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how to get more life out of my HP dc5700 desktop?

 
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I bought this refurbished HP desktop several years ago (probably 10?) and at the time the techie guy I bought it from said it won't be able to upgrade to Windows 10 but you will get a few years out of it...the price was right and all was fine until I kept getting notices that I needed to upgrade to Windows 10 and they would be able to do it, no problem, all online, my schedule, etc..  

So I let Microsoft have their way.  Seems like things get worse after every 'upgrade'? ...more periodic sluggishness?

My concern at the moment is that the fan runs a lot...and louder and louder at times for no particular reason? (except now I see it's related to cpu's)  It did not do this until the last few months or so, maybe longer.

I got as far as watching the 'task manager' cpu's and all to see if something was the cause.  This was after taking the top off and cleaning lots and lots of dust bunnies out of the works...the intake to the fan was so plugged I was sure that was the problem, but no, it really doesn't seem to make any difference at all.

I use firefox and that is where the cpu's would rise to 100% frequently when I open or sometimes reload a page.
I'm ready to do the reset thing but thought I would check here first and see if I can get any other advice?

My little dell tablet battery did finally die so I would hate to lose this computer also.
I think maybe Windows 10 just has too much 'stuff' for this old work horse?

When I had the top off I only saw the big chassis fan at the back...would there have been others I could have looked for?
 
pollinator
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Dust is a major killer of computers, places to check for it, will be fans, there is will be one on the case, the one you mentioned, there may be one over the processor (square thing clipped onto the motherboard) if there isn't a fan there there will be some metal veins instead. The graphics card may also have one or more fans, and the power unit will have one or more as well.
Turn it on with the side off and let it heat up then you will be able to hear where the fans are if you are having trouble seeing them (DO NOT TOUCH ANYTHING WITH IT ON).

Now lets say it's clean, another thing to look at is when you go into task manager and click "show processes from all users" how many are there? (it says at the bottom you don't need to count) If this number is excessive then you've found the problem, I don't have win10 I still run 7 on this mine is showing 66 processes at the moment, I can get it down to 52 anything over 80 would wave a big red flag at me.  If this number is very high then the easiest thing is to reinstall windows (save all your files first) Over time lots of bits of programs get installed and some do not like to leave.

if it's dust free and not running 100 programs in the background then your computer is probably just to slow for the modern systems. You can extend it's life by switching to a less demanding operating system like Linux.
 
Judith Browning
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Thank you!
At task manager I see...
2 apps (firefox and task manager)
29 background
37 windows processes

I have been cleaning things up to reset. That I can do but switching to Linux is most likely beyond my capabilities here at home? I have heard good things about it in other threads here. How difficult would that be to switch to?
 
Skandi Rogers
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Judith Browning wrote:Thank you!
At task manager I see...
2 apps (firefox and task manager)
29 background
37 windows processes

I have been cleaning things up to reset. That I can do but switching to Linux is most likely beyond my capabilities here at home? I have heard good things about it in other threads here. How difficult would that be to switch to?



That doesn't sound to bad on the processes front.

That depends on what you use your computer for, if you use it for the internet some word processing and watching videos you won't have any issues at all, if you use it for gaming or certain specialised programs it becomes harder.
 
pollinator
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Just a FWIW as well..... I notice that certain websites when visited really seem to kick up the fan usage in our limping laptop.  It's an older Gateway, but is able to run Win10 and has been since that OS was rolled out.  The websites that seem to be the worst are those news organizations that have a lot of peripheral CPU-intensive ads and other do-hickies that try to run at the same time you are just trying to read a news article.  The fan really throttles down when just work processing or Emailing, even if he EMailing is through a web-based mailer.  We use Chrome mostly for the browser.  At this point the computer itself is still running pretty good.....the keyboard however seems to be declining rapidly with having to hammer on certain keys just to get the character to appear on the screen!
 
