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New Laptop Time! (Read 130 times)

mab411


Proboscis Colossus

    The income tax refund is in, and the wife and I had earmarked it to get new laptops.  Got a couple questions:

     

    1.  I'm not excited about Windows 8.  I have legit copies of Windows 7 I'm happy to load onto anything I get, but one or two models I'm looking at, the reviews say they don't play well with Windows 7 (because the manufacturer hasn't yet produced Win 7 drivers for the hardware).  So, IF we get machines that we keep 8 on, will we experience any problems putting them on a WiFi network that also includes a Windows 7 machine (my current laptop, which I plan to stick back in my office, mainly for NAS use)?  I seem to remember, back when we set up this network, it was helpful that they all ran Windows 7, wondering if that is still the case.

     

    2.  The age-old question: what manufacturers have you found reliable?  I've found plenty of review sites, but I'm always interested in peoples' experiences.

    "God guides us on our journey, but careful with those feet." - David Lee Roth, of all people

      My co-worker got his tax refund check yesterday, and this morning his iPhone battery died, completely. Won't take a charge. Probably would have been under warranty, except for it's jail-broken apparently. So that's where his tax refund is going.

       

      I share your lack of enthusiasm for Windows 8. I don't care for it at all. But I can' t imagine any reason why putting a Win-8 machine on a WiFi network would cause a Win-7 machine any problems at all.


      Prince of Fatness

        The income tax refund is in, and the wife and I had earmarked it to get new laptops.  Got a couple questions:

         

        1.  I'm not excited about Windows 8.  I have legit copies of Windows 7 I'm happy to load onto anything I get, but one or two models I'm looking at, the reviews say they don't play well with Windows 7 (because the manufacturer hasn't yet produced Win 7 drivers for the hardware).  So, IF we get machines that we keep 8 on, will we experience any problems putting them on a WiFi network that also includes a Windows 7 machine (my current laptop, which I plan to stick back in my office, mainly for NAS use)?  I seem to remember, back when we set up this network, it was helpful that they all ran Windows 7, wondering if that is still the case.

         

        2.  The age-old question: what manufacturers have you found reliable?  I've found plenty of review sites, but I'm always interested in peoples' experiences.

         

        1. It is my understanding that a lot of people are unhappy with the start button being taken away in Windows 8.  I have not used it but I have used Server 2012 in my office and it is the same interface and I don't like it.  I heard from the rumor mill that MS will be bringing the start button back and calling it Windows 8.1.  Not sure how true it is but given the customer unhappiness it would not surprise me.

        Yeah, you may have driver issues downgrading yourself.  However you may be able to find a deal that includes Windows 7 instead.  I would look around for that.  As far as the WiFi goes, you may be using an encryption level that does not work with OS's earlier that Windows 7.  I would think that any Windows 8 machine would be backward compatible with your WiFi set up.

         

        2. I have been a Dell guy for a while (got deals through work) and was happy with them.  But the last couple of machines have not been as reliable.  I really don't have much experience with other brands.

        Semi-retired.

        ShuffleFaster


          The income tax refund is in, and the wife and I had earmarked it to get new laptops.  Got a couple questions:

           

          1.  I'm not excited about Windows 8.  I have legit copies of Windows 7 I'm happy to load onto anything I get, but one or two models I'm looking at, the reviews say they don't play well with Windows 7 (because the manufacturer hasn't yet produced Win 7 drivers for the hardware).  So, IF we get machines that we keep 8 on, will we experience any problems putting them on a WiFi network that also includes a Windows 7 machine (my current laptop, which I plan to stick back in my office, mainly for NAS use)?  I seem to remember, back when we set up this network, it was helpful that they all ran Windows 7, wondering if that is still the case.

           

          2.  The age-old question: what manufacturers have you found reliable?  I've found plenty of review sites, but I'm always interested in peoples' experiences.

