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Computer for my 62 year old mother


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#1 s1mp13m4n

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 07:45 PM

Hello everyone. My mothers old 2.4GHZ Celeron PC is very slow. I am wondering if I should try and fix up that old machine with a faster P4 CPU, RAM, Video card, etc....or build a low end PC....or buy one of these $200 Net Top PC's with the Intel Atom CPU in it. My mother surfs the internet, plays Pogo games, uses Facebook and plays games on Facebook, and types a paper now and then. That is all she does with it so she does not ned anything high end. I am going for the best value for the money and trying to do this as in-expensively as I can. What would you suggest?

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#2 hamluis

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 09:06 PM

Hi :blink:.

I was reading this and conjuring up images of an old lady fiddling with a computer her son had provided...and then I realized that I'm older than your mother :wacko:. Pretty funny realization, unexpected humor in the course of the day :).

OK, on to serious subject matter...netbooks are designed for a target audience that includes persons like your mother. They provide flexibility of movement, sufficient power to do the things that such users do...and they are small and light.

Netbooks are also what I consider to be "throw-away computers" meaning that I don't think that they were made to exceed the warranty period. Not saying that's the way it is...but that's certainly the way that I look at them.

If you buy a desktop, there's greater flexibility with the system...but there's less flexibility in using it. The user must go to the desktop, wherever it is...user cannot move the desktop to suit personal preferences.

What's wrong with simply asking your mother for a preference? I say this because I hate getting or giving people gifts they don't really want/like and the way to avoid such...get some input.

Louis

#3 s1mp13m4n

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 12:47 PM

I am not looking at a netbook laptop but rather the new small net tops PC's that are out now. Here is an example: Newegg. I already have a nice 19 inch LCD as well. I am also thinking of using Linux on it rather than Windows because that way I do not have to work on it as much fixing malware, disk defrags, etc. Mom told me she simply wants something to surf the web, Facebook, email, etc. She does not know not to open attachments and also does not realize that some of the ads/links on Facebook and not legit so because she sees a flashing window that says she has a virus and to click here to fix it....she does. She does not understand the difference between system login password, gmail password, and facebook password, etc. She will say something like "I can not log in"....ok log in to what? :blink: I am trying to make this as easy to use as I can, keep the OS "hidden" or out of the way for example have it install update, scan for viruses, etc all without her even knowing about it. Thank you for all the help. I am currently using Xubuntu Linux on my machine and I love it.

#4 hamluis

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 02:42 PM

If it were me...I would just go with a system with Windows 7 (linux is more work than I want to do) as an O/S (but I have 3-pack license with only 2 computers), strictly a matter of preference.

The price is right on that system...even if it only lasts a year, it's hard to beat $4 a week for Internet access, email, etc.

As long as the user does not outgrow it, why not?

Louis

#5 ThunderZ

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 04:01 PM

Have you considered a memory upgrade and a basic cleaning of her current system and internal case. Two of the best malware scanners are free for home use. Cutting down start-up processes, maxing out the memory and a can or two of compressed air to eradicate the dust bunnies that can accumulate in all machines.

Sure do not want to spoil a great new toy for Mom. But a minimal $$ investment and time spent may do wonders for the current PC and save some $$$ as well.

It would`t be the latest and greatest but is still more then capable of easily performing what she requires.

#6 s1mp13m4n

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 04:58 PM

The current system is a Celeron 2.4, 40GB HDD, 768MB RAM, WinXP, intergrated audio...video...and LAN. It has not needed processes turned off and themes disables and it is set for performance and speed. It has shared 32MB Intel video. It has an Intel motherboard with the Intel 865 chipset in it. I would have to look but i think it will max out at a 3Ghz CPU and 4GB RAM, but WinXP 32 bit will only see 3GB of RAM. I will have to sit down and crunch some numbers and see which is the best bang for the buck and go from there. :blink: Keep the ideas coming. I am already using AVG, Spybot S&D, Malwarebytes has issues so I stopped using it....like the annoying popups from the IP Protection feature it has.

#7 hamluis

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 05:46 PM

<<...like the annoying popups from the IP Protection feature it has.>>

I use Malwarebytes but I don't use that feature and I don't have any popups at all from that program.

The 4GB RAM thing...really works out to somewhere between 3 and 3.5, I believe. I have 4GB installed on each of my two 32-bit XP systems and each reflects 3.37GB as useable, after memory allocations for onboard video, etc.

Louis

#8 ReviverSoft

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 06:25 PM

Mom told me she simply wants something to surf the web, Facebook, email, etc.


That's exactly why she needs a decent Netbook.
She can carry it around wherever she goes.


The 4GB RAM thing...really works out to somewhere between 3 and 3.5, I believe. I have 4GB installed on each of my two 32-bit XP systems and each reflects 3.37GB as useable, after memory allocations for onboard video, etc.

Louis


Windows XP 32-bit ONLY supports 4GB of physical memory, including the video memory.
That means, only 3.X GB of your RAM is actually detected by Windows XP, actual value depending on how large the video memory is.

However, Windows XP 64-bit and above have no such issues.

Edited by ReviverSoft, 09 December 2009 - 07:20 PM.

ReviverSoft - Happy to help!

#9 txtchr

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 07:46 PM

I'll throw in my 2 cents worth, since I do have a Mom who is older (she's in her 80's though) and who recently had to get a new computer because a lightning strike fried her modem and laptop.

We found a new system for her that was not very expensive, had a wide-screen monitor (she loves that because she can see very well now), and a full-sized keyboard. It was $399, from Dell.

My experience with e-Machines has not been very good, unless you want to throw away the system in about 12 months.

If she doesn't want a laptop system, I'd look around for the inexpensive (non e-Machine) systems.

Edited by txtchr, 09 December 2009 - 07:53 PM.


#10 hamluis

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 08:56 PM

<<My experience with e-Machines has not been very good, unless you want to throw away the system in about 12 months.>>

Funny...I've heard that same comment about Dell...HP...just about anyone who makes a netbook, etc.

I suspect that much of the burden for the demise of these systems...may fall to the lack of interest by the owners/users.

Louis

#11 txtchr

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 04:24 PM

The OP wasn't referring to netbooks (the little laptops), but rather a trimmed-down desktop PC. The one they provided a link for was roughly $190. I haven't found a netbook on the market for that cheap.

No matter what manufacturer you buy from, I've discovered that you get what you pay for. Buy cheap, and you get cheap. It's like anything you buy, whether it's a computer or a camera or a pair of slacks: If you'd like it to last for a little bit longer, spend a bit more money.

#12 Skydie

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 07:26 PM

A bit of advice I heard a some time ago was that malware is much less potent on a non administer account. You've probably already done this but to make you're mother's computer more secure and less susceptible to being badly damaged by a virus if she clicks on anything malicious make her account which is seperate from the main administrator and add some limits/rules on it so that even if malware does come in somehow (the less powerful stuff) it won't be able to roam free on the guest account (like not allowing anything in the WINDOWS folder to be deleted).




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