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Possible Laptop Purchase (Resolved).


Best Answer Channeal , 28 September 2016 - 09:06 AM

Hello Phill, Phew! I am exhausted!!!!  Some good news, some bad........ Dban completed okay. I eventually managed to sort out my ISO-to-flashdrive problems and got the Windows 10 dow... Go to the full post »


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#1
Channeal

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I have something of a dilemma.....

I am from the UK and have a 10-year old Dell desktop computer which is fine apart from the fact that it is running the now spurned Windows XP :( My husband is not inclined to buy a new computer until this one is officially declared dead and buried. We have tried using Puppy Linux, but there are so many things that we can't (or maybe don't know how to) do in Puppy.

So..... I am beginning to consider the idea of possibly buying a laptop. It is just an idea as yet, not a definite decision. I have never had a laptop and really know not a thing about them! I would probably not want to spend too much, as we obviously do not have any idea how long it will be until we will need to buy a new desktop computer. When I look at laptops on the internet, I really have no idea what to look for or whether the cheaper ones are likely to be reliable or not. Can anyone offer any advice?

One thing I would like to know is whether you can add an external keyboard to a laptop. I seem to think that I have read on here that you can, but am not sure. I have never really got on well with the touchpad on the rare occasions on which I have used our daughter's laptop.

Which reminds me.... at first I was thinking of taking up the option of acquiring our daughter's old, recently replaced Sony Vaio Windows vista laptop. She no longer wants it, but she is taking ages getting round to clearing all her old files off there! When she eventually does it (note to self: I must remind her!) I could use that for a while. She replaced it because she needed much more storage space and also because she wanted to connect her keyboard (the musical kind, not a computer one!) up to her laptop along with a 4-track machine, as she composes music. (Unfortunately she has so far failed to connect everything up successfully and cannot find anybody who can help her, so if there are any music experts reading this.... lol!) Her laptop had problems quite a few years ago which I managed to solve by getting her to run scandisk a few times and although we thought the hard drive might be failing then, it has actually survived for a few more years. (I suspect that most of her previous problems were caused by her not leaving enough free space!) So, I could possibly have that as an option, if all else fails. Is it likely though that Microsoft are going to withdraw support for Vista in the near future like they did for XP? (That would just be typical of my luck lol!)

Anyway, perhaps you could bear me in mind if any hard-to-refuse laptop deals come up? We mainly use our computer for surfing and we also use Microsoft Word a lot to create various documents. I have a website to which I am continually adding new files after creating them via Notepad. I do have an extensive music collection for which I will continue to use the desktop as it has 5 speakers. (Is that what they call surround sound, or is that something entirely different?) I can't think of anything else I should tell you, but please ask if I have omitted anything.

Of course, one downside of having a new laptop for my own personal computer use is that it may mean that the desktop lasts longer... and it will then be an even longer time before my husband agrees to buy a new one! :(

Any thoughts or advice, please?

Chris.


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#2
phillpower2

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Hello Chris,

 

Be glad to help you with any potential notebook purchase but being aware already of the types of usage I would be inclined to pursue obtaining the daughters Sony Vaio first to see if you can get by with that.

 

If you post the Sony Vaio model number we can do some research to see what if any upgrade path there may be, 8GB of Ram (if the notebook will accommodate it) and a 64-bit OS such as Windows 7 may be all that is required and most certainly be less expensive than a new notebook.

 

One thing I would like to know is whether you can add an external keyboard to a laptop. 

 

 

You can indeed  :yes:

 

NB: Another consideration is to remove the present HDD from the Sony Vaio, pass it back to your daughter and fit a shiny new one for yourself.


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#3
Channeal

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Hello Phill,

Thank you for replying to my question. I hope you are well and not working too hard! :)

Yes, I think you are probably right in saying that the best option would be to use my daughter's laptop. I have begun now to put a little bit of pressure on her to sort it out, although I am reluctant to pressurize her too much due to the fact that she is still recovering from a really traumatic event which occurred in her life a while ago. It would be silly though to buy a new laptop while the possibility of using hers exists. Plus, it would keep me happily occupied for a while in trying to sort the old laptop out! :)

There are however a couple of possible problems that I have not told you about. First of all, the CD drive on the laptop was previously not working and although we did manage to get it going again, I am not sure whether she has used it since and it may need some more attention. The second issue is more likely to be a serious problem: at the same time I was looking at the CD drive problems, I failed to undo all the screws when trying to get inside the laptop to clean it. It was actually you who was helping me with these problems (back in 2014) and you can see the thread here: http://www.geekstogo...th-cddvd-drive/. I had to give up eventually back then, as my daughter wanted the laptop returned to her. However, I did not like letting something so simple beat me lol (although my husband also tried to undo the screws at the time and he failed too!). I think I will however start by ordering some more solid screwdrivers, as the ones I purchased back in 2014 specifically for this purpose are a bit flimsy really.