Judith Browning
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I do notice as you mention, John, that web sites with lots of stuff make it run harder and I usually just decide I'm not that interested although sometimes I'm able to get it to switch to 'reader mode' and that helps a lot. I find really nice keyboards at the local thrift store...this one is pretty old and still has the use of all of it's keys....I've been thinking I should pick up a spare sometime soon

Skandi, I don't play any games on it at all and have removed all I could find.  I watch occasional short music videos no movies, etc.  Mostly I'm checking email, facebook and permies....and some browsing.   I think it might be facebook that makes it run louder also? even though I don't do much there I read a little and go to other links.  

Sometimes I get a yellow bar that says something like...'something is slowing down your browser. what do you want to do? stop it or wait'.  When that happens the fan is running full tilt so I expect cpu's are maxed out?

The other thing I do is edit pictures and this sometimes is glitchy and slow for even the simplest cropping.  I don't have a fancy program just the 'photo' thing that is in windows. I load them onto the computer from my camera, edit then usually move to a flashdrive to store them.  It's the editing that seems slow and glitchy sometimes, not all the time.

Our internet provider is Windstream and they have a monopoly on the area...we don't want a cell phone so land line it is with wifi.  


 
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First things first: how much RAM is installed?
 
Judith Browning
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Douglas Alpenstock wrote:First things first: how much RAM is installed?



Just checked... it says "Installed RAM 2GB"
 
Judith Browning
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I should add that this is a relatively new thing...the sluggishness and the fan surges.
I've removed a lot of programs that I was able to use just fine a couple years ago...gimp, google earth, audacity (for copying 12 inch records onto flash drive or disc) Paint, ...can't remember the others. It wasn't a lot but they all seemed to work OK.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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I find that Win10 doesn't run well with less than 4MB of RAM, and so your CPU is running much harder to compensate. Your system can be upgraded to 4MB max. New RAM may be harder to find, but there is lots of used stuff out there and as long as it's tested it will work fine.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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Judith Browning
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Douglas Alpenstock wrote:I find that Win10 doesn't run well with less than 4MB of RAM, and so your CPU is running much harder to compensate. Your system can be upgraded to 4MB max. New RAM may be harder to find, but there is lots of used stuff out there and as long as it's tested it will work fine.



you mean 4GB?

Is this something I could install myself? I have a pdf for this computer that might explain.

http://h10032.www1.hp.com/ctg/Manual/c00800709
 
pollinator
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I'll second Skandi's suggestions re: dust and cleaning the inside.  The fan is also a mechanical (and very cheap) device that tends to get noisier with time ... and then die altogether.  Its generally very easy (and cheap) to replace the fan.    The other mechanical device is the hard drive - its been spinning away at probably 5400 rpm for years.  A decade of use isn't unheard of for drives, but the probability of sudden failure increases with time - if you have anything precious on there (photos? letters?) I'd strongly encourage a backup!   When the time is right you can add or replace a drive for $50-$100 and get something like 10x your current storage.  Unless the current drive is failing I wouldn't expect a new drive to add any pep to the computer's step (and for the pedants out there ... yea, adding a 10k drive would improve some functions but not worth it in an old frame).

If MS Windows is getting you down, you could jump ship to Linux and avoid a bunch of the computer artery clogging lard that MS includes.

Another option when browsing ... I use from two to five different browsers.  The performance differences are amazing - I have one set to not load javascript.  That breaks some sites (hence, multiple browsers) but it also prevents websites from hijacking my computer to show me fancy animated adds.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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Judith Browning wrote:you mean 4GB?

Is this something I could install myself? I have a pdf for this computer that might explain.

http://h10032.www1.hp.com/ctg/Manual/c00800709


Yes, 4GB (I mistyped - Covid brain). You can certainly install this yourself.
 
Judith Browning
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Douglas Alpenstock wrote:

Judith Browning wrote:you mean 4GB?

Is this something I could install myself? I have a pdf for this computer that might explain.

http://h10032.www1.hp.com/ctg/Manual/c00800709


Yes, 4GB (I mistyped - Covid brain). You can certainly install this yourself.



I found it in the pdf 7.8.  Looks pretty straight forward....thanks!
...not going to make any changes quickly but good to know about this.

