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Is Vista that bad?

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Is Vista that bad?

Postby Beaver » Fri Apr 03, 2009 3:24 pm

My parents would like to get a desktop PC for basic usage like word processing, storing and viewing digital photos and mp3 songs they can get from their kids. They don't need internet for now. They want to spend as little money as possible. The options I see for them are:

1) Buy a used Dell with XP, 1gb RAM, 40-80gb hard drive. Cost would be $150 for the pc and another $150 for a 19" monitor.

2) Buy a new PC with Vista from Best Buy, such as a Compaq or HP with 2gb+ dual-core RAM, and 200bg+ hard drive. Cost would be about $300 for the pc and another $150 for a 19" monitor.

Would you recommend either of those options? I have never used Vista but have heard it was bad at first, the new service packs have improved it, but it's still not as good as XP. Is it worth buying a new Compaq or HP with Vista? Or are there better options for < $400?
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Re: Is Vista that bad?

Postby fisticuffs » Fri Apr 03, 2009 3:29 pm

How savvy are the 'rents? Maybe something running a really basic version of linux like the EEEPC's they sell at target. Vista works I'm sure as does XP but I would expect some major learning curve if they aren't familiar with Windows already. The Linux EeePC's just have basic functions like Web, and word processing.
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Re: Is Vista that bad?

Postby TAsunder » Fri Apr 03, 2009 3:57 pm

So you would consider buying new from BB but not from Dell I take it? Because dell has a better desktop than either of those for about $70 more right now. Plus you can possibly find x% off coupons.
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Re: Is Vista that bad?

Postby kiwiwannabe » Fri Apr 03, 2009 3:58 pm

Yes, Vista IS that bad - my mother-in-law can't get it, no matter how much time we spend trying to teach it to her.

SWAP may be an option, if they don't mind a used machine: http://www.bussvc.wisc.edu/swap/

If they want a new one, though, I agree that Linux is easy to teach and learn......
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Re: Is Vista that bad?

Postby fisticuffs » Fri Apr 03, 2009 4:39 pm

Here ya go. $299 with that easy to use Linux installed. Just add Monitor.
http://www.mwave.com/mwave/DeepSearch_v ... &ALL=y&TP=
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Re: Is Vista that bad?

Postby snoqueen » Fri Apr 03, 2009 6:17 pm

I second the Linux thing. I wouldn't want to introduce computers to someone using Vista as an example -- they'll never figure it out and it's a huge waste of computing power. If cheapness is an issue, I'd suggest a used computer with Ubuntu Linux, a nice monitor, and a decent sized hard drive. Make sure to install all the music and video and photo packages and you're good to go.

I have an Eee with Linux (I am using it right now) and it's absolutely simple to use, but you can't store much on it. If they aren't going to use Internet storage, they'l need to keep everything on thumb drives or cards. The Eee has a card reader and plenty of USB ports, along with an app called Media Player I have not personally tried out. If they want to view media on DVDs they'll need a separate DVD reader because the Eee hasn't got one.

One thing about the Eee: it comes with Picasa for photos, but for some reason mine always locks up when I try to launch Picasa. This is the only significant shortcoming I've found with my Eee to date.

They could always view photos using Firefox, or open them one by one in Open Office, for workarounds.

I still like the full-size computer and screen with Ubuntu better for this family's needs, unless they want portability for some reason.
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Re: Is Vista that bad?

Postby TheBookPolice » Sat Apr 04, 2009 8:44 am

Q: Is Vista that bad?

A: No. It's worse.

Confession: I cannot comprehend Linux. Total unknown.
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Re: Is Vista that bad?

Postby Bwis53 » Sat Apr 04, 2009 8:53 am

I've never used Vista. Only heard bad about it. How did such a bad product get on the market? Didn't they test it? Didn't Microsoft look at cause and effect? Bill Gates can't stand to say he built an Edsel?
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Re: Is Vista that bad?

