new laptop purchase help needed....

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Allan, Jan 23, 2007.

  1. Allan

    Allan Stunt Coordinator

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    My laptop (a Gateway) stopped working. I will copy down all of the error message tonight and post a separate question seeking to fix it (in order to copy certain files I still need). That being said, it is an old laptop and thus it is time to buy a new one. However, I have no clue what to look for or to buy. Thus, I come here.... I use it for internet access (via a DSL line), Quicken, Word, Excel, etc... No gaming (for what that is worth). What are the minimum requirements I should look to get? Any recommendations on specific models?

    thanks,
    Allan
     
  2. Tekara

    Tekara Supporting Actor

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    First thing I always like telling folks about with laptop purchases, is that there are only a handful of laptop makers, almost everything you see is resold. Dell and HP resell Compel laptops, Alienware resells a lot of Uniden and Clevo laptops, Emachines resells Arima's, etc.

    By all that I mean that you shouldn't worry as much about the quality of a laptop solely based upon the reseller as they never made the laptop to begin with, so you should choose a reseller based upon price and quality of support.

    Anyway, for recommendations, I would look at Lenovo. The laptops they sell are built like a rock and Lenovo's support is top notch. Aside from that, a Dell can be had for an unbeatable price if you catch the right coupon, these forums has a deals section that you can watch for those.
     
  3. Ken Cline

    Ken Cline Stunt Coordinator

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    I just bought a used Dell D600 (1.5GHz P4 M, 512MB, 20GB HD) for my wife and son off eBay for $389 (+31 for shipping & insurance). It's one of those corporate returns - when companies lease equipment and then return them for newer stuff. It came with XP Pro with COA all the required updates.

    I never thought I would ever buy a used laptop, but decided to take a chance. To my surprise, the laptop looks absolutely brand new - no nicks, dings or scratches - no flaws what so ever. This particular seller has a 99.8% rating with over 5,000 feedbacks. So I felt it was someone I could trust. The seller gives a 30 day warranty, plus it has 7 months remaining on the orginal warranty. He also goes the extra mile by installing Open Office and few other programs on it.

    I'm so happy with this purchase that I plan on getting a ThinkPad for myself.
     
  4. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    The most important concerns, I think, are your budget and how you will use it.
    1) How much can you spend?

    2) How do you use your laptop?
    - Desktop computer that rarely leaves its desk? (Performance important. Big screen good. Weight, size, battery life unimportant).
    - Desktop computer that is used at different sites, but not used during travel? (Performance and weight important. Big screen good. Battery life unimportant.)
    - Travel computer, used on flights, hotels, etc. (Weight & battery life important. Smaller screen good. Performance less important.)

    With the budget and usage, it's easier for you to narrow down what to look for.
     
  5. Dennis*G

    Dennis*G Supporting Actor

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    Honestly, if all you do with it is the items listed above, and you like the curent laptop just fine, you probably just need a new harddrive for $100 and a reload of the OS and you will be off like it was new.

    Just an opionion
     
  6. Bryan X

    Bryan X Producer

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    Not sure what your $$ requirements are. I bought my wife a laptop for Christmas. She uses it for the same things you seem to -- Internet, Word, Excel, and no games (well, solitaire, but that doesn't count).

    I bought her a Dell E1505, 1.8GHz Core 2 Duo, 1GB RAM, 80GB HD, CD-RW/DVD, 256MB ATI Radeon Grapics for $818 after taxes and shipping. Not a bad price and it runs great so far. It's a little overkill for what she uses it for but I hope that way it will 'last' a little longer before needing replaced.
     
  7. Allan

    Allan Stunt Coordinator

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    1. Budget - We'll pay whatever it costs to get a reliable machine that does what we need. Ideally, the cheaper the better....

    2. This laptop remains in one location in our house for the most part, but does, at times, move about to different rooms. Also, it will be travel outside the house once in a while.

    Re new computer and hard drive - if everyone thinks that will solve the problem, I am more than happy keeping my current laptop. How do I find out if, in fact that is the problem?

    Can I install Windows to a USB drive? If so, would that be a good test to make sure that the only problem is my harddrive?

    thanks,
    Allan
     
  8. Dennis*G

    Dennis*G Supporting Actor

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    If you can post the error messages or give more details of the problems you are seeing, we can probably help figure out if it's OS problems (reformat will fix) or if it's possibly a hard drive about to go (new hard drive will fix) or if it may be something else.
     
  9. Allan

    Allan Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks! I will try to boot up tonight and copy down all of the relevant information for posting tomorrow.

