Purchasing New Laptop

7 Things You should know before you buy your next computer.Dear Computer Lady,

My daughter will be attending college soon and we need to purchase a new laptop for her.

Is there one in particular that you would recomend?

What system would you recomend, or any thing else you can suggest?

Thanks, Patti

Dear Patti,

The decision you make when selecting your new laptop can determine if the laptop will last for just a few years, or many years.

While I can’t give you the name of a specific manufacturer or model, I can tell you some things to look for, and what to avoid.

Many of your decisions depend on what your daughter will be using the computer for. You need to take into account what programs you will be running, and what type of files you will be working with.

You do want to buy the most RAM and Processing power you can afford. If you don’t get enough of those two things, your computer will not run current programs for as many years as it would if you get plenty of RAM and processing power.

If you want to learn all my secrets for purchasing a computer that will last a long time, you might want to get my ebook, “7 Things You Should Know Before You Buy Your Next Computer”.

You can learn more about the ebook at:


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    • ron007
    • August 4, 2012

    All valid points.

    Another one to consider is contact the school. Find out what they recommend for the educational program. A math major or architect will have different hardware and software needs than an English lit major. There may be specific features required, ie MAC vs PC, Windows Vista vs Windows 7 vs Windows 8 etc Office 2007 vs 2010. The probably don’t yet recommend Win8, but even if you get a Win7 machine, at this time you may want to take advantage of the “cheap” upgrade to Win 8 when it is available.

    If you are buying “off the shelf” in a store, take a look at the “Windows Experience Index” / WEI. Yes WEI is a lousy metric, but it is consistent for comparisons between machines and easy for any user to USE, even in the store. Try to get a machine where all elements are balanced. Often you will pay extra (through the nose) for machines with one or two expensive high end features but they will still seem slow because one element is not balanced with rest of machine. That happened with my machine, the graphics is relatively slow.

    A few points many people do not consider.
    Buy a second monitor. I have seen stats that suggest you can be up to 60% more productive with 2 screens, especially for a laptop. I know I can’t live without my second monitor plugged into my laptop.

    By a GOOD full sized USB Keyboard to plug into a laptop when “at home” / in the dormitory at school.

    BACKUPS! Schools are a particularly toxic environments. Lots of hackers and malware infected downloads by other users on the network. Plan on doing lots of backups, say weekly, monthly at most.

    Backups, consider buying an internet / cloud based backup service to have backups stored off site.

    Keep multiple copies of personal files as you are working (using save as).

    Buy at least one external 1-2TB USB drive for backups.

    Be prepared to re-install Windows from scratch or from BACKUP! ie practice before getting to school.

    Personally, I would go with a HD partitioned to create a separate C: drive for Windows and Applications and a D: drive for personal data files, and personal Windows profile folders (ie desktop, favorites, mydocuments etc). That way, when you have to re-install windows, a CERTAINTY at school, you don’t have to worry as much about your personal data files.

    Keep PAPER records of all “Product Keys” or Registration numbers for ALL purchased software at “original home”, not just at school.

    Keep CD/DVD’s of all installation files for purchased programs at “original home”, not just at school.

    Although I’m not a particular fan, you may want to consider buying “Office 365” online service rather than normal local Office install. Especially when Office 365 starts officially using the new Office 2013 (some time in the new year) it will have many features that are very well suited to a school environment.

    You may want to wait to buy specialist software, including MS Office until they start school. MS provides a really good discount program for registered students call the “Office University” discount (not limited to University) program. There are also vendors that specialize in providing discounted software for registered students. Or the school may even be taking part in the Office 365 “educational” package which is also cheaper.

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