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View Full Version : Help! I need to buy an XP laptop.



DICKEYBIRD
07-28-2008, 02:15 PM
OK yuse computer savvy fellers, I need some direction and advice.

Young redhead daughter starts college next month and I've got to get her a laptop. No friggin' way I'm getting a brand-new one even though there are some great deals out there. They all have Vista and I don't want to go that route. I've had great service out of my 2 (older) Toshibas and tend to stay with the brands that work well for me. Is Toshiba still a reliable brand?

I found a few places on the web that sell refurb'd & "opened box" laptops with XP Home already installed at decent prices. They run $450 - $600 depending on how they're equipped. I'm on a limited budget and need to be frugal yet practical. Anyone have any advice? :)

Carld
07-28-2008, 02:19 PM
Get her a Dell.

biometrics
07-28-2008, 02:22 PM
If Vista isn't your thing, one way to get a reliable laptop for your daughter is to buy the best bargain NEW laptop you can find even if it comes with Vista on it. Then buy a legitimate copy of XP from ebay or one of the big box stores, (or maybe you have an extra copy from a computer that died?). Install the XP on the brand new machine and then sell the disks for the non-activated copy of Vista on Ebay... New machine with a warranty and ... reliable operating system that you are comfortable with...

Dell's entry level laptop is only about $500... add only what your daughter needs in software to keep the price down. Good luck.

RTPBurnsville
07-28-2008, 02:35 PM
I just bought a like new IBM T42 with XP from www.datasales.com for a good price. I looked at new laptops but nothing came close to the IBM for the $'s. They are located in Burnsville, MN and have been in business for many years. No association just a satisfied customer.

8thscale
07-28-2008, 02:45 PM
Get her a Dell.

I second that motion!

airsmith282
07-28-2008, 03:09 PM
it all depends on the software she will need ot run what you need to get her

you get wha you pay for in computers thats for sure , i was in the business for many years and finely reitred from it 4 years ago
my needs are different but i can tell you the dell is the best choice out there and they have the best service and warranty program i have come accross , and it dont matter if you cheap out or spend 4000.00 on a XPS like i did they treat all there customers great and their products rock you can also request XP on most of their laps as well,, i hated the very thought of vista and asked for xp professional and i got it

tattoomike68
07-28-2008, 03:46 PM
I buy HP for my computers. About all I do is blow the dust out of them and run the hell out of them.

I like vista, no problems here on my new laptop, an HP pavillion dv9000. I liked the one so much we got 2 of them.

Evan
07-28-2008, 04:10 PM
Acer sells factory refurbs with full new warranty. I have two. One developed a display problem with only a week left on the 1 year warranty. I called them, they noted the date and gave me a trouble ticket number and I sent it to them. I had it back a couple of weeks later with a new motherboard and no problems since. I requested that they not mess with the hard drive contents and they didn't. They paid the return shipping.

Incidentally, the display problem was intermittent so I took some video of it a couple of times, created an admin account for Acer service and put the videos on the desktop. I then created a background wallpaper with complete description of the problem as well as two big arrows pointing to the video icons. I also put my contact info on the wallpaper in large red letters along with instructions to leave the hard drive intact, no reformat.

tattoomike68
07-28-2008, 04:22 PM
Acer sells factory refurbs with full new warranty. I have two. One developed a display problem with only a week left on the 1 year warranty. I called them, they noted the date and gave me a trouble ticket number and I sent it to them. I had it back a couple of weeks later with a new motherboard and no problems since. I requested that they not mess with the hard drive contents and they didn't. They paid the return shipping.

Incidentally, the display problem was intermittent so I took some video of it a couple of times, created an admin account for Acer service and put the videos on the desktop. I then created a background wallpaper with complete description of the problem as well as two big arrows pointing to the video icons. I also put my contact info on the wallpaper in large red letters along with instructions to leave the hard drive intact, no reformat.

my god did you give them a clue on the problem, LOL.. :D

Acer is not bad in the low budged market, I have a 10 year old acer 1X-2X CD burner on an old comp that will still burn CD's, for a slow old box it almost never made a bad disk.

I bet an Acer laptop is in his budget and its a solid machine, as long as she can upgrade it to vista if needed it would work good.

