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Windows 7 or Windows 8 for a complete newbie, i.e. first time ever using a computer.


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Old 26-01-2013, 02:21
jra
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I can't make my mind up here, having never used Windows 8.

My dad has expressed an interest in purchasing a laptop, a fairly basic model for about 400.

He is completely new to all this.

So, I'm looking for the following specs as a guideline.

Intel dual core i3.
At least 4 Gb of DDR3 RAM.
At least 500 Gb of hard drive space.
USB 3.0
etc.

The following model is one of the contenders and seems to tick all the boxes for what he needs, but should I in this circumstance be looking for a laptop with Windows 7, rather than Windows 8?

http://www.argos.co.uk/static/Produc...er/5089473.htm

I might not necessarily buy it from Argos, but I would value your opinions about which would be better in terms of OS. Other makes I've considered, so far, are Dell and Acer.

Thanks.
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Old 26-01-2013, 04:43
evil c
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It really depends what your Dad is going to be using the laptop for. If he has never used a computer before you might as well get the latest OS as he won't have any inbuilt prejudices.

Your link laptop has the 2nd gen i3 and integrated 3000 graphics. Reading the Which? reviews this W8 Samsung Series 3 NP3530EC might be better. It comes 5th in the sub 500 test and is considerably cheaper than the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place laptops. It has the same CPU and RAM, but doesn't have USB 3.0, and although the HDD capacity is lower it has the 4000 graphics and is 20 cheaper: http://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/samsun...56552-pdt.html

However the Which? Best Buy laptop under 500, (in fact the only Best Buy in this price range) is the Asus S56CA-XX024H available for 450. It stands head and shoulders above the other 20 tested laptops in the sub 500 tests, meets all your requirements and has W8, the 3rd gen i3-3217U, the 4000 graphics and 1xUSB 3.0 port plus 2xUSB 2.0 ports: http://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/asus-s...56521-pdt.html

I'd advise you to make sure whatever you buy, that you teach him good practice from the start. Regular backups, keep antivirus up-to-date and malware protection. Install CCleaner. Don't overcomplicate the learning process. Advise him to be selective about what he installs, i.e. no bloatware and useless toolbars. Warn him about sites that could pose a risk. You know what I mean anyway. Good luck teaching him!
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Old 26-01-2013, 06:32
IvanIV
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OS-wise it should not matter, he won't have a biased opinion like everybody else here. Also laptops with W7 are bound to be an older hardware than those with W8.
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Old 26-01-2013, 09:54
TheBigM
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In terms of future-proofing, it would really help if you can buy one with a touchscreen. For people who have never used computers before and don't have Windows baggage in their minds, touching Metro can be a great and simple experience for them.
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Old 26-01-2013, 09:58
John259
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Will you be teaching him and sorting out problems for him? If so, then choosing an operating system that you're familiar and comfortable with might be a factor.
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Old 26-01-2013, 10:05
R410
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As a current user of both Windows 7 and Windows 8, I would definitely advise going for Windows 7 if possible.

So much more user friendly for a first time user.

Another bit of advice would be to stay away from Argos, go to somewhere like PC World, a computer retailer, they will provide more suitable aftercare if it is needed.
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Old 26-01-2013, 10:23
John259
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This article http://money.cnn.com/2012/12/28/tech...een/index.html says that a touchscreen adds around US$120 to US$150 to the price of a laptop. Bear in mind that on a laptop you would need to reach over the keyboard to a near-vertical screen, and have to deal with the finger marks on the screen. It's a matter of opinion though of course.

The article says that a touchscreen is essential for Windows 8. It can in fact be operated with a mouse and keyboard, even without installing a utility to revert the user interface to that of Windows 7. If Metro is ignored and avoided, as even almost all of Windows 8's greatest fans advocate, then touch becomes irrelevant.
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Old 26-01-2013, 10:56
anniebrion
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As a current user of both Windows 7 and Windows 8, I would definitely advise going for Windows 7 if possible.

