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  • Which PC should I get?

    Home Forums AskWoody blog Which PC should I get?

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      • #235762 Reply
        woody
        Da Boss

        I’ve heard this question a whole lot over the past few days: My uncle has a year old HP laptop that’s had issues and he’s just out of warranty. So he
        [See the full post at: Which PC should I get?]

      • #235890 Reply
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        It depends on how much machine one needs. I have looked into Chromebooks and, at least from what I’ve seen, I believe that they might suit many home users and people that need something more (but not much more) than a tablet to do their work. But I don’t think they are for someone like me, because of their rather small hard disks and screens. I need something with eight or more GB of ram, half or one TB internal hard disk and, in a laptop, at a minimum, a 15″ screen. That means a loaded PC (in hardware, at least), regardless of whether it is running Windows, MacOS or Linux.

        I agree, as probably most people here by now would, that Windows 10 is no longer a good option for most users. Who knows, that might change some time in the future, but I know of no good reason, at present, to expect that near term.

        I have both a Windows 7 PC and a MacBook Pro laptop and, so far, am about equally well pleased with both.

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS + Linux (Mint)

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #236408 Reply
          anonymous
          Guest

          I have found that with Windows machines, brand is not a reliable indicator of relative reliability or quality. Everybody makes “gold standard” computers at the top of the line, as well as entry-level machines that are often junk.

          For the original question, if a computer is having issues at one year, then it’s a good guess that it was an entry-level machine. Although there’s a lot of variants, in general, you get what you pay for.  The difference is not in the common specs of CPU, RAM, storage and screen size, but sturdiness of the build.

          Personally, I tend to recommend business grade machines (e.g., Dell Latitude over Inspiron, HP ProBook, etc.) because the build qualities are usually a lot better, and better options for extended support. For a home user, a lot of the business features may be overkill (although as Woody has noted, Windows 10 Pro is something you want). However, despite the apparent portability of consumer-grade machines, they often don’t do well if they spend a lot of time in a carry bag.

          Non entry-level consumer machines can be decent on sturdiness, but it’s going to be units with retail prices starting at around $600 that you probably want to start with.

          I’ve never bought a computer at Costco, but knowing how they handle electronics (no low-end stuff), I’d probably trust a model coming from them, even if it’s a consumer machine.  However, it’s likely that to get Win 10 Pro,  you’ll probably have to do the upgrade yourself.

          3 users thanked author for this post.
          • #236436 Reply
            Canadian Tech
            AskWoody_MVP

            Anonymous, when it comes to Dell, for years and years the best they had were the Vostro’s The Vostro was in fact the same computer as their mainline top-priced business machine with a different brand name. I serviced many of them (likely 100) and the internals were the very same parts. Vostros had a distinctly better price.

            I have no idea what Dell Vostros are like today, but I suspect, if they have them, the same would be true.

            CT

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            • #236450 Reply
              anonymous
              Guest

              My experience with Vostro is opposite.  I had to support a batch of 3 or 4, all purchased in 2012, and all of them struggled. We got rid of all them when they reached 3 years of service.

              I don’t know what Dell’s official definition of Vostro is, or how it compares to Latitude or Inspiron, but by my experience, Vostro seems to be mostly Inspiron (and Inspiron build quality), with a few business-oriented features, and less add-on software.

              1 user thanked author for this post.
              • #236457 Reply
                Canadian Tech
                AskWoody_MVP

                Of the 130 Win7 systems I currently support, 64 are Vostros. They run very well and are technically nice and easy to work with when doing hardware work inside. I also have many clients with Latitudes and Inspirons, as well as various HP, Asus, Acer and other brands. Vostro’s in my 16 years doing this work work the best of the bunch.

                About 30 of those Vostros are laptops. The longest lasting of the bunch. I have a number of clients with Vostro laptops that are 7 or more years old.

                CT

                1 user thanked author for this post.
              • #236523 Reply
                Bill C.
                AskWoody Plus

                I do a lot of looking at re-furbs, both when I am looking to buy and just to see what shows up. I have never seen Vostros. In fact for laptops most Dells were Latitudes and desktops were Optiplex and similar.

                For Lenovo most were Thinkpad business level laptops. I have 2 Thinkpads (one a Windows 7-64Pro and one a Linux Mint (Mate) and am very pleased with their flexibility, upgradability, durability and longevity. I would definitely look at Lenovo Thinkpads.

                I personally bought an HP refurb desktop when I as working to serve as a backup POC. Our IT guy at work said his experience with the HP desktops was poor, mainly due to motherboard failures. Yep, mine failed, but a $39 Biostar MB popped right in and I did not even have to re-install Windows. I still have that machine, but it is scheduled for recycling due to being too outdated.

                Any future PC I buy must be user servicable, have user replacable battery if a laptop, and have an ethernet port. Dongle dollies and WiFi only need not apply.

                I have an iPad and most of my friend would probably be satisfied with one, but to me they are just too fragile. Mine slid off the sofa and cracked the screen. It was in a case and fell about 11 inches and did not hit on the corner. Fortunately I go a new replacement, but I have to admit the bloom is off the Apple.

              • #237107 Reply
                mn–
                AskWoody Lounger

                I tend to see Dell Precision models as refurbs… and they do seem to be excellent value for money there.

                I mean, with amateur photographers like my aunt and such… given that Precision laptops tend to have decent to excellent display panels because they’re portable graphical workstations. And the pro-quality display panel is one of the more expensive parts to get in a new laptop…

            • #237073 Reply
              MrJimPhelps
              AskWoody_MVP

              CT: I have a question about Dell Vostros that perhaps you can answer.

              I have four Dell Vostro 430 PCs that I have prepped for disposal for a customer. Each had 2 GB of RAM and came with Windows 7 Pro; I harvested the memory out of two of them and added it to the other two, resulting in two Windows 7 PCs with 4 GB of RAM each. (The two with 4 GB will be donated, and the two without memory will be scrapped.)

              Here’s the problem: I figured that it would be good to replace the CMOS batteries on these PCs; so I pulled out the old battery, blew out the dust, and then put in a new battery. After doing that, the computer simply will not detect the connected monitor. On one of the other Vostros, I removed the old CMOS battery and immediately installed the new battery; this PC detected the connected monitor with no problem. On the other Vostro, I chose not to replace the CMOS battery; it detects the connected monitor with no problem.

              I have the feeling that by leaving the CMOS battery out for almost an hour, somehow this caused the BIOS to lose its video settings and become unable to detect a connected monitor.

              The only video port on these PCs is DVI. I am thinking that if I install a VGA card, it might detect a VGA monitor, since VGA has been the defacto video standard for decades.

              Have you ever seen this problem with Vostros (or with any other computer)? If so, how did you deal with it?

              Thank you.

              Jim

              Group "L" (Linux Mint)
              with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
              • #237087 Reply
                Canadian Tech
                AskWoody_MVP

                Vostro 430 is a nice computer. I have several clients who are using them with no problems.

                I do not believe Vostro 430 has a DVI port. It must be on an add-in video card. I would guess that the video card is failing or there may be a driver problem with it. I would remove that card and connect to the Mobo VGA connector. I am pretty certain there is a VGA port on it, but it may have a black cover over it.

                https://downloads.dell.com/manuals/all-products/esuprt_desktop/esuprt_vostro_desktop/vostro-430_setup%20guide_en-us.pdf

                I routinely replace 2032’s on any computer over 3 or 4 years old. I have never left one out for more than a few seconds, so I cannot say I have ever seen that before. There is a way to reset BIOS by switching a jumper. You may have to do that.

                I sure would not scrap otherwise OK Vostro 430’s for a bit of memory. It will take DDR2-800 which is not that expensive. $36 for 4Gb
                https://www.amazon.ca/Komputerbay-DDR2-800MHz-PC2-6300-PC2-6400/dp/B003PJI9II/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1543507554&sr=8-1&keywords=ddr2+800+desktop

                Any other things I can help with just ask

                CT

              • #237091 Reply
                Microfix
                AskWoody MVP

                @Canadian-Tech and @MrJimPhelps and other dell users..
                you may wish to have a look at: dell-com-breach

                | Win8.1 Pro x64 | Linux Hybrids x86/x64 | Win7 Pro x86/x64 Offline |
              • #237092 Reply
                MrJimPhelps
                AskWoody_MVP

                The DVI port is hardwired to the motherboard; and I looked, but I couldn’t find any other video port; apparently these Vostros have the Intel H57 Express Chipset.

                I’ll look for a jumper which may allow me to resolve this problem.

                Not only is the Vostro a good computer, but if someone wants Windows 7, it has a Windows 7 Pro OEM license attached to it.

                I can scrap these two computers, keep them, or give them away; the customer doesn’t care, as long as I remove them from her site.

                Thanks for your help.

                Group "L" (Linux Mint)
                with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
              • #237159 Reply
                MrJimPhelps
                AskWoody_MVP

                By the way, I had already asked the Vostro question at Windows Secrets:

                /showthread//183542-Dell-Vostro-430

                I believe someone there has found the answer – involves removing / moving a jumper so as to clear the CMOS, etc.

                Group "L" (Linux Mint)
                with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
              • #237160 Reply
                Canadian Tech
                AskWoody_MVP

                I wonder if they are Vostro 430. Best of my knowledge, none came with DVI and all came with VGA. I already gave you a link the shows a picture of the back plane with a VGA port on it.

                CT

      • #236000 Reply
        Arvy
        AskWoody Lounger

        Not for everyone, but for those who are comfortable with the idea, building your own from individually selected components can produce excellent results as well as being a satisfying experience.  And, even for an “old geezer” like me, not really as difficult as some people would have you believe.  (My own latest build in progress at https://ca.pcpartpicker.com/user/rvirtue/saved/RdcgwP if anyone’s curious.)  But whatever you choose, be sure to get something capable of running Linux (Mint) as a fallback “escape hatch” from the ongoing deterioration of all commercial OS options and their “cloud” affiliations.

