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Old 08-16-2016, 05:11 PM
 
Location: Washington state
5,605 posts, read 2,936,171 times
Reputation: 17218

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Hi everyone - this is your typical 'I know nothing about computers but may need to get a new one' post.

I have an 11 year old eMachines 32bit computer using XP (browser is Pale Moon, not that I think that matters).

My first question would be, do I really need a new computer? Currently, this one is getting old and slow (like me). My computer and I share a lot in common, like not booting up very fast and having some quirks that are getting worse. For instance, when I call up the task manager (on the computer), the bar at the top is now missing. In order to close it, I need to right click on the icon on the bottom of the screen and close it there. Youtube videos tend to run choppy. Little things like that.

A couple weeks ago my headphones stopped working. They were a cheap Radio Shack brand I'd had for years and I ended up tossing them and buying another pair. This morning, that pair quit working but I'm not sure if it's the computer or the headphones at this point. If it's the headphones, I have other problems. I need the kind with the two plugs on the end, because the headphones using a USB connection won't work. And I'm having a hard time finding a decent pair with plugs these days.

My first question would be, do I need a new computer or should I try to get this one checked out first? Is it worth paying to fix what's wrong with this one. Is anything really wrong is is it operator error (completely possible)?

My second question is, what kind of new computer?

I only need the tower - obviously, I have everything else.

I don't do any gaming, but I do watch a ton of movies and TV shows online that I download. Currently, my computer had problems running TV shows 1GB and over and it gets iffy with movies over 1.5GB. Download speeds for these movies aren't an issue, as I just set it and forget it.

It's absolutely necessary that my computer burn CDs and play DVDs, but it would be a HUGE bonus if it would burn DVDs, too.

I'm cash poor, so anything around the $300 mark is where I'm aiming at. Since I'm probably looking at refurbished computers, can anyone tell me how reliable they are? Also, if I go looking for a new tower, what, specifically, am I looking for in terms of GB, etc?

I love my eMachine and would get another one, but I know the company is gone. I have not heard a lot of good things about Dell and Compaq, but this was 11 years back when I was just doing some basic research.

Please keep in mind I don't know much about computers.

Any suggestions would be welcome. And thank you all so much for any help you can give!


PS I suppose there's no way I could load XP onto a new tower, is there?

And that reminds me, all the refurburbished computers I've seen are running Windows 7. Does that mean I'd be fighting with Windows 10 at some point?
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Old 08-16-2016, 05:20 PM
 
Location: Sugarmill Woods , FL
6,235 posts, read 6,120,755 times
Reputation: 13654
Just buy a new all in one for $400. HP All-in-One PC (21.5") | HP® Official Store
or for $350 http://www.walmart.com/ip/46354075?w...&wl13=&veh=sem
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Old 08-16-2016, 06:58 PM
 
28,643 posts, read 40,622,302 times
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Biggest problem you might have with a new computer is program compatibility depending on what you use. It's generally not a big deal as most will work if installed using compatibility mode - which will be offered (generally) if a program doesn't install on Win7 or Win10.

Don't let Win10 scare you away. It's really not that difficult to use unless you get into guts of the OS. For general use it's not bad. You can also install Classic Shell so it looks like an older OS.

As for a new tower it depends on where you are and whether you are comfortable ordering on online or not.

Do you have a Fry's close by? If so make an account and they will send you emails with promos that knock off an extra amount from their normal pricing. I've seen some good deals there. Here's a list of available PCs from $200 - $500. You might not see the same list I do as it keys on my location. Fry's Electronics |

Amazon is a good place to look as is Newegg. Sometimes Best Buy will have good deals.

Look through Slickdeals and sign up. You can set up a filter that will send you an email whenever a PC that meets your criteria is mentioned. We have found really good prices on a number of items there including a bread maker and a German toaster oven. Really good prices.

Here's a quick search I did for desktops from $250 - $500. The problem is that the deals don't last long. Having an account so they send an email notice is critical.

Slick Deals will send info on deals from big box and online stores both.

As for loading XP in a new tower - maybe. The only way to find out is to look into it. Or just try it. If it doesn't work put the OS that came with it back on. As someone who admits they aren't too computer literate you might not want to go there. But there is always help here, and if you decide to let us know first!!!
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Old 08-16-2016, 07:20 PM
 
2,906 posts, read 1,708,175 times
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The only reason to have a tower these days is if you have a number of hard drives or similar peripherals. Don't worry about case style. Focus on what you want: DVD burner, 4 GB or more RAM, and a decent Hard Drive. Read some of the discussions here recently about processor, RAM and such. New should not be hard or expensive, and don't exclude a cheap but decent notebook if it has onboard DVD burner.
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Old 08-16-2016, 09:03 PM
 
Location: SF Bay Area
13,343 posts, read 17,784,147 times
Reputation: 19664
Recently discussed topic: I have held on to my 10 -yr old computer for as long as I can-- questions re buying next one.

