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Can this computer be saved?
Old 08-31-2007, 08:34 AM   #1
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Can this computer be saved?

Our computer (Dell) is 8-10 years old. It runs on Windows XP Home Edition, SP2. We reformatted and reinstalled Windows about three months ago after a run in with a nasty root virus and it seemed fine for awhile. We have recently begun having what appear to be software problems, but I wonder if the system is just old.

When we open a desk top program (word or excel, office 97 edition) or try to access the internet (IE7) the system often (not always) starts to load and then freezes. Sometimes the screen is white, sometimes half loaded. For the internet, sometimes we get a message that we can not connect or that the page cannot be displayed, but all connectivity is fine.

For a while, a runtime error message implicated McAfee, who had some problem that we ran their patch for. Things worked for a few days, then the problems began again. We disabled McAfee (have other virus protection running - Windows, AdAware, SpyBot, Avast - firewall and virus scans) and again everything worked for another day or so but then the trouble returned. Scans do not detect any viruses.

I donít know anything about the inner workings of computers. Are these software problems? If so, does anyone have suggestions for what to do? Should we reformat and reinstall Windows yet again? How do you know when it is really hardware that needs upgrading/replacing? Is is worth it to buy an upgrade to Windows or, with a system this old, just get a new computer with newer Windows?

Thanks.
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Old 08-31-2007, 09:48 AM   #2
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Quote:
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I donít know anything about the inner workings of computers. Are these software problems? If so, does anyone have suggestions for what to do? Should we reformat and reinstall Windows yet again? How do you know when it is really hardware that needs upgrading/replacing? Is is worth it to buy an upgrade to Windows or, with a system this old, just get a new computer with newer Windows?
Good grief, 8-10 years in computer years is about three generations. Unless you're restoring a Ford Model T in the garage and using a Philco TV set, it's time to put this computer out of your misery. My father-in-law nursed one that long and it got to the point where I was afraid to touch the internals because the motherboard & RAM plastic was so brittle. Your problem sounds like RAM errors but at this advanced stage of decrepitude it could be a variety of hardware communications errors among the connectors.

Just about anything with Windows XP (skip Vista for a year or two) will save you hundreds of hours of user frustration. Using Firefox and maybe even OpenOffice instead of IE7 and Office would avoid even more unhappiness.

Or... you could go Mac.
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Old 08-31-2007, 10:50 AM   #3
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Thanks Nords. That is what I suspected.

Funeral arrangements are being planned.
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Old 08-31-2007, 11:18 AM   #4
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You might consider this organization, I believe they refurbish them and give them to schools.
Computers for Schools
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Old 08-31-2007, 11:46 AM   #5
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Sandy,

I would love to be able to use my computer as long as I drive my cars, but yours is probably the equivalent of a 25 yr old car when considering the life of computers. I hate to know that the rather large (to me) investment in my present new computer won't buy me at least 15 years.

I absolutely hate computer problems so I feel for you. Good luck with the funeral.

TG
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Old 08-31-2007, 11:46 AM   #6
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Hey
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Old 08-31-2007, 11:51 AM   #7
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Hey Nords, I just replaced the Compaq that my son-in-law gave me that he got from his buddy who got it from his parents who bought it in 1993. I'm trying to get the time to do some restoring on a 1966 Ford F100 pick-up truck, and two months ago I bought a working 1940 Philco 3-band radio (the big floor-standing type), so cut me some slack please.
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Old 08-31-2007, 11:57 AM   #8
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Before I would up for a new computer, I would format and reinstall xp . . . unless you have some need for more power. Most new computers will come with vista, and you're very likely to have similar performance and frustration from learning the querks of vista. If the format and reinstall don't help, then go for a new computer, but I would try and get one with xp installed and having the option to upgrade to vista included - which you can do later when you will likely run into the same problems with the new computer.
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Old 08-31-2007, 12:28 PM   #9
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Thanks all,

TexasGal, you nailed it. I wish I could keep them as long as cars....I hate spending $$$ on new technology, especially when the features I use aren't really different. Heck, we only switched from dial up within the past year. But with kids in middle school, they are expected to type, format, merge, import, and all of the rest. A reliable home system is critical.

Riskaverse, I may try to get DH to reinstall XP again, but he did that just a few months ago. He is already pricing and shopping, looking into one computer and a second workstation that is wirelessly networked in, so that both kids can work at the same time.

I will groan, moan, and question every penny at each turn, but once the transaction is done, I'll get over it.
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Old 08-31-2007, 01:11 PM   #10
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You might check Craigslist. I'm always buying stuff "new in box" that people buy or get as gifts and just don't need. This would get you XP ilo Vista.
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Old 08-31-2007, 01:54 PM   #11
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travelover, good suggestion. I have used CL for other items and will check it out. Maybe some univ students overbought.
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Old 08-31-2007, 07:21 PM   #12
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Usually when I have similar troubles, the hard drive is blotto. A tech can pull it and MAYBE save your work files, etc. I learned that they prefer to just try to salvage the stuff in "My Documents". They can't take the time to look everywhere on your HD for word files, photos, etc.

Forget the programs--must re-install.
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Old 08-31-2007, 08:31 PM   #13
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Thanks all,
He is already pricing and shopping, looking into one computer and a second workstation that is wirelessly networked in, so that both kids can work at the same time.
What are the advantages of having them networked compared to just using flash drives to transfer files between the two computers?
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Old 08-31-2007, 08:54 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Payin-the-Toll View Post
Hey Nords, I just replaced the Compaq that my son-in-law gave me that he got from his buddy who got it from his parents who bought it in 1993. I'm trying to get the time to do some restoring on a 1966 Ford F100 pick-up truck, and two months ago I bought a working 1940 Philco 3-band radio (the big floor-standing type), so cut me some slack please.
What will you do all day indeed!

I'll have to keep you in mind 5-10 years from now when we finally get rid of the last of our VHS VCRs...
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