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Daave
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      09-28-2011, 01:58 AM
A little old lady I know has a PC that's about nine years old (it has XP
Home). She basically uses it for general Web browsing and occasional
word processing. She would like a more modern PC. She doesn't even want
a new monitor.

She asked me to recommend one. Since I have had good experiences with
Dells, I went to their site and found these PCs on sale:

Inspiron 570 for $350
Inspiron 620 for $500

I'm thinking for how she will use it, that the 570 will still run
circles around what she currently has. But I'd like to know more about
certain parts/specs I should consider with respect to quality (and
perhaps other brands of PCs). Which OEMs issue full-fledged Windows OS
installation DVDs these days?

Lastly, I know that if she goes with the more expensive Windows 7 Pro
(instead of Home), she can run a virtual XP environment for any old apps
she has. I'm pretty sure the only really old app she has is some
genealogy program. I'll ask her the name and version. Perhaps other
users of this program once I find out what it is might be able to tell
me if it might even run on Windows 7. (How common is it for an old
program to be able to run on a much newer OS?)

TIA.


 
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Paul in Houston TX
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      09-28-2011, 04:15 AM
Daave wrote:
> A little old lady I know has a PC that's about nine years old (it has XP
> Home). She basically uses it for general Web browsing and occasional
> word processing. She would like a more modern PC. She doesn't even want
> a new monitor.
>
> She asked me to recommend one. Since I have had good experiences with
> Dells, I went to their site and found these PCs on sale:
>
> Inspiron 570 for $350
> Inspiron 620 for $500
>
> I'm thinking for how she will use it, that the 570 will still run
> circles around what she currently has. But I'd like to know more about
> certain parts/specs I should consider with respect to quality (and
> perhaps other brands of PCs). Which OEMs issue full-fledged Windows OS
> installation DVDs these days?
>
> Lastly, I know that if she goes with the more expensive Windows 7 Pro
> (instead of Home), she can run a virtual XP environment for any old apps
> she has. I'm pretty sure the only really old app she has is some
> genealogy program. I'll ask her the name and version. Perhaps other
> users of this program once I find out what it is might be able to tell
> me if it might even run on Windows 7. (How common is it for an old
> program to be able to run on a much newer OS?)
>
> TIA.


Consider getting a laptop. It may be ideal for her.
Small, lightweight, portable, wireless, bluetooth,
built in webcam, etc.
I like my Lenovo T410 for work and email programs.
It is great for that but it is terrible for gaming.
frys.com
microcenter.com
 
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SC Tom
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      09-28-2011, 09:49 AM

"Daave" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message news:j5tv0u$dhp$(E-Mail Removed)...
>A little old lady I know has a PC that's about nine years old (it has XP Home). She basically uses it for general Web
>browsing and occasional word processing. She would like a more modern PC. She doesn't even want a new monitor.
>
> She asked me to recommend one. Since I have had good experiences with Dells, I went to their site and found these PCs
> on sale:
>
> Inspiron 570 for $350
> Inspiron 620 for $500
>
> I'm thinking for how she will use it, that the 570 will still run circles around what she currently has. But I'd like
> to know more about certain parts/specs I should consider with respect to quality (and perhaps other brands of PCs).
> Which OEMs issue full-fledged Windows OS installation DVDs these days?
>
> Lastly, I know that if she goes with the more expensive Windows 7 Pro (instead of Home), she can run a virtual XP
> environment for any old apps she has. I'm pretty sure the only really old app she has is some genealogy program. I'll
> ask her the name and version. Perhaps other users of this program once I find out what it is might be able to tell me
> if it might even run on Windows 7. (How common is it for an old program to be able to run on a much newer OS?)
>
> TIA.
>


Other things to look at besides the older programs (which, unless they're 16-bit programs, will PROBABLY run fine in
Windows 7) would include newer versions of Windows programs that she is currently using.
Is she running IE7 or IE8? There's going to be some change for her to get used to IE9, if that's already installed on
the Win7 machine. If IE8 is on the Win7 machine, then you can leave that for her and the change isn't that great. (Be
sure to change the update to IE9 to "Don't notify me again.")
What is she using for email? Since she has XP now, odds are she's using Outlook Express (unless she's using web mail of
some flavor). Now you'll have to install some other email program for her and train her on it since Win7 doesn't have a
built-in one. Some manufacturers are bundling MS Essentials with their PC's, which includes Live Mail (similar to OE,
but not the same).
How adept is she at learning new things? If she's to that stage in life where change is frustrating to tears (and she
doesn't have to be all that old for that), she may be better off with a new XP machine. Here are a few choices from
Amazon:

http://preview.tinyurl.com/3nqfoko

On the other hand, she may be thrilled with the new look of Solitaire and FreeCell. I know I like them better :-)
--
SC Tom



