Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Adventures in Laptopping

When I began my career as a full-time freelancer last fall, I knew I'd need a good laptop. I thought about making the giant leap to one of these:




After working in tech support for 13 years, supporting Windows, it seemed the wrong thing to do. Windows was safe. I understood Windows. But there was one thing I didn't count on...



I knew I needed something reliable, so I researched and researched. One name that stood out was Sony Vaio. The laptop had a good reputation in the industry. This is my beautiful laptop.



Pretty, isn't it? What if I told you the hard drive has crashed seven times since August? Still pretty?



The good news is, there's an assist button. One push and you can reload everything in less than a half an hour. I have it down to a routine now. The bad news? I had to give up Carbonite as a backup and just keep everything on a USB drive that I back up to my hard drive, which will fail in a month or so.




There are 200 pages of complaints on Sony's website, but mostly those complaints are a bunch of whining about small things. Nobody has the problems I have. But then...how many of them work on their laptops all day, every day?




Lesson? Don't buy a new PC within a year of a new operating system being released.




But the biggest lesson of all?




How do you handle computer problems?

72 comments:

  1. My company got to beta test Windows 8, so I knew ahead of time it was a piece of junk. Works well with touch screens, not so much for a real computer.
    We actually did order a new computer for home after it came out, but I specifically requested Windows 7 - and got it. Thank God.
    Sorry you've had so many problems with your Sony.

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  2. I am currently using the laptop my husband is provided with by his University. I dread him finishing his PhD and having to go out and buy a new one. I have never had much luck with computers and never know what to buy!

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  3. Sorry to hear you've had such problems, that really sucks monkey balls. I do have laptop for my writing, a Toshiba, it NEVER goes online, had it for years and I LOVE it. Love it.

    Though we still have Windows 7.

    PS: Yes, they do sometimes gloss the foods. For my stuff though, I was talking about method photos. As in how to fill and fold the dough, step-by-step shots.

    Hard to do when I'm covered in pastry. I'll need more practice, for sure.

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  4. Oh dear. At least you seem to have the technical know how to deal with these problems. I'm ashamed to say I'm fine until things start going wrong when I'm less than useless.

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  5. I actually think most people with laptops use them all day. My daughter does for her job and my son in college takes his to classes and uses it to watch movies, etc.

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  6. Your Sony looks exactly like my Toshiba. I've had no issues other than the mouse. I simply cannot get used to using my fingers to motion across the square pad now referred to as the mouse. Twice within the last two years this square pad stopped working. It just froze on me. So I went old school on my laptop and hooked up a real device! Yes, an old mouse! You know, the one with the long, skinny chord which actually looks like a mouse?=) And to be honest, I love it so much better than the square mouse which is build into the keyboard. As far as Macs go, I have them at work and if you are not a graphic artist or illustrator, I just don't get them. My boss always complains about them and thank God I hardly ever have to use them. I will stick to my Toshiba and an writer friendly mouse!

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  7. i thoroughly enjoyed all your funnies - great chuckles were had by all, sorry they were at your expense!

    i don't have a mac, but i def dont trust any technology that hasnt been around for a few years... i still pay most of my bills with checks in the mail =)

    i do love my ipad! i keep nudging closer to mac, esp with viruses being what they are... maybe someday

    happy hump day!

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  8. I don't handle computer problems well at all because I'm not capable of fixing them. I just need the thing to work, all of the time! My last purchase was the one pictured first in your post. So far, no problems!

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  9. I was using HP laptop for 4 years, but then it crashed. So I changed to Lenovo and so far it's working out fine. I think you should go for Apple Mac. It's worth every penny ;)

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  10. it might be really true that monkeys are creating and making Windows programmes....

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  11. I bought a new laptop a couple months ago with Windows 8 and it's been fine. I have owned Dells forever with no problems, but I didn't want to spend that much so I went with something else and the brand name escapes me right now (I'm not home to look). It had really good reviews. I'm not thrilled with the way Windows 8 looks or using it, but that is mostly a matter of getting used to it. I suspect it's your laptop rather than the OS in this case. Sorry you're having so many issues. Something so expensive should work better.

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  12. Sorry for your computer woes, I have the same problem with my state of the art Duet Whirlpool Front end Washer that died on me. I bought it new in 2005 and it would cost me $1000.00 to get it fixed... A piece of crap. Life expectancy... 7years, that sucks...

