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Old 02-15-2019, 12:07 PM
dflower is offline
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When to replace laptop


I have used this laptop PC for almost 10 years now.
Should I buy a replacement now or wait for it to die?
I fear loosing all my files if it dies. But I can't afford to spend money unnecessarily.
I see that laptops can be inexpensive now. And what is the difference between a pc and a Chromebook?
Will I prevent trouble by replacing my laptop now?
  #2  
Old 02-15-2019, 12:11 PM
Dewey Finn is offline
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Whether or not you replace the computer, you should back up your files elsewhere, preferably in more than one place. How much space do the files you care about take up? If it's a small amount of space, you may be able to back them up to a cloud service using a free account. Or you can buy a small external drive for not much. Ideally, you should do both.
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Old 02-15-2019, 12:20 PM
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Meh...your laptop is a spring chicken compared to most of mine. I'm typing this on a Lenovo S10 running Windows XP.

As stated by Dewey Finn, your best first step is regular back-ups, both a complete image periodically and regular incrementals. It's best to do this by using a scheduler. For example, make a complete image on the first of every month, then do incremental back-ups at least every 24 hours.

Laptops, like cars, lose much of their value almost immediately. I always buy used ones that are about three years old. I still dig out my Win2K laptop every so often because there are some licensed programs installed on it that would be difficult to transfer.
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Old 02-15-2019, 02:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dflower View Post
I fear loosing all my files if it dies.
Then you are using the computer wrong. Specifically, you aren't backing it up.

Buy an external hard drive or set up a cloud backup account. You'll need that even if you end up buying a new laptop.
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Old 02-15-2019, 04:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dflower View Post
IAnd what is the difference between a pc and a Chromebook?
Well, a Chromebook is a pc. I assume you really asking about the different between a MS-Window/Intel-like (so-called "Wintel") laptop and a Chromebook.

Chromebooks run a form on the Android OS. They may be running on an Intel-ish CPU or a whole different type called an ARM cpu. This OS is not very demaning or bloated like MS-Windows is. So on the same hardware the OS will run faster, take up less space, etc.

Problem: A lot of the common Chromebooks are therefore deliberately made low end since the OS isn't demanding. Weak CPU, little memory, a small solid state drive, etc.

So the performance of one of these can be really poor. You've got to be really careful in shopping for one of these.

The Real Question is always: What software do you want to run on it? What word processor do you use? What browser? Video player? And on and on.

Decide on the software, buy the machine that runs that software well.
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Old 02-15-2019, 04:56 PM
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I'll jump back in with a couple observations/suggestions.

Based on your questions and the fact that you've used the same PC for 10 years, I'm going to guess that you are not a "power user" with a lot of demands on your machine. I usually suggest that people like that avoid Chromebooks, simply because they don't have a good grasp of the limitations of Chromebooks. (I apologize if this doesn't apply to you.)

ftg makes good points. Do you use MS Office? Do you use your machine primarily for word processing, media, e-mail, or something else? Do you have a subscription to Office 365 or other software services?

I usually suggest looking at a Dell or Lenovo machine, since they provide very good continuing support and a wide range of products, but you can find good deals from many other manufacturers.

As far as losing your data, your solution might be as simple as (1) making sure your files are all in one folder, like in My Documents, (2) buying a decent USB storage device/thumb drive, and (3) regularly synchronizing My Documents with a copy on the USB drive. You can do the same thing with cloud storage, but doing both is even better.
  #7  
Old 02-15-2019, 06:12 PM
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Here's what I wrote two weeks ago about laptop advice:

Quote:
I got one of these about a year and a half ago and it's been doing fine. I use it every day as my primary websurfing machine. My experience with TigerDirect, including about three refurb'd laptops, has always been very good.

The 12.5" display is a good, netbook-y size, decent capacity SSD, i5, Win10 Pro.
Yes, it's detachable. I've never detached it since the day I got it.
Yes, it's touchscreen. I use that more often than I expected.
Yes, it is $150 less ($300 vs 450) than when I bought in July 2017. Grrr but no regrets.
That thread:
https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb...d.php?t=869907
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Old 02-15-2019, 10:20 PM
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Chromebooks run Chrome OS, an offshoot of Android with a major drawback, the majority of Android apps won't work on a Chromebook, so forget about all the great apps for Android. Also forget about using it as a media player as it supports a small number of video file formats. And while Open Office or Libre Office is compatible with Word and Excel, it's nothing like real thing.