Anyway, I am jumping ahead of myself a bit....... The thread from 2014 says that the laptop is a Sony Vaio VGN-NS20E. I would really love to know whether it would be possible to upgrade to a more recent version of Windows, please. Do you need any more info from the laptop itself? The idea of replacing the HDD with a 'shiny new one' sounds very tempting.... although I do not think my daughter would allow me to just remove the old one and hand it to her (assuming that I managed to open the laptop) as I think she wants to go through all the files on there and see if she needs to transfer anything to her new laptop.

Thanks very much indeed for your help.

Chris.


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#4
phillpower2

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Hello Chris,

 

All is well here and thank you for asking  :)

 

Sony specs here say 4GB of memory is the maximum as does the Crucial memory tool, not a real problem not having 8GB but it would have been better performance wise, I would still recommend the purchase of a 64-bit OS to have for any future use should the Sony expire for some reason.

 

 

The idea of replacing the HDD with a 'shiny new one' sounds very tempting.... although I do not think my daughter would allow me to just remove the old one and hand it to her (assuming that I managed to open the laptop) as I think she wants to go through all the files on there and see if she needs to transfer anything to her new laptop.

 

 

I did mean after the data had been backed up  :lol: you mentioned the HDD having some problems a while back so thought it wise to replace it, that way your daughter has the data backed up + a copy on the HDD for any emergency.

 

Let us know what you decide or when you have the Sony and would like to move on with that.


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#5
Channeal

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Thanks Phill,

 

A bit disappointing about the memory. I say this because several years ago now I found that the memory on our desktop was causing me big problems and I purchased more memory, as much as it would take. I think from memory (mine, not the computer's!) that I was playing a Facebook game at the time which I surmised might possibly have been causing the problems. It probably would not be such a problem now.

 

I think that if and when I do finally get my hands on the laptop, I would definitely like to upgrade to a 64-bit OS (I think you mentioned Windows 7 as a possibility). This is partly because - if you think it is a possibility for me to do so - I would love to have a go and learn to install it myself. I need to get those stubborn screws undone first though! :(

 

Btw, I never thought you were suggesting that I remove my daughter's HDD without her having backed it up :lol: I know you would never do that!!! I told you in my first post that she was "taking ages getting round to clearing all her old files off there". I thought that perhaps you might think that she had already transferred everything she wanted to keep to the new laptop and that it now only remained for her to delete everything! :)

 

I will certainly let you know if and when I take possession of the laptop.... or if I give up hope and decide to buy a new laptop of my own instead!

 

Thanks again,

Chris.


Edited by Channeal, 29 April 2016 - 05:41 AM.

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#6
phillpower2

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Hello Chris.

 

8GB of RAM is considered to be the sweet spot of a 64-bit OS, there is no benefit to be gained other than the fact that a 32-bit OS will not recognise or utilise any more than 3.75GB of RAM, the reason why the 64-bit version of Windows would be better is because you should be looking forward, if you purchase a retail version of Windows now you will be able to reuse the product key with any replacement 64-bit capable computer should the Sony flake out on you.

 

Will be waiting in the wings when you let us know the way that you wish to proceed  :thumbsup:


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#7
Channeal

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Hello Phill,

 
Apologies, it seems I slightly misunderstood what you were saying before! :(
 
So....... I would be able to upgrade the laptop to Windows 7 and I can buy and install the 64-bit version,  even though the fact it is 64-bit will not be an advantage on this particular laptop, due to it not being possible to upgrade the memory to 8GB of RAM. Is that correct?
 
I am still a little confused, as I always thought that it was not possible to install a 64-bit OS on a 32-bit machine. If I am right now in my interpretation of what you were saying, I guess that cannot be the case and therefore it sounds an excellent idea to buy the 64--bit version so that it could be used on another laptop when the Sony Vaio gives up the ghost. 
 