        Asus ROG Maximus XI Code board; Intel i9-9900K CPU; 32 GB DDR4-3600 RAM; Nvidia GTX1080 GPU; 2x512 GB Samsung 970 Pro M.2 NVMe; 2x2 TB Samsung 860 Pro SSDs; Windows 10.1809; Linux Mint 19.1; Terabyte Backup & Recovery
        5 users thanked author for this post.
        • #236524 Reply
          Bill C.
          AskWoody Plus

          Yes indeed!!! ++++1! You get what you want, when you want and how you want. The Mint machine is in the works now. For some reason if it fails, I am less angry with me than if a storebought failed.

      • #236050 Reply
        Susan Bradley
        AskWoody MVP

        If you are comfy with cloud/gmail and all things Google, I’d say that chromebooks is a viable platform.  But printers can be troublesome.  I’m not ready to give up on Windows (yes I tilt at Windmills) and as long as you have Pro you can control updating.

        Susan Bradley Patch Lady

        3 users thanked author for this post.
        • #236297 Reply
          woody
          Da Boss

          Yep, Google’s reputation for snooping is (IMHO) the primary downside to Chromebooks. But now that we’ve seen how much info Microsoft is gathering, it’s hard for one pot to call the other kettle black.

          As for printers… funny you mention that. I have a year-old Epson ET-4750, the color printer with ink wells instead of cartridges. I set up Google Cloud print. Works like a champ with anything on WiFi — phones, tablets, of all stripes. But I’m having a hard time printing with my plugged-into-the-router main Windows machine.

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          • #236339 Reply
            anonymous
            Guest

            Nice looking printer with good features, I would have thought they would have created machines with the ink tanks built-in years ago (cough) for us home users which is now being touted as revolutionary (gag).

            Anyway to the point, does Windows, the router, or the printer seem to forget you have the printer connected to the Ethernet port? Did you try the latest drivers and not letting Windows manage the printer?

            • #236420 Reply
              woody
              Da Boss

              Tried the latest drivers. Tried unhooking Windows. The only thing that’s worked is to connect the printer to Google Cloud print, and then access it through Chrome.

              There’s no Ethernet on the printer. It’s a wireless printer. I’m pretty sure the problem is that the printer is on a different network than the PC — the PC is physically plugged into the router, but I’m using WiFi from Google Mesh stations.

              1 user thanked author for this post.
              • #236437 Reply
                anonymous
                Guest

                Okay that make sense, Manual says to uninstall & reinstall the drivers. 🙁

                You may try assigning a static IP address in the printer interface to see if that can help. You are not the only person to have this problem and neither is Epson. It must be a prevalent problem, enough that another competitor had to release a separate utility to update IP address settings without users needing to reinstall the driver package.

                1 user thanked author for this post.
              • #236497 Reply
                anonymous
                Guest

                Ha, I meant to communicate the competitor printer manufacturer created the IP address utility for their own drivers, sorry folks.

          • #236364 Reply
            anonymous
            Guest

            Many of us already have google accounts (i.e. gmail), use their search engine, and regularly visit sites running google analytics.  So, I’m personally  skeptical that any more or less information would be collected from us if we used a chromebook rather than from any other flavor of hardware.  If anyone has (verifiable) information to the contrary, please share.

            If this is the same uncle who recently forgot his ‘admin’ password, then may I suggest that a certain nephew could put a pile of karmic merit in the old celestial bank by giving his uncle a chromebook for Christmas?   Ho, ho, ho 🙂

            4 users thanked author for this post.
            • #236474 Reply
              Ascaris
              AskWoody_MVP

              I use Google services on occasion.  I like the premise of Duck Duck Go, but it seldom seems to find what I want without a lot of digging.  Google’s a lot worse than it used to be, but it still is the best I know of.  I have Google accounts for logging in to Disqus and other such things, but the email within isn’t anything important… I consider those accounts permanently compromised.  I seldom use them, and even then it’s for throwaway stuff that won’t work with a ten minute email address.

              Google Street View and the satellite view of Maps are outstanding tools– can you even imagine what the reaction would have been 20 years ago if someone had told any of us that we’d be able to do what those two tools allow us– for any price at all, let alone for “free?”

              That doesn’t mean I expect to get tracked.  My cookies get cleared dozens of times a day, and my IP address changes regularly.  Google Analytics, Tag Services, etc., are all blocked in NoScript, and Google ads themselves are blocked by uBlock Origin.

              I don’t have an Android phone (or any smart phone).  I do have an Android tablet that’s about 5 years old (still works perfectly well, but Samsung abandoned it oh, about 4.5 years ago), but it is wifi only, and I don’t do much of anything with it other than charge it to keep the battery from dying more than it otherwise would.  It’s got one use, really, and that’s to be a GPS nav tool when I need it (which isn’t often).  I bought the Tom Tom app with “lifetime” map/app updates about a year before that “lifetime” ended and Tom Tom discontinued both the app and the updates (I guess they expected me to die within the year, if that was “lifetime”).  The thing that replaced it is a subscription thing, and they tried giving me two years sub in exchange for my lifetime one.  I had planned not only on living longer than one year, but on living longer than two years as well, so that’s no good.  To make it worse, the thing didn’t work on my tablet.

              It still works, though, even if nothing’s getting updated.  If I need to navigate any new roads constructed since the last update, I guess I am on my own.

              The only time it is capable of sending its location to anyone is when I am associated with a wifi hotspot, which only happens at my home anyway.

              Unless Google is going to use the various browser fingerprinting features to identify me, all they’re going to get is strings of data that have a finite beginning and a finite end (when my IP changes), and that can’t be linked to any such other strings of data.  And if they do start using browser fingerprinting (I am presuming that if they had been using it, they’d have been found out by now… someone would have seen the javascript), the tools that are being worked on by Mozilla to thwart that will almost certainly be fast-tracked.  Google stuff is nice, but not indispensable, so if it got to that point, I would conceivably be able to stop using Google unless/until the fingerprinting was defeated.

              In the rare instances I do see a Google ad, it’s never all that relevant to me… it may have to do with the content of the site I am visiting, but that’s not tracking.  I can’t ever be certain that Google isn’t penetrating my defensive attempts, but with the bulk of the world not even trying to prevent any of it, is it really worth their time to scrape up those of us willing to go to such lengths?

              On a Chromebook, can you do these things to block Google tracking?  I would guess not, but I emphasize the word “guess.”  Chrome has adblocking and script blocking addons too, but when Google makes not only the browser but the entire OS underneath it, can you ever be sure the data’s not being sent anyway?  You can’t even use a Chromebook without signing in to Google, can you?  (That’s what someone told me.  I’ve never actually used one.)

               

               

              Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.19.3).

              • #236733 Reply
                anonymous
                Guest

                Duckduck uses Bing for their results (hence the un-usefulness).    Try startpage.com uses Google but without the tracking/saving of previous searches.

                4 users thanked author for this post.
            • #237084 Reply
              MrJimPhelps
              AskWoody_MVP

              Many of us already have google accounts (i.e. gmail), use their search engine, and regularly visit sites running google analytics. So, I’m personally skeptical that any more or less information would be collected from us if we used a chromebook rather than from any other flavor of hardware. If anyone has (verifiable) information to the contrary, please share.

              I browse with Firefox, and I use a script blocker to block all Google scripts (including Google Analytics). So for me, Google would get more information from me if I use a Chromebook than if I don’t.

              The only time I allow any Google scripts to run is if I need to use Google Maps. I enable those scripts temporarily; the block is then restored when I exit my browser.

              Group "L" (Linux Mint)
              with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
        • #236384 Reply
          Michael432
          AskWoody_MVP

          Yes, printing has been a problem. I had bad luck with Google cloud print on two Canon printers. Worked at first, then stopped working and each company blamed the other. But, I had good luck with HP printers over the LAN using  HP  native ChromeOS software. Have not tried Android based printing, another whole avenue of attack. There are some (not many) printers that ChromeOS natively supports.

          Get up to speed on router security at RouterSecurity.org

      • #236110 Reply
        Bluetrix
        AskWoody MVP

        It’s hard to argue with 29+ years of experiences advice. If it’s the HP Laptop failure that has you in search of a new machine, by all means have a look see at what is available. If you want to get away from Windows OS, maybe a Chromebook will do what you need. Just remember Chromebooks and most apps that work on it are cloud based, so if you are not connected to the internet you may be out of luck. Chromebooks relies on the “Cloud” and is based on the Linux Kernel operating system.

        As mentioned above HD’s are smaller, but if you wish to entrust most if not all of your personal data to a provider which has a checkered past with personal information, go for it. That’s not to say Windows respects your privacy either, but at least your data isn’t stored in a “cloud” somewhere. It is the “now” thing a lot of people do.

        For sure you will hear pro and con for both here.  Good luck in your search. I am a little biased,  I don’t care for anything “Google”. YMMV

      • #236111 Reply
        Ascaris
        AskWoody_MVP

        If you’re going for a laptop, my top priority is an IPS display.  I’ve had it with TN displays and their tiny vertical viewing angles.  After having used an IPS laptop (using it now– my Acer Swift), I don’t want to go back to TN.

        I also insist upon encryption on an easily-stolen laptop.  The recent revelation about the state of self-encrypting SSDs led me to recognize that my own self-encrypting setup using the ATA password was vulnerable, regardless of how good or bad the SSD itself is, and this is by design.  The Acer-specced Insyde UEFI firmware, shockingly, will provide the attacker with an unlocking code after he enters the wrong password three times.  Absolutely bonkers! People who concern themselves with encryption try to make sure the key has as much entropy as possible to foil brute-force attacks.  Even if you don’t know the schema behind the unlocking code, it massively reduces the entropy… it’s a clue that can be used to grok out the full password hash (which is all you need), by design.

        “Companies that missed the point of passwords for a thousand, Alex!”

        On top of that, the password is limited to 12 characters, and worse still, it is not case sensitive.  This reduces the maximum entropy of the password significantly.

