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Should I buy a New or Used Computer?

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It's a tough decision for many when it comes time to purchase a computer. In addition to deciding what type of computer one wants to purchase, a decision also has to be made as to whether to buy new or used. What factors can help with this decision?

Buying a Computer- New Versus Used

When buying a computer, it is often difficult to decide whether to buy new or used. Money is often a consideration that cannot be overlooked and in many cases, a used computer can often provide a great many features that a new computer of comparable price cannot. Admittedly, a market exists for used computers. Deciding whether or not you fit into that market is the first decision that needs to be made.

Ideal Reasons behind the Purchase of a Used Computer

The purpose or intended use of the computer should be one of the most important facets in determining whether to buy new or used.  Perhaps the computer is going to be used as a learning tool and is intended as a stepping stone. By all means, buying used is a great idea in this case.

Perhaps the computer is intended for someone who is going to use it for remedial or rehabilitation purposes. For example, many individuals undergo a serious accident or heart attack. Treatment involves relearning many of the skills that were previously known, including spelling, reading, and even word-processing. A basic low-end computer is sufficient for this purpose and therefore, a used computer should be suitable.

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Likewise, many parents intend to purchase a low-end computer for their young children to use in an attempt to prevent mishaps with their own personal computer, especially if it also doubles for a work computer. A used computer is perfectly acceptable for this purpose, particularly if the children are quite young or lacking in computer skills.

Disadvantages to the Purchase of a Used Computer

On the flip side, the disadvantages of a used computer may preclude the purchase. Used computers are often exhibit incompatibility with newer software. Moreover, the owner will often discover the unavailability of parts and the need for upgrades can prove quite costly. Plus, the used computer might not include all ports or drives that you require.

Used computers often come with their own inherent problems as well, especially if they are made through a personal transaction and not through a reputable company that refits the machines. It becomes essential to check for spyware and viruses when purchasing a used computer through a friend or acquaintance.

Should You Purchase a New Computer Over Used?

This is perhaps the most difficult decision for many a computer used, especially since there are lots of choices to make. As technology changes, the need to buy new often becomes evident. Not only does the buyer not have to worry about spyware, viruses, problems with the registry, and more, but a new computer will also have a great many bells and whistles that the used one does not.

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How to Change PC Power Supply

Computer power supplies do not affect the performance of a computer, but they do determine what hardware a computer can use. Upgrading to a more powerful processor or video card often requires a power supply upgrade as well. Changing your old power supply out for a new one can seem daunting at first, but it doesn't have to be an ordeal. This guide will take you through the process one step at a time.

Preparation to Change PC Power Supply

Before you do anything, you should make sure you prepare the space in which you'll be working. Find a level working space on which you can place your computer. You will need at least a screwdriver to complete this task, and it can also help to have a flash light. Finally, it is recommend that you use an anti-static wrist band. Static electricity from your body can in rare instances damage your computer. The anti-static wrist band makes sure that this doesn't happen.

Getting Started

Unplug your computer and move it to your work space. Position the computer so that you are viewing it from the front. The panel on the left side if the one that you will want to open. This panel is secured by screws which are usually found on the rear of the case along the left edge. Take out the screws and then open the panel. If the panel doesn't open at first, examine the top, bottom, and front of the case to locate any addition screws.

Locating the Old Power Supply

Once you have the case open you will need to find your old power supply. The power supply is a metal box with a huge bundle of wires coming out of one end. It is usually located at the top and rear of the computer, although a few computers will place the power supply at the bottom of the case.

Detaching PC Power Supply Cables

The power supply is, of course, currently connected to the components in your computer. You will need to unplug everything before removing the old power supply. You don't need any tools for this - a firm pull will detach most of the cords. There are a few exceptions, like the large 24-pin motherboard power cord. This has a plastic latch which must be pressed in order to remove the cord.

Extracting the Old PC Power Supply

Locate the four screws on the rear of the case which correspond to the position of the power supply. Unscrew these and then remove the power supply by pulling it firmly up and out of the case. Watch carefully for anything which is still connected to the power supply - you don't want to accidentally pull a component out of your case.

Placing the New Power Supply

Gently lower the new power supply into position. Use the four screws which were just removed to screw the new power supply firmly into place.