 
Judith Browning
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Eliot Mason wrote:I'll second Skandi's suggestions re: dust and cleaning the inside.  The fan is also a mechanical (and very cheap) device that tends to get noisier with time ... and then die altogether.  Its generally very easy (and cheap) to replace the fan.    The other mechanical device is the hard drive - its been spinning away at probably 5400 rpm for years.  A decade of use isn't unheard of for drives, but the probability of sudden failure increases with time - if you have anything precious on there (photos? letters?) I'd strongly encourage a backup!   When the time is right you can add or replace a drive for $50-$100 and get something like 10x your current storage.  Unless the current drive is failing I wouldn't expect a new drive to add any pep to the computer's step (and for the pedants out there ... yea, adding a 10k drive would improve some functions but not worth it in an old frame).

If MS Windows is getting you down, you could jump ship to Linux and avoid a bunch of the computer artery clogging lard that MS includes.

Another option when browsing ... I use from two to five different browsers.  The performance differences are amazing - I have one set to not load javascript.  That breaks some sites (hence, multiple browsers) but it also prevents websites from hijacking my computer to show me fancy animated adds.



Thanks Eliot,  I did just clean before posting this thread...it was really bad as I expected but the chassis fan seems to work well although I have not checked the other(s).  I could see dust blowing from the more hidden one before I opened it up and cleaned.  It was bad enough I'll probably clean again soon just to feel like I got it all.

I don't keep anything stored here...photos are loaded long enough to edit and then moved to a flash drive.

I'm reading about Linux.....and it sounds tempting.  

I just need something simple and efficient.  Would switching browsers from firefox to chrome make any difference?
 
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Well...

I dunno if your comfortable burning ISO files, but if you are;

Try burning a copy of Linux Mint XFCE.
It will allow you to run the operating system from the CD to test it out. If all is copacetic you can install it.

If your system resources are too limited for that, a CD of Puppy Linux is remarkably able with equipment as old as the original Pentium.

If your familiar with formatting a USB stick to boot its an even better option

Be aware that Linux has a harsh learning curve, don't commit irreplaceable photo's or documents to it as an only repository until you've learned your way around, you probably will wind up reformatting and installing it at least a dozen times before you have a usable comprehension!

Linux is filled with jargon and finding your way through contraction, quirky (if not downright weird) naming conventions, and obscure references to completely obsolete programs that are no longer maintained or updated but are still needed for other applications to work, is not for the easily frustrated.  I have been blessedly Windows free for ten years....but I keep a Win7 laptop available for those that are unteachable.

For an example read the front page of Distrowatch.com you'll find Linux is headed in a thousand directions all at the same time.
 
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I have a 12 year old desktop that was not upgradeable to windows 10. I downloaded Ubuntu onto a USB drive and ran it to test it. I took the dive and installed it.  It runs with no issues and Ubuntu is user friendly..
 
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I second the Linux suggestion. I'd go ahead and copy all of my important files onto an external hard drive, and replace windows altogether with whatever manifestation of Linux is trendy and user-friendly these days. I used Debian in 2014 to resurrect an ancient laptop, and while I couldn't use certain proprietary software, I was able to use a word processor and browse the interwebs just fine.
 
pollinator
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Ubuntu and Mint are two versions of linux designed to be more graphical than most others. Most people who learned on windoze seem to find them easier to transition to. Both are able to run popular browsers and word processors that would be familiar to you. OpenOffice or LibreOffice are probably included. Firefox is available. Don't remember if it's preinstalled, but it's easy to get.

If you want to download linux (using windoze) and put it on a flashdrive to try it before installing, a free program called rufus is great for that.

No matter your operating system, old hardware is old hardware, BUT I've never failed to have linux run faster than windoze on the same hardware.
 