        There are firmwares that are far better than this if you wish to use the ATA password with a self-encrypting drive.  Ideally, if one is to use the least flawed self-encrypting drives, the Samsungs (the Crucials have supposedly had a firmware update to fix this; it remains to be seen how well the update works), you would want a firmware that allows the setting of max security mode, and that queries for the password to unlock the drive coming out of S3 sleep rather than caching and auto-unlocking on resume, thus mitigating the hot-swap attack.  In addition, the password should allow the full 32-character maximum to be used, and it should be case-sensitive.  It should not hash the 32-byte password down to a much smaller key, as do some firmwares, either.

        A firmware with those characteristics will allow the use of the self-encryption feature with the known vulnerabilities mitigated.

        Which models have such a firmware is hard to know unless you actually try it.  Is it all Insyde models, or is that just the way Acer has mis-specified it?  I don’t know.  I do know that the Dell gaming laptop I had for a couple of weeks in April (IIRC) accepted long passwords that were case-sensitive and prompted for a password when coming out of S3.  I do not know if it allowed setting max security mode, as I hadn’t had a reason to check at that point.

        I share the suggestion to avoid Windows.  I cannot recommend Windows 10 in good conscience with it being as much of a disaster as it is now.  Unlike Woody, though, I also have problems recommending Google anything.  As bad as MS is with their new telemetry obsession, Google’s even worse.

        In my case, I just buy whatever Windows PC I can, and then I remove Windows and install Linux.  I know it’s not an option for everyone, and that a lot of stuff available on Windows is not on Linux, but there simply are no options that are any better, IMO.

        In terms of usage, though, if a Chromebook will do what you need, Linux will too.  A Chromebook is just a laptop built around the Chrome browser (running Linux under the surface).  If that’s all you need… well, Linux can run Chrome too, as well as Chromium and related browsers that can still use all of the Chrome addons but without the spying.

        A non-Chromebook Linux setup isn’t as fast to update or as generally bullet-proof (which also means you can tinker with it, which is a feature, not a bug, for many of us), but if you are willing to trade the simplicity for privacy, it may work for you.  The down side is that you have to set it up yourself if you want to avail yourself of the vast variety of Windows laptops out there.

        Whatever you choose, I suggest getting it from a place with a liberal return policy.  This is especially important if you wish to set up Linux on it (or a version of Windows older than 10), or to use the self-encrypting drive with ATA password.  If the laptop does not work to your satisfaction, you will be able to return it without paying a steep restocking fee at places like Best Buy, Walmart, or Fry’s Electronics (as far as I know; policies can change at any time).  Newegg does have a fee, but it is waived for Premier members on Premier-eligible items (and they also pay the return shipping).  I don’t know about Amazon and computers.

         

         

         

        Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.19.3).

        5 users thanked author for this post.
        • #236259 Reply
          anonymous
          Guest

          Many Original Equipment Manufacturers use Insyde, Acer and the rest are able to custom build from source code thus specifying the options and functions.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #236266 Reply
            Ascaris
            AskWoody_MVP

            Based on that, I had hoped that Acer would be able to provide me with a semi-custom firmware that would have that particular feature removed, as I had read that other OEMs sometimes have given to their customers.  Alas, it was not to be; they told me they could not do that.  (Of course, they CAN do that, as in they are capable.  They just won’t.)

            It’s disappointing, but not crushing.  I’ve found that a Luks encrypted partition works quite well… while they call it “software” encryption, it’s hardware accelerated by dedicated AES instructions in the CPU the same way that decoding H.264 video streams is hardware accelerated, so the relatively weak CPU is able to encrypt and decrypt in real-time with only a small bit of CPU usage (about 3% in my unscientific test while copying a large file) and no detectable reduction in the SSD’s speed.

            Support has been added to the Linux kernel for Opal SED function (which will allow S3 sleep recovery/unlocking), so when the SEDTool catches up, I will be able to switch to Opal full disk encryption, just as Bitlocker for Windows 8/10 uses.  The Samsung drives were not vulnerable in the Opal tests in the recent vulnerability disclosure.

            As this self-defeating password function is apparently part of the Insyde suite by default, I would bet that most Insyde-using PCs will have the same thing.  In my case, it is a ten digit unlocking code, while all of the various web sites that have Insyde unlockers all expect an 8 digit code.  As such, my SED with Insyde will probably defeat a casual attacker right now, but to anyone who really wants to get in there, it’s toast.  The Luks is another thing completely– it uses a painfully long and convoluted password made of random characters.  If there’s no flaw in the code, no one’s getting in there.

            Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.19.3).

        • #236365 Reply
          Klaas Vaak
          AskWoody Lounger

          @Ascaris: I was scrolling down the page reading the various comments and was wondering if no one was going to mention Linux. Sure enough, there you were.

          We had a short exchange recently about Linux, and got me thinking. 1st I saw you extensive exchange with …. (forgot his name) about installation probs on a Vista rig, and it scared me off to the extent that I even went to look at a Macbook Pro. It’s a nice machine, and the hardware and software are tuned to one another. But …. the price :-((

          A coupe of weeks ago I started to look at Linux again, downloaded a few distros for testing in Virtual Box. In Feb I had installed Mint, which has quite a rich user interface, quite a change from some of the others. I also quite like openSUSE Tumbleweed but can’t get the shared folders to appear – it’s a cinch. What I like about Mint is the UI, as well as the good documentation about dual booting. I am coming round to the idea that setting up the dual boot is not so complicated, not with Mint.

          I will take my time evaluating the various distros – not all of corse, there simply are too many – and believe I will eventually take the plunge.

          1x Linux Mint 19.1 | 1x Linux antiX

          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #236766 Reply
            Ascaris
            AskWoody_MVP

            That particular issue (with Cybertooth’s network issue) was eventually resolved with a registry edit on the Windows machine.  Unknown to me, adding “everyone” to the Windows share ACL (acces control list) with full rights doesn’t mean everybody is allowed.  It only means, apparently, “everyone who has authenticated.”  That excludes guests, even if you have password-protected sharing off and “everyone” having full permissions.  If you want “everyone” to actually mean that, you have to set a registry or SecPol setting to make i happen.

            I’ve had a good deal of issues with pure Windows networking over the years, without any Linux mixed in to confuse things even more.  In this case, it was behaving as designed… it just wasn’t obvious what it was doing.

            Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.19.3).

      • #235840 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        Get the HP x360 that they’re selling at Costco and Sams, and get the $20 extended warranty on it and use your Costco/Sams card to buy it (so it’s covered for 5 years total between manufacturer warranty, card warranty, and the extended warranty). I think they’re 15″ laptops going for $600 and are specced decently, often with plenty of ram and touch screens.

        • #236280 Reply
          radosuaf
          AskWoody Lounger

          They’re extremely noisy, get very hot, have no TrackPoint and just one USB. I wouldn’t recommend them.

          MSI H110 PC MATE * Intel Core i5-6402P * 2 x 8 GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 2133 MHz * Aorus Radeon RX 570 4GB * Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD * Western Digital Blue 1TB HDD * Seagate Barracuda 1TB HDD * DVD RW Lite-ON iHAS 124 * Creative X-Fi XtremeGamer PCI * Windows 10 Pro 2004 64-bit
      • #236224 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        After 30+ years playing computers, it has paid off to wipe pre-installed nonsense from new computers and reinstall Windows from scratch without all the useless stuff pre-installed by computer vendors. Best of all, you’re freed from OEM restrictions.

      • #236268 Reply
        1040ST
        AskWoody Lounger

        Wait a minute.

        The laptop is only a year old and he wants to replace it already?  How about just try zeroing it out completely and reinstalling Windows 10?  Or Linux Mint?  Or getting some support from someone reliable, instead of spending hundreds of dollars on a new machine?  Sounds wasteful.

        I’m more interested in what the technical issues are with the laptop. If there’s genuinely a hardware defect with the laptop, then that should be taken up with HP, ideally within warranty, but it can also be done outside of warranty.

        What’s the model of the HP laptop?

        A new machine from a different manufacturer may not be the solution to his problems, because the new machine may have similar problems or problems that are just as critical.

        And I hate to say it, but maybe the problem isn’t with the computer, but the approach to solving the problems with the computer.

        Or maybe the uncle just has money to spend and wants to buy a new laptop, which isn’t necessarily a problem in itself either. In which case, can I have the old laptop?

        All computers are going to have problems eventually. Buying a new one may only solve the problems in the short term.

        Do you buy a new car after your year-old car develops issues or your car is just out of warranty? No, you get it fixed.

        Therefore, to answer the title of Woody’s post, “Which PC should I get?”, the answer is “None. You fix the computer you just bought or get the manufacturer to replace it.”

        11 users thanked author for this post.
        • #236272 Reply
          Ascaris
          AskWoody_MVP

          Very good point.  I glossed right over that bit in the original post!  A year is too new to be considering a new PC unless it’s been nailed down that it is hardware (the post did say it is out of warranty).

          I’ve seen a lot of bad reviews for laptops recently, often describing BSODs or other similar things.  I tend to dismiss them… what do you expect from a PC running Windows 10 Home, essentially a Windows beta?   The same’s true of Win 10 Pro if the user hasn’t made use of the deferral feature.  You don’t use beta software when you want stability, and you can’t say it’s the PC at fault when it is running beta software.

          Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.19.3).

        • #236279 Reply
          radosuaf
          AskWoody Lounger

          I use a 2-year old T460s at work an it goes through the day flawlessly. I believe it will be as good in 2 years from now.

          MSI H110 PC MATE * Intel Core i5-6402P * 2 x 8 GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 2133 MHz * Aorus Radeon RX 570 4GB * Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD * Western Digital Blue 1TB HDD * Seagate Barracuda 1TB HDD * DVD RW Lite-ON iHAS 124 * Creative X-Fi XtremeGamer PCI * Windows 10 Pro 2004 64-bit
          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #236394 Reply
            anonymous
            Guest

            Yes, I have been told that the Thinkpad series T are still well made, sort of, minus some of the rollcage(?)

