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How to erase a computer hard drive and installing free basic software.

This is going back to this question where I'm dealing with obsolete computer equipment. This weekend's discovery was a laptop at least 10 years old, a desktop computer of over 5 years not running on a Windows system, and another desktop over 5 years running on Windows Vista. [more inside]
posted by adapt on Sep 29, 2014 - 12 answers

My Computer Cannot Even

Need to replace my laptop at short notice. Should I blow my bank account and get a MacBook Air, or pick up a Chromebook (or the like) as a stopgap measure while continuing to save up for the Pro I really want? [more inside]
posted by Sara C. on Sep 20, 2014 - 25 answers

Does this tech wizard exist in SF?

All of my laptops inevitably, inexorably slow down noticeably, way before they should. I know this happens with all computers. I am reasonably tech-savvy. But my current ThinkPad slowed down in the first three months. I want someone to take my laptop, figure out what's making it slow (software and/or hardware), and fix it all. I just want my computer to not be slow. Does such a person exist in SF? Who are they, where can I find them, and how much do they charge?
posted by Ragini on Sep 11, 2014 - 4 answers

You don't want that, you want this!

Talk me through buying a new laptop like I'm 5... [more inside]
posted by Chorus on Sep 2, 2014 - 11 answers

Mamma needs a new bag!

Help me find a new backpack for my new job! Difficulty level: I am one picky bitch. [more inside]
posted by youcancallmeal on Aug 28, 2014 - 39 answers

Cannot Boot into OS X or Safe Mode

I am running OS X 10.8 on a mid 2007 MBP. Yesterday I noticed my laptop was running very hot, the screen was off and it wasn't responsive to the mouse/keyboard. I manually rebooted, and now I am unable to boot into OS X. [more inside]
posted by prunes on Aug 27, 2014 - 6 answers

Device of all trades, master of none?

In the next month or so, I'm going to need a new laptop. Windows 8 scares me, but I'm willing to try. In the spirit of being game, and because I like the idea of tablets but can't currently live with a tablet as my primary device, I'm considering a 2-in-1 device. Reviews are mixed. I can't tell if I should just get a normal laptop and wait a couple of generations for 2-in-1s to work some bugs out. Does anyone have experience/recommendations? [more inside]
posted by platypus of the universe on Aug 22, 2014 - 9 answers

New Laptop Needed – Alternatives to Windows 8

I’m in need of a new laptop, and I get the impression I ought to avoid Windows 8. What are my options? [more inside]
posted by xenization on Aug 20, 2014 - 29 answers

How much should my housemate pay me back for breaking my laptop?

Last Year my housemate (and good friend) spilt tea on my laptop and it broke. The laptop was about 2 years old and worth $1300.00. At the time he couldn't afford to pay me anything, and as I was low on cash myself I replaced it with cheaper tablet option, worth $450.00. A year has now passed and he is in a better position to pay me back- What do you think is a fair amount given the worth of the 2 year old laptop and the amount I spent replacing it?
posted by Valdigs on Aug 19, 2014 - 22 answers

What furniture is good for storing laptops?

What's a not-hideous way to store three or four laptops in a dining room? Plus the occasional iPad, headphones, etc. Has anyone found a decent piece of furniture for laptop storage? [more inside]
posted by The corpse in the library on Aug 18, 2014 - 19 answers

Infections in Education...

Okay, that is a bit of a tongue-in-cheek title... I just started doing tech support work in a public school. I know about hand washing and using sanitizer but anyone have any thoughts about additional vaccinations beyond TDP and the annual flu shot? [more inside]
posted by sandpine on Aug 12, 2014 - 11 answers

Display issues on my laptop

My new laptop works perfectly except for the screen. At boot, the contrast is almost grey. On certain colors/wavelengths(?), there seem to be tiny pixels gyrating, almost like snow on old-fashioned TVs, but much smaller. It's nonetheless distracting. What settings do I change? [more inside]
posted by droplet on Aug 10, 2014 - 1 answer

Tech-savvy people: Please help me purchase a new laptop!

My Macbook died on me a little while back, and I need a new laptop ASAP. I was thinking about a new Macbook Air, but I want to wait until the Intel Broadwell chips come out since the last Macbook Air update was pretty minimal. So, I've been looking at Windows machines, but am bad at scouting out deals. Please help me find a quality deal for a PC laptop that isn't under-powered but also won't break the bank. Specifics of desired laptop inside. [more inside]
posted by CottonCandyCapers on Jul 31, 2014 - 8 answers

Linux laptop?

What is the most excellent Linux-friendly laptop I can buy? [more inside]
posted by nthdegx on Jul 31, 2014 - 14 answers

I would like to buy a laptop from Costco. I need help.

