Computer Help forum

General discussion

Untechnical person asking for help

by AleeaB / November 2, 2009 5:48 AM PST

I have a home computer loaded with XP and use it for writing letters Microsoft Office Word, bookkeeping on Excel, posters for grandkids on Powerpoint, email, home shopping, solitare and facebook contacts with family. I have to get a laptop to take on a trip to a computerless home. I don't know what to get. I am not a technical person, I push buttons as I need them pushed. I am asking for simple to understand advice on what to get and if this new Windows 7 has the word processing/ecel/powerpoint I already know how to use. I also have a couple of games loaded for the grandkids to play. If you can type simply so I understand what to consider, I would be most grateful.

Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: Untechnical person asking for help
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: Untechnical person asking for help
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
Probably just about anything
by Jimmy Greystone / November 2, 2009 6:21 AM PST

Probably just about anything will work for your needs, HOWEVER, there is one consideration. Windows has a tendency to trip and fall (crash) if run on poor quality hardware, so this presents something of a conundrum for people like you.

On the one hand, you don't need anything fancy, so there's not a lot of point in spending a large amount of money on this. On the other hand, cheaper systems tend to have the lower quality hardware which makes Windows a real pain to use.

So, you'll probably just have to accept that this is an unavoidable risk, and the best you can hope to do is mitigate the damages so to speak.

To that end, I would personally recommend AVOIDING the following brands: HP, Compaq, Acer, Gateway, and eMachines. In my experience, these systems have a much higher problem rate compared to others. So that leaves Apple, Lenovo, Dell, and Toshiba as your primary choices. You can also include Sony if you like, but I tend to just ignore them because of some of their rather... disagreeable... support policies. Any deviation from the factory configuration is generally grounds for them refusing support.

Apple and Lenovo/IBM are probably a bit pricey for what you need, so the field is narrowed to Dell and Toshiba.

One other consideration, is the new category of netbooks. These are generally small, lightweight, laptops, sacrificing a lot of onboard computing power on the premise of using web based apps. They should be fine for some light MS Office use like typing letters, and that, but if you do a lot of complex formulas with your Excel book keeping, then that may rule these out. It also kind of depends on the games the grandkids want to play. They might well run acceptably on a netbook. If you tossed out a few example titles, someone might be able to give you some idea.

In any case, Windows does not come with any programs like Word and Excel, but if you don't want to buy a new copy you can check out OpenOffice or Google Apps. Google's online apps are pretty basic, but sometimes that's all you really need. OpenOffice is a bit more full featured, but will demand more resources of your system. Everything's a tradeoff with laptops/netbooks.

As for the specifics of the system itself. Just avoid anything that says the CPU is Celeron anything or Pentium anything. Core 2 Duo is good, as would Athlon64 or it might say AMD Phenom. All perfectly fine. Netbooks will almost universally have the Intel Atom, and there's no real choice on those at the moment.

Just look for the processor with the highest number that's within your budget, and the largest amount of RAM and hard drive space. Again, within your budget.

Collapse -
Helpful tool
by jeff_windows_team / November 2, 2009 7:26 AM PST

This is a helpful tool for picking a laptop. It let's you set your price range, screen size, etc and then gives you a list of computers that fit your needs: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/pc-scout/laptop-set-criteria.aspx?mode=landing

You might also want to click on the first step on the right of the page for a quick intro on buying a laptop.

When it comes to Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), you will have to uninstall it off your old computer and reinstall it on your new one if you do not want to buy a new license, or else you will have to purchase a new license for Microsoft Office if you wish to keep it on both your home computer and new laptop.

I hope this helps. Let us know if you have any further questions.

Jeff
Windows Outreach Team

Popular Forums
icon
Computer Newbies 10,686 discussions
icon
Computer Help 54,365 discussions
icon
Laptops 21,181 discussions
icon
Networking & Wireless 16,313 discussions
icon
Phones 17,137 discussions
icon
Security 31,287 discussions
icon
TVs & Home Theaters 22,101 discussions
icon
Windows 7 8,164 discussions
icon
Windows 10 2,657 discussions

CNET FORUMS TOP DISCUSSION

Help, my PC with Windows 10 won't shut down properly

Since upgrading to Windows 10 my computer won't shut down properly. I use the menu button shutdown and the screen goes blank, but the system does not fully shut down. The only way to get it to shut down is to hold the physical power button down till it shuts down. Any suggestions?