            Do you know if the X series is also still decently made?

            Writing this on a MacBook Pro Santa Rosa from 2007. A Crucial MX500 has given it a new lease on life.

          • #237052 Reply
            anonymous
            Guest

            I use a HP 6910P circa 2006.  Still does everything I need it for.  Running Kubuntu 18.04.

        • #236293 Reply
          UKBrianC
          AskWoody Lounger

          +1 for that sentiment. For individual, privately-owned devices disposal should always be a last resort. I recognise that business hardware replacement/capital spend policy is a different issue entirely.

          Maybe the OP has drawn a short straw re a hardware component – it happens.. but statistically rarely.. otherwise it’s user behaviour, software problems or infection. All of which are eminently sortable in the vast majority of cases.

           

        • #236366 Reply
          Klaas Vaak
          AskWoody Lounger

          @1040ST: the most sensible approach indeed.

          1x Linux Mint 19.1 | 1x Linux antiX

        • #236525 Reply
          Bill C.
          AskWoody Plus

          …And I hate to say it, but maybe the problem isn’t with the computer, but the approach to solving the problems with the computer.”

          This is often the case. I have usually found when I could not resolve an issue, sleeping on it brought forth a rethink and new angle and usually worked.

          But there is still always:

          Attachments:
      • #236274 Reply
        Microfix
        AskWoody MVP

        My uncle has a year old HP laptop that’s had issues and he’s just out of warranty.

        So what’s wrong with starting a thread on the forum to see if we can resolve the issues?
        Stating model, OS, bitness and issues etc..
        Then if/when we fix it, give a donation to askwoody 😉

        | Win8.1 Pro x64 | Linux Hybrids x86/x64 | Win7 Pro x86/x64 Offline |
        6 users thanked author for this post.
        • #236278 Reply
          radosuaf
          AskWoody Lounger

          Yes, 90% of issues can be solved by getting rid of dust inside and reinstalling the OS :).

          MSI H110 PC MATE * Intel Core i5-6402P * 2 x 8 GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 2133 MHz * Aorus Radeon RX 570 4GB * Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD * Western Digital Blue 1TB HDD * Seagate Barracuda 1TB HDD * DVD RW Lite-ON iHAS 124 * Creative X-Fi XtremeGamer PCI * Windows 10 Pro 2004 64-bit
          3 users thanked author for this post.
        • #236313 Reply
          Microfix
          AskWoody MVP

          I’d prefer to fix computers rather than opt for a newer model.
          Once fixed, they are like new if not better with HW upgrades, Fresh OS install (Windows or Linux), configured for purpose etc..with no bloatware as in factory clones from major manufacturers. Individual computing tailored for individual needs.
          There is another aspect behind this, that I believe in which, is environmentally friendly computing and cost effectiveness.

          | Win8.1 Pro x64 | Linux Hybrids x86/x64 | Win7 Pro x86/x64 Offline |
          7 users thanked author for this post.
          • #236319 Reply
            BobbyB
            AskWoody Lounger

            @microfix Indeed repurpose and reuse case in point a 2015 Acer Aspire sat here before me isn’t down for replacement, but a festive upgrade last year it had a WD 1TB spinning rust installed, this year its up for a 1TB SSD and the spinning rust is heading to the spare SATA socket via a $12 caddy.
            So your not fortunate enough to have a spare SATA socket, never fear remove the existing HDD/SSD into an enclosure a snap at any where from $20-35 and while the Top’s/sides are off treat your self to a RAM upgrade at the same time should it be deficient in RAM or HDD/SSD capacity and enjoy a new machine. Not sure how important the Enviroment or ECO credentials of the folks wanting to upgrade but I dislike sending something to recycling or Landfill before its useful time is out. Minimum outlay you can get a Machine easily good for another 10 years for half the price of a brand new one. Just do your research you may have a little “keeper” on your hands all for the sake of a few Bucks and you don’t have to fight the crowds on Cyber Monday/Boxing Day sales. Painful with a hangover after way too much Xmas cheer 😉

            1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #236377 Reply
          anonymous
          Guest

          Considering it’s HP, buying a retail pro copy of Windows is probably all it needs.  There’s so much junk added to the base HP install that I’ve never recommended actually buying one of their units.

          Exception is their business line which I’ve never personally used but have seen few issues with.

          • #237110 Reply
            MrJimPhelps
            AskWoody_MVP

            You can likely do a clean install with a standard Windows install disk on an HP computer, and then use the OEM license to activate it. I have done exactly this on several Dell computers for which I had no factory restore disks. I had to do a phone activation, but I was able to successfully get Windows 7 activated on all of these computers.

            Group "L" (Linux Mint)
            with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
      • #236275 Reply
        Fred
        AskWoody Plus

        My uncle has a year old HP laptop that’s had issues and he’s just out of warranty.

        So what’s wrong with starting a thread on the forum to see if we can resolve the issues? Stating model, OS, bitness and issues etc.. Then if/when we fix it, give a donation to askwoody 

        Hear hear !

        Black Lives Matter
      • #236277 Reply
        radosuaf
        AskWoody Lounger

        ThinkPad only. You can’t beat UltraNav.

        MSI H110 PC MATE * Intel Core i5-6402P * 2 x 8 GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 2133 MHz * Aorus Radeon RX 570 4GB * Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD * Western Digital Blue 1TB HDD * Seagate Barracuda 1TB HDD * DVD RW Lite-ON iHAS 124 * Creative X-Fi XtremeGamer PCI * Windows 10 Pro 2004 64-bit
      • #236286 Reply
        Mele20
        AskWoody Lounger

        Why would you suggest that “uncle” (not Millennial) buy a LAPTOP? Those ALL are lousy.  DESKTOPS are still the only way to go unless you have to have a laptop for your work and then your employer should supply it.

        I would suggest a Dell XPS Special Edition machine with an SSD. You should also have a secondary hard drive for storage and that should be a traditional drive.  I’m not a gamer, but I have been buying Dell XPS machines since my first machine in 1999.  I’d rather have no machine than have a laptop since I don’t need to carry a computer around with me when I leave my home.  These days, most would use a really good smart phone when away from home.  Laptops have such severe limitations and are so expensive for what little you get.  Desktops have much more bang for the the money spent.

        I live on the ocean with no air conditioning yet my XPS Special Edition with Windows 8 Pro is now six years old and just fine even with all the salt air on a daily basis.  My XPS Special Edition with Windows 10 Pro (1709) is also fine but it is just one year old. Windows 10 is no fun but, to me, it would be a million times worse if it were a laptop.  If someone is bent on getting a laptop (non business use…consumer use) then I would recommend Dell XPS 13 inch or 15 inch (or if one can afford it a 15″ Precision).  The XPS ones can be bought with Ubuntu factory installed and fully supported by Dell.  I would recommend a 24″ Dell Ultra Sharp Infinity Edge monitor that will last probably 10 years and is excellent and has a non-reflective coating which is vastly superior to the shiny, highly reflective coating on most laptops.

        i would NEVER suggest to anyone that they buy a computer in a store! You get OLD stuff and no way to choose components you want.  A computer is one of the few things one should ALWAYS buy online from the OEM (and the monitor…there are no better monitors for reasonable prices than the Dell Ultra Sharps).

        As for a Chromebook, if you have zero interest in privacy and want something cheap and junky then I guess that would be ok, but once you have had a nice computer (desktop) no way you would go for a Chromebook even if privacy is irrelevant to you.

        One should always buy a longer warranty.  Buy at least a three year warranty from the OEM.  XPS warranties have dedicated techs that are trained only on XPS machines.  For consumer purchases the techs are located in India but there is almost no wait time and they usually have minimal accents.  If you buy from Dell Small Business (the best way) you get Enterprise techs which actually is not as good even though they are 24/7/365 and located in the USA.  You also get next business day in home service with home or small business.  It is worth every penny although Dell machines these days (at least the better XPSes have few hardware problems even in a harsh climate like where I am).  Plus, you get 24/7/365 software support (which I may find very handy when I upgrade to 1803).

        • #236350 Reply
          anonymous
          Guest

          When Windows 10 does not work it provides similar frustrations no matter the form factor of the computer.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #236289 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        Try installing Linux Mint before buying new. Hardware is just one year old – I beg you! Latest version of Mint is I think 19.0 (or has there already been a 19.1?)

        Chromebook and Google means you give up your privacy completely, you are then dealing with one of the worst data krakens there are. Technically well maintained, many updates, yes – but zero privacy.

        If it should be new hardware indeed, find a shop specialising in selling Linux-equipped computers. That way, when Linux comes preinstalled (preinstalled not at factory, but at the shop), the full compatability of the hardware is demonstrated – and guaranteed.

        In Germany it could be a shop like Ixsoft, as an exmaple. Bought an Asus notebook there with very good display and sound, Skylark processor,  and ordered them to preinstall Linux Mint. I never regretted it. You do not need Windows for home use if not doing gaming. All software home users most likely use, comes with any Mint installation, automatically, and more complete than  Windows these days. And not depending on Google online cloud “services”.

        Dont fear to move to Mint. I moved several machines for older people (my parents, and friends of theirs) from Windows to Mint – and they all thanked me for doing so quite quickly, sometime asking why I had not done it earlier already. Its easier to service, and less prone to “issues”.  Ordinary home users and normal households do not need more than this.

        Marc

         

        3 users thanked author for this post.
        • #236409 Reply
          anonymous
          Guest

          Ordinary home users and normal households do not need more than this.

          Unless you have some HW or SW that is essential to what you do!

          Try installing an SDR receiver on Linux.

          THEN try installing it’s application software..

          The Devil you will encounter in the many, MANY Details, before you give up and install Windows.

          Linux is only an alternative if you spend your whole life in a browser, unless you are a scientist, who have a good selection for their work by now..