 
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Ken Blake
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      09-28-2011, 03:17 PM
On Tue, 27 Sep 2011 21:58:56 -0400, "Daave" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> A little old lady I know has a PC that's about nine years old (it has XP
> Home). She basically uses it for general Web browsing and occasional
> word processing. She would like a more modern PC.



Why? It seems to me that, considering her light use, what she has is
just fine, and she shouldn't go through all the trouble of learning
and getting accustomed to a new version of Windows. For many people,
that's a giant problem.


> She doesn't even want a new monitor.
>
> She asked me to recommend one. Since I have had good experiences with
> Dells, I went to their site and found these PCs on sale:
>
> Inspiron 570 for $350



It's $299


> Inspiron 620 for $500



It's $450


> I'm thinking for how she will use it, that the 570 will still run
> circles around what she currently has.



Very likely. But again, considering what she uses it for, she'd
probably never notice the difference in speed.


> But I'd like to know more about
> certain parts/specs I should consider with respect to quality (and
> perhaps other brands of PCs). Which OEMs issue full-fledged Windows OS
> installation DVDs these days?



None of them, as far as I know. Instead they all provide a recovery
partition, and instructions to copy its contents to a DVD.


> Lastly, I know that if she goes with the more expensive Windows 7 Pro
> (instead of Home), she can run a virtual XP environment for any old apps
> she has. I'm pretty sure the only really old app she has is some
> genealogy program. I'll ask her the name and version. Perhaps other
> users of this program once I find out what it is might be able to tell
> me if it might even run on Windows 7. (How common is it for an old
> program to be able to run on a much newer OS?)



Most, but not all, XP-era programs will run on Windows 7. Check this
one at www.microsoft.com/windows/compatibility

And if it's not compatible, she should consider getting a newer
version of it instead of Windows 7 Professional. It's highly unlikely
that she would otherwise need Professional instead of Home Premium,
and a new version may cost about the same as the Professional upgrade
or maybe even less.
 
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Paul
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      09-28-2011, 08:14 PM
Daave wrote:
> A little old lady I know has a PC that's about nine years old (it has XP
> Home). She basically uses it for general Web browsing and occasional
> word processing. She would like a more modern PC. She doesn't even want
> a new monitor.
>
> She asked me to recommend one. Since I have had good experiences with
> Dells, I went to their site and found these PCs on sale:
>
> Inspiron 570 for $350
> Inspiron 620 for $500
>
> I'm thinking for how she will use it, that the 570 will still run
> circles around what she currently has. But I'd like to know more about
> certain parts/specs I should consider with respect to quality (and
> perhaps other brands of PCs). Which OEMs issue full-fledged Windows OS
> installation DVDs these days?
>
> Lastly, I know that if she goes with the more expensive Windows 7 Pro
> (instead of Home), she can run a virtual XP environment for any old apps
> she has. I'm pretty sure the only really old app she has is some
> genealogy program. I'll ask her the name and version. Perhaps other
> users of this program once I find out what it is might be able to tell
> me if it might even run on Windows 7. (How common is it for an old
> program to be able to run on a much newer OS?)
>
> TIA.
>


It's too bad there wasn't some way to just change out the motherboard
on her PC and update it that way. Because the WinXP she's got is
probably good enough. From an OS perspective, she's not missing
anything.

