let someone else use your PC, but it involves creating a second login account with "guest" privileges.)

I'm a very strong proponent of Linux, but I really don't think the OP is a candidate - there are too many incompatibility concerns. For example, you can't install Quicken in Linux.

FYI - Quicken will encrypt its own file if you have put a password on the Quicken file. You should also have a password for the file's password vault.

A Chromebook is fine.

Also the OP is not in the US. Please be sure to purchase a PC that has a valid warranty for your home country. If anything goes wrong, you can get it serviced. It will also ensure that the operating system is configured for your home country. For example, currency units will be correctly displayed.

Update: Post may be misinterpreted in the context of this thread. Always keep your computer's software up-to-date. See below.
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Target2019
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by Target2019 »

steve321 wrote: Fri Sep 11, 2020 9:42 am
Target2019 wrote: Fri Sep 11, 2020 8:28 am
acegolfer wrote: Fri Sep 11, 2020 6:31 am After AUE, the chromebook will not get updates. Imagine a 3-yr old smartphone getting no more updates. It's still functional but can be exposed to security threats. Personally, I may use EOL'ed chromebook for media consumption but I wouldn't use it for banking.

Sounds like Asus C302 model. It's one of the most popular ones from 3-4 years ago and it was on my short list when I was shopping for my kid earlier this year despite 2023 AUE. But I don't think it supports USI pen.

I use 2 sources when shopping for a chromebook
https://support.google.com/chrome/a/ans ... 0366?hl=en (AUE dates for all models)
https://zipso.net/chromebook-specs-comparison-table/ (spec charts for all models)
Octane score is the key benchmark for chromebook performance. I suggest you limit to at least 16,000 score for email/video/word/spreadsheet.
It is possible that Google will change their AUE (Auto Update Expiration) policy, say when more units are sold. But one should expect their device won't receive updates after the date. That has implications for the security of one's financials on that system.

You make good points and are thinking ahead for OP. It's obvious you have expereince with planning for the future in a device purchase.
just occurred to me: does the same apply to PCs? I am now afraid that my PC might not be safe for financials!
The same applies to Windows OS. After a certain number of years there are no more updates from Microsoft. Windows XP is definitely in that category and you wouldn't want to attach it to the internet.

On top of the OS applications web browsers, office programs, etc. also require security updates. This is what forces an automatic upgrade in browsers as you have probably seen.
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by lazydavid »

steve321 wrote: Fri Sep 11, 2020 9:42 am just occurred to me: does the same apply to PCs? I am now afraid that my PC might not be safe for financials!
Yes. Windows 7 and 8 are both out of support and no longer being updated. 8.1 has just over two years remaining.

Windows 10 is on a perpetual upgrade cycle, with new feature releases (what once would have been called a service pack) coming twice per year, that are supported for 18 months from release. Currently the last 4 releases are still under support, but as of December, that will drop to two--the 1909 release that came out in November 2019, and the 2004 release that came out this past May. There should also be a new release added in the November timeframe (likely 2009 or 2010), to bring it back up to three.
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by steve321 »

lazydavid wrote: Fri Sep 11, 2020 10:06 am
steve321 wrote: Fri Sep 11, 2020 9:42 am just occurred to me: does the same apply to PCs? I am now afraid that my PC might not be safe for financials!
Yes. Windows 7 and 8 are both out of support and no longer being updated. 8.1 has just over two years remaining.

Windows 10 is on a perpetual upgrade cycle, with new feature releases (what once would have been called a service pack) coming twice per year, that are supported for 18 months from release. Currently the last 4 releases are still under support, but as of December, that will drop to two--the 1909 release that came out in November 2019, and the 2004 release that came out this past May. There should also be a new release added in the November timeframe (likely 2009 or 2010), to bring it back up to three.
I checked and I've got Windows10 on both computers, so I gather that connecting to my bank and stockbrokers is indeed safe (didn't understand about 'releases' but provided internet connection is safe that'll be fine).
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by steve321 »

LadyGeek wrote: Fri Sep 11, 2020 9:55 am It's not the PC, but applications you use that make them safe. Your web browser is secure.

Do you store sensitive financial data and documents on your PC? That's what needs to be encrypted. You can easily get a first line of defense by having a strong password when you log into your PC. Then, never, ever let anyone else access your PC.

