How To Update Vista Tower

Dear Computer Lady,

I have an old Vista desktop! Is there any way to get it up to date so that Chrome can be updated? Or, would it be best to just get rid of it and buy a new desktop?

I’m retired and we barely get by on Social Security, but my computer and Kindle are my biggest source of entertainment.

Thanks, Linda

Dear Linda,

While there are ways to get your computer updated, they are going to be either costly or rather technical, so my short answer is that you are probably better off getting a new tower.

You could purchase a license for Windows 10 and install it. First, you will have to be sure you have enough hard drive space, RAM and processing power on your computer to run Windows 10. Then, if you are not comfortable installing it yourself, you will need to pay for not just Windows 10, but also for getting it installed.

You could install a free operating system like Linux. This would eliminate the cost of purchasing windows 10, but there would be a learning curve, and if you are not a technical person, you would need to hire a professional to set it up for you and teach you how to use it.

Another, slightly less expensive option would be to replace the desktop with a chromebox. This would be a tower that runs the Chrome operating system instead of Windows. This could be a great option for you if you just use your tower for email and the internet.

I hope this helps you as you look at your options


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    • ron007
    • June 10, 2017

    Ultimately, I suspect it will be MUCH easier, and CHEAPER, to simply buy a new computer.

    There is a chance your Vista class computer can be “upgraded” to Win 10 without hardware upgrades, but the hardware is old enough that it may not support Win 10 and even if it does you probably won’t be happy with the performance.

    I too live on a very limited budget. But even so, with a little luck and work you should be able to buy a new Win10 computer that will meet your needs for between $200-500. You should be able to continue using your existing monitor, just make sure it has the right video connector for the old monitor (probably a “VGA” type connector). Otherwise you would have to buy a special connector that converts from video plug type on computer to VGA (usually around $50 or more, 1/2 to 1/3 the price of a new monitor!).

    Considering that buying Win 10 will cost you $100 (and probably close to that much to get someone to install it for you … ), a new computer for slightly more than $200, in the long run is not too expensive. Bottom line, running Win 10 you have to buy, on a Vista class hardware is probably a false economy.

    Note: if you can find a free (or VERY cheap) upgrade to Win7 or 8 from Vista, you CAN still get a free Win10 upgrade by “stretching the truth”, claiming to be visually handicapped.

    Note: since MS no longer “supports” Vista, it no longer provides ANY updates (especially security updates) it is no longer a good idea to use that computer connected to the internet. It is simply a matter of time before it will be infected by malware.

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