Buying a Sun workstation

December 28th, 2007 Paul Wallbank Posted in Buying a computer No Comments »

Hi Paul, have read your article on buying a computer and noted the strong leaning towards MAC. What is the industry particularly your thoughts on purchasing a Sun entry level workstation equivalent to a standard Windows or MAC desktop. I have read that a Sun box is robust and less prone against viruses

I didn’t realise I was strongly leaning towards a Mac. The choice of the Mac versus a PC really comes down to two factors; what you are used to and what your colleagues, friends and relatives use.

For those reasons alone I’d steer you away from a Sun workstation. Other problems you’ll hit are the huge cost of support and the difficulty getting replacement parts not to mention you’ll get no help from friends, the local computer shop or your ISP.

I’d recommend going to the nearest computer superstore and Mac shop and having a play with their computers. See which computers you like and which stores have the best service.

While price is an important factor, it shouldn’t be the main selling point. If a better, faster computer is $200 more, buy it.

Don’t forget to get a three year warranty as well.

Problem setting up a Christmas computer

December 25th, 2007 Paul Wallbank Posted in Buying a computer, Hardware No Comments »

Merry Christmas and happy holidays from IT Queries.

If you are struggling with setting up a new computer, visit our sister website PC Rescue for a quick check list on what to do if you’re being challenged by a Christmas gift.

Buying cheap software

October 22nd, 2007 Paul Wallbank Posted in Buying a computer, Office, software No Comments »

I have been looking at ways of buying Microsoft Office cheaper than recommended retail price.
In my travels I came across an American website (Soft Sales)offering Microsoft Office(OEM) for $79(US)brand new. It says all you need to do is download MS Office(in pdf format). No manual is included but all authentication and verification codes are. What are your thoughts on buying such an item? I haven\’t actually bought the item.
I am currently running Windows XP on a pentium 4 pc.

It sounds extremely dodgy. OEM software is supposed to be sold with hardware and the price is extremely cheap.

What’s more, it appears these guys are expecting you to download the trial edition and they are merely selling the authentication codes to unlock the trial.

To say this is risky is an understatement. Microsoft have a track record of disabling these codes and Office 2007 can be disabled this way. It’s possible you might end up with it simply not working one morning.

With these sort of software deals, if something’s too good to be true it usually isn’t true. If these people are prepared to rip-off one of the world’s biggest companies, then they are not likely to have many qualms about treating the likes of you and I poorly.

We’d suggest avoiding this like the plague.

I’m scared to buy a new computer

August 11th, 2007 Paul Wallbank Posted in Buying a computer No Comments »

I Bought a brand new Lenovo laptop with Vista Home Premium installed. Kept disconnecting me from my dialup internet after a few minutes. My Internet provider had me try a few things that didn’t work eg. altering modem speed. They finally admitted they were’nt up to speed with Vista.

Contacted Lenovo, who were very good. Had me return machine to them. They checked it-nothing wrong. Back to me. Still the same problem.Back to them,fully checked and nothing found wrong. Back to me again, still the same problem.

I then took the machineback to where I purchased it and got my money back.

My daughter gave me her old laptop, which the grandkids were playing games on, and said to try it. It has an early version of the system before(XP?) Vista. It works perfectly – no cut offs.

What’s the problem?

I’m frightened to buy a new computer now because of this problem.

The first rule of computing is not to let them intimidate you. Computer are tools, just like a coffee machine or power drill. Sometimes you get a dud one.

In this case, it sounds like there was either a defective modem or some software problem.

When you have a new operating system like Microsoft Vista, it makes finding those problems harder. It also means getting help becomes more difficult. You found this with your ISP.

This is why we recommend avoiding a new operating system for at least six months after its release. That way we get to see the bugs and find ways around common problems.

Technology’s no different to any other product, sometimes it doesn’t work. Don’t be worried about buying a computer in future.

Getting MSN back

August 9th, 2007 Paul Wallbank Posted in Buying a computer, Internet No Comments »

Hi! I am a senior, fairly new to the computer game, and purchased an ex-govt. pc equipped with msn email site, and was going well, then..started having trouble responding. I’ve taken it back, and back and now they have installed FIREFOX which i’m not happy with. How can I get MSN back. Further, the pc is not connecting wth printer. All quite boring and problematic, and wasting time!

Your experience is why we tend to steer people away from second hand computers. These problems are pretty typical of what we see when people buy old systems. We recommend buying a cheap new system rather than wasting time with second hand kit.

To get MSN back, it’s best to visit the MSN website and download the latest version. Make sure your computer meets the minimum system requirements for MSN Explorer on that page.

We’ve discussed a problem previously with MSN Explorer and Internet Explorer 7 which stops MSN responding, you can find the fix here.