Toshiba Mini NB305-N410BL 10.1-Inch Royal Blue Netbook - 11 Hours of Battery Life

Boy,  is this a common question. If you are used to Windows computers, you probably want to stay with Windows.

If you do a lot of video or photo editing, get a computer with a “Dual Core” processor, and avoid the “Atom”  processor found on netbooks, which really slows things down.

It’s nice to have three gigabytes of memory (RAM.) This will make your computer run fast, as long as you keep it free of viruses and spyware. (We do that with Avast anti-virus and “Anti-Malware” from Malware Bytes.) But it’s probably not necessary if you use the computer only for email, word processing, financial records and photo storage.

We have had excellent results with HP, which owns Compaq. We also like ASUS, Sony and Toshiba.

Desktops versus laptops:

You can get a great desktop for about $400. Here’s a link to a Compaq Presario CQ5320F. It has a huge hard drive, great memory, etc.: http://bit.ly/am917J

You can get an ASUS laptop for about the same price. http://bit.ly/9uBcb2. It has an atom processor, but that’s probably fine if all you do is email, word processing, and light photo editing.

Joy is really happy with Windows 7, which  comes on all the new computers. Programs start faster because you can “pin” an icon for them to your taskbar, which remains visible no matter how many windows you have open. You can also hover over an icon to see the documents you have open within that program. Click the “x” in the corner to close a document while it’s still in preview mode.



We haven’t been as happy with the so-called “all in one” desktop. The nice thing about buying the tower separately is that you can still use the same monitor, even when you replace the tower.

Apple computers are a bit more expensive but have great customer support. We don’t find them any easier to use than Windows, but you’re less likely to get spyware and viruses; hackers typically go after Windows machines because they’re more common.

Retrevo.com does a good job of summarizing pricing options and reviews.

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