Skandi Rogers
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I found that Ubuntu is plug and play you can use it exactly like windows and if you don't like to fiddle with things on a computer you'll find it just as easy to use once you find the (only slightly moved) buttons on a new layout. If your comp is 15 years old which is what you are implying you may also be able to simply find a "newer" one very cheaply or even being given away. The computer I am using is a friends work surplus Dell, ok I've changed the processor, drives and graphics card.. but still!
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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While I enjoy Linux on my casual web-surfing machines, there are a lot of "fiddly bits." It's not for everyone. That is, unless you have a local Linux buddy to help you install, set up, and troubleshoot little problems.

If your whole digital life is in the cloud, it will work pretty well.

If you're connecting peripherals and trying to share business documents, you will have some headaches. For that reason, it's worth minor upgrades to keep a Win10 machine going.

My 2c.
 
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Judith Browning wrote:I bought this refurbished HP desktop several years ago (probably 10?)


Thats quite a long lifetime for Hardware.

Judith Browning wrote:
My concern at the moment is that the fan runs a lot...and louder and louder at times for no particular reason? (except now I see it's related to cpu's)  It did not do this until the last few months or so, maybe longer.



The bearings wear out after some time like any mechanical thing. This makes them louder.

Also there is thermal paste between the CPU and its cooler, that looses its heat transmitting property with time.
So the Fan tries to compensate with more RPM.

Judith Browning wrote:
When I had the top off I only saw the big chassis fan at the back...would there have been others I could have looked for?


Usually there is one on the CPU.

Judith Browning wrote:
I use firefox and that is where the cpu's would rise to 100% frequently when I open or sometimes reload a page.


Sometimes websites use scripts that have programming errors...use can install the "noscript" add-on and prevent
them from using the scripts.

I woud usually recommend to replace the computer altogether, but as you explicetly asked for getting "more life" out of it:
- Replace CPU Fan (around 5$)
- Replace thermal paste (around 1$)
- Upgrade RAM (aroud 20-30$)
- Replacing your HDD with a SSD ( around 40-50$), as after 10 years it has outlived its lifespan fivefold and can fail any moment + the SSD is munch faster

I will give you a more detailed instruction on which RAM to buy, but first i would like to determine which CPU exactly you have.
Can you you look that up in the System Information?
If it is not the Core2Duo CPU i would strongly recommend buying another pc.










 
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From what's been said so far, I feel the least time consuming and likely even the most cost-effective option in the long-run is to get a new(er) computer. As R.Han said, 10 years is a long time for a refurbished computer, and even more so is that your particular desktop was made in 2006. There really isn't much life left to get out of it at the end of the day, or, the effort to get more life out of it may be too costly in time and money compared to other options.

---

I used to play around a lot during the winter using linux to improve people's old computers. There was an old dell from 2001 stored in a garage that I took on, but the experience was simply too slow or buggy for 99% of linux distributions. The two that did work had very small memory requirements (<50mb) compared to Windows, but they aren't very user-friendly. In the end I made the decision that was the end of it's life and got rid of it.

Earlier this year I bought an older laptop from 2012 for $200 so I could be more mobile instead of being stuck at home on a desktop, and with Linux Mint it's usable for me, partly because I already have common upgrade parts laying around. I did buy 16gb of ram($90) only because I used the original 8gb of ram in the laptop to upgrade my neighbour's computer, but this will also help the next person who ends up with my laptop - and they will likely be the last person that gets some life out of it. I don't expect to use this myself for more than 1-2 years at most, as the screen is already starting to have issues.

----

Some things to consider after reviewing the thread:
  • In such a situation, the money spent upgrading the dc5700 would be better spent on a newer (2013, 8gb minimum) refurbished desktop. Especially with what Douglas says about 4gb memory limit for your computer, as 8gb is standard these days. Not to mention you could have parts failing on your current computer at any time.
  • With Linux, some programs you want to use may not be as easy to install. And while Ubuntu is simple to use and install, I have doubts that the modern releases of many Linux operating systems will work well on a 2006 desktop. I once had to download a 3 year old version just to get Lubuntu(similar to Ubuntu) to work on a 2006 laptop.
  • There are a lot of laptops 5 years old that have battery issues because people leave them plugged in all the time that can be had for <$200. Even without a battery, It would make a fine desktop replacement as it'd just have to be plugged in all the time. (you can use an external monitor with it as well)
  • Computers have depreciation prices associated with them just like most things these days. Spending $200 on a refurbished computer and getting 5 years out of it is $40/year. I pay more for the internet in a month to use on my computer. I'm sure I pay more for electricity in 2-3 months to run the computer. Just something to consider.