    Coming back to the laptop, I got a MacBook Pro... so far so good but I also have an Apple computer that is still running well except lots of my pixel died so my screen is full of lines and the Apple that be, wouldn't do a thing to replace it.

    My husband uses a PC because the program is compatible with the program he uses for the farm operation.
    Hugs,
    JB

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  13. Yeah, most people with Win8 have no problems. Someone on the forum said it could be my mouse, so I switched to a wired mouse and made sure it was Microsoft. I do stream TV a lot (Hulu/Netflix) while working...that's the only other thing I can see that might tax it. The last crash was 3 weeks ago. I reinstalled, upgraded to win8.1 and now I make sure every time there's an update, I run it. I figure whatever hardware I have that doesn't like Win8.1 will eventually have an update!

    The only thing that's happened recently was that Microsoft Office got hosed up and wouldn't even let me reinstall it. So I upgraded to Office 2013. This thing will NOT beat me. I'm definitely switching to Mac in 2016 (after my 3-year warranty is up). I just want a computer that works all day, every day, without any major problems.

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  14. SEVEN times?? Sheesh!! That's awful! That would be currently driving me insane. I have a trusty Toshiba (with Windows 7, thank goodness) that's still trucking along after three years - so there IS hope for the PC after all.

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  15. Now I'm scared. I am in the market, but hadn't even considered a Mac...I guess I need to add that to my list. It's overwhelming - I am not tech savvy enough to fix anything. I want reliable.

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  16. "Don't buy a new PC within a year of a new operating system being released." Great advice. And "SONY You Suck" was hilarious.

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  17. Sony sold its PC division off so don't buy a Sony. I've never heard of the new company... It's all built overseas. This model has a defective wi-fi adapter. I bought a new one on Amazon for $8 and at least it stopped disconnecting from the internet every couple of hours! You can Google almost any problem but often the fix is just a pain in the butt.

    Lisa--With any Apple product, software is specifically designed to work with their hardware. That's the difference. Windows is designed to work with a wide variety of devices...so there are ALWAYS conflicts and bugs of varying degrees. Usually not this severe... I would recommend buying a MacBook and getting the $99 care thing that gives you one-on-one training any time you need it.

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  18. My husband builds our PCs. He's handy like that. As for our laptop, he spent oodles of time researching. (We did not go with Sony.) In fact, I make him research all our gadgety-type purchases.

    I really am clueless when it comes to troubleshooting technology. If reboot doesn't work, I'm lost.

    p.s. I hate all things apple co

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  19. Q--A rebuilder is handy to have! All I know is that I've had two iPhones without a single problem. When I click to check email, it comes up. It never crashes or does anything weird. With this PC, I could just be copying and pasting and I'll get that "Your PC encountered a problem" error, saying it needs to "gather some information." That information-gathering process can take a half an hour or more, during which time I can't use it. I have my 5-year-old Dell laptop sitting right here beside me for when that happens. 99% of the time it comes back up after that information-gathering, but it's kinda annoying to not be able to use my PC for a half an hour!

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  20. I am sorry you are having all of those problems. Before I moved here I had the techs that built the computers for the UI build my computers. When I moved away from their support I went out and bought a new computer. Fingers crossed! I do love my iPad though and if I have to buy another computer I would consider the Mac.

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  21. This week I've lost the ability to post to Twitter in Google Chrome and Adobe Reader is throwing up "Fatal" errors. Who knows what next week will bring! A couple of months ago, I lost the ability to search, which in Windows 8.1 means you can't do anything!

    Every time someone says, "I have Windows 8 and haven't had a single problem" it's even more frustrating.

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  22. I always seem to have some kind of computer problems so I'm always handling them I guess. I think computers are programmed at the factory to screw up in some way and have a series of screw ups. I'm convinced it's an industry-wide plot. Another way to get money from the consumer.

    I'm still using a Vista OE on my computer and my wife's computer has XP. That gives you some perspective where we are in my house. I'm surprised our computers are still running.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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  23. Well crap. I am actually looking into getting a new laptop because like you, I use mine every day for ridiculous amount of hours each day and I need something that will last and be wonderful. I didn't want to get a MAC mostly because I know virtually nothing about them and of course because of the cost.

    Now I don't know what to do. I guess it is time to do some more research.

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  24. My techie hubby would tell you to NEVER get a Mac. Too hard to maintain/fix/upgrade. We got an ASUS tablet with attachable keyboard after much research for when we're away from the house, but I'm always on a Ferrari computer. We've got through two or three laptops, and they just don't have the stamina of a desktop.

