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Yet Another Computer Buying Advice Thread

Old 02-11-19, 10:59 PM
  #26  
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Re: Yet Another Computer Buying Advice Thread

I had my own home-based computer repair business from 2004 until the economy crapped out a few years ago, the one thing I specialized in was low-level formatting the hard drive on older, slower computers (unless it had a recovery partition) and reinstalling the operating system and all associated drivers and software from scratch. I had my own collection of software I used for maintenance, productivity, and security, and I had several hundreds of satisfied customers because their computers ran like new all over again.

Over time, installing, uninstalling, cleaning up junk files, and just everyday usage can leave file remnants behind, software applications that left files/folders behind, and I always recommended a clean start every 2 or 3 years. I did the same to my own computers every couple of years, it was like getting a brand new computer all over again.

That might be a potential solution for you, as much as you love this computer.
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Old 02-11-19, 11:17 PM
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Re: Yet Another Computer Buying Advice Thread

Cool, if I was to look for a local service to help me do that sort of thing, what are the key words to describe this service, please?
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Old 02-12-19, 01:42 AM
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Re: Yet Another Computer Buying Advice Thread

Your Dell tower system is still completely viable. All you need to do is buy a 512GB SSD and completely reinstall Win10, then reinstall your favorite applications, and I guarantee it will run like a new (faster) system. With 12 or 16GB of memory, that's plenty.

An alternate method, if you absolutely can't do a fresh install, and / or it's too much work, or you don't know how, is to clone your existing HD to a new SSD. After the clone (=sector by sector 100% identical backup), then you could upgrade to Win10 from there. It will be slower, but probably still usable because of the new SSD.

You will save hundreds by doing the above, all you need is a ~$60 or $70 SSD. They plug right into the SATA ports on the motherboard.
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Old 02-12-19, 02:17 AM
  #29  
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Re: Yet Another Computer Buying Advice Thread

Originally Posted by story View Post
Cool, if I was to look for a local service to help me do that sort of thing, what are the key words to describe this service, please?
Check out NextDoor.com. It's a social networking site, that's limited to your neighborhood. It's a great site to connect with people in your area. I use it all the time to find local services, get recommendations, and sell stuff.

Just post that you're looking for someone that can come to your house and repair/update your computer.

I also agree with zyzzle. Putting Windows 10 on an SSD will make your computer feel like new. When I bought a new computer last year, I had a local guy come to my house and install an SSD with Win10. Took about 60-90 minutes. The SSD cost around $70 and I paid the guy $70 for the service. These days, you can get a 250GB SSD for under $50. That's more than enough to run Win10. Format your old HD and use it for storage.
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Old 02-12-19, 06:23 AM
  #30  
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Re: Yet Another Computer Buying Advice Thread

Originally Posted by zyzzle View Post
An alternate method, if you absolutely can't do a fresh install, and / or it's too much work, or you don't know how, is to clone your existing HD to a new SSD. After the clone (=sector by sector 100% identical backup), then you could upgrade to Win10 from there. It will be slower, but probably still usable because of the new SSD.
Only bad thing about cloning your existing operating system install is that you inherit all of the issues which were causing the computer to feel sluggish. Better to start fresh.

Story, I can't stress enough that if you choose to have someone else do this, make sure they're reputable with a positive track record of happy customers. Having said that, there are tutorials via Google that can help you do it yourself, if you're interested.

Last edited by kd5; 02-12-19 at 03:20 PM.
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Old 02-12-19, 08:33 AM
  #31  
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Re: Yet Another Computer Buying Advice Thread

Good advice, everyone. Let's see if I'm getting this correctly:

I'm hearing a smaller SSD is fine and use that for programs, essentially, and the other HDD are for Storage. Even day-to-day Word documents or the latest video editing project, stuff like that?

There are tutorials online to do this myself or use NextDoor (I already use this) or a reputable service (Chip Heads is nearby and I've gone to them for data recovery in the past, they might do this sort of work, too). All good points!

Time to ditch Windows 7 and get to Windows 10. I agree, I use it at work and like it. Is there a way to get it for free or as a low-priced upgrade? I'm a part-time enrolled student right now maybe I should check with the school.

And what about MS Office 10? I'd prefer not to do the Office 365 subscription model. Can that be found cheaper than $200+ with Outlook? Again I'll have to check with my school.

Excited for the prospects of redoing this machine for a little money instead of buying new. Thanks, everyone.
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Old 02-12-19, 12:09 PM
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Re: Yet Another Computer Buying Advice Thread

Originally Posted by story View Post
I'm hearing a smaller SSD is fine and use that for programs, essentially, and the other HDD are for Storage. Even day-to-day Word documents or the latest video editing project, stuff like that?

