Buying Your First Computer

By on July 15, 2011

Even in this high-tech world, there are still many people who are just now buying their first computer. The process doesn’t have to be intimidating. Your first step is to decide what you want the computer for, and how much you have to spend.   Here are some tips to get you started:   Make your first purchase from a store, not a private individual, for two reasons: You’ll get a warranty, and if something should go wrong, a call to the store often will get you a fast and easy answer.   Your best bet is to shop at various computer stores and take notes. Tell the store techs what you’ll be using the computer for: email, games, a small business, photograph storage, writing and correspondence, Internet. They’ll be able to guide you to a computer that will handle what you want it to do.   After you buy, before you leave the store, take the boxed-up computer to the store’s repair area and have virus protection installed. Either have the techs start up any pre-installed software and pay for the next year, or have them install a different type. You’ll want to make sure your new computer is fully covered before you even get it home.   If you have children or teens in the house, or anyone who is likely to change settings or install unwanted software on your new computer, have the store techs set up a BIOS password. That way no one but you will be able to start the machine.   If finances make for a difficult decision — whether to buy a better computer and no printer, or a lesser computer along with a printer — hold off on the printer, as well as any other peripherals. Buy the best computer you can afford. Printers, scanners, oversize monitors, upgraded speakers and lots of software can be purchased one at a time later, as you learn more about what you need and find it on sale. If the store has in-store credit, beware being talked into buying more computer than you’d planned on. Look carefully at the fine print on the agreement, especially the  interest rate.   If you haven’t done it already, take a computer class. You don’t want to discover in two years that your computer has capabilities you never knew about.

David Uffington regrets that he cannot personally answer reader questions, but will incorporate them into his column whenever possible. Write to him in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, or send e-mail to columnreply@gmail.com.(c) 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.

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