          • #236473 Reply
            lurks about
            AskWoody Lounger

            With Linux, it depends on the distro chosen. Linux Mint is probably the best overall distro for new Linux users and veteran users who do not need the latest bling. Switching OSes (even to MacOS) requires a learning curve by the user. While all OSes do the same things they all do tasks somewhat differently so one has to learn the new OS and its quirks. Many long time Windows users have gotten so used to the quirks and idiocies of Windows that they are second nature. Now getting use to the quirks and idiocies of another OS takes time. It is doable. I know several very non-techie users who have switched from Windows and after a bit of a break in period they are all comfortable with their boxes.

      • #236292 Reply
        John
        AskWoody Lounger

        I bought a refurbished Dell XPS 13 9360. Absolutely the best PC notebook and saved money buying refurbished from Dell. Same one year warranty as new as well. I think Chromebooks are good for home users willing to accept being in a Google world. But I would still skip the really cheap ones. Frankly anything really cheap in a notebook is just junk most will not be happy with.

      • #236294 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        It’s only a year old.

        Just fix the problems whatever they may be. Being a year old it probably has an SSD  but if not install one and upgrade ram if needed.

        Depends on the Uncle but maybe dual boot Windows and Linux.

        My youngest laptop is a Sandy Bridge from 2012 and I still regularly use a dual core from 2008.

        Many new laptops are c**p  and just have newer spyware.

      • #236310 Reply
        PKCano
        Da Boss

        I have been a MS product user since DOS days. I came up with Windows since Win3. I have used every version (not recent Enterprise) they made. I also had a brush with DecNet and have experimented with Linux. I built my own computers and repaired others’ broken ones.

        As an OLD geek, my days of having to (wanting to) build my own machines is past. Now I just want something that works and lets me do what I want to do (not that I won’t still swap storage media, up the RAM, or replace a power supply).

        In 2011 I bought my first MacBook Pro. Today my daily driver is a 2.6GHz Ivy Bridge i7, 16GB RAM MacMini. I runs 5 Parallels VMs from XP to Win10 Insiders. I use Firefox with a minimum of 12 tabs open at once, and can open whatever version of Windows in a VM to answer questions on this site. I have 14 Windows VMs total (various versions) and four old Win7 hardware installs. So I am well familiar with the Windows Update headaches and the bloated Win10 with ads and unusable UWP Apps.

        What I enjoy are my Macs – They just work. I have to disagree that Apple isn’t doing better. Since my first in 2011, I have done a version upgrade for each of them once a year. I have NEVER had a bluescreen. My programs all work on the far side with only an occasional but infrequent program version upgrade. Apple may be having problems with stock prices at the moment, but it certainly hasn’t affected the computers – my latest is a Retina 4K iMac with a 3.6GHz Kaby Lake i7.

        11 users thanked author for this post.
        • #236344 Reply
          Marty
          AskWoody Plus

          I would be interested in hearing Woody elaborate on his statement that “Frankly, Apple isn’t doing much better”.  After using Microsoft operating systems for 35 years, I recently switched to Apple (MacBook Pro and iMac), and I’ve been generally pleased.  The main downside is that you can’t customize Apple products (I built a couple of PCs in years gone by to my own specs).  The only crash I have had was caused by Quicken 2016 for Mac, a product that needs a lot of improvement (Quicken 2010 on my Windows 7 PC is far superior).

        • #236372 Reply
          Klaas Vaak
          AskWoody Lounger

          @PKCano: from what I have been able to glean from various comments around the net is that 1 issue with Macbook Pro’s is that they are irreparable because the compnenets inside are glued/riveted/whatever to the case.

          So what does one do with a 6-core i9 processor that is throttled by the heat it produces? What does one do if some other component breaks? It may never happen, but if it does it means a lot of money down the drain.

          1x Linux Mint 19.1 | 1x Linux antiX

          • #236380 Reply
            PKCano
            Da Boss

            Many of the recent consumer products are non-repairable, not just Macs. Microsoft’s whole line, for example. To get the “thinner than anyone else” they have to give up something.

            The MacMini described above is user repairable. It’s almost 7 years old. I’m drooling over the new upgraded MacMini. I asked Apple – the RAM and SSD are replaceable, they say by qualified tech, but I think they may be user replaceable (at lease for now, until they implement the new chip).

            • #236476 Reply
              Ascaris
              AskWoody_MVP

              The difference is, though, that in the PC world, if a Microsoft releases only non-repairable disposable gear, you can always go with Lenovo, Asus, Acer, Dell, HP, Samsung, Huawei, Clevo….

              With Apple, you get the Mac offering or you get nothing.

              Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.19.3).

              1 user thanked author for this post.
              • #236481 Reply
                Canadian Tech
                AskWoody_MVP

                When considering Apple Vs. Microsoft, it is always helpful to keep in mind that Apple is fundamentally a hardware company and Microsoft is fundamentally a software company.

                The fact that Microsoft’s roots and what ever skills they have left, are rooted in software is helpful in understanding how hopeless their hardware offerings are.

                If you have managed people in a hardware organization, you would realize just how different the personality and mind-set is. The kind of people who are attracted to a software organization and are successful with it are very different from those that succeed in hardware organizations.

                Google is fundamentally a software company.

                CT

                2 users thanked author for this post.
            • #236508 Reply
              Klaas Vaak
              AskWoody Lounger

              @PKCano: the MacMini is a desktop computer, not a laptop, so to mention it in this context is not an apples-for-apples comparison.

              1x Linux Mint 19.1 | 1x Linux antiX

        • #236792 Reply
          1040ST
          AskWoody Lounger

          As an OLD geek, my days of having to (wanting to) build my own machines is past. Now I just want something that works and lets me do what I want to do (not that I won’t still swap storage media, up the RAM, or replace a power supply).

          Why did you decide not to get a custom, pre-built Intel/AMD Windows machine instead?

          Today my daily driver is a 2.6GHz Ivy Bridge i7, 16GB RAM MacMini. I runs 5 Parallels VMs from XP to Win10 Insiders.

          This is amazing given all your great contributions to this site, that you’re running Windows on Mac VMs.

          What I enjoy are my Macs – They just work.

          Your Macs just work.  Which means that you’re lucky.  I decided to build my own PC for the first time in 2010 after having problems with my MacBook Pro.  Building my own machine is something I always wanted to do and had the skills, but didn’t have the need until I had problems with my MacBook Pro display, and going back and forth to the Apple Store to help the “Geniuses” troubleshoot it and fix it right.  My MacBook Pro had the same display issue around 2010 that Dell’s had with regard to the Nvidia cards failing due to heat.

          Apple’s computers are just like other manufacturers; they all have problems of one kind or another.  Fortunately, my custom built computer is running fine (knock on wood) and I just need more storage space and maybe more than 4 GB RAM.  I just haven’t had the time to upgrade.

          The main reason I wanted to move to Windows is that I felt that Mac software was always playing catch-up to Windows for basic things like email, web browsers, and utilities.

          The other problems I have with Macs is that they’re costly and difficult to upgrade, if you can upgrade them at all.  I like the freedom of choosing my components, but I understand that’s not something that most people want to be able to do.

          My computing experience is similar to yours.  I’ve been using all sorts of computers since the early ’80s, including Windows since 3.1 or even 3.0, many Mac OS versions, some Unix and NeXT in the late 80s, Atari (thus my username), and even high-end graphics programs running on DOS, and a little programming and scripting.  My next step is to move to Linux which I’ve wanted to do for a while, but haven’t had the time.

      • #236327 Reply
        Microfix
        AskWoody MVP

        I’m hesitant to offer a replacement model mainly due to the side-channel spectre vulnerabilities on current CPU’s.
        IMHO better to wait until the new CPU’s come out, buy some time, get your uncle’s PC fixed.

        | Win8.1 Pro x64 | Linux Hybrids x86/x64 | Win7 Pro x86/x64 Offline |
        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #236461 Reply
          anonymous
          Guest

          I agree 100%…
          Why spend any money (esp. $500 and up) on a new PC in 2018/2019 when this hardware has a built in design flaw. Band-aids, string and glue is about all the vendor’s are offering. All have various performance issues. Wait for the redesigned systems that do not have the flaw – 2020 seems to be the first availability date.

          Even a Chromebook – buy quality. It is worth it in the long run.

      • #236325 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        I have always bought less expensive laptops, never paid for a warranty and trash and replace them when they start to die.  Average life has been about 3 years.  So I divide my cost by 3 and my average cost to “rent” a laptop has been a little over $100 a year.  This time I bought a Chromebook and am thrilled with it…

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #237180 Reply
          Ascaris
          AskWoody_MVP

          Every laptop I have ever had (aside from the one that was stolen; you’d have to ask someone else for that) still works, though the first (a Compaq from before the HP era) got such loose, floppy hinges that it was difficult to use, and one day the screen flopped open and hit something and the backlight never came on again.  By then I had a newer laptop not because of that, but because the Compaq was so slow/obsolete (900 mHz Duron with 320MB RAM max).  It still boots and runs… you just need to attach a VGA monitor.

          That one was a cheap one.  Next three (including the stolen one) were all midrange models.  My next cheap one wasn’t until December 2017, so I will have to wait and see.  My impression is that it will go longer than cheapos used to go, but time will tell.

          Laptops typically have the intake for the cooling fan on the bottom, so they do not do well being used on a soft surface like a bed or carpet.  Get a flat surface to put under it, like a board from a board game or whatever else you can find.

          Laps can be okay or not depending on just where the intake sits.

          That is one thing I like about the Acer Swift 1 I am using now.  It has no vents, intakes, or fan; it is passively cooled, with the aluminum case radiating heat without needing vents.  It gets warm working hard, but it is such a low power SoC that I have never seen it throttle.  Its not a fast PC, but it is fast enough to not be painful to use.

          Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.19.3).

          1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #236347 Reply
        johnf
        AskWoody Lounger

        Having a list of the issues he’s having (as well as the model of the HP, along with the memory installed and what the hard drive is) would be helpful.

