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Computer Advice Please

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GSF

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Guys I need some advice. I have a pretty decent Dell laptop I use for everything. I do all of my personal stuff on it, but I also use it to run my business. It's about 2-3 years old, but it serves me well. I use it every day. The problem is it uses windows XP. I am not very good on computers, but I am very comfortable on XP. My wife and kids' computers all have Windows 8, and I can't figure them out to save my life. Of course now Microsoft is discontinuing updates and service on XP, some I'm going to have to do something.

My business has enjoyed some excellent growth over the last 2 years, and I can afford a new computer, but it seems kind of silly to spend the money when my computer serves me well. I've also read though that my computer probably won't support an upgrade to windows 8, which I know I don't like.

Should I try to upgrade my computer, or should I spend the money on a new one? Also, If I go new, should I consider a mac, which I've never used, but I've read are very user friendly, and well liked by computer dinosaurs like me coming off of XP.

The most important factor here is that I run my whole business off my laptop, which means it has to be reliable and safe, and not to complicated. I currently do all of my record keeping and invoicing on office, but I think I can still use office on a mac?

Thanks very much guys for any input.
 

GSF

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Thanks Mike. No my XP computer still works well for me, but I've read online that now that there won't be updates that it's performance will suffer, and it will be much more vulnerable to viruses ect.
 

GSF

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Word, excel, email, internet, ect.
 

Fear The Spear

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Ubuntu !!!
You can even open MS Word and Excel Files in Ubuntu's programs, even really, really old versions of Word & Excel files !
You can't even do that with MS's OWN old Word and Excel Files !!!!!!!
Example, if you have a file from MS Word or Excel 2004 version, you cannot open it in the current MS Word or Excel.
But you can open that same file in ANY version of UBUNTU !!
Not only open them, but edit them, re-save them, and then re-open again in Ubuntu !
 

SkinnedAussie

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Close, FTS, but no cigar.

It;s not Ubuntu that opens the files, but LibreOffice. LO can also be used with any Windows based pc (I use it on my W8 desktop), but you are right that LO will open files thought to be long lost due to age.

GSF, if you do opt to go the Ubuntu route, the only concern you 'll have in the future is whether to upgrade every 6 months, or stick with the LTS versions and update every three year.
 
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Chris

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Ubuntu !!!
You can even open MS Word and Excel Files in Ubuntu's programs, even really, really old versions of Word & Excel files !
You can't even do that with MS's OWN old Word and Excel Files !!!!!!!
Example, if you have a file from MS Word or Excel 2004 version, you cannot open it in the current MS Word or Excel.
But you can open that same file in ANY version of UBUNTU !!
Not only open them, but edit them, re-save them, and then re-open again in Ubuntu !
For me, after reading your travails of that install in the other thread, that is the last thing I'd be interested in doing. He's interested in easy and that sounded anything but.
 

SkinnedAussie

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Ah, yes, but I think FTS thinks about too much that MAY go wrong, and listens to the wrong people.

No offence FTS, but you did make like installing Ubuntu was one of the hardest thing one can do.
 

Cycleans

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I'm dealing with a similar issue I'm using Xp on this computer. I just purchased windows 7 and a hard drive for this computer and will probably install it tonight or tomorrow.
 

SkinnedAussie

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I'm dealing with a similar issue I'm using Xp on this computer. I just purchased windows 7 and a hard drive for this computer and will probably install it tonight or tomorrow.
How else does what computer match up re: W7 compatibility? It's all good and well installing W7 on a new hdd, but will the computer run without lag? Is the graphics card capable? How will the CPU react having to run a faster operating system? Will the PSU be able to handle the increase in power requirements? Will you be able to activate W& on the current hardware?

Too many questions for not enough answers.
 

tshile

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Word, excel, email, internet, ect.
Is that really it? Quickbooks? No proprietary software special to the field you're in?

If that's it then kudos - you've made yourself pretty flexible :)

I own all flavors of stuff, including os x. If i was going to buy a laptop today I'd buy a mac book pro/air - I'm pretty sure an air would be fine for your workload. You can purchase microsoft office for it to do your work - or you can use free open office/libre office if you want to give them a try. They work but you might find the comfort of microsoft office worth the money - especially if it's a business expense :)

I really like os x as a personal OS and people in your position - if you're against windows 8.

You can still find computers with downgrade rights to windows 7 if you're that against windows 8. They're still out there, though probably not for much longer.

I would recommend you go with an Intel i5 processor (stay away from ARM, AMD, and Intel i3's if your budget can afford you that), 3+ gigs of RAM/memory (it'd be nice to get 6, try to get 3-4 minimum), and go with a solid state hard drive if you have the option/money - you'll be surprised how much that speeds up your computer :)
The rest is just personal preference. The industry standard seems to be moving to display port for display options (away from VGA, DVI, HDMI) so if you're interested in hooking it up to other monitors and stuff make sure it has display port/mini display port.

The new ultra books (windows 8, intel processors) are frekin awesome but they're super thin and that comes with some restrictions, including but not limited to:
- irreplaceable battery (it's welded in there)
- no 'real' dock port, if you use a dock it'll be USB3 (which isn't awful, but still)
- no network jack
- memory soldered in place
- windows 8 ;)

there are exceptions to those depending on manufacture, but just assume those restrictions and if you get one that doesn't have one of them consider it a plus :) not sure it really matters since you seem pretty against windows 8.


have you gone to an apple store (or otherwise had an opportunity) to play with OS X? Are you pretty comfortable going that route or is that a 'anything but windows 8' kind of move?
 
