Laptop questions

Discussion in 'Technical Corner' started by JOhnH, Mar 27, 2019.

  1. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    My wife is responsible for publishing news letters for two of her clubs. She has been complaining more and more about the performance and capabilities of her laptop. It is a 5 yr old HP Envy 7 with i7 5500u processor at 2.4Ghz and maxed out with 16GB Ram. She had to upgrade her graphics software because it was old and incompatible with Windows 10. It worked a little bit in compatability mode, but that caused other problems. Now, it takes forever for her to load and save her news letters, and if she goes over two pages, she gets a lot of memory errors (out of memory).

    Just how archaic is her laptop? Would a new one be substantially faster and have more capability? If I were to buy her a new laptop, what should I look for to run photoshop and printshop programs?
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2019
  2. MooneyDriver78

    MooneyDriver78 Pattern Altitude

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    I have a 4G of RAM, but I run Linux and use OpenOffice...your problem is you are using Microsoft products.


    Tom
     
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  3. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    :( Guilty as charged. But be that as it may, I am not going to convince Leslie to switch operating systems.
     
  4. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Open Office is a far cry from certain publishing packages that she is likely use (especially if it's anything Adobe does which are pigs). Actually, the config mentioned isn't too shabby. I suspect the system has other issues other than just that the hardware isn't powerful enough. Actually, performance wise, I found things like photoshop run better with a SSD (I'm only using a 16G machne here now though it is a bit faster @ 3.6Gig).
     
  5. alfadog

    alfadog En-Route

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    My son and I built the computer I am using now eight years ago. Quad-core, 8GB. I do have a newer video card in it now. Windows 7. Adequate for my needs and I am sure it would be adequate for your wife's. Is she using a lot more software than she needs? Also, perhaps you would want to go to Win7?

    S1051833.JPG
     
  6. IK04

    IK04 Cleared for Takeoff

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    It's time to save all her data to an external drive or online storage (cloud) and do a fresh install of Windows 10.

    It's not that big a deal. Look in Settings|Recovery|Reset This PC.

    That's really the only way to get rid of all the poo poo that is clogging up her system.
     
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  7. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I'm sure it would run faster with an SSD, but most of her problems resolve around "out of memory" error messages when she tries to save or print her document.
     
  8. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    That might be a good idea.
     
  9. Salty

    Salty En-Route PoA Supporter

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    That computer has plenty of power. It’s the crap that’s been installed over the years slowing it down. Especially if she allows browsers addons to be installed.
     
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  10. genna

    genna Cleared for Takeoff

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    Get an SSD. They are quite cheap now.

    The laptop is fine. I have even older(7yo) i7 and it was getting pretty slow. Popped in SSD last year and it is like night and day.

    It may be worth reinstalling OS from scratch if you are running into errors.

    EDIT: just to add: your system and windows in general should never run out of memory as it would use HD for it. Either the software you are using is bad, you have some OS configuration or driver issue, or possibly hardware issue.
     
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  11. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I stopped in to a local computer store and asked for his recommendation. It was pretty much what I got here.

    A. It shouldn't be running out of memory. It is probably all that crap that has been building up for 5 years.
    B. He also highly recommended a new SSD. It will make it seem 10 times faster than new.

    He said he would install a new 500GB SSD and restore my data to a clean version of 10, without all the "poop" (as he called it) that you get when you buy from a big box store for $250. That seemed like a good deal to me so I should have it back by Friday after noon. (Yeah, I know; I could have saved money and done it myself, but this way it will be done right, and if there is a problem, I can blame someone else). He is also going to install a new "double stack" battery while he is at it (for an additional cost of course).
     
  12. nj-pilot

    nj-pilot Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I find that more often than not the cause of slowdown is the security end-point software (anti-virus, anti-malware, etc.). I'm not advocating to remove or disable them, but once you know that, then you can better assess how to move forward. Easy to test by the way - try disabling them and see if performance improves.