        What I would do first is boot up with a Linux live disk, and do the following:

        1) full memory scan, to see if any of the memory modules are bad
        2) HD scan, to see if there are issues with the HD.
        3) Run Linux for a bit, and see if the same issues can be re-created.

        If he only has 4 gigs of memory, then upgrading to 8 gigs would help. If the HD is faulty, then replacing it with a new SSD and a fresh, clean Windows install would fix that. HP (and others) are known for using “gray market” components, including HD’s. Because of that, a lot of them either fail or run lousy, since they may have not tested 100%, and were re-sold to a secondary market.

        HP is noted for a huge amount of crapware on their PC’s, so a fresh clean install of Windows (after you’ve downloaded the manufacturer hardware drivers to replace Windows ones) would be indicated, presuming things work under Linux.

        Re-installing Windows is a ton of work, compared to a new Linux install (those usually take about 15-20 minutes max). Then you need to install anti-virus, etc.

        One thought would be to turn the current HP (once you’ve validated the hardware) into a Chromebook! Yes, it can be done…link to instructions . This way, you can have your Uncle test and see if he likes Chromebooks, and either keep this one, or buy a new Chromebook.

      • #236352 Reply
        Canadian Tech
        AskWoody_MVP

        Woody, we are almost on the same wave-length. I have made certain my clients know that I do/will not support Windows 10. If they buy it, they are going to have to get support from someone else. When they ask for advice, I offer to fix their Win7 machine if it is fixable. If not, then Apple or Chromebook. Many have opted for iPad’s.

        A few years ago I had 150 Win7 clients. That is down to 130 now. Only 1 of those 20 chose Win10, the rest chose smart phones. I have been focusing a lot of effort these days on maintenance of Win7 machines. I have replaced over 20 of their hard drives with 5 yr warrantied WD blacks. The re-install of Windows and a new hard drive makes these systems run beautifully. I just did one this weekend that was manufactured by Dell in October 2007. It runs extremely well. I dare say better than a lot of the newer ones I have seen. It is a core 2 with hyper-threading.

        Add to that the fact that Microsoft “support” is no issue with any of my clients because we stopped ALL Microsoft updating May 2017. These systems just run and run and run. If anyone is interested in the details of the process I use to do this, I would be happy to provide it.

        I fully expect to be using Windows 7 systems for years to come. At least 5 years, unless someone like Google pulls support for Win7.

        Bottom line for me, Windows 7 is the last Windows there will ever be. When the day finally comes that I have to drop it, it is likely to be replaced with the latest and greatest Android “smart” phone.

        CT

        4 users thanked author for this post.
        • #236374 Reply
          Klaas Vaak
          AskWoody Lounger

          @Canadian Tech: agreed with your comments about Win 10. But …. Win 8.1 is better than Win 7, IMO.

          1x Linux Mint 19.1 | 1x Linux antiX

          1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #236472 Reply
          bellelyn
          AskWoody Lounger

          Hello:  I have win 8.1 64 bit.  I did not get a cd with the operating system on it, so I cannot re-install win 8.1 on the hard drive.

          I cannot back up my software anymore due to a bad disk error.  I have run chk dsk several times, but, each time, I thought the problem was solved, and tried backing up my operating system, I got the error of bad disk sector before 5 minutes was run on the backup.

          Someone suggested I use Spinrite.  I bought Spinrite, downloaded to a flash drive and to a cd.  Neither worked. I changed the BIOS to boot up with the Spinrite flash drive the 1st time.  Spinrite would not even start.  The regular booting system booted up, but, not spinrite.  Then I tried to boot up using the Spinrite cd, after changing the boot order, booted once again through the regular booting process.  I got Spinrite to refund my money.

          I do not want to buy a Windows 10 anything, but will probably have to one day.  I have tried to learn how to do Linux, but didn’t get far.

          I thought I read somewhere, that you cannot download software to the Chromebook,  or anything like that.  I use a password manager, and I don’t think I would be able to even get it on the Chromebook

          I am a novice computer person.   I have learned some of the lingo, but, get lost with all the instructions out there.

          I just wish I could back up my software.  I use Carbonite to back up my documents, pictures, contacts, etc.

          i’m not sure that I could re-install my win 8.1 even with your instructions.  I guess I am just up the creek without a paddle.

           

          • #236480 Reply
            Ascaris
            AskWoody_MVP

            Hello: I have win 8.1 64 bit. I did not get a cd with the operating system on it, so I cannot re-install win 8.1 on the hard drive.

            Microsoft has the .iso images to make the install media available if you have a valid product key.  I’ve read that they are not supposed to work with OEM keys, but I don’t remember which keys I used… I’ve downloaded them without a problem.

            If you can’t do that, your computer maker may be able to give or sell you an install disc.  It’s the license key that is the valuable part, and you already have that.

            I cannot back up my software anymore due to a bad disk error. I have run chk dsk several times, but, each time, I thought the problem was solved, and tried backing up my operating system, I got the error of bad disk sector before 5 minutes was run on the backup.

            Macrium Reflect has a free version, and it has an option to ignore disk errors (as opposed to cancelling the backup).  Whatever was on the sectors where the errors are is probably lost, but the rest of it can still be backed up, hopefully, before the drive fails completely.  Maybe what you’re using now has such an option, but if not, Reflect is a great product.

            Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.19.3).

            1 user thanked author for this post.
            • #236595 Reply
              Canadian Tech
              AskWoody_MVP

              Ascaris, there is a lot of misunderstanding about Win7 re-installs. The actual install disk can be ANY brand name. They are basically all the same. You can use any install disk as long as the product type (home, pro, etc) and bitness (32 or 64) match your Microsoft Product Key.

              If you can find an install disk that has SP1 on it, you will save yourself a lot of time.

              Lots of people think there is something unique on the install disk. There really is not.

              Dell’s are an exception because when you re-install the same version of Win7 as was delivered on the original out of the factory PC, it will always automatically activate. The key is embedded on the MB.

              So, bottom line, you can borrow a friend’s install disk. If you have a Dell, you do not need to know the product key.

              CT

              1 user thanked author for this post.
              • #236606 Reply
                Ascaris
                AskWoody_MVP

                Microsoft doesn’t like to offer any support for OEM versions of Windows (including sending replacement disks)… they send you to the OEM of the PC for that purpose, and you’re liable to have better luck trying to get a Windows CD from the OEM of the machine in question than for some OEM whose PC you didn’t buy or from Microsoft itself (though they might do it grudgingly if you are persistent.  I wouldn’t bet on it!).

                I didn’t suggest eBay or the like as it is difficult to know if you’re even getting an OEM Windows disc at all.  There are a lot of reinstall discs without product keys for sale there quite cheaply, but there’s no way to know what they really are.

                Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.19.3).

                1 user thanked author for this post.
              • #236608 Reply
                Canadian Tech
                AskWoody_MVP

                The install disk is NOT connected to the Product Key. They are two independent things.

                CT

              • #237181 Reply
                Ascaris
                AskWoody_MVP

                Yes, that’s true, but I don’t see where anyone suggested otherwise.  I think there might have been a miscommunication here somewhere.

                Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.19.3).

            • #236764 Reply
              bellelyn
              AskWoody Lounger

              Ascaris:

              Thank you for your response.

              I actually bought Macrium Reflect a few years ago.  I was backing my hard drive up before the bad disk error happened.  Either, it was 2016 or 2017 when, I think, I had a surge of electricity, or something caused the computer to stop working, because I had to take it to the local computer guy in town.  It took a week for him to get it running again, and there after I could not complete a backup.  I’m not sure if I still have the backups from before the computer stopped working..

              I did not know that you could tell Macrium Reflect to ignore disk errors.  How does a person tell Macrium Reflect to ignore disk errors.  Like I said, I know a little bit, but not, enough to always fix things that go wrong. I will check my Macrium Reflect guide to see if I can find this information.

              I have a valid product id, which is 15 numbers long with with 5 Letters at the end.  Is that the product key?

              Also, I’m not sure I could re-install windows myself.  I don’t want to lose everything I have now.

              Thank you again for replying.

              • #236776 Reply
                Lars220
                Guest

                bellelyn, just for information, Windows Product Keys are 25 alpha-numeric digits in 5 groups of 5 that look something like this made up Product Key:

                1SET0-F5D1G-1TS4T-HE70R-W1N81 = alpha-numeric, and NOT 15 digits. HTH Lars220.

          • #236789 Reply
            1040ST
            AskWoody Lounger

            I cannot back up my software anymore due to a bad disk error.  I have run chk dsk several times, but, each time, I thought the problem was solved, and tried backing up my operating system, I got the error of bad disk sector before 5 minutes was run on the backup.

            What does the chkdsk report say when it’s done?

            What software are you using to backup your operating system?

            I am a novice computer person.  I have learned some of the lingo, but, get lost with all the instructions out there.

            It sounds like you’re doing pretty well, with how far you’ve gotten, at least in understanding things.

            Try some of the following programs.  They are robust, mature, and popular, but I’m not sure if they will help in your exact situation.  I haven’t used them but I would try them if I was in your situation.

            https://clonezilla.org/ – makes a complete sector-by-sector copy of your hard drive.  Make sure you have at least one and preferably two copies of your hard drive on two separate hard drives for this current repair project of yours.  Redundancy of your data is important.

            PartedMagic

            https://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk

            http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/ – You don’t need to download and install the entire CD along with all of the tools, but you can pick and choose which tools you might need from the list on this page.  But you might not need any more of the tools on this page because I linked above to the ones that you might need.

            For further help, try posting in one of the forums for the software I linked to above because this current web page we’re on isn’t ideal for solving hard drive problems, and you can also try posting in this forum at: https://www.askwoody.com/forums/forum/askwoody-support/pc-hardware/

            Finally, read the pdf “Options for backing up your computer” which you can get here: https://web.archive.org/web/20170421085906/https://www.eset.com/fileadmin/Images/US/Docs/Home/Staying_Secure/2205_19_0_EsetWP-OptionsBackingUpComputer.pdf

            … and is linked from here:

            The Secret Guide to Uninstalling Any Anti-Virus Software

            The following pages about the “3-2-1 backup” strategy are good too:

            The 3-2-1 Backup Strategy

            Why 3-2-1 Backup Sucks

            Also, I’m not sure I could re-install windows myself.  I don’t want to lose everything I have now.

