Thursday, February 23, 2017


Upgrade your old machine?

If there's anything most techies agree on nowadays, it is that it is probably not worthwhile to upgrade your old machine.

For Windows 10, for example, you really need a quad processor, 4 gigs of RAM  and a solid state hard drive.    Old slow mechanical hard drives are a thing of the past and are to be avoided.

Such a device can be obtained pretty cheaply at $200 to $400 max.     If you have an old large screen display,  then a low-cost small laptop will do to work with it.    Also plug in a full-size keyboard.

I actually recommend having two new devices.

.  a cheap Windows laptop to do anything
.  a cheap Chromebook to do most of it faster and hassle-free     

The Windows laptop will be quickly and reliably compatible with any printer of recent vintage.*

The Chromebook runs at extremely high speed without exposure to Windows settings problems and support issues, especially slow ups and viruses.

That way you have the best of all worlds.   That is what I have.  I spent about $200 for each device, actually less, like $120 for one!!

The Chromebook can even be plugged into your modem direct to avoid router issues, costs, and problems safely.  An adapter costs about $10: usb to ethernet.

You could avoid the Windows computer.   You would use Google Docs with the Chromebook as opposed to Windows Office and you could obtain a Hewlett-Packard printer that works through your router.    You could put up with CloudPrint with a Chromebook as well, printing through the cloud.   I do not recommend the latter.

You could also avoid both options and simply rely on your smartphone to do it all. Most of the time it is easier to use a smartphone to perform a task than using the old laptop, especially when you can do it with a simple voice command.    The new Chromebooks also run the smartphone apps for Android smartphones, so: just one system to learn for both.

Here at Happy Valley, where there are Windows 10 free kiosks everywhere, the last is an attractive alternative.

A great smart phone should cost no more than $200, and a $30 smartphone will do the job, I recommend the Moto G 4 at about $150 (NOT the Moto 4G).

*If you have a really old printer you really love, a Linux device with the Linux Mint or Zorin Linux operating system will work with it.     Go to Dell only for that.    

** All the major brands of tablets have both Windows and Chromebook devices.   Look for compact laptops.    

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