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Do I need a new laptop or new Windows?


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#1 2970emma

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 09:21 AM

Hi all,

I know there are lots of posts out there about slow computers, I've read all the help on this site and will try plenty of it, but my question is "when is the time to get a new laptop".

I was given a brand new Acer Aspire 1640Z in summer 2006 and it has been used pretty much daily since then (generally for internet browsing and Microsoft Office, no intensive software downloads etc.) The laptop was slow right from the start with regards to listening to music and watching DVDs, when I asked someone to look at the laptop they said this was due to the harddive being split (C: and D:) when I bought it. Early 2007 I had the hard drive reformatted to just a C: format and it sped up considerably. I have done little to the computer since then; I periodically defrag and also clear up files, use C-Cleaner etc.

Over the last year or so it has grown noticably slower. I have tried the basic tips; uninstall unnecessary software, boost virus protection, defrag, clear out old files etc. but the problem worsened. I have been advised to reinstall Windows. However, I don't have any Windows disks and since my hard drive was reformatted I can't burn a recovery image/disks myself. The computer is running Windows XP.

I have two options:
1. I could spend hours trawling forum advice and learning how to remove all the damage I have done to my computer and hope that works
2. I could buy Windows XP for ~40 and reinstall it, hoping that would solve my problems.

I'm willing to try either or both of them. I'm also willing to take better care of the laptop in future so it doesn't get as messed up again. BUT, is it worth it? The laptop is 5 years old - if I put in the time/effort/money will it give up the ghost in a year's time and I'll need to buy a new one anyway?

I'm just a "waste not, want not" sort of person, and hate the thought of getting rid of something I may need in the future.

Thanks in advance,
Emma

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#2 strolln

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 09:39 AM

If it is not beyond the reach of your budget, I would seriously consider buying a new laptop. The fact is, it's not cost effective to put money into a 5 year old laptop. Buying new will get you the latest supported OS (Win 7, MS doesn't support XP any longer) with a faster processor, more disk space and more RAM. A new laptop will be substantially faster than your old one.

If a new laptop doesn't fit into the budget at this time then re-installing XP would be my recommendation for you. Regardless, a 5 yr old laptop will still be a 5 yr old laptop but you should regain the performance you had when it was new. Other things you could do at the same time that might help extend its life would be to add RAM and consider a newer, larger disk drive.

Edited by strolln, 07 August 2011 - 09:41 AM.

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#3 Allan

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 10:03 AM

I disagree. Buying a new computer because software has slowed it down is like buying a new car because you have a flat tire. Purchase a Windows disc, format, reinstall. You'll be fine.

#4 hamluis

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 11:30 AM

<<...my question is "when is the time to get a new laptop>>

That's easy to answer, IMO:

a. When you want one and the money is no consideration.
b. When your current system no longer adequately allows you to do whatever it is...that you do on a computer...and you can finance a new system. I would add as a caveaat...be sure it's the system that is the problem and not the user or the O/S.

Personally...I would do a clean install before ever entertaining spending money on a system or an O/S. Clean install for a laptop...includes using those recover/restore disks manufacturers make for such.

Louis

#5 2970emma

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 12:32 PM

Thanks everyone.

I guess I am planning on a new laptop, but budgeting for this in 2012...so one more question: is it best to buy a copy of Windows XP and reinstall or just work on the Window's system I have (sort out programmes, malware etc.)? Perhaps 5 years worth of Windows and downloaded "junk" is just too much to clear out?

Again, thanks.
Emma

#6 Allan

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 12:54 PM

Only you can make that call.

#7 strolln

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 01:00 PM

I disagree. Buying a new computer because software has slowed it down is like buying a new car because you have a flat tire. Purchase a Windows disc, format, reinstall. You'll be fine.

You'll be fine but you'll still have a 5 year old laptop that is living on borrowed time. The older the laptop, the higher the odds are that it will have a hardware failure of some kind. I don't recommend buying new to solve the slowdown issue, I recommend buying new because your laptop has reached a point where it bound to fail, most likely at the most inopportune time.

I think a better analogy is deciding to replace a slipping transmission in a car with 200,000 miles on it. Your car will be back on the road but how much longer will it be before you'll need a new engine?
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#8 Allan

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 01:10 PM

I'm sorry, but that's just nonsense. I have systems that are 8 years old that work just as well as new ones. Please - don't spend other people's money because of how you like to do things. There is no way to know how long any piece of electronic equipment will last, and there's certainly no reason to believe the OP's laptop is "bound to fail" or is on "borrowed time". Why would you say things like that? Those are simply wild statements with nothing to back them up.

#9 strolln

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 06:27 PM

In reality what you are saying is nonsense. I have systems that are 30 years old that work fine but I would not entrust them to anything important because I know the odds are very high that they could fail at any time. Why do you think warranties don't normally extend past 3 years?

