Hey Tekkies, I need advice.

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This topic contains 18 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  oldguybc 6 years, 3 months ago.

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  • #70015

    biophile87
    Participant

    My laptop won’t turn on and is making fire-alarm beeping sounds. I suspect it’s fatal… does this sound like something you might know about?

    In the event I need to purchase a new laptop, I need advice. I know NOTHING. The one I have been using was a refurbished inherited one which I had upgraded from my previous inherited refurbished one.

    Here’s my needs:
    (if you haven’t already figured this out, no gamer stuff)
    MS Office – lots of word, ppt, and excel
    some light photoshop
    wireless
    web-educational stuff (mathXL, Lexia, etc)
    as inexpensive, and rugged, and durable as possible. Don’t bother with anything over $500.
    I would like for it to last 5 years at least.
    No Chromebook. I anticipate the apocalypse, and don’t want my stuff on the cloud. Whatever that is.

    Please give me some guidance in simple language. I distrust this market and do not understand the jargon.

    Thanks for your time.

    #70017

    Richy
    Participant

    The beeps are making a sequence – do you notice the # of beeps then a slight pause?

    This can tell me what is wrong

    If you still have my # you can call me or email

    #70018

    SEdholm
    Participant

    Usually you can google the beeps and what not (sounds weird I know, but if you look up like 3 beeps and no startup) you can actually maybe figure out what is wrong.

    #70020

    Jimmy Rustler
    Participant
    #70021

    phoo
    Participant

    Biophile, I encourage you to give RichY a call. Most likely the laptop requires some work. It might be possible to fix it, but it may cost as much (or more) to fix it as get a new one. IF you decide to go the fixit route and go with a shop, I’d recommend Re-PC in Tukwila (not the Seattle location!). I am recommending these folks only because I’ve worked with them and they are open to fixing the physical parts of your laptop and often have used parts they will charge you less for. It will however cost you just for them to look at it and assess how much it would cost to fix it.

    The laptop JR found for the money looks good. Keep in mind that what you want to do is very easy for any modern computer, with the exception of Photoshop. Understand that using this computer will be different initially for you. You probably use Windows 7 (click Start<windows icon in left corner>, then right click Computer and left-click properties – that will tell you), this laptop uses Windows 8. Most new computers do not ship with Windows 7. It’s different, but you’ll learn to use it.

    I think Photoshop will run OK on this computer (anyone out there use an i3 with Photoshop? It might be a bit underpowered…), but make sure you have CDs with Photoshop and Office on them. They won’t be on the computer when you get it. They’ll have to be put on the computer with the disks you have, or you’ll have to buy new ones (expensive!).

    #70023

    SunsetHillGuy
    Participant

    here’s some info on the beep codes:

    https://kb.iu.edu/d/afzy

    depending on what’s wrong you may not need a new laptop, I’m no expert on this but did once have a friend of mine who is an Ubergeek save me a ton of cash by fixing mine based on the beeps

    #70025

    oldguybc
    Participant

    Bio, sounds like what I had a few months ago, beeping, looping, all sorts of “load me” notices, disk full warnings, seems like I had a Trojan Horse virus, Norton 360 caught it but couldn’t do squat about it, friend told me about a utility called Malwarebyte, called them & they got rid of all the bad guys. Am now subscribed to this utility, it is expensive, over $100 a year, but the peace of mind is worth it for an oldguy. Good luck with your problem.

    #70030

    GAM
    Participant

    MalwareBytes is great, but (sorry oldguy), the free version does just fine, you just have to do the scans manually. Now, for those who know they’ll never get around to that, perhaps dropping the $100 is a good plan.

    #70033

    Jimmy Rustler
    Participant

    Yes phoo PS runs fine on an I3. I got a copy for my wife’s pc and it runs smoothly.

    #70038

    phoo
    Participant

    JR, sounds good. The laptop comes with 6Gb of ram which I consider a minimum for PS. She may not be able to multitask while shooping, but that looks like a good laptop, assuming she still has the disks for PS and Office. Definitely a bargain for the money.

    #70042

    GAM
    Participant

    All is not lost if the discs are missing and the budget is tight. There are free versions of both Office and Photoshop. I have friends who use LibreOffice successfully (note: not seamlessly, but close) instead of MSFT Office. I believe GIMP is the Photoshop alternative (which is better than its name, I’m sure, but I’ve never tried it).

    #70044

    phoo
    Participant

    GAM: The thing about gimp is that although it also edits photos, I have heard there is a significant learning curve between PS and gimp. What I don’t know is if gimp has intelligent fill and some of the other advanced tools that have come out in the last 5 years. Then again, Gimp may have some tricks up its sleeve that PS doesn’t have.

