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331 posts

Ultimate Geek

#195479 21-Apr-2016 12:21
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My second time at this - the first one was lost after I tried to post it. I did another post in the interim and it too failed - but this time I had copied it so it was simple to re-post. I shall be copying this too since it seems to be an ongoing issue for me.
My wife and I moved our accounting business home and started working over the internet before cloud accounting became popular. Even today clients still have mainly desktop based software. So computers and internet access are essential to us.
We buy a new PC each every four years - so the company buys one every two years. We always buy Windows Pro - previously for the XP feature - but still want to stick with that.
Our last machine (my wife's) was no Pro - so we bought an upgrade at the time. But when we upgraded to 8.1 it went to home - turns out some genious decided laptops would have the Windows code burnt in. Our supplier eventually fixed it - but we've now been burned and won't got there again. My wife has avoided upgrading to 10 (despite how horrible 8 is) because we can't find out if it will again downgrade us.
Our needs aren't lavish - but four years is a long time in technology. We avoid bleeding edge - but always buy above the basic. So my four-year old machine is still fine with 1.5Gb disk - but could do with more soon. Ditto with 16 Gb RAM.
In the Hutt everything is cheap - even the expensive machines have the standard Windows rather than Pro. So we always pop into Wellington and visit PB Tech. Even before we moved our office home, we did that - they've always been great - and fixed our 8.1 downgrade issue. But this year haven't come up with anything suitable. They're still to come back to me on the latest - but the fact it's been a while I suspect it ain't happening.
So I'm looking for somewhere else - and probably will have to go further afield (like AK). This saddens me - but at least I can see what others here suggest, both in terms of reliable support and actual machines.
This last has definite brand preferences. Our last several machines have all need ASUS. Before that Toshiba and Lenovo (was IBM when we bought our first Thinkpad). There are more brands we don't like - so prefer to stick with these.

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1554 posts

Uber Geek

  #1537392 21-Apr-2016 12:35
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So I seem to be missing something here, like an actual question from you. 


But reading your post, you have an 8.1 machine that downgraded to Home, which you since got fixed and is now 8.1 pro? But you wife won't upgrade to 10, because you don't want to run the risk of losing the 'Pro' version of Windows. 


AFAIK, if you have the Pro version on your laptop now, and you upgrade, you will get the Pro version after the upgrade is complete. 



331 posts

Ultimate Geek

  #1537399 21-Apr-2016 12:45
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The AFAIK is against our experience with the 8 - 8.1 upgrade. But that's a secondary issue. The first issue is my poor communication skills. In my defense it was frustration at having to repeat such a long message (the original was probably longer). I'm looking for recommendations on first suppliers and second hardware for a new laptop, with Windows Pro.


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Uber Geek

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  #1537458 21-Apr-2016 13:38
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Are you looking for a supplier purely to provide your laptop or are you wanting other support services?


From what you've said, I assume that you just want the laptop. If so then I'd buy them wherever the price is good and the NZ seller does not have a bad reputation.


You apparently only need Windows Pro for XP support so is that still necessary? Why do you need 16GB RAM?


The retail stores don't display many Pro laptops because most people don't need Pro. The most expensive laptops are gaming laptops and they all have Windows Home because gamers don't need Pro.


If you really want to deal locally then you don't have to look outside the Hutt or Wellington for Pro laptops. Virtually any reseller can order them in. There are also some local online businesses you can buy from, e.g. Aquila Technology is Hutt-based and I consider the owners to be trustworthy. Out of all the retail stores I've dealt with, I've got the best laptop deals and fastest resolution of issues at Warehouse Stationery.


I prefer to rely on good online support rather than local support. For example, the laptop website should be able to identify my system automatically to make it easy to locate device drivers and other support I might need. That's why I prefer laptop brands like Lenovo, HP and Dell.


I'm in Lower Hutt if you really want some hand-holding.





331 posts

Ultimate Geek

  #1537491 21-Apr-2016 14:15
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Hi Mark
I've always bought on hardware alone - but the support we needed with the Windows 8 saga made me glad we could drive into town and not waste a dat each way on couriers. So now I ask what happens when I need support. Not often with modern hardware - but I depend on my computer.
I can't remember the three features that I would like - and as I say I can survive without it. But when I started looking I did first evaluate whether I need Pro. I presented my findings to my wife and she agreed - not something that always happens.
16 GB RAM is possibly not essential - but ever since I downgraded to use solely Windoze (after my stroke) I've found I use a lot of memory. I am an impatient type - even today - and don't see any point in getting less.
I hadn't realised Aquila is Hutt-based. had a quick look and am impressed. Will contact Mike amnd see how things go.
Warehouse Stationery mainly has HP - which I am put off a bit since the merger with Compaq.
As for hand-holding, I'm warm enough at the moment ;-) but always good to know there are people I can turn to. Like you I can get most of my issues dealt with on-line. It's when I need hands-on support I have problems. Usually the people who come try everything I've already tried and don't solve the problem. Fortunately it doesn't happen often.