If not, I'd do two things, based on my experience here with my
single core laptop with 2.5" regular hard drive. First one would be
"don't skimp on hardware". Get a decent processor for the machine.
(The 620 has a quad core for example. One core can be wasted doing
AV scans. One core can be wasted doing indexing. If you're lucky,
after all "software taxes" are paid, leaving one core to do
some actual end-user work.) Second is, replace the hard drive with an SSD,
for a boot drive. That will make Windows 7's fascination with the
hard drive (a hard drive fetish) easier to put up with. A three hour
Indexing session will only take... two point nine hours :-)

(About 10 of 200 people unhappy with their purchase) 64GB SSD $110
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820148441

The reason I'm a bit ****ed right now, is I just installed VirtualPC
for Windows 7 on the Windows 7 laptop, tried to get it to boot a
guess OS, and the machine froze for 30 seconds at a time. If this
is the vaunted "improvements in multitasking" the fanboys talk
about, I'm not impressed. I saw this kinda crap (freezeups) in Windows 98.

Paul
 
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J. P. Gilliver (John)
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      09-28-2011, 08:32 PM
In message <j5u7a4$kvo$(E-Mail Removed)>, Paul in Houston TX
<(E-Mail Removed)> writes:
>Daave wrote:
>> A little old lady I know has a PC that's about nine years old (it has
>>XP Home). She basically uses it for general Web browsing and
>>occasional word processing. She would like a more modern PC. She


As another has asked, is there a specific reason? I recently was
involved in just such an upgrade (though little old lady conveys the
wrong impression: though this person is little - tiny in fact - and
seventysomething, she's extremely full of beans!), and the reason was a
slight feeling that her old machine (I think it was a 700 MHz) wasn't
quite cutting the mustard (and I think she was right there), plus a
slight desire to be able to use Skype (which her old one had had severe
problems with).

>>doesn't even want a new monitor.
>> She asked me to recommend one. Since I have had good experiences
>>with Dells, I went to their site and found these PCs on sale:
>> Inspiron 570 for $350
>> Inspiron 620 for $500
>> I'm thinking for how she will use it, that the 570 will still run
>>circles around what she currently has. But I'd like to know more about


Well, I've always thought of them as somewhat overpriced, but then there
is the good reputation behind it - and it may not matter that much,
since she's probably going to not purchase another PC for a long time if
ever. But one of the small-format ones - hp and Acer for example - might
suit better (though see below).

>>certain parts/specs I should consider with respect to quality (and
>>perhaps other brands of PCs). Which OEMs issue full-fledged Windows OS
>>installation DVDs these days?


(Probably none; most either have a recovery partition [part of the HD
kept for this], or instruct you to _make_ recovery DVDs, or both.) I
suspect that any but the lowest-powered netbook (and probably even
those) will be more than powerful enough for anything she's likely to
want. I'm guessing she's not a gamer (in the usual sense - I'm not
counting solitaire and the like!), so the only thing that I can think of
that she's likely to do that is at all resource-intensive is to do with
video: use YouTube, or view the odd video that someone might email her.
Worth quizzing her about such things - including taking her a few sample
files. But I think it's _unlikely_ that _anything_ new (or even
second-hand if less than about 15 months old, provided it's got enough
RAM and has had 7 properly installed/upgraded) won't be more than
capable of anything she might want to do.

>>Pro (instead of Home), she can run a virtual XP environment for any


I'd probably not recommend that, unless you find that there really is
something that will only run on XP that there really isn't a new version
of (or where the new version is radically different). Although many will
say it's not that relevant, I'd say it is worth (for her) changing to 7:
in practice once inside applications, which is where she'll spend most
of her time, she won't see _much_ difference, and it is a more
future-proof thing to do. (You don't saw what word-processing app. she
uses: FWIW, Office 2003 seems to work fine under 7.)

Parts/specs: probably at least 2G RAM; HD - the OS itself plus
applications needs 30-40G to give a reasonable futureproofing buffer,
but you won't get anything less than 160G these days, usually 250G or
more. Processor I'm not qualified to say (the one we eventually got for
our LOL was powerful), but I'd say anything with two or more cores is
more than adequate, with some of the single-core ones maybe so.

>>old apps she has. I'm pretty sure the only really old app she has is
>>some genealogy program. I'll ask her the name and version. Perhaps
>>other users of this program once I find out what it is might be able
>>to tell me if it might even run on Windows 7. (How common is it for
>>an old program to be able to run on a much newer OS?)


