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Category: Tech primers

(see also The “don’t forget/decision making list” when buying a new laptop)

This is a short list consider it a work in progress, a number of common assumptions are made.

Starting questions:
  • Are you sure you don’t want a laptop with an external screen and keyboard?
  • Processing power: Intel i3 for students/retirees with minimal needs (yes a generalisation no offense intended), Intel i5 for general usage business, Intel i7 for video editing power users or gamers.
Basics
  • Monitor, required size? Suggest 24" 1920 x 1080 resolution or larger
  • 8GB of memory or more (perhaps 4Gb for low end users)
  • Keyboard and mouse
  • Windows 10
Accessories/ Options/other:
  • MS office (home and business edition?)
  • DVD player/recorder drive or Blu-ray player (or recorder?)
  • DVD or Blu-ray playing software
  • Speakers?
  • Does it come with Windows Pro version? (better for everyone, required for joining business domain)
  • Keyboard and mouse upgrade (wireless? Better quality?)
  • Upgrade to SSD hard drive for speed or traditional drive for capacity?
  • Add *another* hard drive so one SSD for windows and a traditional drive for data storage?
  • Do you have a network connection point for this PC? Is wireless required does the PC have a wireless network card included or do you need a USB one?
Checks
  • Does the PC have the correct monitor plug for your monitor
  • What’s your data and system backup plan
  • Will my old/weird/special software run on Windows 10, will it run on 64bit windows
Finally, setup:

Although you certainly can set things up yourself decisions like using OneDrive as the default save location, logging on with a local account vs a domain account vs a Microsoft account vs a domain account with a Microsoft account attached might require some good advice and assistance to have a good experience from the start.

For example it’s a good idea to remove unnecessary “crapware” software that the manufacturer got paid to put on there and installing a full set of standard software products like PDF tools (without getting tricked into installing something that will be unhelpful), and common windows store apps etc.

This information has been provided for the benefit of digitalwelcomemat IT customers.
Treat this information as informative only and do not take actions or make decisions on the basis of the information contained here. All IT decisions and actions should be made after consultation with your chosen IT professional taking into account all the of the relevant factors.

Category: Tech primers

(See also the “don’t forget list” when buying a new desktop")

This is a short list consider it a work in progress.

Starting questions:
  • Screen size?
  • Size/weight
  • Are you sure you don’t want a 2in1 or convertible Windows tablet
  • 8GB memory or more
  • USB3 if you’re looking to use a docking station
  • What’s the battery life?
Options:
  • Do you want touchscreen?
  • Do you need a DVD/Blu-ray drive?
  • Do you need a physical network cable socket, or is Wi-Fi fine?
  • SSD hard drive for speed or traditional drive for capacity?
  • Does it come standard with onsite warranty so you don’t need to send away for weeks if it breaks?
  • What monitor connector do you need? (for your external monitor, projector or other)
Accessories/other:
  • What about a [universal] docking station
  • External mouse, wireless? Bluetooth?
  • Antivirus software
  • MS office (home and business edition?)
  • Does it come with Windows Pro version?
  • External Monitor, keyboard and mouse for ergonomic desktop use (plus a monitor stand or 2)
  • Do you need an extra power pack?
  • Carry bag for protection
Finally, setup:

Although you certainly can set things up yourself decisions like using OneDrive as the default save location, logging on with a local account vs a domain account vs a Microsoft account vs a domain account with a Microsoft account attached might require some good advice and assistance to have a good experience from the start.

For example it’s a good idea to remove unnecessary “crapware” software that the manufacturer got paid to put on there and installing a full set of standard software products like PDF tools (without getting tricked into installing something that will be unhelpful), and common windows store apps etc.

This blog post has been provided for the benefit of digitalwelcomemat IT customers. Treat this information as informative only and do not take actions or make decisions on the basis of the information contained here. All IT decisions and actions should be made after consultation with your chosen IT professional taking into account all the of the relevant factors.

Category: Tech primers

Unfortunately that's the entire size that you have,128GB or 256GB (minus whatever windows and your programs are taking up).

We have recently had an evolution from mechanical hard drives (similar to a spinning DVD encased in a steel case) which had huge amounts of storage as much as 2 Terabytes (TB) of data in a laptop. We have now evolved to a "better" hard drive system which is "solid state" no moving parts like a really high performance internal USB key/flash drive.

HOWEVER the new solid state drives (SSD) are smaller, 128GB (or an eighth of a terabyte) for SSD as a starting point vs. 1 terabyte on average for a mechanical drive. 10x as fast and 1/10 the size, it's purely a cost issue, the cost of a 1 terabyte SSD is $1000 (at the time of writing) just for the disk alone vs $85 (at the time of writing) for what you normally get in a standard computer.

This is a new struggle that we haven't had for years and years there are a few options as to what can be done, firstly make sure you don't have any videos or other huge files on there don't need DVD movie backups etc need to go elsewhere.

Second, for data that you won't be using all the time you can archive it on Microsoft OneDrive you will have probably 15GB - 50 GB of free OneDrive storage with your Microsoft account which is highly integrated into windows 8.1. Just make sure it's not all set to automatically synchronize "offline" back down to your laptop again otherwise you won't save anything. Here are some resources to get started on this:

(Just from a random Google search)

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-au/windows-8/getting-started-onedrive-tutorial
http://www.gcflearnfree.org/windows8/5
http://www.7tutorials.com/introducing-windows-81-how-configure-skydrive-using-pc-settings
https://onedrive.live.com

Lastly, the bulky data, huge video files, DVD backups and the like you can leave on an external hard drive (pocket sized drives to up 2 terabytes) or USB keys up to 256GB (or a quarter of a terabyte) for those occasions when you need it. It's a little unwieldy having to plug something in but with USB 3.0 the speed is around the same as with the data directly on your computer (depending on the quality of the external storage).

Just remember that a single USB drive with data on isn't a backup, a backup is a second copy of the same data see here for my rant on this.

Hope that helps, if none of these solutions are workable, there is one last option which is removing the small SSD in your new laptop and replacing it with a larger one.

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