    If it does, then you probably need a faster CPU and SSD. 4 GB ram is more than enough. I'd recommend just buying a new (or used) laptop rather than having someone "fix" it.

    Alternatively, if you can use browser-based docs only (e.g., Google Docs), a chromebook might be a good answer for you.
     
  13. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The issue isn't the browser or any microsoft software. It is Broderbund Print Shop. She liked the old version she had on Windows XP. When she moved to Windows 7, it seemed to run 5. On windows 10 it got too many compatability errors so she bought the updated version of the same software, but it runs much slower on her system.

    I'll report back on how it works when I get the thing back from the shop. If she still doesn't like it, it will be a great backup machine for me and I'll get her a brand spanking new system.

    Oh, and her new Ipad5 has arrived. Foreflight was taking around 30 seconds to come up on her old one. It takes about 1.5 or 2 seconds on the new one.
     
  14. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    A 5-year old i7 with 16gig of RAM should be able to run Win10 and Office just fine. And with all due respect to everyone else who has chimed in, it is absolutely impossible for anyone to diagnose the correct cause of your issue without sitting down and looking at the machine. Anyone who doesn't look at the machine is simply guessing. And the exact cause could be any number of things anywhere on the a scale from extremely simple to beyond worth fixing.

    A good trustworthy shop is your best bet, but good trustworthy shops are sometimes as hard to find as teeth on a duck. If its 5 or more years old and you don't have someone you can trust to take it to, the best way to spend money on the problem is to go buy a macbook and donate the old one to a charity that takes old machines.
     
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  15. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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  16. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    A decent tech could probably speed it up some. Windows creates mountains of useless crap that needs to be shoveled away once in a while.

    Running CCleaner usually helps, but I no longer recommend using the Registry Cleaner unless you're trying to solve a particular problem and know what you're doing. Windows deals with registry errors a lot better than it used to, so automated registry cleaners are more likely to do harm than good these days.

    Turning off the eye candy in Performance Settings can also improve the experience quite a bit.

    An SSD would probably be your best hardware upgrade. I use either Samsung or Crucial, whichever is on sale at Micro Center. I have not noticed any difference in performance between the two brands. I've also heard good things about Intel, Kingston, and Sandisk, but have not tried them.

    Rich
     
  17. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    As I said, 16G should be fine. Something else is mucked up on the machine.
     
  18. Raymo

    Raymo Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Blow the dust out of the cooling fan first (cheap and easy). They get clogged over time and the CPU is slowed by the BIOS to reduce heat. Then get a solid state drive (SSD), as mentioned above and load Windows 7 or 10 from scratch. You'll be amazed at the speed. My 2011 ACER boots up from OFF in about 5 seconds to the desktop.
     
  19. genna

    genna Cleared for Takeoff

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    I'm not understanding how paying at least $1300 for inferior hardware(or god knows how much for similar) + all new software to go from Win to macbook is a best way to spend money. That laptop is very capable and is probably better than anything you can buy new today for less than $6-700. Unless there is a motherboard issue(possible, but highly unlikely), all his problems can be fixed with a free re-installation of OS and software. Maybe picking a different print software(something that would have to happen for macbook anway). With $100-150 SSD to seriously boost performance. This can be done by practically anyone remotely competent in Windows.
     
  20. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    Of course its capable enough. I believe I said that.
    ...Unless there is a motherboard issue. To put it more accurately, unless there is a hardware issue. Lots of hardware issues are very cheap and easy to diagnose and fix. As long as you're someone who knows how to do that sort of thing. And if you were someone who knew how to do that sort of thing, you probably wouldn't be asking for advise of this sort on a pilot forum.

    Which suggests that the OP is not someone who is comfortable diagnosing and replacing much hardware inside a laptop. Which means a technician will be needed. IME there are good trustworthy techs out there who will do good work and not overcharge you or sell you anything that you don't need. They're out there and they're rare. Extremely rare. There are lots of shops out there that you could take a machine with this kind of problem to and end up spending 3/4 or more the cost of a good replacement machine just to end up with a 5-year old machine that has maybe another year or two of useful life left. Doesn't make much sense at that point does it?