Fairly, unless it's DOS (such as Brother's Keeper 5 [current version is
6.5.1 and is fine]). Genealogy software does benefit from modern
changes, actually: modern versions, if it is necessary to upgrade (which
it probably won't be), do things like handling of pictures, and
producing charts, a lot better. I hate myself for saying this, because I
know I'm suggesting more changes/upgrades, and I hate people who do
this! As another has asked, how good is she - and willing - to take to
new things? There again, I'd strongly suggest (to her) getting into an
XP-compatible email prog., rather than running under XP emulation. [If
by any chance her old one was/is Eudora, there's a version called Eudora
OSE which is really Thunderbird made to look somewhat like Eudora; our
LOL managed the transition to that reasonably easily.]

>> TIA.

>
>Consider getting a laptop. It may be ideal for her.


This is what we did.

>Small, lightweight, portable, wireless, bluetooth,
>built in webcam, etc.
>I like my Lenovo T410 for work and email programs.
>It is great for that but it is terrible for gaming.
>frys.com
>microcenter.com


You could point out (and show) that her existing monitor (and keyboard
and mouse if USB, or replacements if not) could be used with it, with
the added bonus that she _can_ move away from her old workstation area -
including taking it completely away, e. g. to visit friends ("you can
show them pictures") - if she wants. That's for a small laptop. We
actually got a 17", 4G, 500G, home premium 32; Margaret isn't
(obviously, that size!) intending to carry it around much, but can use
it in her dining room, conservatory, or elsewhere, rather than being
stuck in the hall as she was.

(Details - it is IIRR a Toshiba, multicore processor; I got it, via
Ebay, second-hand - just over a year old, had been upgraded from Vista
but the seller included the proper full upgrade pack, and authorised it
in front of me [he'd just done the upgrade] - from someone local to me,
for 250 pounds, which is a good price for UK. She's very pleased with
it.)

For the other end of portability, but to be used with her existing
monitor (and a proper keyboard and possibly mouse), a netbook might be
ideal, though a USB DVD drive is probably worth adding. Or one of the
tiny boxes, though not having a screen/keyboard you lose the portability
option. (Netbook plus DVD drive probably comes out not that different in
price from bottom-end conventional laptop.)

_Probably_ avoid "starter edition"; I haven't experienced it, so can't
comment, but I get the feeling it is excessively limited.
--
J. P. Gilliver. UMRA: 1960/<1985 MB++G.5AL-IS-P--Ch++(p)Ar@T0H+Sh0!:`)DNAf

Everything you've learned in school as `obvious' becomes less and less obvious
as you begin to study the universe. For example, there are no solids in the
universe. There's not even a suggestion of a solid. There are no absolute
continuums. There are no surfaces. There are no straight lines.
-R. Buckminster Fuller, engineer, designer, and architect (1895-1983)
 
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dg1261
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      09-28-2011, 09:15 PM
"Daave" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in news:j5tv0u$dhp$(E-Mail Removed):

> A little old lady I know has a PC that's about nine years old (it has XP
> Home). She basically uses it for general Web browsing and occasional
> word processing. She would like a more modern PC. She doesn't even want
> a new monitor.



As others have said, the old PC may still be suitable for her. One
advantage is she won't have to learn a new OS or new programs--which is
often more important to older folks than newer, flashier, and speedier.

You didn't say which model, but I'll guess it's possibly something like a
Dimension 4300-4400. Many of those came with 256-384MB of ram. Upgrade it
to 1GB+ of ram, wipe the hdd and do a clean install, and she'll be amazed
at how much faster it runs.



 
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Gene E. Bloch
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      09-28-2011, 09:31 PM
On Wed, 28 Sep 2011 16:14:00 -0400, Paul wrote:

> Daave wrote:
>> A little old lady I know has a PC that's about nine years old (it has XP
>> Home). She basically uses it for general Web browsing and occasional
>> word processing. She would like a more modern PC. She doesn't even want
>> a new monitor.
>>
>> She asked me to recommend one. Since I have had good experiences with
>> Dells, I went to their site and found these PCs on sale:
>>
>> Inspiron 570 for $350
>> Inspiron 620 for $500
>>
>> I'm thinking for how she will use it, that the 570 will still run
>> circles around what she currently has. But I'd like to know more about
>> certain parts/specs I should consider with respect to quality (and
>> perhaps other brands of PCs). Which OEMs issue full-fledged Windows OS
>> installation DVDs these days?
>>
>> Lastly, I know that if she goes with the more expensive Windows 7 Pro
>> (instead of Home), she can run a virtual XP environment for any old apps
>> she has. I'm pretty sure the only really old app she has is some
>> genealogy program. I'll ask her the name and version. Perhaps other
>> users of this program once I find out what it is might be able to tell
>> me if it might even run on Windows 7. (How common is it for an old
>> program to be able to run on a much newer OS?)
>>
>> TIA.
>>

