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Making Your ‘Bargain Computer’ a Real Bargain

SOHO business users and home users are always tempted by low prices when it comes to buying a computer. That low price – the $399 special – may truly be a bargain, but you can negate any cost-saving benefits if you don’t set up your system properly, especially in an office with two or more units and in any location with a network. We can help you get off to a running start by covering a few out-of-the-box basics.

Depending on who built your computer and where you bought it, the new computer could be several months old. While the manufacturer loads OS software, depending on the available version they had and how long the computer sat on a retailer’s shelf, there’s no telling how out-of-date your OS might be.

So, the first thing to do after getting your computer out of the box and online is to check for OS updates. Microsoft has now made this easier for most Windows 7 users. Until recently, installing SP 1 (Service Pack 1 – a comprehensive upgrade) was optional. If you exercised the option, you had to install all the updates required before you could download SP 1. A lot that had to do with corporate IT managers wanting complete control over their large data systems and networks, but it was not good for SOHO and home users.

You can now do all the updates for the OS and the Windows Internet Explorer web browser when you set up your computer, but that’s only part of what you really should be doing.

A lot of SOHO users are tempted to buy the Home Premium version of Windows 7 because it’s cheaper. After they get up and running, they realize that the Professional version of the OS is better. With Windows’ Anytime Upgrade, you can get the more powerful OS, and you don’t need to backup and reinstall all of your other software as part of the process.

However, the upgrade has a lot of options, and installing it requires a lot of time and monitoring to make sure you select the right options at the right time. If you don’t make the correct choices for how you use your computer, you won’t get the full value of your investment in the computer and the software you’ll be using.

How can we help you?

By having us do your setup – especially if you are adding new computers and other hardware such as printers or upgrading your router for your Wi-Fi network – we can head off compatibility issues and help you select the options that best match your technology system and the way your office functions.

We start by taking an inventory of your IT system and how you use each piece of equipment and mobile devices. Then we review the capabilities of the new OS and the requirements for any programs you will run to make sure you understand any compatibility issues that may crop up. Before we do any work, you may need to decide whether to upgrade any hardware or software in your office, which parts of the new OS to install or whether to forgo installing the new OS.

Unless you have a compelling issue to resolve, your decision will be the result of a cost/benefit analysis that we’ll guide you through. If you decide to go ahead, we’ll escort you through the installation of all hardware and software to maximize the system-performance level you selected. This is critical with the OS installation to make sure you have all the updates properly loaded and that you select the correct options. The process takes about an hour for an OS installation, but it can take a lot longer if you need to restart your computer unnecessarily.

We don’t want to scare off anybody from software and system upgrades. We want to make sure you fully understand all the cause-and-effect possibilities that will result from your decision. Many people are intimidated by technology changes, and that can reduce their productivity. But when you make a carefully considered decision, you can quickly increase your ROI. Call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us to see about a better bargain ROI.

This article was published in Technology Update, the monthly newsletter from Sterling Rose LLC.