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Upgrading to new computer


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#1
ohheck

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Hi all...newbie here. I'm hoping that someone here can give me some advice that would point me in the right direction for purchasing a new computer. First, let me say that I'm a Senior Citizen with very limited knowledge concerning the technical aspects of a computer, therefore I will not be building a computer myself. I mainly use my current computer for e-mail, surfing/browsing, occaisional downloading of photos of my new grandson. I don't do any home business work, nor do I do any gaming. Currently, I have a 5 year old Sony Vaio desktop, 1.6g P4, 512mb memory, 80gb hard drive, DVD rom, CD burner, WinXP Home. The system has performed well until the last 6 months or so, when it started to slow down, have random freezes, etc. I do have current AV, modem based firewall, spyware blocker and regularly scan my computer for malware/spyware.
I am considering buying a new computer, but am unsure what I really need to have as opposed to what a salesperson is trying to push. Any comments/advice would be greatly appreciated.
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#2
ScHwErV

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Moved to the system building forum.
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#3
Titan8990

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The computer you have now looks acceptable for what you use it for. You can save yourself a lot of money by trying to restore your computer to what it once was. With slow downs and freezing I like to suggest a dust cleaning to start off with. Canned air is sold at local office supplies and computer stores and is effective for cleaning. If there is a whole lot of dust its usually best to pull off what you can with your hand first. I would also reccomend another 512mb stick of RAM. It is very easy to install. It just snaps in and it is ready to go but you must make sure that you are getting the right type.

If you are still looking for help picking out a new computer, a budget will make it easier for us to help you.
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#4
ohheck

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titan8990. Thanks for the quick reply. I hadn't considered cleaning my computer, nor adding more RAM. Typical for someone who doesn't know much about computers. However, I am not afraid of opening up the CPU to do as you suggest. As for adding more RAM, how would I determine the correct type to buy? It has 512mb PC2100 DDR. The Sony model # is PCV-RX650. Thanks
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#5
Tyger

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Other things, run diagnostics on the hard drive, you can probably get them from Sony or the hard drive maker's website and load them to a floppy or CD.
Either System Information or Device Manager may tell you the hard drive make and model.

You can clean out the Prefetch and Temp folders, and defragment the drive every month or so.
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#6
silverbeard

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All Titans suggestions are good. You have a viable machine with a good bit of life left in it. Here Is a memory module from a vendor I use regularly. A good price and should be compatible with your machine.

A fresh install of the OS should put some pep back into your machine. Remember to back up your data before making any changes to your system.
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#7
ohheck

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Tyger. According to the System Information readout, the hard drive is a Maxtor 4D 080H4. I do run a Disk Check and Defrag about once per month. I also have a WinCleaner program that cleans internet trash, temp internet files and checks for privacy issues, as well as cleans the registry, that I run once monthly.

Silverbeard. Thanks for the link to the memory site. Since my OS was preinstalled on my Sony, all I have are the System Recovery Disks. I have used them to erase the hard drive return it to original configuration. Is that what you're referring to?

Thanks to both for the help/suggestions. Ohheck

Edited by ohheck, 29 March 2007 - 10:16 PM.

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#8
Tyger

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So I'd say go to the Maxtor (now owned by Seagate) website and download Powermax, the latest version, to a floppy and run the diagnosticss. A faulty hard drive is an often overlooked cause of machines slowing down. Whatever you do, don't choose the option to write the drive to zeros, that will erase everything.
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#9
silverbeard

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Restore disks are fine. They put you back to the the day you first turned the machine on. Of course that usually means you have to get the useless junk that comes with every preloaded system.

I would recommend you prepare for this by making notes of what you have installed and have copies of what you want to put back on the system especially your Anti-virus.
If your system restore disks are Service Pack 1 you should have a copy of Service Pack 2 on hand and burned to a disk. That along with the full version of Autopatcher (November '06) along with the monthly patches for Dec., Jan. and Feb. should have you fully patched before you have to go on the Internet. Expect to spend a couple of hours installing the patches and upgrades.

Note: Autopatcher has every update that Microsoft has issued since SP2,not just security fixes, and you may not want to install some of them.
Things included you probably do want include Java JRE 5 update 11, all versions and updates for the .Net framework and the latest Shockwave and Flash players.
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#10
cmpm

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If you have loaded microsoft's .net frameworks,
uninstall them and see if that helps.
Control panel-add remove programs.

.net has slowed my computers down for internet surfing.
Once I took it off it was back up to speed.
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#11
ohheck

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Cmpm. I will look into your suggestion.

Tyger. I downloaded the Powermax utility and ran the tests. I received a "Pass".

Silverbeard. I my case, the System Recovery Disks only do the "recovery" function. There is a seperate disk to load in all the Software Applications. When I last ran the System Recovery Disks, I did not run or load the Application disk. Didn't want all the junk. I also have a disk from Microsoft that has all the updates including SP2. I did not know about Autopatcher, so I went through the Windows Update process and selected everything that I wanted to update/install, prior to going on the internet.

From this point, I plan on cleaning my computer and installing the extra RAM as suggested by Titan8990 and seeing what the results are. It sounds as though what I have is sufficient....no need to buy a new computer if I can resolve the slowness issue with my Sony. I will post back with the results. Thanks to all who've assisted me. Ohheck.
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