I work for a large software company and our work laptops are replaced every 3 years. Know why? It's because maintenance costs and failure rates soar after 3 years. Yes, some laptops defy the odds and do the job well past the average (I kept my last work laptop for 7 years) but the point is, the older a laptop (or any computer) is, the higher the odds are that it will fail and with each year of use the odds climb higher. Can you honestly argue with that? The answer is not black and white as you seem to believe.

Can you honestly tell the OP that if she refreshes the OS on her laptop that it will flawlessly last another 2 or 3 years (or more)? Of course not, just as I cannot guarantee that it will fail sooner, but the odds are in my favor.

You are the one who is answering "because of how you like to do things". You're a technically savvy person capable of keeping a laptop running for longer than the average user. Just because you can stretch out the lifetime of a computer doesn't mean the average user is capable of doing the same.

I wasn't trying to spend the OP's money frivolously which is why I started off with, "If it is not beyond the reach of your budget...".

You are saying I am wrong and you are right and I'm saying we can't say for sure either way. Stop talking in absolute terms.

Edited by strolln, 07 August 2011 - 06:36 PM.

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#10 dc3

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 07:19 PM

Strolin

You have systems that are thirty years old which you would not trust them with anything important. Well... you just substantiated what Allan was pointing out, that these older system do continue to work, and work... The first premise in computers is to back up all of your important data to a removable media, I personally believe that you should use at least two types. If the system goes down, then you will still have your important data. Even with new systems there are infant mortalities where the hdd goes south, it doesn't have to be an older system. The reason that a company like the one you mention purchases new systems is because it is cost effective, this is an unfair comparison to an individual without the financial support that your employer enjoys.


2970emma
On the bottom of your laptop there is a twenty five alphanumerical code which proves that you have a legal copy of Windows. Since you have this proof, you can borrow a copy of XP from a friend and reformat and reinstall the operating system. It will have to be the same version as yours, eg XP Home or Xp Pro. You will also want to harvest your drivers so that you won't have to download these from the manufacturer, for that purpose you can use a program like Driver Magician. Once you have completed the installation you will have to contact the manufacturer to reactivate you operating system. Once you have done this you will want to download all of the Microsoft updates for the operating system. This is an outline in broad strokes, you will want to save all of you important data, all of you set ups for downloaded programs, save your e-mail addresses, ect... For any further questions you only need to ask.

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#11 strolln

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 10:32 PM

Strolin

You have systems that are thirty years old which you would not trust them with anything important. Well... you just substantiated what Allan was pointing out, that these older system do continue to work, and work... The first premise in computers is to back up all of your important data to a removable media, I personally believe that you should use at least two types. If the system goes down, then you will still have your important data. Even with new systems there are infant mortalities where the hdd goes south, it doesn't have to be an older system. The reason that a company like the one you mention purchases new systems is because it is cost effective, this is an unfair comparison to an individual without the financial support that your employer enjoys. ...

My 30 year old systems continue to work because I have the technical skill and desire to keep them running, just as Allan has the technical skill to keep his system running for 8 years. What percentage of 30 year old systems do you think are still running? Only a handful that collectors like myself maintain. How does a 30 year old, gently used system substantiate Allan's point in any way? It's a rare exception rather than the rule.

Neither of you can even attempt to refute my statement that the older a computer is, the higher the odds are that it will fail. That's a fact and that's what I stated. Are you and Allan attempting to say that's not true somehow?

All I did was try to tell the OP what her options were. I didn't say replacement was the only option but Allan has refused to acknowledge any other option beside reinstallation of the OS. That's a pretty myopic view in my opinion.
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#12 hamluis

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 07:21 AM

If...the comments that you make in a topic...cannot be germane to the issue...I suggest that you refrain from derailing the topic by personal disagreements over comments made...that are not relevant to the topic.

Do not detract focus...from the OP and the topic posted by the OP.

Thank you.

Louis

#13 Orange Blossom

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 04:05 PM

@ 2970emma,

Another option that I don't see presented here. Contact the manufacturer of the computer, explain that the recovery partition has been ruined and that you need to reformat and reinstall and need the discs to do so. You can get those discs for a lot less money than purchasing a new windows license.

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#14 Eyesee

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 05:16 PM

I tend to reload my systems once a year or whenever they screw up, whichever comes first.
It makes a big difference for performance and that I what I would do in this case.

I dont think it is necessary to buy a new system and a new version of Windows every few years.
If what you have does what you want why change?

True, a hard drive might fail, but that is a relatively cheap part.
I would run the system for as long as you can and keep your money.
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#15 Allan

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 05:22 PM

I never understood folks who format and reinstall the OS on a regular basis. I NEVER reinstall the OS's and all of my systems have always run as well as the day I got them.




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