    As for the macbook? Just going on my own experience. When I buy my wife or myself a very good quality Windows laptop, it lasts anywhere from 18 months to 3 years. My first macbook lasted me 8 years before it fell apart and got too slow to run the software I needed. My wife's first macbook air went 6 years without any issues. She's on her second which we expect will last at least as long. Also when we replaced her 6 year old air, she was able to sell her 6 year old machine for 1/3 the cost of the new one. Most Windows laptops won't bring more than $100 on the used market once they're more than a year old. Buying something that costs half again as much and last 2-3x as long seems like a good deal to me hence my advice. If it doesn't seem like a good deal to you, feel free to disregard.
     
  21. genna

    genna Cleared for Takeoff

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    So, what you are advocating is to forget the high success probability of fixing this thing(and improving it) for $250 because of an off chance that this is a motherboard issue(if it's a memory problem, it's cheap and easy to fix and diagnose)? That's like buying a new Cirrus because the G1000 in your 2010 C182 is misbehaving before calling Garmin/Avionics shop. Because you think your avionics guy who you have never met probably cannot be trusted

    An i7 5gen XXXXU level macbook is $$$$$ . The $1300 price tag is for the m3 fanless(SLOW) basic laptop. Something that in the Windows world is dime a dozen. And I've seen them fall apart quite nicely now and then. I've had a few windows laptops. Still have functioning Lenovo from the 2000s and my current one(ASUS) was bought in 2013. Works just fine. To the point that I actually want to buy a new one, but can't seem to find a justifiable reason to spend $1000. Wife has HP Envy(i3), well built and has been running fine for 3 years.

    Your argument to purchase macbook may arguably hold water if you are forced to buy a new laptop after exhausting a pretty cheap and likely successful attempt to fix it.
     
  22. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    Ok one more time. Go back and read my post again. Pay particular attention to the part that says if you don't have someone you can trust to take it to. Pay a lot of attention to that part. A whole lot of attention. Then sit down and really ask yourself why someone would write that. Then ask yourself how it might change your understanding of what I said.
     
  23. genna

    genna Cleared for Takeoff

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    And you pay attention as well. How do you know you cannot trust someone? Is your premise that unless you trust this tech person(meaning you have used him a few times), you should not use him? This is a simple enough problem that any remotely competent tech person can fix.
     
  24. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    I was in the game for several years. I was very honest and very fair and did not up sell or otherwise fix things that the client wasn't paying me to fix. Being in that game, I would often see machines that my competition had previously worked on. I knew the quality of the work they did and I knew what they charged for it.

    Saw a lot of shoddy work. Saw a lot of shops that would just start throwing parts at the problem (on the clients dime) instead of doing any actual troubleshooting or testing. Oh we think you need a hard drive so we'll replace that (and just clone the existing drive and its problems). Whatt'd ya know that didn't fix it, must be a bad memory chip. Nope, that means its gotta be the power supply but tell ya what, since we already chanced this other stuff, we'll give you 10% off this power supply that we already marked up 100%. Saw that a lot. Then I'd be called in, spend about 10 minutes diagnosing, back it and whack it (which should have been done to begin with) and call it a day.

    Like I said, I saw that kind of thing a lot. So... I say again. If you have a shop that you can trust, as in you have a history with them or someone you know well has a history with them, then take it there and let them fix it. Absolutely 100%. But if you don't know of anyone trustworthy to take it to, well you can roll the dice if you want but you should know that rolling the dice is exactly what you'll be doing.

    But keep in mind its a 5-year old machine. Most shops won't even take a peek at it for less than $100. Spending $250 to get it back out the door isn't hard. Nor is spending more. So now you're a couple hundred in and what do you have? A 5-year old machine. Are you going to get another 5 years out of it?

