Exploring the Stories of the Islands and the Freedoms of Third Age

A Ton of Questions About Computers


Can someone, some fellow blogger or some technical friend advise me on something, please?

My poor computer is finding it really hard going these days, now that it’s in use every day, and is having to store lots more files, especially photos.  It’s getting to be so slow that I’ve been seriously tempted to throw it across the room at times (as in at least once a day), and last week it was recalcitrant enough to show me a blue screen.  I’ve been told that’s a sign that it’s in its death throws?

So my question is this – what to buy next?  I need to have Plan A, in place and ready to go, because of course I can’t live without a computer now any more than I could live without chocolate or Chardonnay, well, actually, it would be far easier to give up either of those!  The plan was to get a desktop and a netbook.  This laptop is on the heavy side for travelling and my back ain’t what it used to be, so hence the netbook, and a nice, sturdy desktop for every day use.

Now, however, things are changing.  Within a year or so now,  I should be able to travel a lot more, so is there any point in buying a desktop?  My stuff may go into storage, so it wouldn’t be like I would just let myself in a begin to use it on my return, not to mention that, even if it isn’t in storage, the ADSL will have been cancelled for the duration.

I’m pretty sure I need to go with a notebook for travelling, but how about a good, reliable laptop?  Is there such a thing?  How much more expensive than a desktop would it be?  I want a Spanish keyboard, but Windows in English, so do I buy here or in UK or US?  Where are they cheaper?  What about service?  Truly, I’ve never had a lot of problems, either my computers have worked or they have died, not much in between.  Over the years family and friends have recommended Dell, but of late I’ve been hearing bad stuff.  And the big question is to Mac or not to Mac?  How irritating would a changeover be to someone who’s always used a PC?  Are they really that much better for photos?

Wow!  I know that’s a lot of questions, but any advice will be fully digested, considered and appreciated.


Author: IslandMomma

Exploring island life and the freedoms of Third Age: Challenging myself every day: writing, traveling, snapping pix, running & teaching ESL

10 thoughts on “A Ton of Questions About Computers

  1. Buy an Apple notebook, for goodness sake! Once you’ve tried Apple, you will never go back to Microsoft. No hassle, no viruses and a very good system for storing photos. Pleeeeeease!


    • This is what I have been hearing about Mac for years, and had definitely decided, a short while after buying my last computer, that the next would be a Mac. However, of late I’ve been hearing doubts, so it’s interesting that you’re still a fan! I remember being totally knocked out by the Apple shop we went in when I visited you last! Thanks.

  2. I normally don’t like to stick links in comments but here’s something I wrote recently that might help. Of course if you have any specific questions feel free to email me! I love talking tech…

    • Wow! Firstly, thanks for the link. I didn’t expect such an illustrious response! Soon as my work is done here I will be going back to read in depth. Thanks.

  3. Lindaaa que largo y que cantidad de preguntas!!

    Antes que nada..¿como va todo? espero que bien!!

    Para las cosas que tu dices que utilizas el ordenador, no debería reducirse la velocidad:

    a) fíjate en cuanto espacio libre tienes en los Discos Duros del ordenador. Siempre debes dejar, al menos, un 20% libre en cada unidad (si tienes más de una..).

    b) fíjate en cuantos “procesos activos” están ejecutandose a la vez, una forma rápida aunque no totalmente fiable, si tienes más de 6 a 8 iconos al lado del reloj de Windows, son demasiados.

    c) El número de aplicaciones instaladas también es importante.

    En principio, si reduces las tres anteriores, mejorará mucho la velocidad de éste.

    Sobre el pantallazo azul de la muerte de Windows, fijate en la mitad del pantallazo que explica (en la mayoría de las ocasiones) el por qué de éste, puede decir cosas del tipo “Buffer Overflow”, “USBSYS.sys”, o lo que sea…quizás es un fallo tonto…

    Sobre el lugar donde comprar el PC, fácil, no te lleves por el precio, pues están muy similares, llévate por donde vas a estar la mayoría del tiempo que uses el PC (a excepción que tengas pensado viajar a china en los próximos meses, que allí si que están realmente baratos 🙂 ), en MediaMark hay netbooks por 300€ MUY buenos para el usuario medio. Con la garantía de 2 años..y cualquier cosa extraña…lo cambias!

    Cualquier cosa en la que te pueda ayudar…ya sabes!

    • Muchas gracias, Miguel!! Si puedo prolongar la vida de este claro que es mejor. Estoy preguntando pq no tengo bastante dinero para permitirme hacer un error! Semana pasado eliminé cosas que no utilizo, pero me parece que hay más que puedo eliminar.