(There are ways to let someone else use your PC, but it involves creating a second login account with "guest" privileges.)

I'm a very strong proponent of Linux, but I really don't think the OP is a candidate - there are too many incompatibility concerns. For example, you can't install Quicken in Linux.

FYI - Quicken will encrypt its own file if you have put a password on the Quicken file. You should also have a password for the file's password vault.

A Chromebook is fine.

Also the OP is not in the US. Please be sure to purchase a PC that has a valid warranty for your home country. If anything goes wrong, you can get it serviced. It will also ensure that the operating system is configured for your home country. For example, currency units will be correctly displayed.
Thanks for the suggestions. Concerning sensitive information I don't store them on the PC now, but on an external hard disk (might buy a second one to have a backup). I am planning to learn how to encrypt files, apparently it's not that hard.
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by LadyGeek »

^^^ If you don't have your files backed up now, please do so. More importantly, you should learn how to restore them from your backup.

What happens if your external drive dies, e.g. it gets accidentally dropped on the floor? Did you copy every file from the first external drive to the backup drive? Something to think about.

For those storing files on their PC:

Your PC dies tonight. You buy a new computer tomorrow. How do you get the files from your backup to your new PC?

This applies for any computer you have now and might purchase in the future.

My intent is to ensure you understand what to do before bad things happen. Everyone says they have a backup, but they have no idea what to do when their PC dies. Practice now while you still have the files. Make a backup. Delete a file. Restore it from your backup.
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by rgs92 »

LadyGeek's wise advice should be followed. These days it's easier and cheaper than ever to get cloud storage to store your data, even large amounts of it, like several Terabytes worth.
Just be organized enough to place all your data in a handfull of personal local directories (like a root structure) where you can easily identify and locate your files.

I find it is good to break up your files into reasonably sized chunks (folders) that can be copied fairly easily and quickly.
If your data is really important to you (which is probably always true), it may even be advisable to get 2 separate cloud services and have twin backups.
Google Drive, MS OneDrive, Dropbox, Sync.com are all candidates that come to mind. (There are threads here that discuss cloud storage if you search for them.)

Often, people think they need or want a perfect image of their computer. This makes backups more complicated. I find the best strategy is to isolate and identify the data that is important to you in a form you understand and are able to manage and back this up in a disciplined manner.

When you do this, you understand what you have and are comfortable managing it and keeping track of it as it is a system you personally have designed to meet your individual needs.

I use and like ViceVersaPro to keep a directory (a folder) in sync with the same directory on a backup place. I find it easy to use. You can have it make incremental changes and updates to a target directory to make sure it matches the source directory.

https://www.tgrmn.com/web/viceversa.pro ... 3AEALw_wcB
Last edited by rgs92 on Fri Sep 11, 2020 2:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by steve321 »

LadyGeek wrote: Fri Sep 11, 2020 2:05 pm ^^^ If you don't have your files backed up now, please do so. More importantly, you should learn how to restore them from your backup.

What happens if your external drive dies, e.g. it gets accidentally dropped on the floor? Did you copy every file from the first external drive to the backup drive? Something to think about.
I am not really sure I understand back up. Would Google Drive count as one? I mean, I have copied everything I have on my PC on an external disk. Now, if I also copy it on a Google Drive, should that be safe and sufficient?. I am not sure whether Google Drive is a Cloud backup? This is al Chinese to me!
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by rgs92 »

Yes, Google Drive is cloud backup. Yes, go ahead, get a Google Drive account (it's linked to your gmail account), and try creating some folders and copying some data to it to get the feel of it. A little bit of storage is free. You will have to buy enough to hold all your data. (It's like $10 or $20 a month depending on how much you need.)
Then, you can copy your data (in pieces to make it easier) by just dragging it from your folder in Windows Explorer to a window where Google Drive is open.
Play with it and you will get the hang of it. It's pretty easy.
You can get things back from Google drive via it's download options. Again, this is easy once you try it.
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

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LadyGeek wrote: Fri Sep 11, 2020 2:05 pm
Your PC dies tonight. You buy a new computer tomorrow. How do you get the files from your backup to your new PC?
Yes , Lady Geek , that is the big question mark for many I think - I've been using File History , the backup utility that comes with Windows 10 - backing up to an external drive - being part of Windows 10 you would think Microsoft would have published a step by step process to answer the question that you posed above , given that I was performing backups frequently - I searched the internet thoroughly for an answer and found only two articles that addressed it , neither of which was authored by Microsoft - one method was complex and the other was very straightforward and intuitive but was dismissed by the author of the first one .