  • I took a quick look on craigslist, and there are kids with gaming computers from 2014 that they are selling for <$250. i5 CPUs, 8gb memory, 1 TB hard drive, windows 10, etc. For your usage, it could last another 5-10 years.

    And yet, there is nothing wrong with waiting for the dc5700 to fail either(or get too slow), as long as you back up your files and can live without a computer for a bit.

    ---

    Other than that, to echo John Weiland's comment - an adblock add-on for your browser can help with those auto-playing ads and videos.

    It can really be a confusing rabbit-hole having to assess such scenarios with computers/consumer technology as there are so many factors to consider. :/
     
    Douglas Alpenstock
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    While I don't generally disagree, I would note that I have three Win10 systems running just fine with 4GB RAM and cheap solid state (SSD) hard drives. One is an ancient (but incredibly well-built) 32-bit T61 Thinkpad. The SSD really does make things snappy.

    The hard-core recycler in me wants to see Judith's machine given a new lease on life. I'll bet extra RAM can be scrounged for free, or swapped for a jar of jam.
     
    Judith Browning
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    The hard-core recycler in me wants to see Judith's machine given a new lease on life.


    hahaha...this is where I'm at I'm afraid.

    I'm not interested in spending a lot of money to rescue this pc, but you all have given me lots to think about towards some simple inexpensive steps that might buy me some time.

    Thanks for all of the input....I knew I could count on this group for plenty of ideas.  I'm reading and researching and letting things settle for now.  Maybe I'll do some more dusting while deciding as I doubt I got it all, it was pretty bad.....

    i would like to determine which CPU exactly you have.
    Can you you look that up in the System Information?


    R. Han,  is this it?
    Processor Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU 3.00GHz, 3000 Mhz, 1 Core(s), 2 Logical Processor(s)

    I don't store anything on the hard drive nor 'cloud' or any other place.  I have pictures on here briefly in order to edit and then load onto a flashdrive.  We don't pay bills on line although we do order things but no information is stored here.  

    Really, my main use is editing photos, email, facebook, permies and browsing information found surfing the internet.

    I do all the simple maintenance stuff, de-fragmentation, disc clean up, cleaning up history, cookies, etc...and Windows Defender says it's doing it's job but I have no way of knowing for sure

    and as far as 'fiddly bit's' to do with Linux...I'm a virgo so obsessive detail is usually no problem



     
    John Weiland
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    I'm still on the fence about converting an older laptop to Linux, but here is yet another article commenting on the Ubuntu versus Mint for beginners and that person's reasoning for favoring Mint for the beginner: https://itsfoss.com/linux-mint-vs-ubuntu/
    I do have a copy of 'ElementaryOS' (Ubuntu-based) that I run from a flash drive, but have not added apps for testing further.  And command-line really is not my forte, so anything needing that functionality tends to bog me down....which is rather pathetic on my end since so many of my co-workers use UNIX-based software for specialized computing. :-/

    But also to re-iterate that we added an SSD drive to replace a dead HDD in a Gateway NV76R laptop (Manufacture date; 2013, with Core i3 processor and updated to Win10) and that has helped a lot in the 'snappy' department.  We have a separate 'microPC' that runs our TV viewing during the dark winter evenings..... if this main laptop ever dies, we probably will mate the microPC to an older Sony Bravia TV (22"/HDMI and presently in storage.....small by today's desktop monitor standards) for our system and just upgrade the TV with a new one microPC. I'm partial to 17" laptops because of the screen real-estate, but they are harder to find than 15's or 13's.....and if trouble arises, I like being able to fold up the unit and bring it to a PC repair place.