    Allan
     
  10. Allan

    Allan Stunt Coordinator

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    Okay... Here goes... I tried booting up my laptop last night, and wrote down everything that happened. Hopefully, someone can help!

    Upon turning on the machine, the screen said:

    Select an option and press enter:

    1. Go to Windows
    2. Boot from CD-Rom

    Select an option:

    If I hit "1", the same screen appears. (I tried this multiple times, and the same screen appeared each time. Once, the computer said "operating system not found.")

    If I hit "2", (after loading the CD entitled "Gateway Operating System Windows XP Professional CD, Version 1.3"), the following message appears:

    "Invalid system disk. Replace the Disk and then press enter."

    Upon rebooting (with the CD in the drive), I got a blue screen labeled "Windows Setup". The bottom of the screen read "Setup is loading files...."

    Then, the following message appeared:

    "Welcome to Setup. This portion of the setup program prepares Microsoft Windows XP to run on your computer.

    - To set up Windows XP now, press ENTER
    - To repair a Windows XP configuration using Recovery Console, press R
    - To quit setup without installing XP, press F3"

    First, I tried hitting "R" (note that I have no clue what the "Recovery Console" is.) The following message appeared:

    "Setup did not find any hard disk drives on your computer. Make sure any hard disk drives are powered on and properly connected to your computer and that any disk-related hardware configuration is current. This may involved a manufacturer-supplied diagnostic or setup program. Setup cannot continue. To quit setup, press F3."

    When I hit Enter rather than hitting "R", I got the same error message as above.

    One last point - one time at the blue "Windows Setup" screen, I hit F2 to "run automated setup." When I did that, I got the following message:

    "Please insert the disk labeled windows Automated System Recovery disk in the floppy drive." I have no idea what that disk is.

    Well, that is it! Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated!!!

    -Allan
     
  11. Tekara

    Tekara Supporting Actor

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    Well. . . guess I'll ask the obvious . . . "is there actually a hard drive in the computer?"

    Aside from a missing drive, a bad connection could also be a culprit.
     
  12. Allan

    Allan Stunt Coordinator

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    yes, there is a hard drive. But, perhaps the connection is shot. How do I check/fix it?
     
  13. Dennis*G

    Dennis*G Supporting Actor

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    Sounds like your harddrive is shot. You can buy a new one (list your laptop model and we can probably recommend a drive) should cost about $80, otherwise go ahead and get a new one. Basic laptop is around $500 these days that does everything you would need it to do.

    It could also possibly be your motherboard is bad in the system, but not very likely.
     
  14. Allan

    Allan Stunt Coordinator

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    I am planning on buying an external hard drive anyway (for future backup purposes). Could I use such an external hard drive for this purpose? Also, could I use a 2 Gig UBS hard drive to test my current laptop to make sure that the problem is my hard drive and not my mother board?

    thanks
     
  15. Dennis*G

    Dennis*G Supporting Actor

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    If the external drive can be removed from it's enclosure, you can probably slide it into the laptop and see if all works.

    I'm not sure your laptop is new enough to install to an external/thumb drive, but I guess you can try it out, (check your bios boot settings) you wont hurt anything.
     
  16. Allan

    Allan Stunt Coordinator

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    Sorry in advance for being so computer illiterate... I have a 2 Gig USB drive (which I apready used with this laptop). If I plug in the zip drive and try to boot windows from a CD, what will happen? I just want to test if the problem is my hard drive or my mother board.
     
  17. Dennis*G

    Dennis*G Supporting Actor

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    nothing will happen, when windows starts to boot up, see if you can install the the USB drive. Some newer PC's have the option, but not sure yours will. you will have to check your bios and see if there is an option to boot/install to a external drive.
     
  18. Allan

    Allan Stunt Coordinator

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    Dennis, Okay... This is all getting a bit too confusing for me. In any event, since everyone seems to think that I can get a new laptop for ~$500 to do what I need to do, I think that is the approach that I will take. So, now I need advice for what to buy. Again, I use my computer for internet, Quicken, Excel, Word, and the occasional DVD. Nothing too heavy.... What specifications should I look for? Better yet - any advice as to a particular model?

    thanks!
    Allan
     
  19. sestamuch

    sestamuch Stunt Coordinator

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    I wonder why there isn't more talk on Lenovo here, they make amazing laptops/notebooks (and desktops too). They're a bit more expensive but you get what you pay for.
     
  20. amidcars

    amidcars Extra

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    The best thing you should look in for laptop then you mainly concerned for internet is processor and RAM. I think 1GB RAM and dual core processor is enough for you. A 14" screen. Its enough for your needs.[​IMG]
     

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