So much more user friendly for a first time user.
As a current user of both Windows 7 and Windows 8, I'd go for windows 8 on a touch screen. So much more user friendly for a first time user after a shorter learning curve than W7.

The app store is brilliant for a novice as you find all the things in one place
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Old 26-01-2013, 10:57
R410
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To say a Touchscreen is essential is ludicrous. Even if Windows 8 is tailored around touchscreens.
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Old 26-01-2013, 11:12
John259
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The situation for first time users is obviously different to that for anyone who has used previous versions of Windows.

Does anyone know if any usability studies have been done with first time users on Win7 and Win8? At the moment I think each side is just expressing their own feelings on the subject here.

There does however remain the very important question of support. It would be a painful experience for both parties if the person attempting to provide support to the first time user was frustrated by Windows 8. That situation could be fixed with one of the utilities but in that case it would be preferable to opt for Windows 7 in the first place.

FWIW, IMHO:
Windows 7: one interface to learn, all housekeeping functions accessed via the Start button.
Windows 8: two very different interfaces to learn, housekeeping functions spread out in various places across both interfaces.
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Old 26-01-2013, 11:16
John259
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To say a Touchscreen is essential is ludicrous. Even if Windows 8 is tailored around touchscreens.
I agree. I only linked to that article for his comment on the higher price of touchscreens.
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Old 26-01-2013, 11:38
jra
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Thanks for the help so far. Lots to be thinking about.

I wasn't thinking about touch screens tbh. My dad has large hands anyway and may have trouble with the relatively small buttons on a 15.6" screen, without using a stylus etc. If you can ignore the Metro feature on W8 and use Windows in the 'conventional way', then it would make sense to go for W8.

Will you be teaching him and sorting out problems for him? If so, then choosing an operating system that you're familiar and comfortable with might be a factor.
Almost certainly, as none of his partner and her relatives are power users.
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Old 26-01-2013, 12:14
jra
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It really depends what your Dad is going to be using the laptop for. If he has never used a computer before you might as well get the latest OS as he won't have any inbuilt prejudices.

Your link laptop has the 2nd gen i3 and integrated 3000 graphics. Reading the Which? reviews this W8 Samsung Series 3 NP3530EC might be better. It comes 5th in the sub 500 test and is considerably cheaper than the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place laptops. It has the same CPU and RAM, but doesn't have USB 3.0, and although the HDD capacity is lower it has the 4000 graphics and is 20 cheaper: http://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/samsun...56552-pdt.html

However the Which? Best Buy laptop under 500, (in fact the only Best Buy in this price range) is the Asus S56CA-XX024H available for 450. It stands head and shoulders above the other 20 tested laptops in the sub 500 tests, meets all your requirements and has W8, the 3rd gen i3-3217U, the 4000 graphics and 1xUSB 3.0 port plus 2xUSB 2.0 ports: http://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/asus-s...56521-pdt.html

I'd advise you to make sure whatever you buy, that you teach him good practice from the start. Regular backups, keep antivirus up-to-date and malware protection. Install CCleaner. Don't overcomplicate the learning process. Advise him to be selective about what he installs, i.e. no bloatware and useless toolbars. Warn him about sites that could pose a risk. You know what I mean anyway. Good luck teaching him!
I'll be doing all that, but as I live 250 miles away from him, it'll mean quite a lot of telephone support. His partner or partner's son in law will have to do the initial setup and installation of security programs, such as Avast Home, SpywareBlaster, Spybot Search & Destroy, Malwarebytes etc. And of course making a set of recovery disks, once the initial setup is completed.

I'll look into the suggestions regarding laptops you've made. Thanks.
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Old 26-01-2013, 12:27
R410
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I'll be doing all that, but as I live 250 miles away from him, it'll mean quite a lot of telephone support. His partner or partner's son in law will have to do the initial setup and installation of security programs, such as Avast Home, SpywareBlaster, Spybot Search & Destroy, Malwarebytes etc. And of course making a set of recovery disks, once the initial setup is completed.

