Which Computer to Buy

Introduction

These notes are not a pre-requisite for joining SeniorNet Eastern Bays.
However,  for beginners starting Level 1 courses who need advice on “Which computer to buy”, here are some basic specifications to help you in 2013/14 for an entry level computer

  • A dual core processor or better
  • 4GB RAM – minimum ideally
  • 250 GB Hard Drive (Minimum)
  • 2 USB ports, but 3 or 4 is better
  • Windows8 – October 2013 -all Windows laptops for the domestic market are running Windows8 and it is not possible to change this back to Windows7.
  • Windows7 – October 2013 – it is still possible to have a desktop built with Windows7 installed;  ask our tutors if this prospect interests you.
  •  HP Probooks with Windows7 installed, produced for business situations, are still available.  They are very nice computers and range in price from approximately $900  for a small  entry level notebook (13.5″ screen) to $1500 for a quite powerful notebook with at 17″ screen.  These figures are approximate and would need to be confirmed at the time of your enquiry.  Other less expensive brands are also available;  mostly they are older models, but may be suitable to beginner’s needs.  Ask our tutors for more information.
  • Webcam (if needing to use SKYPE)
  • Good brands – HP, Asus, Toshiba, NEC

Consider your comfort on the keyboard when trying out Laptops. It is easy to plug a standard size keyboard into a Laptop and there are flexible Silicone keyboards available at prices around $20. New laptop owners must remember never to block the air intake which would cause the laptop to overheat. So beware of using a laptop on your lap!
If you intend to advance your computer expertise to editing photos, you should aim for a better that entry level computer with a minimum of 4GB of RAM.
For those considering a Desktop computer and screen, get the largest screen you can afford.
A laptop takes up little space, but you get much more power for your dollars in a desktop and you can have a large screen.  But, then you can also connect a large screen to laptop and have it both ways!

Hardware, Software and Settings

You must have a Broadband connection which controls the security of your computer in a completely stress free manner.  SeniorNet will not be responsible for teaching you the pitfalls of a dial-up connection in today’s risky internet conditions.
You must have an Anti-Virus program installed and it should be set to automatic updating of data files.
This anti-virus program can be the free Microsoft Security Essentials or McAfee Security Suite for Xtra customers free (or an anti-virus program that another ISP provides free).
If you have a new computer with a trial security suite running, consider changing it to the free
Microsoft Security Essentials in this set up.
A computer running Windows 7 or Windows 8 does not need a stand-alone Firewall for your purposes; therefore it is not necessary to have a separate comprehensive security suite like Norton.
Windows Updates must be set to Automatic Updating.
Internet Explorer Version 10 must be installed – new computers should have this already.
www.google.co.nz should be set as the home page.
www.sneb.org.nz to have a short cut icon on the desktop in Vista, Windows7 or Windows8 Desktop.
Your computer’s ISP web-page to have a link on the links bar in Internet Explorer.
Ideally the trial version of Microsoft Office installed on most new Windows computers can be uninstalled.
Microsoft Word will not be taught to beginners at SNEB. If, at a later date, you want MS Office, the DVD of the “Home and Student” version of Office 2013 from www.seniornet.org.nz
MS Office 365 can also be purchased from www.seniornet.org.nz
Abobe Reader Version 10 should be installed.
Beginners in our Level 1 course will be taught email using Gmail.  Therefore a Gmail account is necessary, but this can be set up in your course.  Give some thought to the password you would like to use for this account.
In Windows Explorer:-
<Tools><Folder Options><General><Use Windows Classic folders>.
<Tools><Folder Options><View> uncheck “Hide extensions for known file types”.