Reconnecting Cords

Connect the new power supply to all of the equipment in your computer. It is best to do this systematically in order to make sure that you don't miss anything. Do the motherboard first, since the computer won't boot without those connections, then the video card. After that connect your hard drives and your optical drive, then finally connect any other devices in your computer.

Test Run

Without closing your computer fully or connecting the computer to any other devices, plug the computer in and press the power button. The fans should begin to operate and the power LED should turn on. If the computer does not boot, unplug it again and make sure all of the connections, particularly those connected to the motherboard, are tight.

PC Power Supply is now Changed:  Completion!

Once you've completed a brief test, close the computer's left panel using the screws we took out when disassembling the computer. That's it! You've successfully changed your computer's power supply.

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Replacing Acer Aspire Screen

Replaced broken screen on my Acer Aspire One D255E. Replaced with exact screen as far as the numbers. The screen comes up white, with no data. I am using an external screen that works fine. Computer is configured to run both screens. Is this a bios problem? Computer was not abused. I see nothing on NEW screen. Susan Keenan

Acer notebooks have a reputation for being contrary when it comes to replacing their screens. Since a blank screen at startup can have a number of reasons behind it, it takes a bit of troubleshooting to come up with a solution. Try the following suggestions one at a time and see if you can find a fix for the problem.

Troubleshooting White Screen Display: Video Cable Connector

Since the secondary monitor that you hooked up is working, the problem might be with the ribbon cable connector/video cable connector in the laptop. The whiteness of the screen suggests that the back lights are still working. It sounds as though the video cable connector is loose and you'll have to manually reseat it so that the screen works. This is going to be a delicate task, so take your time when using the following directions.

Reseating the Video Cable Connector

  • 1) Find a small pair of needle nose pliers and a screwdriver.
  • 2) Disconnect the power supply from your Acer laptop.
  • 3) Search for and remove the hinge cover screws that connect the screen to the laptop.
  • 4) If necessary, remove the keyboard cover as well for better accessibility.
  • 5) Take the needle nose pliers and gently pull on the white connector plug.
  • 6) Using the needle nose pliers, apply gentle pressure to bring the pins into closer contact with each other.
  • 7) Use the needle nose pliers to carefully check to see if the slender wires on the side of the screen are connected firmly at their connection points.
  • 8) Check the cable connectors to make sure they are snug. If necessary, unplug them and then plug the cable connectors back in.

If this procedure did not work, try the other suggestions.

Troubleshooting White Screen Display: Boot Up into Safe Mode

Try booting up your Acer in "Safe Mode" using whichever key your manual indicates that you should use. If you don't have the manual, just try one key ("F2," "F10," "F8" "F12" ) at a time until you find the one that boots up your machine in "Safe Mode." If you are lucky, you will see the screen that appears for "Safe Mode" instead of a white one.

Troubleshooting White Screen Display: Boot Up with the Installation Disk

If it is available, boot up the Acer laptop with the installation disk. Press the "ESC" key on the keyboard along with the "f1" key while you are booting up. If this is successful, you should see "Check System" appear on the screen.

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Using Portable Hard Drive

I am trying to use an external hard drive to copy a bunch of images from a MAC onto the hard drive. I want to be able to then plug this hard drive into a PC and work on the images but the files are not visible on the PC when I plug in the hard drive? Can anyone help me here? Do I need to format the drive first?Susan Keenan

I have a couple of questions for you. Can you see the images on the external hard drive while it is plugged into the MAC? Are these files Windows compatible? Do you have similar software installed on the PC?

Using Portable Hard Drive to Migrate Images from a MAC to a PC

The hard drive should be formatted before you use it, but the way you format it also makes a difference and could be the problem here. While the MAC can read files on a hard drive that has been formatted for a PC, it is possible that the PC cannot read files from a hard drive that has been formatted for a MAC.

If you can see the data on the hard drive while it is connected to the MAC, but you cannot see the images when you connect the hard drive to the PC, then you might need to reformat your hard drive. If this is the case, then your hard drive is probably formatted for a MAC. This means that you might need to reformat the hard drive for a PC, recopy the files from the MAC to the hard drive, and then transfer them to the PC. Alternatively, you can always use a different external hard drive to migrate the images from the MAC to the PC.