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  25. Kindlemom--There are plenty of good laptops out there. Just don't buy a Sony! Now is a tough time. If you get Windows 7, you'll inevitably be out of date as soon as you buy it. If you get Windows 8.1, there are still lots of bugs!

    Crystal--Mac enthusiasts have been telling me they don't really need to be maintained/upgraded. They just work...for sometimes 7-10 years or more without replacing. That's what I keep hearing anyway. It's a big leap, but I've realized I need a laptop that just works 24/7 without me having to worry about working on it all the time. Whatever is reliable, I'll do, but there are just too many hardware/software conflicts with Microsoft products for my taste.

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  26. Oh no, that sounds awful.
    How do I handle computer programmes? Have a meltdown & then ring the local repair shop! I have no idea how to sort things out myself (I’m feeling a little ashamed to admit that!)

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  27. I was lucky to have been in tech support for 13 years--otherwise I'd be sunk! Although there is a button on this called "Assist" that lets you reload everything...and from there it's pretty easy. If things get too tough, rather than spend 5 hours working on it, there have been a couple of times I've just reloaded this beast. But those reloads are in addition to the seven blue screens of death that led me nowhere. One of those blue screens was a total hard drive failure and this had to be sent to Texas for a new hard drive. That was in December, three months after I bought it.

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  28. I searched the whole damn city until i found a place that was still selling windows 7, refused to buy that windows 8 crap.

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  29. Does the "Lemon Law" work for computers? It might be worth checking into because it certainly sounds like you have one. I couldn't deal with it.

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  30. Sorry to hear about your computer woes! Sounds like Sony should be replacing something. I'll admit I made the leap to a Mac about a year ago...and I love the dang thing. Boots in a second, is super light, and just makes me happy. Not to rub it in or anything ;)

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  31. There is a wonderful computer guy names Moses that takes all my computer stress away. When something goes wrong we let him handle the issue.

    I'm sorry you've had such a hard time with your laptop.

    Have a fabulous Wednesday. ☺

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  32. I don't handle computer problems well. Though, I need a new one since this thing is ancient.

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  33. Oh no! I'm sorry for your laptop struggles. I've never actually owned a laptop. I've had my trusty computer for six years. The one before that, which I had to replace after a virus killed it, I had for about six years, too. So I hope this one doesn't croak soon. I really don't need to deal with that right now.

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  34. Long long hours many nights of trying to find it where the problem lies exactly. And sometimes you don't find it or the computer is simply cursed with Murphy's law. Time to get a new computer of another model.

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  35. I bought a new HP Pavilion laptop last summer and planned on giving my teen my old laptop, but ended up giving her the new one b/c I hated the darn thing so much. I bought my Toshiba in 2010 and it's still going strong *knocks on wood*

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  36. Oh dude, I'm sorry, that sucks :(

    So far I haven't heard a single good thing about Windows 8. I'm totally dreading when I need to replace my work computer. Dreading. Ugh.

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  37. When I had to replace my Windows XP with Windows 7, I grumbled silently every time I signed onto the computer. My nerves still tighten up over several issues. Your post has "lightened my load" however, telling me that computer issues don't just afflict the computer-challenged.

    Best wishes for a pleasant day (King Kamehameha Day in Hawaii). Aloha.

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  38. I picture hurling my computer out the window and then taking a hammer to it like some crazed tutonic blond nut but then I come back to reality and walk out before actually hurling it out the window. I then call my ex who is a great friend and knows all about computers and he works his magic and helps me because I have no clue

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  39. Gail--Nothing like Windows 8 to make us appreciate Windows 7!!! Yes, where I used to work they were upgrading people to 7 and they were having a fit because it was so hard to use. They'd have a meltdown over 8. 8.1 put the start button back, but it just takes you to the tiles. To find your programs you have to search for them. If you're smart, you pin them to the taskbar, so you end up with a desktop that looks quite similar to a Mac...

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  40. Birgit--If I should win lots of money by some weird fluke (since I don't play the lottery!), I'm going to take a hammer to this thing and post the entire experience to YouTube. I'd have to win lots of money to justify spending $1000+ more on a laptop when I just bought this one, although I have seriously entertained the idea of selling it on eBay and just taking the loss.

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  41. I work on my laptop whole day long and well into the night...I wouldn't be able to handle any problems at all.

