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So you want to buy a computer ? (Buying a Computer, Part 1)

Customers, friends and relations are always asking me what computer to buy. Usually before I have even had much time to answer their question they start to tell me the details of the latest computer advertisement they have seen, or the one their friend or next door neighbour has just purchased. "Hold on!, Hold on!, would you buy a house with 5 bedrooms and only use one of them? probably not. Well the majority of computer users are doing something like that but on a far smaller scale. I would estimate 80% of the computer functions available on the latest PC will never be used by average household or business, what a waste.

Q. Well ok clever clogs, where do I start?

Answer: Get a sheet of paper and write down the main reasons you want a computer.
  • Do you want to access the internet?
  • Is it an email account you need?
  • Do you need to write letters?
  • Will you use your computer to download pictures from your camera for printing?
  • Do you want to download music and make CD"s or listen to it with your IPOD (a personal or sometimes impersonal music player)?
  • Are you planning to do your accounts?
  • Do you want to make and/or edit your own videos?
  • Are you going to use a computer for your business?
  • Do you want to talk to or see friends, family or business associates via the internet?

In truth the list could be endless, and you will need to be realistic, unless you have an unlimited budget. Try to identify your main requirements. The most popular are accessing the Internet, Email and Word Processing.

Once you know what you really want the computer for, you can work out what machine and software you need to purchase.

Below are a couple of definitions to help you decide what you need to purchase:-

Hardware - the computer parts, screen, mouse, keyboard, printer, scanner, monitor, memory, processor, CPU (Central Processing Unit).

Software - the programs which make the computer work, operating system (Windows, Macintosh, Linux), Word processor (Word, works), Email (Outlook, Outlook Express, Webmail), spreadsheet (Excel, Works, Lotus), Browser (Internet Exporer, Firefox, Netape, Mozilla, Konquerer), database (Access, Works, MySQL)., database (Access, Works, MySQL).