           

          I had my concerns about Windows 8, but I upgraded my Lenovo just for fun and I have found there is a lot to like about Windows 8, once I got the Start Menu back with this handy program  (See:  http://www.stardock.com/products/start8/features.asp Wink

           

          It gives you the option of booting into a screen that looks/works almost exactly like Windows 7 (and has some neat options of it's own).

           

          After I began to learn about the new features of the interface (and after reading a rather useful article in PC World on Windows 8's hidden tips), I actually began to appreciate how quickly things loaded and turned off, as well as how stable Windows 8 has been.  IE 10 is also much faster, although a few older websites don't like it.  I did have a problem installing Office 2010 at first, but the work around is simply to stop the print spooler service during installation and then things are find.

           

          Overall, I think MS goofed when they messed with the interface too much, but the underlying skeleton is actually pretty efficient.

           

          And, yes, I  think Mr. Finn is correct--there is no way they aren't going to bring back the start menu as an option.

           

          Good luck!

           

          PS:  I have used Thinkpads for years after brief dalliances with Sony Vaios and others.   For me, for business, I favor the Thinkpads.


          day after day sameness

            Regardless of vendor or OS you select, I strong / highly / stridently recommend you get a model with a solid-state drive (SSD) for storage. The quietness, the performance, the lack of fan, etc, etc all make more difference than you'd ever expect...

            I've done my best to live the right way; I get up every morning and go to work each day...

            mab411


            Proboscis Colossus

              Thanks, everyone!  I had a chance to do a little more looking, and was reminded that the thing that made setting up the network such a snap was the "Homegroup" feature, which is apparently in both Win 7 & 8, so I'm sure you guys are right, I shouldn't have any problems (although I've found it's easy to underestimate my absolute incompetence with networking.  I can build computers fine, but it was only recently that I figured out a MAC address had nothing to do with Apple computers.  Seriously.)

               

              Shufflefaster - yeah, if we end up with Windows 8 machines, I'll probably be looking for some kind of skin or interface modification, at least for my wife, especially since what I'm hearing is that the default configuration really only makes sense with a touch screen.  I'm a fan of Stardock software (love Fences!), even if it's usually a little overpriced.  Bet that program you referenced is good.

               

              I am seeing a few units that come with Windows 7 - I had to look for them - but the pickings are pretty slim, and I frequently run across pretty good deals on a machine with great specs and a low price...but with Windows 8.  I have a feeling I'm going to have to just suck it up and let Microsoft have its way with me for this one.

               

              I wasn't a Dell fan until I bought one for my wife about...oh, I guess it was about four years ago.  It didn't give us a lick of trouble until recently (HDD started acting up), and my wife is...not "gentle" with her electronics.  I was impressed.

               

              Lenovo is the company that bought IBM's laptop arm, right?  Even if not, I've heard good things about them.  Looking at a couple of their machines.  Mostly coming up with ASUS, though.

               

              Milktruck - absolutely with you on the SSD's, but I'm afraid my cost limitations may prevent it.  Found a couple of pretty good-looking Lenovo laptops with small SSD's paired with a big HDD (and dual graphics cards!) that I could afford...but they don't include any kind of optical drive, which I'm not quite ready to give up yet.

              "God guides us on our journey, but careful with those feet." - David Lee Roth, of all people


              Prince of Fatness

                Just for fun I Googled Windows 8.1.  Lots of hits, including this one.

                 

                http://www.forbes.com/sites/jasonevangelho/2013/04/16/dont-wait-for-windows-8-1-get-its-two-best-features-right-now/

                 

                Given that there are options to revert back to the Windows 7 (or XP for that matter) interface if it were me I would probably go the Windows 8 route.

                Semi-retired.

                  Milktruck - absolutely with you on the SSD's, but I'm afraid my cost limitations may prevent it.  Found a couple of pretty good-looking Lenovo laptops with small SSD's paired with a big HDD (and dual graphics cards!) that I could afford...but they don't include any kind of optical drive, which I'm not quite ready to give up yet.

