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 Post subject: Computer Recommendation
 Post Posted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 1:57 pm 

Joined: Sun Feb 04, 2007 1:32 pm
Posts: 225
My daughter's Dell laptop which is a little over four years old has gone
belly-up. She wants to replace it with a desktop. She can't afford for me
to build a desktop for her, so I'm planning on looking at Dell and Gateway
to see what they have available.

First question is whether or not it is possible to remove the hard drive
from the laptop to transfer its contents to the new desktop. If so, how
would I do that. I've never been trained on laptops and I've never been
inside one. Now's my chance!

Second question relates to Vista. I'm discouraging people from going to
Vista because of all the negative editorials and articles I've read about
it. Plus a lot of the desktops I've seen advertised mention the Home Basic
version of Vista which turns me off because she would have to put out more money in the future if she wanted to upgrade to a different, more
functional version. Any help you can give would be appreciated, as usual.

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 Post Posted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 2:01 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 04, 2007 11:44 am
Posts: 6071
I recommend CyberPower http://www.cyberpowerpc.com, HP
http://www.hp.com and eMachines http://www.emachines.com right now. The main reason is that they still build machines using the industry standard ATX formfactor, while Dell and Gateway have shifted entirely over to BTX.
With BTX you will find it difficult or impossible to upgrade the
motherboard and/or processor in the future, due mainly to a lack of support for BTX, and the fact that some parts of the BTX standard are not being adhered to by the larger OEMs, making future component interchanges questionable.
Note also that of the three System OEMs I recommend, only CyberPower allows you full choice over the OS, meaning you can select XP over Vista, or even order the system with *no* OS at all. The only drawback is that if you do select an OS it won't be an OEM SLP (System Locked Preinstallation) version http://tinyurl.com/ndmg9, meaning that it will require activation and be at a higher risk for WGA (Windows Genuine Advantage) hassles in the future.
HP and eMachines are unfortunately including only Vista. Also, Vista
Business or Vista Ultimate (the two editions of Vista I do recommend) are
not offered on many of the systems, which include only Home editions
instead. The good thing is that they all use OEM SLP versions of Vista,
meaning no activation and fewer WGA hassles in the future.

If the laptop works, you could transfer the files via a network connection
without having to remove the drive. But if the system is dead (and yet the
hard drive still works) then you can remove the drive and either install it
in an external 2.5" enclosure <http://tinyurl.com/39a2gw> or install it in
a desktop system directly as a secondary drive using a 2.5" to 3.5" adapter
http://www.cyberguys.com/templates/sear ... uctID=1354.
I recommend the external enclosure route as you can then more easily use the drive for backups or extra storage on any system in the future.

Those who have an investment in older hardware and software would
especially want to stay with XP. Vista requires new drivers which are not
available for older hardware, many older programs don't work properly under Vista, and user interface changes and added "friction"
http://tinyurl.com/2pnowu make it more difficult for experienced PC users
to get things done quickly and efficiently.
On the other hand, Vista is fine for those with little or no computing
"baggage", especially when preloaded on larger OEM systems (avoiding
activation hassles and extra expense). Those with more experience can
significantly reduce the friction by turning off UAC (User Account Control)
as well as selecting the Windows Classic Theme and Start Menu.
For most people given a choice, I currently recommend staying with XP over moving to Vista, however since Vista is the only choice on many new
machines, I have to factor in the additional hassle and expense of
installing XP on a system that came with Vista, so in many cases I'm
recommending that people stay with Vista if it came preloaded on the
machine. Scott.

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