One thing still slightly puzzles me though. If I later bought a new laptop,  would it not be likely to come with the latest version of Windows already installed? I thought that was usually the case and that therefore I would not need to use the 64-bit Windows 7 (unless, of course, a second-hand laptop was purchased). I suspect that my thinking here must once again be very wrong, but cannot quite work out how! 
 
I was reading somewhere on the internet that - in the writer's opinion at least - Vista was the worst OS ever. I never knew that! I think my daughter has always been happy with it.
 
Thank you as always for your help and I am sorry to be such a pain by being slow to understand. I always really enjoy learning about computer-related stuff, but am unfortunately not always very good at it! :(
 
Chris.

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#8
phillpower2

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Hello Chris,

 

So....... I would be able to upgrade the laptop to Windows 7 and I can buy and install the 64-bit version,  even though the fact it is 64-bit will not be an advantage on this particular laptop, due to it not being possible to upgrade the memory to 8GB of RAM. Is that correct?

 

 

Correct.

 

I am still a little confused, as I always thought that it was not possible to install a 64-bit OS on a 32-bit machine. If I am right now in my interpretation of what you were saying, I guess that cannot be the case and therefore it sounds an excellent idea to buy the 64--bit version so that it could be used on another laptop when the Sony Vaio gives up the ghost. 

 

 

Aye some confusion between 32-bit machine and 32-bit OS, the processor in the Sony is 64-bit and so can handle a 64-bit OS, where folk often get confused is upgrading to a 64-bit OS on a computer that is presently running a 32-bit OS such as Vista, to clarify, in this instance you do not do and in fact cannot do an in place upgrade and must do a fresh install instead.

 

One thing still slightly puzzles me though. If I later bought a new laptop,  would it not be likely to come with the latest version of Windows already installed? I thought that was usually the case and that therefore I would not need to use the 64-bit Windows 7 (unless, of course, a second-hand laptop was purchased). I suspect that my thinking here must once again be very wrong, but cannot quite work out how! 

 

 

New notebooks do commonly ship with an OS installed and most now come with Windows 10, you are caught between a rock and a hard place at the moment and need to decide on whether you are willing to wait on the Sony and then upgrade it or purchase a new notebook instead, honest answer is that the latter would be easier, the sort of spec you want and price that you will need to pay, example here

 

I was reading somewhere on the internet that - in the writer's opinion at least - Vista was the worst OS ever. I never knew that! I think my daughter has always been happy with it.

 

 

Often said but each to their own, after XP I used Vista for years (coincidentally on a Sony Vaio) skipped 7, went to Windows 8 Pro, 8.1 and finally Windows 10 Pro, folk often say that Windows 7 was the OS that Vista should have been and that Microsoft seem to release a pup and then a pedigree which in the days after DOS would equate to XP, Windows 7 and then Windows 10 as being the pedigrees, I personally thought that Windows 8 was a pup.

 

Thank you as always for your help and I am sorry to be such a pain by being slow to understand. I always really enjoy learning about computer-related stuff, but am unfortunately not always very good at it! 

 

 

You are most welcome and never consider yourself as such, each of us learn more everyday and we do that by sharing knowledge on trusted forums such as GTG.

 

Please do not hesitate to ask any other questions that you may have.


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#9
Channeal

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Hello Phill, 

 

Thank you so much for taking the time and trouble to explain fully, I think I understand now.

 

I used to feel really nervous when I first used forums such as this - but not so much now, as I have learned that I am always treated patiently and that you guys never seem to mind being asked to explain things. I do still get frustrated with myself sometimes when I fail to understand something though, mostly because I still somehow expect my brain to work as well as when I was a lot younger! :)

 
With regard to my decision about which route to take with the laptop, I am definitely going to wait and see if I can get hold of my daughter's laptop and attempt to upgrade it. When she first bought her new one earlier this year, I was quite looking forward to the possibility of taking over the Sony - even though at that time I did not think that it could be upgraded to a different OS. I didn't even realize that it was still possible to purchase Windows 7 and I thought it unlikely that it would take the most recent version, but was still happy at the idea of just using Vista.
 
My daughter didn't get around to clearing the laptop though.... and I also realized that Windows was probably not going to support Vista for much longer (I think I read that it is only until next year?) so I had almost given up the idea of taking the Sony over. It was only while writing my first post here that I remembered it again and thought it was worth at least mentioning.
 