    Or the OP can do the work himself if he wants to spend a few years learning the basics and probably letting the smoke out of a few parts along the way.

    As for your airplane/avionics example? Airplanes and the avionics that go into them are not generally considered to be disposable items. Computers, especially windows computers, for the most part are. Its not quite the same as taking a pic lighter in for repair but its not far off from that. If you can do the work yourself or you know someone that will do the work for you for free, they're definitely work fixing. If you need to take to a shop, let them diagnose and get a quote in writing before they do any other work. I just do not see the wisdom in spending more than $200 on a machine that old. You're free to disagree and obviously you do. The line of people that disagree with me forms over there. Its a long line, bring a lunch.
     
  25. genna

    genna Cleared for Takeoff

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    Alright, I can understand that there are a lot of places out there that want to milk you for your money. PCs or planes, just different scales. Anyone that takes anything to any repair place should have a general idea if they are getting hosed. If you don't, i can't see how you can function as you sometimes need to repair things and you cannot always tell if you can trust some shop or not. I mean we don't throw perfectly good older cars away simply because there is no mechanic around that you know for sure is trustworthy.

    It appears in this specific case, the tech is going to perform a very specific action that is perfectly reasonable and inexpensive. This is what i would do. I've repaired plenty and junked plenty when hardware became an issue. It is probably what you would do as well(if not bent on buying a new computer). I agree that if he starts throwing (expensive) hardware at the problem, the OP should probably take the computer and run.

    As far as longer term viability of this pc. The answer is, "it depends". It can easily run another 3-4 years depending on how much abuse it takes(doesn't sound like much) and how much power the OP needs from it(doesn't sound like much). Judging by specs, this was not a cheap computer 5 years ago. If one was buying its equivalent new today, it would still be in 6-800 range, maybe a bit more. To me, it's worth spending $250 to extend its life by even 2 years and getting a better or cheaper pc(than today) then rather than spending 800 or 1600(on mac) to replace it today. The OP seems to agree.
     
  26. -KLB-

    -KLB- Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Don’t let the fan spin while blowing it out. Too many fans die an early death from being over revved while under asymmetric load produced by a canned air duster.
     
  27. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Ok, I had a new 500GB SSD installed and restored all of my data to a clean updated copy of windows 10. I reinstalled printshop 4 (which I now think is the problem). Total charge was $200 plus tax.

    The system is much faster. But Printshop 4 still returns memory errors, especially when trying to save to PDF. This seems to be a common problem with Printshop 4. The recommendations are to try different PDF writers, so I tried "microsoft print to pdf" and CutePDF, but neither of them work well either. But I CAN get them to save in draft mode, just not in a higher resolution.

    My next move is to find a new software package for her to do her news letters.
     
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  28. azblackbird

    azblackbird Cleared for Takeoff

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    I would suggest using Adobe InDesign if you have a decent collection of clipart/photos. If not, then I would suggest going with Canva. Good luck... :thumbsup:
     
  29. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    Nope, we don't. But if you could buy a brand new car for under $2000 that was 30% more efficient than your 5 year old car and would run trouble free 5-10 years, we would probably replace them a heck of a lot more often than we fix them.

    You're pretty on track with everything else though. I would fully expect someone good could fix the OP's problem for a couple hundred. In my experience with the market I worked in, there were as many crooked shops as there were good ones if not more. I can't say that's the case in every market because I haven't seen every market but it was certainly the case in the market I worked. When you're dealing with an item that can be replaced for $500-$2000, its real easy to start throwing good money after bad. Add on top of that the speed with which the technology iterates and its tough for me to justify spending very much on repair at a shop you're not familiar with. My opinion only.
     
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  30. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I have used this shop many times in the past 15 years. They have always been fair and usually under promise and over deliver. And they have a good reputation. And they are within walking distance of my house.
     