>
> It's too bad there wasn't some way to just change out the motherboard
> on her PC and update it that way. Because the WinXP she's got is
> probably good enough. From an OS perspective, she's not missing
> anything.
>
> If not, I'd do two things, based on my experience here with my
> single core laptop with 2.5" regular hard drive. First one would be
> "don't skimp on hardware". Get a decent processor for the machine.
> (The 620 has a quad core for example. One core can be wasted doing
> AV scans. One core can be wasted doing indexing. If you're lucky,
> after all "software taxes" are paid, leaving one core to do
> some actual end-user work.) Second is, replace the hard drive with an SSD,
> for a boot drive. That will make Windows 7's fascination with the
> hard drive (a hard drive fetish) easier to put up with. A three hour
> Indexing session will only take... two point nine hours :-)
>
> (About 10 of 200 people unhappy with their purchase) 64GB SSD $110
> http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820148441
>
> The reason I'm a bit ****ed right now, is I just installed VirtualPC
> for Windows 7 on the Windows 7 laptop, tried to get it to boot a
> guess OS, and the machine froze for 30 seconds at a time. If this
> is the vaunted "improvements in multitasking" the fanboys talk
> about, I'm not impressed. I saw this kinda crap (freezeups) in Windows 98.
>
> Paul


I don't get freezes like that from VMware, but XP mode seemed sluggish
to me on occasion.

I gave up on XP mode a while ago, so I can offer no meaningful details,
sorry.

--
Gene E. Bloch (Stumbling Bloch)
 
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Bob_Villa
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Posts: n/a
 
      09-28-2011, 11:33 PM
On Sep 28, 3:32*pm, "J. P. Gilliver (John)"
<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
<snip>
> Everything you've learned in school as `obvious' becomes less and less obvious
> as you begin to study the universe. For example, there are no solids in the
> universe. There's not even a suggestion of a solid. There are no absolute
> continuums. There are no surfaces. There are no straight lines.
> -R. Buckminster Fuller, engineer, designer, and architect (1895-1983)


Good God man...lay-off the caffeine!
 
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Ken Blake
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      09-29-2011, 12:30 AM
On Wed, 28 Sep 2011 21:15:54 +0000 (UTC), dg1261
<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> "Daave" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in news:j5tv0u$dhp$(E-Mail Removed):
>
> > A little old lady I know has a PC that's about nine years old (it has XP
> > Home). She basically uses it for general Web browsing and occasional
> > word processing. She would like a more modern PC. She doesn't even want
> > a new monitor.

>
>
> As others have said, the old PC may still be suitable for her. One
> advantage is she won't have to learn a new OS or new programs--which is
> often more important to older folks than newer, flashier, and speedier.



Yes, almost exactly what I said earlier.


> You didn't say which model, but I'll guess it's possibly something like a
> Dimension 4300-4400. Many of those came with 256-384MB of ram. Upgrade it
> to 1GB+ of ram, wipe the hdd and do a clean install, and she'll be amazed
> at how much faster it runs.



But I disagree with that, strongly. How much RAM you need for good
performance (in any version of Windows) depends on what apps you run.
Since she does hardly anything but general Web browsing and occasional
word processing, it's very unlikely that adding RAM will make any
discernable difference.

And doing a clean installation is hardly ever necessary, and often
causes lots of problems. You have to restore all your data backups,
you have to reinstall all your programs, you have to reinstall all the
Windows and application updates, you have to locate and install all
the needed drivers for your system, you have to recustomize Windows
and all your apps to work the way you're comfortable with.

Besides all those things being time-consuming and troublesome, you may
have trouble with some of them: can you find all your application CDs?
Can you find all the needed installation codes? Do you have data
backups to restore? Do you even remember all the customizations and
tweaks you may have installed to make everything work the way you
like?
 
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