      ¿Entonces pantalla azul no es necesariamente el final? ¿Tiene 3 años, creo, este ordenador, pero me parece que los portátiles duran menos tiempo que los ordenadores de mesa, no?…….más pregunatas!

      Y eso de MediaMark es MUY interesante! Tenemos por fin un empresa que funciona como las del resto del mundo!! Que marca de notebook es mejor, sabes? ¡Gracias otra vez!

  4. I lost my entire post!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Well, I have always been a Windows man, but after the iPhone I have a new regard for Apple. For

    office work I don’t think you can avoid windows.

    I have never had any time for Dell. I think they are rubbish. I always buy HP for desktops and

    office machines.

    I have bought three Sony Viaos in the last couple of years. The one with Vista on it is dumped

    in the attic. Alison loves her one, but finds it too heavy for college. Myself and Ali share one

    but we both find it too heavy to have on your lap for any length of time, though we do bring it

    to play Lilly’s dvds when we are away. I bought it primarily for ease of loading MSOffice

    software. It runs Windows 7 and it’s fine.

    Myself and Ali both prefer to use the notebook for all internet based activity, which in our

    case is quite a lot. This is my second Advent notebook. We “coked” the first one, and bought one

    exactly the same. The downside is no cd/dvd drive, but it is beautiful and light and portable.

    Which brings me to the photos issue. We have moved the photos from Ali’s ailing desktop to the

    office server for safety and to free up her machine. It also means we have offline backups daily

    of that stuff. We lost all of our photos on the “coked” laptop, and most of Lilly when she was

    a baby. The only ones left are those on FlickR.

    You need to get an external hard drive to back up, and possibly free up, that desktop of yours.

    You are going to need an external hard drive anyway no matter whether you go down the

    desktop/laptop/notebook route.

    I don’t know about other people’s experience but I have managed to break 2 laptops in the last

    couple of years. I also suspect that more laptops than desktops get stolen.

    How old is that desktop? Are you good at clearing old files, deleting obsolete programs,

    stopping processes? Do you defrag? A well maintained desktop should run for 10years plus.

    • I’m still leaning Applewards, I guess. Main problem with them is the price, of course, although, also, I hate things which are not compatible with other peoples’ systems. We had a stupid sytem in my last job. Well, not so much a system as we had different systems, which meant that when I had to send a normal, simple Word document to certain people I had to run circles to make sure it was saved in a certain way otherwise they couldn’t read it. Very irritating.

      This has been so interesting from the point of view of reading different opinions! Most people now seem to be saying that Dell isn’t what it was, although people who’ve had good experiences are still big fans. It could be that they are ok in the US, but not outside the US, I think. I have two huge votes (including yours) for HP and one against. Maybe it depends on what you need a computer for.

      I do have a hard drive, but I keep forgetting to update it. Last time I backed up my photos must have been about 6 wks ago, but that’s my fault, obviously. In class we were advised to backup photos in 3 different places. One of the problems I’ve had of late is this computer ruining cds. Now I am wondering if they were cheap cds and that was the problem. But we were advised to keep cds as well, though am guessing this will filter out before too long. Maybe a couple of different hard drives is the answer, but it still means the 3rd storage place is the computer…..sorry, really thinking out loud there. It really, really sucks to lose photos, especially in your case because they’re a record of Lilly’s childhood. Thank god for Flickr and such stuff!

      This is a laptop, not a desktop, my dilema is whether to buy another laptop as my main computer, or a desktop. I want to keep down storage too for one thing, but I totally agree that a) they are more likely to get stolen and b) they just haven’t lasted anything like as long in my experience.

      I cleared out some old files last week, and it seemed to help at first. Well, it was faster. Then Austin was here, using it, and he has the identical model, bought from the same shop the same week, and says his is much faster, so that set me wondering again.

      Thank you so much for your input. All this really is helping me make a decision. Hopefully, I will have a few months (the longer the better so I can save up more and buy better!) Miguel tells me that the blue screen isn’t, necessarily, death throws, so I am crossing my fingers and hoping I can fix this up for a few more months! Still, once it goes I need to go out right away and replace it. I can’t wait too long!

  5. a friend had major hassle with her Dell laptop, which started from day one and she eventually got a new one out of them. they always want to ‘repair’ and leave you without etc etc and it was obviously the equivilant of a ‘Monday morning’ car. I think the main thing she liked it for was the beautiful shade of blue (I kid you not) and so she fell in love with the colour – be warned!

    • jejeje……..I did kind of notice the pretty colors, but, fortunately, I can’t afford to be swayed by that :=) I’ve heard similar stories about Dell, but great stories from the US, so I am wondering if it is just the European branch which is not up to par. Thanks for the advice, though….noted.

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