Sometimes on the way to your dream,

you get lost and find a better one.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

AWOL--or--any Techie experts out there?

I skipped posting here yesterday, maybe you noticed...maybe you had other things to do.


Instead, I spent time reading a lot of the blogs that I haven't got around to for quite a while.
(after I went into town and picked up a divorce application)
I planned on reading until I couldn't stay awake, then continuing this morning.
I wanted to get fully caught up. Well, that didn't happen.


My computer had other ideas.
It's getting quite old, just over 4 years now.
Is that old? In laptop terms?
I'm not sure what the average lifespan of these things is, many people seem to upgrade theirs often, long before the old one dies. Others keep theirs until the last possible moment.


Yesterday, like many times before, my laptop decided it needed a nap. So it shut itself off.
As it does.
(Cranky pants computer, just like a baby.)


But not just once.
Oh no! Yesterday, the poor little dear needed three naps.
Three!! Hmpf!


I'm finding that after it's been turned on a while, things begin to slow down until eventually the screen freezes; at the same time I'm noticing the motor running quite hot.
Sometimes I notice this before it takes itself a little nap, so I turn it off for an hour.



After yesterday, I got a bit worried that one day, it might not wake up from its nap, so this morning, instead of continuing the blogs reading, I got out the external hard drive and backed up all my pictures and files.
Most of them were already on the passport from the last back up I did, so it didn't take as long as I thought it would.



So here I am, back online again, until the next naptime rolls around.
I've been spending quite a bit of time across the road over at Officeworks, looking at the laptops, running my hands over the smooth shiny surfaces, thinking about buying one of them, (but which one?) when I get my tax refund later this year.



Now, here's my problem. I know nothing about computers. NOTHING.
So how do I choose a good one?
Should I stick with the brand I've got? (Asus)
Should I try another brand? And which one?
I want something that will last at least as long as this one has, hopefully something that will last longer. A lot longer. (Money doesn't grow on trees.)

My current laptop has 120GB hard drive and 1024MB RAM, I'll definitely be looking to get something with more memory.
There's one over there with 640GB HDD and 4GB RAM.
Can anyone out there help with a few suggestions?
In particular what NOT to buy.

Any particular brands that anybody knows about that are unreliable?
Any particular brands that just keep on keeping on?

11 comments:

Andrew said...

I had never heard of the brand that my partner bought, Lenovo, but I hear them advertised often enough now. Seems good, although a little on the heavy side.

Chez said...

River I am on my brand new Toshibah. My 'old' HP was behaving exactly as you describe.
I managed a deal that gave me Adobe Photoshop, External Hard Drive, Windows 7 Training, Wireless Mouse and HP Printer for just $1 extra. Waiting for help with drata transfer but is feels great. I am elated!

Windsmoke. said...

I'm no expert but it sounds like a ventilation problem to me because any electronic or mechanical device will shut down when it becomes over heated. The only suggestion i can make is to find a cooler place to use your laptop with plenty of ventilation out of direct sunlight or the laptop might just need a good internal clean to get rid of the built up dust. I hope these suggestions help you :-).

Beet said...

Sounds like overheating to me too. You need to make sure that you have plenty of ventilation around it and not be using it in a hot room. Computers don't like the heat anymore than we do - if you are feeling the heat your computer will be too.

As for new ones... We love our Toshiba's!! Mine is 2 years old and not an issue, not a glitch.

Ann O'Dyne said...

I have everything on flashdrive sticks.
I would recommend getting a laptop with USB ports on both sides though. Solving the multiple sticks with a hub is clumsy.
Laptops always breakdown because people never realise that they have to be still and stable and have air underneath them to help their tiny fans with the cooling. Also do not use them if the room is over 34 degrees.
Good luck.

GamerSyndrome said...

There might be a few other things along the same lines that have been changed, but nothing that can't easily be changed back post install.

Red Nomad OZ said...

So sorry, I'm a complete technophobe ... my Netbook works for me, but then I travel a lot. I'd suggest shopping around - there's lots of good deals to be had if you let each party know you're shopping around!! Also, some places have better service deals - if you're like me, that could be the clincher!

River said...

Andrew; heavy is out of the question, with my neck and back history of strains.