For me all of my data including photos occupy roughly 32GB on my stick drive - in your scenario I may not have the latest information on the stick when the computer dies but getting the files to the new computer would be easy .
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by benihanna »

Hi, I'm coming in late so not sure if this has been mentioned already. I strongly recommend researching used business laptops, as they offer superior performance, upgradeability, and durability for far less dough than consumer machines. The downside is knowing the models and being comfortable on eBay. Some might need a Windows license (there are places to get them for $30), ram, or a new battery, but you can save even more money that way.

I've been using an HP Elitebook 840 G1 for the last 4+ years with 0 issues. The battery, hard drives(!), and ram can all be changed without a screwdriver. I upgraded the screen the other day in under 30 minutes. I travel with it, edit basic videos, record music, and play older games.

Thinkpads also have a cult following, for good reason too. Check out the T440 or the T480, depending on your budget.
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

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Concerning encryption which has been suggested (I'm amazed I got to this age without knowing about these things) I did some research and then tried it out on a Word file (right-cliked on the file, then properties, advanced, encrypt, save). A little padlock (if I see correctly) appeared on the file.
Trouble is, when I click on the file on my desktop, it opens just like any other file. Thinking that it might be because I access is on my device, I moved it to Google Drive and then tried to access it on my smartphone. There again I was able to access it just by tapping on it.
So even though it has a padlock, it seems you can open it just like any other file!!! Including from another device! What's going on?
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by acegolfer »

steve321 wrote: Fri Sep 11, 2020 10:37 pm Concerning encryption which has been suggested (I'm amazed I got to this age without knowing about these things) I did some research and then tried it out on a Word file (right-cliked on the file, then properties, advanced, encrypt, save). A little padlock (if I see correctly) appeared on the file.
Trouble is, when I click on the file on my desktop, it opens just like any other file. Thinking that it might be because I access is on my device, I moved it to Google Drive and then tried to access it on my smartphone. There again I was able to access it just by tapping on it.
So even though it has a padlock, it seems you can open it just like any other file!!! Including from another device! What's going on?
Follow this to encrypt a word file properly. https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/off ... d3e37d6826
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by steve321 »

acegolfer wrote: Sat Sep 12, 2020 6:40 am
steve321 wrote: Fri Sep 11, 2020 10:37 pm Concerning encryption which has been suggested (I'm amazed I got to this age without knowing about these things) I did some research and then tried it out on a Word file (right-cliked on the file, then properties, advanced, encrypt, save). A little padlock (if I see correctly) appeared on the file.
Trouble is, when I click on the file on my desktop, it opens just like any other file. Thinking that it might be because I access is on my device, I moved it to Google Drive and then tried to access it on my smartphone. There again I was able to access it just by tapping on it.
So even though it has a padlock, it seems you can open it just like any other file!!! Including from another device! What's going on?
Follow this to encrypt a word file properly. https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/off ... d3e37d6826
It's worked! You're a gold mine of information, 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
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by lazydavid »

steve321 wrote: Fri Sep 11, 2020 1:19 pm I checked and I've got Windows10 on both computers, so I gather that connecting to my bank and stockbrokers is indeed safe (didn't understand about 'releases' but provided internet connection is safe that'll be fine).
Hit the Windows key + R. That will bring up a run dialog. Type "winver" (without the quotes) in the dialog. You will get a box that says:

Microsoft Windows
Version XXXX

The XXXX is the release number. As long as it's at least 1903, you are getting updates now, but will stop after December unless you move to th enext release (which is free, and done through Windows Update). If it's 1909 or 2004, you're good for at least another year.
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by acegolfer »

steve321 wrote: Sat Sep 12, 2020 12:13 pm
acegolfer wrote: Sat Sep 12, 2020 6:40 am
steve321 wrote: Fri Sep 11, 2020 10:37 pm Concerning encryption which has been suggested (I'm amazed I got to this age without knowing about these things) I did some research and then tried it out on a Word file (right-cliked on the file, then properties, advanced, encrypt, save). A little padlock (if I see correctly) appeared on the file.
Trouble is, when I click on the file on my desktop, it opens just like any other file. Thinking that it might be because I access is on my device, I moved it to Google Drive and then tried to access it on my smartphone. There again I was able to access it just by tapping on it.
So even though it has a padlock, it seems you can open it just like any other file!!! Including from another device! What's going on?
Follow this to encrypt a word file properly. https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/off ... d3e37d6826
It's worked! You're a gold mine of information, thanks!!
Note that this is an advanced feature that will not work in Word Online and hence not in your chromebook.
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by steve321 »

lazydavid wrote: Sat Sep 12, 2020 12:20 pm
steve321 wrote: Fri Sep 11, 2020 1:19 pm I checked and I've got Windows10 on both computers, so I gather that connecting to my bank and stockbrokers is indeed safe (didn't understand about 'releases' but provided internet connection is safe that'll be fine).
Hit the Windows key + R. That will bring up a run dialog. Type "winver" (without the quotes) in the dialog. You will get a box that says:

Microsoft Windows
Version XXXX

The XXXX is the release number. As long as it's at least 1903, you are getting updates now, but will stop after December unless you move to th enext release (which is free, and done through Windows Update). If it's 1909 or 2004, you're good for at least another year.
Thanks!! I have 1903 on this one (DELL) and on the HP, even though the DELL is more recent. Windows update can be done online in December?
Last edited by steve321 on Sat Sep 12, 2020 12:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by steve321 »

acegolfer wrote: Sat Sep 12, 2020 12:29 pm
steve321 wrote: Sat Sep 12, 2020 12:13 pm
acegolfer wrote: Sat Sep 12, 2020 6:40 am
steve321 wrote: Fri Sep 11, 2020 10:37 pm Concerning encryption which has been suggested (I'm amazed I got to this age without knowing about these things) I did some research and then tried it out on a Word file (right-cliked on the file, then properties, advanced, encrypt, save). A little padlock (if I see correctly) appeared on the file.
Trouble is, when I click on the file on my desktop, it opens just like any other file. Thinking that it might be because I access is on my device, I moved it to Google Drive and then tried to access it on my smartphone. There again I was able to access it just by tapping on it.
So even though it has a padlock, it seems you can open it just like any other file!!! Including from another device! What's going on?
Follow this to encrypt a word file properly. https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/off ... d3e37d6826
It's worked! You're a gold mine of information, thanks!!
Note that this is an advanced feature that will not work in Word Online and hence not in your chromebook.
Ah! I just encrypted my most confidential files and saved them on my external drive. Was thinking of putting them on Google drive too since they are encrypted, but in the case I won't be able to access them with my Chromebook right? So I'll always need a working PC to access them, is that correct?
Last edited by steve321 on Sat Sep 12, 2020 12:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by acegolfer »

steve321 wrote: Sat Sep 12, 2020 12:38 pm
acegolfer wrote: Sat Sep 12, 2020 12:29 pm
steve321 wrote: Sat Sep 12, 2020 12:13 pm
acegolfer wrote: Sat Sep 12, 2020 6:40 am
steve321 wrote: Fri Sep 11, 2020 10:37 pm Concerning encryption which has been suggested (I'm amazed I got to this age without knowing about these things) I did some research and then tried it out on a Word file (right-cliked on the file, then properties, advanced, encrypt, save). A little padlock (if I see correctly) appeared on the file.
Trouble is, when I click on the file on my desktop, it opens just like any other file. Thinking that it might be because I access is on my device, I moved it to Google Drive and then tried to access it on my smartphone. There again I was able to access it just by tapping on it.
So even though it has a padlock, it seems you can open it just like any other file!!! Including from another device! What's going on?
Follow this to encrypt a word file properly. https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/off ... d3e37d6826
It's worked! You're a gold mine of information, thanks!!
Note that this is an advanced feature that will not work in Word Online and hence not in your chromebook.
Ah! I just encrypted my most confidential files and saved them on my external drive. Was thinking of putting them on Goggle drive too since they are encrypted, but in the case I won't be able to access them with my Chromebook right? So I'll always need a working PC to access them, is that correct?
This particular feature requires the full version of Word. You need windows/mac to open it.
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by Ged »

musicmom wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 2:04 pm If you have the option, we love buying our computers from Costco.
They include an extra year of warranty at no charge.
I recommend buying a laptop from Costco as well. One of the dark secrets of buying a laptop is that even if you get a DOA machine you usually cannot return it to the seller. You have to send it into for a warranty repair and you may get a refurbished (used) machine back.