Migrating Files from a MAC to a PC Using Portable Hard Drive: Software

Unless you already have the same software installed, you probably need to install software on the PC that is similar to what you had on the MAC when creating the images. Since you are trying to view MAC images on a PC, you need to have software that recognizes the images. These two machines use different versions of software, which could also be your problem. However, that being said, your PC needs to have similar software to the MAC software that created the images that you are trying to transfer installed on it.

Migrating Files from a MAC to a PC: File Extensions

PCs are contrary creatures. Make sure that the file extensions on the images are ones that a PC will recognize before you try to transfer them. For example, PowerPoint files should have the file extension (.ppt) in order for a Windows-based PC to recognize the files.

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Disk Space Running Low

Vista frequent message, running low on disc space drive drive D (recovery drive).Susan Keenan

Should you be concerned about getting a message that your disk space on drive D is running low? Yes and No. Unless you have been saving data to the drive by mistake, you are probably okay. If you are saving files to that drive, then you should probably stop as you could create even bigger problems for yourself.

What Purpose Does Drive D Have?

Windows sets up Drive D as an "emergency" feature for your computer, just in case a serious problem occurs with your operating system, which in your case is Vista. The drive comes pre-loaded with Drive D designed to allow the computer user an opportunity to reinstall his operating system (Windows) back to the original factory standards. Why would you want to do this? If your computer experiences major problems and the operating system becomes unstable, you may need to reinstall it.

"Running Low on Disc space Drive, Drive D"

The message "running low on disc space drive, drive D," doesn't necessarily mean that your computer is experiencing a real problem. Vista periodically makes back ups in case you need to recover from a system crash. In fact, there is an option that automatically backs up or snapshots of your system files on a regular basis. These back ups are typically saved onto drive D. As time passes, this drive begins to fill up. This is the most likely reason that you are receiving the "running low on disc space drive, drive D" message. You don't need to worry about this though because Vista automatically begins to save the most current snapshots while deleting the older ones. Essentially, Vista manages this process itself. While the message is annoying, it isn't an indicator of a serious problem in most cases.

Solving the "Running Low on Disc space Drive, Drive D" Scenario

One of the easiest solutions you have to resolve this situation is to turn off the automatic option to back up the hard drive. It really isn't necessary to back the computer up so frequently. If you ever do need to recover or reinstall your operating system, you should still be able to do so using your recovery disk (which you should have made when you first purchased the computer) or the option to reinstall the operating system back to the factory settings. If you haven't made a recovery disk yet, you should do so. You can change the frequency of back ups by going into the computer's Control panel and accessing the "Back up your computer" tab.

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Reconnected PC Won’t Start

Yesterday I've had some freezing problem, so I re-connected ram, hdd etc. Now the problem is I can't turn it on .I am sure that I haven't made any loose connection. So what might the problem be?Susan Keenan

Checking for Loose Connections

The most likely reason for the freezing problem with your computer is a loose connection. So, even though you have already looked into this, you should take a good look at each and every connection. It is possible that something has gotten loose without being readily visible. Check power cords, cables, peripherals, etc. While you are at it, make sure that the electrical outlet is working if you have the computer plugged into it. Take the RAM out and reseat it just to be sure. Another step you should take is to clean the computer and remove any dust, especially from the fan.

Booting up in Safe Mode when Pc Won't Start

Since the PC won't start on its own, you should see if you can get it to boot up in Safe Mode. This strategy should work if all of the connections are in place. Turn the power on for the PC, press the "F8" on the keyboard several times until the computer starts to boot up. Depending on the type of PC you have, you might need to use an alternate key on the keyboard such as "F2", "F12," or "F10" when booting up. Once you get to the options, select "Last Known Good Configuration."

RAM Compatibility

While you probably already did this, make sure that the RAM that you installed is the correct type. If it isn't, that would explain why you are having these issues.

Resolving Startup error by Booting up with the Installation Disk

If you have it available, try booting up using the installation disk that came with your computer. Insert the disk as soon as you turn the power on, press the "ESC" key on the keyboard. Once you see the words "Check System," press the "F1" key so that your computer boots up from the installation disk. Select the option to "repair your operating system."

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