Chez; I like the look of several of the Toshibas over at officeworks. Lots of memory and smooth styling.

Windsmoke; I pretty much guessed about the overheating,but it's never in direct sunlight. I have it on the dining/everything else table in the living room, in line with the airconditioner so that I'm cool too. It's closed when not being used so there's no dust, no obvious dust anyway.

Beet; plenty of ventilation here, see above comment. I like the Toshiba Satellite range.

Ann O'Dyne; can't get much more still and stable than a dining table. How would I get ventilation underneath it? I'm wondering if the fan has broken down....My aircon goes on as soon as the temp reaches 30, I can't stand the heat.

GamerSyndrome; welcome to drifting. what exactly were you recommending. Complete removal and reinstallation of all files? How would that help?

Red Nomad OZ; you're right, there's lots of deals out there. With Officeworks just across the road, Dick Smith a short walk away, major department stores only a bus ride away, I'm a bit spoilt for choice. Cost is going to be the deciding factor along with memory size.

All; most of the new laptops have Windows 7, is it easy to use? Do you know? I currently have Windows XP and have been happy with it.

Baino said...

Ah great timing. I'm on a 9 year old iMac and she gets a bit tired, especially in the heat. I crash all the time. Let me know what you go for. I'm thinking of buying a laptop next month. More for it's mobility than anything.

River said...

Baino; I won't be buying until I get my tax refund, but I'll let you all know then what I end up with. Mobility is important to me too, less so now that my daughter and I swap files etc via flashdrives, plus a laptop takes up less space.

Anonymous said...

Ok am taking a deep breath at risk of being bombarded with proper techies laughing at me.

Four years is bordering these days on probably needing a more up to date edition. I personally think its a conspiracy to make people constantly upgrade.

Sons is three years old and for weeks he has been having trouble with freezing. I think this is a separate issue to overheating.

I spent a good deal of time doing what I call tweaking. which he could do if he were not lacking in patience as most teenagers do.

He found that some webpages were not loading and freezing. Certain You Tube stuff would simply not stream and watching tv on playback facilities was problematical.

I ensured that his adobe reader (flashplayer) was fully up to date which helped. All drivers were up to date. Its boring but essential as these days as the graphics? get more complicated so that the laptop can keep up all updates should be as up to the minute as possible. Adobe etc are free. So after ages of what I call maintenance, including essential windows updates he is now able to watch stuff, load pages and is happy. I am very aware that I have not used proper technical terms etc. and probably left out those updates which other cleverer people would have remembered the names of. But I did it and very proud of myself I was too. Some say much older than four or five years and the graphics card etc will not be up to date enough and probably time for a new laptop! its certainly worth a go though as it worked for us. Silly things like clearing your cache may speed things up a bit.

With an external hard drive space should not be an issue but I agree that if a new one is to be purchased, sufficient usb ports on both sides as many as possible is handy. If you have saved all essentials to external sources ie important files and photos. In dire circumstances it is possible to wipe the computer of everything and return it to factory settings, cleaned of everything. Some prefer to buy another one rather than take this drastic action but it has worked in the past for me. Then obviously ensuring all adobe and flashplayers, drivers, etc are up to date may take a while but it could and stress on the could give it a new lease of life. Do not do anything I have suggested by the way if you are at all unsure as I am self taught and by way of waiver this has only worked for us.

With regard to overheating, it may be that it has indded come to the end of its natural days and the battery etc is overheating. They do get hot though and I would suggest buying a little contraption which I don't know the name of which you sit the laptop on which has little feet and a fan, ours plugs into a port to run. They circulate the air well thus preventing overheating. Even sitting on a dining room table will not enable the air to circulate properly. We don't have enough money for a new laptop right now but if I had the money I would just buy a new one frankly and save myself the trouble.

I hope something I have said makes sense River and really hope that some clever techie is not laughing his.her head off at me. If they are though I won't take it personally. I am self taught as you can tell.

If you can afford it though, treat yourself to a new one. I believe HP Pavilion have had issues with overheating and the 6000 series offer a replacement battery free I believe because of this issue. Found in the HP update facility.

I have no idea of particular makes to recommend. A friend swears by sony vaio but everyone has their favourites. As with everything on talk of replacement the more you spend the more you get!!!! Sorry so long. just trying to help.