                   

                  I have external USB optical drives for my laptop, I actually find that more convenient because I really don't use it often and prefer not to have it when not needed (I use the drive bay for an extra battery instead), and they are fairly cheap nowadays.

                   

                  You may want to look into how ungradable the hardware is if you plan to buy something minimal now and add stuff later. Some of the really thin-and-light laptops are so customized and sealed up you can't even replace the battery. My brother had had an hp that won't accept third-party hardware (I forgot if it was the HD or the RAM that he was upgrading)

                    Didn't read all the posts here (over my head) so my apologies if this has already been mentioned.

                     

                    Costco.com has a Dell laptop with Windows 7 for $300. Maybe not the specs you want but here's the link http://www.costco.com/.product.100026423.html.

                     

                    Got one for my kids and am using it right now. Seems to be ok for what we need.


                    Not dead. Yet.

                      Found a couple of pretty good-looking Lenovo laptops with small SSD's paired with a big HDD (and dual graphics cards!) that I could afford...but they don't include any kind of optical drive, which I'm not quite ready to give up yet.

                       

                      Wow.  Thats an expensive laptop.  What do you plan on doing with it?  I am a techie and for the work I do at home, a sub $300 laptop is plenty.  It can't play heavy duty games or play HD videos, but does all of the generic stuff (word, web browsing, simple games, networking, etc) just fine at a fraction of the cost.  Honestly...what do you need 12GB of ram for?  Unless you are doing editing or 3d graphics, or crazy games, or some such things, you don't.

                       

                      I usually go with what Fry's has a special on.  It has been cheap Lenovo's twice now.  They are good little laptops.  Here's one for $288.

                       

                      My 2 cents.

                      How can we know our limits if we don't test them?


                      Prince of Fatness

                        for what we need.

                         

                        Always a good thing to understand when purchasing a computer.

                        Semi-retired.

                        mab411


                        Proboscis Colossus

                           

                          Wow.  Thats an expensive laptop.  What do you plan on doing with it?

                           

                          Um, I plan on playing heavy-duty games and watching HD videos on it.  Wink

                           

                          But the one for my wife will be more along the lines of what you and meems describe.

                           

                          Question for Wing: Do the external drives work if you need to boot from a CD/DVD?  That's one of my hesitations with losing the integrated optical drive.  Also, it would be one more thing to stuff into the bag when I travel with it (and if I just left it at home, I guarantee you that the phrase, "I would, but I don't have my DVD burner with me" will come up at some point on the trip.).

                          "God guides us on our journey, but careful with those feet." - David Lee Roth, of all people

                             Question for Wing: Do the external drives work if you need to boot from a CD/DVD?  That's one of my hesitations with losing the integrated optical drive.  Also, it would be one more thing to stuff into the bag when I travel with it (and if I just left it at home, I guarantee you that the phrase, "I would, but I don't have my DVD burner with me" will come up at some point on the trip.).

                             

                            I have never had a need to boot from an external drive yet, so I don't know for sure. I do know you can change boot sequence (which drive to boot from) when you go to BIOS setup.  Someone here may be able to give you a more certain answer. I also tend to like portable HD a lot more than CD/DVD and internal drives, because they make transferring things to others a lot simpler.

                            mab411


                            Proboscis Colossus

                               

                               I also tend to like portable HD a lot more than CD/DVD and internal drives, because they make transferring things to others a lot simpler.

                               

                              Well sure, me too.  And USB sticks.  But I often find myself needing to put things on CD's or making DVD's for people who aren't able to watch or listen to audio or video files otherwise (read: my parents).

                              "God guides us on our journey, but careful with those feet." - David Lee Roth, of all people


                              Not dead. Yet.

                                Well sure, me too.  And USB sticks.  But I often find myself needing to put things on CD's or making DVD's for people who aren't able to watch or listen to audio or video files otherwise (read: my parents).

                                 

                                Try one of these for your parents.  Add a usb stick and they can watch all the digital files they want without DVDs.  It works great.

                                How can we know our limits if we don't test them?

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