I think vista has gotten bad press by old farts who never move along and want change. CNC guys may not see it like that but if thier compters are dead they cant do jack. ( I like to say " take away the computer and you are worthless")

I find most computer problems are from fat fingered end users and the problems are 99% behind the keyboard. :p

Just Bob Again
07-28-2008, 06:49 PM
Check www.pcretro.com They have used laptops starting at 250 with Win 2K. But.... any old stock or used laptop will have battery problems. Battery life is only around 3 years (and often much less) whether you use it or not. The battery starts going downhill from the minute it's assembled. Decent replacement batteries are expensive when you can find them. The remanufactured or aftermarket clones are often junk. I bought one that lasted a solid 3 months. I'd second a vote on a new Dell. You get a warranty and a working battery. Often deals on the Dell website and you can get one for $400. Buy a copy of Win2K or XP for another hundred and discard the nasty Vista thing. Sad to have to pay extra, but otherwise you're stuck with Vista.

DICKEYBIRD
07-28-2008, 06:58 PM
Thanks for the input one & all.:)

So Dell is still OK...including laptops? I have several older Dell PC's and yes, they've been tough as a boot. We have several (Dell laptops) here at work and the IT guys swears at them about as much as he swears by them. They live in an automotive shop environment which I figure is easier on 'em than a teenaged girl.;)

I like the idea of buying a bargain new one and then switching it to XP but isn't that another $100 or so for XP? Is it still available as a stand-alone product? I thought I saw something about June 30 being the last date. Any hardware problems downgrading to XP?

Mcgyver
07-28-2008, 07:10 PM
i had two toshiba techras (sp?), the high end or at least high priced models. went through 3 motherboards and 2 hard disks between them. Fortunately that was all under warranty - back when they had a 3 year warranty (i think its one now??). Anyway, imo they are a POS just like all the rest and NOT worth paying any brand premium for. Recently had good luck just buying whatever Best Buy has on sale and getting the extended warranty - yeah i know the extended warrant makes them money, but laptops are very expensive to fix and don't seem to last very well. Add up their sale price + warranty and its still cheaper than the best branded one with long term warranty....and they are great about standing behind stuff.

Evan
07-28-2008, 07:11 PM
If you are a business Dell is currently offering machines that come with both XP and Vista ready to go when you first boot it. It's your choice which one is installed. You can then later, up until the end of this year phone Microsoft if you installed XP and they will give you a code that allows you to move to Vista if you wish. You don't have to though. The machine comes with XP Pro and/or Vista Business Edition. Microsoft is also offering free help right now for buyers of those systems.

See Dell's web site.

lenord
07-28-2008, 07:36 PM
http://stores.ebay.com/ATR-COMPUTERS-INC_Laptops_W0QQcolZ2QQdirZQ2d1QQfsubZ9QQftidZ2QQt Zkm

No affiliation, just a satisfied customer.

Lenord

gnm109
07-28-2008, 08:25 PM
Thanks for the input one & all.:)

So Dell is still OK...including laptops? I have several older Dell PC's and yes, they've been tough as a boot. We have several (Dell laptops) here at work and the IT guys swears at them about as much as he swears by them. They live in an automotive shop environment which I figure is easier on 'em than a teenaged girl.;)

I like the idea of buying a bargain new one and then switching it to XP but isn't that another $100 or so for XP? Is it still available as a stand-alone product? I thought I saw something about June 30 being the last date. Any hardware problems downgrading to XP?

I have two Dells: A Dimension 3100 Desktop and a Vostro 1000 Laptop. The Vostro was less than $500. I got one last October before they quit selling them with XP. It's been excellent. The support they give is the best I've seen.

The only upgrade I did was to go to 2 Gig of Ram. The Vostro came with 1 Gig and I felt like it needed a bit more. You can get two Gig of memory from $39.95 on eBay plus shipping.

My daughter also has a Dell and it's also good. It's hard to beat Dell for a turnkey computer. You can get special add-ons when you buy and it will all be installed when it gets there. Like I needed a parallel port for my vintage HP 5L printer and I got one of those for the Dimension.

There are other good computers but Dell is plenty good enough for me. I'd buy for them again based on the service.

The suggestion above about changing to XP seems like a good one. One difficulty with Vista is the way Msoft changed the format of their drivers. It can rule out some of your older hardware. XP did that to a certian extent but not to the level that Vista does. I'm hoping to stay away from Vista.

tattoomike68
07-28-2008, 08:49 PM
I want to know why do you need tech support with the dell? if the machine is so great why call for help?

thats a huge turn off, I also work with a bunch of techs on a few sites that build boxes that rock, as far as desk tops the dells and gateway are the problem children. not worth reworking. fling them in the dump.

