This week we have some simple tech tips to make your Windows 7 computing experience easier.
What kind of PC should I buy? For general purpose use, almost any inexpensive new laptop with a 14+ inch display, or a desktop with an 18+ inch display and integrated graphics will suffice. Gaming is a different matter. Serious gamers should look for, at least, graphics sub-systems such as the NVIDIA GTX 660 Series or AMD 7800 Series GPUs with 2GB RAM. Budget gamers need to look for a PC with any discreet graphics GPUs lower than the previous specifications with, minimally, 1GB RAM. A built-in DVD drive is very, very handy. Note also, that if you are buying a laptop, it is probably better to stick with the big, popular brand names. Finally, beware of top-of-the-range gaming laptops, especially if you live in a hot climate, as they tend to run hot enough to fry an egg.
How do I install/reinstall Windows 7 without a DVD drive? If something has gone wrong with your pre-installed system and you are lucky enough to have the Windows 7 DVD, you can follow these steps to install Windows 7 again. Ironically you’ll need to start with at least one PC with an optical drive. You will also need a USB flash drive of about 4 GB. Put the Windows 7 DVD into the drive. Download Novicorp WinToFlash (see the link below). Unzip the downloaded file and then run WinToFlash.exe, following the on-screen instructions to produce a USB drive that you can use to install Windows 7. You may also need to enable booting from USB drives in your BIOS. To do this, instructions vary, but see the link below.
Which Windows OS should I use? Simple! Install Windows 7, unless you have a touch-screen device, because it is simpler to use and runs a little faster than Windows 8. Another thing to remember is that all 32bit versions of Windows 7, from the lowly Windows 7 Starter Edition to the top-end Windows 7 Ultimate, if you turn off all the extra visual toys, consume about the same system resources.
How much RAM do I need? For everyday tasks, install 2GB of RAM and for budget gaming, about 4GB should be fine. Serious gamers should be running the 64bit version of Windows 7 and install between 8 and 16 GB of RAM. No matter what amount of RAM you select, install it with matching pairs. There are exceptions to these RAM configurations, but if you need a different setup, you will be an advanced user and already know what you are doing.
How do I make Windows 7 run faster? This is pretty easy, though you’ll have to sacrifice some of the visual nicety. First, right-click on your Windows Desktop and select properties. Now, in the Theme drop-down list, select Windows Classic. Simples.
My new PC doesn’t have any good software. So install some! Head over to PortableApps.com for the most trouble-free apps for Windows. Hint, if you like the older looking, simpler MS Office interface sans Ribbon, download the free Open Office (see link below). We will also devote a future TechieTalk exclusively to the best, free Windows apps soon, so stay tuned.
If you to need to buy a PC in the very near future, my advice is to cut this article out of the newspaper and take it with you to the shop. See you next week!
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