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Now browsing: Hometown News > Columnist Archives > Computers - Terry Aldridge

Tips on shopping for a PC
Rating: 2.85 / 5 (159 votes)  
Posted: 2006 Feb 23 - 21:30
• This column isn't for the high-end computer user. It's for the first-time buyer, perhaps a senior citizen, who wants to see what computers are all about.

Terry Aldridge

This column isn't for the high-end computer user. It's for the first-time
buyer, perhaps a senior citizen, who wants to see what computers are all
Now that you're ready to brave the world of computers, your first step is
getting a computer. Buying a new computer can be a daunting task, but there
are a few things you can do to make the task a lot easier.
Mt first piece of advice is: Don't buy something you don't need! Don't go
to a store and let the salespeople push you into buying a computer you
don't need. They'll tell you that you need the most powerful, high-tech,
top-of-the-line computer they have. Not true!
Here's what you do. Before you go to the store, ask yourself what you'll
be using the computer for. If you're just going to send e-mails to your
friends and family and play solitaire, then you don't need to buy the most
expensive computer. Buy the most basic computer you can afford.
You don't have to spend a lot of money these days for a decent computer.
Yep, it's true. For about $600, you can get a new basic computer, monitor,
keyboard, mouse and printer.
But I have to warn you about something. The salesperson may tell you the
computer you're buying isn't upgradeable. What do I say to that? This is a
family newspaper, so I can't say that here, but use your imagination.
All computers are upgradeable. Well, they're upgradeable to a point. The
more you spend on a computer, the more you can upgrade it. But if you only
need the computer for basic tasks such as sending e-mails to your family
and friends, you shouldn't worry about that.
For example, I bought my computer a little more than two years ago. And
guess what? It works fine for me. Yes, I've installed more memory and added
a couple of things, but basically it's still the same computer.
You can buy a computer from Dell or Gateway. They do have good computers.
The problem is sending it in for repairs. You'll have to deal with a
technical support person. First, they'll try to help you fix it over the
phone. And if you know nothing about computers, it won't be fun.
Then, when you finally convince them it can't be fixed, they'll send you a
box so you can mail the computer to them. You'll have to box it up yourself
and ship it. It can take up to two to three weeks to get it back.
I prefer to buy my mine locally. It's much easier to get repaired. You can
just take it back where you bought it.
One last piece of advice: When you're ready to buy a computer, take
someone with you. Take a friend, relative, someone close to you, preferably
someone who knows something about computers. This way, you'll be less
anxious about the whole thing. And, they'll be there to watch your back so
you won't be pressured or bullied into something you're going to regret.

Terry Aldridge has taught computer classes and repaired and upgraded
computers for about 19 years. He lives in Port Orange. To ask him a
question, send an e-mail to taldridge@cfl.rr.com.

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