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What to know before you buy a new computer this holiday season

By Eric Geier (Our Founder & Owner)

Originally published by Cox Media Group on 12/2/19

It’s the time of the year for making purchases, especially this year as we get closer to the end of Windows 7 support on Jan. 14. So here I share some tips on purchasing and setting up a new computer:

Get professional advice and help: A computer professional (like myself ) can help evaluate your current computer. It could be well worth fixing if it’s broken or upgrading if it’s slow or running Windows 7. And if it’s not worth investing in, a computer pro can help choose an appropriate computer to replace it, helping you compare the specs and prices of the options versus what you have now.

A computer pro can also transfer your data, programs and settings over to a new computer.

They can also help make your new computer look and feel as close as possible to your old one, which can help if you’re going from Windows 7 to 10.

Don’t go too cheap: Though you can find new computers as low as $200, keep in mind that you tend to get what you pay for. The cheaper the computer generally means the slower the computer will be. Cheaper computers also usually have fewer ports and are less likely to be upgradable in the future. A cheap computer may also be slower than your current computer, even though it’s new.

I usually suggest budgeting for at least $500 to $600 dollars for a new computer and about $150 additional if you need a new monitor, keyboard and mouse. If this is out of your price range, I suggest buying a good refurbished computer from a trusted 

source for $250 or more.

Computers in the price range I mentioned are typically similar across the different brands and models. Pretty much any computer in that range will be fine for anyone doing basic browsing, emailing, simple photo/ video editing, and playing simple games. If you plan to do a lot of intensive work on the computer, like play graphic-intense games or regularly edit large videos, for instance, you should consider a more expensive and higher-performing computer.

Check out local companies: The big-box stores (like Best Buy) might seem like a good place to buy a computer, but I encourage you to check out the small computer businesses as well.

In smaller businesses (like mine) you typically get better customer support, tech support and warranties, all while helping support your local community.

Small computer shops also typically sell refurbished and custom PCs, whereas the big box stores usually don’t.

Secure your new computer: Even though a computer is new, it’s definitely still susceptible to viruses and malware. I’d say it’s even more susceptible, as you’ll likely be trying to download new programs and getting it set up. Thus, you should start with getting good antivirus and malware protection going from the beginning. Plus, a good backup solution to ensure your documents, photos, and other data are safeguarded from viruses, crashes and other disasters.

You can see my recommendations for security and backup solutions at recommendations.

Properly dispose of your old computer: You don’t want to just put your old computer out on the curb. I recommend pulling out the hard drive from inside. You should either properly wipe the data off of the hard drive or physically damage it so the data cannot be recovered by anyone else that gets a hold of it. Perhaps save the hard drive for when you want to take out some aggression, and then take a hammer and/ or drill to it :-) Eric Geier owns On Spot Techs, which provides onsite support for computers, mobile devices, TVs and other gadgets at homes and businesses in the Dayton and Springfield areas. Visit the website at or call 937-315-0286. 

Though you can find new computers as low as $200, keep in mind that you tend to get what you pay for. The cheaper the computer generally means the slower the computer will be.

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