Postby Kenneth Burns » Sat Apr 04, 2009 9:39 am

Newcomers to PCs are going to face a learning curve no matter what OS they start with. From the user interface standpoint, the basics of Vista don't strike me as any more difficult to learn than XP's or Mac's or those of the common Linux GUIs. Just different, in mostly unimportant ways. The main requirement is that users grasp the point-and-click metaphor, which hasn't substantially changed since 1973.

At a job I had some years back I trained wholly uninitiated people in using Windows computers. What they had difficulty with didn't relate to GUI nuances. It was the mouse. They couldn't understand that you need to be holding it when you click. They would move the cursor, then let go of the mouse and try to click by poking it like they were ringing a doorbell.

What I'm saying is, new users will struggle no matter what. But they'll get through.

I will say this, though. I just picked up a 4G Eee running Linux, and although Eee's button-based user interface makes me grind my teeth (I replaced it), it has the virtue for newcomers of being very, very simple. The designers basically have assumed that all the user really wants to do is browse the web and maybe use a word processor and play solitaire. Given how much we do on the web these days, that's a reasonable assumption. But it's a real Linux-based PC, so more knowledgeable users can tinker under the hood all they want. Interesting.
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Re: Is Vista that bad?

Postby Dust Mite Rodeo » Sat Apr 04, 2009 10:31 am

Vista's OK if it came on your spanking new PC. Don't try to install it on anything older than a squirrel's age.

Linux IS NOT easy to use if your are going to try to install stuff on it or configure it. It's geek central. "file -Lz * | grep ASCII | cut -d":" -f1 | xargs ls -ltr"
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Re: Is Vista that bad?

Postby Kenneth Burns » Sat Apr 04, 2009 12:13 pm

Dust Mite Rodeo wrote:Vista's OK if it came on your spanking new PC. Don't try to install it on anything older than a squirrel's age.

Linux IS NOT easy to use if your are going to try to install stuff on it or configure it. It's geek central. "file -Lz * | grep ASCII | cut -d":" -f1 | xargs ls -ltr"


Yes. The risk of starting newcomers out on Linux, even Linux with an extremely simple front end like Eee's, is that after they get comfortable they may then want to do something perfectly customary like connect a printer or a camera to the PC. Vista, for all its faults, makes this relatively easy for a newbie to do. Linux, not so much.
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Re: Is Vista that bad?

Postby jammybastard » Sat Apr 04, 2009 1:03 pm

Vista = Windows ME
Same stop-gap filler OS to wring more money out of PC users.

Hold out for Win 7 if you can live with Win XP Pro SP2.
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Re: Is Vista that bad?

Postby snoqueen » Sat Apr 04, 2009 4:00 pm

Ken, what did you replace the original OS on your Eee with, and where did you find it?

I would be interested in doing the same -- I don't like the dumbed-down button interface much either.
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Re: Is Vista that bad?

Postby Kenneth Burns » Sat Apr 04, 2009 4:25 pm

I didn't replace the OS, but I followed the directions here ("the easy [sic] way") to enable desktop mode. Slightly abstruse if you're new to Linux, but doable. Be careful. If you hose things you should be able to restore the factory installation from the recovery partition. That said, now I'm going to try to install XP from an SD card and see what happens. XP on a 4 gig drive! (Fun on a Saturday.)
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Re: Is Vista that bad?

Postby Nick Berigan » Mon Apr 06, 2009 6:34 am

First, I don't think Vista is that bad. If you need to hand it to a novice who IS familiar with XP, just turn a bunch of stuff off and switch to classic view wherever you can.

Then, if your novice IS familiar with XP and you are thinking about buying one of the machines at swap that has no OS (we've put quite a few over there in recent months), know that you can actually still buy XP in an "oem" package. You'll just need to download a handful of drivers from a manufacturer's site after the install.

(Note that if you go this route, there are some "download xp for $50" scams out there so go to a known site. )
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