So long story short, my macbook's screen cracked out of warranty and I don't want to fork up the money to fix it. I am planning on nabbing a laptop from Costco, but their selection is... sparse, to say the least. Help me nab the best one! [more inside]
posted by CottonCandyCapers on Jul 24, 2014 - 6 answers

Laptop maintenance and cleaning in Toronto?

I'm looking for a good, trustworthy place to have my laptop disassembled and have its fan cleaned. [more inside]
posted by omar.a on Jul 1, 2014 - 4 answers

Surely backpack technology has progressed alongside the laptop?

I'm looking for a men's backpack or messenger bag that exists at some magic intersection of lightweight and strong/durable. This is for daily commuting, often by foot, in New York City. My flashy new devices are impossibly light, and I'm looking for a bag that won't add unnecessary bulk when I carry some or all of them with me. [more inside]
posted by scarylarry on Jun 16, 2014 - 12 answers

What is going on with my laptop screen?

In the past few days I've notice blue vertical lines on my monitor, only in white areas. What is going on? Is it a graphics card issue? [more inside]
posted by msbrauer on Jun 11, 2014 - 10 answers

Does Windows 8 suck?

I need a new laptop for school/writing/scientific programming/mefiting. I will be spending a lot of time on buses so I need it to be light. I've always had a PC but may switch to a Mac since I heard that Windows 8 sucks. Does it? [more inside]
posted by MisantropicPainforest on Jun 3, 2014 - 43 answers

Can I use these things as external monitors?

I now have two PC laptops that are in the state of "it sounds like it's working but the screen is dead." I tried the take out the battery, hold down the power button trick, and the reboot and hit the F4/5/8 key on both to no avail. The next step in troubleshooting always seems to be connecting it to an external monitor. [more inside]
posted by Calicatt on May 23, 2014 - 3 answers

Looking for a New 17" Laptop Suggestion

Looking for a laptop as a desktop replacement. Main requirement is that it needs to have a number pad on the keyboard. Looking for something high powered. [more inside]
posted by banished on May 14, 2014 - 13 answers

External DVD drive/player that works with both laptop and TV?

I am looking for an external, portable DVD drive that plugs into a TV (via USB would be most convenient) and functions like a standard DVD player, while also connecting to a laptop to play CDs/install software. I can only envisage using the drive to watch DVDs on my TV, rip CDs and install software, so the ability to write to disk is not important. [more inside]
posted by cincinnatus c on May 13, 2014 - 8 answers

Laptop Blues.

Yet another laptop question. I only need a laptop for surfing the web, downloading, watching DVDs and streaming Netflix for around $500. Unfortunately, I don't know much about laptops. I do know that I want a terabyte hard drive and I don't care about touch screen. I found this and this both from Toshiba, both very similar. Will I be happy with either of them? Will Windows 8.1 piss me off? I am also open to other suggestions.
posted by MaryDellamorte on May 5, 2014 - 11 answers

Can laptops run hotter or cooler depending on outlet?

Hi. I notice my laptop runs hotter at home than at another location. Might it be that outlets or electricity cause variation? [more inside]
posted by noelpratt2nd on May 4, 2014 - 12 answers

Help choosing a budget laptop for international work?

I need a new laptop but have no idea where to begin. Reading reviews at CNET and PC Mag only confuses me more. I would really appreciate help from the MeFi community! [more inside]
posted by philotes on Apr 25, 2014 - 5 answers

Recommendations for cheap (__cheap__) notebook/laptop

I'd like to buy a small (10-12 inch screen) very inexpensive (sub-$300) notebook, to use for reading PDFs, taking notes, and very light coding (i.e. emacs and python). Any recommendations would be most welcome. [more inside]
posted by uninformative on Apr 21, 2014 - 16 answers

HDMI Cable Question (Laptop-TV with no sound)

Help me connect a Laptop to TV with an HDMI Cable AND get sound. [more inside]
posted by dbirchum on Apr 21, 2014 - 8 answers

Laptop battery replacement: worrywart edition

I have a Lenovo Ideapad Z470, and the battery is pretty shot. I've been unable to find a replacement battery for this model through Lenovo's own site. I also can't seem to find an exact match for the one I have through third party selling. Current battery: labeled Li-ion 20, model # L09S6Y02. Closest match I found online, which claims that it's compatible with my laptop (but I could find no actual evidence): Li-ion 00, model #L08S6Y02. Put my mind at ease, Mefites: is this new battery compatible with my laptop? (And if I should return it, where should I get a battery, because searching Amazon for this kind of thing has been annoying.)
posted by TwoStride on Apr 12, 2014 - 3 answers

E-ink tablet wirelessly mirrors laptop?

