Now, for the problems. Don't feel the need to answer all three, any help is appreciated greatly on any problems.
1. I need some advice on purchasing a new computer. This is because my old, old computer, dating from 1999, is finally dying. It freezes running web pages, and Office, and is generally hated because of its unreliability. With this in mind, I decided that we should replace it with a cheap (450-600 dollar) machine that could run modern web pages and office applications without the fear of losing data or being annoyed by the constant need to reboot. However, I can't decide whether to build by own, just buy a store one, or get a computer shop to build for me.
I can see the pros and cons of each side. The self-built one allows me to choose every single part I want, and usually isn't burdened down by worthless trials of programs I won't buy. However, I have to buy the OS, which takes a huge chunk out of the budget, as well as shipping. Also, I have to worry about part failures and lack of stability myself, rather that relying on the company.
The store bought one, naturally, has the opposite pros and cons.
I think that the computer shop is just a waste of money, since they are essentially building it for you, and tacking on a price of labor that I could do myself. However, I wish to consider all the options.
Another option is to wait for the 8600's to come out in March, and purchase another $1000-1200 system (the one I have was the same price a year ago, including monitor.) This would tide my family over for more time, I would think, than just buying a budget machine now. So would it better to buy the budget computer, build the budget computer, or build the mid-range computer?
What do you recommend, and if self-built, what parts?
2. Our DSL initial deal (the one they grab you with utilizing low price) is set to expire at the end of March. Off of it, we were paying 22 dollars a month for 1.5 Mbp/s. After the deal ends, the price for this speed raises to 27 dollars a month. However, for 37 a month, we can get 7 Mbp/s.
I wish to know the benefits of each speed comparing all factors, and essentially whether the extra 10 dollars is worth spending.
3. My nice computer, the one whose specs were mentioned above, is having some problems, compared to normal functioning. It starts with the computer boot-up. Once Windows passes from the blue welcome screen, and begins loading the desktop, it freezes. Nothing is responsive except the mouse movement, the desktop icons don't load properly and where the start bar (whatever the bar along the bottom with the start button, shortcut buttons, and system tray is called) should be displaying, there is blue.
See picture: (note: The black is for privacy, not part of the screen display)
After about a minute of waiting, the blue leaves, and the system resumes normal start-up. This takes another minute to load the tray, and for the system to function properly.
The problem with this is that the system used to waste a minute doing this. This includes splash screen and load tray. The blue never existed and the tray loaded much faster.
Simultaneously, weird happenings with Window Explorer began. Many of you are aware that the desktop sometimes refreshes itself. Half the time it does this on my computer, it will freeze with no response except for the mouse movement. Crtl+Alt+Dlt doesn't work, unlike in most freezes. It is, in fact quite similar to the startup, including the time of waiting. A fair assumption can be made that the problems are related. however, I have no idea what may be causing them, and obviously no idea how to fix it.
Magically around this time, Battlefield 2, my game of choice for measuring the functioning of my computer began acting up. When I reinstalled it, I noticed that the performance wasn't the same. I was getting lag where I hadn't before, even with the same video settings, and the load times for the maps increased (you know how the bar hangs at 62% When I upgraded my RAM from 1 GB-2 GB, the hang there ceased. Now, though, it has returned.) Problem with server connections and crashing also resurfaced, ones that had been banished from my computer with the upgrade to 2 GB.
Anyway, I have absolutely no idea what is wrong, why it happened and how to fix it. Any advice, or any help, would be greatly appreciated.
So I would suggest this: why dont you back up your data on your "nice" computer and reinstall the OS and make that your old budget computer to solve problem #3 and then build a new mid-range one for your new "nice" computer. I'm assuming this would be the one you would use most and the old one would be for the wife/kids? Make sure you have good anti-virus/malware running on these as it could be why the slow load on the one now.
for 1, if it's just a web surfing and Office machine, grab a Dell. Get the cheapest setup they have except for the following:
1GB of RAM is a must
Vista Home Premium should be seriously considered
with 1GB and Premium it's $448
1. If its for just the things you mentioned, I wouldn't spend much money at all on it. Get a cheap Dell on sale or something.
2. You only need the 7 mbp/s if you are downloading alot of large files like movies, games etc... The 1.5 mbp/s is more than enough for email, web surfing, microsoft and other program updates or driver downloads.
3. Sounds like you could have a virus or spyware. I would back up your data to the other computer on a separate partition from the OS then reformat your computer with a fresh install of windows. Scan your backed up data on the other PC with your anti-virus and spyware software.
1) Your hard drive badly needs defragmented
2) You have spyware, you need to scan your computer and remove it.
Since it sounds like you built this computer, you should have an OS disc. It will take less time to backup your files and reinstall Windows. You'll notice a huge performance boost and the system will be fresh.
To clarify about #1, I am essentially looking at which computer will be the most efficient use of my money. I know a Dell is only 300-400 dollars, but how long will it last, and be able to effectively run web pages laden with graphics, as well as newer programs? I have seen what a 400 dollar Dell gets me. I am not sure that 512 MB of RAM and a Sempron/Celeron will be adequate for anything past the end of this year or the middle of next. I don't want to pay for a computer that will end me up in the same situation in two years.
So I guess I am asking: How long will each upgrade route last me, and give me the most use and bang for my money?
Edit: I have already used Ad-Aware and Webroot, and removed everything they found. Is there any other free programs which would perform this function?
I also use Spybot Search and Destroy. Then you can try Panda Software, which allows free scans but will not fix problems. When you find one all the other programs missed (yes I have seen it) you search the web for the malware and solve it that way.
The first post threw me but reading them all 3 times I figured:
You need a computer for business type work. Your other system is in good shape parts wise with the other problems.
You are right do not buy the low end Dell or whoever. If you want one, get the newer one with XP (and hope they offer a low price up grade) some more on these lines at $500 or so. Dell Desktops
I did this, and successfully removed all spyware, which consisted of cookies. However, my problem still is not solved. I was wondering the feasibility of completely deleting my registry in regedit, and then importing a back-up that I had made before the problem initiated. Would I have an problems with this, or would it successfully, in essence, reinstall my registry?