slow computerUntil the other day, we thought there were only two things to remember when buying a new computer: Get one with an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor and get at least eight gigabytes of RAM. Here’s a third tip: Get one that’s easy to restore to its original factory settings. We learned this lesson after attempting to replace Bob’s nine-year old HP machine with a Lenovo.

This is important. Nothing makes a computer as fast as bringing it back to the condition it was the day you bought it. With many brands, you hit a key during boot up to get to the restore page. Lenovo asked us to create a boot disc first. Since it was all solid state and has no disk drive, we had to plug in an external flash drive. That was easy enough, but we got nothing but error messages when we used it to bring the computer back to its original state.

Why did we buy it in the first place? Because a reader wrote us to say he had read (somewhere else) that the Lenovo computer with flash drive storage (no disk drive, just chips) was full of what is not so politely called “crapware.” This is a common thing with new computers and a common phrase. It refers to inserting all kinds of ads and free trials that the makers hope you will end up buying. We never accept any of them. But to return to the point, in testing the reader’s complaint we found no ads or free trials and everything worked fine.

We decided to return it only because we’re going to wait for Windows 10 this summer. It turned out that the only real flaw we discovered with the Lenovo M73 (an impressive little box the size of an ordinary book) was the difficulty in returning it to its original factory state. It took Joy almost an hour to get this done. A quirky thing, since normally it would take just minutes.

We did this for the sake of the next buyer; there would be nothing untoward on the drive and no changes to the system. But this can also be a good thing to do even if it’s your own computer and you’re keeping it. For most people, who use a computer for web surfing, email, photo editing and Office documents, restoring a computer to its original state is far better than repeatedly buying a new one. It will be lightning fast again and you can reload any software you really need. And, of course, it’s free.

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