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tshile

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How else does what computer match up re: W7 compatibility? It's all good and well installing W7 on a new hdd, but will the computer run without lag? Is the graphics card capable? How will the CPU react having to run a faster operating system? Will the PSU be able to handle the increase in power requirements? Will you be able to activate W& on the current hardware?

Too many questions for not enough answers.
why would the PSU be OS dependent and why would w7 not activate on the hardware?

as long as the memory requirements are met and the processor is at least an intel core 2 duo it should work fine. it might run a little slower but that's to be expected.
 

tshile

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we are diving WAY too deep in to this. He just wants to know what he should do.

If XP is not giving him issues now it wont just because support stops in April.

Id run with the OS that I know and liked until it was impossible to work again. Your MS Office and AV programs will be fine running on XP even if there is no "support" from MS.
For some people that support ending is a big deal. There are security issues related to it, and for some people the information that goes over their computer is worth more than the money it costs to upgrade.

I'm answering the questions GSF asked and am asking questions to open the conversation up. GSF can choose which direction to go with it.
 

tshile

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he said XP works well for him and that he is just worried about not getting support. he will not have any problems with his OS or AV just because MS decides that it isnt gonig to send out updates anymore.
That's your opinion. Security updates are pretty much the only thing that protects a computer these days. He's looking at running the most vulnerable OS without any updates. On a business computer. If your opinion is that that situation is nothing to be concerned about it then fine - it goes contrary to every security expert and Microsoft's recommendation, but hey it's your opinion.

He also said he's doing well enough to afford a new computer and was considering other options and asked questions.

He also specifically said:
The most important factor here is that I run my whole business off my laptop, which means it has to be reliable and safe, and not to complicated.
Which, I'm sorry, but running XP without updates is anything but safe. You can absolutely get around it and you do not have to update, but it's not the 'safe' option for a business computer. It's just not.

It'd be nice if you'd let him choose for himself what direction to take his own thread.

I'm more than happy to take the xp debate to the tech thread if you want, but I don't think that's really what GSF wants in his thread.
 
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SkinnedAussie

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why would the PSU be OS dependent and why would w7 not activate on the hardware?
The PSU needs to supply power to everything, therefore, if the os requires more power to run W7 than it does to run XP, it has to find more power to run the GFX, then there is the power requirements for the USB ports ...... Taking from Mary doesn't mean you are giving it back to Paul!

I had a 650watt PSU in a desktop that blew a gfx card. As I upgraded to gfx card, as soon as I powered up, nothing! I went to a 750watt PSU and everything worked fine.

If an XP machine has already been activated, by adding new hardware and a new OS, Microsoft will have the XP based data on record, then when it comes to activating W7, it finds that most of the hardware is already in use so will not activate the copy of W7 as it detects too many hardware changes.

Mike, you are right in why change when it isn't broken, but isn't it better to look at alternatives now whilst there is something to fall back, rather than leave it until you have no choice, and no back-up?
 

tshile

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The PSU needs to supply power to everything, therefore, if the os requires more power to run W7 than it does to run XP, it has to find more power to run the GFX, then there is the power requirements for the USB ports ...... Taking from Mary doesn't mean you are giving it back to Paul!

I had a 650watt PSU in a desktop that blew a gfx card. As I upgraded to gfx card, as soon as I powered up, nothing! I went to a 750watt PSU and everything worked fine.
Right, but you added new hardware which makes total sense. Needing a new PSU because you upgraded your graphics card is common.

Needing a new PSU because you updated your OS doesn't make sense though. The PSU is dependent on the power draw of the devices and while a device might run at higher 'speeds' with a new OS its power consumption rating/requirements from the PSU don't change.


If an XP machine has already been activated, by adding new hardware and a new OS, Microsoft will have the XP based data on record, then when it comes to activating W7, it finds that most of the hardware is already in use so will not activate the copy of W7 as it detects too many hardware changes.
I've never heard of that. I've heard of XP not reactivating because hardware has been changed and no longer matches the profile MS has - maybe that's what you're thinking of? That is fixed with a call to microsoft, so it's not a deal breaker but it is an additional hassle.

If you purchase a copy of windows 7 and change your hardware and then install it and activate it it will work fine. I've done it tons of times.
 

SkinnedAussie

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When I first started to use W8, I was like :huh2:, now it's more like :thumbsup: I even went out and bought a tablet/laptop hybrid specifically with W8. Now I can keep both up-to-date no matter where I am, or which device I'm using.

Also, as I don't own the desktop yet, I am bound to keep W8 installed, and I'm waiting for the 14.04 flavour of Ubuntu to be released to see if I can run it like a WUBI install. If not, I'll stay with W8.

BTW, by W8 I do mean W8.1
 

tshile

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yeah, it might be better to look at something. but the mention of Ubuntu to a guy who is loving XP sounds like offering an Amish guy a Lamborghini when he is used to his horse. If he likes what he has and has stated that 8 confuses him and doesn't like it, I wouldn't really try to get him to change anything.

XP will be around for a while longer and will be safe. and from what it looks like he does he doesn't have too much of a security factor to consider.
Wrong. It wont be safe. No security updates = no longer safe. Sorry but you're wrong and you're giving this out as advice.
 

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