For the past several weeks, we have been looking at questions I get most often. First it was browsers, then free email accounts, and last week alternatives for Microsoft Office.

Today is one that I really dislike answering but often get quizzed on regarding my opinion. What computer should I get to replace my old one? Or, I want to buy my kid, or grandkid, a computer for school, what should I get?

In the last century this was easier to answer because there were not as many choices. But today there are more.

First, do you need a desktop or notebook? I prefer notebooks; however, I have an older desktop which I use at home for many tasks. But if it came down to it for me, I would get a notebook. In the last century, desktops were more powerful, but today a good notebook can do just as much. So, it is really a personal preference for portability or not.

So next let us say you decide on a notebook. Windows, Mac, or a very popular newer operating system, a Chromebook.

I will narrow it down for you since you know I am not a Mac guy. Windows or Chrome?

Chrome systems are a good consideration; however, they are cloud based. You have a good operating system that is similar looking to the chrome browser. It can do many things you may be quite happy with. If you are basically an email user, internet browser, video/music streamer, you will love it. You can also use any of the Office alternatives I spoke of last week located online. You cannot download many programs you may have used in the past. The programs are all cloud based. This means if you want to use Microsoft Office, you cannot; however, you may certainly use the online version. You also have some ability to store files, but not an enormous amount. Your “hard drive” would be in the cloud as well. Google Drive would probably be your number one go to. It is very efficient.

If you notice since the pandemic started most all K-12 schools are giving the students Chromebooks for education. Why? The school systems can control the students’ accounts to keep them safe and know what they are working on. Chromebooks are built well without a large hard drive, this means fewer things to have problems with as your data/documents are stored on Gogole’s high quality servers. They can run all the educational programs they need and are usually less expensive than most Windows notebooks. Also, no virus issues. Since the Operating System is Chrome in the cloud system, Google updates the OS regularly. They control keeping the viruses out of the system. Easy. I have an older Chromebook and it is a great computer; however, it is more like a tablet computer with a keyboard.

My choice is always Microsoft Windows systems for many reasons. According to StatCounter, ghtech.site/osstats, approximately 76% of all desktop operating systems use Windows OS. That means you can easily transfer data and get help with questions regarding the system with many other people. Any application you need will be available to download for free or purchase. It has issues from time to time, but anything with a computer chip and programing does…including Apple products.

Prices vary, starting with Chromebooks from $250 up to much higher; to the top end Windows PC at $3,500. However, a good windows computer can be found in the $400-$700 range.

The choice is yours, so choose wisely with a brand name computer manufacturer and you will be fine.

Contact Ron Doyle at GrayHaired.Tech.

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