Now I know that I could get Windows 7 though, it seems an irresistible challenge to me to try to have a go at doing what you suggested. Yes, it would be much easier to just buy a new laptop, but I guess I don't like doing things the easy way! :) So, I am just gonna wait at least a bit longer and see if my daughter can be persuaded to hand the laptop over! 
 
Yes indeed, forums like these offer such an excellent way to learn more about computers. GTG has certainly been invaluable to me and I have learned so much through it. Not being exactly a youngster myself, I do not actually know anybody at all who is really interested in computers, so have nobody to ask if I want to know something. When we bought our first computer back in 1999 (Windows 98) it is a big joke in my family that I was the one who really did not want to buy that first computer, but that I turned out to be the one who very quickly got hooked on it! I soon discovered that I could learn a lot of the basic stuff just by Googling..... but then there is nobody to turn to when it gets more complicated and you need to ask lots of questions (which, of course, I always do!). So yes, forums such as GTG are really wonderful...
 
I always tell my family that if, when I die, my maker tells me that I have made such a mess of my life that I am being sent back again for a second attempt, I am going to ask to come back as a computer expert! :)
 
I will return here and let you know if and when my daughter hands over the laptop.
 
Thanks again,
 
Chris.

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#10
phillpower2

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Hello Chris,

 

I tend to make do with what is available and only replace something if absolutely necessary and so to me your plans would be the way that I would go.

 

With the above in mind I will suggest a couple of things for you to familiarise yourself with while waiting on the Sony notebook.

 

Windows 7 upgrade advisor run this when you first obtain the notebook as it will highlight any potential issues, as the notebook is running Vista everything should be ok but always best to have it confirmed by running this tool.

 

Macrium Reflect tutorial courtesy of Essexboy use this tutorial to create a back up image of the HDD once Windows 7 has been installed/fully updated, your AV installed/updated and the same for any other software that you may install, should the HDD ever fail you have a ready made image that you can use with the replacement HDD, regular backing up is the most effective measure as it means that there will be fewer updates to install should you ever need to use the back up image with a new HDD.

 

Something that I must mention regarding upgrading to Windows 7, the installation media on DVD is becoming harder to find and more expensive, this because it is effectively being slowly phased out by MS, what this means is that you will most likely find that an electronic download will be the most cost effective measure and be prepared to pay extra for a full retail product key that has an eternal use licence as opposed to an OEM product key which can only be used once** and is not transferable from one computer to another.

 

** Some additional information for yourself and others that may read this thread: In the event of the motherboard failing Microsoft will allow re use of the product key with a like for like MB or the same brand name if the original board is no longer available, activation may be required by using the automated Microsoft telephone service (only takes a couple of minutes) and Microsoft will often waive the product key restriction if you use another brand of MB but most often only if you contact them first.

 

You are most welcome btw, we are pleased to hear that you feel that you have learned and grown in confidence by being a member here at GTG and would thank you for your kind words  :)


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#11
Channeal

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Hello Phill,

 
Many thanks for your reply and for the very useful link to the Windows 7 Upgrade Adviser which I will certainly run if and when I acquire the laptop. I also note what you say about buying the electronic version of Windows 7. I think I will check any purchase out with you first, to make sure that I am buying the correct one.
 
With regard to Macrium Reflect, you inadvertently made me smile by mentioning it! I am sure you will not remember now, as it was two long years ago, but back in 2014 you spent a very long time helping me (I believe it is still listed as being one of the topics with the greatest number of replies under 'Hardware, Components and Peripherals'). The topic started with me having some problems with my old Dell printer, but ended with me having some extended adventures while making several unsuccessful attempts at cloning my OS to my second hard drive, and also swapping the functions of the drives over, so that C became D and vice versa. During the course of my long struggle to do all this, somebody else joined in and repeatedly extolled the virtues of Macrium Reflect and also told us that we should be creating an image of the OS, rather than a clone! 
 
Anyway, my desktop computer still has many, many links to Macrium Reflect on it - and the mere mention of that program always makes me smile a lot! :) I encountered quite a few problems during that topic in 2014, but I still look back on the experience as being a lot of fun and particularly remember how elated I felt when I eventually managed to do what I had been trying to achieve! :)
 
I hope you enjoy the rest of the bank holiday weekend. It is a very wet and windy day where I am situated on the south coast, but I seem to remember that you are much further north so maybe the weather is better up there! My husband is off to watch a (in his words!) 'very important' football match, but I am definitely staying warm and dry at home!
 
Chris.