    Does Libre office support saving to docx? I know openoffice saves to .doc, but confess I haven’t tried Libre Office yet. I should, I understand it picked up with open office left off. I do know powerpoint slides don’t look quite right in open office.

    I’m not knocking the free programs – they are great. It’s just that if a person is switching over, they shouldn’t expect something completely seamless. I think Office programs are the easiest.

    #70045

    phoo
    Participant

    Here’s a copy/paste from a couple reviews I found especially useful for the machine we’ve been discussing. These were both left in June:

    Pros: Fast, full size keyboard, great display and runs great!
    Great hardware for the money, very few offer 6GB of memory and the Intel Core i3.

    Cons: I wish there was a little more room between the USB ports and I wish one was located further to the rear so when using a mouse it’s not so close to where your working, I’m afraid I’m going to knock it sideways with my coffee or paperwork. Updating to 8.1 takes a bit since you’re suppose to install all the updates (and recommended updates) before moving to 8.1, a bit time consuming. I got this for my wife and she loves it!

    Other Thoughts: I suspect the reason this package is so affordable is the user must update to Windows 8.1. I doubt you’ll be able to find anything, from any manufacturer, with this kind of hardware that has Windows 8.1 factory installed. I’ll update if anything goes south on me.

    –next review–

    Pros: Fast, love the instant on, big display, keyboard is well thought out.

    Cons: mouse/trackpad was jumpy and jittery out of the box. I could barely use the mouse. Uninstalled the Asus trackpad utility. Rebooted. Reinstalled utility. Rebooted. Now it works great. No other complaints so far.

    Other Thoughts: Using this for AutoCAD for school. Maxed out memory with http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148733. Super fast now, easy install.

    The largest complaint is the operating system amongst all the reviews. Another review mentioned poor battery life, but the screen is huge so you can’t expect much from the batteries. From what the first reviewer I reposted said, my guess is this deal may not be around for too long.

    #70047

    GAM
    Participant

    I’m more of an Excel person, so I don’t know about .docx and LibreOffice. I know LibreOffice screwed up some .xlsx files, so we’ve gone back to .xls and been OK. I would not be surprised to hear of similar problems on the word processing side, even if they claim to support the new formats.

    I completely agree these are not perfect alternatives. But, when budgets are tight, it’s good to have them as an option.

    Of course, in this neck of the woods, I would hope nobody is paying retail for MSFT products. We all know somebody that works there, I think.

    #70048

    phoo
    Participant

    GAM, I agree – until I knew people, I also used the free alternatives. They work well. I just wanted Biophile to understand they would not be exactly the same – that she would have to adjust or relearn how those programs do their magic.

    #70053

    biophile87
    Participant

    Wow, guys! Thanks for all the fabulous feedback! I will work on this this afternoon. Richy, I shall be ringing you sometime after 1. Thank you!

    #70055

    Shelley
    Moderator

    biophile87, you might also consider a used Macbook Air. I picked one up about half a year ago and it was in your price range. When my very techie late husband was alive, I had a fairly constant stream of PC type laptops with various forms of Linux on them, but when that dried up, I bought a new Dell Windows PC, and that was a big mistake for me. Probably the least reliable system (hardware and software) I have ever used and everything was just plain difficult with driver issues, software incompatibilities with the paid anti-virus, and the list goes on. I bought the Macbook Air and found the Libre Office suite worked just fine for me and I already knew it from Linux. GIMP is very capable, but there isn’t a dumbed down version like there is of Photoshop. I use Scribus for layout things anyway. Not a single problem with the machine or software so far. A little bit of a learning curve for the keyboard shortcuts I depend upon (my arthritis means minimizing mouse/track pad usage).

    Best of luck.

    #70056

    oldguybc
    Participant

    GAM, for a guy that made his living with computer applications for years I have to admit I am pretty computer stupid when it comes down to basics, techie guy told me that manual scans would not work with a Horse virus that was already implanted. Norton 360 people told me the same thing, Synoptics would have done the same thing the MalwareByte guy did for more money and the 360 utility would still have needed help to assure future infestation.
    WTH, it’s only money…

    #70094

    oldguybc
    Participant

    FWIW, main culprit was something called “trovi”, came in on a Google ap, according to the MWB utility, but the deal is, it will KEEP TRYING to re- enter your box every so often, MWB will detect it and delete it but it still keeps trying, sounds like one of my relatives (LOL).

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