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  42. I'm streaming Hulu right now while working...all I'm using is Word, Google Chrome, and I have a little window with Hulu over to the side. Knock on wood--it has run fine, with a few little problems, for about 3 weeks... So I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong unless it's Hulu...or just not rebooting for so many days straight. I wore my Dell out this way, though, and never had a problem aside from just (literally) wearing the keys out. I'm sure I demand a lot from a laptop, but it's not like I'm gaming or anything!

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  43. I am one of the few people at work who have played with Windows 8 on the laptop we use for training...I'm definitely not a fan. My own laptop is heading towards its end, and I'm dreading the price of replacing it (it's a Mac), but I think in the long run it will be worth it!

    Hopefully you have better luck with your computer in the future! Dumb laptops are no fun.

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  44. I have a desk top and it has Windows 8... it is insane. I long for the old version that no longer exists.. I will have to wait a year or so and hopefully something different comes along and then Valya can have this one... I cannot afford a Mac... although my oldest daughter swears by them... :)

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  45. A group of writers at an SCBWI conference told me they'd all switched to Mac. (Not sure why they were doing it as a group...but they were critique partners and it seemed to work for them!) I gave the price argument and one of them said she'd bought her Mac used and it was cheaper than a new Win laptop. Since Macs are said to last much longer than Win-based PCs...maybe that isn't a bad idea? Not sure where you find used ones, though. She mentioned the Apple store can help you locate them. I don't know about buying one on eBay unless it comes with a good warranty.

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  46. yeah, more likely it's winders tanking but could be either. Last I knew you could still get Windows 7 on DVD, I'd recommend it instead. But that's just me.

    Folks love or hate Macs, they tolerate Windows ..... tough choice, eh?

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  47. Haha, Xavier. So true! Macs are a different beast. If you've never used a computer before, it works the way a computer should. The problem is, we all learned this other way of working.

    I'm not sure what's involved in downgrading to 7 from 8. It's pretty complicated from what I've seen?

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  48. i'm holding my breath that my 4+ yr old toshiba w/ win7 will keep on going a while until they work out the win8.1 etc. bugs!

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  49. I hated Windows 8. We uninstalled it after one day and went back to Windows 7.

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  50. I have an update that will install the next time I reboot. I also read recently there's a major update coming soon that will work out some bugs. There are rumors that the next version of Windows will put back the Start button. We need a place to find our programs without having to search for them! I think they need two separate versions: tablet and desktop. There will always be workers who are forced to sit at a desk, working on a desktop computer all day. (Government jobs, large corporations with customer support desks, etc.)

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  51. I actually have a cheap Compaq which has served me very well so far. Though I do have W7 not W8.

    My fiancee has it on her computer and you can change it to a classic mode.

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  52. Adam--With the version of Windows 8.1 called 8.1 update, if you have a mouse installed, it automatically detects it and boots you into desktop mode. Before I updated to this version, I would hit the Windows key and D to go straight to desktop. I never dealt with tiles. I just search for all the apps I need and pin them to my taskbar so they're down there where I can get to them. This isn't really an 'I don't like Windows 8' issue. I'm fine with all their changes. I just don't like my hard drive crashing and forcing me to reload everything every month or so!

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  53. What computer problems? I have a MacBook Pro. ;)

    But seriously, that really sucks. When I decided to get a Mac, several diehard PC folks tried to talk me out of it. So far, I'm happy I didn't listen to them. Best decision I ever made, albeit one of the most expensive.

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  54. Lol. I actually had the complete opposite situation. I was a PC girl and bought a MAC about two years ago. So far my computer has spend more time in the shop and me paying through my teeth with the extended warrantee. As of right now, it is about to crash again and it is cheeper for me to invest in a top of the line PC then get me mac fixed for the who knows how many times in two years.

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  55. Aw, Man. That stinks! Sorry you've had all those problems. But the pictures you found were hilarious!

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  56. Lady Lilith, that's good to know! That's the first time I've heard of someone having that problem with a Mac...I'll have to keep a close eye on it before making the decision. This laptop was $1100, though...pretty top of the line for a PC. It's supposed to do everything but wax your floors...and it's pretty awesome except for the constant crashing problem!

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  57. Ugh, sounds like a nightmare. I'm using Windows 8...finally getting used to it, but it's taken a LONG time!

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  58. Wow, that's not encouraging at all. I was planning on buying a Sony Vaio. I guess I should search further.

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  59. Sorry to hear about your computer woes. I get frustrated spending time on tech problems. But it seems to come with the writer-territory.

    Good luck!

