I read in your Aug. 7 column about replacing an old PC rather than trying to improve the old one. My Dell PC is 10 years old and very slow, so I think I will take your advice and purchase a new one. I have two questions: Should I buy a PC or a laptop? (I do have a Sony laptop now, as well.) You mentioned an HP PC in your column, so I looked up the HP Pavilion P6120T. What do you think of that idea?
Your 10-year-old Dell owes you nothing. I'd say that it was pretty good service to get 10 years out of any piece of electronics.
Desktop or laptop is a personal choice. For me, once wireless connectivity became common, laptops became the more practical choice. And for college students (I have three) it is the only choice.
Desktops require desks (what a coincidence), monitors, wires, cables and the inevitable dust and heat that come with it. But laptops are usually more expensive, less powerful than a comparably priced desktop and are more difficult to fix when and if parts need replacing.
I've owned most of the popular brands at one time or another. All have had their good and bad points when it came to quality and level of support. I've had very good luck lately with HP/Compaq. The model you're considering seems to have all the basic or better specifications of a good system.
I took your advice and ran MSCONFIG and stopped starting up unwanted programs. The Startup tab lists the startup programs. It also shows in two different places, blanks (spaces) in the STARTUP ITEM and the COMMAND area but then shows a LOCATION and has the check mark in the left-hand column. What are these blank lines and should I uncheck them?
If the Location is a registry listing such as HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run, then it is possible that these may be remnants of an incomplete removal and you can go ahead and uncheck them. It could also be symptomatic of malware/virus.
If the location is pointing to a folder, use File Explorer to browse to that location and make note of the file names, then do some Internet research on some of the names. This should give you a clue as to what they are. Always preface any system checking with full runs of your up-to-date antivirus/spyware software and make sure it is returning clean scans.
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