Buying a computer system/Windows 10


I plan on getting a new desktop PC soon, with Windows 10, but was going to wait awhile until the dust settles and any major bugs are worked out (I'm told it's still being tested for any issues). How long do you think I should wait? And, considering that I've used only Win XP for 12 years and I'm no techie, will there be a huge learning curve?  Thanks

ANSWER: The free upgrade for Windows 10 lasts until next July, so you could buy a new computer today with Windows 8.1 and then upgrade sometime before then at your leisure. Generally I would expect the biggest problems to start seeing resolution by Christmas-time (late December), but would not be surprised if other bugs crop up after that - it's just the nature of things.

I would strongly suggest some sort of upgrade, however, as Windows XP went entirely EOL in early 2014, and is fully unsupported and thus unsecured for online use.

As far as a learning curve - there will be one, but it's nothing I would consider insurmountable, especially if you aren't likely to be doing much stuff "under the hood" on the machine. Many of the changes to the UI should be intuitive to figure out, and the biggest differences you're likely to notice will be that some applications have had their names changed (e.g. there is no "Windows Internet Explorer" - there is "Microsoft Edge").

If you have any further questions, feel free to ask.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

Sort have two questions, hope you don't mind.
When I called Dell to ask about a computer, and to possibly order it, I literally couldn't understand the person because his Indian accent was so thick. I called back and got someone else, but same thing. I know there is the option of ordering it online, but I've never bought something online that costs that much, $600, and always felt better talking to a live person for something like that, and to make sure the order is right. Or are my fears unfounded and ordering it online works fine with no screw-ups?
The second thing is, Best Buy and Office Deport don't carry the Dell I want. Do you know if they can order it and have it delivered to their store? I figure that way too, if I had a problem, I could just bring it back to them without having to ship it back to Dell.  Thanks

I have no idea about Best Buy or Office Depot - you'd have to check with them. I wouldn't be surprised if they will refuse returns on a new, especially "customized," computer though. This is a not uncommon policy for computers sold at retail these days. I would also not be surprised if they, especially Best Buy and their Geek Squad subsidiary, attempt to upsell you a very expensive (and ultimately unimportant) extended "care plan" and/or try to sell you the various upgrades/customizations you want as "dealer addons" at significantly higher prices than Dell would charge for the same machine. That's an unfortunate side effect of the low margins on most computer hardware these days - they have to try and recoup money somehow, and this is one of the ways they tend to do it. Overall I would not suggest going that route, as you will very likely end up spending significantly more than the machine is worth.

As far as ordering a machine online, that's generally preferable in my experience to over-the-phone because you can precisely show exactly the components you wanted, and if there's any error in what arrives (which is extremely rare, and has been for years and years now) you have documentation as opposed to "well we must have had a bad signal" or "I couldn't understand the operator" kind of phenomenon. It's also much easier, generally speaking, than waiting on hold and so forth. As long as you're going with a reputable manufacturer/retailer (Dell certainly is), there should be no worry about safety either.

Something to consider, if you're very worried about long-term support for the software and hardware, would be looking at one of Dell's extended premium warranties (they will be offered on the machine's configuration page). This will offer you more premium tech support and longer coverage on the machine, and it will be through the manufacturer. If you feel that you may need more hands-on support and training than Dell would be able to offer, I would encourage you to look at Apple Computer. They absolutely can provide the in-store customization experience you're after, long-term in-store, on-the-phone, and via-email support, as well as training and other expertise. It would mean a switch to OS X, but unless you're heavily interested in either A) 3D gaming on the PC or B) specific applications that are Windows-only (some commercial applications fit into this, for example) there would not be much in the way of a significant difference between Windows and OS X when it comes to more basic tasks like browsing the web, sending emails, editing photos, etc. This isn't to say Windows is bad or anything, Apple is just better able to provide a very comprehensive post-sales support and service package since they have direct control not only over the hardware but also the software of their machines.

If you have further questions or would like some suggestions on specific hardware or more input on a specific machine or machines, feel free to ask.


Buying a computer system

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I have nearly two decades of experience in IT, computer repair, and related fields and will attempt to provide the most solid, brand-agnostic advice when it comes time to purchase a new computer, or upgrade an existing machine. I can answer anything from the seemingly basic to the downright complicated - and will do my best to provide this information in a clear and concise manner.


I have been an enthusiast of PC's for many years, and can answer questions about the purchase/use of a new computer or the purchase, installation, and use of upgrades for existing computers. There probably isn't a whole lot related to the home computer that I haven't seen over the years.

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