I would highly recommend replacing that 11-yo eMachine.
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Old 08-16-2016, 09:45 PM
 
1,218 posts, read 839,480 times
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I would also highly recommend that you abandon XP, especially since you're doing lots of downloading. Microsoft stopped supporting it in April, and won't be issuing any updates or security patches. XP was awesome in its day, but it isn't safe to use any more.
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Old 08-17-2016, 01:56 PM
 
2,906 posts, read 1,708,175 times
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Is XP really unsafe? We can't know, but I doubt there are many zero day exploits for XP these days.

Truth is, AV programs do their job, even on XP, but AV programs can't block socially engineered exploits.

The real security risk is ourselves, with poisoned emails, drive by download, unpatched browsers (the modern day risk), JAVA, Flash and so forth. Win10 does nothing to protect us from this stuff. Me, I upgraded my three machines last year, but not out of fear of old OS.
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Old 08-17-2016, 03:25 PM
 
Location: Ponte Vedra Beach FL
14,628 posts, read 18,268,832 times
Reputation: 6728
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbear99 View Post
Is XP really unsafe? We can't know, but I doubt there are many zero day exploits for XP these days.

Truth is, AV programs do their job, even on XP, but AV programs can't block socially engineered exploits.

The real security risk is ourselves, with poisoned emails, drive by download, unpatched browsers (the modern day risk), JAVA, Flash and so forth. Win10 does nothing to protect us from this stuff. Me, I upgraded my three machines last year, but not out of fear of old OS.
Whether or not we think that Windows XP is unsafe - financial institutions (banks/brokerage firms/credit card companies/etc.) do. The first shoe to drop for me was when Intuit said Turbotax will not be supported on Windows XP computers for tax year 2016. And I suspect other shoes will be dropping soon. Only the OP can say what what he does on his computer - and how he might be affected by these things.

FWIW - I would not necessarily assume that "everything else" will work on a new tower with Windows 10. The OP would have to investigate what he has. I assume the big ticket items are a monitor and a printer. Although perhaps he has other things too.

Also - to the OP - I just bought a new Lenovo desktop/tower. About a month ago. I'm happy with it to date. In terms of Lenovo - I've been buying from Lenovo - and from IBM before Lenovo bought IBM's computer division - for decades. Overall - I have been very satisfied with the company/products/service. The cheapest Lenovo tower that meets your needs that has a recordable DVD player costs $400. And you can customize it:

ThinkCentre M700 SFF Desktop | Powerful & Compact Enterprise Desktop*| Lenovo US

I would spend $400 on a new machine before I bought something for $300 that was refurbished. Robyn
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Old 08-17-2016, 04:51 PM
 
Location: SF Bay Area
13,343 posts, read 17,784,147 times
Reputation: 19664
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robyn55 View Post
Also - to the OP - I just bought a new Lenovo desktop/tower. About a month ago. I'm happy with it to date. In terms of Lenovo - I've been buying from Lenovo - and from IBM before Lenovo bought IBM's computer division - for decades. Overall - I have been very satisfied with the company/products/service. The cheapest Lenovo tower that meets your needs that has a recordable DVD player costs $400. And you can customize it:

ThinkCentre M700 SFF Desktop | Powerful & Compact Enterprise Desktop*| Lenovo US

I would spend $400 on a new machine before I bought something for $300 that was refurbished. Robyn
Disagree. OP indicated s/he requires one for basic home use - surfing, watching movies, etc.
so there are plenty of basic desktops that will meet this requirement at $300 or even less.

For example, this unit for under $300 ($250 for open-box): Lenovo ideacentre 300S Desktop - Intel Core i3 - 4GB Memory - 500GB Hard Drive Black ideacentre 300s-08 - 90F10030US - Best Buy

Or at $329: Ideacentre 300s | Powerful, Space-Saving PC*| Lenovo US

And there's nothing wrong with buying refurbed systems for even more value.
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Old 08-19-2016, 01:09 AM
 
Location: Washington state
5,605 posts, read 2,936,171 times
Reputation: 17218
Thank you, everyone! I learned a lot and got a chance to hear a lot of opinions. You guys rock!

Now to finish this up, when my headphones originally quit working, I unplugged them and plugged them back in, apparently in the wrong place. Then for who knows what reason, I decided to just play with the jacks for a couple minutes the other day. I have two jacks, 3 holes. So I decided to experiment and voila! - sound is back. Of course, now Skype says my mic isn't working, but I guess you can't have everything.

I also ran a speed test. I got an A for quality, and an F for speed. Anyone here who's surprised by that one, raise your hand. LOL

At this point I think I'm going to push the computer as far as I can. I hate that it's this slow, but I just paid $300 for a car repair, and I need clothes, shoes, glasses, and some other things that should probably take priority. I'm not too worried about downloading movies and TV shows at this point because the site I'm on has some really super people doing their best to make sure the movies and stuff are virus free. I've been on that site for about 5 years now, and I have yet to download a virus. And at this point getting a nasty virus on the computer would sort of be like winning the lottery when you're 99 years old. At that point, who cares?
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