Costco is one of the few exceptions to this. They offer a 90 day return period for DOA machines and you can get another new model.
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by rob »

steve321 wrote: Thu Sep 10, 2020 7:37 am
acegolfer wrote: Thu Sep 10, 2020 7:15 am

I own both windows and chromebook. I use my chromebook to access my bank accounts because it's much more secured.
right, this confirms my choice of chromebook
I keep seeing this stuff... It's just fundamentally not true. Poor user behaviour on a chromebook are far more dangerous that careful choices on a windows machine.
| Rob | Its a dangerous business going out your front door. - J.R.R.Tolkien
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by steve321 »

rob wrote: Sat Sep 12, 2020 1:37 pm
steve321 wrote: Thu Sep 10, 2020 7:37 am
acegolfer wrote: Thu Sep 10, 2020 7:15 am

I own both windows and chromebook. I use my chromebook to access my bank accounts because it's much more secured.
right, this confirms my choice of chromebook
I keep seeing this stuff... It's just fundamentally not true. Poor user behaviour on a chromebook are far more dangerous that careful choices on a windows machine.
what poor user behaviour? I was told that provided I check it's an https address and don't tell my bank password, it's safe
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by lazydavid »

steve321 wrote: Sat Sep 12, 2020 12:33 pm Thanks!! I have 1903 on this one (DELL) and on the HP, even though the DELL is more recent. Windows update can be done online in December?
You can update at any time. Go into Windows Update and check for updates. You should be offered "Feature Update for Windows 10, version 2004". Install that and you're golden. That said, the 1903 you have currently will still get security updates through December 8th.
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by LadyGeek »

steve321 wrote: Sat Sep 12, 2020 7:51 pm
rob wrote: Sat Sep 12, 2020 1:37 pm
steve321 wrote: Thu Sep 10, 2020 7:37 am
acegolfer wrote: Thu Sep 10, 2020 7:15 am

I own both windows and chromebook. I use my chromebook to access my bank accounts because it's much more secured.
right, this confirms my choice of chromebook
I keep seeing this stuff... It's just fundamentally not true. Poor user behaviour on a chromebook are far more dangerous that careful choices on a windows machine.
what poor user behaviour? I was told that provided I check it's an https address and don't tell my bank password, it's safe
You may be unclear on the intent of rob's post.

Neither Windows (operating system) nor a Chromebook (operating system and computer) can protect you if you don't follow good security practices.

Use a strong password and don't tell it to anyone. That goes for not only your bank account, but for logging into your computer.

Checking for an https: address is also good. Nearly every website uses an https: address these days, but it's always good to double-check. Look for the "lock" icon in the address bar of your web browser. (This forum has one.)
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by sambb »

Apple prevents a lot of problems, and easier to use.
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by tibbitts »

LadyGeek wrote: Fri Sep 11, 2020 9:55 am It's not the PC, but applications you use that make them safe. Your web browser is secure.
Due to the position of your post relative to the update policy comments in this thread, it sounds like you're saying that underlying "PC" (OS?) updates aren't necessary to make the overall environment safe... and I'm pretty sure you didn't intend to say that.
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by LadyGeek »

^^^ You're right. I didn't see that misinterpretation in the context of the thread. I have updated my post, thanks.
LadyGeek wrote: Fri Sep 11, 2020 9:55 am It's not the PC, but applications you use that make them safe. Your web browser is secure - as long as you keep your computer's software up-to-date.
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Re: Please help me, need to buy a computer

Post by niagara_guy »

I didn't read all the replies but I want to suggest OpenOffice. It's free, works on PCs and is mostly compatible with Office. It has document writer, spreadsheet and a Powerpoint equivalent.

I tend to buy the cheapest laptop I can find and they are adequate for what I do (I do want a Windows machine). You might also consider a machine that uses Chrome, they are cheaper but they have their own set of pluses and minuses. You will want to understand how Chrome works before buying.
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