    'Sigh'.....if only good cars and trucks depreciated like computers! ;-)
     
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    Judith Browning wrote:
    R. Han,  is this it?
    Processor Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU 3.00GHz, 3000 Mhz, 1 Core(s), 2 Logical Processor(s)



    Yes this is it...the Pentium 4 is a really old architecture, so i STRONGLY recommend getting something
    else....i am actually surprised it runs Windows 10 at all...However when it does run WIN10 i bet it uses all the 89 Watts that it is rated.
    It's literally technology of the last century!

    So unless you want to heat your room with electricity get something newer.
    I personally still use that old X61 (similar to the T61 that Douglas Alpenstock mentioned).

     
    Douglas Alpenstock
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    Hoo boy, a P4 single core. I think R. Han makes a valid point. There is a limited amount you can do to upgrade this system. Adding super cheap/scrounged RAM will help. But personally I would not invest much cash in this. My 2c.
     
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    It's like having an old car...if you use it once per month to get into town it may be more environmentally friendly to keep it than to get a new one.

    But assuming your PC is used every day you should get another one... i have seen better machines scrapped, so an replacement could probably even be found for free.
     
    Judith Browning
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    Thanks again all....just don't tell my pc she's failing, we're still riding on 'a wing and a prayer'

    so maybe I need to ask another question....like what should I look for that might have the longest life or at least options for inexpensive upgrading?

    The vehicle analogy was a good one as for decades we were the ones who finished off all of those used ones on their last legs...did not drive much.  

    I am not sure what luck I'll have here locally but if I had some suggestions to narrow the search?

    We are both seventy and my view of buying more stuff lately is that it either has to outlast us (another thirty years?) or more than support itself in time and cost.  

    The internet has been pure pleasure and quite expensive as a monthly bill and has never supported itself in this household.

     
    John Weiland
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    Judith Browning wrote:

    ....so maybe I need to ask another question....like what should I look for that might have the longest life or at least options for inexpensive upgrading?



    It's a tough question for sure and I will be looking to see other answers in this thread as I can't imagine our current laptop lasting too much longer.  I do appreciate the answers from a rural/Permies perspective because most of the issues I bring up to younger co-workers are met with that doe-in-the-headlights look that translates to "Why don't you just sell the farm and move to a condo in town?.....with free WiFi?"

    We haven't kept up with brand reliability reporting and as for selection, "used" selection will be whatever is drifting by locally on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist whereas non-local offerings are plenty on the internet.  As we too are nearing those later years with diminishing eyesight and less patience for computer/internet hiccups, we would prefer a good sized screen and down the road a better keyboard (current laptop keyboard is rather abysmal).  Addtionally, we are a dusty......I mean DUSTY!.....household and a computer tech would probably faint if they examined the fan(s) inside the unit.

    What I can offer from our workplace is that the IT staff has typically recommended Dells or HPs as their go-to licensed/leased providers, which doesn't necessarily say so much about reliability as it does about contracting specifics, but may result in familiarity among local repair shops.  If we go away from a laptop and instead to a microPC with keyboard and monitor, then we additionally can purchase from a local manufacturer which would give us a local return/repair place if that becomes important.  But just to add that my wife recently hopped on the Kindle book bandwagon, the eBooks of which she reads on a newer Apple iPad.....which along with WiFi substitutes for a lot of time at our dedicated computer desk.  (Current rural internet has been steady at $50/month with moderate speeds.)

    Just some thoughts in our own home with trying to be frugal yet still engage with the technology as we would like to.
     
    Bill Haynes
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    I have had very good fortune with Asus equipment.
    If hardware upgrade is in the cards go to Walmart.com  or  Staples.com and look for refurbished computers.
    They both act as outlets for retired business equipment.
    While they are usually not stocked with the max, you can find computers that will accept 16, and 32, gigabytes of ram for $100 to $1200.
    The $100 dollar models are adequate to run win10, by the time you get to $400 you can simply add a video card and all the ram it can stand and run without limit.
    Take the time to identify a likely prospect and then read the reviews (on independent sites such as Toms Hardware, or Amazon Reviews).....frequently the reviews will point you to a better model that's just as economical.