I've spent months trying to figure out something my cheap (<$100) does better than my cheap laptop and tablet and I've never found anything.
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Old 02-16-2019, 08:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
Chromebooks run Chrome OS, an offshoot of Android with a major drawback, the majority of Android apps won't work on a Chromebook, so forget about all the great apps for Android. Also forget about using it as a media player as it supports a small number of video file formats. And while Open Office or Libre Office is compatible with Word and Excel, it's nothing like real thing.
1. Google has now brought out support for Android apps on Chrome OS. But it's one of those YMMV things.

2. You can run VLC on Chrome! I have no idea where you got the idea that there was any practical limit on what video format you can play. If it runs VLC, it can play most everything. (Of course a crappy Chromebook may not have fast enough hardware to play high resolution stuff. But that's not a format issue.)

3. LibreOffice (one word) is good enough for the overwhelming majority of everyday users. And it's free. The only person who can decide whether it's good enough for them is the OP.

3. OpenOffice (one word) is dead. It's been dead for seven years. There is Apache OpenOffice, but that is dying. They have trouble doing security fixes, never mind actual development.

You really need to be more up to date on this sort of stuff.
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Old 02-16-2019, 08:58 AM
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True, I am not a "power user." I will pay more attention to backing up.
Thanks
  #11  
Old 02-16-2019, 07:26 PM
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I was given a 2008 lenovo laptop for free.

I rejuvenated it by adding more memory to 4Gb, this was very easy. I also replaced the hard drive with a solid state drive (which are very cheap these days.) I spent about $50 on it and it is now a pretty good laptop for day to day use.
  #12  
Old 02-17-2019, 09:27 AM
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All of the laptops I have I got for free. The one I use everyday was made in 2007, bUT it runs windows 10, has a solid state Drive and has 4 gig of ram. Boots in 6 seconds. I have no intention of upgrading it, but I do store the important stuff on Dropbox.
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Old 02-17-2019, 07:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dflower View Post
True, I am not a "power user." I will pay more attention to backing up.
Thanks
You truly have to decide how valuable your files are for you. If you do not backup, it's nothing but a gamble if the files survive. Especially on such an old machine, the hard drive can fail anytime, or one wrong movement and the laptop might fall to the ground and wreck the drive. Really, this is important. Invest a little in cloud space or an external drive if you care about your data.
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Last edited by EinsteinsHund; 02-17-2019 at 07:07 PM.
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Old 02-17-2019, 08:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ftg View Post
1. Google has now brought out support for Android apps on Chrome OS. But it's one of those YMMV things.

2. You can run VLC on Chrome! I have no idea where you got the idea that there was any practical limit on what video format you can play. If it runs VLC, it can play most everything. (Of course a crappy Chromebook may not have fast enough hardware to play high resolution stuff. But that's not a format issue.)

3. LibreOffice (one word) is good enough for the overwhelming majority of everyday users. And it's free. The only person who can decide whether it's good enough for them is the OP.

3. OpenOffice (one word) is dead. It's been dead for seven years. There is Apache OpenOffice, but that is dying. They have trouble doing security fixes, never mind actual development.

You really need to be more up to date on this sort of stuff.
Big YMMV on running Android apps on anything but the the latest Chromebook, which if someone is buying a new one will likely be the case.

"IF YOUR CHROMEBOOK DOESN’T YET SUPPORT ANDROID APPS, START HERE

Switching to the developer channel puts your Chromebook at the usual risks associated with running beta or preview software. You might experience bugs, things might break, and generally speaking you’ll be largely on your own in terms of support. And here’s a huge caveat: to return to the normal stable channel, you’ll have to Powerwash your Chromebook, which is how Chrome OS says “factory reset.”

In other words, make sure that all of your data is backed up before starting this process. If you’re not comfortable with running unproven software, then remember that the Chrome OS developer channel will maintain your Chromebook on the least proven version available."

As for VLC, another big YMMV. My experience mirrors that of the majority of reviews here: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/d...hapmfpnfhpcndf It crashes constantly. Note that it has just over a 2 star rating. And users in 2018 were still reporting issues.

LibreOffice may be enough for many users, but since I use Excel and Word extensively at work, having something that's "good enough" isn't worth the price of admission (free).

Last edited by lingyi; 02-17-2019 at 08:37 PM.
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