I dont know about you guys but I tell folks who give me thier old peice of crap computers to fix they need new ones. Now days the price says get new and trash the rest.

buck for buck the new boxes rock, dont rebuild unless you have a ton of bucks wasted to make it happen.

gnm109
07-28-2008, 09:02 PM
I want to know why do you need tech support with the dell? if the machine is so great why call for help?

thats a huge turn off, I also work with a bunch of techs on a few sites that build boxes that rock, as far as desk tops the dells and gateway are the problem children. not worth reworking. fling them in the dump.

I dont know about you guys but I tell folks who give me thier old peice of crap computers to fix they need new ones. Now days the price says get new and trash the rest.

buck for buck the new boxes rock, dont rebuild unless you have a ton of bucks wasted to make it happen.

I've only needed tech support a couple of times to upgrade some drivers. You sound like you are doing some job where you are in competition with Dell. Sorry to hear that.

Both of my computers are under a year old and they both "rock" as you say. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. I wouldn't want to give you my Dell to fix. You'd throw it away.

My Dell is apparently working well enough to stir you up.

:)

J Tiers
07-28-2008, 09:12 PM
Some manufacturers still sell with XP if you buy direct. You can NOT get it in stores.

I believe Dell has that deal still going, they send me enough spam about it.

tattoomike68
07-28-2008, 09:18 PM
I've only needed tech support a couple of times to upgrade some drivers. You sound like you are doing some job where you are in competition with Dell. Sorry to hear that.

Both of my computers are under a year old and they both "rock" as you say. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. I wouldn't want to give you my Dell to fix. You'd throw it away.

My Dell is apparently working well enough to stir you up.

:)


I dont hate dell but a desktop almost as good as my HP laptop would cost a fortune , a laptop even more and it wont be so hot. add $600 and get little to nothing. have fun..

cuemaker
07-28-2008, 09:40 PM
Dell laptops are ok, I would say on par with others, but dell desktops are trash. You can do so much better by buying the parts yourself and putting it together. Spend the same money and get more. The only time you cant is when you buy their low end stuff, then your getting old tech and left over pieces.....

rgbai
07-28-2008, 10:15 PM
These guys have been around for quite a few years I haven't bought anything from them myself but the prices are pretty good.
http://www.laptopcloseout.com/

gnm109
07-28-2008, 10:24 PM
Dell laptops are ok, I would say on par with others, but dell desktops are trash. You can do so much better by buying the parts yourself and putting it together. Spend the same money and get more. The only time you cant is when you buy their low end stuff, then your getting old tech and left over pieces.....

You are entitled to your opinion. I don't have any Dell stock. I'm just a satisfied customer. I'm using my Dell "Trash" to write this right now. It's still working. :)

Evan
07-28-2008, 11:01 PM
I stopped having anything to do with HP when they started breaking the law here. I was in the computer repair business for 9 1/2 years. Shortly after the Compaq merger I had a printer in that needed a few new parts including a new ribbon cable to the print head. I looked it up on HP's parts website and it was shown but no part number was listed. I thought that was odd because previously I was able to buy any part I needed, and did.

Whomever did the parts website outsmarted themselves because the filename of the picture of the part was the part number. Armed with the part number I phoned to order it. When I gave the number I was then asked if I was an authorized HP service center. I said no since that privilege costs $10,000. However I said, I am in the business of fixing HP printers. The parts person informed me that they could not sell me the part if I wasn't an authorized service depot.

So, I hung up and double checked what I already knew about the law. In Canada we regulate businesses via something called The Competition Act. It sets forth just how businesses may advertise and compete etc. One of the things that it very clearly states is that a company that sells repair parts to any other business that isn't an actual subsidiary of the parent company must then sell those parts to all comers. They may charge whatever they wish but it must be the same for all buyers of the same quantities and must be available to all businesses in the same type of business. They aren't allowed to try to protect their authorised service centers by restricting who may buy repair parts.

I called the parts order desk back and pointed this out to them. That resulted in a long session of call transfers and holds until I finally reached somebody in the legal department. I suggested that I might make an official complaint to the Competition Act Tribunal and was then told that it appeared that a mistake had been made and the part was available after all.

I told them to stuff it and further informed them that I would no longer provide the only printer service for HP in Williams Lake. Their printer customers would have to make a 5 hour round trip to Kamloops or send it out by courier to the nearest authorised center there.

I never serviced another HP product after that. I most certainly would not consider buying one.

kmp
07-29-2008, 06:12 AM
Young redhead daughter starts college next month and I've got to get her a laptop. No friggin' way I'm getting a brand-new one even though there are some great deals out there. They all have Vista and I don't want to go that route. I've had great service out of my 2 (older) Toshibas and tend to stay with the brands that work well for me. Is Toshiba still a reliable brand?