            Always make sure you have multiple backups first.

            I had a surge of electricity, or something caused the computer to stop working

            Always connect valuable computers and electronics to high-quality surge protectors.  This is a good article:

            https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-surge-protector/

            Good luck!

          • #237111 Reply
            MrJimPhelps
            AskWoody_MVP

            I have win 8.1 64 bit. I did not get a cd with the operating system on it, so I cannot re-install win 8.1 on the hard drive.

            Actually, you can. You can download the Windows 8.1 ISO that matches your Windows 8.1 license, then create a Windows 8.1 install disk. Put in your new hard drive, and install Windows 8.1 to it using your newly-created install disk. Then use the license key that is on the sticker on your computer to activate it. If it won’t activate automatically, you will probably have to do a phone activation; I have done several computers successfully that way.

            Go to heidoc.net and download the Windows and Office Download Tool (or whatever it is called). Run that program, and you will be given the option of downloading any currently-supported version of Windows or Office.

            Group "L" (Linux Mint)
            with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
      • #236353 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        iPad Pro.

      • #236360 Reply
        SAS@HA
        AskWoody Lounger

        If the old laptop is a consumer-grade laptop, it’s no surprise to me that it might be having physical issues. (We can’t know how it was treated.) No matter what brand, always buy a business-class laptop. They may not be as sexy, but it should be more durable. You get what you pay for.

         

        Like Woody, I never recommend Windows, but if the buyer NEEDS it or doesn’t have the energy to figure out how to use another OS, let them get Windows.

      • #236371 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        Couple things:

        Don’t get a Dell Latitude.  While they can be good, I’ve had nothing but problems with them (eg, Throttlegate which affected 3-5 generations of the units).  Vostros are a love-hate of mine; they’ve gotten better but there’s still the odd problem child for me.  Good price though.  XPS is good, Alienware is hit or miss.

        Lenovos are beautiful machines as long as you aren’t worried about a Chinese nationalist company making your product…  Acers are great from a price/performance perspective, however they’re the “mechanic’s truck” of OEMs.  Build quality never seems great and I’ve constantly had problems with them; I’d willingly buy them for myself but not for a non-techy person.  Toshibas are no-nonsense systems that always have heat problems, but as long as you keep that in mind they’re beyond solid.  Asus, MSI, Aorus/Gigabyte, Samsung are all semi-new to the Western market and great quality for a competitive price.  They’re all ODMs, which means that they make their own products, unlike Dell/HP/Apple/Microsoft.

        And remember friends don’t let friends buy Microsoft.  Or HP (Quality is meh, they have so much bloat in their installs, and they generally aren’t great spec-wise).  Or Compaq, which is what you get when you drop an HP unit on the floor.

        3 users thanked author for this post.
        • #236419 Reply
          SteveTree
          AskWoody Lounger

          I supported a fleet of well known Chinese brand laptops at one stage. Three different models had problems with hinges stiffening up over time (slow so the user did not notice). Eventually this led to screens cracking.  We had enough laptops in the fleet to recognise that many screen cracks had a ‘sameness’ about them. Once you knew what to look for it was obvious whether a crack was caused by a user dropping the machine of from lifting the lid from one corner. The manufacturer admitted the issued and repaired the first two models fixing screens and replacing all hinges but took a ‘user error’ stance after that. lessons from that:

          1) Raise your laptop lids holding two corners.

          2) John and Jane Doe would have very little chance of pursuing the argument that the crack that appeared on their laptop screen when they lifted the lid in the morning was due to stiffening hinges.  If you can find one to suit your needs a hybrid that does not have a hinge may ensure you don’t suffer that type of screen damage.

          Group A (but Telemetry disabled Tasks and Registry)
          Win 7 64 Pro desktop
          Win 10 64 Home portable

          • #236462 Reply
            OscarCP
            AskWoody Plus

            Or else raise the lid by pushing at its center with one thumb, from below.

            Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS + Linux (Mint)

          • #236609 Reply
            Ascaris
            AskWoody_MVP

            MSI laptops often had a problem like that… overly tight hinges (I don’t know whether or not they got tighter in time, but their excessive tightness was often cited as one of the issues) plus a construction style that used the plastic screen back/lid as as the main structural member rather than having a metal frame around the perimeter of the screen that takes the load.  The hinges on the MSI models in question screw directly into plastic, and the subframe that holds the LCD panel attaches to that plastic.  That plastic piece right by the hinge has to take all of the force of the lid being opened or closed. That’s just a shockingly bad design, and it put me off of MSI laptops in general when I was seeking a gaming laptop.

            Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.19.3).

      • #236379 Reply
        alphacharlie
        AskWoody Plus

        I use a 2-year old T460s at work an it goes through the day flawlessly. I believe it will be as good in 2 years from now.

        Yes, I am still using a Thinkpad T61 Win 7 PC because it just works. My wife wants a new Thinkpad X1 Carbon for Christmas to replace her even older laptop. The X1 seems very light and sturdy, so it will be very portable and basically instant-on. Those are the important factors for her, and I expect she will keep this machine for a number of years.

        Costco seems to have a good price on the X1 Carbon, and a good return policy, but it comes with Windows Home edition, I believe. If she agrees, I would like to set it up to dual-boot with Linux, which will be an adventure. Hopefully she will migrate away from Windows next year.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #236400 Reply
        Michael432
        AskWoody_MVP

        Woody is right. Windows, macOS and Linux are dead men walking. iOS and ChromeOS are the future. Some examples:

        ChromeOS has a very secure Guest mode, something legacy desktop OSs do not. And, it self-updates in a far more sophisticated way than the ancient OSs. And, it requires no active care and feeding, something the legacy desktop systems don’t even have on their radar. And, the ChromeOS firewall, when using Guest mode, has no open ports. Another thing you do not see in legacy systems (Did not test non-Guest mode)

        Not to mention, Chromebooks can run Android apps and, coming soon, Linux apps (to a few models). Plus, there is a beta version of software that runs some Windows apps too. Give me Notepad++ on a Chromebook and I’m happy.

         

        Get up to speed on router security at RouterSecurity.org

        • #236418 Reply
          MrJimPhelps
          AskWoody_MVP

          ChromeOS has a very secure Guest mode, something legacy desktop OSs do not. And, it self-updates in a far more sophisticated way than the ancient OSs. And, it requires no active care and feeding, something the legacy desktop systems don’t even have on their radar. And, the ChromeOS firewall, when using Guest mode, has no open ports.

          ChromeOS may be secure from non-Google spying and hacking, but it is not secure from Google spying. You need to be aware that with everything you do that is Google-related, there are Google eyes looking over your shoulder and taking notes.

          Group "L" (Linux Mint)
          with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
          2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #236484 Reply
          Ascaris
          AskWoody_MVP

          Woody is right. Windows, macOS and Linux are dead men walking. iOS and ChromeOS are the future.

          Whoa there!  I don’t think he said that!  He said he doesn’t recommend Windows.  Well, I don’t recommend smart phones, but I’m not going to say they’re “dead men walking.”

          Linux is a kernel, and it’s the most used one in the world.  It runs many of the web servers, switches, routers, and other stuff that makes the internet what it is.  It runs most of the world’s supercomputers, and the International Space Station.  It runs most cell phones.  It runs most consumer routers, and if you have some weird IoT thing like a crock pot that for some reason has to be “smart,” it’s probably Linux underneath there.  Linux runs DVRs and cable/satellite set top boxes, and a lot of the TVs themselves.  If you watch a movie or the little map with the plane icon showing where you are in one of the in-flight entertainment systems, it’s probably Linux.  And Linux also runs ChromeOS!  ChromeOS is itself a Linux distro.

          Linux isn’t going anywhere, and neither is the PC form factor.  It’s too useful for that to happen.  The market is shrinking as people who never really needed anything but a content-consumption thin client in the first place abandon them, but not everyone will.

          There will always be a need for a real OS for real computers that do real work.  Not every task can be handled by a handheld device that most people use primarily as a toy.  All that content that these Chromebooks and iOS devices are so good at consuming gets made or edited on a real computer, then sent to you from a server that is a real computer, across routers that are real computers, and so on.  If you offload your stuff to the cloud, the cloud itself isn’t running on a bunch of iPads stacked up in a room somewhere.  People are not going to design things like the chips that make a smart phone work on a smart phone or tablet, nor are they going to write the code that goes into iOS or ChromeOS on one.

          For those people whose needs are met by iDevices or Chromebooks, that’s great, but it doesn’t mean they are going to replace real PCs.  For tasks that require mobility, handheld devices rule the roost, but for things that do not require mobility, a PC is better in every single way.

          Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.19.3).

          4 users thanked author for this post.
      • #236469 Reply
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        I would not recommend to someone asking for a “tool” to get a “knife”. A knife is a fine tool of many uses (partly because it has been around since the Stone Age, and evolving all the time ever since), but is not for everything.

        And I would not recommend to someone to get a “computer” of a particular make and model if the person asking me is looking for a PC to do a certain kind of job, because the advice given would depend on the job, that person’s other intended uses, and what is available. Ah, also on the price. But if one wants something that works reliably and is powerful enough for doing what is really needed, then “price” should be right at the bottom of the list of considerations.

        I happen to need as powerful a PC as I can afford to buy (and have been, for as long as it has been around, also allergic to the “Cloud”), so I have, for near a quarter century, bought accordingly and have had to send for repairs just one machine (my first) and that one only once. For what turned out to be a software problem, not a hardware one. I have worked, and still do work all of them hard; the first three, all with Windows (98, XP and 7), have lasted me more than six years each. The first two already have been retired, not because they broke down, but because the ever-changing technologies out there meant they got too slow, or too limited in some way, to keep up and I had, regretfully, to let them go. But always, before buying, I have spent a lot of time looking at what was available, finding people who had the kind of machines I might need and asking them about their experiences with them… And all of them, including the newest one, a Mac, have been laptops, because I am that kind of person that prefers a mobile laptop to a fixed desktop.