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Uber Geek

  #1537495 21-Apr-2016 14:23
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 Windows XP Mode was a Windows 7 feature anyway. It is not applicable for Windows 8.1 or 10.


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Uber Geek

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  #1537511 21-Apr-2016 14:43
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Get VMWare player (it is free) and install a copy of XP. Everything you need and more. Problem solved. Also much better performance than XP mode.

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Uber Geek

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  #1537519 21-Apr-2016 14:54
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I hadn't realised Aquila is Hutt-based. had a quick look and am impressed. Will contact Mike amnd see how things go.


Phil, I looked at your website and can see you have stuff in common.


PhilANZ: Hi Mark
As for hand-holding, I'm warm enough at the moment ;-) but always good to know there are people I can turn to. Like you I can get most of my issues dealt with on-line. It's when I need hands-on support I have problems. Usually the people who come try everything I've already tried and don't solve the problem. Fortunately it doesn't happen often.


Saying "hand-holding" does sound patronising but I wanted to emphasise that I am prepared to help out in person if anyone really does get stuck.


331 posts

Ultimate Geek

  #1537523 21-Apr-2016 14:59
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Thanks Mark - I assumed that - my sense of humour can be a bit dry at times.

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Uber Geek

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  #1537574 21-Apr-2016 15:56
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My opinion:  Partner up with an local IT company with a good reputation who is business focussed (i.e. more than 50% of their turnover is business clients) and has been around for a few years.  Ask them to recommend a machine built for business, not some of the rubbish that is sold to consumers.  Work with them on backups to ensure you are well protected.  Test restoring files at least quarterly.  Use the IT company as a sanity-check when you are working on a new technical stragegy.


Disclaimer:  I'm an IT Pro.  I get paid to clean up messes, but prefer to be paid to get things working right in the first place.

"4 wheels move the body.  2 wheels move the soul."

“Don't believe anything you read on the net. Except this. Well, including this, I suppose.” Douglas Adams

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Uber Geek


  #1537603 21-Apr-2016 16:33
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What reasons did you come up with for needing a Pro version of Windows?


Do you connect to a domain? Do you need Group Policy Management? Remote Desktop?


The home versions of Win10 are fine for most everyone - only corporate and enterprise users (and maybe education) would need the extra features Pro has.


In saying that, if you need to go Pro, look at Dell Latitudes or HP Elitebooks/commercial machines. Neither of which you will get from a retailer. PB Tech should be able to order you the HP Pro/Elite notebooks, but you will get better support from a business provider. (In your position, HP may be the better option than Dell, given you will have someone on the ground for support. Nothing wrong at all with HP business computers - the Compaq merger was a looong time ago).



331 posts

Ultimate Geek

  #1537628 21-Apr-2016 17:03
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I understand the idea of partnering with an IT company - but never needed to before. My past includes being unoffical IT manager for a group of companies where I was the accountant. I learned a lot there - worked with some good IT people as needed - but learned never to take what hey said as the best from a business perspective. Always like to know what's going on and why. Appreciate the signifcance of your comments about backups. One of our sites found after months of faithfully backing up (this was in the days of floppies - tapes came just after) the backups were not working. The lost their entire accounting system - inkculding 10,000 stock items and another 10,000 items ordered as needed. We also got the stoned virus - in the pre-internet days.
When you talk about things like technical strategies, we are really very simple - two of us in home offices, working with clients over the internet. The complications arise from things like me being on dialysis for over a year - and that could lurk in the future again.
In terms of why we require Pro, I can't recall exactly - have to dig through again. As i said i looked at dropping it but there are some things that still make it worthwhile - although we'd survice OK on Home.
Might have another look at HP - they were one of my favourites in the pre-pc days. A bit quirky in the early PC days - but solid as a rock.
Thanks - appreciate being able to get feedback on ideas here - one of the disadvantage of being relatively isolated (socially - not geographically) after a decade of medical chanllenges.

331 posts

Ultimate Geek

  #1571195 13-Jun-2016 18:07
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Just a final uodate - finally have a Windows 10 on my new Lenovo ThinkPad. After some unexpected issues were resolved, the worst problem remaining is Win 10 won't run Civiilisation 4. A well known problem - and wouldn't change my decision - but will take more time testing possible solutions.
Basically I've gone full circle. My first laptop (last century) was a ThinkPad.

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