My computer is inside my apartment; my e-ink tablet is in the backyard; both are on the same wireless network. The tablet both (1) mirrors everything on the computer and (2) serves as a wireless keyboard and mouse, sending my touch commands to the computer. How close to this setup am I able to come right now? [more inside]
posted by foursentences on Apr 8, 2014 - 5 answers

Another backpack question...

I'm looking for a backpack that would carry a 13" MacBook Air. Difficulties: Needs to be rain-proof, stylish (I prefer leather or canvas finishes, with simple patterns), durable, comfortable, small, and light (I'm 5'2" on a good day). [more inside]
posted by ethidda on Apr 7, 2014 - 13 answers

USB stopped working on asus laptop

The usb just stopped working on my Asus zenbook UX32VD laptop, running windows 8.1. Device manager shows no problems with usb (or any devices), and I have tried plugging in several different usb devices (my mouse, flash drives) to check. The built-in touchpad still works. Can anyone suggest how I might fix it, or what has happened? Thanks. [more inside]
posted by theyexpectresults on Mar 28, 2014 - 4 answers

VMWare: When using VPN my keyboard pretends I'm crazy

New laptop, windows 8.1. No issues. Except when I use my company's VPN through VMWare (Windows 7). Unpredictably, but often, it acts like I'm pressing the C button. But I'm not! [more inside]
posted by Ms. Next on Mar 28, 2014 - 5 answers

Ex-XP? What should I do with my old XP running laptop?

I have an old laptop running XP. The laptop actually dates from the Vista era, but I chose to have XP installed given the lousy rep that Vista had. I have seen this question. I have a newer laptop that I use for most of my word processing and internetting needs. I can retire the old laptop, but it still works so I'd rather not ditch it. Assuming I am not going to attempt to run XP on anything connected to the outside world, what can I do with this old laptop? [more inside]
posted by pianissimo on Mar 28, 2014 - 9 answers

choosing between 2 laptops - more RAM or better processor?

I'm choosing between 2 laptops, identical except for processor & RAM. I'm unlikely to buy more RAM, and thinking the one with more RAM will be generally better than the one with the better processor, all else being equal. I tend to keep lots of stuff running, and max out RAM on my current boat anchor beat-to-death laptop. [more inside]
posted by theora55 on Mar 26, 2014 - 16 answers

Calling all cable experts

Tomorrow I'm hosting a presentation where the speaker would like to hook up a laptop to two decent-sized external speakers. All that's lacking is a cable. I'm hoping to run out to the electronics store tomorrow morning to buy a cable (or two?) to do this, but am completely baffled as to what to get. I plan to call the store in the morning, but simply because I am nervous about the presentation and would like to sleep peacefully tonight, can anyone here recommend exactly what kind of cables I should get? [more inside]
posted by whistle pig on Mar 24, 2014 - 7 answers

Yet another laptop buying question

Should I get a 13" Macbook Air or a 14" Lenovo X1 Carbon? [more inside]
posted by matildatakesovertheworld on Mar 22, 2014 - 36 answers

My laptop's touch screen is glitchy; should I replace it?

I have a first-generation Lenovo Yoga 13" laptop that's about a year and a half old. The touch screen has an essentially permanent glitch in it. Is this likely something caused by damage to the screen itself, that would go away if the screen was replaced, and if so, what do I need to make the replacement? [more inside]
posted by ashirys on Mar 19, 2014 - 2 answers

Will upgrading my mid-2010 Macbook Pro solve all of my problems?

My mid-2010 Macbook Pro doesn't handle streaming video or huge Excel files well. Would a comprehensive upgrade solve my problems, or am I better off buying a new computer? [more inside]
posted by acidic on Mar 18, 2014 - 18 answers

laptop / netbook / tablet suggestion

travelling out of town in 3 weeks, want to bring something with me. i'm cheap and i'm not looking for miracles. [more inside]
posted by radiosilents on Mar 12, 2014 - 10 answers

Should I buy a non-touch-screen laptop?

I've found a brand-new, well reviewed Dell laptop that I am confident will do the basic family things I need done (email, web browsing, streaming video, photo stuff, tracking finances, etc.). With my credit card points, I can get it for $268. My husband is worried that non-touch-screen laptops will be obsolete really soon, and thinks maybe we should pay more for a touch screen. I am seeing articles saying things like "in 2 years, 1/4 of all laptops will have touch screens," which makes me think mouse/touchpad and keyboard will still be viable even 5 years from now. What do you guys think?
posted by staggering termagant on Mar 12, 2014 - 26 answers

First-time PC laptop... halp!