    Either way I'd recommend you learn Linux,
    Win10 is little more than a dedicated keylogger, if your willing to put up with that just get a Chromebook,
    Google already knows and sells every detail of your life!
    Chromebooks run anywhere from $75 - $1000, if you have a good connection a midrange model operates seamlessly.
     
    Douglas Alpenstock
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    +1 on retired business equipment. These are usually much better quality than consumer stuff. My area has small companies that buy these in lots, test and set them up, and sell them inexpensively with a 6-month warranty.

    Edit: There is another option: ask around. You wouldn't believe how much hardware is kicking around in people's closets. Too good to throw into the recycling bin, but not worth the effort to refurbish and reload the operating system. These are often free for the taking (reciprocate with home-made jam, pickles, cookies or bread) and everybody wins.
     
    Douglas Alpenstock
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    I wonder if someone could burn a couple of Linux DVDs and mail to Judith to try out. I think Lubuntu 32-bit and ZorinOS 32-bit are what I would recommend for this hardware. (The 32-bit versions will run just fine on 64-bit machines BTW.) These have a "run live" option so you can try it out running directly from the DVD without changing anything on your hard drive.
     
    Judith Browning
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    I'm browsing the refurbished ones at Staples this afternoon....lots of choices!
    It looks like I'll be able to find a replacement desk top in my price range...any preference for Staples over Walmart as far as refurbished machines go? Thank you Bill, for the suggestion!

    This one was an office machine before I bought it from a techie place refurbished.  It had windows 7 and he said I wouldn't be able to upgrade to 10 but as I explained above, Microsoft thought differently...I wish I had resisted.

    Anyway, this is on top of my Dell tablet finally dying...battery I think? and several electronic things (water heater, camera, washing mch, ceiling fan) getting 'touchy' including, just today, the screen tv we only use for netflix has refused to turn on....might be a good time to go back to evening scrabble or backgammon games and take a breather as we are getting out of our league now.  

    Douglas, I'll plan to try linux whenever I come up with another computer.  Now, though I'm afraid to do anything different for fear it will crash...might be able to squeeze a little more time out of this one if I'm careful? or just lucky?

    thank you all for taking the time to give me some ideas...much appreciated and I'll probably post my choices here if I decide on something from Staples so I can get some input before buying....trying to fix one thing before the next one fails is a race sometimes
     
    R. Han
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    Judith Browning wrote: Now, though I'm afraid to do anything different for fear it will crash...might be able to squeeze a little more time out of this one if I'm careful? or just lucky?



    Don't worry, if the cooling fails the CPU throttles down so that it doesn't go up in smoke, it will become slow to the point of unusability then tough.
    And as you say you don't have any data on you HDD you have nothing to fear there either, so just use it until you find a replacement.
     
    Skandi Rogers
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    Douglas Alpenstock wrote:
    Edit: There is another option: ask around. You wouldn't believe how much hardware is kicking around in people's closets. Too good to throw into the recycling bin, but not worth the effort to refurbish and reload the operating system. These are often free for the taking (reciprocate with home-made jam, pickles, cookies or bread) and everybody wins.



    This is very true, we have a spare tower and enough bits to put together a working computer if we bought a HDD. most people who build their own computers will have enough parts lying around from old machines to put one together, I have no real idea why I have old stuff still.. after all it's not compatible with anything I use, but maybe the 12 year old laptop will die and we'll need another computer to run the TV.. maybe... one day.
     
    Jarret Hynd
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    Judith Browning wrote:We are both seventy and my view of buying more stuff lately is that it either has to outlast us (another thirty years?) or more than support itself in time and cost.    


    I'm not sure if one could make a computer that will run for that long, but if you do learn how to use Linux, you would be able to reuse all the "slow Windows computers" that people want to throw away, and by doing that every 7 years or so would keep you up-to-date hardware-wise. Especially if you have family or friends like that, they'd usually prefer to give you an old computer rather than sell it to someone else for $50-100. That's a pretty good method of recycling in my book.

