I have two HP computers, both bought in September 2006, a desktop and a laptop. (Paul prefers using the laptop because it is portable and can be put away when not in use.)
Both my computers have been causing problems for a while now (of the sort you'd expect of computers bought five years ago). This is frustrating for me, but as I've now been using computers for about fifteen years I have some ability to cope. (I also find it immensely reassuring to have two networked computers, both because they act as back-up for one another and because they do not usually have a bad mood at the same time.) But Paul has almost no ability to troubleshoot - even little Word annoyances, let alone freezes, refusal to boot up or close down, etc.)
I think that what Paul needs is the cheapest, simplest computer (that we can be sure is reliable of course), as all he wants to do is use Word, send and receive emails and do simple Googling for products or information. I was therefore thinking that perhaps we should we buy him something to fit that specification. But it occurred to me that PERHAPS the laptop could do this job if I (or someone more competent) removed everything from it and then reinstalled just Windows XP (or conceivably an open-source operating system), MS Office and Firefox.
My thinking is that it is the ambitious stuff that I do - downloading interesting bits of software, etc, - that has probably clogged up the guts (do I mean the registry?) of the laptop, and once all of this was cleared out/tidied up for Paul's very limited use it might be ok.
I would welcome any helpful comments but in particular I'd like to know if with a 5-year-old computer (laptop) there are likely to be bits of hardware that are worn out and would make nonsense of my plan. (We did have a problem with the battery a little while ago but that seemed to be resolved by buying a new adaptor charger.)
I don't want to be mean to him but he is reluctant to spend ANY money on computers, so IF it were a plan that genuinely made sense he would be keen on it too!
(I have just tried to attach a word file containing a screenshot of the laptop's System Properties but got an error message saying "You aren't permitted to upload this kind of file." I cannot imagine why.)