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#12
phillpower2

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Hello Chris,

 

Apologies for the late reply, not been around much the past couple of days  :whistling:

 

Just spent what seemed like an eternity trying to find a full retail version of Windows 7 that would allow the licence key to be re used on another computer should the Sony notebook suddenly expire, sorry to say they simply are not widely available anymore  :( OEM versions you can find but I would not recommend such a purchase in this instance, much better to go the retail DVD route with Windows 8/8.1 and always have the disk and product key to hand should you need to do a fresh install, this was what I did on the Vaio that I have which was also originally running Vista but is now running Windows 10 Pro.

 

I did vaguely remember suggesting Macrium Reflect to you before but since the forum was updated I could only check previous threads back to 2015 so could not confirm it, no doubt you will be up to speed with its use then :) 

 

Wet and windy in New Brighton on Bank Holiday Monday so ventured out in coat designed for the Arctic, the sun came out and I ended up cooking :lol:  


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#13
Channeal

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Hello Phill,

 

 

Apologies for the late reply, not been around much the past couple of days  :whistling:

No problem at all.

 

 

Just spent what seemed like an eternity trying to find a full retail version of Windows 7 that would allow the licence key to be re used on another computer should the Sony notebook suddenly expire, sorry to say they simply are not widely available anymore  xsad.png.pagespeed.ic.nW56hUVS2R.png OEM versions you can find but I would not recommend such a purchase in this instance, much better to go the retail DVD route with Windows 8/8.1 and always have the disk and product key to hand should you need to do a fresh install, this was what I did on the Vaio that I have which was also originally running Vista but is now running Windows 10 Pro.

 

A shame about Windows 7 not being available, but thank you anyway for spending so long looking for it. I know I will have to check the upgrade adviser thing when I get the laptop, but do you actually think it will be likely that I will be able to upgrade such an old laptop to Windows 8/8.1? I just asked my daughter if she would let me borrow the laptop just to run the upgrade thing but she wouldn't let me..... although she did say that she might work on sorting the laptop out tomorrow as my husband and I are going to be out from early morning until very late and she will need something to occupy her!
 

 

I did vaguely remember suggesting Macrium Reflect to you before but since the forum was updated I could only check previous threads back to 2015 so could not confirm it, no doubt you will be up to speed with its use then xsmile.png.pagespeed.ic.5Yux4gu5_h.png

 

Goodness, I did not expect you to remember any thing at all about me and my computer struggles from back in 2014! I hope the fact that you do doesn't mean that you remember because I was one of your most troublesome clients (hopefully not though, as you have agreed to help me again! :) ). Funnily enough, I was reading through the topic from 2014 recently (it is still available here under topics with the most replies) as I was looking for info about computer temperatures. I couldn't believe how long it took me back then to eventually sort everything out! :(

 

 

Wet and windy in New Brighton on Bank Holiday Monday so ventured out in coat designed for the Arctic, the sun came out and I ended up cooking :lol:

 

Typical bank holiday weather then :lol:

 

Bye for now,

Chris.
 


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#14
phillpower2

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Hello Chris,

 

An article for you to read regarding Windows 7 here

 

Not much you can do regarding the notebook so it is a case of wait and see for you I`m afraid.

 

Just a bit of information for you really but I make a point of checking members content before answering just in case there is any relevant info that may help, the earliest content available to me for yourself is from 30 September 2015 - 09:13 PM in the thread here if you check my content you will see that there are 23 pages with the earliest being 05 May 2015 here

 

Aye you are right about the weather, back to work and the sun now cracking the flags  :(


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#15
Channeal

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Hello Phill,

 

 

An article for you to read regarding Windows 7 here

 

Not much you can do regarding the notebook so it is a case of wait and see for you I`m afraid.

 

Thanks for the link about Windows 7. Yes, I can only wait for now and see what is possible when my daughter has sorted out the laptop. I may well end up buying a new one instead, but I think it is still worth waiting just in case.

 

 

Just a bit of information for you really but I make a point of checking members content before answering just in case there is any relevant info that may help, the earliest content available to me for yourself is from 30 September 2015 - 09:13 PM in the thread here if you check my content you will see that there are 23 pages with the earliest being 05 May 2015 here

 

You confused me here (easily done!). I guess you are saying that although the old topics are still there, since the forum was updated topics from before May 2015 do not show up when searching for content from a particular person.

 

I will be back in touch once I have some news about the laptop, so will leave you in peace until then!

 

Thanks again,

 

Chris.


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