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View Poll Results: When do you get a new computer?
When the price is right 3 2.88%
When I need to keep up with current to technology 19 18.27%
Out of frustration - when my old one doesn't work anymore 47 45.19%
I run my old computer to the ground...try to keep it forever 30 28.85%
I don't know...usually an impulse purchase 5 4.81%
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Old 11-08-2010, 09:43 PM   #41
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I am dying to try Windows 7, but my Vista computers are chugging along just fine, for now.

If my laptop does not crater in the next year or two, maybe I'll think of some excuse to give it to a friend and buy a newer Windows 7 machine (unless a newer operating system is out by that time).
Windows 7 is what Vista WISHES it could be when it GROWS UP.......
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Old 11-09-2010, 07:47 AM   #42
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Windows 7 is what Vista WISHES it could be when it GROWS UP.......
Never had Vista. I jumped from XP to 7 with my latest laptop. Took a couple of days to get used to but a pretty easy transition.
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Old 11-09-2010, 07:52 AM   #43
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Well, it looks like I may hang on to my "used by not dead yet" laptop a little longer. After fiddling around with the USB ports, they are failing. I uninstall the drivers, then have Win XP automatically reinstall them. The remedy works for awhile, then I get the "unrecognized USB..." message again.

I was really to give up (had already been pricing out used and new laptops) when a potential work around dawned on me....

My laptop has an unused slot that I can plug in usb ports. So, I ordered this..

Zonet 2 Port USB 2.0 PCMCIA Cardbus with Cable at TigerDirect.com

Hopefully, there's still some life in my laptop

At this moment, I'm typing without a mouse, (touchpad only) and no external USB connection.
I use this and it works like a charm. USB Hubs - CPH720P | CyberPower Systems, Inc.

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Open Office is great, isn't it! I have both MS Office and Open Office on my laptop, and haven't used MS Office for ages. Besides, the price is right.
I think not upgrading your MS SW is the single most important thing you can do to extend the usable life of your current computer.
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Old 11-09-2010, 08:15 AM   #44
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I did NOT install MS office. I figured I'd give Openoffice a try. So far I've been able to read and edit all of the data files that I've accumulated over the years. Its more compatible with old versions of MS office than MS office itself is.
Ain't that the truth! I guess it's part of a MicroSoft attempt to force people to upgrade. Don't fall for it!



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I consider replacing my computer when the time quotient to boot said computer divided by my patience quotient to wait for it to boot exceeds a factor of 10. The patience quotient is a bit subjective, but is usually measured in expletives per minute uttered while waiting for said computer to boot.
All my computers (linux, OSX) boot pretty quick (< 1 minute), but I don't much care. I rarely re-boot. Sleep uses so little power, I just don't bother shutting down.


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Old 11-09-2010, 08:38 AM   #45
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Lena's laptop is clinging to life. We think it got stepped on, but no one has fessed up. Repair measures include a clamp to keep the screen together, a special stand because the screen will flop down if not supported, and duct tape to keep the battery in.

The battery tabs broke off inside, but a free replacement battery is on its way from TheBatteryConnection.com. These batteries are very cheap at $25 each. This is the second that's had a problem (first suddenly stopped holding a charge), but the company is very good at sending a free replacement.
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File Type: jpg LaptopFix.jpg (111.3 KB, 1 views)
File Type: jpg LaptopFix2.jpg (107.6 KB, 1 views)
File Type: jpg LaptopTape.jpg (83.8 KB, 1 views)
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Old 11-09-2010, 08:44 AM   #46
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Lena's laptop is clinging to life.
Al, I am in awe of your ingenuity... and of your "cheapskateness."
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Old 11-09-2010, 10:48 AM   #47
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Al,

Great ideas to keep the laptop clinging to life. I really like the special stand with the peg prop.
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Old 11-09-2010, 10:53 AM   #48
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This new computer thread has me thinking. What I really want is a computer that's like a laptop on steroids, about the size of an old typewriter.

One with a fold up screen like a laptop, but regular desktop sized hard drives, dvd-Writer, motherboard. That would be the best of both worlds, still transportable, yet if something goes bad, I can replace that myself with replacement parts.
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Old 11-09-2010, 10:59 AM   #49
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Al, I am in awe of your ingenuity... and of your "cheapskateness."
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Al,

Great ideas to keep the laptop clinging to life. I really like the special stand with the peg prop.
And Duct Tape in colors is the greatest thing for us fix-it-up-chappies since.... duct tape.

-ERD50
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Old 11-09-2010, 11:05 AM   #50
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This new computer thread has me thinking. What I really want is a computer that's like a laptop on steroids, about the size of an old typewriter.

One with a fold up screen like a laptop, but regular desktop sized hard drives, dvd-Writer, motherboard. That would be the best of both worlds, still transportable, yet if something goes bad, I can replace that myself with replacement parts.
I'm 100% with you on that. I'd like the screen to be a removable, modular component so that you could replace/upgrade them separately.

