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Is my Acer Aspire 8943G worth upgrading?


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#1 Prospero5554

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Posted 08 March 2014 - 04:27 AM

My Acer is now four years old and has generally served me well. I did not need a gaming machine but it was bought for me as part of a redundancy package, my thinking being its spec would future proof me well into my old age.

My principal use of the laptop is as 'content editor' to www.warwickshirerailways.com which currently has some 10,000 HTML pages and a similar numbers of thumbnail and larger photos. I use Hotmetal Pro as my HTML programme (I know it's 17 years old but it has a feature which allows me to copy and paste code easier than using word so my output is very high). I also use Photoshop 6 (again 17 years old) which I retained because, having tried the latest equivalent products, they seem to offer me no serious advantage as I only use Photoshop to size, remove blemishes, lighten/darken/contrast photos yet are complex to use. I would like to do other things such as joining scanned images together and to draw diagrams but have yet to find a local course which can help me to acquire such skills.

My practice is to scan photos etc and to save these as Tiff files. I copy these originals to make the images seen on the website using a reference stored in an Excel file. My photo file is therefore well in excess of 20gig.

I have had issues with running Hotmetal Pro on Windows 7 64 bit software (as indeed I have had with earlier versions of Windows). It would occasionally crash and when I tried to restart the programme it would start to load with the icon momentarily appearing before it would fade away. I tried all the MS advice of running Hotmetal as an older version within Windows 7 and whilst this has worked previously with Windows XP etc it didn't seem to this time. I then read on line that the problem was because I was using the 64 bit version of Windows 7. I then had an engineer install the 32 bit version and generally it's now more stable.

However I am aware that there is software that would help me enormously in developing the website (such as Perfect Resize) which needs Windows 7 64 bit as a minimum.

I am also now helping one of the railway societies to scan their photos which requires my setting the scan to 1200 dpi (although I have a great Epson scanner I still scan through Photoshop). Needless to say this can be a slow process and as we are talking thousands to be scanned it would be great to speed up this process.

I spend a considerable amount of time on the laptop. Being retired it keeps me well occupied but it's also having an impact upon my posture which is now manifesting itself with back pains etc. I am therefore looking at buying a new 24 inch monitor to hang on the wall in front of me to avoid bending my neck, a separate keyboard and to only use the laptop as CPU unless I am visiting someone with my scanner to copy their photos.

However having had a couple of issues with the Acer - running hot and closing down, sorted out by an engineer by cleaning out fans etc and now with what appears to be the speakers failing. It is also very slow at times when restarting from the lid being closed. I wonder if it's now showing its age and it's not worth spending money to add Ram etc and sorting out the speakers? One thought I had was to buy a new PC for all the modern stuff and hopefully retain Photoshop 6 but then downgrade the Acer to just being used for the Hotmetal Pro software. Not a perfect answer as I currently I can have Hotmetal, Photoshop, Excel, Word, Firefox, Google Chrome, FTP all open at the same time so I can switch from task to task quickly.

I am not at all technical minded although if shown something I can normally okay in executing the instructions. As a pensioner, one not having the benefit of a large public sector pension, I have only limited resources.

Any advice is very much appreciated.

Regards

Mike

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#2 computerxpds

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 09:06 PM

Hello :welcome: to Bleeping Computer! Sorry it took so long for you to get a reply. 

 

So are you looking for opinions on your current machine and if you should get a new one or keep your current one? I honestly think your current machine is quite well suited for the things you want to do, it might just be a matter of cleaning up your operating system if anything. If you have gotten use to the way you do things now, I would say keep what you have. You do have to do annual maintenance like cleaning the dust out, but I think you should be able to keep using it. The monitor is a good idea if you are experiencing strain, especially if you are using it at a desk, though, I'd recommend you buy a desktop computer, to keep most of your important documents and it will provide you with the power you need for image editing, but you stated you had a limited budget so I suppose that is out. 

 

As for speeding up your scanning, I'm not really sure how to help you there, I'm not one who has used a scanner much in my time, however hopefully someone else will pop in to help you with that. :) 


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#3 Prospero5554

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 04:47 PM

Hi Computerxpds

Thanks for the advice. I was concerned that the laptop, which was designed for gaming so it is no slouch, was getting a little long in tooth and that things start to wear out.

I will explore the other forums in order to address the speed of start up etc and whether my old software can be made to run on 64 bit windows.

Again my thanks for sparing me some of your personal time.

Mike

#4 computerxpds

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 04:52 PM

Hello :)
 
You are most certainly welcome. That is a great idea. Hope you find the solutions/fixes you need. If you need/have any more questions feel free to ask, I'm always usually around. :)
 
It was not a problem at all, I love helping people. :)
 
Edit: removed some smiles.. too many are messy..


Edited by computerxpds, 11 March 2014 - 04:54 PM.

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#5 jonuk76

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 05:24 PM

I will explore the other forums in order to address the speed of start up etc and whether my old software can be made to run on 64 bit windows.

 

Have you considered virtualisation, using an older operating system in a virtual machine?  Basically, it means running a different operating system ("guest" operating system) within your own operating system (the "host" operating system).  The software for doing this is free (VMWare Player or VirtualBox are best) but you should have a valid license for any guest operating systems you want to use.

 

A picture paints a thousand words so here is a screenshot of Windows 98 running on the desktop of my Windows 7 64bit system in VMWare Player Free...  It runs pretty much any Windows 95/98 software that doesn't require 3D acceleration (it's no good for old DirectX games unfortunately).

 

adMgIZJ.jpg

 

Other clever stuff is that in supported guest operating systems you can drag and drop files between the operating systems seamlessly and more.

 

I've got quite a few Virtual Machines set up myself, for playing with different operating systems in a controlled environment.  I've got a few for fun that wouldn't likely run on modern hardware (Windows 3.11 and DOS 6.22, and Windows 98 for example).  I can still fire up ancient copies of programs I got with my Windows 3.11 computer many years ago should I want to...


Edited by jonuk76, 11 March 2014 - 05:27 PM.

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#6 Prospero5554

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 08:49 PM

Hi Jonuk76

 

This sounds very interesting. Is it something that I need to get an engineer to do or can I use tutorials?

 

My thanks for your effort on my behalf.

 

Mike



#7 jonuk76

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 11:35 PM

Hopefully no engineer required!! With VMWare or VirtualBox, once the software is installed the process of installing common operating systems e.g. Windows XP as a guest is quite straightforward. Here are some tutorials on the Virtual box forum - https://forums.virtualbox.org/viewforum.php?f=28&sid=508e040718e2c4856303efdb76bcd540 Some are perhaps a bit dated. I mostly use VMWare and installing XP in that can be done with a few clicks, it will even enter the product key for you.

YouTube is likely to have instructional videos as well.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6B4Ng28Tts

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DeGRIWwd_Ao


Edited by jonuk76, 13 March 2014 - 07:01 AM.

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#8 Prospero5554

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 08:12 PM

Hi Jonuk76

 

Again my thanks for your help. I will let you know how things go.

 

Regards

 

Mike






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