And what about MS Office 10? I'd prefer not to do the Office 365 subscription model. Can that be found cheaper than $200+ with Outlook? Again I'll have to check with my school.
I have a 250GB SSD and a 2TB HD. The only stuff on the SSD is the Win10 OS and my Program files. That only takes up about 60GB, so I have plenty of room left. All the other stuff like My Documents, Downloads, Videos, Music, Pictures, etc is on the regular hard drive.

I bought a 1-year subscription card to MS Office 365 from this guy:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Microsoft-O...D/382252936719

It was much less than the normal rate. Keep an eye out for eBay coupons. When I bought it a few months ago, there was a $10 coupon, so I got it for around $35.
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Old 02-12-19, 12:25 PM
  #33  
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Re: Yet Another Computer Buying Advice Thread

Originally Posted by kd5 View Post
I had my own home-based computer repair business from 2004 until the economy crapped out a few years ago, the one thing I specialized in was low-level formatting the hard drive on older, slower computers (unless it had a recovery partition) and reinstalling the operating system and all associated drivers and software from scratch. I had my own collection of software I used for maintenance, productivity, and security, and I had several hundreds of satisfied customers because their computers ran like new all over again.

Over time, installing, uninstalling, cleaning up junk files, and just everyday usage can leave file remnants behind, software applications that left files/folders behind, and I always recommended a clean start every 2 or 3 years. I did the same to my own computers every couple of years, it was like getting a brand new computer all over again.

That might be a potential solution for you, as much as you love this computer.
I use to do this style of reformating + reinstallation back in the day during the 2000s decade. (ie. The XP era and earlier).

These days I don't do this anymore. I just buy a new computer every 4 years or so now, instead of maintaining an old hunk of junk.
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Old 02-12-19, 03:21 PM
  #34  
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Re: Yet Another Computer Buying Advice Thread

^ If you have that kind of money, go for it. I wish I did.
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Old 02-12-19, 03:30 PM
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Re: Yet Another Computer Buying Advice Thread

Originally Posted by kd5 View Post
^ If you have that kind of money, go for it. I wish I did.
I usually just buy a new desktop without a monitor or anything else. I still use the old monitor until it either dies or I see a newer bigger monitor on sale for a good price.

A trailing edge desktop's "brain" that's ready to go, only costs around $200-$300 brand new.
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Old 02-12-19, 03:34 PM
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Re: Yet Another Computer Buying Advice Thread

I'm perfectly fine with using trailing edge desktops, for just casual stuff like websurfing, email, writing computer code, etc ...

(Something that's currently trailing edge brand new at clearance prices, would probably be something that was top of the line back in 2016 or early-2017).
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Old 02-13-19, 02:06 AM
  #37  
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Re: Yet Another Computer Buying Advice Thread

My primary computer at home is a Dell Optiplex 7010 (i3-3240 CPU) that I bought from used for $200 in late 2014.
Almost immediately, I spent $100 upgrading the RAM to 16GB.
Few months ago, I upgraded it with a 512GB SSD which cost about $100.
I did a fresh install of Windows 10 with the SSD.

My work computer is a Dell Inspiron 15" notebook with latest i7 CPU, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD that I bought last year. It cost $950.

For most things, I see no difference in performance. I mostly work with Excel plus email and browsing.
The desktop is FAST.
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Old 02-13-19, 03:52 AM
  #38  
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Re: Yet Another Computer Buying Advice Thread

Originally Posted by kd5 View Post
Only bad thing about cloning your existing operating system install is that you inherit all of the issues which were causing the computer to feel sluggish. Better to start fresh.
Oh, yes, that's completely true. The only point I was making by suggesting a clone is that cloning a mechanical drive to an SSD will mitigate quite a bit of the sluggishness. But, it is 100x better to start fresh.
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Old 02-13-19, 08:42 AM
  #39  
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Re: Yet Another Computer Buying Advice Thread

I replaced the HD on my old Dell Studio laptop I got in 2010 with an SSD and it’s lightning fast now even without reinstalling Windows 7. (Yes, 7, I want to keep a machine with 7 on it.)
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Old 02-13-19, 12:13 PM
  #40  
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Re: Yet Another Computer Buying Advice Thread

Since what I have are HDDs and Windows 7, maybe the best thing to do is to backup all my files to the slave HDDs I want to keep, buy an SSD and install it as the master drive and buy a copy of Windows 10 and put that on it, slave all the HDDs, and start from scratch that way. I found out my school doesn't have a deal on Windows 10 but does give free Office 365 while I'm still enrolled so that's something. Does this sound like a plan?

There must be plenty of tutorials out there on how to do this. As for something like installing windows 10, I assume I'd have to start with finding my old Windows 7 disk and installing that so I can get online in order for a 10 digital key to work, yes? Otherwise how could I be connected to use it? Lots of 10 "legit" keys on eNay for under $10, but how legit can that be when it's over $100 at Amazon. Those are just scams, right?

Last edited by story; 02-13-19 at 12:40 PM.
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