My compromise was a laptop with an easily removable Hard Drive (some are, some aren't). That's the most likely thing to go bad, or that you might want to upgrade.

There are a few mini-desktops, check out ASUS for some, but I think they remove the DVD/CD, and all in all they don't seem like a great bargain. Some have VESA mounts on them so they mount right to the back of a monitor. Maybe someone else has some better suggestions - I'd like to hear them.

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Old 11-11-2010, 11:00 AM   #51
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I use this and it works like a charm. USB Hubs - CPH720P | CyberPower Systems, Inc.


I think not upgrading your MS SW is the single most important thing you can do to extend the usable life of your current computer.

I got my USB card to plug into my laptop. Feels good to be back up and functioning again. The simple pleasures of using a mouse instead of having to rely on a touch pad and having working USB ports.

My hard drive doesn't work on my new USB port (I think it's a power issue). Luckily, it still seems to work on one of my old ports (knock on wood). Don't know exactly what's not working, what happened (static the cuprit?). At least my laptop functions now..it's still alive
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Old 11-11-2010, 11:11 AM   #52
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I usually upgrade based on technology... either a new operating system is needed to be compatible with new software or processor speed/memory upgradeability.
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Old 11-11-2010, 12:04 PM   #53
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I got my USB card to plug into my laptop. Feels good to be back up and functioning again. The simple pleasures of using a mouse instead of having to rely on a touch pad and having working USB ports.

My hard drive doesn't work on my new USB port (I think it's a power issue). Luckily, it still seems to work on one of my old ports (knock on wood). Don't know exactly what's not working, what happened (static the cuprit?). At least my laptop functions now..it's still alive
External drive? I had a similar power problem with a backup drive I bought. Tech support confirmed that it was a product power issue and they sent at no charge a separate power cable. Their newer models all have USB power cables (need 2 slots) and separate DC power adapters.
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Old 11-11-2010, 12:12 PM   #54
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Yes. An external USB powered drive. Western Digital brand.

There is a jack for an optional 5V power.

Seems that the drive likes the USB port in the back of my laptop. The USB ports in of my new laptop card work fine for the lowered powered devices (mice, etc.).
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Old 11-11-2010, 07:05 PM   #55
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Was poking around the internet about the low-power situation with USB powered hard drives. I guess it's more a common problem than I thought.

Found that something like the following should fix that problem:

Amazon.com: Cables To Go 28107 USB 2.0 Mini-B Male to 2 USB A Male Y-Cable (6 Feet, Black): Electronics: Reviews, Prices & more

Pretty interesting!
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Old 11-12-2010, 08:45 AM   #56
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Easysurfer, it looks like the USB cable for the clickfree backup unit I have - the original USB cable. It didn't work, even when I disconnected all other USB devices and plugged both into my laptop.

Clearly the problem is my laptop USB connectors, as this "two headed USB cable" works with others computers. Even so, I'm not sure how well they work with USB expansion systems like the one I linked to earlier.

There is only so much you can package into a laptop.
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Old 11-12-2010, 09:02 AM   #57
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Thanks for the info. The WD hard drive connected to my laptop quick being recognized again this morning. If I uninstall/reinstall the usb drivers to those ports, it'll get recognized again, only temporarily.

All the issues on my laptop just started after my experience with static charge. The HD had worked fine using those ports in the back.

My next idea (workaround) might to to get a large enough flash drive and use that on my USB card and not even use the HD. I'll have to look at my data requirements first.
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Old 11-12-2010, 07:44 PM   #58
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Thanks for the info. The WD hard drive connected to my laptop quick being recognized again this morning. If I uninstall/reinstall the usb drivers to those ports, it'll get recognized again, only temporarily.

All the issues on my laptop just started after my experience with static charge. The HD had worked fine using those ports in the back.

My next idea (workaround) might to to get a large enough flash drive and use that on my USB card and not even use the HD. I'll have to look at my data requirements first.
This is a long shot, but I've heard of some laptop problems being cured by shutting down and removing the battery and all power. Attempt to turn it on with all power removed (this might draw down any residual energy stored in caps). Leave it sit for a few hours or overnight. Then put the battery back and try.

Sometimes this resets stuff that won't get reset in any other way.

-ERD50
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Old 11-26-2010, 12:16 AM   #59
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I am dying to try Windows 7, but my Vista computers are chugging along just fine, for now.

If my laptop does not crater in the next year or two, maybe I'll think of some excuse to give it to a friend and buy a newer Windows 7 machine (unless a newer operating system is out by that time).
Windows 7 is what Vista WISHES it could be when it GROWS UP.......
My laptop may not have cratered yet, but I did - - after reading this thread I just couldn't stop thinking about getting a new Dell Windows 7 laptop, and on an impulse I decided to take advantage of the Black Friday specials. It should arrive in a week.

Maybe I will be able to justify it to myself by then. This was definitely a want, and not a need. But it fits into my SWR withdrawal for this year.
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Old 11-26-2010, 07:54 AM   #60
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I got a new computer this week. My last one (laptop) was stolen from our room while vacationing in Mexico.
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