    As for the computer supporting itself in time and cost, it really depends on what value you attach to it's usage. I've started using basic programs (that you wouldn't be able to use on a smartphone/tablet) and I'm making a simple blueprint of the design of the farm I work at so we can better visualize and orchestrate our work activities throughout the year. Even out of the blue today I was asked about doing some landscaping design in the spring, so I'll probably be mapping out someone's yard to. There's so much value you can get out of a computer - sky's the limit.

    ---

    Linux

    As for Linux, honestly, it's much easier than you think to try it out. It takes a bit of bravery I suppose to change things in BIOS (motherboard settings), but you can't mess much up as long as you are read carefully and are cautious. I'm not a tech support, but this is how the process would go if you wanted to try it on your current computer:

  • Download Ubuntu from DIstrowatch.com
  • (these are typically over 1GB in size, so careful if you have bandwidth/internet restrictions)
  • Use a USB drive and a program like Etcher (or Rufus, etc) to "organize" the Ubuntu image (file) onto your USB Drive so it's ready for you to use.
  • Restart the computer, and when you see an HP logo, click the f10 button constantly(I think f10 is the right button) - you should enter BIOS mode. (here's a video reference)
  • Change the Boot Order from your Hard Drive to your USB device.
  • Go to Save changes and restart - your computer will now load from your USB Drive instead of your Hard Drive
  • When your computer is starting up, you'll see something like this screen pop up - press enter while "try ubuntu without installing" is highlighted
  • After clicking enter, your computer may show a black screen with text loading from top to bottom (I haven't used ubuntu in awhile, so not sure), this process is your computer "reading" the files on your USB Drive
  • Hopefully after 5-20 seconds (processes take longer on old computers), you'll see a screen like this.You can now play around with it and see if your computer runs well with it.
  • If you want to use Windows again, remove the USB drive from the computer. You may have to go into the BIOS mode again and change the boot order from USB Drive to Hard Drive and save and exit.

  • I only explained the process so there is less of a worry about complexity, but there are some risks to take into account - as with anything. The main issue that can arise when doing this is that the "loader" for Windows files can get "lost" and so when you go to boot up Windows on it, you'll get a black screen with the message "bootmgr is missing" or similar. Typically after a restart or two, windows will go into repair mode and fix it itself. The other issue you may face is that your wifi card may not work on Ubuntu upon first loading - typically plugging the Ethernet cable into the machine will update the wifi card information(called drivers) and solve this.

    ---

    Judith Browning wrote:I'll plan to try linux whenever I come up with another computer.  Now, though I'm afraid to do anything different for fear it will crash...might be able to squeeze a little more time out of this one if I'm careful? or just lucky?


    I think this is forsure the best way to start out, as it takes a lot of the pressure off. My advice is to focus less on how long your current computer has left, and keep an eye out during this time of year for good deals on used ones.

    I would suggest you look for these kind of specifications, though they aren't written in stone by any means:
  • Windows 10
  • 8gb ddr3 memory, with room for 16gb expansion in the future
  • i5 processor that's 3 ghz or higher
  • (these have "integrated graphics" built into them. You can buy a "dedicated graphics card" later if you want, though may not be necessary)

    Here's a fancy list if you want to use it as reference while out searching - ignore the price as it's automated. Other hardware can be added later

    After that, hopefully the installation of Linux on your old computer works out and you can begin to play around with it. Once you are confident in your usage of Linux, you can do something called "dual-boot" which basically allows you the ability to choose between Windows and Linux via a simple pop-up screen when you power on your computer. Again, this carries a few small risks, but doing so on your old computer is the most cautious and beneficial route I can think of. Even if it takes you 1-2 years of playing around until you get comfortable enough to attempt to dual-boot, at least you now have unleashed a huge new world of options for yourself. Ex. Maybe in 10 years, you are so knowledgeable with Linux, that you can use some of the very light-weight Linux operating systems that are a little harder to navigate. If so, a new computer now may be the last one you will ever need.
     
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