I found a few places on the web that sell refurb'd & "opened box" laptops with XP Home already installed at decent prices. They run $450 - $600 depending on how they're equipped. I'm on a limited budget and need to be frugal yet practical. Anyone have any advice? :)

I won't join in the "mine is best" discussion as you have had enough of that already. I have used Toshiba, Dell and Sony Vaio laptops extensively (hundreds of each within the company) over the past 10 years and all can be reasonable machines. You must take this comment as being very much "they work with the software and hardware of their time"; trying to use Vista on a machine that was originally purchased with and built for NT is not likely to be easy. We also tried several different types of cheap "clone" laptops to reduce the cost of purchase (we bought hundreds at a time) and most were not running or costing too much to support after 2-3 years. We ran NT for years, then reluctantly XP Pro and of course Vista. For general use all are fine and many of the horror stories are just that "stories"; buying any of these new operating systems in the first year of release was tiresome and the reluctance to take on another "learning curve" is very powerful amongst users. Equally powerful is that operating systems are to an extent "generation sensitive" and offering a new starter directly from education a machine with NT was just as much an issue as getting someone who was brought up on DOS to change again to use Vista.

I have been through the laptop buying for university route with my two children and would offer a couple of observations of my own mistakes. Firstly, and most importantly, I forgot who I was buying for and initially bought a machine that I would be comfortable with. The laptop was rock steady in an office environment (what my daughter said she was going to use it for) but flaky in the entertainment, instant messaging and stick everything in the USB port world that she actually inhabited. Not satisfied with getting it wrong once I did a similar thing with my son and bought a very high spec machine as he "would really" play games with it. Result, it was rarely used, it was quickly rendered out of date for games and too big and heavy for him to throw in his backpack and take to the library for his work. For the second attempts I gave up and let them choose what spec and operating system they needed and I just picked the maker. Result my daughter has a Sony Vaio running Vista and thinks it is the best thing since sliced bread. In her entertainment and instant messaging world Vista is very stable and extremely well protected. I find it frustrating as it keeps asking me to confirm if I really want to do the simplest operation (yes can be turned off) buy hey, I'm not using it, she is. I consider it wasteful that you need to have a fairly powerful machine just to run the operating system but the way it uses the internet to obtain/keep drivers up to date, control the USB ports and whatever is stuck in them and sorts out the CODEC and Flash player that she needs to run some obscure video clip is really quite impressive. In these terms my previous extensive “support” has been rendered almost redundant. Yes, of course I will go and wash my mouth out but it doesn't change the fact that it works really well for her. In reality, for someone with a reasonable machine plenty of USB gadgets and using the laptop as a typical student would, Vista is already as good as XP and will get better. XP with all the patches, service packs and development works very well but will not get better and is even now showing signs that it might get difficult to find drivers for some of the latest “must have” gadgets.

In contrast, my son has a secondhand Samsung which cost him all of $200 but is light, has excellent battery life (with new battery) and takes the knocks well. It runs his Office 2003 as fast as he can think/type but is starting to have minor issues with the universities 2007 version of the same suite. It is quite capable of doing the internet research he needs and sending the odd e-mail. More importantly for him, it will not cost a fortune to replace if he drops, looses or gets it stolen. In fact it is so old that no one would want to take it anyway. Of course he does have a desktop the handles the games, entertainment and anything else he throws at it with ease.

In short, look at it from her viewpoint not yours. Find out what she will really do with it and ensure that it has some expansion capability and handles modern entertainment files well, particularly if it is her only PC. If it is to compliment a desktop or is really only going to be used for Office, basic browsing and simple e-mails then secondhand could be a good option (budget for a new battery though), this is particularly the case if is going to be taken about and is at risk of being knocked, lost or removed by someone who thinks they need it more. If you can’t really identify what she will do with certainty, remember that most youngsters are more computer “savvy” than we think and go and buy a reasonable spec (Dual core, 2Gb ram and at least 120 Gb hard disk) Dell running Vista (not the basic home version). If she can’t get on with it then you can always install XP but I have no doubt that won’t actually be necessary. Trying to run Vista on the supposedly minimum spec issued by Microsoft is a nightmare so if you do go with a lower spec machine stick with XP, I find XP Pro with SP2 very sable and usable. Sorry but you did ask for advice:D

Best regards

Keith