        By which I do not mean to say that everybody should get laptops.

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS + Linux (Mint)

      • #236477 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        Huge numbers of working professionals do not have that option.

        How exactly is a chromebook gonna run Solidworks, autocad, Inventor, Pro-E, the entire Rockwell FactoryTalk suite, Logix5000 Studio5000, Seimens Simatic Manager & TIA Portal, Mitsubishi Melsec, OMRON CX-One development suite, these industrial controllers run most factory automation, the licensing can cost as much as a new car, and drivers are proprietary.

        Industrial controllers and interface cards can cost more than $10k so they aren’t the type of thing you want to risk bricking from a bad flash, just in case someone wanted to start preaching on the wonders of cloud computing. No way in h*** would I try to remotely flash a $10k controller running $1million of machinery through a browser plugin.

        I just bought 2 more Win7 Lenovo Thinkpads to hold out until I have no choice because there is no way in h*** I’m gonna trust Win10 running dev licenses in win7 compatibility mode, unlike server development where u just reload a backup and try again, a machinery controller hang while flashing can cause $000s of damage or worse injure an operator.

        I’ve never used Mac OS but as of now I’d rather figure out how to make the dev tools work on Mac bootcamp than trust Win10 on a production or mission critical dev machine.

        • #236495 Reply
          anonymous
          Guest

          Along with others above, I believe light use demands you spend enough to get the quality required to last another year or so. Having a working unit would free the replaced laptop for experimental use with unusual OSes, most available at no cost beyond a memory stick to get started. Any serious purchase should wait for hardware advances including redesigned chip architecture and instruction sets that address longstanding flaws. But I believe that is beyond this topic’s intended purpose.

          • #236533 Reply
            Klaas Vaak
            AskWoody Lounger

            @anonymus: waiting for the next hardware advance means you’ll be waiting forever because any advance that comes out is already behind the next generation that is being developed and about to come out.

            No, the way to solve one’s issue is to assess what is needed and then go ahead and purchase in accordance with that, rather than keep waiting for what? Godot?

            1x Linux Mint 19.1 | 1x Linux antiX

            1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #236618 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        For what it is worth my advice is never buy a big brand of pre built PC you will never get good value for money dell are probably one of the worst  because they do not use many industry standard components, meaning they are throwaway  and not upgradeable unless you buy their top spec, and eventhenyou will still have limitations even changing a PSU can be a costly expreiernce because you can’t buy a after market uindustry standar part  you have to buy a dell designed PSU ect if they will sell or have stock after 3 or 4 years

        Get a good system builder to advise and build you a pc based on your requirements, or build it youself

        • #236642 Reply
          Canadian Tech
          AskWoody_MVP

          Anonymous, Sorry, but you have some wrong impressions. I work extensively on and in Dell desktop computers. It is a very rare case when I buy parts from Dell. I have worked on likely well over 100 Dells — could be 200. I always use standard off the shelf components that I buy from the local computer store or Amazon. I have also worked on other brands and various lines of Dells. The differences between different lines of Dells are primarily marketing, not the actual hardware inside. In some cases, the case itself is of superior design in higher-priced lines, but inside, they are essentially identical.

          I have replaced many PSUs. Every one of them was a standard off the shelf item.

          My advice has always been to buy from the Business side of the OEM and buy the cheapest model they offer.

          I have also done my own builds. Self-builds end up more expensive than OEM offerings. They may have some better characteristics because you can choose your configuration more specifically. Self builds also have better warranties because the components are individually warrantied. However, many people try this route and end up in trouble because they do not know enough to be able to trouble shoot and solve problems.

          System builder self-builts are frequently problematic because the builder disappears before there is a problem.

          The only Dell parts I ever bought are keyboards and screens for laptops. Actually, I could have bought them elsewhere, but Dell had a better price.

          Laptops are a very different matter. They are primarily made of proprietary parts. That is one of the key reasons why laptops have much shorter life expectancy than desktops. Repairs on laptops are at least half the time too expensive to justify resulting in scrapping the broken machine and replacing with new.

          CT

          • #236656 Reply
            anonymous
            Guest

            Well my build has run flawlessly for almost 3 years  with only one failuethat being the IO panel (front 3.5mm jack) on the case, and the manufacturere  shipped a new front io panel F.O.C. from taiwan If dell now use off the shelf parts that’s progress, but 10 years ago they didn’t

            • #236739 Reply
              Canadian Tech
              AskWoody_MVP

              I am not saying Dell uses off the shelf parts. What I am saying is when replacement parts are needed, off the shelf parts always worked for me for desktop models. For laptop models, the only off the shelf parts are memory and hard drives.

              CT

        • #237182 Reply
          Ascaris
          AskWoody_MVP

          Dell has a lot of self-branded components, but the ones I have seen have all been standard items from the usual OEMs that are fully standard and interchangeable with other items.  I don’t know about motherboards, but the other things are just regular stuff have just been given Dell device IDs.

          Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.19.3).

      • #236752 Reply
        rc primak
        AskWoody_MVP

        I agree that a year-old PC or laptop should not be failing so badly as to require replacement. Something about the claim that the laptop is out of warranty after only one year, and now shows “issues” just doesn’t smell right. I think the “issue” may be resolved best by reinstalling Windows on the laptop, or at least doing a full Reset. If that doesn’t solve the “issues” then the uncle was sold a lemon. That can happen, but it’s uncommon.

        For myself, when replacing impossibly ancient hardware which no longer suits my needs, I first look at what my needs, now and in what I can predict of the future, may be. Then I buy a PC or laptop which suits those needs. So I don’t like to advise what someone else would be happy with unless I know that person’s preferred ways of using a computer, and the most common tasks the person does with the computer.

        I replaced an aging laptop with an Intel NUC, which can be prebuilt, or you can get a kit and add your own preferred internal components. Them form factor is very small for a non-portable PC, only twice the size of a pack of playing cards. But inside is a 500GB SSD (now available over 1TB), 16GB RAM (now available over 32GB) and at the time one of the current generation of core-m series Intel CPUs (now available up to 9th Gen, but I’d stick with 8th Gen Core-m3 due to the heat issues reported in 9th Gen Intel CPUs). This little PC runs all-Intel hardware, so drivers are easy to update, and if Windows messes them up, they can easily be reinstalled directly from Intel. Meltdown firmware updates were also easy to obtain. It runs Windows 10, current updates except for sticking with version 1803, and it’s Pro. I also dual-boot this NUC with Ubuntu Linux, 18.04 LTS. GNOME and Wayland run perfectly well, even on this Intel 6th Gen Skylake processor. The small form factor allows me to use my home office desk real estate for other things. There are lots of NUC models to choose from, some affordable, some outrageously ahead of the curve. All have good warranties and support from Intel.

        For travel and meetings, I bought a Chromebook with an Intel chipset.  It’s the Asus Chromebook Flip c302. That choice pushed my cost above $500.00, which is a lot by Chromebook standards. But it allows me to dual-boot with ChromeOS and Fedora Linux. (I tried GalliumOS, but it was never up to date, and did not have the latest Spectre protections in its kernel.) There’s 64GB of storage and 4GB of RAM (now this series offers up to 8GB RAM), which allows storing local data and running Linux without compromises. (Remember, this is for travel, not for use as my everyday workhorse PC.) If I want to run the Chromebook with ChromeOS, that’s still there, unaffected by the dual-boot except for the startup screen. I feel I can recommend either a Linux enable Chromebook or a pure ChromeOS Chromebook for the average home user with no regrets. If you need to store more data locally, both Linux and ChromeOS will offload data onto SD cards or even external drives. But the whole point of a Chromebook is to store data in the Cloud, and I make great use of my Google Drive for that, especially for offloading photos (which are also backed up locally to hard drives). My Android phone also uses my Google Drive in much the same ways.  (There storage is at a premium, so everything possible is offloaded.) My Google Drive contents are also backed up locally to hard drives at frequent intervals.

        So, Windows 10, ChromeOS or Linux — it all depends on the user’s willingness to learn a new working environment, and what the specific needs of the user are. All work well, as does Android in its place, and all are available on a variety of devices in a variety of form factors. I only leave all Apple devices and OSes out because they cost so much and have little user choice for hardware.

        Remember, in the not so distant future, there will be new OSes and devices to consider, as Amazon, Google and Facebook are developing hardware and OSes related to Home Automation and Digital Assistants. Apple is also in the Digital Assistant game, but far behind in new hardware types.  Your uncle’s next PC after this one may well be a home automation hub.

        -- rc primak

        • #236828 Reply
          Fritz
          AskWoody Plus

          I have an Intel NUC that is running 24/7 since May 2016, without any issues. It processes and relays about 3 GB of aircraft position data per day to two web servers.

          This NUC5PPYH is a Mini PC kit with a soldered-down Pentium N3700 2.40 GHz processor. I fitted it with 4 GB RAM and an Intel 540s SSD (128 GB).

          One of the first firmware updates for the SSD failed, but thankfully, the SSD remained functional. The problem was corrected after I contacted Intel Support and subsequent firmware updates went flawlessly. The NUC is running Win7 Pro and I use to reboot it weekly or biweekly. Every once in a while I see “WARNING: Processor thermal trip” on reboot. There are more reports on this and it seems to be a temperature sensor fault in this range of NUCs. During normal operation, the processor temp never exceeds limits.

          I am very pleased with the NUC’s reliability, quietness, small size and low power consumption. I’ll probably purchase a higher end NUC as a replacement for the 2015 Lenovo ThinkCentre M58 desktop that I currently use for daily computer tasks.

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    Reply To: Which PC should I get?

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