    Yvonne

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  60. That would be a nightmare to have the laptop crash those many times. Sounds like it is an "easy" fix, but still the problem of dealing with it.

    My go to person when I have computer problems on my home computer is hubby, LOL, who 9/10 times can solve the problem.

    I have a work computer so the few times I have had problems with it, I call Tech Support which is always an adventure since our IT department is off shored in India, so you never know who you are going to get to help you. They range from very nice to arrogant. I always dread having to call and will do about anything to avoid it. One even told me one time "you aren't listening to me." I was listening to him, I just am so not computer savvy that I wasn't sure what he wanted me to do. We eventually worked it out :)

    betty

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  61. Ah laptops are really complicated... And when I have a problem I usually ask my brother or my father, They're really good with them.

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  62. OMG YESSSS. YOU SHOULD HAVE GOT A MAC. I used PCs all my life...until last year. And now I will never look back. My mac is the best thing that ever happened to me. It's intelligent. It loves me. I love it. I will never be without it. x)

    Thanks for stopping by @ Notebook Sisters!

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  63. I'm sorry for your laptop problems darling.... I will never be without it!!!
    Have a lovely day darling!!!

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  64. Hmmm ... The main reason I bought a new laptop was I had the old OS that Windows wasn't going to support anymore on my other two. But I have a Dell that's eight years old and one that's five years old, both still working perfectly. The only issue I ever had was a virus, but it was my fault for not having anti-virus software. I won't do anything Apple related. I don't like the company and I hear plenty of complaints from Apple users. Now they have the whole controversy with the iPhones and iMessaging when people switch to Android ... I think they're shady. I like my PCs. I have never had an issue (aside from aforementioned virus).

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  65. I'm sticking with what I know now, I done the same thing and changed and it was crap. Overheated too much, the fan broke, the thing kept shutting down all the time. So went back to my old one. I hate Windows 8 but I'm getting used to it now. I never handle my laptop problems. I swear, haha. But I've learned from mistakes before.

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  66. I got the iMac. Then for my laptop, I bought the Macbook Pro. :)

    I hate Windows 8.

    Sorry to hear of your woes.

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  67. One of my cute young boyfriends who used to work at the AT&T store but recently abandoned me so he could have a job that pays real money told me to buy an HP that cost about $400. It works very well. I don't back up my shit. I don't know how. Willy Dunne Wooters is a computer programmer and when I asked him how to back up my shit he told me not to bother because I don't have anything important on my laptop. I do so have important stuff! If Brad hadn't dumped me, then he would tell me how to back up my shit. Jordan also left the AT&T store. He was the one who set up my laptop for me cause I didn't know how to use it. I told him I was going to cry if he didn't help me with my laptop. My laptop has absolutely nothing to do with AT&T. You don't think those guys quit because I went in the store almost every day and asked them to help me with something, do you? I think expecting them to mow my lawn was perfectly reasonable, but some people seem to disagree.

    Love,
    Janie

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  68. Yeah, I've been a PC girl most of my life, but I hated the new Windows. So when my laptop finally coughed it's last breath last year (after 9 years of faithful service!), my brother talked me over to the dark side and I got a Mac. I'm still getting used to some things, but overall I love it.

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  69. Yikes. However, the switch to Apple can be hard, as they don't so things the way the PCs do. It's a transition.

    I hope you get your laptop problems fixed soon. (Probably by buying a new laptop.) And I'll remember not to get a Sony when I upgrade.

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  70. My husband is a Microsoft expert. We haven't had any issues with Windows 8, even before the updates, and have it installed on several different computers and laptops of various brands and we have had it since the very beginning. We are not MAC fans and see them as being useful for people who really don't use computers for anything other than word processing and web browsing and maybe some old-school graphic designers. I've loved windows 8 myself.

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  71. Sorry to hear your new laptop came with so many problems and changes.
    :(

    I have a Mac computer, but my laptop isn't. I tend to prefer my Mac and hope to one day upgrade my laptop to a Mac (the laptop was a hand me down so I can't complain). So far my Mac has been awesome. Hope you get one one day. :)

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  72. My Hubzam works with networks. The best advice he ever gave was the hang back one version (i.e., Windows 7) until they get rid of all the bugs and junk. Then, look at the reviews.

    My Asus has been fine, but it was a chore to find a laptop without Windows 8 once they started their marketing blitz.

    That said, my friend has 4 fine MACs that are way to expensive to fix now that they've crapped out, and each laptop was over $1000.

    Consumers are at the mercy of technology. And it's the only game in town.

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