I'll look into the suggestions regarding laptops you've made. Thanks.
I recommend a programme called TeamViewer, install it on both computers and you can remotely control the computer.
It is free.
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Old 26-01-2013, 12:30
jra
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As a current user of both Windows 7 and Windows 8, I'd go for windows 8 on a touch screen. So much more user friendly for a first time user after a shorter learning curve than W7.

The app store is brilliant for a novice as you find all the things in one place
Thanks Annie. I have little experience of touch screens and wouldn't know what to look for. Have you got any suggestions around about the 400 mark. I don't want my dad to spend too much money on his first computer, as he may say 'this is not for me'. This is going to be a huge learning curve for him, whatever he purchases or I buy on his behalf.
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Old 26-01-2013, 12:31
John259
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Another couple of possible problems with Windows 8, namely hardware and software incompatiblities.

Obviously hardware incompatibility problems shouldn't happen with a new computer unless it's hand-built by a shop, but they could occur if you give him an old printer, external hard disc drive, etc.

There are varying reports regarding the frequency of software incompatibility problems but they naturally tend to be worse with older programs and security programs which have to integrate themselves into the operating system.
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Old 26-01-2013, 12:33
jra
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I recommend a programme called TeamViewer, install it on both computers and you can remotely control the computer.
It is free.
Ah thanks. Could be useful.
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Old 26-01-2013, 13:04
anniebrion
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Ah thanks. Could be useful.
Logmein is IMO better for the novice user.
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Old 26-01-2013, 14:05
IvanIV
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Another couple of possible problems with Windows 8, namely hardware and software incompatiblities.

Obviously hardware incompatibility problems shouldn't happen with a new computer unless it's hand-built by a shop, but they could occur if you give him an old printer, external hard disc drive, etc.

There are varying reports regarding the frequency of software incompatibility problems but they naturally tend to be worse with older programs and security programs which have to integrate themselves into the operating system.
Good work. You really want him to buy some old laptop only because it won't have an OS YOU don't like, don't you.
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Old 26-01-2013, 14:10
jra
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Logmein is IMO better for the novice user.
OK. Will check out. Again thanks.
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Old 26-01-2013, 14:26
TheBigM
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Have you considered buying your Dad an iPad instead of a laptop? As a first time user, an 'appliance' type device may suit him better.

Also, metro is designed with touching with your fingers in mind, the touch targets are plenty large, no need to use a stylus.
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Old 26-01-2013, 14:53
jra
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Have you considered buying your Dad an iPad instead of a laptop? As a first time user, an 'appliance' type device may suit him better.

Also, metro is designed with touching with your fingers in mind, the touch targets are plenty large, no need to use a stylus.
I haven't, because I and all his close family don't have any Apple equipment AFAIK and wouldn't, including me, be able to give any support.
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Old 26-01-2013, 15:19
Anjomo
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I'll throw this one in as a no hassle, very small learning curve, alternative.
https://play.google.com/store/device...c0NzIyMTM1Il0.
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Old 26-01-2013, 15:32
jra
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I'll throw this one in as a no hassle, very small learning curve, alternative.
https://play.google.com/store/device...c0NzIyMTM1Il0.
The spec is too low, but thanks for the suggestion.

The screen is too small and personally I wouldn't recommend a Celeron CPU, even if dual core.

And I'd want to get a laptop with more than 2 Gb of RAM, without having to upgrade, e.g. from Crucial.

Also, I want the laptop he gets to have a DVD writer and at least one USB 3.0 port.
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Old 26-01-2013, 16:30
emptybox
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I'd have thought, for someone completely new to computers, that the simple apps of the Start Screen in Windows 8, would give very easy access to News, games etc and very easy installation via the Store.

Whereas the slightly dryer world of the desktop could pose more of a learning curve to the complete beginner.

Less likelyhood of them giving it up as too complicated, when they can at least master part of the interface fairly quickly.
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