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  31. genna

    genna Cleared for Takeoff

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    Wanted to show you this:

    https://ifixit.org/blog/14776/apple...nMonitor&utm_term=Butterfly keyboard fly away

    Apple is not immune from making crappy products. This a specific issue with MacBook for which Apple has actually apologized

    http://fortune.com/2019/03/27/apple-apology-macbook-butterfly-keyboard-problem/
     
  32. Spring Ford

    Spring Ford Pre-takeoff checklist

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    If the issue is the print jobs then try splitting up the print jobs onto batches of fewer pages. If you are printing more than one page of course:) Or split the document onto files of fewer pages might be even better.

    You mention High Resolution? You may well just need more memory?

    It might be that 16G is simply not enough. What size is your page file? The page file gets added to the physical memory size to create the virtual memory space. Try 24G page file for starters. Of course depending on the requirements this may make the process impracticably slow. Or it may not. You will just need to try it.
    Page-file.png
     
  33. Spring Ford

    Spring Ford Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Could you use a lower resolution?
     
  34. azblackbird

    azblackbird Cleared for Takeoff

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    I've owned Macs since 1986 and over all those years have only had a few issues with my machines in which Apple took care of them. I had a couple iMacs and a MacBook Pro that were out of warranty and developed issues (3 separate incidents) with their graphic cards. Each time a machine went down I would call Apple and let them know that I've been a loyal customer since 1986 and have bought numerous machines from them over the years. Since I was a loyal customer, I asked that they take care of the problem if they wanted to keep me as a loyal customer. Never had an issue. Apple would always step up to the plate and make me whole again for no charge. I know of no other computer company that would do this for their clients. Many of my friends who run windows based machines have shelves and shelves full of worthless junk that they've accumulated over the years because their machines bit the dust. When my Macs are depreciated out or get to where they're just to slow for my needs, I either sell them or give them away to family or friends. My Mom is still using one of the early translucent iMacs I gave her over 15 years ago to house my niece's and nephew's 4-H project databases. I've yet to see a 15 yr old windows machine that's still fully functional. Hell... I've yet to even see a 5 yr. old windows machine that's still fully functional.:rolleyes:
     
  35. murphey

    murphey Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    MS Word can do newsletters just fine. Ten years ago I migrated our 16-24 pg newsletter from Quark to InDesign (when we didn't want to pay the upgrade fee for Quark and I had InDesign) then recently to Word. As much as I hate to say nice things about Microsoft, the newsletter in Word is looks great and easier to put together. Save as PDF is a built-in option under Print. I'm using a system with only 8 GB, so memory isn't an issue.

    So can we please stop the religious argument Mac v Windows? It's not relevant to the OP's issues.
     
  36. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Getting her to switch to MS Word may be the best thing, but it may not be the easiest thing. She has declared that she hates Word. She tried it and she hated it.

    The problem is mostly around saving the file as a PDF so she can email it and her readers can read it. She has 16GBs, which is about 30 times larger than her file, but it still runs out ouf memory. Having worked in Tech Support in a past life, I am 100% convinced it is a software problem in Print Shop 4.

    Breaking the document down into 4 individual pages still returns the out-of-memory errors. We can save and print it in it's own proprietary format, but then nobody else could read it. Besides, the resultant file is too large to email.

    But the good news is that she really like her laptop much better now with the clean install and new SSD.
     
  37. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    Oh FFS :rolleyes: Did I ever say anywhere that Apple was immune to anything? I do not want to turn this into a Apple/PC p*****g match. I use both. I LIKE both. Happy now?
     
  38. kgruber

    kgruber En-Route

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    People like what they are used to. Charles wrote word to be efficient, and it is. A couple of days and I think your wife would be in heaven compared to an ancient bloated program. Word saves very nicely to pfd.
     
  39. genna

    genna Cleared for Takeoff

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    Did I just win the internet!? Haha. I like both too :) that just happened to come to my newsfeed