So: junior has saved up to buy his own computer. Since we're, by habit, a Mac family since forever, but he's opting for a PC, I'm finding the thicket of options a little overwhelming. The main issue is to reconcile requirements for gaming, durability (and potential futureablility) and price. (Also: we're in Europe, so some models/options don't seem as readily available as in the US.) The other main piece of information I'm missing is the reliability - in terms of build quality and service - of PC brands. Is there a good place to find some guidance - or is it really a lot easier than it seems? [more inside]
posted by progosk on Mar 2, 2014 - 19 answers

Help with finding an inexpensive laptop

I need a laptop for travel for about 3-4 weeks a year, and up to this point I have always had an old one I can tote around, I recently bought a series of older macbooks through craigslist that did the job for a little while, but both, for various reasons are no longer working and can't be fixed without a lot of cost. I am hesitant to try for another craiglist computer, because of my recent experiences, but I also don't want to lay out the money for a new macbook because of how infrequently it will be used, it just seems, well, wasteful both monetarily and also letting a new computer collect dust. It needs to be able to run Adobe CS 5 or 6, it can either be a mac or pc, though ideally a mac. If no other options present themselves, I would most likely look at Apple refurbished. But are there any other sources that I am overlooking?
posted by nanook on Feb 26, 2014 - 9 answers

Where can I buy a Lenovo X220-compatible charger in DC today?

Right now I'm at the airport, waiting to fly into DC, and just realized I forgot my charger. I'll see what I can pick up at my layover, but I would like to a) not fry my laptop and b) continue to use my laptop. I would like to buy the charger after checking into my hotel. I will not have a car. Relevant facts: 1) The X220 is the small Lenovo Thinkpad (not touchscreen.) 2) Staying in Dupont Circle 3) No car
posted by chesty_a_arthur on Feb 19, 2014 - 8 answers

Purchasing an Macbook Air?

I need a new laptop. Replacing my old MacBook Pro. Considering a MacBook Air. Details inside. [more inside]
posted by dbirchum on Feb 9, 2014 - 18 answers

Buying a computer in the U.S.

I live in an EU country and will be visiting the States soon. I also need a new laptop (I'm a Mac user). Given the favorable exchange rate, does it make sense to buy it while I'm there? What kind of hardware or other issues will I face (charger, keyboard, etc.), and is it worth the hassle?
posted by Paris Elk on Feb 5, 2014 - 15 answers

System76 GazellePro laptop experiences?

Can anyone share direct experience using a GazellePro laptop or similar from System76? [more inside]
posted by mcstayinskool on Feb 3, 2014 - 3 answers

Ideas for my new laptop?

I am in the market for a new laptop but am so far out of the loop that I'd like your tips on what's even possible these days, please! [more inside]
posted by rubbish bin night on Jan 31, 2014 - 7 answers

Devil Computer, Stop Updating Yourself

This morning I was working on my computer, and stopped to take a break for lunch. I left my computer on--it generally goes to sleep after 10 minutes of inactivity. When I returned from lunch, my computer had unexpectedly shut down and had to be rebooted. Once it restarted, I noticed that it had updated several programs that have been prompting me for updates, like iTunes and Firefox. (I had purposefully not been updating them.) My computer requires permission from me to update programs like this, and it has never updated programs without that permission. Any thoughts as to what might have happened this time? [more inside]
posted by Bella Sebastian on Jan 29, 2014 - 5 answers

Help me find a great COTS graphics/multimedia PC

I'm a graphics and multimedia artist working for the federal government who's always used Macs. It's again time for me to get a new system (laptop, please) and for the first time in my career I feel the need to explore my PC options (Apple has apparently abandoned its professional users). Unfortunately, I have no idea where to start looking. My new system needs to be commercially available from a vendor that can do business with the federal government. Building my own system is not an option. I perform a full range of creative functions including graphic design, video editing, photography and webcast hosting, so I need plenty of graphics power and fast processing. I don't, however, need a huge local storage capacity since I work off of our LAN. Where do I start looking? Any recommendations on models and/or features?
posted by Jamesonian on Jan 28, 2014 - 10 answers

Is the 13" MacBook Air the right laptop for me?

Needing to get a new portable, because the battery in my workhorse laptop is borked, I ordered a refurbished 13" MacBook Pro - which I am typing on at the moment. So far, it seems fine for what I need, but I was wondering whether the hive mind could think of a better solution. Generic snowflake detail inside. [more inside]
posted by running order squabble fest on Jan 24, 2014 - 10 answers

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